Triple win­ner lauded

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - By NI­COLA STE­WART

Waikato’s Ran­furly Shield win­ning cap­tain was named Sportsper­son of the Year at the Metso Mata­mata Pi­ako Sports Awards last Wed­nes­day.

Alex Bradley, who lives in Mata­mata and plays rugby for Mor­rinsville Rugby Club, also won Sport­ing Per­son­al­ity of the Year.

The No 8 has had a mas­sive year, be­ing named cap­tain of Waikato on top of a sea­son play­ing with the Su­per Rugby win­ning Chiefs team.

‘‘With both the Chiefs and Waikato this sea­son, it’s been un­real,’’ Bradley said.

‘‘Win­ning the Su­per Rugby Tro­phy ... I wasn’t on the field but be­ing a part of that isn’t some­thing I will ever for­get.’’

Cap­tain­ing Waikato was also a ‘‘mas­sive, re­ally proud mo­ment’’ for the Plumb Co di­rec­tor, who watched the team play as a child.

‘‘I re­mem­ber be­ing a young fella and go­ing to games and watch­ing them kick the ball and lov­ing it.

‘‘Lift­ing that log o’ wood this year ... I won’t for­get that and I know a lot of peo­ple won’t.’’

Sport Waikato dis­trict co-or­di­na­tor Ruth Stan­ley said the awards were held to mark the achieve­ments of lo­cal sports­peo­ple.

‘‘It’s a trib­ute to the many hours of train­ing and com­pe­ti­tion that you no doubt do and the level of sac­ri­fice you have to make to com­pete at the level you do.’’ The awards evening held at Mata­mata Memo­rial Cen­tre also in­cluded a ques­tion and an­swer time with Olympians Matthew Stan­ley and Emily Nay­lor.

MC Kay Gre­gory in­vited Stan­ley on stage to talk about his ex­pe­ri­ence in Lon­don ear­lier this year.

‘‘ I think the thing I’ll al­ways re­mem­ber is be­ing there with my best friends and com­pet­ing against the best in the world,’’ he said. ‘‘It was just a lot of fun.’’ Fresh back from a strong per­for­mance in the FINA World Cup se­ries in Asia, Stan­ley is al­ready look­ing ahead to Rio in 2016.

‘‘I def­i­nitely want to go to the next Olympics and stand on the podium.’’

He also had some words of ad­vice for the other young ath­letes at the awards night. ‘‘You re­ally have to dream big. ‘‘If you want some­thing, you need to know that it’s achiev­able and you also need to know it’s go­ing to take a lot to get there and make it a re­al­ity.’’

Sportsper­son of the Year: Waikato rugby cap­tain and Mata­mata res­i­dent Alex Bradley was also named Sport­ing Per­son­al­ity of the Year.

In the hot seat: Matthew Stan­ley had to be a quick thinker when MC Kay Gre­gory in­ter­viewed him on stage.

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