Stars left on the sidelines
Halberg Awards judges leave out world champs, Olympic medallists and player of year
World champions, Olympic Games medallists and an international player of the year have missed out on being finalists for the Halberg Awards.
There's no room for Rio pole vault bronze medal sensation Eliza McCartney, shooting silver medal winner Natalie Rooney, world record holders the All Blacks, Supercars winner Shane van Gisbergen, world champion lawn bowler Shannon McIlroy, World Rugby's player of the year Beauden Barrett, Kiwi NBA sensation Steven Adams and World Rally Championship Argentina event winner Hayden Paddon.
Paddon, van Gisbergen, McIlroy, Barrett and Adams were pipped as finalists in a strong men’s category by Olympic single sculls rowing champion Mahe Drysdale, WBO world heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker and Rio bronze medallists, shot putter Tom Walsh and 1500m runner Nick Willis.
World No 1 golfer Lydia Ko is a finalist again for the stronglycontested female category. Ko, who won two majors and an Olympic silver in 2016, is up against double Olympic medallist canoeist Lisa Carrington and silver medallists canoeist Luuka Jones and shot putter Dame Valerie Adams.
The Disabled Sportsperson of the Year award includes 2015 recipient Sophie Pascoe.
The para-swimmer, who won three golds and two silvers at the Paralympics is up against fellow gold medallists Anna Grimaldi, Mary Fisher and Liam Malone, who won double gold and a silver in Rio.
Four teams who won medals in Rio are up for the Team of the Year category where there was no room for the All Blacks who went unbeaten for a world record 18 matches last season before being upset for the first time by Ireland in Chicago. The finalists include two Olympic champion crews; the men's 49er (Peter Burling and Blair Tuke) and rowing pair (Hamish Bond and Eric Murray) along with silver medallists; the team sprint (Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster) and the 470 crew (Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie).
The Coach of the Year Award includes the 2015 winner — All Blacks coach and World Rugby coach of the year Steve Hansen. Hansen is up against Hamish Willcox, who led the men's 49er crew to Olympic success in Rio, Gordon Walker, who guided Carrington to double Rio gold, and Jeremy McColl, who directed McCartney to her bronze medal.
The Halberg Awards judges selected the shortlist from 87 nominations for the six categories. The winners will be named in Auckland on February 9.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (yachting) and Lisa Carrington (canoeing) are Halberg Awards finalists.