The 2018 Un­der­ground Sports Awards

The Northland Age - - Sport -

SO there he was, The Off­sider, un­veil­ing the lat­est list of win­ners in the Un­der­ground Sports Awards, be­ing his stand­out per­form­ers and per­for­mances in lo­cal sport in 2018. With­out fur­ther ado, the en­ve­lope please, and the win­ner is . . . SPORTSPER­SON OF THE YEAR: An­thony ‘Boo Boo’ Clyde.

The seem­ing age­less Clyde, who plied his trade with the Te Aupouri Repo in the TRL com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son, has been one of the most widely re­spected play­ers in the prov­ince since The Off­sider started cov­er­ing the game well over a decade ago.

A prover­bial game-changer, the 39-year-old’s name fre­quently came up when­ever op­po­si­tion teams talked about fac­ing the Repo. Check the pedi­gree: Clyde was spot­ted age 15 play­ing in the Whangarei City and Dis­tricts com­pe­ti­tion (now known as the Rugby League North­land Premier­ship) by Auck­land War­riors de­vel­op­ment scouts and spent a cou­ple of years un­der the guid­ance of renowned for­mer player turned coach John Ack­land. He then re­turned to play in North­land-wide com­pe­ti­tion with the Bay Slay­ers, Mo­erewa Tigers and Muri­whenua Fal­cons sides then joined Pawarenga Bron­cos for the in­au­gu­ral TRL sea­son in 2016, trans­fer­ring to Aupouri the fol­low­ing year.

Repo coach Lance Tay­lor said it was Clyde’s skills and all-round “chilled out”ness which made him a valu­able ad­di­tion to any team where he plays in the halves at ei­ther the No 6 or 7 roles.

“He’ll run the game all day . . . The more time he gets with to do with what he wants with the ball, the more dan­ger­ous he is.”

TEAM OF THE YEAR: Not awarded.

No group ef­fort in this neck of the woods overly im­pressed The Off­sider dur­ing 2018.

GAME OF THE YEAR: Mad­hat­ters 2 Kaitaia B 0.

The Off­sider saw plenty of ac­tion play­ing at goal­keeper for the vis­it­ing team in this North­land 3rd Divi­sion foot­ball clash at Wil­liam Fraser Park in April. He pulled off a se­ries of fine saves too — prompt­ing one Kaitaia sup­porter to sug­gest he name him­self man of the match — but re­ally, it was all about go­ing hard for 90 min­utes, both with and against a bunch of good sods, drink­ing bud­dies and some of Kaitaia’s most ex­ct­ing young tal­ent. Sure it ended in de­feat but foot­ball doesn’t get any fun­ner.

VENUE OF THE YEAR. Mahinepua Bay.

The Off­sider found him­self in Mahinepua Bay for only the first time ever when he went there in May to cover the IronMahue event where he ended up fall­ing in love with the beau­ti­ful lit­tle slice of the east coast and sub­limely re­laxed vibe at the fin­ish.

SURF OF THE YEAR: Kaitaia on Christ­mas Eve

Sure there was the odd sick day — and, just as im­por­tantly, great ba­thym­e­try — dur­ing that golden run of swell through­out Septem­ber into early Oc­to­ber, but an other­wise av­er­age year for good waves on his beloved points which meant the most mem­o­rable surf for The Off­sider came dur­ing the tor­ren­tial rain which fell on Kaitaia on Christ­mas Eve. The down­pour led to flash flood­ing which caused a rapid to form on his back lawn for an hour and he wasted no time in grab­bing his daugh­ter’s boo­gie-board and knif­ing the drop (on his guts) at a break which only hap­pens when a 50-Year Storm hits land­fall.

AN­I­MAL OF THE YEAR. Tui.

The Off­sider was vis­ited by a lone tui this sum­mer and its dis­tinc­tive call of­ten pro­vided the sound­track to his morn­ing cof­fee while in­spect­ing the es­tate with Smokey The House Cat be­fore head­ing to work to be­gin an­other day of sports­bust­ing in the none-more-beau­ti­ful North.

■ The Off­sider is Age sports­buster Fran­cis Mal­ley. The above forms part of his an­nual multi-pronged round-up of 2018 with up­com­ing ar­ti­cles set to in­clude Part II of the USAs (recog­nis­ing cul­tural achieve­ment) along with a re­view of the high­lights, best quotes and favourite un­pub­lished im­ages from the past 12 months. Re­spond at . . . [email protected]­landage.co.nz.

Tui, an­i­mal of the year.

An­thony Boo Boo Clyde, Sportsper­son of the Year

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