The 2018 Underground Sports Awards
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