The year’s biggest stories in sport across Augusta-Margaret River
Athletes were itching to get back on the field, in the ring and on the court as their favourite games returned in 2021 following a year of sporting uncertainty, cancellations and postponements.
Here’s a look back at the sporting highlights for the first half of the year.
Margaret River product Natasha Rigby reflected on the “weird” year that was 2020 and predicted an even better 2021 season.
Gracetown board rider Sol Pogue-Englert made predictions 2021 would be just as tough on athletes as 2020 was for the surfing community, expecting to continue to compete virtually the remainder of the year.
The Busselton Margaret River Cricket Association returned from its Christmas break with YOBS captain Haig Colombera rightly predicted to be a star contributor for the remainder of the season.
The South West Football League released its 2021 fixtures with Margaret River Hawks eyeing the first half of the season as their biggest challenge for the year, taking on the top five teams in the top end of the season.
WA Longboard and Logger Titles saw Yallingup veteran Karl Leavy and Quindalup woman Emily Gibbs take out the top spots.
Surfers Point hosted a battle of the groms in the WA Junior Surfing Titles. The winners list read like a local school roll call as Gracetown’s George Simpson and Margaret River’s Willow Hardy nabbed the top male and female titles.
The women of Margaret River’s thriving soccer scene came out on top after the annual Football Margaret River preseason carnival at the Labour Day long weekend football fiesta.
Fresh off the back of the King and Queen of the Point at Trigg, Kael Walsh and Felicity Palmateer confirmed their credentials at the State title and secured wildcard spots into the World Surf League’s Champion Tour.
Margaret River’s big wave surfer Felicity “flick” Palmateer said she finally found a balance having returned home to balance her competitive ambitions and creative fulfilments after years on the road.
Fixtures were postponed in the SWFL due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols impacting the State.
Surfers took over the Capes as the Margaret River Pro returned and international surfers Tatiana Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo completed a Brazilian blitz.
Vasse surfing fan battling motor neurone disease, Steve Pollock, received an unexpected gift from former world surfing champ Italo Ferreira when he handed over a brand new signed surfboard.
South West stalwart Taj Burrow made a professional return to surfing as the wildcard entry in the Ripcurl Rottnest Search.
Near perfect conditions welcomed triathletes to the 20th annual Ironman 70.3 and crowd favourite Matt Burton secured gold.
Jye Amiss and James Tunstill’s future AFL careers began to take shape when they were named in the State under-19s squad.
Junior athletes suffered another COVID-19 related blow as the much anticipated annual country week school competition was cancelled due to three COVID-19 cases being recorded in Perth.
Augusta-Margaret River’s hopes of a top two finish in the South West Football League saw a huge boost after holding off favourites Harvey Brunswick Leschenault 53-42 despite opposition inclusion Jesse Crichton adding on the pressure.
Homegrown athlete Aran Zalewski prepared to lead the Australian hockey team onto the field at the Tokyo Olympics, reflecting on his training and career journey with South West journalists.
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