It must be Murray and Bond for Halbergs
The oversized, often under-whelming Halberg Awards judging panel don't always get it right in the subjective matter of sorting through the apples and oranges of New Zealand sporting achievement.
But it's hard to see how they can get it wrong this year in the Olympics-dominated awards that will be dished out on Thursday at Vector Arena in Auckland.
There's a handy contest for sportswoman of the year which should have featured the closest voting of the night (Carrington or Adams?), while the coach's prize always presents the opportunity for something a bit out of left field.
But the supreme award, and for that matter team of the year gong, shape as the same sort of one-horse race that the winners have been indulging in for the best part of four years since they came together as a rowing pair.
I am referring, of course, to the perfect pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond, a couple of polar opposites who make sweet music in the two-man rowing shell. They may be yin and yang in terms of their personalities and grooming styles, but together they are smoke on the water, as evidenced by the fact they have never been beaten since coming together in the wake of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Why such a laydown misere for Messrs Murray and Bond, you ask? They are, after all, up against two other gold medallists in their category and the world champion All Blacks who lost just one test all year. And, as likely as not, they will have to see off fellow rower, and Kiwi icon, Mahe Drysdale in a head-to-head for the supreme award.
But this is a no-brainer that not even the luminaries on the academy can get wrong.
Double scullers Joseph Sullivan and Nathan Cohen produced, in my mind, the most memorable gold of the Games. They should win sports moment of the year, hands down.
Sailors Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie were also magnificent in their 470 and Drysdale's single sculls gold was arguably the most emotional of the Games from a Kiwi standpoint.Then you have Val Adams who defended her Olympic shot put title in trying circumstances, that little peach of a kayaker Lisa Carrington and the prodigious golfing talent of Lydia Ko.
But none were Murray and Bond.
The perfect pair won with such ruthlessness and such perfection of performance that no one got within cooee of them - their greatest rivals from Britain literally scared into the four for Games year.
The supreme Halberg award should be about the ultimate in excellence. And for that look no further than Bond and Murray.
For what it's worth, here are my picks for the night's goings: Sportswoman: Lisa Carrington. Sportsman: Mahe Drysdale. Team: Bond and Murray. Coach: Calvin Ferguson. Emerging: Lydia Ko. Disability: Sophie Pascoe.
Now, if someone can just tell me what the hell the Breakers and Levi Sherwood have to do to get a gig at this show, I'll be ecstatic.
- Sunday Star Times
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