All Blacks snubbed for Halbergs as golden glow of Rio dominates finalists list
The All Blacks have been given a shock Halberg snub, with judges naming an Olympic-heavy line-up of finalists for next month's ceremony.
The side dropped just one test all year but couldn't make the top four in a team category dominated by Olympians.
World Rugby player of the year Beauden Barrett and his teammates were also not considered in the individual men's category.
Double Olympic medallist Lisa Carrington edged closer to a coveted Halberg Award as she was included in the finalists
Sixteen finalists from the Disabled Sportsperson, Sportsman, Sportswoman and Team of the Year categories are all in line for the supreme Halberg Award – the country's highest accolade for sporting excellence, presented to the athletes or team whose achievement is deemed by the judges as representing excellence in sport at the highest level.
Kayaker Carrington, so often the bridesmaid in these awards, will have a strong case this time around after winning gold and bronze at the Rio Olympics.
She does face some stiff opposition though.
Golfer Lydia Ko, the 2015 New Zealand sportswoman of the year is again in the mix of the strongly contested category.
Ko, who won one major title and an Olympic silver in 2016, is in line alongside Rio silver medallists Luuka Jones and Valerie Adams.
Eliza McCartney, the rookie Olympic pole-vaulter who claimed bronze and won the hearts of so many Kiwi sports fans, has missed the cut.
Finalists in the sportsman of the year category are Olympic rowing champion Mahe Drysdale, WBO world heavyweight boxing champion Joseph Parker and Rio bronze medallists, shot putter Tom Walsh and runner Nick Willis.
Four teams who all got on the medal dais in Rio are up for the team of the year category. 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 disabled sportsperson of the year award includes 2015 recipient, swimmer Sophie Pascoe. She won three gold and two silver at the Rio Paralympics and is up against fellow gold medallists Anna Grimaldi, Mary Fisher and Liam Malone, who won double gold and a silver in Rio.
The coach of the year candidates 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 success and Jeremy McColl, who directed McCartney to her Olympics medal.
Can't believe the ABs didn't get a nod for the Halbergs. Haven't put much thought to it, but wasn't it one of their best years ever?— Nick Willis (@nickwillis) January 11, 2017
The awards ceremony will be held in Auckland on February 9.
HALBERG AWARDS FINALISTS
Sportsman of the Year (eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Joseph Parker (boxing), Mahe Drysdale (rowing), Nick Willis (athletics) Tom Walsh (athletics).
Sportswoman of the Year (eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Lisa Carrington (canoeing), Luuka Jones (canoeing), Lydia Ko (golf), Valerie Adams (athletics).
Disabled Sportsperson of the Year (eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Anna Grimaldi (athletics), Liam Malone (athletics), Mary Fisher (swimming), Sophie Pascoe (swimming).
Team of the Year (eligible for the supreme Halberg Award): Men's 49er – Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (yachting), Men's Pair – Hamish Bond and Eric Murray (rowing), Team Sprint – Eddie Dawkins, Ethan Mitchell and Sam Webster (cycling), Women's 470 - Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (yachting).
Coach of the Year: Gordon Walker (canoeing), Hamish Willcox (yachting), Jeremy McColl (athletics), Steve Hansen (rugby).
Emerging Talent: Campbell Stewart (cycling), Dylan Schmidt (trampoline), Finn Bilous (snow sports), Maynard Peel (cycling BMX).