The Greatest Sports Stories of the Year on the Augusta-Margaret River

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Athletes were eager to return to the pitch, ring and field as their favorite games returned in 2021 after a year of sporting uncertainty, cancellations and postponements.

Back on the sporting highlights of the first semester.

JANUARY

Camera iconNatasha Rigby Credit: Theron kirkman/Getty Images

Margaret River product Natasha Rigby reflected on the ‘weird’ year 2020 was and predicted an even better 2021 season.

Gracetown surfer Sol Pogue-Englert predicted that 2021 would be just as tough for athletes as 2020 was for the surfing community, expecting to continue competing virtually the rest of the year.

The Busselton Margaret River Cricket Association returned from their Christmas vacation with YOBS captain Haig Colombera who rightly predicted he would be a star contributor for the remainder of the season.

FEBRUARY

Yallingup local Karl Leavy entered the event on a borrowed board before taking out the Over-35 Masters and Over-40 Masters divisions in devastating fashion.  PHOTO: SURF WA / WOOLACOTT
Camera iconLocal Yallingup Karl Leavy. Credit: Provided

The South West Football League have published their 2021 matches with Margaret River Hawks considering the first half of the season their biggest challenge of the year, facing the top five teams at the end of the season.

The WA Longboard and Logger titles saw Yallingup veteran Karl Leavy and Quindalup wife Emily Gibbs take the top spots.

MARCH

Busselton City Football Club faced Football Margaret River in a biting game this weekend
Camera iconBusselton City Football Club faced Football Margaret River in a biting game this weekend Credit: Provided/Regional hub

Surfers Point has hosted a battle of the groms in the WA junior surfing titles. The list of winners reads like a roll call at a local school as George Simpson of Gracetown and Willow Hardy of Margaret River clinched top male and female titles.

The women of Margaret River’s thriving football scene came out on top after the annual Margaret River pre-season football carnival on the Labor Day Football Long Weekend.

APRIL

Felicity Palmateer talks about equal pay for female surfers.  Pictures Tara Croser.
Camera iconFélicité Awards. Credit: Tara Croser/News Corp Australia

Fresh off the king and queen of the tip at Trigg, Kael Walsh and Felicity Palmateer confirmed their state title credentials and secured wildcard spots on the World Surfing League Champions Tour.

Margaret River big wave surfer Felicity “flick” Palmateer said she finally found a balance after returning home to balance her competitive ambitions and creative accomplishments after years on the road.

Meetings have been postponed in the SWFL due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols impacting the state.

CAN

The winners of the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona on May 10, 2021 in Margaret River, WA, Australia.  (Photo by Cait Miers / World Surf League via Getty Images)
Camera iconThe winners of the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona on May 10, 2021 in Margaret River, WA, Australia. (Photo by Cait Miers / World Surf League via Getty Images) Credit: Cait Miers/World Surf League via Getty Imag

Surfers took to the capes on the return from the Margaret River Pro and international surfers Tatiana Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo completed a Brazilian blitz.

Vasse surf fan battling motor neuron disease Steve Pollock received an unexpected gift from former world surfing champion Italo Ferreira when he handed over a brand new signed surfboard.

Southwestern mainstay Taj Burrow has made a professional comeback to surfing as a generic entry in Ripcurl Rottnest research.

Near-perfect conditions greeted the triathletes at the 20th annual Ironman 70.3 and crowd favorite Matt Burton took home gold.

JUNE

Jye Amiss and James Tunstill’s future careers in the AFL began to take shape when they were named to the state’s Under-19 team.

TOKYO, JAPAN - AUG 03: Aran Zalewski of Team Australia controls the ball during the Men's Semi-Final match between Australia and Germany on Day 11 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on August 03 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images)
Camera iconTeam Australia’s Aran Zalewski controls the ball during the Men’s Semi-Final match between Australia and Germany on Day 11 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on August 3, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein / Getty Images) Credit: Alexandre hassenstein/Getty Images

Junior athletes suffered another COVID-19-related blow as the long-awaited annual Campaign Week school competition was called off due to three recorded COVID-19 cases in Perth.

Augusta-Margaret River’s hopes of a top-two finish in the Southwest Football League got a huge boost after fending off favorites Harvey Brunswick Leschenault 53-42 despite the inclusion of opposition Jesse Crichton adding to the pressure.

Local athlete Aran Zalewski prepared to lead the Australian field hockey team at the Tokyo Olympics, reflecting on his training and career path with journalists in the South West.


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