Rewarding our finest
Traffic heading west from the northern beaches might be a touch heavier than normal on January 24 when a swag of local nominees descends on the NSW Sports Awards at CommBank Stadium.
NSW State of Origin boss Brad Fittler is a finalist in Coach of the Year and beach volleyballer Stefie Fejes for Young Athlete of the Year, while Winter Paralympian snowboarder Ben Tudhope is nominated for Young Athlete of the Year with a Disability. The Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic is in the running for Event of the Year and Manly's Mick Garnett, CEO Wheelchair Sports ACT/NSW, is up for Administrator of the Year.
Capping a busy night, Fairlight's Kerri Pottharst (beach volleyballer) will be inducted into the NSW Hall of Champions.
Sea and land rescue
There were dramatic scenes at Manly Oval on Saturday when police arrived at the ground and asked players and umpires to leave the field to allow a helicopter to land. A passenger on a Sydney Harbour charter boat had suffered a medical episode, with the chopper placed on standby to airlift the patient to hospital.
Thankfully all turned out well and the helicopter wasn't required, taking off to allow play to resume after a 90-minute delay in the Manly v Wests game. The break did Manly no harm, the Waratahs bowling Wests out for 170 and successfully chasing down the target on the back of 18-year-old Joel Davies' superb 70.
COVID aces Seaside
Laver, Goolagong, Rosewall, Sedgman. Some of the greatest names in Australian tennis have played in and won the Manly Seaside Championship over its 80-plus years, using the tournament as an important warm-up for the Australian summer circuit.
World War II was the only event to stop the Boxing Day to New Year's tournament held at Manly Lawn Tennis Club - until Covid hit. Last year's Seaside was called off due to the lockdown and, sadly, the 2021 event has also fallen victim to the pandemic.
"With so much uncertainty surrounding border closures and the rules around the vaxxed and unvaxxed and crowds, we just couldn't guarantee running it at full capacity," tournament co-director Scott Blackburn told us.
"We left it as late as possible to make a decision because we desperately wanted to go ahead, but we've just run out of time. It's very disappointing."
Blackburn is confident nothing will stop the Seaside returning in 2022.
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