If you’re a sports fan in Dubbo then you’re able to now look back on another incredible 12 months in the city.
As is always the case, sport played a major role for people in Dubbo in 2018 with major events coming here, massive announcements made for the future, and the best of our athletes lighting it up both at home and on the big stage.
There was tales of redemption, there was stunning individual efforts, and there was heartfelt moments where sporting teams and competitions rallied for people in need.
This list focuses purely on local sporting moments, not including our outstanding exports who are achieving great things on the national and international stage.
So without further adieu, here is the top 10 moments of 2018.
10. Australian honours continue
Sometimes it’s easy to take for granted how well teenage cricketer Brock Larance is performing.
Since returning to Dubbo with his family in 2016, Larance has been playing at the highest level. But the truth is he is a 17-year-old based in Dubbo who is playing cricket, one of ours most popular sports, for his country. Larance has represented the Australian under 17s for the past two seasons and is absolutely one of the most exciting young players in the entire nation. A fantastic achievement.
This year Larance played for Australia against Pakistan, while another achievement was representing the Australian Indigenous XI alongside fellow Dubbo player Ben Patterson in a historic tour of England.
“I just try not to think about it too much,” Larance said of the enormity of what he has achieved earlier this year.
“If I do that I’ll just play rubbish. I’ve just got to trust my natural instincts, play cricket, and enjoy it.”
9. Roos rally for Walton family
The image of Dean Walton leading the Dubbo Kangaroos out in round one of the Blowes Clothing Cup season just weeks after his son’s tragic passing is one of the most enduring pictures of the year.
Jake Walton was a Roos junior and lower grade player and his drowning in February of this year rocked the entire Dubbo community. Dean, Jake’s father, led the Roos out in round one and it was an emotional experience for all involved as he shook the hand of the side’s captain, Shaun McHugh, and other players.
While it was one of the most terrible incidents of the year it again showed how important sport can be and how much sporting clubs are much more than just that.
8. American excitement continues
If 2017 was the year Conrad Etchi breathed life back into Dubbo basketball, 2018 was the one Adam Ward and Martin Iti took it to another level.
Crowds, most importantly made up of young fans, flocked to the Woolshed to see the Rams play with American import Ward and former Sydney Kings player Iti, who played against Kevin Durant in the past, creating a number of highlights.
While the year was a disappointing one for a Rams side initially aiming to end its finals drought, the athleticism, sheer skill, and stunning dunks did more for the sport in Dubbo than semi-finals ever could.
7. GI takes Knockout to a new level
Greg Inglis. There’s hardly anyone bigger in rugby league. So when it was announced he would be part of an already hotly-anticipated Koori Knockout at Dubbo it went close to causing chaos.
And not only did he feature on the field, he made a real impact off it. He was selfless and allowed a huge amount of fans young and old to meet their hero. A DUI on the way home certainly tarnished the experience but there’s no doubt he left a lasting impression on so many people after his time at Dubbo.
During what was undoubtedly the biggest sporting event in the city this year, Inglis stood out among the long list of high-profile players in attendance.
6. A precinct to be proud of
“Dubbo won’t just be on the map in NSW, but globally shortly and that is exciting.”
That’s what Deputy Premier Josh Barilaro stated when announcing an elite $44.5 million Western Region Institute of Sport will be constructed in the city.
Planned to be completed within three years, the precinct announcement was attended by a huge number of state political and sporting identities. The institute will feature a 10-court multi-sport facility suitable fora whole variety of sports while administrative offices and a wellness centre will also be located there. Quite simply, nothing else like this exists outside of Sydney and the positives will be endless once it is constructed.
5. Historic hockey highlight
Overall Astley Cup glory may have again escaped Dubbo College in 2018 but there was real improvement showed this year.
The perfect example of that came in the hockey, where Dubbo scored a first win over Orange in almost three decades. They did it style too, with Phoebe Bloink Hollier directing play in the middle while elite goalkeeper Lilli Campbell showed all her class to help her school score the breakthrough win.
“That’s as good as it gets,” Dubbo College Astley Cup coordinator Craig May said.
“I can’t remember ever beating Orange. I’ve been here a long time.”
4. Lamb slices through the Fishies
Farren Lamb may have since departed Forbes in somewhat messy circumstances, but there’s no doubt there’s a lot of people who will shout him a drink any time he ever ventures back to the town.
Lamb became a Magpies legend in September when he absolutely nailed a field goal to hand Forbes the 2018 Group 11 premiership. It was an incredible moment which capped off a truly enthralling grand final clash with the previously unbeaten CYMS.
Lamb stated he simply thought “I’m going it” when he got the ball. He couldn’t have gone for it during a year in which he showed real improvement in his play and maturity on the park.
3. Molly proves a real inspiration
Its hard to fathom being a young teenager who has their whole life changed after a cancer diagnosis.
That’s what happened to Molly Croft but rather than this being a story of struggle, the youngster has proved an incredible inspiration to many, not least of all her St Firebirds netball teammates.
Croft had been a standout before moving to Sydney for treatment but she continued to be a key figure in the squad.
So much so, Croft linked up with the side via Facetime during the grand final and was even able to be part of the celebrations as the iPad stayed on with the players during the presentation and team photos.
“We wanted to make sure she was included and part of the side no matter where she is or what she’s going through,” St Firebirds coach Kylie McKeown said.
2. Jess Skinner highlights huge year for women
Women’s rugby league has not only taken off at the highest level. 2018 marked the year it really took off in the western region.
The inaugural Western Women’s Rugby League (WWRL) tournament was a massive success and it’s already been announced more teams and age divisions will feature in the 2019 edition.
But the undoubted highlight of the year was Jess Skinner finally getting the huge amount of recognition she deserves for her tireless work in the sport.
Skinner regularly drives more than 1000km a week to coach and volunteer, working at places as far as Bourke and Menindee.
In August she was given a NRL Women in League Achievement Award by NRL chairman Peter Beattie and Jillaroos player Rikeya Horne.
“The game would fail without people like Jessica Skinner,” Beattie said.
Ain’t that the truth.
1. Moran gives a perfect goodbye
The single most outstanding individual sporting achievement of the year. Bar none.
This was something truly special. Jordan Moran has long been considered one of the very best batsmen in country NSW but in the RSL-Whitney Cup grand final he ensured his status as a legend of Dubbo cricket by pummeling a near-unbelievable 214 not out.
Rugby captain Nathan Munro stated an effort like Moran’s “will never be seen again in my lifetime” and it’s hard to argue against him. It was a supreme showing from a player at the absolute peak of his powers.
The fact it came on the biggest day of the season against a powerful Souths side just added to the feat.
“It’s about time I stood up for Rugby and scored some runs,” Moran said after the record-breaking knock.
Just to really top it off, the innings was also Moran’s last in Dubbo before he made the move to Melbourne.