When it comes to sport, Tim Gavel has seen just about everything in his 30 years at the microphone, calling all the big sports and events locally, nationally and internationally. In 2018, RiotACT was fortunate that the broadcaster added his voice to the writing team, tackling all aspects of sport in the nation’s capital.
“I think there are so many good stories in the community. I’ve tried to tell as many as possible over the years and this gives me the chance to tell a few more,” Tim said.
Tim’s articles made frequent appearances in this year’s top ten sports stories on The RiotACT, not only for his coverage of the major clubs and sports stars, but also his tales of grassroots sport and some of the region’s lesser-known sporting high achievers.
Also cracking the 2018 top ten for sport were stories from Lachlan Roberts and Ian Bushnell that showcased the people, problems and initiatives in the Canberra sporting arena over the year that was.
With decades working as a sports commentator, there’s no doubt Tim Gavel knows his stuff. So when he wrote that in his experience (which also includes being a parent involved in School Sports ACT and a board member of the Physical Activity Foundation), the physical education program in ACT primary schools is ad hoc, RiotACT readers took notice.
2018 saw Canberra football in the headlines repeatedly, with much of the public attention taken up by the region’s bid to become part of an expanded A-League, as the local bid became one of the ten shortlisted for inclusion.
But in August, Tim Gavel highlighted a debate raging behind the scenes over Capital Football’s plans to introduce a promotion and relegation system for the premier league first division, and it was that article that cracked the top ten at the end of the year.
Sia Soliola’s random act of kindness towards a woman in distress would come as no surprise to those who know the veteran Canberra Raiders forward, wrote Tim Gavel.
“Rugby League is often portrayed in a bad light in the media. But with players such as Sia Soliola in the game, there will always be more positive stories than negative,” wrote Tim about the man with the big hair and the big heart.
Tim Gavel’s analysis of why just 1,824 people turned out for this year’s PM’s XI match against South Africa at Manuka Oval came in at number seven this year.
As he wrote, there appeared to be very little hype or promotion surrounding the game and little of the traditional build-up around the selection of the captain, the team, or which local players would be selected. Tim concluded that there needs to be much more Canberra-based promotion of the PM XI’s fixture, and RiotACT readers, on the whole, seemed to agree.
Ian Bushnell entered this year’s sporting top ten with his report that the variety of recreational activities in Canberra continues to grow. He wrote that the northside now has its own course for disc golf, a game very similar to traditional golf, except instead of hitting a ball with a club into a cup, you throw a plastic disc into a metal basket. Have you tried it?
Tim Gavel’s first article about the loss of Canberra sporting facilities had a huge response, so he set out to further investigate the changing nature of sporting facilities in our older suburbs. RiotACT readers shared similar goings-on in their suburbs, as sporting facilities, no longer operational, await their fate.
Lachlan Roberts wrote several articles during 2018 as part of a series called The Sporting Capital, in which he sat down for an intimate conversation with Canberra’s sports stars. For the third instalment in the series, Lachlan chatted with former World Cup referee and now Lyneham High School teacher Ben Williams about how he first became a referee, how he handled criticism from the public and how he came to be the first Australian central referee to take charge of a second-round game at the World Cup.
Could diving be Canberra’s most disadvantaged sport? That was Tim Gavel’s question as he pondered why the local springboard diving community was like the bride left at the altar as they come to terms with yet another broken promise. In fact, no other sport has been promised more yet received so little, he wrote. And many readers agreed, although diving was not the only sport that failed to attract the big bucks in the ACT, they pointed out.
Taking out the number two spot in 2018 was Lachlan Roberts’ report that rugby players are being forced to change in the middle of a field full of weeds and rabbit holes after the ACT Government “stonewalled” the Hall rugby club’s repeated requests for improvements to the local playing facilities. The “embarrassing” home ground of Hall Bushrangers Rugby Club has two playing fields, which are in contrasting quality, Lachlan wrote.
This year’s top sporting story is another Tim Gavel piece. This time, he pondered whether a small number of noise complaints had effectively sounded the death-knell for speedway in Canberra. Despite a passionate and enthusiastic community of speedway fans in Canberra, it seems that the sport’s future remains uncertain.
What were your most memorable sporting moments of 2018?