Who's your Illawarra sportsperson of the year?

They are the standout performers of 2013.

A shortlist of international athletes who call the Illawarra and South Coast home.

The Mercury is recognising their achievements this year by announcing a Sportsperson of the Year award, the winner to be unveiled on Saturday week.

Readers have also voted who they think should be the People's Choice Sportsperson of the Year.

The winners will be announced in the Illawarra Mercury on Saturday.

MICHELLE CARNEY

Football

After scoring 44 goals in the NSW Premier League, golden boot Carney caught the eye of the Western Sydney Wanderers W-League team.

The scoring haul led the Stingrays to win the club championship and reach the grand final.

Carney previously played for the Wanderers’ cross-town rivals in 2008, winning the title with Sydney FC in 2008, the inaugural W-League season. 

ALI DAY

Surf lifesaving

Kiama’s Ali Day joined an exclusive club, becoming just the third man to win multiple Coolangatta Gold surf lifesaving races.

Day, who now lives and trains at Mooloolaba, streaked to victory in the 41.5km endurance classic, winning by six minutes and 33 seconds over Cronulla veteran Nathan Smith.

A successful defence of his 2012 open men’s crown means the 23-year-old joins five-time winner Caine Eckstein and two-time champion Guy Leech as the only multiple winners of the iconic event.

SALLY FITZGIBBONS

Surfing

The world title eluded her, but Gerroa’s Sally Fitzgibbons has become one of the world sport’s most recognisable faces.

Fitzgibbons has consistently been in the top three of the international women’s surfing scene for the past three years and won the French leg of the tour in September and battling it out with South Coast friend and rival Tyler Wright all season.

But the 23-year-old has also emerged as a champion for living the healthy lifestyle as a role model for the younger generation, as well as a high-profile brand ambassador for the Roxy label and the Red Bull energy drink empire.

ROBERT HURLEY

Swimming

Wollongong’s Hurley now trains in Sydney and has become one of Australia’s most versatile swimmers.

However, after missing out on London selection last year, his career took a major leap forward in 2013, cleaning up numerous 29 individual and five relay medals at the World Cup circuit events.

Hurley continued to show his ability in freestyle and backstroke and is firmly in the frame for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games team, after being forced to withdraw in Delhi in 2008 with illness.

EMMA McKEON

Swimming

McKeon emerged this year as the next generation of Australian swimming star, producing a record-breaking swim to claim gold in the 200-metre freestyle at the World Cup meet in Singapore.

After missing out on the London Games last year, where brother David and Wests Illawarra training partner and distance swimmer Jarrod Poort competed, McKeon announced herself on the world stage in 2013.

Her time of 1min 52.40secs bettered World Championship medal winners Katinka Hossuz (1:52.63) of Hungary and Sweden’s Sarah Sjoestroem (1:53.51).

The form in Singapore helps put McKeon in a solid position to gain a spot in Australia’s Commonwealth Games squad for Glasgow next year.

BRETT MORRIS

Rugby league

Morris will remember his try in the World Cup final for a long time, chasing down Jarryd Hayne’s remarkable kick ahead before crashing heavily into the fence at the end of Manchester Old Trafford’s narrow in-goals.

It was the end of a difficult NRL season for Morris, with St George Illawarra missing out on the top eight and NSW suffering another year of State of Origin heartache.

However, the Kiama junior completed an impressive World Cup campaign by scoring Australia’s demolition of New Zealand in the final.

AARON ROYLE

Triathlon

Wollongong-based triathlete Aaron Royle was at long odds to compete again in 2013, let alone qualify for the Commonwealth Games.

After 10 bed-ridden days with a serious bout of pneumonia, the 2012 under-23 world champion was on the brink of giving up his second season on the world stage.

Originally, from Newcastle, Royle is now living in the Wollongong triathlon stronghold and booked his place at next year’s Glasgow Commonwealth Games at the ITU World Championships in London in October.

GLEN SAVILLE

Basketball

After 19 years in the NBL as part of a career which included two Olympics, it was a difficult way for Glen Saville’s career to end.

One of Wollongong’s favourite sons ever since joining the Hawks at the age of 19 in 1995, Saville hurt his left knee in January, signalling the end of a decorated career.

The 2001 title-winner and finals MVP is fourth on the all-time list of games played behind Tony Ronaldson (665), Andrew Gaze (612) and Leroy Loggins (567).

Entries have now closed.

Pick up the Illawarra Mercury on Saturday to see who the winners are.

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