The top 10 Illawarra sporting moments of 2017

Crashed out: Dragons centre Josh Dugan slumps after the Dragons' loss to Bulldogs in the final round, which meant St George Illawarra missed the NRL finals.
Crashed out: Dragons centre Josh Dugan slumps after the Dragons' loss to Bulldogs in the final round, which meant St George Illawarra missed the NRL finals.

It’s been a while since The Divinyls played in the Illawarra. 

But Chrissy Amphlett is still correct about there being ‘a fine line between pleasure and pain’.

So it was on the sporting field in 2017, as triumph and heartbreak came in equally breathtaking measure. 

Game On rates the top 10 Illawarra sporting moments.

No.1 – Dragons’ Dog of a day

“Effectively this year is a failure” captain Gareth Widdop lamented as a shellshocked Dragons missed the NRL finals having needed to beat Canterbury in final round to qualify.

The Dragons had been in the top four for 10 rounds during the season.

No.2 – Zunic almost reaches major milestone

After threatening to finish with a near-mythical 59 in the third round, Port Kembla’s Jordan Zunic was eventually edged out by Cameron Smith in a playoff at the Australian PGA on Sunday.

So close: Jordan Zunic misses a putt in the Australian PGA playoff. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

So close: Jordan Zunic misses a putt in the Australian PGA playoff. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

No.3 – Hawks’ hostile takeover

The Illawarra Hawks fell to Perth in the grand final series, but their semi-final win in game three in Adelaide ranks as one of the foundation club’s all time greatest performances.

No.4 – Wright stuff

It’s difficult to split South Coast Tyler Wright winning back-to-back world titles, or Thirroul-based brother Owen’s comeback from a shocking surfing accident which left him a ongoing head trauma problems. So we’ve let them stand together, as amazing moments of 2017.

No.5 – Roo beauty

A 43-year wait was over as Jamberoo won the Group Seven grand final in a thriller against Kiama in September. 

Super men: Jamberoo celebrate the Group Seven premiership win.

Super men: Jamberoo celebrate the Group Seven premiership win.

No.6 – Wolves’ sore points

Wollongong were stripped of three competition points after the confusion of using two suspended players in round one. It ended up costing them a NSW National Premier League finals place as result.

No.7 – Teen ace

At just 15, Wollongong’s Tom Heaton has already made his mark on the professional scene, hitting a hole-in-one at the NSW Open last month.

On target: Thomas Heaton, aged 15, after hitting a hole in one at second hole in first round of NSW Open. Picture:: PGA of Australia

On target: Thomas Heaton, aged 15, after hitting a hole in one at second hole in first round of NSW Open. Picture:: PGA of Australia

No.8 – Unstoppable Avondale

The Wombats completed a perfect Illawarra rugby season, winning 20 games in a row to claim the premiership with a 27-12 victory over Vikings, with captain Andrew Itula named man-of-the-match.

No.9 – True believers

Port Kembla claimed the IPL premiership with a penalty shoot-out victory over raging favourites Bulli. Ben Zucco nailed the winning penalty after a nil-all stalemate for 120 minutes.

No.10 – Lions roar

Returning from a cheekbone fracture, Wollongong Lions full forward Alex Cotter sealed back-to-back South Coast premierships with a goal from the forward pocket in the final quarter against Kiama.

Back-to-back: Alex Cotter celebrates a goal to win the grand final. Picture: Adam McLean

Back-to-back: Alex Cotter celebrates a goal to win the grand final. Picture: Adam McLean