A sporting goodbye to 2021, the return to the field in the Capes

Taylar AmoniniBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Taylar Amonini
Kaiden Richings and Kyle Lee congratulate each other after finishing the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim.
Camera IconKaiden Richings and Kyle Lee congratulate each other after finishing the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim. Credit: supplied

Athletes were itching to get back on the field, in the ring and on the court as their favourite games returned in 2021 following a year of sporting uncertainty, cancellations and postponements.

Here’s a look back at the sporting highlights for the first half of the year.

JANUARY

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 12: Natasha Rigby poses during the Perth Glory 2021/22 A-League Women's team headshots session at Perth Glory FC HQ on October 12, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Theron Kirkman/Getty Images)
Camera IconNatasha Rigby Credit: Theron Kirkman/Getty Images

Capes product Natasha Rigby reflected on the “weird” year that was 2020 and predicted an even better 2021 season.

Gracetown board rider Sol Pogue-Englert made predictions 2021 would be just as tough on athletes as 2020 was for the surfing community, expecting to continue to compete virtually for the remainder of the year.

The Busselton Margaret River Cricket Association returned from its Christmas break with YOBS captain Haig Colombera rightly predicted to be a star contributor for the remainder of the season.

Busselton’s Demi Liddle started 2021 excited as she accepted a spot on the West Coast Eagles AFLW list, only three years after picking up a football for the first time.

Just a day after Ben Stratton’s last 2020 AFL game, the three time premiership player returned home to Yallingup for a bit of reflection.

FEBRUARY

Kaiden Richings and Kyle Lee congratulate each other after finishing the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim. Photo: OKMG
Camera IconKaiden Richings and Kyle Lee congratulate each other after finishing the SunSmart Busselton Jetty Swim. Credit: supplied

Dunsborough’s Isabella Bidesi was one of the handful of local athletes to sprint to the finish line at the Athletics West State Country Championships where she snagged first place in the 1500m and 400m track and brought home a silver in the 200m.

Busselton Magpies youth girls team began the hunt for players as the season fast approached.

Former Bunbury swimmer and rising star Kyle Lee went back-to-back in the Busselton Jetty Swim and completed the 3.6km paddle around the iconic landmark in record time.

Yallingup local Karl Leavy entered the event on a borrowed board before taking out the over-35 masters and over-40 senior masters divisions in devastating fashion. PICTURE: SURFING WA/WOOLACOTT
Camera IconYallingup surfer Karl Leavy. Credit: Supplied

The South West Football League released its 2021 fixtures with Busselton looking to the first and last four games of the season for opportunities to get ahead.

WA Longboard and Logger Titles saw Yallingup veteran Karl Leavy and Quindalup woman Emily Gibbs take out the top spots.

MARCH

After a 12-month hiatus thanks to COVID-19 the Dunsborough X-Adventure off-road triathlon returned in style, with more than 1500 athletes descending on the Capes from as far away as Victoria.

Yallingup-Oddbods seamer Matt Connaughton found himself the talk of the town after taking the first three balls of an innings in a rare moment of cricket this month.

Kevin Lynn medallist Zack Tetlow.
Camera IconKevin Lynn medallist Zack Tetlow. Credit: supplied

Former Busselton colts player Zak Tetlow trekked the well worn path of Capes footballers as he made the move to Perth and pulled on the famous East Perth Football Club jumper.

APRIL

Felicity Palmateer speaking about equal pay for female surfers. Pics Tara Croser.
Camera IconFelicity Palmateer Credit: Tara Croser/News Corp Australia

Fresh off the back of the King and Queen of the Point at Trigg, Kael Walsh and Felicity Palmateer confirmed their credentials at the State title and secured wildcard spots on the World Surf League’s Champion Tour.

The Hockeyroos ventured to Busselton to take part in training drills and workshops with local players to foster the growing talent in the region.

Despite a strong start to their first SWFL game of the season, the Busselton Magpies were left grounded by the final siren against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault 93-82.

The Busselton women’s team saw a better start to the SWFL season, beating HBL 33-0.

Kookaburras half back Jake Harvey and midfielder Aran Zalewski with the rest of the team are training at Busselton Hockey stadium this week ahead of the postponed Tokyo Olympics in July.
Camera IconKookaburras half back Jake Harvey and midfielder Aran Zalewski. Credit: Catherine Massey/South Western Times

In what was one of the biggest Gravity Enduro mountain biking competitions seen in WA, 21-year-old Jayden Fraser was the second rider to cross the finish line at the Enduro World Series Qualifier.

Fixtures were postponed in the SWFL due to COVID-19 lockdown protocols impacting the State.

MAY

Tatiana Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo celebrate winning the Margaret River Pro.
Camera IconTatiana Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo celebrate winning the Margaret River Pro. Credit: Cait Miers/World Surf League via Getty Imag

Surfers took over the Capes as the Margaret River Pro returned and international surfers Tatiana Weston-Webb and Filipe Toledo completed a Brazilian blitz.

Near perfect conditions welcomed triathletes to the 20th annual Busselton Ironman 70.3 and crowd favourite Matt Burton secured gold.

Busselton Magpies jumped into the top five for the first time in the season, defeating Harvey Bulls 76-32 in one of the wettest games of the season.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 06:  Damon Greaves of the Hawks poses for a photo during the Hawthorn Hawks team photo day at the Ricoh Centre on February 06, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/AFL Media)
Camera IconDamon Greaves. Credit: Scott Barbour/AFL Media

Former Busselton Magpie Damon Greaves returned to the Hawthorn line up for the first time in the season, taking on Carlton.

Vasse surfing fan battling motor neuron disease, Steve Pollock, received an unexpected gift from former world surfing champ Italo Ferreira when he handed over a brand new signed surfboard.

JUNE

PERTH, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Jye Amiss of Western Australia in action during the NAB AFL U19 Championships game between Western Australia and South Australia at Mineral Resources Park on August 28, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
Camera IconJye Amiss. Credit: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Jye Amiss and James Tunstill’s future AFL careers began to take shape when they were named in the State Under 19s squad.

The women’s competition in the SWFL saw its first draw when Busselton Magpies drew with South Bunbury Tigers 23 all.

Junior athletes suffered another COVID-19 related blow as the much anticipated annual country week school competition was cancelled due to three COVID-19 cases being recorded in Perth.

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