Northern stars shine worldwide

WHILE compiling the list of Tasmania's sporting highlights of the year which appeared in Sunday's paper, I was struck by three things.

How impressive they were, how global the state's impact is and how many of them involved Northern athletes.

From cyclists Richie Porte and Matt Goss achieving career- defining wins - ironically both in Nice, just around the Mediterranean coast from their Monaco homes - to George Bailey's sensational batting in the cauldron of Nagpur, James Faulkner's stunning Test debut at The Oval and Andrew Robinson's historic Stawell Gift triumph, Tasmanian sporting achievements spanned the globe.

Grant Birchall, Lauren Perry and Beautide continued the Northern onslaught and even three of the shared triumphs were primarily focused on the region.

When the Tassie Tigers won the Sheffield Shield, their captain, star, man-of-the-match and coach were all NTCA products and the state's best showing at an AFL national draft since 2009 saw twins Kade and Jake Kolodjashnij follow their Launceston teammates Jesse Lonergan and Jackson Thurlow to Gold Coast and Geelong respectively with the other four draftees, Toby Nankervis, Alex Pearce, Ben Brown and Brady Grey, all hailing from the North.

And while we're on the subject, it was the Launceston AFL tenant sponsored by Tasmania which lifted the premiership cup rather than the Bellerive sibling with its unswerving loyalty to Ballarat.

However, 'tis the season to be jolly not jingoistic, for peace not parochialism.

So rather than further highlight a regional misrepresentation which flies in the face of where the majority of Tasmania's sport funding and infrastructure is invested, it's a better time to celebrate the magnitude of the achievements achieved by our high- achieving achievers (sorry, thesaurus not working).

Such was the impact of the state's cricketers on national teams that Australia's all-time highest scoring overs in both Test and one-day formats were not only both recorded by Tasmanians in 2013, but both by ex-Launceston Church Grammar students.

Meanwhile the legacy of Porte winning Paris-Nice and supporting a teammate to the Tour de France crown for the second year running should make him a leading role in the 2014 Giro d'Italia.

Four years after becoming the first rider from this state to lead a Grand Tour, the man with a Tasmanian pendant around his neck is a genuine chance to be the first to win one.

This year may have seen one monumental Tasmanian sporting career come to an end with Ricky Ponting's retirement, but next year could yet see another take off.

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