Whanganui's sporting year ahead

By Zaryd Wilson

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Can Wanganui make in three in a row in 2017? Photo/ Stuart Munro
Can Wanganui make in three in a row in 2017? Photo/ Stuart Munro

2017 is shaping up to be a big one for Whanganui in the sporting arena. Zaryd Wilson picks out six things to look out for this year.

The Masters

It's Whanganui's turn to host the New Zealand Masters Games as it does every two years. But 2017 might just be the year the event gets a much needed re-boot.

A change in location has the opening ceremony at Cooks Gardens with the Games Village shifting to middle to town at the War Memorial Centre.

Adding to the February event is that it is closely followed by the World Masters Games which is being hosted by Auckland this year. Hopefully this helps bump the numbers in Whanganui as athletes seek competitive preparation before jumping on the World stage.

Waverley's Big Day

Six months after their beloved Border club took out the Wanganui Premier club rugby title, the South Taranaki town of Waverley will play host to two of the world's best professional rugby clubs.

The defending Super Rugby champions Hurricanes host the Crusaders in a pre-season game that will pack Dallison Park and bring hundreds to the town for the day.

Tickets are now on sale for the February 17 match, the first Hurricanes' game to be played in the Wanganui union.

Giant Killers?

Property Brokers United upset the club cricket order in this region when they toppled Taranaki champions New Plymouth Old Boys by 75 runs last month.

They now have a chance to test themselves against the Central region's best clubs and if their giant-killing feats continue on Waitangi Weekend they could find themselves footing it with the other five New Zealand association winners at Auckland's Cornwall Cricket Club in April.

Another Shot at the Three-peat

Wanganui Rugby has dominated the Heartland Championship since it's inception but so far a three-peat has eluded the Butcher Boys.

When the 2017 season gets underway they will have another chance having gone back-to-back in an unbeaten 2016 season.

Without counting chickens, the question might not be can they do it but who can stop them?

Meanwhile, Wanganui have earned another shot at the Ranfurly Shield.

After the brave performance against Waikato in 2016, this year will be a step up again with the perennial national champions Canterbury the defenders.

The Future

Wanganui has proven a fertile breeding ground for the county's sporting talent over the years and the list of those currently on the cusp of the big time remains strong.

Who will break through in 2017? Two which come to mind is Stephen Perofeta who has joined the Blues in Super Rugby and Jess Watkin who continues to march towards selection in the New Zealand cricket side having already made the White Ferns A team.

Watch this space.

Another National Event

Hot on the heels of the New Zealand Masters Games, Whanganui will play host to the David Jones Suzuki NZ School Triathlon Championships 2017. The future of the sport will be racing on Whanganui roads and water on March 30 and 31. This will be chance to catch future olympians in action for sure.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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