The Halberg Awards desperately need another category if they want to remain relevant.

The two greatest achievers in New Zealand sport over the last 12 months were arguably Chris Wood and Steven Adams, but there is no room for either among the current set of honours.

Both have been nominated over recent years, but they haven't even made the final cut, aside from Adams in his NBA rookie year (2014).

That's because of the Halberg's general obsession with 'winning something' or making the podium, rather than a more measured consideration of context and overall excellence.


Let's recap on what the duo have managed over the last 12 months or so.

Wood became just the sixth Kiwi to play in the English Premier League, but more importantly, the first striker.

That's the most coveted position in world football.

Burnley paid an estimated £15 million for his services and the 27-year-old is now probably worth at least £20 million.

Over the course of 10 years, he has climbed to the top of an incredibly steep pyramid.

There are around 65,000 professional footballers across the world. Most are concentrated in the hot beds of Europe and South America, but there are leagues and aspiring players in almost every country.

The holy grail for most is the Premier League, the richest and highest profile football competition in the world, but from that immense base only around 500 players can feature in England's top flight in any one season.

Across the 20 teams this season there are just seven Germans, five Americans, two Mexicans and two Japanese. And two Kiwis.


In that context's Wood's feats have been staggering.

He notched 10 league goals for Burnley last season (only 15 players scored more), including memorable strikes against Spurs and Everton.

Earlier this year he found the net at Old Trafford, against Manchester United, in front of more than 70,000 people.

It's once in a generation, maybe once in a lifetime, stuff. Though we always hope, we might never see a Kiwi centre forward in the Premier League again, let alone one achieving such success.

But Wood is unlikely to feature prominently in the Halberg awards, thanks to the narrow criteria and unimaginative judging panel, unless Burnley win the competition, embark on a magical Cup run or Wood takes the golden boot award.

Adams is of a similar vein. The 25-year-old has become one of the highest rated centres in the NBA, and was close to making the all-star game during this past season.

Like Wood, the Rotorua product has come through one of the most competitive sporting conveyor belts on the planet and every match is followed fanatically by fans across the globe, including a wide support in New Zealand.

Adams earns an estimated US$25 million a year, and might be the best basketballer we ever produce, as he constantly shines against some of the most well known athletes in the world.

But unless he 'wins something' — i.e. the NBA title — he doesn't really fit the current criteria of the Halberg Awards, either the sportsman of the year title, or the Supreme Award.

The night needs a new category.

How about 'best achievement in a global sport'?

That would give the likes of Wood (and Winston Reid) their due reverence, as well as Adams.

And it would mean an end to the kind of pointless debates last year over Michael Venus, when the merits of his historic doubles win at the French Open were being discussed.