FIRSTLY, welcome all to the New Year.
In what seemed like the blink of an eye we said goodbye to the year of sport which was 2016 and hello to what will be an exciting 2017.
The new-look Australian Netball League is set to take shape this year with fresh teams to replace the former New Zealand sides and we’ll see the inaugural Women’s AFL season played during February and March.
Cricket fans can enjoy the continuation of the T20 Big Bash into 2017 after the New Year kicked off with the classic city-based clash between Melbourne Stars and Melbourne Renegades.
The Big Bash has quickly become one of the major highlights of the Australian cricket league and even those who aren’t a huge lover of cricket like me can appreciate the talent on show throughout the series.
You don’t necessarily have to understand the rules to enjoy the massive hits and even faster bowling – and the unbelievable moment when a boundary security guard plucks a ball mid-air from the fence line.
Then spectators can look forward to the international one-dayer between Australia and New Zealand at the end of January.
And if cricket isn’t your thing nothing feels more like summer than getting into the tennis spirit with the Australian Open.
The tournament is the first of the Grand Slams and has become as much a part of the Aussie culture as a sausage sizzle.
For me the build-up to the event is the most exciting with the Perth Hopwood Cup the first tennis event for the year followed by the Brisbane and Sydney International as a final hit-out for players ahead of the Open.
Cycling enthusiasts can look forward to the Tour de France later on in the year and until then can appreciate the Santos Tour Down Under this January, which for those unfamiliar to the sport is Australia’s premier cycling race throughout South Australia.
Continuing along the cycling theme Echuca-Moama Triathlon Club will host its sprint triathlon from Hopwood Gardens this month, the same weekend also sees the Wharf to Winery marathon swim and the River Gums fun run.
February will see the Australian Open in surfing at Manly Beach and closer to home we have the opening ski racing event in Victoria right at our doorstep with the Southern 80 set to take place February 11-12 along the Murray River.
People can now enjoy the entire weekend’s action from the big screen at the finish line which for the first time will live stream both the Saturday and Sunday races in full.
The racing continues on the track at Echuca Racing Club with the summer season already well under way.
Echuca’s next meeting following its New Year’s Eve races is set to take place in February and this year could see more twilight races being held throughout country Victoria in the warmer months.
So be prepared to embrace 2017 and if you haven’t already made a New Year’s resolution – make it to enjoy as much sport as possible throughout the next 12 months.