It’s official: 2021 was Penrith’s greatest year in sporting history.
From a long-awaited premiership to a Gold Medal and even our own Aussie Test skipper, the incredible feats Penrith’s sporting stars achieved in the same year will unlikely ever be repeated again.
After much debate, this is the Weekender’s top five sporting moments of 2021…
5. Paige Hadley wins second Super Netball title – August 28, 2021
Local netball fans were divided in late August when St Clair Netball Club junior Paige Hadley and her NSW Swifts went up against rivals Giants Netball in the Super Netball Grand Final.
Played in Brisbane due to the lockdown in NSW, Hadley’s Swifts had too much class and experience for the Giants, prevailing 63-59. The narrow victory saw 29-year-old Hadley secure her second Super Netball title in three seasons.
4. Penrith Emus win first game in seven years – April 24, 2021
Back in April, the Penrith Emus pulled off one of the most memorable victories in club history when they snapped a seven-year losing streak.
Playing a Shute Shield match at Holroyd Sports Ground, Penrith hadn’t tasted victory in 2,471 days before they hung on for the 11-7 win against crosstown rivals the Western Sydney Two Blues.
3. Pat Cummins named Test captain – November 26, 2021
Penrith Cricket Club junior Pat Cummins was bestowed Aussie cricket’s highest honour in late November when he was appointed as the 47th captain of the Australian men’s Test cricket team.
Following the resignation of previous skipper Tim Paine, 28-year-old Cummins took the reins with Steve Smith his deputy.
Cummins’ captaincy got off to a scintillating start when Australia defeated England in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane.
2. Jessica Fox wins Olympic Gold – July 29, 2021
Whilst in lockdown in late July, an entire city roared from their lounge room when 27-year-old Leonay resident Jessica Fox produced the performance of her life to win her first Olympic Gold medal in the Women’s C1 Slalom.
It was the event Fox was destined to win after working so hard for many years to have to have it included on the Tokyo Olympic Games schedule.
1. Panthers win NRL Grand Final – October 3, 2021
After 18 long years of heartbreak and suffering, Penrith finally broke their Premiership drought when they defeated South Sydney 14-12 in the Grand Final.
Played at Suncorp Stadium, Panthers fans all over town were glued to their television sets as Ivan Cleary’s men bravely held on to secure the club’s third NRL title.
A Stephen Crichton intercept 14 minutes from full-time will forever be remembered as the moment that decided the game.
Co-captain Nathan Cleary was awarded the coveted Clive Churchill Medal.
Nathan Taylor is the Weekender’s Deputy Editor and Senior Sports Writer. He also compiles the weekly Chatter on the Box TV column. Nathan is an award-winning journalist, who has worked at the Weekender for a decade.