VIDEO: A top year in 2014 for our sporting stars

AUSTRALIAN flag bearers, Kangaroos, cricketers, Cowboys and rising rugby league stars highlight the Rockhampton region's top sporting exports of 2014.

The Morning Bulletin sports editor Guy Williams has highlighted just a handful of the achievements the region's sporting stars have hand-delivered home in 2014.

Our queen

FOR the region's No.1 export it's hard to go past Australia's queen of the track.

Ten-time world champion Anna Meares was at her best in 2014, surpassing Kathy Watts as Australia's most successful Commonwealth Games female cyclist.

A day after waving the Australian flag at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, Meares led from the front again by earning the country's first gold medal of the Games. She followed it up with a silver in the sprint a few days later.

Showing her class, the five-time Olympic medallist shaved her head in support of the Little Heroes Foundation, raising more than $155,000 for the charity.

Anna Meares with her silver medal, posted on her Facebook account yesterday. She wrote
Anna Meares with her silver medal, posted on her Facebook account yesterday. She wrote "Proud of my silverware tonight. My 8th Commonwealth Medal from 9 starts over 12 yrs"

Flag honour

DAYS after guiding the Australian Kookaburras men's hockey team to a third successive Commonwealth Games gold medal, Mark Knowles was bestowed with the honour of carrying the flag as Australia celebrated another successful Games.

The former Southside United player has become one of the most professional and polished sportsmen in the country.

Knowles' classy form off the field has coincided with the Australian team's success on it.

Knowles was named Hockey Australia's men's player of the year and player of the World Cup after leading his side to a 6-1 win over host nation Netherlands in June.

He also led the Queensland Blades to claim the 2013 Australian Hockey League - Australian hockey's premier competition.

To top off his stellar year, Knowles' wife Kelly gave birth to their second son, Luka Mark Knowles, on November 19.

Photo of Mark Knowles with Australian Flag he carried at closing ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as posted on Twitter by Kookaburras.
Photo of Mark Knowles with Australian Flag he carried at closing ceremony of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, as posted on Twitter by Kookaburras.

Good Gohdes

MATTHEW Gohdes hasn't done too badly for a kid who at one stage had arguably Rockhampton's best mullet.

He has shed the lavish hairstyle to become a staple in the Australian Kookaburras men's hockey team, celebrating his 100th cap during 2014.

An early member of the Wanderers A1 men's team which has won 10 consecutive Rockhampton premierships, Gohdes has risen through the ranks to the top of the sport in Australia.

He typically doesn't receive the plaudits Knowles and fellow Rockhampton-raised Australian hockey Jamie Dwyer do, but his attacking ability can't be understated.

Gohdes played a leading hand in Australia's Commonwealth Games gold medal winning performance and their World Cup win in June.

He also earned a bronze medal after scoring a goal in the Aussies' 2-1 win over hosts India in the bronze medal play-off at the Champions Trophy last month.

At 24, Gohdes has a massive future ahead of him.

Matt Gohdes shows off his winning medal yesterday from the Champions Trophy in New Zealand.
Matt Gohdes shows off his winning medal yesterday from the Champions Trophy in New Zealand. Sharyn Oneill

Top dog

HANDED the reins at the Brisbane Broncos at the end of the 2013 NRL season, Dingo boy Ben Hunt had the weight of the state on his shoulders.

No one would've known, though.

The St Brendan's College graduate thrived in the Broncos' No.7 jersey under Rockhampton-raised coach Anthony Griffin, steering Queensland's flagship club to the NRL Finals.

Hunt finished fourth in the Dally M Player of the Year votes, earned a call up to Mal Meninga's Queensland State of Origin squad for Game Two and was selected in Australia's end-of-year Four Nations squad.

After missing out on selection in the Kangaroos' opening match, Hunt made his international debut off the bench, scoring a try in Australia's 16-12 win against England.

He made a clean sweep of the Broncos' 2014 awards, collecting the club's best back, player's player, fan player of the year and NRL player of the year awards.

Ben Hunt and retired Broncos star Darren Lockyer.
Ben Hunt and retired Broncos star Darren Lockyer. Dave Hunt

Best indoors

EARLIER in the year indoor cricketer Ashleigh Doble was crowned Australia's best women's indoor cricket player.

The Rockhampton export had steered Queensland to victory at the national championships in Melbourne in July, received player of the series while representing Australia in Sri Lanka in 2013 and was named Queensland and Australian indoor cricket's women's player of the year.

She didn't think things could get any better.

How she was wrong.

Doble starred as she led Australia to a clean sweep at the 2014 Indoor Cricket World Cup in New Zealand in October.

A former Rockhampton all-round sportswoman, who plays indoor cricket and hockey in Brisbane, Doble was named most valuable player at the World Cup and was named in the Top-8 women's players in world indoor cricket.

GREEN AND GOLD: Rockhampton indoor cricket stars Robert Fitzgerald and Ashleigh Doble are all smiles after earning World Cup selection for Australia following strong performances for Queensland at the national titles.
GREEN AND GOLD: Rockhampton indoor cricket stars Robert Fitzgerald and Ashleigh Doble are all smiles after earning World Cup selection for Australia following strong performances for Queensland at the national titles. Sharyn Oneill SO--

 

In the Swim

BATTLING a bad back no one, not even Alanna Bowles, could have expected her to deliver the performances she did in 2014.

The then 16-year-old Emmaus College school girl stormed the swimming world by earning a place on the Australian swimming team to compete at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Bowles broke the FINA world junior 800m freestyle record at the Australian team trials before winning a silver medal in the final in earning her place on the 59-person Australian swim team.

A few days later Bowles blitzed the field at the Georgina Hope Swimmers Foundation Australian Age Championships in Sydney, winning every event she contested.

Setting new personal best times in the 16 girls 200m individual medley and 400m individual medley, Bowles defied her physiotherapist's orders to win gold in the 200m butterfly, 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle, 200m IM and 400m IM.

Bowles missed out on a medal in the 800m freestyle at the Commonwealth Games, she finished fourth with a new personal best of 8:24.74.

Alanna Bowles is heading to Asia for World Cup swimming. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin
Alanna Bowles is heading to Asia for World Cup swimming. Photo Sharyn O'Neill / The Morning Bulletin Sharyn O'Neill ROK261012sasia4

Monster season

CAMERON Munster's meteoric rise continued in 2014.

The former Central Queensland Capras fullback starred for the Intrust Super Cup club in 2013, earning himself a contract with NRL heavyweights Melbourne Storm for the 2014 season.

Impressing during the NRL preseason, Munster made his first appearance in purple and white in the Storm's NRL Auckland Nines team in February and inked a new deal with the club until the end of 2017.

The 2013 Intrust Super Cup rookie of the year made the most of the opportunity to learn from Australian and Queensland State of Origin fullback Billy Slater before replacing the custodian in Storm colours in June.

Munster made his NRL debut at fullback for the Storm in their 22-0 Round 12 loss to North Queensland Cowboys at 1300Smiles Stadium on May 31.

In the only sour note of his season, Munster and his Easts Tigers teammates were no match for Intrust Super Cup champions Northern Pride in the grand final.

He was named in the Junior Kangaroos team which took on New Zealand in the annual clash in October.

Capras' Cameron Munster is heading south to play for the Storm.
Capras' Cameron Munster is heading south to play for the Storm. Allan Reinikka

Zac's back

INJURY restricted him to 10 matches, but it was an achievement for Gold Coast Suns ruckman Zac Smith to be back playing in the AFL once again.

Smith suffered a serious knee injury, rupturing his ACL, in the Gold Coast Suns' Round 8 win over Western Bulldogs in 2013 and faced 12 months on the sideline.

The former Glenmore Bulls junior player, who stands at 205cm tall, worked hard during his lengthy rehabilitation and returned to the Suns midway through the 2014 AFL season, adding 10 games and two goals to take his career games total to 54.

He suffered an ankle injury late in the season, but has returned to pre-season training with the Suns and hopes for an injury-free 2015 season.

Rising stars

CLOSE to becoming teammates in 2015, Sam Hoare and Tim Glasby will ply their trade at opposite ends of the country.

The Rockhampton-raised pair shone at the back end of the 2014 NRL season, Hoare with the North Queensland Cowboys and Glasby for the Melbourne Storm.

Glasby was initially slated to join the Cowboys in 2015, but decided to stay at the Storm, and played the final 10 matches of the season including their 28-4 quarter-final loss to Canterbury Bulldogs.

Hoare made his NRL debut in the Cowboys' Round 17 27-24 loss to St George-Illawarra Dragons and went on to play six matches for the club during 2014. Glasby capped off his year with selection in the Queensland State of Origin Emerging squad while Hoare was named in the Emerging Maroons squad for 2015.

Rockhampton boy Sam Hoare is hoping to continue his good form this season through the finals for the Cowboys.
Rockhampton boy Sam Hoare is hoping to continue his good form this season through the finals for the Cowboys. Supplied