Is Joost your October plonker?
Cape Town - After much debate and head scratching, the Sport24 team have announced their Performers, Plonkers and Pictures of the month for October 2009.
Click HERE to cast your vote - and WIN!
Every month the Sport24 editorial team will announce nominations for a sportsperson or team (people who stole the limelight with a specific performance that month), a plonker (a team or person who has not covered themselves in glory) and a sports photo of the month (the one that makes you go "Ahhh"). You then get a chance to vote for the person, team and picture that best deserves the award...
So without further ado, then, the October nominations are...
Narrowing down the nominations for the October star of the month proved tricky with several candidates returning performances worthy of recognition.
Fourie du Preez
The Springbok scrumhalf capped his superlative year by playing starring role in the Blue Bulls’ Absa Currie Cup final triumph over the Cheetahs at Loftus. He did all of his staple duties smartly and typically coolly, and was also crucially involved in both of Bryan Habana’s first-half tries.
Salute the new Marathon Man: the Highveld Lions opening batsman set a new landmark for record first-class score in South Africa by scoring a whopping 390 in the SuperSport Series match against the Warriors at East London. It was the 12th highest score in global history, and fourth-highest ever in “time at crease” terms: 838 minutes.
Love him or hate him, the Western Province captain had an inspired, swansong month both as player and captain of a resurgent Currie Cup side. Not only did they come within two minutes of upsetting the Blue Bulls in a semi-final, but the No 8 turned in consistently industrious performances … including a hat-trick of tries in the 50-7 derby whipping of the Cavaliers.
It was a fairytale month for the unassuming Cape Cobras player, after he could initially find no place in their squad for the inaugural Champions League in India. But then Graeme Smith cried off, he was rapidly installed as captain, and blasted a spectacular century (104 not out, 62 balls) against Otago Volts. Upon return, he soon reached three figures again as the Cobras beat the Highveld Lions in the maiden MTN40 match at the Wanderers.
There was widespread derision when Ludeke replaced Heyneke Meyer as Blue Bulls coach … instead the Loftus trophy cabinet keeps needing extensions! Ludeke was in charge of matters as the Bulls added the Absa Currie Cup in late October to their Vodacom Super 14 crown, making them the first side to achieve this distinguished double.
And in the not so serious plonker category... Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the biggest plonker of them all?
The Wellington-based Currie Cup side truly imploded in October, with relegation from the Currie Cup Premier Division (thumped by the Pumas) almost a merciful event after a grim campaign. They also had unresolved business with coach Deon Davids suing the union after Chester Williams was appointed director of coaching, and media reports suggesting they were negotiating with perceived has-beens like Justin Harrison and Pita Alatini for 2010.
Just another in the growing list of fiascos involving the national soccer body as they appointed a trio of “assessors” – Jomo Sono, Clive Barker and Gavin Hunt – to oversee embattled Bafana coach Joel Santana. But even before they could submit their report, Santana was sacked. What’s more, top local coaches (including some of the assessors themselves!) were again overlooked as Carlos Alberto Parreira was controversially recalled for a second tenure.
OK, so it was not quite in Percy Montgomery’s league, and more out of finding the most direct route to a ruck, but the big ex-Zimbo prop did push referee Nigel Owens in the back during Northampton's defeat to Perpignan. The offence was deemed “low-end” in terms of its seriousness but touching the ref is a big no-no, and Mujati has been banned for six weeks, meaning he enters the land of Plonker-hood …
The final of this domestic cup competition ended up being a farce in more ways than one: Ajax Cape Town did it no favours by playing insipidly as they succumbed to Golden Arrows 6-0 in the supposed “showpiece” at Orlando Stadium, and the game was interrupted by floodlight failure just to heighten the general suffering …
Joost van der Westhuizen
The month in which the former Bok scrumhalf great confessed: “it was me”. After initial denial, Van der Westhuizen revealed (conveniently around the same time as he launched his tell-all book) that he had, indeed, been the man with the holed undies in the sex-and-drugs video. His SuperSport suspension then turned into more permanent dismissal, while newspaper reports on his tawdry matters stole some of the gloss from the Currie Cup triumph for his provincial pride and joy, the Blue Bulls.
In a bid to deservedly salute the photographers doing the hard graft on the sidelines. Sport24 have put together a gallery of the "Best of the Best" pictures of the month of October. They're guaranteed to leave you speechless. Best of the best pictures
Readers monthly votes will decide the 12 finalists in each category, and it is from those 12 finalists that Sport24 will decide their Star, Plonker and Picture of the Year in December.