Opinion with Jake Santa Maria: Leaving mid-crescendo in exciting winter sports season

Jake Santa MariaGeraldton Guardian
There’s nothing quite like a Buccs crowd in full voice at Activewest Stadium, spurring their team on.
Camera IconThere’s nothing quite like a Buccs crowd in full voice at Activewest Stadium, spurring their team on. Credit: Arctic Moon Photography/Arctic Moon Photography

It’s hard to believe just over a year ago I first sat down at the Guardian’s sports desk having no idea how I would go or what lay in store over the next 14 months.

Now, as I write my final piece for the Geraldton Guardian I feel as if I’m stepping out just as things are really starting to heat up, with winter sports finals fast approaching.

I can’t wait to cheer on the Buccs one last time at Activewest Stadium on Saturday as they look to qualify for a second straight grand final.

Regardless of who they play, they have the skills to get it done, and of the many sporting events I’ve attended in my time up here, there’s nothing quite like the atmosphere of the sell-out Buccs faithful pushing their team along.

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In the footy, Brigades have looked unstoppable this season but especially so in the women’s league, and it looks as if this year could see a club pull off the Great Northern Football League and Great Northern Women’s Football League double for the first time in history.

But finals footy can be brutal and we’ve seen dominant teams fall short in finals — just ask Railways. And as Rovers proved last year, if you can time your run right, it’s anyone’s game.

We’ve seen big unbeaten runs come to an end recently, with Aztecs going down for the first time in two years and the Cardinals suffering an equally big upset loss to the Swans in hockey early last month to add some intrigue to what has been a race for second-best in recent years.

In soccer, Selina Kiddle is having one of the most dominant seasons ever, and her striker battle with Olivia Bidwell has been enthralling to watch.

All of this is to say there’s never really a good time to leave and there are plenty of stories still to be told, but given the level of talent in the Mid West I have no doubt I’ll be noticing a few names popping up in Perth in years to come.

Thank you to everyone who has shared their stories with me during my time here. I hope some of you had as much joy reading them as I did writing them, and I look forward to one last weekend watching on from the sidelines.

And if the Buccs make the grand final in Perth, I’ll make sure I’m in the crowd cheering them on.

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