1 Jan 2011

Open field for Halbergs

6:30 pm on 1 January 2011

The finalists for the annual Halberg Awards have been announced and the 2010 edition looks wide open with no one dominating performance standing out.

The All Whites are up for the most categories of any sport thanks to their unbeaten run at the football World Cup, with the team, captain Ryan Nelsen and coach Ricki Herbert all nominated.

The All Whites are up against the All Blacks, the Kiwis and the Silver Ferns for team of the year, with perennial Halberg favourites rowing only getting one finalist in the same category, the world champion pair of Eric Murray and Hamish Bond.

The top sportsman award is between Nelsen, All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw and Kiwis captain Benji Marshall, rounded out by X Games freeski champion Jossi Wells.

Coach of the Year finalist Herbert faces similarly stiff competition from All Blacks coach Graham Henry and Kiwis coach Stephen Kearney. But Gordon Tietjens' fourth Commonwealth Games gold medal with the New Zealand Sevens rugby side surely can't be ignored.

The Sportswoman of the Year is probably the tightest category with last year's supreme winner Valerie Adams again winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal, but so did Silver Ferns captain Casey Williams and her netballers, cyclist Alison Shanks in her favoured individual pursuit - while Joelle King took gold and silver in Delhi in squash.

Even runner Nikki Hamblin's in with an outside chance after her gutsy twin silver medals on the track.

And just who will take out the overall supreme Halberg Award is similarly up in the air.

The awards honour outstanding showings by New Zealand sports teams and individuals over the last year.