Gold medalists Gillian Backhouse, Matthew Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle and Jacob Birtwhistle.
Gold medalists Gillian Backhouse, Matthew Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle and Jacob Birtwhistle. Robert Cianflone

All four Fraser Coast reps win gold at the Games

THE GAMES: The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games will be remembered as a near-perfect campaign for the Fraser Coast's representatives.

Jordan Kerby, Matt Hauser, Grace O'Hanlon and Mark Hager ventured to the Gold Coast dreaming of a gold medal on home soil.

For Kerby, Hauser and O'Hanlon, it was their first appearance at a Games, for Hager, it was an opportunity to break a decade-long drought.

Kerby was the first to salute the home fans.

On the first day of the Games, Kerby and his team pursuit teammates set a new Games record. He was rested for the medal race, but Sam Welsford, Kelland O'Briend, Alex Porter and Leigh Howard became the first men to sub-3mins 50sec to seal the gold medal.

Jordan Kerby with his Gold Medal.
Jordan Kerby with his Gold Medal. Vince Caligiuri

The same day, Hauser showed why he is one of the most exciting triathlon talents in the world when he finished fourth, just two seconds off the podium, in the men's race.

Kerby was expected to medal in the individual pursuit, an event in which he won the 2017 world championship, but nobody expected arguably the fastest competition of all time.

The Games record was smashed five times, and the entire top 10 rode fast enough times to win gold at Glasgow.

Kerby raced for the bronze medal race, but did not recover in time and finished fourth.

On the third day, it was Hauser's time to shine.

Hauser, Ashleigh Gentle, Gillian Backhouse and Jacob Birtwhistle blitzed the field to win gold in the mixed triathlon relay.

The margin was that big Birtwhistle's final leg was essentially a victory lap.

Throughout the past fortnight, Hager was masterminding New Zealand's historic campaign.

Hager, who won an Olympic bronze medal for the Kookaburras in 1996, has coached the Black Sticks for the past decade but had never won a major international tournament.

New Zealand blitzed the opening two games, scoring 18 goals to announce its position as the Hockeyroos' biggest threat.

Two scoreless draws meant the side finished second in Pool B, and a game against No.2-ranked England beckoned.

A dramatic, scoreless semi final followed, and O'Hanlon's moment beckoned.

New Zealand celebrate after Grace O'Hanlon's semi final heroics.
New Zealand celebrate after Grace O'Hanlon's semi final heroics. Dean Mouhtaropoulos

The former Maryborough Brothers junior produced a string of saves that will go down in New Zealand's sporting history, the penalty specialist proving far too good for England's best attackers to beat.

Stacey Michelson hit the shootout-winning goal to send the side to the gold medal match, another date with Australia, but the Black Sticks were ready for Saturday's titanic Trans-Tasman battle.

It was a fitting finale for O'Hanlon, who just 18 months ago was nearing the end of her second year at Perth, where she was trying to crack the Hockeyroos team.

There was no way past veteran Rachael Lynch, and in January last year O'Hanlon made the decision to move to New Zealand and play for the Black Sticks, for whom she qualified through her father. The rest, as they say, is history.

Grace O'Hanlon's supporters in the crowd.
Grace O'Hanlon's supporters in the crowd. Michael Dodge

O'Hanlon watched from the bench as the Black Sticks won 4-1 in front of a boisterous crowd that included New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and were presented with the country's first women's hockey gold medal by the Earl of Wessex, Prince Edward.

The Games are over, but the quartet's achievements will live forever in Fraser Coast's sporting history.



PHOTOS: Campers keen with 8 sleeps left before Gympie Muster

premium_icon PHOTOS: Campers keen with 8 sleeps left before Gympie Muster

Campers are filing in to the Amamoor Creek State Forest grounds.

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