Ballina product Mitchell Aubusson playing NRL for the Roosters.
Ballina product Mitchell Aubusson playing NRL for the Roosters. DARREN PATEMAN

Our sport stars of 2018

1 Caleb Ziebell: cricket, rugby league

Started the year in the NSW Country cricket team and was named in the Australian Country merit team at the end of the Australian Country Championships in Western Australia.

Ziebell was named player of the Twenty20 final after scoring 110 not out from just 6o balls against Queensland.

He was the leading run-scorer at the Country Championships with 395 runs at an average of 43.89.

From there he went on to be selected in the NSW Country rugby league team after his efforts in the winning Northern Rivers team at the NSW Country Championships final.

Ziebell was named CRL representative player of the year and was one of six Northern Rivers players to tour Papua New Guinea in October.

2 Dean Ferris: motocross

The Kyogle motocross rider dominated the domestic scene taking out a third straight MX National series.

He won all 10 rounds, barely dropping a race along the way and finished 132 points clear of his next closest rival.

The 28-year-old is heading to the United States next year to compete in the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross series.

3 Mitchell Aubusson: rugby league

The former Ballina junior won a second NRL premiership this year with the Sydney Roosters.

He was one of the form players throughout the finals and in their dominant 21-6 win over Melbourne in the grand final.

He wore the halfback jersey in the grand final but took his place in the second row when Cooper Cronk was cleared to play.

Aubusson has now played 263 games with the Roosters since making his NRL debut in 2007.

4 Izack Rodda: rugby union

The Lismore rugby product cemented his position at second row and has now played 11 games for the Wallabies after making his debut last season.

Rodda has played well in an underwhelming side and if he remains injury-free will be part of the Wallabies' World Cup campaign in Japan next year.

5 Soli Bailey: surfing

Started the year representing Byron Bay in the Australian Boardriders Battle and finished 2018 by qualifying for the World Championship Tour.

It came down to the final Qualifying Series event of the season at Hawaii with Bailey scraping through after reaching the semi-finals of the Vans World Cup.

Bailey follows in the footsteps of Lennox Head surfers Stu Kennedy and Adam Melling, who have both surfed on tour full-time.

6 Ben Damen: rugby union

Returned from a year-long knee injury and took his place as NSW Country captain after only a handful of club games back in the Far North Coast competition.

Damen was the difference in the Wollongbar-Alstonville team throughout the finals and helped lead the Pioneers to a fifth straight FNC premiership.

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