THE YEAR IN REVIEW OF AUSTRALIAN SPORT

With no Ian Thorpe, Pat Rafter, Cathy Freeman or John Eales, the word success in Australian sport has been used less than “peptides are fine to use”.
 
The halcyon days of Australia winning everything in sport, is definitely just in the history books. 
 
We’ll get a gold medal for most number of reality TV shows and most annoying grocery store adverts, but we don’t win as many sporting events as we used to. 

Down down. Australian sport is going down. 

But I have complete faith in this proud sporting nation that we will surge back up on the international stage in next to no time and dominate everything, like they used to.
 
While the international stage might not be jam packed with victories this year, the victories we had on the world circuit were game changers. 
 
Adam Scott winning the US Masters is head and shoulders (and no that aren’t a sponsor of his) above anything else which happened in 2013. To be the first Australian to put on a jacket which so many people have tried to wear, is simply a stunning success. I personally put it equal first with Australia winning the America’s Cup, as the best moment ever in Australian sport.
 
Mick Fanning took out his third surfing world championship, which is incredible. The man from Penrith, who clearly didn’t learn to surf there, will surely be having a few brandy alexander’s with Greg, at Panthers, to celebrate his achievement.
 
Australian’s didn’t do much damage on the tennis circuit, but Bernard Tomic certainly caused some trouble with his orange car and celebrating with Baywatch blonde girls on his 21st birthday. Tomic is a rare talent and hopefully he can spearhead a revival in Australian tennis now we are back in the world group of the Davis Cup as well. 
 
Rugby didn’t have its strongest year and there were more schooners drunk than five pointers scored. Israel Folau was a great addition to the Wallabies though. While he only scored two goals in AFL, he crossed for 10 tries this year. Stick to a game which has rugby in its title somewhere, Izzy.
 
Cricket was good, bad and ugly. And then in a Cinderella type transformation it became spectacular. 
 
While the London Olympics were in 2012, we could barely get a medal there (thank goodness for the boat people – a saying which isn’t often said here). Back in London this year, we could barely make a run or take a wicket. Prior to England, players couldn’t even do their homework. The decision review system needed to be reviewed and the Ashes didn’t stray too far from London. But then in Australia, in a makeover Carson Kressley would have been proud of, the man who used to bowl to the left and to the right, learnt to bowl alright. Mitchell Johnson tore through the English batsmen faster than a mach 3 on his moustache and the batsmen learnt to send the cherry to the ropes. The Ashes are finally coming home! 
 
The Rugby League World Cup was done and won. Enough said. With only three test playing nations we should have won and we did in an emphatic fashion. The real contest of Rugby League is the State of Origin and this delivered. Queensland were superb and won their 8th straight series. But the questions will always remain- had two of the NSW stars in Paul Gallen and Jarrod Hayne played in the decider- would the result have been different? And had a streaker not come onto the field of play and given Queensland another set of six in the final 10 minutes, would the Blues have prevailed. With my bias eyes, I say yes, but you have to hand it to the maroons. 
 
The domestic league competition was also thrilling. Trent Robinson (who I bunked with in Athens in 2004 at a youth hostel and has come slightly further than me in nine years, to be fair) can now boast that he has a premiership after one year of coaching. Wonderful achievement and well done to the chooks. 
 
Unfortunately the NRL was also injected with a peptide issue and players, coaches, trainers and teams have all been affected in a drama filled year. 
 
Like League, AFL had its peptide problems. By the time punishments had been handed down, I think we’d all Hird enough. Code names like GHRP-2, which sounds like R2D2’s cousin or CJC-1295, C-3PO’s mate were announced to the sporting world. Let’s hope it’s the last we hear of these code names until George Lucas brings out another Star Wars movie.
 
With Essendon cut from the finals, in an incredible move, Hawthorn bounced back from a horrible loss to the Swans in 2012 to win the AFL crown and be the toast of Melbourne!
 
Sporting wise, the talent on display in NRL and AFL is phenomenal. Let’s hope the recent dramas don’t affect either code long term.
 
I’m sure Mark Webber’s already sent his best friend, Sebastian Vettel a Christmas card and our most successful F1 driver in a long time announced his retirement, this year. While he never won a world title he will be remembered as one of the greats in the Australian motor industry.
 
We still may have an Aussie competing in the Superbowl in February and the Socceroos have qualified for the World Cup. While they may be in the group of death, it will be our aerial skiers defying death by leaping to incredible heights in Russia. Fingers crossed they can bring home some medals along with Torah Bright and Dale Begg-Smith.
 
Another great year in sport gone by. Let’s hope it’s even better with even more success in 2014!
 
In summary:
 
Top 5 highlights:
  1. Adam Scott winning the US Masters
  2. Australia winning back the Ashes
  3. Mick Fanning winning his third World Championship
  4. Gai Waterhouse winning her first Melbourne Cup
  5. Australia winning the Rugby League World Cup
 
Top 5 lowlights:
  1. Peptides
  2. Australian tennis results
  3. Australian rugby results
  4. Blake Ferguson and James O’Connor’s behaviour
  5. Anthony Mundine v Shane Mosley fight
 
 
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