2014 is drawing to a close. Australia didn’t exactly reign supreme across the world with sporting success, but there was a lot of emerging talent. Domestically, sport was at it’s most romantic as well!
You’d have to have no soul to say that you weren’t happy with South Sydney winning their first premiership since 1971! While NRL is only played in 2 1/2 states in Australia (it’s still barely recognisable in VIC), apart from people living in Bankstown, the rest of Australia was well and truly rooting for a bunnies victory and glory glory to South Sydney. And they delivered in magnificent style! This foundation club now has an incredible 21 premierships and the 43 year drought is finished. (Cronulla will be next).
Surfing star, Stephanie Gilmore is just one World Championship behind Layne Beachley and this year she rode her way to a sixth championship. She probably won’t break Beachley’s record though as she is near retirement…at 26 years of age! Arguably, she could become Australia’s greatest ever sports star if she continues to add to her to current titles from 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2012 and now 2014.
All of a sudden Australian’s have become good at driving cars, at very fast speeds. First there was Mark Webber and now Daniel Ricciardo has emerged as a genuine speed king. This year he picked up 3 x F1 wins, a third place in the overall Drivers Championship and became only the fourth Australian in history to win an F1 race alongside Webber, Jack Brabham and Alan Jones.
Another Aussie performed well on the international scene this year and it was Nick Krygios. His emergence at Wimbledon was spectacular. Wimbledon is the home of tennis and it’s been the home of some of Rafael Nadal’s great victories. It was not to be for Nadal in 2014 as he was bundled out by the young Aussie. Nadal was Krygios’ second big scalp of the tournament having also claimed victory over 13th seed Richard Gasquet in the second round. He fell in the quarter finals, but let’s hope an Australian tennis start was indeed born this year.
It doesn’t matter if you call them the Waratahs or the Tahs it was a great SaTAHday on August 2, when NSW finally won their very first Super Rugby trophy. This was a win for rugby and not just NSW. The game desperately needed the Waratahs to finally stand up and deliver and they did in dramatic fashion.
While we are on success of NSW, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Blues Origin team, finally wrestling State of Origin honours off QLD. Some eight year olds had never seen a Blues series win, but they have now.
Blues captain Paul Gallen was brilliant as ever, but this was overshadowed with peptides before Gall took to twitter to say that he though “Steve Noice (sic) actually cared about players from cronulla’s feelings. Couldn’t say that about any other c— from Nrl.”. Swearing isn’t ideal on twitter.
Other NRL disasters this year can be classified under ‘Urinegate’. Greg Bird urinating on or next to a Police car on his wedding day and the horrific image of Todd Carney urinating into his own mouth, is one of the most revolting pictures you will ever see. The term ‘bubbling’ was born and it’s something I wish I’d never learnt of.
The terribly sad passing of Phillip Hughes is easily the lowest mark of sport, not just this year, but in Australian sports history. Not quite as shocking, but it was an utter disaster when two horses died at the end of the Melbourne Cup. One of the red hot favourites, Admire Ratki, who had won the Caulfied Cup a few weeks before, suffered a heart attack and broke the hearts of Japanese racing and all race followers in the world. Araldo, had to be put down, after he broke his leg so badly and this years Melbourne Cup ended tragically.
Many Australians thought Eric Hollingsworth, former head of Australian athletics, should have been put down after he employed a PR company to distribute a media release discussing his displeasure at Sally Pearson not attending a pre Commonwealth Games training camp. Sally Pearson responded simply- she won a gold medal.
The Commonwealth Games was a complete flop in itself. It came. It went. England beat us. It was a disaster.
The Socceroos went to Brazil for the World Cup and they didn’t need any media releases for people to know about their poor results. Three games. Three losses. While they were in the game against Chile and Holland, some inept play ensured they lost. The game against Spain was just embarrassing.
Now we have 12 months of great sport to start watching again!
Here is my summary of the highlights and lowlights of the year in Australian sport.
- Souths winning their first Premiership since 1971
- Stephanie Gilmore winning her sixth surfing World Championship
- Daniel Ricciardo winning three F1 races
- The emergence of Nick Krygios
- NSW Waratahs first Super Rugby title
- Phillip Hughes
- Melbourne Cup tragedy
- Eric Hollingsworth
- Soccer World Cup