Home > The Final Word > Another year over, and the cabinet remains empty……

Another year over, and the cabinet remains empty……

As we look back at 2010, a tumultuous year for some sports, a groundbreaking year for others, but an unfortunate one for Australia. Apart from a few stand out performers, the trophy case is basically empty from 2010 for Australia, and now we have to look back at how and why this is so. So I’ll just take you through each major sport and our apparent failure in each, and look to see if anything will be different in 2011.

Cricket

It’s pretty obvious the massive failure last year in cricket. We may yet have not lost the series, but the Ashes remain in English hands, and this spells failure for cricket. Apart from Perth, and a couple of days in Brisbane, Australia looked completely lost last year, and it really began in India. We may have won in New Zealand, but the rest of the year has nothing to write home about. We lost the Twenty20 World Cup to the Poms, then lost a one-day series to them, we lost to Pakistan in the Twenty20 series, drew the Test series against them, then moved on to India to lose the Border-Gavaskar trophy, before returning to unsuccessful limited overs games against Sri Lanka, then failed to retain the Ashes. For a side once the dominant force in world cricket, 2010 was a dressing down. On one high note, we were successful in the Under 19 World Cup early in the year.

2011 Prospects:They do have a chance to rectify this early this year though, with the World Cup in the sub-continent, but not much until unconfirmed Tests in August, and then a visit from India next summer.If there aren’t major changes after the World Cup, it could be another barren year for Cricket. We even start 2011 with a new captain, although it is Michael Clarke……bad omen?

Football

2010 was to be a watershed year in football in Australia, but unfortunately it was not to be. The signs weren’t great with an uninspiring A-League final, but the sustained performances in the lead-up to the World Cup had supporters hopeful, before it effectively ended before it even began. We may have regained some dignity with good displays against Ghana and Serbia, but ultimately it was a failure. We then move to December, where the decision that could change a nation went with Qatar. The backlash of this is still being felt now by FFA officials, but there was some joy, with the Matildas grabbing the first piece of Australian silverware in Asia, the Asian Cup.

2011 Prospects:The Socceroos have the first chance at redemption of the major sports this year, so hopefully an Asian Cup victory will pave the way for a better 2011. The Matildas have the chance to continue their success with the Womens World Cup in Germany. Australian Football has experienced some great times in Germany, and hopefully this can continue.

Rugby Union

An up and down year for both the provincial sides and the Wallabies. The Waratahs made the semi-finals, and the Reds finally lived up to potential with a killer backline, but a string of unimpressive performances early in the Test season saw optimism fall. After a slow start, they managed to grab second spot on the Tri Nations table after a last-gasp victory over South Africa in Bloemfontein to break a 47-year drought on the South African Highveld. The year culminated in a massive, but ultimatley meaningless in terms of silverware, win in Hong Kong over the All Blacks, but an indifferent Spring Tour meant the Wallabies finished in a weird spot. Still, no silverware for the Wallabies in 2010, the problem even stretching over to the Women’s team, who lost the World Cup Final to the Kiwis.

2011 Prospects:A massive year for ‘Dingo’ Deans and the Wallabies. The new Super 15 competition is interesting, but ultimately they need a good showing in the Tri Nations, but probably will fail in the Bledisloe Cup, as is common practice in a World Cup year, with the Kiwis peaking 3 months early. Hopefully we will at least have old Bill sitting in the cabinet till 2015.

Rugby League

Although still the dominant force in world rugby league, the Kangaroos failed again to overcome the Kiwis in a major tournament final. The trophy cabinet now looks extremely bare at ARL headquarters, with the Kiwis holding the World Cup and Four Nations titles.  To add insult to injury, the State of Origin shield continues to gather dust at Suncorp Stadium whilst the NSWRL attempts to work out why Michael Ennis can’t succeed at Origin level, so far struggling with a fairly simple task.

2011 Prospects:The Four Nations comes around again this year in the UK, but Australia should be a bit more competitive this year after missing a large part of their backline in last year’s tournament. The new Independent Commission will hopefully change the fortunes of the national team, and NSW Origin team.

Motorsport

So we had a big hope in Motorsport last year, Mark Webber broke his drought in 2009, and was looking to grow again in 2010, and Casey Stoner had been competitive in MotoGp for some time, continuing his dominance of Phillip Island. Alas, Mark Webber ran second to his Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel after leading the standings for a large part of the year. His four victories and five pole positions throughout the year, and led the championship early before fading in the last couple of races. Not bad for Red Bull’s second driver! Stoner’s season never really got going, and again Australia finished the year without any silverware.

2011 Prospects:Webber will hope that his experiences last year will only be helpful for 2011 and that his frustrations over being second driver will only drive him towards a championship. Stoner has changed from Ducati to Honda this year, and hopefully this will bring a change of fortune as well as continuing his dominance of Phillip Island.

Tennis

On current form they might as well dismantle the trophy cabinet at Tennis Australia in Melbourne. Samantha Stosur took us on a wild ride through the French Open, ultimately losing the final to an Italian nobody, Lleyton Hewitt had his 150 annual injuries, young stud Benard Tomic had a little tiff with Tennis Australia and Hewitt over the Davis Cup, in which we remain out of the World Group, and our home team tournament, the Hopman Cup, fell into the hands of 2010 world dominator Spain.

2011 Prospects:Not really looking much better for tennis in 2011. They have the first oppurtunity to put some silverware in the Aussie cupboard with the Hopman Cup starting today (1st Jan), but realistically Sam Stosur is our only chance at winning anything meaningful.

Golf

In some good news, we did win our Masters, Open and PGA Tournaments last year, with Stuart Appleby, Geoff Ogilvy and Peter Senior respectively taking the crowns. Unfortunately we weren’t able to have any significant victories, with no Major’s wins, and only four PGA tournament victories.

2011 Prospects:It is always hard to pick with golf, but Australia has some genuine chances on the PGA Tour this year, with Ogilvy, Adam Scott and youngster Jason Day all good prospects for a PGA win, or possibly a Major.

In addition to the above dissapointments, various other sports failed to bring home the bacon in 2010. In Netball, we lost the gold medal match at the Dehli to the Silver Ferns in a supposedly ‘epic’ encounter, something which I fortunately missed out on. The great Aussie Hope in the Melbourne Cup, So You Think, was smashed by a US bred horse, ridden by a Hong Kong based Frenchman and trained in France by a Frenchman. You can’t get more Aussie than that. Finally, our darts team fell at the semi finals of the World Cup to Wales in a sudden death leg. Talk about the final nail in the coffin!

So whilst 2010 was an exciting yet unsuccessful year for Australian sport, things can only get better really. Hopefully by March we will be talking about the stacked Australian trophy cabinet with the Hopman Cup, AFC Asian Cup and Cricket World Cup already locked away, as well as an Australian Open double for Lleyton Hewitt and Sam Stosur. But hey, don’t feel down, at least our hockey teams won in Dehli this year……if that means anything to anyone.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy 2011. What do you think of Australian sport in 2010? Leave a comment, send us an email at whosplayingwho@gmail.com, or post on our Facebook page.

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