27 December 2011
Every sporting year is met with absolute anticipation in this country. Clearly, 2012 will be no different, with some athletes and coaches facing a more daunting year than others.
1. Des Hasler: Who knew that the glory of a premiership could unravel so completely, so quickly? Hasler will be like a convict under spotlights when he dons the blue and white of the Bulldogs in 2012. The details are sketchy, but there is a sense that plenty in the NRL community are bitter about the entire affair. The Dogs, a squad without the talents of Manly, will have a few extra targets on them next season.
2. Bernard Tomic: Is, by all accounts, Australia's greatest male tennis hope. That's a lot of pressure for a 19-year-old. The gradual decline of Lleyton Hewitt is reluctant but inevitable, and this will be the season where Tomic must step into the vacuum and prove he's the real deal. It will all start in Melbourne at the Australian Open, where he'll aim to better his third round exit this year.
3. Nathan Buckley: The viability of the Collingwood coaching experiment will finally be realised when the club champion steps into the office, long occupied by Mick Malthouse. The Magpies are already flag-favourites and there will be no excuse for Buckley not to deliver them, again, into the top 4. The Collingwood army is a large and powerful one though , and any trip ups will escalate the anxiety.
4. Mark Webber: Despite competitive performances in F1's second best car, time is short for Webber. Red Bull remain in a purple patch; that won't last forever and if Webber can't deliver, at the very least, a runner-up in the championship and more than one victory, his time might expire with the British outfit. Has plenty to prove, and would love to put his smug German teammate in his place.
5. Michael Clarke: Clarke's 2012 will begin a few days early when the Indians announce their arrival on Boxing Day. Despite everything that has been said about Clarke and the Australian cricket team, 2011 has been a blockbuster year for him. Has justified the rise to Australian sport's highest echelon, needs to cement it with more strong leadership and runs out in the middle.
6. Ian Thorpe: Is attempting the possible; or at least that's how it seems. Thorpey hasn't set the world alight with his comeback swims so far this year. Qualifications for the London Olympics are just around the corner, and with an already crowded team roster, it will take his very best to make it to the block.
7. Libby Trickett: While Trickett's form looks a lot better than Thorpe's, and she appears far more likely to make the Olympic team, Trickett still doesn't inspire the type of confidence you'd hope just months out from London. An individual Olympic medal would punctuate a perfect preparation.
8. Kate Hollywood: With more than 150 caps, Hollywood is one of the wise heads of the Hockeyroos. She's looking for some more time under the spotlight, bidding to regain her spot in the side for the Olympics after being dumped in January. Received a selection reprieve in October, and will be hoping for more opportunities against Australia's gold-medal rivals in the coming months.
9. Daniel Ricciardo: The young Aussie showed plenty of endeavour in his fractured first season in Formula 1. Didn't produce many results, but impressed enough to be given a full-time drive with Red Bull's Toro Rosso outfit. With more experience onboard, and Mark Webber counting down the years, Ricciardo should be building the foundations to become our next great F1 hope.
10. Harry Kewell: It's been an indifferent beginning to his A-League career with Melbourne Victory. Kewell has, for years, been the poster boy of Australian football but a certain level of antagonism still seems close to the surface, especially in the face of criticism. Hasn't delivered on the pitch so far this season, and has plenty of work to do to prove his value in the competition, as well as for the Socceroos in their Asian campaign.
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The Colonel, Bathurst (24 January 2012 4:26PM) wrote:
Great insight -interesting read. I guess only time will tell?