After taking a look back at 15 great sporting moments in 2015, its time to get out the crystal ball and make 16 predictions for sport in 2016.
In rough chronological order
- The Melbourne Aces to finish last in the Australian Baseball league for the third consecutive year – while this is no bold prediction, with the Aces four games back from second last with twelve to play, the situation in Melbourne is dire and needs to be addressed if the league is to be a success.
- The Superbowl winner to come from the NFC – three of the best four teams in the NFL come out of the NFC (Carolina, Arizona and Seattle). while New England will have an easier route to the big dance, the harder preparation will have the team that comes out of the NFC primed for victory. My money is on the Arizona Cardinals.
- Australia to lose in the quarter finals of the T20 World Cup – the selectors keep picking the wrong squad of players, largely ignoring Big Bash form. Unless they pick the right squad (that means including Michael Klinger to open) then another World Cup of mediocrity will go by.
- Perth Wildcats and New Zealand Breakers to meet in NBL Grand Final series – because that seems to happen every season, clearly the best two teams in the competition.
- Melbourne Victory will win back to back A-League championships – despite a slow start, the Victory are the deepest squad in the league and as they say, “the cream will rise to the top”.
- And make it out of the group stage of the Asian Champions League – that run to the championship will be tested by the return to the ACL, the extra six games will take a toll on the squad. However with the brilliance of players such as Beshart Berisha, Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses, they are sure to challenge for progression to the knockout stage.
- Golden State Warriors go back-to-back – a champion team that is still improving are the Warriors. Providing they stay healthy, the challenge of the San Antonio Spurs in the West and the best from the East can be fought off.
- Calls for more day/night test matches – as we get closer to the summer of test cricket, other venues will be lining up for a slice of the action that saw the Adelaide Oval close to capacity in December. The interesting thing for me will be the willingness of other countries to give it a go.
- Queensland wrap up the State Of Origin series in two games
- Johnny Football to be wearing a Dallas Cowboys uniform – Jerry Jones wanted to draft him and won’t be able to resist picking Manziel up to back up ageing quarterback Tony Romo despite all the off-field issues and question marks on the field.
- Hawthorn to win a fourth consecutive AFL premiership – take it to the bank right now, nobody will beat the Hawks when it really counts. Too talented, too strong and with the best gameplan that is proven on the big stage.
- A different NRL premiership winner – for almost twenty years no team has gone back-to-back in the National Rugby League. The Cowboys were worthy winners in 2015, but I just can’t see them breaking this hoodoo. Predicting who will win it is a different story, good luck!!
- The Cubs will finally win the World Series – the team that lost in last year’s NLCS has improved through free agency. In their second season under Joe Maddon they will finally break the drought and win it all, one year later than was predicted in Back To The Future Part 2.
- The Olympic Games to be a fantastic event in Brazil – the Olympics are always a great event, the biggest sporting event in the world. This year will be no different. Seeing how the Australians go will be fun, especially which unknowns will bob up and win an unexpected medal.
- Australia to whitewash South Africa – South Africa are in decline, their best bowler Dale Steyn is oft-injured these days. The best batsmen in their side have been at their peaks for a considerable amount of time and that is showing. Australia on the other hand are going through a bit of a regeneration with the ball and the batting has been strong when the ball is not swinging or spinning.
- My teams to be mostly bad – AGAIN!!