2017, another year, so much to look forward to, so much to predict, and predict accurately, because how possibly can we get anything wrong, I mean its not like anyone got anything wrong last year?
We predicted Brexit.. no wait, we didn’t, true, but we did get the US Election right… nope, got that really wrong. So perhaps 2017 is the year we get things right again, starting with my top ten fearless predictions for the world of sport.
1. Australia wins back the Ashes
So four of the five tests take place before the calendar year ends and we’ll have the Urn back in our keep before the 5th Test in Sydney. The Poms are extremely beatable away from home and much like Mitchell Johnson tore them to shreds last time around with pace and bounce and fear, we’ll have Mitchell Starc this time doing the same thing – but it gets better, we’ll have Pat Cummins from the other end whose even quicker.
2. But the Aussies will get done big time in India
So next month the Test team travels to India on a wave of momentum from four successive test victories – to a country where we’ll hardly be able to get their batsmen out at all. Their wickets will turn sideways from the first session and we won’t have the team to capitalise – our batsmen will do ok but we will bowl atrociously. Nathan Lyon won’t bowl anything “nice” all tour and Stephen O’Keefe has sliding doors installed throughout his house because door knobs are too much, he can’t turn anything.
3. GWS give the AFL a stiffy by winning the flag
Oh the joy to be had when the AFL gets what they want the most (they probably overdid it with Hird but that’s for another day) when the Giants go to the big dance and salute in 2017. Not only will they have enough experienced leaders in their team to successfully navigate the month of September, those talented teenagers who were on the wrong end of thrashings only a couple years ago, they’re now all approaching stardom in their own right into their mid 20s . The dynasty begins – how many they win is up for debate but they’ll take stopping put it that way.
4. Little Gaz is back in Geelong
No matter the year Gary Ablett Jnr has nor how good or bad a season the Gold Coast has, Ablett will end up back in blue and white hoops for one last hurrah (major injury aside). It surprisingly didn’t get done last trade period but another 12 months on, the lure home won’t have disappeared and given he’ll be 33 with one year left arguably in 2018, the prodigal son will come home to try and pinch one more flag whilst Patrick Dangerfield and Joel Selwood are keeping the Cats’ premiership window open.
5. But Dusty will have moved on
Not sure where exactly but Dustin Martin will play his final season at Richmond this year. There is serious money for him wherever he looks, the Tigers will regress or at best stagnate this year and he will find the most attractive offer too tempting. He is only 25 with seven or eight good years still in him which makes him the most sought after ‘proper’ free agent since its inception a few years back (Buddy Franklin was always going to Sydney, be it the Giants or Swans and for Dangerfield it was stay with Adelaide or head home to Geelong).
6. The A-League will make a huge mistake
The Western Sydney Wanderers are one of the great franchises in Australian sport already and they’ve been around for five minutes. But they are a once in a lifetime bit of business. The clowns at the FFA are hellbent on expanding their league by at least two more clubs, a league that has the sugar daddy to end all sugar daddies in the City Group controlling Melbourne City who can barely get over 10,000 to a game, the Newcastle Jets and Central Coast Mariners who get two blokes and their dogs to their home games (Labradors too, beautiful dogs) and Wellington Phoenix who play in a round, cricket venue to attendances the size of Donald Trump’s hands. So let’s have two more of those success stories please, yeah sure…
7. Ricciardo validates the accolades by winning F1 World Championship
Problem: Daniel Ricciardo is seen by those in the know to be the best driver on the F1 grid, or at worst on par with Lewis Hamilton, the reigning world champion, yet he is in a far slower car than the short-arse Englishman.
Solution: Red Bull, unlike recent years, have got a car that can finally go with the Mercedes in 2017 and the plucky Aussie who never stops smiling will have good reason too as he edges Hamilton and his teammate Max Verstappen to his maiden F1 crown.
8. Kyrgios makes a fool of many and wins a Major.
Nick Kyrgios, yes that petulant bastard who plays tennis, yes him. He is mighty talented yet hasn’t cared one iota about tennis, or moreover being the best tennis player he can, at any stage since becoming a professional. This year is different – now he does care. And when not caring gets you to the top 20 in the world with a whimper, the improvement he will find by busting a gut to achieve greatness will do exactly that as the Canberra native takes home Wimbledon or the US Open, possibly the latter.
9. Queensland whitewash the State of Origin.
Quite easy really, the Maroons have two games at Suncorp for the first time since 2014, they won last year and they still have amazing players like Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis, Jonathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk. But crucially they regain Billy Slater from injury and Valentine Holmes and Dylan Napa from suspension and with talented youngsters like Anthony Milford, Ben Hunt and Cameron Munster too demanding a spot, its a fair dinkum Jet factory north of Tweed.
10. Winx wins third Cox Plate in a row
Sure, its hardly surprising that Winx can front up and win the 2017 Cox Plate given the ease she won in 2015 but then dominating even more so in 2016. But its a tough ask to win three on the trot. Sunline only won twice, same with Lonhro and So You Think, and other than Kingston Town it hasn’t been done since the 50s. But Winx is that good, there’s no horse out there or on the rise that will stop her, she will make history.