Want to know what team to watch in 2014? We’ve got the low-down on the year ahead in sport, so find out what to watch for and how each sporting season will end!
RUGBY LEAGUE – BRONCOS
Make or break time for the only team in town. The boys from Red Hill will need to begin well and the absence of Justin Hodges early on will make that task no easier. The pressure is on for coach Anthony Griffin.
Expect a big year from Sam Thaiday, free now to concentrate on his own game. Ben Barba has not been a popular buy in all quarters and will have much to prove. The fans may not be patient, but he should add badly needed spark.
Question marks remain in vital positions and only a supreme optimist would think they could go all the way.
End of year standing: Look for a bottom half of the top eight finish.
RUGBY – THE REDS
It was once said of David Campese that talent does what it can, genius does what it must. Enter Quade Cooper. He is magnificent to watch and you get the sense that his time has come. With Quade and Will firing up the backs, new forwards mentor Nick Stiles and the admirable James Horwill will make sure the work has been done up front.
Head coach Richard Graham – and supporters – might be about to enjoy a super year.
End of year standing: They could go all the way.
SOCCER – THE ROAR
Respected Roar fan and analyst Jonathan Minns speaks for many who believe the home team will win the comp for the first time since the departure of Ange Postecoglu.
Thomas Broich, regarded by Mark Bosnich as the best import ever, will be pivotal to those plans as will the sometimes divisive but always entertaining Besart Berisha.
Time will tell how the team reacts to his end of season departure but there’s time still for the best going-away present of all.
End of year standing: The home team will win the comp for the first time since the departure of Ange Postecoglu.
AFL – BRISBANE LIONS
Sport at times provides wonderful symmetry. As teammates during the glory years, new coach Justin Leppitsch and Jonathan Brown prepare to embark on significant seasons – once again, together.
Justin’s first in charge and Jonathan’s last as one of the finest modern players. Both played in all three-peat sides of 2001-2003. Both know how to win and lose. They like winning better and, after some barren years, the team’s finish to 2013 gives reason for hope. Look to Tom Rockliff to play a key role.
End of year standing: If the stars align, a chance to play in the finals.
CRICKET – QLD CRICKET
A mixed year but still with (outside) prospects of finishing on a high note with a spot in the Shield final. First year coach Stuie Law has established himself as an effective leader whilst Peter Forrest and Chris Lynn have both enjoyed good seasons.
Chris Hartley continues to underline the mystery of his omission from higher office, whilst Cameron Boyce has begun what might be an outstanding career.
End of year standing: Good times ahead.
STATE OF ORIGIN
Eight in a row and who would argue about number nine. Don’t feel too bad for the Blues – anyone can have a bad decade.
They say the more you lose, the closer you are to a win but this year’s series starts afresh and, as always, the bounce of the ball will be important. Oftentimes, however, you make your own luck and with Cameron, Cooper, JT and Billy directing traffic, Mal’s champs will still be too strong.
End of year standing: Too strong for the Blues
NETBALL – THE FIREBIRDS
The Firebirds – Premiers in 2011 and runners-up in 2013 – will again be the side to watch. They will miss Chelsea Pitman and Natalie Medhurst but Captain (and inspiration) Laura Geitz will be well supported by three of the comps most exciting players in Kim Ravaillon, Gabi Simpson and last year’s highest goal scorer, Romelda Aiken. Not to mention home-grown talent Jacinta Messer.
End of year standing: Watch out – a formidable and impressive line-up.
After waiting so long for an Aussie win at The Masters it might be asking a lot to make it back to back, but Adam Scott will have as good a chance as any (and better than most). Knowing you can win is far more powerful than thinking you can.
Jason Day is also on the verge of a Major breakthrough. Like Adam, he’s a big occasion player and it doesn’t get much bigger than Augusta. Day once said he wanted to be better than Tiger. He has learned that being the best Jason is enough.
End of year standing: Adam Scott will have as good a chance as any.