We are hoping Nick Kyrgios is talked about because of his good tennis rather than bad behaviour
We are hoping Nick Kyrgios is talked about because of his good tennis rather than bad behaviour

Polishing up the crystal ball

It was another exciting year in sport in 2015 and the APN SPORTS BUREAU is expecting 2016 to be no different. GORDON CLARK, PHIL DILLON and JOSH SPASARO outline their hopes and predictions for the next 12 months in Australia and around the world.

•Australian rugby fans were given hope for the future last year when coach Michael Cheika led the team to its first Rugby Championship and the runners-up trophy at the World Cup despite being drawn in the "Pool of Death".

We can see further progress in 2016, and a close look inside the crystal ball has revealed an image that definitely looks like Cheika and Wallabies captain Stephen Moore lifting up the Bledisloe Cup.

• On the subject of trophies, we're predicting one we have never won - the Twenty20 World Cup - will be heading to Australia after this year's tournament in India.

The condition is that selectors do the right thing and leave out bolters, old-stagers like Brad Hogg and Brad Hodge, and don't pick big names who are out of form.

Oh, and unlike the disaster in Bangladesh in 2014, we take at least two spinners and spinning all-rounder Glenn Maxwell into each game.

• Hopefully in 2016 we will talk more about Nick Kyrgios' skills as a tennis player rather than his antics on court.

Let's hope the young Aussie can do well at all the grand slams, and maybe lead us to Davis Cup glory, and we won't have to hear any of his trash talk to umpires and opponents.

Somehow, though, we can't see this happening.

• The next FIFA president is due to be voted in in February and with Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini now gone, our wish is for someone who can put football's world governing body back on track after the trials and tribulations of 2015.

Maybe the powers that be could go for a woman, FIFA could do no worse. Let's face facts, - the men in charge have not done a very good job over the past few years, have they?

• It might be a long shot but we're looking for a scandal and drug-free summer Olympics in Brazil.

With the Russians not there we have a good chance of that, but don't hold your breath.

A Games full of great performances will suffice.
• As big fans of the English Premier League, we've been delighted by the rise of the so-called smaller clubs in 2015.

We're hoping Leicester City or Tottenham can hang in there and beat the big four - Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea - to the title.

• Here's a prediction for the new year: we will see Jarryd Hayne score a touchdown in the NFL, but for which team?

That's harder to predict.

Maybe the Dallas Cowboys or Seattle Seahawks might be a better option next season than the struggling San Francisco 49ers.

• Tiger Woods won 46 PGA Tour events in is 20s, more than any player in history. That number dropped to 33 in his troubled 30s, seventh on the list behind Arnold Palmer (44).

After the former world No.1 turned 40 on Wednesday, the big question is not whether he can overtake Vijay Singh - who won an all-time high a record 22 tournaments in his 40s - but whether he will ever win again.

We think not.

• Aussie golfer and world No.2 Jason Day, on the other hand, looks destined for another great year after his breakout 2015 that produced a first major title - the US PGA Championship.

We think Day, American Jordan Spieth and Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy will dominate the year, with one of that trio winning the Masters at Augusta.

• Australia's men's basketball team is yet to win an Olympic medal, having finished fourth three times.

Rio will mark the Boomers' 12th consecutive appearance at the Games, and with a record number of players - including Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Aron Baynes, Cameron Bairstow, Patty Mills and Joe Ingles - in the NBA, this could be our best chance to break the medal drought.

Oh, and don't forget about an 18-year-old called Ben Simmons who will debut in Rio not long after being the NBA's No.1 draft pick in June.

• Speaking of the Olympics, Australian team officials have set a target of 45 medals, including 14 gold, in Rio, a result that would most likely put us in the top five on the medal table.

We think that's a tad ambitious, but hey, you may as well shoot for the stars. we're 100% confident of a better result than London in 2012 when the team finished 10th with 35 medals - seven gold.
 

Tell us what you're hopes and predictions are for sport this year. Leave your comments here.


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