Top Fives: the sports year in review

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Cadel Evans was one of the sporting highlights of 2011 AAP Image/Luis Enrique Ascui

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As 2012 rapidly approaches, it’s an appropriate time to look back the year it was in sport. And what better way to review the year than via a compilation of lists that include the best athletes, biggest disappointments, most memorable moments, and teams of the year.

With a strong Australian flavour (or possibly bias), here is the sports year in review.

Athletes of the Year
Chris Judd
Benji Marshall
David Pocock
Cadel Evans
Sam Stosur

Teams of the Year
Brisbane Roar
Queensland Maroons
Queensland Reds
Geelong Cats
New Zealand All Blacks

Most Memorable Moments
Quade Cooper’s Rugby World Cup semi-final kick-off
Pat Cummins working over Jacques Kallis
Samantha Stosur’s US Open Win
The A-League’s signing of Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton
‘Bowled Martin, caught Guptill’

Disappointments of the Year
Sydney Roosters
The Australian Test cricket team
Andrew Bogut’s non-signing with the Sydney Kings
The New South Wales Waratahs
Quade Cooper’s Rugby World Cup campaign

Farewelled Legends
Darren Lockyer
Matt Giteau
Barry Hall
Brendon Fevola
Ricky Ponting (oh, wait a minute. . .)

Biggest Futures Ahead of Them
Daly Cherry-Evans
Nick Phipps
Pat Cummins
Shaun Johnson
Dyson Heppell

Coaching Dramas
(Can you remember a year in which coaches took centre stage ahead of the players, or even the sport, more than in 2011?)
The season long drama over Mick Malthouse’s future at Collingwood.
The defending premiers, St George Illawarra Dragons, completely falling apart after supercoach Wayne Bennett’s mid-season defection to the Knights.
The bitter fall-out between Des Hasler and the Manly board, despite the Sea Eagles winning the 2011 title.
Ross Lyons’ clandestine departure from St Kilda to Fremantle.
Mal Meninga’s State of Origin dummy spit.

Those that didn’t exchange Christmas cards
Michael Clarke and Simon Katich
Robbie Farrah and Tim Sheens
Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby
Quade Cooper and Richie McCaw
Quade Cooper and the New Zealand public

Ryan is an ex-representative basketballer who shot too much, and a (very) medium pace bowler. He's been with The Roar as an expert since February 2011, has written for the Seven Network, and been a regular on ABC radio. Ryan tweets from @RyanOak.
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