Top 10 highlights of the Australian sporting summer

Pete_Lock Roar Rookie

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    Daniel Geale could be looking at a fight against Miguel Cotto (Image: Paul Barkley/LookPro)

    With the NRL All-Stars match about to take place and the NAB Cup on the footy agenda, it sadly means that summer is coming to a close.

    Summer sport is dominated by red and white-ball cricket, but the increasing popularity of the A-League, EPL, NFL, Australian Open, golf and northern hemisphere rugby tours means there is plenty to keep the non-cricket lovers occupied.

    There is still a month left in everyone’s favourite season, but with Super Rugby a week away and the Test tour to India on the horizon, now is as good a time as any before footy season strikes to look at the top 10 biggest and best moments of the summer.

    10. Daniel ‘the real deal’ Geale

    Mundine versus Geale: the rematch put boxing on the Australian sporting calendar for the summer.

    Anthony Mundine proclaiming himself as Australia’s greatest ever athlete, and his comments towards Daniel Geale’s heritage ensured Australian sports fans would tune in.

    The fight went the distance, with Geale winning a unanimous decision and retaining his IBF Middleweight title.

    9. Bradford City giant killers

    The newly named Capital One Cup (England’s League Cup) is often a side note of the English football season, however when it throws up fairytale stories like that of Bradford City, it draws the sporting world’s attention.

    Plying their trade in England’s fourth division League Two, Bradford beat Premier League side Wigan Athletic before defeating giants Arsenal in penalties in the fourth round, then Aston Villa over two legs in the semi-final.

    While a cup final between big names such as Manchester United and Chelsea is a mouthwatering prospect, there is something romantic about a side collectively paid £7,500 coming up against a much-fancied opponent in EPL side Swansea City.

    Let the giant killing continue.

    8. England defeat the All Blacks

    This was the biggest international rugby upset of 2012 and has been touted as one of England’s finest ever matches.

    The All Blacks went into the game on a 20-Test unbeaten streak and hadn’t lost a Test to European opposition on a spring tour in a decade.

    After defeats in consecutive weeks to Australia and South Africa, England ran supreme through Chris Ashton and Manu Tuilagi, while England’s glory only amplified the anticipation for the upcoming Lions tour.

    7. Messi the great

    Lionel Messi confirmed his status as one of world football’s all-time greats by surpassing Gerd Muller’s 40-year-old record of 85 goals in a calendar year, finishing with an incredible 91.

    Messi also took out his fourth consecutive Ballon d’Or while giving Barcelona a stranglehold on the La Liga tile, with the Champions League also in their sights.

    6. England victorious in India

    After losing at home to South Africa during the English summer, the retirement of former captain Andrew Strauss and the Kevin Pietersen text drama that followed, not many would have predicted an English victory over India in the sub-continent.

    England was soundly beaten in the first Test, only to respond in emphatic style with Monty Panesar, new skipper Alastair Cook and Jimmy Anderson among the stars to take a 2-1 series victory.

    It was England’s first series in India for 28 years, and sets the tone for Australia to follow leading into the Ashes.

    5. Ponting and Hussey retire

    While Ricky Ponting’s obvious lack of form and confidence made his decision to retire before the third Test against South Africa not a great surprise, Mike Hussey’s great form and standing in the Australian team was harder for fans to fathom.

    Many supporters would have been of the thinking that as long as Mr Cricket is in our middle order backing up Michael Clarke, then we were still in with a chance of winning back the Ashes.

    Hussey’s absence will leave a considerable hole in Australia’s batting line-up, with nobody banging down the door demanding selection.

    It is indeed a shame that selectors have not allowed Hussey to farewell the one-day and Twenty20 formats against Sri Lanka and West Indies, mainly to add more interest to what has been a dour ODI summer.

    4. Michael Clarke on fire against the Proteas

    Much has been made of Michael Clarke in recent times, and rightfully so.

    His form of 2012 was absolutely sublime, becoming the first player in Test history to post four double centuries, while also capturing the Allan Border Medal this week.

    In the first two Tests of the summer, Clarke was at his stylish and attacking best. Coming in at 3/40 in the series opener in Brisbane, Clarke, along with Ed Cowan, took Australia to a potentially match winning total in which Clarke scored 259 not out.

    The second test in Adelaide was a similar story, with Clarke taking on Dale Steyn and company in style on his way to back-to-back double centuries.

    3. Football match-fixing scandal

    Having only broken in recent days, it is hard to tell what implications this latest drama will have on world football.

    With corruption having been highlighted in recent seasons of Italy’s Series A, it was hard to imagine other countries in Europe and around the world not being immune to the dealings of match fixers.

    Who knows how deep this scandal goes.

    2. Essendon supplements drama

    Having only being released to the public in the last 24-hours, this scandal easily overshadows the Kurt Tippett salary cap drama as the biggest off-season AFL story.

    Talk of Essendon players being given suspicious supplements from club sports scientists could only be the tip of the iceberg, as the fallout from this scandal potentially becoming cataclysmic for the Bombers.

    1. Parko – World Champion

    Joel Parkinson finally winning surfing’s World Title after years of runner-ups, injuries and disappointments was the feel good story of the Australian sporting summer.

    Going into the final event on the ASP world tour, the iconic Pipeline Maters in Hawaii, Parkinson, Mick Fanning and surfing legend Kelly Slater were all in with a shot of claiming the title of best surfer in the world.

    Fanning was eliminated early in the competition, leaving it a two horse race between Parkinson and Slater, the greatest surfer the world has seen.

    Drama of the highest order unfolded as Slater and Parkinson were pitted in opposite semi-finals, each knowing a loss would hand the other the title.

    Parko coolly got through his heat, and then watched on as fellow Aussie Josh Kerr knocked Slater out of the contest and world title race.

    #GoParko became a hit on social media.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • February 7th 2013 @ 6:40am
      AndyMack said | February 7th 2013 @ 6:40am | ! Report

      Aust 3-0 against SL in the Test series…????

      Peter Senior??

      The Djoker 3peat??

    • Roar Rookie

      February 7th 2013 @ 9:22am
      Pete_Lock said | February 7th 2013 @ 9:22am | ! Report

      AndyMack I thought the SL test series was a bit of a fizz as Sri Lanks were a tad disappointing (would have loved to have seen a bit ton from Sanga on Boxing Day).
      Peter Senior’s victory was a great achievement, as was the Djoker’s, however I thought the open lacked a tiny bit of spark without Rafa. He was definitely next cab off the rank.

    • February 7th 2013 @ 3:59pm
      Lancey5times said | February 7th 2013 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

      Rubbish! You have Bradford winning against a side focused on a Champions League spot, England beating a fading Indian side missing it’s backbone of the last 10 years and a 24 hour old piece of news that may turn out to be nothing. All the while Novak wins the most grueling slam of them all in what is a 2 week centre piece of sport in this country, Bernard Tomic captures the spirit of the nation with his run through 2 and a half tournaments, Sloane Stephens announces herself on the world stage, Israel Folau code hops again, a number of our brightest football stars are courted/signed by some of the biggest clubs in the world and Lance Armstrong comes clean. Astonishing!

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download it now [].

    • February 7th 2013 @ 11:04pm
      Tenash said | February 7th 2013 @ 11:04pm | ! Report

      the highlight sporting moment of this summer surely has to be Peter Siddle putting his body & mind on the line for his country against South Africa in Adelaide

      its what we fans watch sport for !!!

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