The 2017 year was a great one for Aussie sport. Although not quite the groundbreaking, history-making year that 2016 was, the individual achievements of the last 12 months were nonetheless tremendous in their own rights.

With 2018 now kicking off, a list of which athletes were on top for 2017 was a decent way to recap 2017. For this list I have selected what I think are the highest achievers of the year. World champions, record-breaking title winners, best-and-fairest medalists and the biggest upset this century for the boxing world – this list has it all.

10. Billy Slater – NRL
Once again Billy Slater has proved that he is one of the best players in the history of the game. Making his comeback after missing the 2016 season, Slater looked like he never left, leading the attack for the Storm in yet another premiership season.

Playing as the ever-reliable fullback he dominated in State of Origin Game 2 and 3 despite missing out on Game 1 and was also part of Australia’s world cup domination.

Slater became only the second man in the history of the game to win the Clive Churchill Medal, and he gave an emotionally charged acceptance speech after just narrowly edging out Cameron Smith for the award. I look forward to seeing Slater again in 2018.

(Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

9. Ellyse Perry – Cricket
The Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award winner for 2017 as the ICC women’s cricketer of the year certainly gets a mention on my list. Some of you were a little upset that I left her out of my top eight crossover athletes list back in 2016, but I certainly was not leaving her out this time.

Among her achievements for the year are an amazing 217 runs scored against England in a Test match at North Sydney Oval. She smashed runs in the Women’s Big Bash League. Perry has definitely been one of the standouts for 2017 and earns a spot on my list.

(AAP Image/Daniel Munoz)

8. Erin Phillips – AFL Women’s
In the first ever season of the AFL Women’s Adelaide Crows co-captain Erin Phillips not only led her club to the first ever premiership but was named the best and fairest for the season.

Only three days after her best-on-ground performance in the Crows win over the Brisbane Lions Phillps added the best and fairest medal to her trophy room. Erin ended with 14 votes, four ahead of the nearest competition, after she averaged 20 disposals a game and notched up ten goals for the season.

(AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy)

7. Sally Pearson – Athletics
After tragically tearing her hamstring in 2016 and therefore missing out on the Rio Olympics, Pearson is the comeback queen of 2017. At the world championships in London Pearson ran the 100 metres hurdles in a time of 12.59 seconds to claim the gold medal.

Pearson was named the Australian Institute of Sport’s female athlete of the year for her achievement and is looking towards the 2018 Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in April.

(Image: Anne Gruber)

6. Tyler Wright – Surfing
Tyler Wright had a massive 2016 and went back to back in 2017, winning the Women’s Surfing League for the second time. Narrowly edging out fellow Aussie Sally Fitzgibbons to claim the title, a second championship brings her career achievements to 13 tournament wins and two world championships – and of course the highest accolade: a spot on my list of top ten best athletes of 2017.

(Wikimedia Commons/Shopgood ripcurl CC BY-SA 4.0)

5. Jamie Whincup – Supercars
Whincup could not have waited any longer to earn his seventh record-making Supercars championship, taking the title fight to the last lap of the last race of the year to seal the deal over New Zealand’s Scott McLaughlin in what could have been a Hollywood movie finish. Come to think of it, it’s very similar to the ending in the movie Rush.

With the Newcastle victory under his belt Whincup was able to be the first driver to win a seventh championship and become the most dominate Supercars racer in the history of the sport. With victories in Townsville, Sydney, Auckland and Newcastle Whincup took his career win tally to a record 108. The most dominant man in the sport deserves his place on my list.

(AAP Image/Edge Photographics)

4. Steve Smith – Cricket
After the disaster of 2016 with the pay dispute saga and the embarrassment of losing to Bangladesh, cricket in this country was looking pretty bad. But this year Smith became the best captain to lead the team since Steve Waugh.

He has turned everything around in 12 months. Starting with the tour of South Africa, Australia dominated and got things back on track. Smith led by example both with the bat and on the field.

A couple of player changes and the Aussies are back on top for 2017. But the biggest prize of the year was regaining the Ashes. With a 3-0 victory to reclaim the prize the Aussies have not looked this good for the better part of a decade, and 2018 looks even better for Smith and Australian cricket.

(Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

3. Dustin Martin – AFL
Martin’s 2017 was nothing short of a sporting miracle, with the triple threat achieved. A premiership, a Norm Smith Medal and a Brownlow all in the same season, a feat that no other man in the history of the game has achieved.

Leading the yellow and black attack to give the club its first flag in 37 years despite his off-field family dramas, Martin was able to dominate the season like no other and make a year likely never to be repeated.

(AAP Image/Julian Smith)

2. Jeff Horn – Boxing
What a difference 12 months can make. This time last year no-one had ever heard of Jeff Horn, yet now he’s Australia’s poster boy for boxing. Many have said that Horn pulled off the upset of the year; I say it was the upset of the century and second only to Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson in 1990.

Horn did the near impossible and defeated an 11-time, eight-division boxing great in Manny Pacquiao in front of a record home Suncorp Stadium crowd for the WBO Welterweight World Title.

Horn got the decision after 12 rounds of action and came back after nearly being knocked out in the ninth round. Better still, Horn was able to defend his title last month against Gary Corcoran, ensuring that it was no fluke against Pacquiao and setting up a potential megafight against Terence Crawford in April. Horn has had a great 2017 and now looks towards an even bigger 2018.

(Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

1. Cameron Smith – NRL
If anybody reading this can tell me that there is a better athlete out there than Cameron Smith for 2017 or in general, then I’ll be all ears.

Smith has achieved in one year what many could not achieve in an entire career. In just last season alone he broke Jason Taylor’s goals record (942), Darren Lockyer’s games record (355) and captained his club to the most dominant season it’s ever had.

He also added another well-deserved premiership to the trophy cabinet, won the Dally M Medal again, captained Queensland to another victory and captained Australia to a world cup in dominant fashion.

I’m pretty certain that no player has ever done that in one year, making Smith the greatest athlete of 2017 and perhaps the best athlete Australia has at the moment. Certainly he’s in the top three of all time. There are only two other athletes in Australian history who are better: Rod Laver and Donald Bradman.

Smith is the most disciplined athlete this country has seen in a long time. He’s had no scandals, he trains like a crazy person and he’s a humble man – a perfect example of how all athletes should conduct themselves and my number one. I can’t wait to see what he does in 2018.

Those are my top ten athletes for 2017. Do you agree with them? Who was your favourite athlete for 2017?

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The Crowd Says (37)

  • January 7th 2018 @ 5:30am
    not so super said | January 7th 2018 @ 5:30am | ! Report

    nice list but dont know how someone from the AFLW can make it

  • Roar Guru

    January 7th 2018 @ 7:47am
    BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 7:47am | ! Report

    Why not? Its a legit sport with legit athletes. I would think that i would cop flack for not including her. Plus my list my picks. Enjoy your day. Its great to be back writing again

    • January 8th 2018 @ 4:48pm
      not so super said | January 8th 2018 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

      its not a legit sport. its was a bunch of people thrown together at the last moment. you cant compile a list and expect everyone to agree with you.

      • Roar Guru

        January 8th 2018 @ 4:57pm
        BigJ said | January 8th 2018 @ 4:57pm | ! Report

        Of course i dont expect people to agree with me. In fact half the i expect people to disagree. It creates a debate a people leave more comments

  • January 7th 2018 @ 10:16am
    unclephil said | January 7th 2018 @ 10:16am | ! Report

    Why place women on these lists, whom couldn’t compete with the top 10,000 men/boys in their chosen sport….it’s ridiculous You should have a male and female category, this is acceptable and sensible.

    • Roar Guru

      January 7th 2018 @ 10:40am
      BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

      Really, i should of made a female and male list should i. Im pretty sure than Pearson, Perry and definitely Wright would beat most men in thier choosen sports. Even Phillips would handle a few men no problem. No i did need a top ten for each gender. This is a list for all athletes. Uncle phil maybe you need to go watch more Dr Phil.

      • January 7th 2018 @ 10:46am
        TezzaPel said | January 7th 2018 @ 10:46am | ! Report

        What a great line about Dr Phil. In my top 10 for best comeback line of the year so far!

        • Roar Guru

          January 7th 2018 @ 11:11am
          BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

          Thanks bro appreciate that, glad i could provide some entertainment for your Sunday morning. What did you think of the list??

          • January 7th 2018 @ 2:35pm
            TezzaPel said | January 7th 2018 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

            Like any Best of…list, there will NEVER be concensus. However, I think it is great you have included women in the list as I think 2017 will go down as a watershed year for women’s sport, especially in Australia. How great was it to have a lockout at princes Park for the AFL women’s game?

            • Roar Guru

              January 7th 2018 @ 3:05pm
              BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 3:05pm | ! Report

              Awesome, i do remember seeing that on the news.

      • January 7th 2018 @ 11:11am
        unclephil said | January 7th 2018 @ 11:11am | ! Report

        Sure my friend. Also…imagine the 16+ year old lads sitting at home seeing Sally Pearson win the open 100m hurdles with her time. I tell you what would happen, the dropout school rate would sky rocket, other boys and men in other sports will also change careers, etc etc, and in receiving a fraction of her full time training regime, and we wilI see what fantasy land this list belongs to.
        Not sure what your Dr Phil reference is??

        • Roar Guru

          January 7th 2018 @ 11:24am
          BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 11:24am | ! Report

          She wouldn’t win of course but im pretty sure she would beat a bunch of 16 boys. When Cathy Freeman won 400 m at the 2000 Olympics her time was about 49 sec her personal best was 48.63. Now when i was 15 back in 1997 at my high athletic day i ran the 400m in 58.06 it was a record for the day in all ages groups ( i even ran faster than the 17 boys relay team) and i still the record today. Now i was never than great at maths but im pretty sure i be a good 9 secs behind freeman in the 400m so thier goes your thoery. As for the Dr Phil reference im sure you’ll figure it out.

          • January 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm
            not so super said | January 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

            pretty bad school you went to then

            • Roar Guru

              January 8th 2018 @ 4:59pm
              BigJ said | January 8th 2018 @ 4:59pm | ! Report

              In what way exactly???

        • January 7th 2018 @ 5:08pm
          northerner said | January 7th 2018 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

          Unclephil – using that logic, Jeff Horn shouldn’t be on the list either because he couldn’t compete with the guys in the higher weight categories – any halfway decent heavyweight would have him on the ropes in no time. But that’s not how his achievement is being measured, so why should a female athlete’s achievement be measured differently? Best in category works just fine for me.

  • January 7th 2018 @ 10:44am
    TezzaPel said | January 7th 2018 @ 10:44am | ! Report

    I would have thought Marc Leishman might have scored a place.

    • Roar Guru

      January 7th 2018 @ 11:25am
      BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 11:25am | ! Report

      Who youll have to educate me on this person

      • January 7th 2018 @ 2:36pm
        TezzaPel said | January 7th 2018 @ 2:36pm | ! Report

        Aussie golfer.

      • January 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm
        not so super said | January 8th 2018 @ 4:49pm | ! Report

        maybe you shouldnt be compiling lists then

        • Roar Guru

          January 8th 2018 @ 5:00pm
          BigJ said | January 8th 2018 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

          Well let’s see you do better then

          • Roar Guru

            January 8th 2018 @ 5:17pm
            BigJ said | January 8th 2018 @ 5:17pm | ! Report

            Actually i would love to see you try but as your name states i think the articles would be ‘ not so super’

  • January 7th 2018 @ 11:57am
    me too said | January 7th 2018 @ 11:57am | ! Report

    Erin Phillips is a strange addition given the semi-professional sport and low standard of opposition – cannot believe you forgot Samantha Kerr.
    ps from what i could find no 16 year old male in Australia has equalled or bettered Freeman’s time, nor Sally Pearsons, without wind assistance.

    • Roar Guru

      January 7th 2018 @ 12:57pm
      BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

      Cant mention everybody. Glad that you went to a little effort to prove uncle phil’s comments completely wrong, thanks

      • January 7th 2018 @ 1:46pm
        unclephil said | January 7th 2018 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        Heavens sake, lets flip this around from my earlier examples. Imagine if all sports were open from any age. Sally would have been slaughtered at an early age and then not even bothered with athletics at all, lot good that would do. There is a reason they don’t compete together, and if it’s “wrong”, maybe you should start a campaign to make it “right” my wise friend.

        Having said that, I love Sally as a female athlete, dedicated and gutsy, top shelf.

        • Roar Guru

          January 7th 2018 @ 3:07pm
          BigJ said | January 7th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

          You need to stop your just embarrassing yourself.

  • January 7th 2018 @ 2:02pm
    JB said | January 7th 2018 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

    Nice list, although I would have had Sam Kerr in rather than two NRL players.

    • January 8th 2018 @ 4:51pm
      not so super said | January 8th 2018 @ 4:51pm | ! Report

      of course, how is life in Shepparton? an AFLW player ahead of NRL?

      • Roar Guru

        January 8th 2018 @ 5:13pm
        BigJ said | January 8th 2018 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

        Easy Phillips won the best and fairest for the season. Slater didnt, thats how. Plus he was really making up the ten. With time over i would of put in sam kerr

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