Another year has passed, with plenty happening across all our favourite Australian sporting codes. We've asked our ESPN experts to look back through the year and list their five biggest Australian headlines for each code, while explaining their choice for the biggest headline of the year.
And the biggest AFL headline of 2022:
When current coaches Alastair Clarkson and Chris Fagan were named in a report which detailed horrifying, historical racism allegations from past Hawthorn players, it highlighted a bigger, recurring problem not only in the game of Aussie Rules, but society as well. It's not the first racism scandal in the AFL, and it proves there is still a long way to go to stamp it out.
And the biggest Rugby League headline of 2022:
Delayed a year thanks to COVID, the Rugby League World Cup kicked off in England with many doubting the ability of Australia to defend their title in the men's competition. New Zealand had named a very strong team, England would enjoy the home advantage and both Samoa and Tonga were fielding players who might otherwise have played for the Kangaroos. With coach Mal Meninga not really sure whether Daly Cherry-Evans or Nathan Cleary should be halfback, Australia started the tournament strongly enough and never really missed a beat on the way to triumph in the final against Samoa. The Jillaroos were sublime throughout the women's tournament, having their toughest match in the group stages against New Zealand, before thrashing the same team in the final. The Australians once again set the bar for International rugby league ahead of the next World Cup in France in 2025.
And the biggest Rugby headline of 2022:
The biggest story of the year, and perhaps even this COVID-dominated decade, was the time-wasting call made by French referee Mathieu Raynal at the death of Bledisloe I in Melbourne. With the Wallabies having surged back into the contest to lead the All Blacks with under 90 seconds to play, Raynal then awarded the visitors a scrum after ruling that Bernard Foley had taken too long to kick the ball into touch. Moments later Jordie Barrett was in, New Zealand had retained the Bledisloe, and Wallabies players, coaches and fans were all left in utter disbelief by what had just transpired. While Raynal had warned Foley earlier in the match, the nature and timing of his decision enraged Australians and divided opinion around the rugby world.
And the biggest Football headline of 2022:
It was one of the biggest results in Australian football history - Mat Leckie's stunning solo effort securing a 1-0 win over Denmark, who just a year ago were in a European semifinal, to send the Socceroos through to the knockout stages of the World Cup. It was an historic moment in Australian football, the impact of which has the potential to be felt for generations, and set ablaze excitement around the game heading into 2023... for a little while.
And the biggest Cricket headline of 2022:
It was one of those moments in history that most will remember their exact location when they heard the news. The passing of Australian cricket legend Shane Warne, all too soon at the age of 52, shocked the nation and the world. Warne, who was holidaying on the Thai island of Koh Samui, died of a suspected heart attack. He was rated one of the five greatest players of the 20th century by Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. After taking over a thousand wickets in Tests and ODIs combined, he metamorphosed into a highly respected cricket commentator. Those that knew him personally speak in unison of a man of great generosity and sincerity, an Australian sorely missed by all.