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Top 10 Australian sporting moments of 2022 countdown as Socceroos’ World Cup and Ash Barty’s Australian Open head list

Top 10 Australian sporting moments of 2022 countdown as Socceroos’ World Cup and Ash Barty’s Australian Open head list

It’s that time again when we reflect on the year that was.

And 2022 was a huge 12 months for Australian sport, giving us some magical moments that will live long in the memory.

WATCH IN THE VIDEO ABOVE: Shane Warne remembered by daughter Summer in gut-wrenching tribute.

Watch the latest sport on Channel 7 or stream for free on 7plus >>

While the unexpected and sudden death of the ‘king of spin’ Shane Warne was not a sporting highlight, it will forever be one of the most significant stories of the year.

The Australian public were shocked when the news came through about his tragic death.

But the country quickly moved to celebrate the loveable character he was.

Shane Warne salutes the crowd during his last Test match against England in January 2007 in Sydney. RIP King. Credit: Getty Images

Warne was given a state memorial service, attendd by over 50,000 people at his beloved MCG, where the former Great Southern Stand was renamed the Shane Warne Stand.

The late, great Warne deserved an honourable mention and the outpouring of grief and love that followed his death sits as a standalone event.

So let’s get to it – let the countdown begin to the No.1 sporting moment of 2022, and relive the big moments in the video players below.

10. The Kangaroos lift the World Cup

Australia began the Rugby League World Cup in the UK as one of the tournament favourites but concerns lingered after a talent drain, largely to Samoa and Tonga, yet the Kangaroos lived up to the hype.

The star-studded Aussies cruised through the group stage with coach Mal Meninga having the luxury of resting players and changing up his halves combination.

The Kangaroos were hardly troubled in their quarter-final as they smashed Lebanon 48-4, backed by winger Josh Addo-Carr scoring an incredible five tries.

The semi-final against rivals New Zealand was a tough battle but Australia triumphed in a hard-fought 16-14 win.

In the final at Old Trafford, the Kangaroos faced tournament surprise packets Samoa.

Australia dominated the game and ran out convincing 30-10 winners, claiming their 12th Rugby League World Cup title overall.

Kangaroos captain James Tedesco was named man of the match after an incredible performance featuring two tries, seven tackle breaks, a try-saving tackle and 234 running metres.

“It’s a pretty unbelievable feeling. It’s a really proud moment,” he said post-game.

“We came over here 6-7 weeks ago with this group of blokes and formed such a special bond. It’s so special representing our country and putting this jersey on… to represent my friends and family back home.”

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9. Kyrgios reaches long-awaited first grand slam final at Wimbledon

Controversial tennis star Nick Kyrgios finally had all of Australia behind him as he went on a fairytale run to the Wimbledon final.

In the third round, he faced Greek star and No.4 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas with most experts tipping it to be the end of Kyrgios’s grand slam.

However, Kyrgios won an epic four-set battle and his Wimbledon journey continued.

The 27-year-old made his way through the draw and received a slice of luck after former world No.1 Rafael Nadal withdrew from their semi-final clash with an abdominal injury.

In the final, Kyrgios, who was playing for his first major singles title, started strong and claimed the first set over tennis superstar Novak Djokovic.

Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios with their trophies following the Wimbledon final. Credit: Getty Images

However, Djokovic fought back to claim the championship in an entertaining, hard-fought four-set battle.

Kyrgios was the first male Australian finalist at Wimbledon since Mark Philippoussis in 2003 and won plenty of fans along the way.

“Hats off to him (Djokovic),” Kyrgios said following the match.

“That was a hell of a match. I thought I served well. I put myself in a position to win, but I just wasn’t able to play those clutch points well at all today.”

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8. Diamonds earn redemption at the Commonwealth Games

Following their heartbreaking defeat to England four years ago in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games final and silver at the 2019 World Cup, the Diamonds were out for revenge in Birmingham in August.

The tournament was thrown on its head after the Aussies suffered a shock loss to Jamaica in the final pool match. The result meant Australia would face England in one semi-final, while Jamaica played New Zealand in the other.

The semi-final was a tight affair as the Diamonds led the star-studded Roses by six at half-time and stretched the margin to win 60-51.

The Diamonds were up against Jamaica in the final in what proved to be a thrilling, end-to-end contest. The Aussies claimed gold with a 55-51 victory in front of 8000 screaming fans who were mostly cheering for Jamaica.

Australia receives their gold medals after winning the final against Jamaica in Birmingham. Credit: Getty Images

It was the Diamonds’ fourth Commonwealth Games triumph and their second since 2002 as they claimed redemption for the one-goal loss to England in the 2018 final and revenge for the earlier loss in Birmingham to the Jamaicans.

The gold medal for the Diamonds also went down as Australia’s 1000th in Commonwealth Games history.

Captain Liz Watson said the victory was the proudest moment of her career.

“We are still ranked No.1 but we didn’t necessarily feel like that having lost to Jamaica and the World Cup,” Watson said after the final.

“We really wanted to show tonight that we are the worlds’ best and work hard and play with passion and tonight I think we showed that.”

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7. Buddy makes history with 1000th AFL goal

Sydney Swans superstar Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin became just the sixth VFL/AFL player in history to kick 1000 goals as the Swans recorded a convincing 30-point win over Geelong in March.

Buddy joined Tony Lockett (1360 goals), Gordon Coventry (1299), Jason Dunstall (1254), Doug Wade (1057) and Gary Ablett Sr (1031) in the exclusive club.

Following the historic set shot, Buddy was mobbed by teammates and supporters who rushed onto the field as the Foo Fighters’ classic ‘My Hero’ played over the speakers.

The 35-year-old was eventually able to leave the field, forcing his way through a crowd in delirium.

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In amazing scenes, play was suspended for nearly 20 minutes so everyone on the SCG turf could be cleared back to the stands.

“It was nice to get it done, it’s been playing on my mind a little bit,” Franklin told Channel 7’s Matthew Richardson about his goal.

“I had the taste of Carlton Draught (beer) in my mouth from someone (in the crowd).

“It was an amazing moment and something I will cherish forever.”

6. Jak ends Australia’s long wait for Winter Olympic gold

Finally, after 12 long years, Australia had another Winter Olympic gold medallist following Jakara Anthony’s moguls win in Beijing.

Anthony smashed her rivals to win the Super Final with an amazing score of 83.09, comfortably ahead of American Jaelin Kauf (80.28) and Russian Anastasiia Smirnova (77.72) in the six-woman competition.

After finishing fourth on her Olympic debut four years ago in PyeongChang, the now 24-year-old admitted the aerial component of her run was the key weakness preventing her from winning a medal.

Since 2018, Anthony worked hard on her aerial skills and was the only skier – and the first women in Olympic competition – to include a ‘cork 720 mute’ jump, with the higher degree of difficulty giving her an edge on her rivals.

Jakara Anthony gets some air while performing a trick in the women’s mogul Super Final in Beijing. Credit: Getty Images

She completed the jump around 2000 times in practice at the newly built water ramp training facility in Brisbane before using it in her competition run.

“When I crossed the line I was like, whatever happens now I’m totally content with because I was so happy with that run,” Anthony said following her gold medal performance.

“I thought I’d done enough (to win gold) and if anyone had beaten that run I would have been so stoked for them because it would have been a phenomenal run.”

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5. Socceroos great salutes with Celtic in Scotland

Ange Postecoglou created history in May when he became the first Australian manager to win a title at a major European club in a men’s competition.

Before the Asian Cup-winning former Socceroos coach took over, Celtic were struggling. They had ended the season without a trophy for the first time since 2009-10, bitter rivals Rangers won the title by a huge 25 points, players were leaving left, right and centre, and fans were disillusioned with the club.

Postecoglou signed a 12-month rolling contract in June 2021 to become the first Australian manager to coach a major club in Europe.

After losing three of their opening six games to start the season, he guided Celtic on an amazing 31-game unbeaten league run to beat Rangers in the title race.

The achievement put the 57-year-old at the top with a handful of Australian sporting feats on the world stage.

“There is no secret. I tell the players every day that the magic that happens out there is sheer hard work every day,” Postecoglou said following Celtic’s title success.

“Respecting each other, pushing each other and respecting who you work alongside. It is sweat and tears and pushing yourself all the time.”

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4. Queenslander wins the famous Claret Jug

Australian golf star Cam Smith catapulted himself into the record books when he won the 150th British Open at St Andrews in July.

After an incredible five successive birdies to start the back nine on the final day, Smith chased down local favourite Rory McIlroy to become the first Aussie to win the famous Claret Jug since Greg Norman – his new boss at LIV Golf – at Royal St George’s in 1993.

The triumph was Smith’s first major victory and he became the first Aussie to lift one of golf’s most prestigious trophies since Jason Day in 2015 (PGA Championship), and just the third this century after Adam Scott (Masters, 2013) and Geoff Ogilvy (US Open, 2006).

Cam Smith kisses the Claret Jug after winning the British Open. Credit: AAP

Displaying nerves of steel, the 29-year-old closed with a record eight-under-par 64 to capture the elusive title after two near misses at the Masters.

Smith won by a shot from American Cameron Young, who eagled the last for a 65 to force the Aussie to hole a clutch two-foot birdie putt to deny the American a four-hole playoff.

“Ah, geez, what a week. I’m going to fall apart here, I know,” Smith said, choking back tears after being handed the coveted trophy.

“All the names on there, every player that’s been at the top of their game has won this championship.”

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3. Golden girl crowned the Commonwealth Games’ greatest ever

Australia’s queen of the pool Emma McKeon became the most successful athlete in Commonwealth Games history in August after winning eight medals in Birmingham, with six of them gold.

In total across her career, McKeon has won an incredible 20 Commonwealth Games medals – 14 gold, 1 silver and 5 bronze.

McKeon beat the previous record for most Commonwealth golds of 10, achieved by Australian swimmers Susie O’Neill, Ian Thorpe and Leisel Jones.

Emma McKeon poses with her gold medal after winning the Women’s 50m Butterfly Final in Birmingham. Credit: Getty Images

The Wollongong wonder collected gold in Birmingham in 50m freestyle, 50m butterfly, the women’s and mixed 4x100m freestyle relays, and the women’s and mixed 4x100m medley relays,

McKeon said she was proud of her achievements and the people who have come before her.

“It’s really nice to be mentioned alongside some of those names and I will be part of that history for years to come, hopefully,” she said in Birmingham.

“It is special. It makes me reflect on the last eight years since my first Commonwealth Games.”

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2. Aussie hero lives up to the hype – and retires

Former Australian tennis star Ash Barty cemented herself in sporting folklore when she won the Australian Open women’s singles title last January.

The then world No.1 completed a dream fortnight at Melbourne Park with a hard-fought 6-3 7-6 (7-2) win over American Danielle Collins in the most anticipated women’s final in almost half a century.

Barty’s success saw her become the first player to win the Australian Open in 44 years and brought her tally of grand slam titles to three following victories at Roland Garros in 2019 and Wimbledon in 2021.

In a touching moment, Barty, much to her surprise, received the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup from her mentor and Indigenous idol Evonne Goolagong Cawley.

“This is incredible. Time and time again we have come so close and now to have my hands on such a beautiful trophy after an exceptional fortnight is just unbelievable,” Barty said after receiving the trophy.

“Just a dream come true for me and I’m just so proud to be an Aussie.”

Only two months after capturing the nation’s hearts on her way to the Australian Open title, Barty shocked the tennis world when she unexpectedly retired at the peak of her powers aged just 25.

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1. Socceroos defy expectations with historic World Cup feat

The Socceroos carried the hopes of Australia on their back at the World Cup in Qatar and captured the imagination of the public along the way.

The country dared to dream when Craig Goodwin opened the scoring against reigning champions France in their first game, before crashing back down to earth with a 4-1 loss.

But a win over Tunisia in the next group game meant the Socceroos’ hopes were alive again heading into a clash with European powerhouse Denmark that would decide their round-of-16 fate.

The Socceroos were far from favourites and a draw was seen as the more likely outcome if they were to progress. Instead, the Aussies shocked Denmark to claim a 1-0 win and confidently move through to the knockout stages for the first time since 2006.

Socceroos winger Matthew Leckie became an Australian hero after scoring the winning goal when he found himself isolated one-on-one with a defender, before weaving his way into the box and firing a left-footed rocket into the corner.

“As the ball was rolling in, I saw it going in, I was so excited and so happy,” Leckie said after the game.

“By the celebration you see how much emotion there was. My first World Cup (goal) is probably one of the most important goals for me and for the team.”

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The goal sparked incredible scenes around Australia, even at the unfriendly Thursday morning time of nearly 3am, especially at Federation Square in Melbourne as thousands of fans went absolutely wild celebrating the goal.

At full-time Fed Square was rocking and packed to capacity as 8000 green and gold fans created an amazing atmosphere as they danced, cheered and let off flares to create a red glow over the precinct.

Although the Socceroos lost to the Lionel Messi-inspired – and soon-to-be champions – Argentina in the round of 16, the team had done themselves and the country proud by stepping out of the shadow of the ‘golden generation’.

A flare is ripped as fans celebrate the Socceroos win over Denmark in Federation Square. Credit: AAPFans packed to Federation Square to watch the Socceroos play Denmark at the World Cup in Qatar. Credit: AAPFans created an incredible atmosphere at Federation Square in Melbourne. Credit: AAP

Honourable mentions

Australia lift the women’s Cricket World Cup to hold all major ODI/T20 trophies

Ollie Hoare wins 1500m Commonwealth Games gold

Joel Selwood kicks emotional farewell goal before retiring after Geelong win AFL grand final

Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis win Australian Open men’s doubles title

Penrith Panthers go back-to-back as NRL premiers

Socceroos qualify for the World Cup behind Andrew Redmayne’s shootout heroics

Lleyton Hewitt throws not-so-subtle ‘priorities’ jab at Nick Kyrgios

Shocking images emerge as Indian cricketer seriously injured in fiery car crash

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