1. New Zealanders to appreciate Beauden Barrett

With the excitement of his nuptials over, can Kiwis finally learn to appreciate the once-in-a-generation talents of Beauden John Barrett? He is a genius in the Christian Cullen-Jonah Lomu category but our nation of tall poppy trimmers often focus as much on his weaknesses as his strengths. Maybe it's a generational thing. We loved Grant Fox despite the limitations of his running game and Allan Hewson was recognised as a place kicking maestro, despite his occasional defensive frailties. Barrett has changed how the game can be played from No10, in an age when the sport has never been more structured. His freakish ability is similar to that of Lionel Messi in football - why can't we get that?

2 Tiger Woods wins anothermajor - at least

Tiger Woods isn't a nice chap - in many ways, probably one of the most unlikeable figures in sport. But he is still the biggest box office draw in golf. The fanfare over his exploits in 2018 gave a reminder of his ongoing worldwide appeal, so just imagine what would happen if he finds himself on top of the heap during one of the four marquee Sundays of the golf year. He won't break Jack Nicklaus' record - the Golden Bear's mark of 18 seems safe - but a 15th major triumph would create one of the biggest sports storylines of the year.

3 Blake Green to become"invincible" in 2019

The health of Blake Green is a glaring prerequisite for Warriors success this year. The Australian playmaker can't get injured or sick because no one is more important at Mt Smart in 2019. If he goes down, the Warriors ship might, too. In the past, if Shaun Johnson was out, the likes of Chad Townsend, Thomas Leuluai or Kieran Foran were available. But with Johnson's unforeseen exit, along with Mason Lino's departure, there is no other experienced half at the club.

4 An end to the Auckland stadium debate

This is perhaps wishful thinking but wouldn't it be great if a decision around the future of Auckland's stadiums was made this year? Everybody knows the answer, and the recent report into Eden Park's impending woes in 2019 confirmed the obvious. Can the politicians and decision-makers hammer out a solution, or will self-interest and rugby lobbying get in the way again, like it did ahead of the 2011 Rugby World Cup? Instead of saddling future generations with debt and despair, what about the legacy of a well-located, rectangular venue that becomes a landmark for future generations?


5 Roger Federer to hit 21 tennis grand slams

Roger Federer celebrates at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. Photo / AP
Roger Federer celebrates at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne. Photo / AP

This might happen next week. Given everything he has contributed to the sport, it would be appropriate if Federer could finish with the magical figure of 21 major titles beside his name. Pete Sampras' mark of 14 grand slams was supposed to stand for a long time but the American held his record for only seven years before it was superseded by the Swiss. And Federer's tally would have been even greater had he not had to contend with the talents of Rafa Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who have 17 and 14 grand slam titles respectively. C'mon, Roger, give us one more.

6 Mate Ma'a Tonga continue their rugby league boom

The rise of Tonga has created a unique opportunity for rugby league, one the game can't afford to blow. Instead of their usual selfish stance, it's crucial NRL clubs embrace the international game this year, especially with the smorgasbord of mid-year tests, headlined by New Zealand's grudge match against the men in red. There's also some mouth-watering fixtures at the end of the season, and the last thing league needs is a stack of frontline players being made unavailable so they can focus on their pre-season. Tonga, in particular, needs to field their strongest possible side.

7 A Kiwi horse to win the Melbourne Cup

The first Tuesday in November is still a magic day but isn't quite the same with the relative lack of Kiwi success in recent years. Putting aside Prince of Penzance (2015), there have been no other New Zealand-bred horses win Flemington's greatest race this decade, and only four this century. The international interest in the race - and the huge budgets of the Northern Hemisphere syndicates - have changed the face of the event, and it's difficult to imagine a return to the halcyon days of 1974, 1975 and 1978, when horses that were owned and trained by Kiwis swept the trifecta. No one will forget the elation created by the epic deeds of Kiwi (1983), Empire Rose (1988), Brew (2000) and Ethereal (2001) and let's hope another chapter is added to these memorable deeds soon.

8 More teams join America's Cup party

Wanted: One or two billionaires, looking to fund a national syndicate, for probably the best America's Cup regatta since the turn of the century. It's late in the piece, as we look to 2021, but you never know ...Wouldn't it be wonderful to see something equivalent to the 2000 and 2003 events, when the international sailing fraternity took over Auckland's downtown precinct?

9 The ultimate sendoff for netball legends

Laura Langman deserves a top sendoff. Photo / Photosport
Laura Langman deserves a top sendoff. Photo / Photosport

In their last hurrah at a world championships, let's hope Laura Langman and Casey Kopua enjoy the farewell they deserve. Aside from the past couple of years, when Langman was excluded due to red tape and Kopua was off having a baby, the duo have held the Ferns together for more than a decade but they have never been world champions. The Liverpool tournament is surely their final chance.

10 Brave Blossoms bloom in October

Every World Cup, irrespective of the code, is better when the hosts prosper. Japan are the weakest nation to host a Rugby World Cup but it's almost certain they will put on one of the best tournaments. The icing would be progression out of the group stage for the first time in their history.

11 The Reds reign in England once again

It's about time Liverpool were champions of English football again. As hard as it is for their legions of fans around the world to swallow, they have never won the Premier League and it has been almost 30 years (the 1989-90 season) since they finished top of the table.

12 Kane Williamson makes history at the MCG

Forget Lord's - in this part of the world, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the spiritual home of the sport. New Zealand grace the 'G' in late December, their first test match there in 32 years. And it would be appropriate if Williamson scores New Zealand's first test ton at the historic ground (Bruce Edgar and Stephen Fleming have notched one-day centuries there). Better still - on Boxing Day.