So you thought 2019 was a tough year for the three main New Zealand football codes. It could get a lot worse next year.
For a quick review, try this.
1) Three years of erratic All Blacks performances ended with the Yokohama Rugby World Cup semifinal disaster, when the now-fabled giants of world rugby let England run all over them. Three-peat dreams over.
2) The NRL Warriors were about as bad as they have ever been.
3) Do we still have an All Whites football team? (although rumours suggest they are about to play the Republic of Ireland).
It wasn't all bad in 2019.
The Black Ferns sevens re-established their domination, the Bledisloe Cup was retained (unconvincingly), and the Kiwi league team were credible under Michael Maguire although there was another loss to Australia.
As usual the Crusaders did their best to come to the rescue of New Zealand's reputation, consolidating their ownership of the Super Rugby title. But that was a rare diamond amongst a lot of rocks.
The significant losses included the Rugby Championship, which was snared by South Africa (so much for the theory that it pays to lose the RC in the World Cup year).
Can you see it getting any better for the New Zealand codes in 2020? Rather, it could actually get worse for the following reasons.
Having watched an average and fairly young England side make the All Blacks look second rate, the Wallabies must fancy their chances of lifting the Bledisloe Cup for the first time since Rieko Ioane started primary school.
The Wallabies will have a new coach and a new mood, and be buoyed by the All Blacks' problems.
The All Blacks have suffered a serious ding to their confidence, and will be without their finest forward, Brodie Retallick, who is having a break overseas.
Their best back Beauden Barrett is on a confusing new flexi-contract which makes it difficult to work out whether he will be playing for the All Blacks or frolicking on a beach.
A lot of outstanding All Blacks have departed or are over the hill, or very close to it. Now is the time to rebuild, which is going to make life very interesting for the new coaching regime.
The Crusaders face their own challenges, perhaps under a new coach if Razor Robertson gets the big call up.
Their great lock Sam Whitelock looked knackered by the end of the World Cup and won't play for the Crusaders in 2020. Kieran Read is gone for good along with other integral elements to their success such as Owen Franks, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua and Ryan Crotty.
The best news for New Zealand rugby is the return of Warren Gatland.
The veteran Welsh World Cup coach will add mana and quality to New Zealand's Super Rugby campaign, but I'm guessing it could take time for his methods to bear fruit with a freewheeling Chiefs outfit minus the great Retallick.
Meanwhile, impressive World Cup champions South Africa will be operating with renewed confidence, strengthening the Springboks and the Super Rugby sides.
International league remains an afterthought, sadly. No results can make up for that.
As for league's beleaguered Warriors, their only big new signing so far is a new owner. All the players they supposedly chased of late turned them down.
It's hard to know if players like Bronco David Fifita are genuine prospects anymore, or if agents use the inconsequential Warriors as fall guys in contract negotiations.
Meanwhile, coach Stephen Kearney will be operating under enormous pressure having effectively been put on final notice by Mark Robinson, whose company Autex bought out the Auckland Rugby League this year.
Speaking of Mark Robinson, New Zealand Rugby also has a new chief executive of the same name.
Departing NZR chief Steve Tew has detractors. But whether you liked his policies and style or not, he was an impressive iron man in difficult times for the game.
And those difficult times have not gone away. The All Black aura is gone, players are flocking overseas, and the rest of world rugby realises New Zealand is a wounded if still potentially impressive beast.
It is shaping as a tough year for New Zealand rugby, with new leaders having to deal with serious cracks in the machine.
As for football - what football? The All Whites are the closest thing to a virtual team that a real international team could possibly get.
The world game is represented here by the Wellington Phoenix, who are already on the road to nowhere in the new season.
The Phoenix came sixth in a 10-team competition last season, thus making a rare appearance in the finals. This dubious cause for celebration was followed by their coach quitting for greener pastures as some believed, or family reasons as the "very confused" man himself Mark Rudan put it.
This column wishes New Zealand's professional rugby and league players a happy Christmas break. I don't know how their minds and bodies stand up to such long and brutal seasons. They could do with a decent union. Then again, some of them seem like suckers for the punishment. Money talks.