Saturday Serve

Anthony Milford.

Anthony Milford. Photo: Melissa Adams

New Year's Day usually starts with a hangover and alcohol-fuelled regrets, but Canberra sport will be feeling reasonably fresh when 2014 begins next week.

New coaches, players, officials and expectation. The controversy-filled 2013 will be forgotten and most will be happy to start afresh.

How do you top a centenary year of Bacardi Breezers, rooftop boozing sessions, sackings and walkouts?

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham and Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart.

Brumbies coach Stephen Larkham and Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart. Photo: Jay Cronan

Easy, you get two of the biggest names in the capital's sporting history - Ricky Stuart and Stephen Larkham - and make them responsible for ending a decade of limited success.

So what can we see in the 2014 crystal ball? More booze and drama or some trophies for the cabinet?


Canberra Cavalry's Jack Murphy dominated in the Asia Series in November.

Canberra Cavalry's Jack Murphy dominated in the Asia Series in November. Photo: Reuters

The Raiders' future is always clouded in a lime-green haze, but it looks as if it's all smooth sailing into the NRL finals.

Sounds too good to be true, doesn't it? Wait, there's more appearing. The Anthony Milford saga will drag on into the new year when the Brisbane Broncos try to lure him back to Queensland before the finals.

New coach Ricky Stuart will be fuming and torn between Milford's supreme talent to help the finals charge or sitting the future star on the bench to develop his replacement.

Nick Kyrgios.

Nick Kyrgios. Photo: Getty Images

With Josh Dugan, Blake Ferguson and Sandor Earl all nightmares of 2013, Stuart will come down hard on any players who make fools of themselves on the town or social media.

Rooftop bonding sessions are banned. Breezers are OK occasionally. But winning and ruthless performances will be non-negotiables under the Stuart reign.

History shows the Raiders have an impressive record of making the finals in even-numbered years.

Tom Rogic will be off to Brazil.

Tom Rogic will be off to Brazil. Photo: Getty Images

The yo-yo Green Machine will be back in the top eight, but they're not ready to be a title contender yet.

State of Origin: NSW to end eight-years of pain and win the series.

Premiership: Sydney Roosters to go back-to-back.


It's back-to-back finals time for the ACT Brumbies with their Super Rugby championship window well and truly open.

But after having five coaches in the past four seasons, the 2013 runners-up will have some growing pains when they trial an unusual coaching model for the first time in their history.

Club great Larkham is the head coach with former head coach Laurie Fisher as the director of rugby.

How it will work is anyone's guess. But Larkham and Fisher are great in their specified areas and with a list of their responsibilities drawn up and handed out, there will be no confusion.

Former head coach Jake White will be greeted with boos when he returns to Canberra Stadium in May.

But in reality Brumbies fans should be thanking White for giving Larkham the blueprint to success.

White has joined the Durban Sharks, but he will be linked to an international return in the next few months.

Unfortunately for the Brumbies, their tough draw will mean their two-year high will hit some major hurdles for the first time.

Wallabies: Ben Mowen gets full-time Wallabies captaincy duties.

Super Rugby: Jake White's Durban Sharks win South African conference.


Congratulations, Nick Kyrgios, the crystal ball says you get an Australian Open wildcard.

Yes, after rising more than 650 places in the world rankings in the past year, making your Grand Slam debut at the French Open and playing at the US Open, tennis officials in Australia are backing you to join Bernard Tomic as our ''next big thing''.

More good news to come. Looks like 2014 will be your breakout year with entry to all four Grand Slam tournaments.

There will be a couple of wins, some tough losses and that pesky elbow injury will hang around for the next few months.

But by the end of it all, you'll be inside the top 100 and established as a Davis Cup regular.


The Australian Baseball League has implemented rules to curb Canberra's success, but nothing can stop the Cavalry in 2014.

Another ABL championship will earn them another trip to Taiwan (minus another match-fixing allegation drama) and the league will try to come up with new regulations to dud the Cavalry.


Canberra's Tom Rogic is on the move from Celtic. He'll land in Japan early in the new year to chase more game time and a World Cup berth. New Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou will reward Rogic with a spot in the squad to play in Rio and the talented midfielder will get game time at the biggest sporting event in the world.

Fellow Canberran Carl Valeri will make his comeback from injury and join the Socceroos in Brazil, but Australia won't win a game at the World Cup.

The Socceroos will play a match at Canberra Stadium as a late centenary birthday present for the capital. Oops, that can't be right.


After years of planning and opinions, the ACT government will finally settle on a plan for a new indoor stadium in Canberra.

Sounds a bit like wishful thinking, but it's time to sign a $200 million cheque and start building this venue which will transform Canberra sport.