1. THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Two World Wars couldn't stop them.
But the coronavirus pandemic saw Australia's premier football competitions come to a grinding halt when the NRL and AFL were shut down in March.
Super Rugby would follow, as sporting competitions around the globe - at both professional and local levels - faced a fight for survival.
"It's catastrophic. I don't think we have ever come across a financial crisis like this," Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'Landys said on March 23.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan claimed the game was facing "the biggest financial crisis in AFL history".
Significant wage cuts saw some players walk away from football because they struggled to make ends meet on their revised salaries. Staff were stood down and forced to take on jobs as labourers and landscapers to survive.
Competitions would ultimately return months later with teams forced out of their homes - some moved interstate, some moved to another country - and into hubs to keep sport alive.
For months fans were kept out of stadiums. When they returned, only a lucky few secured tickets to see their teams in action. We move into a new year facing similar restrictions.
The COVID-19 pandemic remains among the most remarkable challenges sport has faced around the globe, and the road to normality is a long one indeed. - Caden Helmers
2. THE BUSHFIRES
If ever there was an omen of what was to come, Mother Nature couldn't have been any clearer with the smoke signals she sent Canberra.
Every Canberran became fluent in air quality indexes and had an app on their phones so they could tell just how acrid it was outside.
As the bushfires raged in country NSW, the ACT filled up with smoke.
It got so bad, the Sydney Thunder had a BBL game abandoned at Manuka Oval, but it was the Canberra Cavalry who were probably hardest hit in terms of sporting teams.
They lost multiple games and the crowds stayed away in others as it was unbearable sitting outside.
Both the ACT Brumbies and the Canberra Raiders shifted their pre-seasons out of town because it was unsafe to do it in the ACT.
When the fires were finally put out, all of Canberra sport pitched in to help.
Whether it was Curtis Scott or the Raiders or the Brumbies, everyone pitched in to raise money for those who'd been devastated by the bushfires. - David Polkinghorne
3. CURTIS SCOTT'S ARREST
When news broke in late January that new recruit Curtis Scott had been arrested for multiple counts of assaulting police, Raiders' fans couldn't help but feel his signing had been a bad decision by the club.
Scott waited patiently until his day in court, and it came in early September. The result? All charges were dropped by the magistrate who voiced her disgust at the treatment Scott had received by arresting NSW police officers.
An intoxicated Scott was woken by police underneath a Moore Park tree. Instead of telling him to move on, or offering him a ride home, officers stood on him, cuffed him, and showered him with pepper spray.
Just in case that wasn't enough they zapped him with a taser, before slapping him with the erroneous charges.
Scott managed 13 matches for his new club in 2020, but finished the year with a fractured leg. - James Buckley
4. BRUMBIES ARE SUPER HEROES
Noah Lolesio glanced at the Super Rugby AU trophy with stars in his eyes, resembling anything but a rugby star who less than two months prior had hit "a pretty big low".
On this night in September the ACT Brumbies rookie earned man of the match honours in the Super Rugby AU final and played himself into a Wallabies jersey in the Bledisloe Cup.
The 20-year-old seemed anything but a kid who had not played a game in 64 days, when a hamstring injury left his stellar campaign on ice. At the time he feared his Brumbies campaign and Wallabies hopes would go with it, but he rose to the occasion with all the class of a future superstar.
The championship perhaps will never feel quite the same as those iconic triumphs of the early 2000s in front of record crowds.
But it is a grand final win nonetheless, and should be held in high esteem. For the Brumbies, it was a perfect finish to a season for the true believers. - Caden Helmers
5. CAPITALS GO BACK-TO-BACK
Paul Goriss wandered off the court with a glint in his eye, far from the sea of Canberra Capitals fans which had spilled onto the AIS Arena court to get a glimpse of the WNBL's newly-minted back-to-back champions.
"Unbelievable. It's a team of champions. I just can't speak highly enough of them, they have the heart of a champion and it showed," Goriss said after the Capitals secured a 2-0 grand final series win over Southside in March.
"But you never underestimate the heart of a champion and champion people. We've done it tough and I'm just super proud from one through to 12 that they have hung tough through some shit times we've had."
Of those there were plenty. Kristy Wallace spent two seasons on the roster but here minutes on the court could almost be counted on one hand. Gemma Potter's grand final dream had been dashed by injury. Mikaela Ruef's hopes of playing at all were denied by the immigration department's failure to clear her citizenship papers. Kia Nurse and Olivia Epoupa waved goodbye.
The Capitals ultimately fell short of the first three-peat in club history when they were bundled out of the semi-finals in a condensed 2020 season, which was run and won in little more than a month inside a north Queensland hub. - Caden Helmers
6. MANUKA'S MASSIVE YEAR
Despite bushfires and COVID-19, Manuka Oval experienced its biggest ever cricketing year in 2020.
It hosted five Women's Twenty20 World Cup matches, and stood right up to its reputation as the country's best batting wicket.
And there was more to come in December, with the venue hosting a staggering eight matches in the space of four weeks. India beat Australia in the third one-day international, and then repeated the dose two days later in the first Twenty20 international.
The picturesque Canberra venue then played host to six Big Bash League games, as one of two early-season hubs which ensured the competition could proceed this summer. - James Buckley
7. JACK WIGHTON'S ULTIMATE HONOUR
Cracker Jack! Yep, Canberra Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton became just the third member of the Green Machine to be crowned the Dally M Medallist.
He joined his coach Ricky Stuart and Laurie Daley in winning the prestigious award.
It was a fitting reward for a stunning season, where Wighton repeatedly produced match-winning performances for the Raiders.
Especially towards the end of the season, when he became a try-scoring machine as well.
It caused outrage in the Sydney media, who suddenly wanted the voting system changed - perhaps because they'd all done their dough backing Penrith halfback Nathan Cleary. - David Polkinghorne
8. CAPITAL FOOTBALL PUNT THE PANTHERS
It was a brutal decision that erred in the past and left 80-plus women and girls without a football home.
The Capital Football board cut the Monaro Panthers from the 2021 NPLW to make an eight-team competition in November, shattering an all-female football vision.
There was no change of heart nor an appeal process for the joint-venture Bella Monaro to pursue, as committee members plead their case to the board in the aftermath.
Not even the backing of three levels of government could change Capital Football's mind, with Eden-Monaro member Kristy McBain, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Queanbeyan mayor Tim Overall calling on the peak body to reverse their decision.
Capital Football is now set to undertake an independent review of the NPL competition - an action conducted after they wield the axe on a 53-year-old club from the women's game. - Lucie Bertoldo
9. KYRGIOS IS KING AGAIN
As the black summer welcomed Australia into the new decade, it was Nick Kyrgios who led the way for sport and its support to the bushfire cause.
A Tweet announcing his pledge to donate $200 for every ace served last summer became the catalyst for a multi-million dollar, cross-code fundraising effort.
The movement rapidly gained traction as Australia burned, with the likes of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Serena Williams coming on board for a night of tennis entertainment.
The Kyrgios-inspired Rally For Relief raised in excess of $6m in January and Tennis Australia launched a program to distribute the funds to bushfire affected communities.
Tough times seem to bring out the best in Kyrgios. During the COVID-19 lockdown, the Canberran joined a social media movement to help those in need and threw his support behind the ACT Government's pledged Gungahlin tennis facility. - Lucie Bertoldo
10. CAVALRY CLANGERS
Player power and Canberra sport go hand in hand, thanks to the Brumbies famously ousting their coach David Nucifora before going on to win the Super Rugby title in 2004.
The Canberra Cavalry will be hoping for a similar result this ABL season after player and coach unrest led to Cavary chief executive Donn McMichael stepping down from his role - but remaining as a silent partner in the team.
They were unhappy with the lack of action in terms of recruitment, with many of them looking for a big ABL campaign to bolster their chances of being part of Australia's push to compete at the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
Canberra was going to struggle to field a side for their season-opening series against the Perth Heat if McMichael remained in his role.
In the end it didn't matter, with the WA government closing the border to anyone who'd been in NSW - ruling out most of the Cavalry squad and forcing the games to be postponed.
Bizarrely, one option put forward to help the Heat games go ahead was for the Cavalry to send their jerseys to Perth and allow the WA team to put whoever they wanted in them. Chalking up four easy wins in the process.
Surprisingly, the Cavalry weren't that keen on the idea. - David Polkinghorne