The Top 10 Aussie Sporting Moments Of 2023

The top 10 Aussie sporting moments of 2023

It’s been a big year for Australian sport. Here's ten of the nation's greatest sporting moments of 2023.

2023 WAS THE year of World Cups. Through the course of the year, Australia took part in, by our count, no less than six major international team events which label themselves as World Cups. With tournaments for rugby union, basketball, women’s football, netball, field hockey and, of course, cricket, there was no shortage of sport on offer, and the Aussies certainly didn’t disappoint.

Outside of World Cups, Formula 1 saw the rise of a new Australian star, and the return of a fan favourite. Aussie tennis players continued to scale the ATP world rankings, the English Premier League was introduced to Australian flair, and a controversial cricketing call will go down in history for sparking debates over what qualifies as being in the “spirit of the game”.

From dominant world championship performances to surprising upsets, underdog stories and unbelievable comebacks, 2023 really did have it all. Here, we recap ten of the most exciting moments that had fans on their feet and will undoubtedly be remembered for years to come. These are the moments we’ll be telling our grandkids about someday.

 

10. De Minaur soars to new heights

 

 

A fixture on the ATP tour for years, Alex De Minaur had previously struggled to break into the top tier of tennis’ best. That changed in 2023, with The Demon rising higher than ever before in the ATP rankings, all the way up to 12th. De Minaur’s season saw him defeat top ten players Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev, Andrey Rublev, Holger Rune twice, and Taylor Fritz. Along the way, he won his first 500 series and made three more finals, the most of significant of which being his maiden appearance in a Masters final at the Canadian Open.

 

9. Wallabies briefly give us hope

 

 

Much has been written about the Wallabies recent struggles, Eddie Jones’ troubled tenure as head coach, and the team’s disastrous campaign at the 2023 Rugby World Cup. But there was one shining moment where all of those troubles seemed to fade away, when the Wallabies defeated Georgia 35-15 in the tournament’s opening match. It briefly looked like the team had resolved all of its issues. Obviously, we now know that wasn’t the case. The Wallabies would go on to lose to Fiji in one of the sport’s biggest ever upsets, before being dismantled by a mediocre Welsh side and bowing out of the World Cup earlier than ever before. Truly a year to forget for Australian rugby fans, but we prefer to focus on the brighter moments. If nothing else, it was a spectacle.

 

8. Oscar Piastri makes his mark and Daniel Ricciardo returns

 

 

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There has been an Australian racing in F1 for 21 consecutive years now. Right when it looked like Daniel Ricciardo was on his way out, and the streak started by Mark Webber in 2002 would end, a new Aussie star emerged: Oscar Piastri. In his debut F1 season, Piastri shrugged off early struggles to charge home with a string of inspired performances. Piastri ended the season ninth in the driver’s championship, finishing in the points 11 times, and on the podium twice. The highlight of Piastri’s year was the Qatar Grand Prix, where he won the sprint race.

Elsewhere, it turned out that Ricciardo wasn’t done after all. The driver returned halfway through the season and proved he could still kick it with the big boys, securing a points finish at the Mexico City Grand Prix.

 

7. Ange Postecoglou lives up to the hype

 

Getty Images | Clive Rose

 

The emergence of ‘Angeball’ has been one of Australia’s biggest success stories of 2023. Appointed as head coach of Tottenham Hotspur in June, Postecoglou was not initially seen as the ideal candidate for easing the burden of long-suffering Spurs’ fans. Postecoglou quickly proved his doubters wrong, however, leading Tottenham to a ten-game unbeaten streak to start the season, courtesy of his distinct managerial style. Postecoglou has already been awarded Premier League manager of the month three times this season, setting a standard of excellence as the first Australian manager in England’s top division.

 

6. Kubler and Hijikata shock the world

 

 

When Jason Kubler and Rinky Hijikata received a wildcard entry into the doubles tournament of the 2023 Australian Open, even they couldn’t have predicted how well they would fare. The duo were unstoppable during the tournament, taking down the number one, six and eight seeds on their way to ultimate victory. Kubler and Hijikata etched their names into history in a showing that won’t soon be forgotten.

In addition to their on-court good fortune, Kubler and Hijikata also gave us one of the best doubles nicknames in tennis. In doubles, an ideal moniker will be catchy, witty and suitably pithy, but unless the team’s members offer some assistance, by way of names that are easily alliterated, abbreviated or merged, the nicknaming process can be tough going. While the name Kubler and Hijikata have come to be known by might not be as instantly recognisable as Nick Kyrgios and Thanasi Kokkinakis’ The Special Ks, or Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde’s The Woodies, it does have a certain ring to it. In case you’re not aware, Kubler and Hijikata are known as Team Kinky.

 

5. FINA World Championships gold rush

 

 

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Australia and the United States have an enduring sporting rivalry that persists across multiple disciplines. It’s always good when we can one-up our cross-Pacific counterparts, but it feels especially good to do it in the demoralising fashion Australia did at the 2023 FINA World Championships. The Aussies dominated the event, finishing atop the medal table in swimming with a whopping 13 gold medals, to the USA’s pitiful seven.

 

4. Australia retains The Ashes

 

 

Regardless of how you feel about the outcome, it’s impossible to deny that the 2023 Ashes series was memorable. Perhaps even more intense than Australia’s rivalry with the USA is the nation’s feud with England. The dismissal of Jonny Bairstow during the second test needs no introduction, and the controversial moment would play a crucial role in deciding the series. With the threat of England clawing back from 2-0 down, the cricket gods ultimately decided what was truly in the spirit of the game by smiling kindly on Australia. With torrential rain causing the cancellation of the fourth test, the series was drawn 2-2, allowing Australia to retain The Ashes, as well as bragging rights over the Poms.

 

3. The Matildas outlast France in nail-biting penalty shootout

 

 

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It is difficult to select only one moment from the Matildas’ monumental run at the 2023 Women’s World Cup to make this list. Instead, we’ve picked two of the standouts. First up, the intense, high-pressure quarterfinal victory over France. Unable to break the deadlock after 120 minutes of action, a penalty shootout was required to decide the result. In the end, the two teams were so inseparable that a record-breaking 13 penalties were required to determine a winner, with the pressure—and strain on Australian hearts—mounting with every kick of the ball. Cortnee Vine would slot home the winner, sending Australia into the semifinals for the first time ever. Which brings us to our next entry.

 

2. The moment Sam Kerr scored THAT screamer

 

 

The Matildas may have lost their semi-final clash against England, but come on, the moment Sam Kerr sent the ball into the back of the net from well outside of the box, the nation collectively felt like we were on top of the world. Kerr’s goal will be remembered for generations. Decades from now, people will be asking where you were when Kerr equalised and sent the nation into hysterics. It’s a pity the Matildas fell short in the end, but their fairytale run forever changed women’s sport in Australia.

 

1. Australia wins the ODI World Cup

 

 

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Has there been a more dramatic turnaround in a team’s performance during the course of a single tournament? Beginning the 2023 Cricket World Cup with back-to-back losses at the hands of India and South Africa, the wheels looked destined to fall off for Australia. The team stopped the skid though and would go on to win nine straight, aided in no small part by the heroics of Glenn Maxwell, with the run culminating in a victory over a previously undefeated India in the final. Defeating an Indian side who had just won ten straight games, in the final, on Indian soil is undoubtedly one of the bigger upsets in the history of the sport, and it will be remembered as such.

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Cayle Reid

By Cayle Reid

Cayle Reid is a fan of everything health and fitness. He spends his free time at the gym, on his surfboard or waking up early to watch sports in incompatible time zones.

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