2014, year of the...

AS 2013 comes to a grinding halt it's a good chance to look forward to 2014.

From a sporting point of view we have a sensational 12 months ahead headlined by the World Cup.

Throw in the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Australia's cricket tour to South Africa, plus the regulars - AFL, NRL, American sports - and you can see why sports fans will command plenty of TV time at home.

Locally we should have another big year, particularly on the footy and cricket front.

As I peer into the crystal ball, here's some of the headlines I think we'll see printed in 2014:

1. Spirit claim back-to-back WNBL titles.

I don't want to mozz the Spirit, but at this stage they're a few lengths in front of their rivals.

Injuries will play a key part after Christmas, but if they stay healthy they're clearly the team to beat.

A second-straight grand final win on her home court would be the perfect way for Kristi Harrower to sign off from a stellar career.

Then again, I wouldn't put it past her playing on for another season.

2. Golden Games for Bendigo.

Hopefully, the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow will be Bendigo's time to shine.

Track cycling star Glenn O'Shea, pictured, and netballers Bec Bulley and Caitlin Thwaites are the obvious headline acts for Bendigo in Glasgow, while shooters Geoff Grenfell and Emma Cox will be genuine medal contenders.

Badminton ace Glenn Warfe, road cyclist Peta Mullens and hammer thrower Tim Driesen are other Bendigo athletes with a chance to go to Glasgow.

3. Golden Square's reign ends in BFNL.

It's a big call to make before the season has even started that Golden Square can't win a sixth-straight BFNL flag.

However, with the players the Bulldogs have lost - Mark Lloyd, Matt O'Toole, James Bristow, Travis Baird - it's hard to see them winning another flag.

You can't replace quality key position players like O'Toole, Bristow and Baird easily. 

Unless coach Nick Carter has a few "gun" recruits up his sleeve, I can see the Bulldogs making the five, but not winning the flag.

Golden Square fans please note - midway through 2013 I said you wouldn't win this year's flag.

4. Socceroos' shame.

I really hope the Aussies punch above their weight at the World Cup, but realistically it could get very, very ugly.

Three losses, with a combined scoreline of 9-0, is my prediction.

5. Pie perfection.

An eight-goal grand final win over Hawthorn puts exclamation mark on Collingwood's undefeated AFL season.

Other notable stories for 2014 - Carlton's wooden spoon, Essendon kicked out of top eight after James Hird spotted in medical room at Windy Hill, Richmond loses elimination final to "promoted" Gold Coast Suns.

Finally, a couple of other local predictions - "Demons deny Suns a four-peat in BDCA" and "Harness racing stewards tell West to stick to journalism".

At this stage they're a few lengths in front of their rivals.

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