Top five 2017: Biggest sporting disappointments

All Blacks and Lions drawn series

Perhaps the biggest let-down of 2018 - the 'kiss your sister' series draw with the British and Irish Lions.

The lofty expectations of the rugby public meant anything other than a dominant 3-0 series win would leave them feeling flat.

It was all going according to plan after a comfortable 30-15 win in the first Test at Eden Park, but flash forward two weeks and a nation was almost in mourning.

It's tough to celebrate a drawn series, as Israel Dagg and Beauden Barrett wil attest.
It's tough to celebrate a drawn series, as Israel Dagg and Beauden Barrett wil attest. Photo credit: Getty

An SBW red card, a dodgy no-call from the referee ,and a Lions side that was motivated by a New Zealand media that labelled them clowns combined with an All Blacks side lacking cohesion resulted in a drawn series.

Not to take anything away from the northerners - who statistically dominated the last two Tests - but the tour from an All Black point of view the tour was ultimately a failure. 

Lydia Ko

Ko fell eight places in the rankings in 2017.
Ko fell eight places in the rankings in 2017. Photo credit: Getty

Entering the year at the No. 1 spot, Ko finished the year ranked ninth in the world - a winless 2017 in 26 starts proving the toughest period of the 20-year-old's young career.

The shadow hanging over the Kiwi has always been her inability to perform at her best during the LPGA's marquee events, but that shadow grew to a thunderstorm throughout 2017.

The good thing for Ko is expectations from the outside may have lessened for the upcoming season, but inwardly there is no doubt she will put the onus on herself to bounce back. 

New Zealand Rugby League

So poor we had to lump the Kiwis and Warriors together, an absolute shambolic 2017 for the sport of rugby league in New Zealand.

Cocaine scandals, dumped captains, suspensions, national defections, marquee signings jumping ship, players hitting out at the fans and coaches under fire. And those are just the off-field issues.

It was painful enough living through the nine-game losing streak with which the Warriors ended the NRL season,  but then the Rugby league World Cup threw up a curve ball we didn't see coming.

The Kiwis quarter-final exit was an embarrassment of epic proportions. Not taking anything away from Fiji, but that should never have happened given the disparity of resources and talent between the two teams.

Here's hoping Stephen Kearney's clear-out can change the fortunes of the New Zealand NRL club, and be it David Kidwell, Wayne Bennett or some other unlucky soul at the helm of the Kiwis – good luck. 

Hayden Paddon

Paddon endured a testing year on and off the the circuit.
Paddon endured a testing year on and off the the circuit. Photo credit: Getty

After his fourth place championship finish in 2016, hopes for the Kiwi flyer to have a breakthrough season behind the wheel were higher than ever. Instead, it was a campaign full of turmoil.

When you consider the tragic start to his year, crashing out of the opening event in Monte Carlo and claiming the life of a spectator, it's understandable that Paddon never quite seemed himself for the reminder of the season.

A mid-year form slump saw the Kiwi replaced for a round but he showed his class on return, finishing third at the season-ending Rally Australia.

Don't be surprised to see the talented New Zealander at the front end in 2018, you can almost guarantee he'll improve this year's 8th place championship finish. 

The NBA Finals

It was billed as the rubber match between two of the most stacked sides in NBA history.

Ultimately the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James were no match for an inspired Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors.

The villainous Kevin Durant was left atop the podium after the Warriors rolled through the Cavs.
The villainous Kevin Durant was left atop the podium after the Warriors rolled through the Cavs. Photo credit: Getty

King James was sensational during the series but, aside from a flash-in-the-pan performance in game four, his teammates couldn't back him up.

Durant dominated the Cavs throughout the series and off his back, the Warriors cast aside the pretenders with ease.

What was billed as potentially the greatest finals series of modern times ended with a whimper, and potentially a new king ascending to the throne.

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