Christmas is a time of giving, sharing, loving and living, but it’s also a time to sit back, eat too much, crack a beer and breathe in a good variety of local and international sport and racing.
The arrival of Christmas also means Santa is but a few nights away from completing his rounds and that got us thinking – Which sports stars have stood up for what is right in 2015 and who can expect a lump of coal in their stocking on Friday morning?
FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s reign of corruption officially drew to a close when he and President of UEFA Michael Platini were banned from world football for a minimum of eight years this last week. Following close to two decades of dodgy dealings it appears unlikely Blatter will ever work his way back onto the nice list.
Undoubtedly the world’s best ever sprinter, Usain Bolt has continued to go from strength to strength since the 2008 Olympics but one cameraman clearly took exception to the Jamaican’s time in the spotlight upon returning to Beijing for this year’s World Championships.
The rebranding of the NBL has led to a lift in interest this season but one fan’s naughty stunt only a few weeks ago undoubtedly spiked the attention of the public more than any basketball did.
Jason Day broke through for his first major win in 2015 but thanks to the actions of a naughty Cleveland Cavaliers forward, his wife Ellie arguably made bigger, world-wide headlines.
Dawn Fraser is renowned as one of Australia’s best ever freestylers, but what might have slipped under the radar at the 1956 Olympics got her right up the pointy end of the naughty list in 2015.
Bulldogs enforcer David Klemmer had his best season to date in 2015, but probably won’t be finding a puppy under the tree on Friday morning following his Round 5 tirade. You’re off your face mate!
There have been plenty of reasons why Diego Costa finds himself in hot water with Santa this year, but perhaps none more than his treatment of the Arsenal defending line.
2015 is simply the reason Nick Kyrgios finds himself on the naughty list this Christmas.
Conor McGregor delivered Jose Aldo a demoralising knock out a fortnight ago, but his year of lead-up chat could not possibly have seen him onto the nice list.
West Indian cricket playboy Chris Gayle allowed his party boy demeanour to flourish in 2015 and is far-too uncensored to have figured anywhere but the naughty list.
Novak Djokovic was known for his fiery demeanour when he burst onto the world tennis scene but further to it being his best year on tour so far, 2015 undoubtedly saw the popular Serb peak in ‘good guy’ status.
Further to being the undisputed best player in the world, future Rugby League immortal Johnathan Thurston only continued to gain admirers in 2015 and is sure to absolutely clean up following Santa’s visit.
Sonny Bill Williams
Sonny Bill Williams is one athlete everyone has had an opinion of, but since the dust settled on his infamous departure from the Bulldogs the once-in-a-generation talent has become of the world sport’s top blokes, and is sure to receive his first pick of presents following his efforts at the 2015 World Cup.
All-round good guy Jason Day finally conquered his nerves to win the PGA Championship in 2015 and his handling of last week’s incident involving his wife and LeBron James only placed another present under the tree.
Michael Cheika’s rise to prominence in the Australian rugby system throughout the last few years has also seen him skyrocket up the nice list; peaking when he led the Wallabies to a crushing defeat of England at the 2015 World Cup.
Plenty of football fans pot Portuguese maestro Cristiano Ronaldo simply because he’s the world’s best player, but pushing egos aside there probably isn’t a more deserving person to appear on Santa’s nice list.
Nat Fyfe is another athlete who not only found career-best form in 2015, he also broke into the mainstream as a genuinely well-spoken, well-mannered bloke who is a credit to the Australian sporting landscape.
Manny Pacquiao may have been on the losing end of the Fight Of The Century earlier this year but perhaps even just for the personality or lack thereof exhibited by Floyd Mayweather, the Pac-Man will certainly enjoy a fruitful Christmas on Friday. He was even nice enough to let Jimmy Kimmel into his entourage.
Michelle Payne became a household name when the talented jockey partnered rank outsider Prince Of Penzance to glory in the 2015 Melbourne Cup, and in the weeks that followed it became clear there was not a more deserving winner and record breaker.