As the year draws to a close, it’s time to take stock: Peter FitzSimons


Japanese rugby

Buy, big. They were the revelation of the Rugby World Cup, with more than half the entire Japanese population watching their every game. They finished it not only national heroes, but international rugby heroes. In their quarter-final against South Africa – the eventual winners – they easily held their own in the first half, and have now conclusively demonstrated they really can mix it with the very best. Over the next four years, expect more resources, expertise, manpower and national pride to be poured into them. Their chart is rising as steeply as The Skillion at Terrigal, and by the Rugby World Cup in 2023 my money says they will make the semi-finals, at least. (They will just have to learn to live with that prediction, and triumph despite of it.)

AFLW

Buy. Women’s Aussie Rules, and women’s sport in general will continue to rise, and provide ever bigger returns to investors.

Sonny Bill Williams

Sell! And sell NOW. How a 34-year-old snared a $10 million contract from a rugby league club in Toronto is the second biggest mystery after how rugby league started in Toronto in the first place. Good luck to Williams, it is a fabulous finish to an extraordinary career. But the point remains, we must be guided by value compared to price, and make our investment moves accordingly, and there is no way known that club will get more than $10 million back on him. So if ever there was a time to cash in your Sonny Bill shares and walk away much richer than when you bought them, it is this very moment.

SBW had daughter Imaan by his side after he played his last game of rugby before joining the Toronto Wolfpack.Credit:Getty

Tongan rugby league team

Buy. Their victory over the Kangaroos last Saturday night means they have now beaten Great Britain, New Zealand and Australia in the last two years. It means the whole idea of the “Rugby League World Cup” is marginally less farcical than usual, and there is another genuine contender to win it, together with the usual Mickey Mouse outfits just there to make up the numbers, while the commentators put on their game faces to try and take it all seriously.

Australian cricket

Sell, at least in the short term. I am not sure who is coming here this summer and neither are you – and that is the point. It means that it can’t be England or India, which are really the only teams opposing our lot that can capture the wider public imagination. And there is the fact that these days there are so many forms of cricket that it is hard to keep track – meaning it becomes the video wallpaper of summer, rather than something you actually follow.

Ash Barty capped an incredible season with a big win at the WTA finals in Shenzhen.

Ash Barty capped an incredible season with a big win at the WTA finals in Shenzhen.Credit:Getty Images

Ash Barty and tennis

Buy more. She’s the one, and the sport will rise with her. The No.1 female player in the world, she is also refreshingly down to earth, engaging, and as Australian as Uluru. No matter that those of you wise enough to buy #BartyParty speccy shares have already got your money back 20 times over – “Our Ash” gives the impression that she has only just begun what will be an amazing journey, with lots of summits ahead.

Horse racing

Sell, at whatever price you can get. More than 700,000 TV viewers disappeared from the Melbourne Cup from just last year to this year, as a growing number of Australians simply said #NupToTheCup. Many of those who turned away did so because they saw the ABC’s The 7.30 Report on the barbarous treatment of the slow horses, slaughtered at the abattoir, but the problems go much deeper than just that. Overall, we are moving into an era where the very idea of racing animals for our pleasure turns huge numbers of people off, and now that it is legitimate to say it out loud, many are shouting it. Just this week, the iconic Dapto Dogs announced it was closing down – essentially because the times have passed it by. Watch this space. Yes, there will be a lot of squawking and flying feathers, but the downward trend is strong and I repeat, sell.

Until next year . . .

I hope!

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