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11 Brilliant Sports Photos That Broke All The Rules This Year

We've all seen plenty of great sporting pics in 2018 that capture skill, precision and action. These are a little different.

These pictures are not your classic action shots. These are about the very essence of sport. About the way sport makes us feel.

Let's start with an image from the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. As you may recall, England upset Australia to win the netball gold medal. Not a good moment for Australia. But a GREAT moment for international netball.

And this pic said it all. Helen Housby of England clasps her hands over her mouth in shock. Kim Ravaillion of Australia clenches her skirt and stares into the middle distance in utter disbelief.

It really does paint a thousand words.

And speaking of a picture painting a thousand words, nothing spoke more to the sorrow of Australian Steve Smith as he spoke to the media in the wake of the ball-tampering scandal than this. His captaincy and dignity stripped.

Again, this year's best cricket shot did not feature a bat, ball or pitch. It was all about raw human emotion.

READ MORE: Our live "good areas" coverage of day three of Australia India Test in Perth.

This next one is a cracker. Again, there are no balls or racquets.

As we wrote back in September as Serena Williams lost the US Open final to Japan's Naomi Osaka, she blew up during the game, and by so doing, also blew up an enormous amount of the public goodwill she’s earned over the years.

Others saw it differently. They saw Williams as the victim of sexist umpiring.

No matter what your view, there's no doubt that Williams' facial expression at the trophy presentation is about much more than disappointment at losing a tennis match. And Osaka's face shows less than the joy she deserved.

Back in July just after the FIFA World Cup, 10 daily ran a great story by our video editor Wade Shipard on photographer Rob Cianflone's 15-year quest to get the perfect Tim Cahill shot.

He finally got it.

And when he did, it was not one of Cahill's signature goals. It was a touching moment -- literally -- after Cahill's final World Cup match, as the Aussie legend touched the goals as if to say "thanks for the memories".

Here's another great World Cup image. It's a man in a waistcoat, which is not normally the key ingredient for a great sports shot.

But the man is England manager Gareth Southgate -- who has just propelled his team to the semi-finals for the first time in 28 years (where they lost to eventual runners-up Croatia) -- and this was an emblematic image of one of the year's most feelgood sporting stories.

Speaking of feelgood, how amazing was it when the two Koreas, North and South, marched together at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening and closing ceremonies.

Goosebumps. And not just because of the cold.

We love this  next image. It's Dom Sheed, the 23-year-old West Coast Eagle who has just kicked what will turn out to be the winning goal in the AFL Grand Final.

Ask yourself what happens after a moment like this. A player is mobbed, that's what. And in footy, in addition to the 36 players on field there are always runners, umpires and assorted people all over the place.

But in one frozen moment, Sheed is alone. It seems like you can see half the MCG in the background. But there's just Dom Sheed. Magic.

The Melbourne Storm. On the plane. Off to Sydney to fight the Billy Slater shoulder charge. Precision. Hard work. Meticulousness. As we wrote in this story:

"Anyone who knows the first thing about rugby league will recognise that the photo captures the very essence of the Storm's success, which you could concisely summarise in five words:

Preparation, preparation, preparation, preparation and preparation."

Love that plane pic. And this one too, which also is a Melbourne thing.

In late November, Melbourne held an event called the World Cup of Golf. The weather was what you'd expect in mid-winter, because of course it was.

This photo shows Englishman Ian Poulter and his caddie. We love how the wind is so strong, he doesn't even need to hold the umbrella up with his hands. But mostly, we love the look on his caddie's face. Pure, miserable misery.

Nazare, Portugal. Home of the world's biggest waves. A surfer.

You know what makes this shot cool? It's the line of the surfboard's wake. Just a line. You can barely even really make out the surfer, who for the record is German big wave surfer Sebastian Steudtner.

It's not often that geometry provides a stronger illustration of human endeavour than an actual human. But it does here.

We're going to finish this list with another pic of Helen Housby and the England team after THAT netball final. Because we just love everything about that match.

The blue tongue? No, she's not a lizard in disguise. As Housby told this reporter earlier this year, she'd just had a blue sports drink!

Contact the author asharwood@networkten.com.au

Featured image: Getty Images