The curious case of Neil Robertson

Is there a more inconsistent sportsman than The Thunder From Down Under right now?

The curious case of Neil Robertson
There has not been enough celebrating for Robertson this season. (Photo: Getty Images)

With 19 titles and over 450 century breaks, there is no doubting that 34-year-old Neil Robertson is one of the best snooker players of his generation.

Third on the prize money based season rankings and second only to Ronnie O'Sullivan with two titles this year, you may wonder where the problem lies. The Aussie, who now resides in Cambridge, has been knocked out of six competitions in the opening round this season, far more than any other top 10 player.

A summer hangover subsides into a fruitful winter

Robertson could not have wished for a more difficult start to the season as he lost three of his first four matches. First round defeats in the Australian Open, Shanghai Masters and Ruhr Open to Matthew Selt, Jamie Cope and James Cahill respectively hardly set the world alight.

However, he did begin to recover some form in the International Championship, where he reached the quarter-finals before losing out to Mark Selby in a high quality match full of century breaks.

That performance seemed to develop his confidence as he finally began to show his class in the minor ranking Champion of Champions tournament. Three victories, including the highest break of the tournament in the semi-final, set up a meeting with Mark Allen who he comfortably disposed of 10-5 to win his first crown for almost a year.

Robertson continued that form into the UK Championship, winning seven matches on his way to a second consecutive title. Highlights included a 6-0 victory against Selby and a maximum break in the final against Liang Wenbo, the first of it's kind in a Triple Crown final. Robertson dropped just 18 frames from 64 played as he found himself on an 11-game winning streak.

It's been an indifferent season for Robertson. (Photo: Yahoo Sports)
It's been an indifferent season for Robertson. (Photo: Yahoo Sports)

The dark months of winter

Yet the UK Championship success soon proved to be a poisoned chalice as 2015 drew to a close. Robertson was stunned by amateur Ashley Hugill as he failed to qualify for the German Masters, before being knocked out by Judd Trump in the Masters after just two rounds. The Championship League proved to be a mixed bag for Robertson, as he won four and lost three before Selby eventually put him out in the knockout stage.

February offered a resurrection for the experienced campaigner as he regained his composure at the Welsh Open. An excellent run saw him reach the final against O'Sullivan where he found himself 5-2 up. Yet, almost as if it was a summary of his season, Robertson's dark side reappeared as he lost seven consecutive frames and gave up an opportunity to win his third title of the season.

Since then, Robertson has been stunned in the opening rounds of both the World Grand Prix and China Open, losing to Peter Ebdon and Noppon Saengkham respectively.

With 27 wins from 40 matches this season, will there be another twist in the tale with the season finale World Championships in April?