However there was one player who clearly stood out from the field. GM Zong Yuan Zhao started the year by score 2 more GM norms to earn the title in the space of a spectacular 2 months. Returning home to Australia he finished equal first in the Sydney International Open (another GM performance), before heading to Brazil to finish equal 1st in a GM round robin. He then played board 1 for Australia at the Dresden Olympiad and finished with a 2600+ performance rating. And all this while still a full time University student!
So for these outstanding results this year, Zong Yuan Zhao is the Chessexpress 2008 Australian Player of the Year.
(**Edit: I've dropped the extra 'h' in his name)