Another jam packed weekend of Australia sport, as the circus reaches the intersection of summer sports ending and the autumn and winter sports beginning. Time to dig in!
Cricket: The Miracle at Marvel, The Docklands Disaster- Take your pick, the Renegades win the BBL!
Let’s just say that the Big Bash Final won’t be forgotten for a long long time, but the tournament itself was a long, drawn out shitheap.
The Renegades were at 5-65, their top order ripped to pieces, before scampering through to 145, which looked easy as piss for the Stars batting attack, who eased their way to 0/93, needing a mere 53 to win from 42 balls with the ‘Big Rig’ Marcus Stoinis and Ben Dunk clobbering away….
BEFORE LOSING 7 FOR 19 FROM 30 BLOODY DELIVERIES.
Surely that’s got to rank as one of the greatest chokes in the history of cricket, alongside that time Alan Donald decided running was optional in the 1999 World Cup Semi-Final, or the last time Pakistan played (Coincidentally, all those chokers wear green).
Poor old Eddie McGuire, if it isn’t Collingwood blowing a 5 goal lead in a Grand Final, it’s the Stars losing the unlosable Big Bash Final. You can’t help but chuckle.
TIDBIT: The Stars scored 2 boundaries in the last 42 balls- They were both hit by Adam Zampa in the last over after the Renegades were safely home.
“Aaron Finch, who crawled through a river of shit and came out clean on the other side. Aaron Finch, headed for the Pacific.”
The AFL-W Wrap Up: Holy lord Conference A is gonna be a bloodbath
North Melbourne (8.5-53) d. Western Bulldogs (3.4-22)– 3 games into the season and the Kangas are looking very good, and unlike the Hurricanes, they managed to win in Tasmania this week. They’ve also unearthed another good forward in Courteney Munn, who kicked 4 goals on debut and outscored the defending premiers. Menacing!
Carlton (10.5-65) d. GWS (5.6-36). The Blues hadn’t won since Round 1 of last season (Around about the same time their men’s team last won a game), but they broke the drought in fine style in Blacktown. Blues star Tayla Harris is ranked 5th in the WBA’s Middleweight rankings, and proved it by beating the living crap out of the Giants, racking up 6 marks, kicking 3 goals and ironing out Pepa Randall, while Rising Star Maddy Prespakis was an easy choice for BOG, with 21 disposals and 3 goals. Highlighting how shit Conference B is, the Blues are now on top.
Fremantle (7.9-51) d. Collingwood (2.6-18). Back on the subject of undefeated teams, the Dockers kept their great start to 2019 going with an easy win over the Pies, who were once again goalless in the first half. Trent Cooper has made the seamless transition from WA Trotting form expert to AFL-W savant (Josh Jenkins is halfway there as well), with the Dockers racking up at least 50 points in each of their wins. The war for Conference A is on!
Adelaide (10.6-66) d. Geelong (6.1-37). The euphoria of winning their first ever game by a point has well and truly worn off down in Sleepy Hollow, after the Crows put on another high scoring display to win pretty comfortably at Norwood. Ebony Marinoff had a team record 34 disposals and Erin Phillips had 19 disposals and kicked 3 goals.
Melbourne (9.6-60) d. Brisbane (3.3-21). Another game where the winners dominated with a high score, led by Aliesha Newman with 3 goals and Karen Paxman with 24 disposals and a goal, the Dees discombobulated the Lions with a barnstorming 2nd quarter- 5.4 to nothing. zilch. love. Don Bradman’s last innings. nul. nada. zero score. That alone would have won them the game and boosted their percentage.
3 weeks in and Conference A has every team on at least 2 wins, while Carlton and Geelong are leading Conference B at 1-2 with a percentage below 90. One of these things is not like the other one!
The Racing Wrap-Up: Happy 30th Winxy!
15,000 people rocked up to Randwick to see the Winx Farewell Train begin its last journey in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes, and the wonder mare did as she always does, coasting along under Hughie Bowman to make it 30 straight wins and 3 wins in the Apollo. Happy Clapper once again confirmed his status as the Stuart MacGill of Australian racing, running for the 9th time against the world’s best horse, and finishing runner-up for the 4th time.
Meanwhile at Flemington, the Black Caviar Lightning was taken out by the Kris Lees trained mare In Her Time ($5.30) with Corey Brown aboard, holding off a fast finishing Osbourne Bulls ($2.40 place) denying leading jockey Craig Williams 4 winners on the card.
James Cummings and Godolphin also managed to pluck out more two-year old winners, as Tenley ($11) streaked away with the Pierro Plate at Randwick, and Microphone ($3.50 Fav) did likewise in the Talindert Stakes at Flemington. The Sheikh is sitting in his palace waiting for the Golden Slipper.
In other news, the Gary Harley Favourite Backing Guide went 2/4 thanks to Winx and Table of Wisdom ($1.95 fav), who took out the time-honoured Kangaroo Island Cup, with a second place from Diplomatico at Randwick. Unfortunately, the scratching of Neurological threw a spanner in the works, and my replacement Celebrity Dream was never in the Cyril Flower Stakes. I should have taken Creative Hero, and then watched as the TABTouch fixed odds shut down for the whole weekend.
Sydney FC 4, Perth Glory 2 in W-League Grand Final
While Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord were expected to be the headline acts in the W-League decider at Jubilee Oval, it was Sydney’s American import Savannah McCaskill that stole the show with a brace. McCaskill by name, McCaskill by nature.
Sofia Huerta opened the scoring for the hosts in the 6th minute with a 32 yard belter, but Kerr equalised from the spot, until just before half-time, McCaskill’s fired in a looping header from a cross, which sailed over Eliza Campbell’s head and gave Sydney the lead once again. McCaskill popped up again on the hour mark to make it 3-1, but Alyssa Mautz gave the Glory a fighting chance in the 68th minute, which was short lived, as Chloe Logarzo finished things off 2 minutes later.
Grand Final pain has become all too familiar for the Glory, losing their 3rd W-League title decider in the last 5 seasons (2014, 2017).
The Sky Blues now join their A-League counterparts as three-time league champions, having previously won in 2009 and 2013.
The A-League: Week 19
The Victory have once again dropped ground to Perth after being forced to settle for a 1-all draw against the Wellington Phoenix at Eden Park. Later that evening, Newcastle backed up from qualifying for the Asian Champions League by scoring twice in 5 minutes to put away Melbourne City 3-1. City had 67% of the ball, and they looked as threatening as a burglar with a spoon.
On Saturday, the Wanderers made it back to back wins, knocking off Adelaide United 3-1 on the road, while in the evening, the ladder leading Glory just kept rolling along, pumping the struggling Brisbane Roar 4-0, with a brace from Andy Keogh seeing them go 9 points clear on top.
I guess the Roar came to Perth 4-nothing.
Sydney took on the Central Coast at Leichardt to close off the weekend and had the chance to jump the Victory into 2nd, but inexplicably went behind 1-0 after 36 minutes when Aiden O’Neill fired in a shot that snuck past Redmayne thanks . The Sky Blues dominated general play (69% possession and 22 shots to 5), but only drew level after Adam Le Fondre scored a penalty in the 76th minute (Brosque went down like a cheap date). The Mariners have thrown away a few leads, but they dug deep and held on for a hard-earned point.
In the end, the only team to really gain anything this weekend, yet again, was Perth, who draw closer and closer to the Premier’s Plate!
Super Rugby: Hey look, the Aussies lost again
Super Rugby is back again in a World Cup year, and the countdown is on to find out which Australian team will have the honour of being the Satanic sacrifice to the Crusaders or Highlanders or whichever Kiwi teams make the playoffs.
Former Wallabies punching bag Quade Cooper made his debut for the Rebels against the Brumbies in our nation’s capital on Friday, once again teaming up with his former Reds teammate Will Genia in the halves (Once upon a time they won a title together!) to lead the Melbournians to a comeback 34-27 win, and to make matters worse for the hosts, David Pocock lasted 5 minutes before getting elbowed and failing a concusion test.
In front of a packed Brookvale Oval crowd, the Waratahs looked set to do the impossible and actually beat the Hurricanes, leading 19-10 with half-an-hour to play, but the Kiwis took the lead on a converted try in the 75th minute. Bernard Foley, who nailed 5/5 kicks (And broke Matt Burke’s team scoring record), had a shot from 30m out nearly in front to put the ‘Tahs in front with a minute to go, but his kick stayed left, adding another chapter to the fabled book of times Australian rugby has had its heart torn out by the sheep shaggers.
And also, congratulations to Wellington on being the only Hurricanes to win in Australia this week!
The NBL & WNBL Grand Final: Top Cats get it done, the Capitals win the WNBL
After a very even regular season, The Perth Wildcats put one hand on the minor premiership on Friday following Melbourne’s epic loss to the wooden spoon winning Cairns Taipans and their comeback win over the Adelaide 36ers 93-85 on Friday evening. Sydney did what Melbourne couldn’t and beat the Taipans 89-84 to temporarily move to 2nd on Saturday, and Brisbane then displaced the 36ers for the last finals spot following their 84-78 win against the Breakers on Saturday evening.
The Cats then played United in the last regular season game, and only had to stay within 32 points of the hosts to secure the minor premiership, while United needed to win to secure home court for a series against the Kings. The Cats only lost by 11, but they screwed the Kings over in the process, so that was a positive.
Meanwhile, Canberra usually restricts crapping on Adelaide to the floors of Parliament, but they’ve decided to branch out and do it in women’s basketball, as the Canberra Capitals took out the Adelaide Lightning 93-73 in the decisive Game 3 of the WNBL Grand Final Series. Fittingly, it was captain Kelsey Griffin that did the damage, with 29 points and 15 rebounds to average a lazy 25/16 for the series, earning the series MVP award.
Phrase: The ‘Stuart MacGill’ of _________:
DEFINITION: Someone who is outstanding at what they do, yet happens to do it at the same time as an all-time great of the game.
IN A SENTENCE: Stuart MacGill was the Stuart MacGill of Australian cricket, due to playing in the same era as Warnie.