Holy toledo it’s March already! And there’s another bucketload of Aussie sport to get through!
AFL: AFLW Round 5 and JLT Business
Geelong (5.4-34) d. Brisbane Lions (1.3-9)
Well it appears that predicting women’s tennis is now easier than predicting women’s football.
You wouldn’t be able to guess which one of these two teams thumped the defending premiers at their own ground, and which one barely defeated Carlton.
Carlton (4.10-34) d. Collingwood (4.5-29) at Ikon Park
Imagine a multi-billion dollar sporting league telling two coaches 30 minutes before a game that they would be alternating a rule which could potentially impact the result of the game.
It pretty much turned into the only talking point from a game between the two great rivals that featured boiling evening temperatures, dodgy lighting that crapped itself at halftime, and Collingwood reminding everyone why they’re last by blowing a 2 goal lead in a low scoring game.
Melbourne (8.9-57) d. GWS (2.6-18) at Blacktown ISP
For the second time this season, Melbourne have backed up a tough loss by easily defeating their next opponent.
Other than that I haven’t got much- Outstanding scheduling by the AFL putting this on in the early afternoon while a JLT game was on, making sure nobody cared about it.
Adelaide (10.4-64) d. North Melbourne (4.5-29) at Avalon Airport Oval
The Crows must have been angry when I said last week that Melbourne and North were the two best teams on paper in the AFLW, because they made the league leaders look like a pack of second raters.
The Crows kicked 5 goals to 1 in the second half, and once again it was the familiar faces for the Crows that will feature in the best on ground- Eb Marinoff (22 disposals and 10 tackles), Chelsea Randall (23 disposals and 7 marks) and, drum roll please, Erin Phillips, with 23 disposals and 2 goals!
The Crows have flown over the Roos, and they look sp00ky!
Fremantle (8.4-52) d. Western Bulldogs (5.4-34) at Fremantle Oval
At the very least, Freo have secured their first ever winning season in the AFLW (So many congratulations there), and in the process they’ve all but smoked the Dogs’ chances of defending the premiership.
Kiara Bowers was a deadset freak- 23 disposals, 1.2, a mega 16 tackles, 9 clearance and as an added bonus- 6 free kicks her way. For people who still pay attention to fantasy scores, that amounts to 157.
It looks pretty simple now- If the Dockers win their last 2 games, they’ll play finals!
JT’s JLT Jaunt
I don’t have time to cover all the boring crap from the JLT, since as we all know pre-season form is a fair indicator of what will happen in the season proper.
- Essendon lost to the 18th placed team in 2018, so therefore they will finish 19th in 2019
- Lock in the Eagles for the flag
- I’ll give it a month before the coaches figure out the rule changes and everyone is playing defensive football again
- The Fox Footy commentators like explaining how these rule changes are common sense, while not using common sense and realising that the viewership understood them at least the second time they mentioned it.
- Sydney will struggle to make September after foolishly allowing star players like Gary Rohan and Nic Newman to leave
- Pencil in Brisbane for a Top 4 spot
- Melbourne have returned to being Melbourne
NRL: Law And Order
Play the theme music!
Friday was a huge day in League Land, with Todd Greenberg finally whipping out the Shotgun of Justice and firing with abandon at all the sex pests and rule breakers who have brought the game to heel since October.
Jack de Belin? STOOD DOWN. Dylan Walker? STOOD DOWN. Scott Bolton? 5 WEEK SUSPENSION. Zane Musgrove? NO REGISTRATION FOR YOU! COME BACK ONE YEAR!
Cronulla being over the cap? $750,000 DOLLAR FINE, GET $700,000 OFF YOUR CAP OVER THE NEXT TWO SEASONS AND CUT A PLAYER.
Wests breaching the cap? $375,000 FINE, AND HAVE $670,000 OFF YOUR CAP OVER THE NEXT TWO SEASONS WHILE YOU’RE AT IT.
And now there’s a leaked sex tape involving Panthers hooker Tyrone May.
The Shotgun is being reloaded as you read this.
ICYMI: The Charity Shield- Bunnies 36, Dragons 24
I figured out why they call it the Charity Shield.
Because the Dragons’ defence donates a load of tries to the Bunnies!
Racing: Hey look, it’s Winx
It was another big Saturday of racing, capped off by the Ken Callander ‘S’ Backing Guide scoring a perfect 4/4 for the first time ever!
But of course, the big highlight was Winx making it 31 wins in a row, and scoring her world record 23rd Group One victory by winning the Chipping Norton Stakes for the fourth time, equalling Guy Walter’s Tie The Knot, as she one again defeated Happy ‘Stuart MacGill’ Clapper.
But it was different to the Apollo, as Blake Shinn (Who rode three winners at Randwick) aboard the Clapper decided to try something different (And he should be praised for making it interesting) against the 6 Chris Waller runners and set a strong pace out in front, but in the end, it just looked like Black Caviar mowing down Hay List a few years ago.
Meanwhile at Flemington in the Australian Guineas, it was the end of one of the longest droughts in Australian racing. For the first time since 1886 (If records are to be believed), and for the first time since Group Racing came into effect in 1979, a Tassie-trained horse won a Group One race.
Adam Trinder’s filly Mystic Journey ($4.40), described as the Winx of Tasmania given her impressive 8 wins from 11 stars, blew away a very even Guineas field under the guidance of fellow Tasmanian Anthony Darmanin (Who did pick up a suspension for excessive whip use) , becoming just the fifth filly to win the 3YO classic in 32 years.
I suppose her name somewhat accurately describes the efforts of Tasmanian trainers to win a Group One.
Tennis- The Entertaining Saint Nicholas
There’s never a dull moment with Nick Kyrgios, be it good or bad, and this week in Mexico it was absolutely grand.
It all went back to Thursday when he took on Rafael Nadal, pulling out an underhand serve, playing on despite a bad back and saving 3 match points in the final set tiebreak to stun the Spaniard 3-6 7-6 7-6, who then used his post-match conference to, among praising his opponent’s play, gave a lecture about how Kyrgios doesn’t respect himself or anyone else.
This coming from the player who takes 5 minutes between service points for extra recovery, had umpires barred from officiating his matches when they dared to call him out on it, and mastered the exploitation of medical time-outs and bathroom breaks to kill momentum.
Rafa wouldn’t know irony if it was sitting on the end of his pecker, and if he wasn’t an all-time great of the sport, he’d be copping more crap than Nick on a regular basis.
And fun fact, underhand serving never has, and never will be, against the rules of the game.
Kyrgios then had another epic three-setter against Stan Wawrinka in the ‘Kokkinakis Cup’ and came out on top 6-4 in the deciding set, and then survived three tiebreaks in the semi-final against World No.9 John Isner, which is more physically painful than being stretched on one of those medieval racks for a few hours. Just ask Nicolas Mahut.
Despite playing 9 hours of high quality tennis in just three nights, Kyrgios saved his best performance of the week for his great contemporary and World No.3 Alexander Zverev in the final, winning 6-3 6-4.
This week, Nick took out the Top Two seeds, beat another Top 10 player, a three-time major winner and a hostile Mexican crowd to win the Acapulco title.
Of course as per the Circle of Nick, I’m expecting him to put in a crap one and lose first round at Indian Wells next week.
A-League: The HMAS Victory is sinking
Just the three games this weekend, but they all involved the Top 3 teams!
Sydney FC 2, Adelaide United 0 at Leichhardt
Sydney have cemented second spot after their 2-nil win against United at home, although Adelaide’s backline wasn’t the only thing struggling to keep the Sydneysiders at bay- A fence collapsed as Sky Blues fans celebrated their sealing goal, causing minor injuries to a security guard.
Melbourne Victory 0, Newcastle 2 at GMHBA Stadium
The Victory’s chances of winning the Premiers Plate grow smaller by the week after they were stunned 2-nil by the Jets in Geelong.
The Vics have now gone 4 games without a win and are now 4 points behind Sydney FC in 2nd. My heart weeps for them and their suffering fanbase.
As for the Jets, they’ve now gone 5 games unbeaten and close to within 2 points of the Phoenix.
Also, check out this worldie by Dimi Petratos to seal it!
Melbourne City 2, Perth Glory 2 at AAMI Park
Last week it was the Glory being denied 3 points in the dying minutes, and this week they’ve stolen a point in the dying seconds to keep their unbeaten away record alive thanks to 2 goals in the last 6 minutes, including a banger from DIEGO CASTROOOOOO!
Expect the head of black bull to be served to Warren Joyce for dinner tonight.
Super Rugby- With a Rebel yell
The Brumbies started the weekend by flying over to Palmerston North as they were out to make it back to back victories against the Kiwis- and they were promptly handed a physical beatdown by the Hurricanes, 43 to 13.
Seriously, when Dane Coles is doing this, you know you’re screwed with a capital F.
The Rebels managed to uphold what little honour Australian rugby has by pulling off a defensive stand to defeat the Highlanders 24 to 19 in Melbourne.
Shannon Frizell crashed over the line in the 79th minute and looked like he’d scored the winning try, but the TMO showed he’d knocked on, and the Rebels saw out the clock to stay perfect at 2-0.
And to finish off, the Reds became the latest team to be ransacked by the Crusaders, as the champions decimated the Queenslanders at the breakdown to win 22-12, and make it 18 wins in a row.
Another week, another mixed bag.
NBL Finals- United against the Cats
For the 7th time this decade, the Wildcats will feature in the NBL Finals after their sweep of the Bullets, and they’ll have home court to make it even more difficult for their opponents, Melbourne United.
United and Chris Goulding + Casper Ware proved too for the Sydney Kings and Andrew Bogut 90-76, to also complete a series sweep, but in what is a healthy sign for the NBL, the crowd was 14,769- The best crowd in over 20 years.
This series could be even better than last year’s United-36ers series that went the distance, and as per usual, I’ll be giving my worthless opinion by next Thursday, before the Series begins on Friday night.
Cricket- Australia wins and Australia loses
Australia or should I say Glenn Maxwell, may have surprised us all by sweeping the T20 Series, but we’re quite literally worse than Bangladesh in the 50-over format, and they could only set 237 in the first ODI in Hyderabad, which MS Dhoni once again laughed at and waited until the 49th over to humanely euthanise the Aussie bowlers.
Setting anything less than 350 against India is asking for pain.
Meanwhile in better news, the Southern Stars completed a clean sweep of New Zealand in the 3rd ODI at the Junction Oval, scoring a fairly dominant 7 wicket victory as they chased down 231 with 2 overs to go.
Also, the Shield is back on again, so I’ll have an update by midweek.
Cycling- Turns out we’re fast again
Australia are putting on a deadset show the Track World Championships in Poland, winning 8 medals including 5 gold.
The big highlight was the men’s team pursuit smashing their own world record from the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, beating the Poms to defend their world title by a comfortable 2.7 seconds.
Sam Welsford added a second gold by winning the men’s scratch.
The women’s team pursuit also won gold, defeating the Poms by 1.8 seconds this time, while Ashlee Ankudinoff also won gold in the individual pursuit, and Kaarle McCulloch and Steph Morton won the team sprint.
If this was in Tokyo I’d be at half mast right now, but alas, it’s just some town in Poland I’d only heard about on Friday.
Motorsport- The Horse Has Bolted
The Mustang is officially back in the ATCC, and the Triple Eight led Commodores are already filling their dacks.
DJR Penske’s Fabian Coulthard took the first pole, and his teammate and defending champion Scott McLaughlin kicked off where he finished 2018 by taking the lead into the first turn, and then bolting away to win Race One , as the Mustangs filled 4 of the Top 6 places (Jamie Whincup and Shane Van Gisbergen were 2nd and 3rd).
It was the first win for the Mustang in the ATCC since Dick Johnson won a race at the non-championship Australian Grand Prix in 1985, and apparently it the first championship race win for the Mustang since Allan Moffat won at Oran Park in 1972.
Then on Sunday, McLaughlin dominated qualifying to start from pole, and completed a clean sweep of the streets of Adelaide, as Cam Waters made it a Mustang 1-2 by holding off Van Gisbergen.
Meanwhile, Tickford showed the sort of car release that can get you on the monthly Aussie Dash Cam Owners Compilation.
Who’s gonna ride your wild horses? Turns out Scotty McLaughlin can.
Thanks once again, and as Danny Nikolic once said, keep your eyes on the road.