We’ve passed the halfway point of March, the rugby league has finally moved from the court of law to the field of play, the Grand Prix has come and gone, the AFL season is just a few days away, so time to go over what’s happened this weekend.
NRL: Round 1
Here are my incredibly short and concise reports for each match.
Storm 22 defeated Broncos 12 @ AAMI Park
Death, taxes and Melbourne winning in Round One. Billy the Kid may have been dealt with by Sheriff Cronk, but ‘Mr Methuselah’ Cam Smith is steamrolling towards a record 400 games.
Dread it. Run from it. Destiny still arives.
Knights 14 defeated Sharks 8 @ McDonald Jones Stadium
It wasn’t Mitchell Pearce or Kalyn Ponga who got the Novocastrians off to a winning start in 2019, but a former Shark, ‘Electric’ Edric Lee, who had saved 3 tries, became a villain after giving away a penalty try in the 72nd minute for taking out Sione Katoa, before redeeming himself in style 3 minutes later, pouncing on a loose Chad Townshend pass to score the game-winning 85 metre intercept try.
It was also the Knights’ first win against Cronulla in 8 previous attempts… Must have been funny for their fans seeing Paul Gallen commit the game-ending knock on.
Rabbitohs 26 defeated Roosters 16 @ The SCG
Warriors 40 defeated Bulldogs 6 @ Mt Smart Stadium
It was a nice touch by the Warriors to give fans free entry to Mt Smart on Saturday afternoon, after the darkest event in the history of the country.
It was always going to be an emotional afternoon in Auckland, and the Warriors harnessed it with superb touch, recording their biggest win ever against the hapless Doggies (Previous was 26 points in the 2003 finals).
Shaun Johnson may have ventured across the Tasman, but Adam Keighran made a big impression on his NRL debut, scoring a try and finishing up 6/7 in front of the sticks.
One of these two teams looked like a wooden spoon candidate, and it wasn’t the Kiwis.
Tigers 20 defeated Sea Eagles 6 @ Leichhardt
Peter Beattie was on hand to witness the the Tigers roar in the 2nd half in the driving rain, led by a vintage performance from Farah and Marshall in the halves, and he even gave a shout out to legendary Tigers fan Laurie Nichols on Twitter, saying that he was glad to see Laurie is going well!
Only problem is, Beattie sadly didn’t realise that Nicholls died in 2000, and that the account was a tribute, which led to Beattie copping a barrage of abuse and deleting his account.
Another senseless victim of the brutal NRL Twittersphere.
Cowboys 24 defeated Dragons 12 @ 1300 Smiles Stadium
Tyson Frizell usually busts a nut out on the field for the Dragons every weekend, but on Saturday he went one step beyond that, and LITERALLY busted one his nuts.
It was pretty symbolic of the Dragons’ plight in North Queensland, as Cowboys beast Jason Taumalolo assumed the mantle of the team’s champion ‘JT’, smashing the Dragons defence with 286 metres gained on just 21 runs, which included an epic 40m burst late in the game, which set up a relatively simple try for Te Maire Martin in the 68th minute.
Eels 20 defeated Panthers 12 @ Panthers Stadium
Unfortunately, a sex tape and an impending report on Sunday Night was the least of the Panthers’ problems against their Western Sydney rivals, with former Panther Michael Jennings going from being sent to the bin with the Eels up 14-nil, giving the Panthers enough momentum to close to 14-12, before returning to seal the 2 points for the underdogs with a try in the 77th minute, set up by a solid pass from debutant Dylan Brown.
Raiders 21 defeated Titans 0 @ Cbus Super Stadium.
This was already due to be one to forget sitting in the 6pm/7pm timeslot on Pay TV, and the pouring rain that hit Robina turned it into a swamp, just to top off the boredom.
Fortunately, people in green seem to like swamps, so the Raiders absolutely loved it and kept the Tits scoreless, their first shutout of a team since 2013.
AFLW Round 7: Mrs Livingstone, tear down these conferences!
GWS (6.5-41) d. Geelong (1.4-10) @ Manuka Oval
The Giants ended their season and a winning note by skinning the Cats in Canberra, who kicked just 3 goals in the last 2 games of the H&A season. Sure, one was against a finals team in Fremantle, but GWS had 1 win for the season…. and yet they’re still playing in a finals game next weekend, which shouldn’t be an indictment on the Cats, it should be an indictment on the AFL for trying to make a conference system in a 10-team league.
The flip side to this means a positive start for footy fans in 2019…. Collingwood have racked up their first wooden spoon in an AFL competition since 1999!
Adelaide (10.8-68) d. Melbourne (1.2-8) @ Casey
The Demons had one goal in mind before the game… and that’s what they achieved during the game.
If the Crows don’t win the flag, it’ll be because of yet another divine act of cruelty against the state of South Australia.
Fremantle (7.10-52) defeated North Melbourne (4.1-25) @ Fremantle Oval
It was effectively an Elimination Final at Fremantle Oval, with the winner guaranteed 2nd place in Conference A, and Trent Cooper’s revival of the Dockers took yet another giant stride, as they knocked off the in-form Roos to finish with an impressive 6-1 record, only missing top spot due to Adelaide’s extra 71.7%.
Of course, what’s their reward? A final against Carlton… In Melbourne.
As for North, I’ll deal with that below, because they’ve ended up the victims of the league’s continued stupidity.
Collingwood (3.7-25) defeated Brisbane (2.7-19) @ Victoria Park
In 1999, Collingwood ‘won’ the wooden spoon, and their last game of the season was against the Brisbane Lions at Victoria Park (The last AFL game in football’s Mordor).
20 years later in the AFLW, Collingwood ‘won’ the wooden spoon, and played their last game of the season against the Brisbane Lions at Victoria Park… except this time the Magpies won, and derailed Brisbane’s finals chances.
Carlton (6.5-41) defeated Western Bulldogs (5.8-38) @ Whitten Oval
The final game of the Home & Away season was the annual edition of the Pride Game, and the Blues and Dogs saved the most dramatic finish right for the end.
The Blues were already secured of top spot in Conference B, and in somewhat of a shock kicked 5 goals to 0.7 against the hosts, and it was pretty much the same difference at 3/4 time, but the Daughters of the West nearly pulled off a ridiculous comeback, kicking 3 goals in the opening six minutes to come within 9 points, but a goal by Chloe ‘Royal’ Dalton with 5 minutes ended being the game winner, as the Dogs kicked 2 more goals in the last 90 seconds to fall painfully short.
The Blues have ended the season as the only team from Conference B with a winning record (4-3), while Conference B went 2-13 against Conference A during the season…. with both wins coming against the Doggies (Brisbane being the other).
This North Melbourne team should be living proof to Gil McLachlan and Nicole Livingstone that the conference system has gone down like a wet fart.
The Roos had a record of 5-2, and a percentage of 123.1% (That would’ve been good for a Grand Final berth last year)… yet the Cats, with a 3-4 record and a percentage of 65.5% (The WORST in the league) are going to be playing next weekend… but the trade-off is that they will be the Satanic sacrifice for the Crows.
One month ago, Mrs Livingstone commented on the huge gap in the conferences, saying that, “If this was the last round I would say ‘yes’ — but it’s not the last round.”
Dammit, why couldn’t someone have asked her this on Q&A last Monday?
A-League Round 22
Perth Glory 2, Adelaide 0 @ Hindmarsh Stadium
A superb week for Perth sport was kickstarted by the Glory keeping their unbeaten road record alive by grinding the Reds into dust, with Castro and Keogh doing the damage.
The Premiers Plate isn’t in Perth just yet, but it’s getting closer.
Central Coast 3, Newcastle 2 @ McDonald Jones Stadium
Knifed Matildas coach Alen Stajcic has performed a dead-set miracle getting this hapless Mariners team to win the F3 Derby. Although if the Mariners are hapless, the Jets are… worse than hapless.
Of course the win wasn’t secured until the sort of incident which has come to epitomise the A-League to the international viewership.
The Jets earned a penalty during injury time, which was taken by Roy O’Donovan but saved by Ben Kennedy, only to be thumped in by Daniel Georgievski.. but the VAR ordered a re-take due to the Jets encroaching.
O’Donovan took it again, and Kennedy saved it again, and once again sealed a rare win.
Our league is truly one of a kind.
Victory 2, Brisbane Roar 1 @ Marvel Stadium
The Vics snapped a winless run as Kiwi Kosta Barbarouses netted a double, and paid tribute to the Islamic community back home.
Wellington Phoenix 3, Western Sydney 1 @ The Cake Tin
The Phoenix backed up their epic 8-2 win in Gosford by coming home and dominating the Wanderers, becoming the latest New Zealand team to honour the Christchurch victims with a fine performance.
The only sour note was Roy Krishna being sent off in added time.
Melbourne City 2, Sydney FC 0 @ Leichhardt
A major upset to end the weekend, with City ending a run of 6 games without a win, and 7 losses in a row against the Sky Blues, thanks to Shayon Harrion scoring his first A-League goal!
With 5 rounds to go, Sydney are now 9 points behind Perth Glory, and their hopes of a hat-trick of Premiers Plates looks gone.
Brumbies 19 defeated Waratahs 13 @ GIO Stadium
The Australian Conference leap-frogging continues, as another Folau looks to firm for a Wallabies spot… Folau Fainga’a, that is!
Reds 34 defeated Sunwolves 31 @ Tokyo
Win of the week for the Aussies.
Winless and down 21-5 at the half in a foreign land, Brad Thorn’s coaching probably won the Reds the game- He emptied the bench and brought on Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Harry Hoopert and Tate McDermott, who all scored 2nd half tries, as the Reds got the job done with Hamish Stewart’s penalty in the dying minutes.
Every Cherry Blossom has its Thorn….
Lions 36 defeated Rebels 33 @ Ellis Park
Fair dinkum, 33-5 up and the Rebels still got rolled… that yellow card to Meakes changed everything.
NBL Grand Final Series
They say Cats have 9 lives…Well these Cats have 9 titles!
With the series tied at 1-1 heading into Game 3 on Friday Night, Corey ‘Homicide’ Williams predicted Melbourne United would win Game 3 in ‘The Jungle’, and then win Game 4 to win the title.
Homicide was only off by a mere 29 points, chalking up yet another failed prediction against the Red Army.
Led by Terrico White with 31 points, the Cats discombobulated United 96-67, holding United to their lowest score of the season to close to within a win of the title.
Amazingly, Sunday was the first time the Wildcats had played a Game 4 in a Grand Final Series.
But the NBL’s greatest club saved the best for last, winning 97-84 in a dominant performance led by Bryce Cotton who scored 28 points, while White scored 20 and chalked up Finals MVP honours, with his 22 PPG and 14 3-pointers in the series.
Between the Cats, the Eagles and the Glory, I guess sport in WA is going alright at the moment.
Terrico White- He’s from Ole Miss, and he can’t miss.
The Horses- Ron Quinton inserts a Dixie up the Coolmore field
Starting with the action at a bogged Rosehill, where the feature was the Group 1 Coolmore Classic for the fillies and mares.
Ron Quinton scratched the defending race winner Daysee Doom because of her wide barrier and the track, but he still had another ace in the pack in Dixie Blossoms, who went in unnoticed at $26, off a 2nd placed run at Randwick a fortnight ago.
Her jockey Christian Reith hadn’t even planned to be in Sydney, being booked for the Gosford Provincial Championships qualifier, which was called off due to the weather.
Despite the popular option being to go out wide and search for the better ground, Reith stuck to the inside and powered through the ground, taking the lead at the 100m and winning well over El Dorado Dreaming and Princess Posh
Quinton has now won the race 6 times- Twice in his Hall of Fame career as a jockey, and Dixie marking his 4th win as a trainer.
Meanwhile down south, it was the first running of the All-Star Mile, which looked like a showdown between two star ladies amongst a giant mix of stars and plodders- Adam Trinder’s Mystic Journey, and Godolphin’s mare Alizee.
Both of them looked set to fight out an epic finish when Alizee broke through at the 300 to slingshot to the front, but the filly was always going the better on the outside, and scored a slice of history, and to quote Matty Hill, she is what dreams are made of.
With the mighty little filly from the Apple Isle beating racing’s Evil Empire to win the race, and pretty much all the top horses running well, I think Racing Victoria can chalk this one up as a PR victory.
Supercars- Australian GP
Defending champ Scott McLaughlin looked utterly unbeatable after the first 2 races in Melbourne, winning both unchallenged to extend his unbeaten start in 2019 to 4 races, but he didn’t even make it to the start for Race 5, thanks to Cam Waters hitting him on the way to the grid, destroying his right rear suspension in a case of Ford on Ford crime- Which wasn’t even picked up by TV cameras at the time.
Tickford boss Tim Edwards launched a preemptive defence, for some reason blaming Triple 8 for the incident- He apologised and blamed that on muscle memory (This story could be false).
It seemed the only way that the Commodores could win a race this season was if the Mustangs took each other out… but Chaz Mostert came along and beat Jamie Whincup to maintain the unbeaten start for the Mustang, while Shane Van Gisbergen had a horror weekend, capped off when he had “Three wheels on his wagon” during Race 5.
McLaughlin was back in action for Sunday’s Race 6, and starting from 2nd, he got another dynamite start to lead into turn 1, and once again led all the way to beat Mostert and Whincup- Technically speaking, Scotty is still unbeaten this season.
If the McLaughlin-Waters incident isn’t submitted to the Dash Cam Owners Compilation for March, I’ll be very disappointed.
And last but not least… who the hell throws a shoe? Honestly.
There’s been some interesting things happen in the Australian trots of late, and not a lot of them have been positive…. and this latest heinous act is no exception.
Friday night at Gloucester Park is usually action packed, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen this happen during a race.
It was later revealed that one of the mongrels behind the flying croc skin moccasins was none other than former AFL Rising Star Winner (And former Fremantle, GWS and Carlton player) Rhys Palmer.
Much like in his playing days, Palmer was unable to hit a moving target from 15 metres away.
Unfortunately, Palmer’s wild few days took a horrible turn last night, when he was put in an induced coma after a motorcycle crash.
THANKS AGAIN EVERYBODY- I’LL BE BACK TOMORROW WITH ‘DUNCRAIG DAN’ WATCH, WRAPPING UP THE AUSTRALIAN GRAND PRIX!