A-League

JT’s Sporting Review: 22nd-24th March

32 in a row, and now only 1 to go (Still: Channel 7)

Just wanted to try something different by moving the Sporting Review to Monday morning, defeating the purpose of calling it a weekend review, but to also give myself some extra time to compile everything together!


AFL: Round 1

Have included it in a different post just to save space, and because I’m a biased flog- CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Superb Bottom 4- Can we end the season now?

AFLW: Preliminary Finals

Carlton (9.10-64) d. Fremantle (4.4-28) @ Princes Park

Taking advantage of a home ground final they would never have received without the conference system, the Blues absolutely demolished the Dockers by kicking 6 goals to 1 in the 2nd and 3rd quarters, setting up a 6 goal lead at 3/4 time, which the Dockers were never much chance of running down.an

After the week that was, it was only fitting that Tayla Harris was one of the culprits for the Blues with a goal, but Maddy Prespakis was best afield

The carnage started before the game for Freo, when captain Kara Donnellan was a late withdrawal because of a quad injury and knee soreness, combined with Dana Hooker needing an anasthetic before the game.

It continued during the game, when the Blues’ physical pressure forced Kiara Bowers, Stephanie Cain, Hayley Miller, Ashlee Atkins and Evey Gooch off the ground for treatment, or for good.

Jebus, did I get everyone in there?

It did look like an episode of MASH in the rooms just then.

Dockers coach Trent Cooper post-game

I thought it was the wrong choice of show from Coops, because when you look at the injury toll and the damage on the scoreboard, it was closer to an episode of ER.

My parting stat: Both Carlton teams scored 9.10 (64) this Round!

Adelaide (11.7-73) defeated Geelong (1.1-7) @ The Crowval

I tuned in at quarter time seeing that the Crows were holding Geelong scoreless, and by half-time they were still scoreless, and with 5 minutes to go, the Cats were still scoreless as the scoreline read:

ADELAIDE 10.7 (67), GEELONG 0.0 (0)

Wow, it was almost as if the best team in the league was playing the 6th best team. Nice going on those conferences, you dinguses.

And then, Cats started their huge comeback through Rocky Cranston to reduce the margin from 67 points to 61, and it was fitting that even in the women’s game, the Cats got a goal from a dodgy free kick.

Shame on Adelaide, they may have held their opponents to the lowest score in AFLW league history, but they couldn’t even hold them scoreless, and they couldn’t even hit 100 points. Terrible.

Now wait during the week and watch Gillon and Nicole gloss over the latest failing of their defective Conferences, by pointing out that Carlton managed to win the other final with a home game they wouldn’t have had in a normal system.

At least one Crows team won at The ‘Crowval’ this weekend!


NRL: Round 2

South Sydney 34 defeated St George Illawarra 18 @ Jubilee Stadium

The Bennett Bunny Bus rolled down to Kogarah, and after trailing 6-12 at the half, Wayne left it to Sammy Burgess to crack open a can of whoop-ass on the Dragons, scoring a try and then setting up Cody Walker as Souths rattled on 5 tries in the span of half-an-hour to turn a deficit into a blowout, as a bad start to the turn of the season for the Big Red V kept getting worse.

After the Dragons completed their first set of six after the half, they would only complete 2 more in the next 20 minutes… obviously it didn’t help that they only had 4 sets in that period, while Souths had it for 12 (And completed 11) and scored 4 tries.

Melbourne 22 defeated Canberra 10 @ GIO Stadium

Last week the Raiders played in the driving rain on the Gold Coast, while this week they were left unprepared for a Storm front that came surging up from Melbourne, which carried a massive band of Suliasi Vunivalu and a hat-trick of tries to dump on the unprepared Canberrans!

Brisbane 29 defeated North Queensland 10 @ Suncorp Stadium

Is it really a Broncos-Cowboys game if it’s not under a try the difference?

Anyway, once Jason Taumalolo went down with a knee injury, so did the Cowboys’ hopes of victory, as Bronco Tevita Pangai mirrored JT’s bulldozing performance against the Dragons by giving the Cowboys a taste of their own medicine.

Cronulla 20 defeated Gold Coast 6 @ Shark Park

Paul Gallen finally announced his retirement during the week on the esteemed radio station KIIS FM, outlining his plans to keep his prostate healthy thanks to an endless string of boxing matches against John Hopoate (May not be true), then on Saturday he moved alongside ‘ET’ on a record 328 games for the Sharks, who cruised along to a comfortable win, helped by the Titans being allergic to touching the ball.

Check it out at 1:58 for the worst goal-line defence ever seen.

Penrith 18 defeated Newcastle 16 @ McDonald Jones Stadium

In another tough battle involving the Novocastrians, the Panthers came along and managed to win with some superb defensive efforts, by none other than captain James Maloney.

With the Panthers up 16-8 in the 65th minute, Maloney landed a bell-ringer on Connor Watson, which forced a knock-on, and then double-dipped and pulled off an awesome try saver to deny Edrick Lee scoring in the 69th minute, which would’ve put the Knights within 4 points (And may well have decided the game with Mitch Barnett’s try a few minutes later).

In a brief description, Maloney came flying in to tackle Lee after he had beaten Zelezniak, and then whilst falling the ground, managed to get a hand in and dislodge the ball before the grounding

Still: FOX Sports and FOX League

Barnett scored with 6 minutes to play to tighten the scores at 16-14, but the Panthers held on to atone for their Round 1 defeat.

It was almost Alanis Morissette ironic that Maloney, often flayed for his defensive capabilities, was the one that ultimately saved the win for the Mountain Men.

Sydney 26 defeated Manly 18 @ Lottoland

First, Cooper Cronk had a hamstring complaint, then a few hours before the game, Jake Friend had a bad shoulder and decided to chuck a sickie, which ended up being the right choice when a monsoon unloaded on Brooky in the 1st half, probably a punishment from the lord above for having a worse stadium name than 1300Smiles Stadium.

Anyway, it mattered little, as Luke Keary called the shots and set up 4 tries in a 1st half romp, as the defending champs raced out to a 22-0 lead at the half (Extended to 26-0 by skipper Boyd Cordner), which proved to be enough, as the Sea Eagles finally scored via Manase Fainu from a charge down with 22 minutes to go, but the Roosters defence held strong to record win #1 in 2019.

Lachie Lam, son of former Chooks stalwart and Queensland Origin rep Adrian Lam, made his first grade debut, and made a mark by recording a try assist for Cordner- After the game, he celebrated by having a FaceTime call with his Dad (Over in the UK coaching the Wigan Warriors).

“Hello, I’m after Luke Keary, can he assist me?” Still: Fox Sports Australia

Parramatta 36 defeated Canterbury 16 @ ANZ Stadium

Unfortunately, Gladys Berejiklian didn’t send in the bulldozers on the Olympic Stadium like I predicted, and 10 minutes into the 2nd half, Doggies fans probably wished she did, because the Eels had effectively scored 5 tries in a 20 minute period- 2 before the half to lead 12-10, and then 3 after the break to lead 30-10, and the Doggies were left to yet again chase their tails.

So the Eels win the so-called ‘Spoonapalooza’ against their old rivals, but considering the point of ‘Spoonapalooza’ is to win the wooden spoon, does that not mean the Doggies won?

Wests Tigers 34 defeated New Zealand 6 @ Campbelltown

The Warriors hadn’t won in Campbelltown in 12 years, and with Wests captan Moses Mbye back on the field and Robbie Farah once again turning into rugby league’s Methuselah, that streak was damned to continue.

Farah wrecked the Kiwis on the blindside twice during the game, grubbered one for Rob Jennings before the half, then ended the afternoon with a try for himself, as the Warriors quickly crashed back to earth after last week’s smashing of the Bulldogs.

The Tigers closed out the game on a 22-nil run, and amazingly, for the forst time in the 20-year history of the joint venture, They Are On Top Of The NRL Ladder!


Cricket: Pakistan, and the IPL Begins

After the prayer to St Jude, Patron Saint of Lost Causes was answered against India, and the epic comeback series win took place, Australia headed back to the UAE to take on Pakistan, with the ODI series being the last before heading off to the UK for the World Cup.

In the first ODI on Friday in Sharjah, Pakistan batted first and put up a respectable 5/280 on the back on an unbeaten 101 by Haris Sohail and his 98-run 4th wicket stand with Umar Akmal.

“Hail Richie, Hail the great man! Hail!”

“No Bill that’s just his name!”

But even that was to be overshadowed by the resurgent Aussies, who made it 4 wins in a row as skipper Aaron Finch picked a great time to crack his 9-month run without a century, scoring 116 off 135 deliveries, as he combined with Shaun Marsh for a 172-run stand for the 2nd wicket and set up a pretty comfortable win, with Marsh finishing unbeaten on 91 and Hanscomb on 30- The Aussies reaching 280 with an over to spare.

The 2nd ODI was similar to the first. Pakistan batted first, although Sohail was only dismissed for 34, as this time Mohammad Rizwan did the damage with 115 off 126, and Shoaib Malik scoring 60 off 61, as some late hitting from Imad Wasim got Pakistan to 7/284.

In a major blow for the Aussies, Jhye Richardson, who had clean bowled Imam ul-Haq in his first over, dislocated his shoulder trying to stop a boundary, forcing him off the field and out of the series.

But once the Australian chase began, there was a familiar tune- Finch and Khawaja put down the groundwork with a 209-run opening stand, broken up when Ussie was dismissed for 88, but in the process, he passed 1,000 ODI runs in just 27 innings, the 3rd fastest Aussie behind Greg Chappell and George Bailey.

Finchy made it back-to-back centuries, this time at better than a run-a-ball, and as long as he was in, it all looked a fait accompli for Australia- The skipper powered on to set a new career high score, becoming the 11th Australian to score at least 150 in an ODI, matching that T20I 150 he scored against England in 2013.

The Aussies reached the target at only 2 down and with 13 balls to spare- Another very good win to go 2-nil up in the series.

Meanwhile, the Indian Premier League began this weekend due starting early due to the World Cup, and David Warner made a return to India with his international ban still 5 days from ending, and having had elbow surgery in January.

Playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad against the Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, Warner teamed up with Jonny Bairstow to carve out 118 for the 1st wicket, until the Englishman was dismissed for 39.

Warner then teamed up with Vijay Shankar and continued on to 1/144, until Warner’s return ended on 85 off 53 balls in the 16th over, which included 9 fours and 3 sixes.

His innings set up a decent score of 3-181, and had Warner been around, the Sunrisers were a moral lock to reach 200.

Not that it made a lick of difference, with the Knight Riders chasing down the target with 2 balls to spare thanks to Nitish Rana’s 68, and 48* off 19 from ‘Dre Russ’, while Chris Lynn couldn’t get amongst the runs, scoring 7.


The Horses: And Things Will Never Be The Same

This is gonna be a long one, to strap in and keep scrolling down!

FRIDAY: Sunlight wins the G1 William Reid

With the scratching of Shoals, the star of Tony McEvoy’s stable started a dominant favourite on the back of her win in the Newmarket, and with Luke Currie back aboard, she went straight to the front and won like a good thing should, recording win number 10 from 15 starts, and her 3rd Group 1 win of the season.

There was a bloody sad moment in the race, with the Winterbottom Stakes winner Voodoo Lad breaking his leg in the straight and dislodging Ben Melham, who suffered a bad wrist injury. Sadly, big Voodoo couldn’t be saved

He deserved better. Far, far better.

Saturday: Winx Day, plus some Golden Slipper.

There were five Group One races at Rosehill on Saturday for Slipper Day, and the first was an epic Rosehill Guineas, featuring the Autumn Sun:

He started $1.40, but TAS sure as hell had to work for it, thanks to the Kiwi raider Arrogant, trained by Michael Moroney and ridden by Craig Williams, who didn’t give up for a second and very nearly earned the win, going down by a nose. That’s now 5 Group One wins from 9 starts for TAS, and John Messara and Chris Waller were vindicated in not sending the colt to get his arse kicked by Winx.

And now, the main event- the wonder mare in her Rosehill farewell, going for a 4th George Ryder Stakes!

I hope the racegoing public treasures days like this, because by the time another horse gets close to winning 30+ races in a row in this country, my ashes will have been shot into space and made it to Mars.

Once the biggest of the 25,000 strong celebrations were over, it was on to the Ranvet Stakes, won by Godolphin’s Avilius!

This edition was notable for the appearance of the Kiwi horse He’s Eminent, trained by equestrian legend and 2-time Olympic gold medalist Sir Mark Todd, who probably could’ve ridden the horse to victory if he bothered, but instead left the riding to another capable Kiwi in James McDonald.

After a disappointing run as a hot favourite in the Australian Cup, in which he was supposedly hit in the eye by a stray whip and ran 5th, Kerrin McEvoy wound up the ex-Frenchman on the turn to chase down He’s Eminent, and at the 200 it was another Group 1 win in the bag for the Blue Army, as Avilius earned a well-deserved maiden Group 1 victory, and kept his unbeaten Sydney record going.

And now, the RICHEST TWO-YEAR-OLD RACE IN THE WORLD- THE $3.5m GOLDEN SLIPPER, won in an upset by Kiamichi!

It was a fair result that Godolphin would win the Slipper after destroying their 2YO opposition this season, be it for James Cummings or the few for Anthony Freedman, but it ended being the rank outsider of their 6 runners in Kiamichi, who nearly failed a Vet check on Friday (In hindsight that should have been reserved for Tenley), but led all the way in a Blue trifecta- Microphone in 2nd, and Lyre in 3rd for Freedman, while Loving Gaby ran a superb 4th despite being caught wide.

It was the first Slipper triumph for the Cummings family since Bart trained his 4th and final winner Century Miss in 1979.

And in an update from the Gabster Backing Guide- I did pop down to the Waterford TAB and see the great man to ask him about the bold run of Loving Gaby, and all the Gabster had to say was that if he’d drawn a gate, he’d have won.

Now, the last Group 1 of the day- The Galaxy, and glory be, it was a heartstopper!

Nature Strip as he loves to do, set a hot speed and Jungle Edge and Baller went with him, while Redzel tried tacking on, but he made contact with Baller, which combined with the hot speed, finished him off.

NS looked a winner at the 200, but he started to grind to a halt as Pierata flew home, and looked for all money like he’d be the one to win his maiden Group 1…. but the photo said otherwise.

What you can’t see on this photo is that Nature Strip’s nose is slightly cut off by the yellow line, and the judges went his way, earning him a Group 1 victory that he was bound to fall in for at some point in time for Chris Waller.


Super Rugby: Mega Upset!

Waratahs 20 defeated Crusaders 12 @ The SCG

The back-to-back champions made their return to Super Rugby for the first time since the Christchurch attacks last week, and as a result of the emotion involved, they were a bit vulnerable in their quest for a record 20 straight victories, meanwhile the Waratahs are proving harder to understand than JK Rowling’s Twitter feed, after getting beaten up by the Brumbies in Canberra the week prior.

But the shock was on as the Waratahs led 15-7, having held the Crusaders at bay the moment came when Israel Folau tied up Doug Howlett’s Super Rugby try scoring record of 59 tries after he crossed over in the 73rd minute, which sealed the win for the Tahs.

A late try to Will Jordan made the final score 20-12, but for the first time since sliced bread was invented, the Crusaders have had a chink in their armour.

Sharks 28 defeated Rebels 14 @ Durban

The Rebels’ trip to South Africa ended with them losing both games, making it as about as successful as the Australian Cricket Team’s last tour in the country, although it wasn’t as big of a PR disaster, since the people of Melbourne probably don’t even realise that the Rebels still exist, or that they had actually left the country.

Reds 36 defeated Brumbies 14 @ Suncorp Stadium

The Potato of Parity between the Australian teams continued yet again, as Brad Thorn’s Reds made it back-to-back victories, this time against the Brumbies at Lang Park.

In hot conditions, the Reds started hot with Scott Higginbotham, and two late tries from Bryce Hegarty and Brandon ‘The Hyphen’ Paenga-Amosa earned the Reds a crucial bonus point and sent the margin out to a crushing 36-14, meaning the 4 Australian teams are now separated by a lazy 4 points.

So that means the Reds have beaten the Brumbies, who beat the Waratahs, who beat the Rebels, who beat the Reds, who lost to the Wara- Oh forget it.


A-League: International Break

Ironically, the A-League finally decided to implement an international break for this time of year (As has been the norm in every other league around the world), so what does the FFA do?

NOT SCHEDULE A FRIENDLY FOR THE SOCCEROOS.

The national team’s FIFA ranking is plummeting to the depths of hell, so why bother scheduling any friendlies and just let it keep on falling.


Coming Up Soon: A review of the action going at the Miami Masters, as the Aussies once again prepare to get dumped out by Tuesday morning!

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