A-League

JT’s Sporting Review: 4th-7th April

The Lions are 3-0? What a world we live in (Photo: Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

AFL- Round 3

My Round 3 Review is now LIVE


NRL- Round 4 aka Golden Point Round

Sydney 36 defeated Brisbane 4 @ The SCG

I think the stats and figures at half-time probably indicate how much of a ball-tearing the first half was for the Broncos:

You probably wouldn’t need to understand one iota about the NRL to know that’s not positive.

Capping off the horror half, Tevita Pangai Junior is set for a two-week holiday after his rather rough treatment on Cooper Cronk (I believe the term is dog shot), falling afoul of the crackdown on late hits that also earned teammate Matt Lodge a suspension back in Round 1.

Whatever happened to an old-fashioned sin binning to really punish teams for foul play?

If any play represented how much the Roosters completely discombobulated the Broncos, it was the last try of the game to make it 36-4.

Enjoy it, in all its disjointed and marvelous glory, one of the best, and most unlikely team tries in a long while.

It never looked being a try, until it actually ended up being a try.

New Zealand 26 defeated Gold Coast 10 @ Mt Smart Stadium

The key to giving your team the best chance of winning is to show up in the first half, and yet again, the Titans decided it was more enjoyable to see Auckland’s tourist attractions, like the Sky Tower (Apparently there’s higher people on the Gold Coast) before realising there was a game of rugby league to be played, and by the time the bus rolled up to Mt Smart, the Warriors were 20-0 up and the game was over.

It also doesn’t help when your players keep dropping high balls like they were one of the acts at the Melbourne Comedy Festival.

Cherry-Evans burning them last week, While the Kiwis had Tuivasa-Sheck and Harris-Tavita star on debut this week, it appears that Warriors games have a strong Hyphen:Performance correlation.

“Ay cuz, where’s Batman!”

Penrith 9 defeated Wests Tigers 8 IN GOLDEN POINT @ Panthers Stadium

The first Golden Point game of the season, and it was only fair that the worst sudden death team in league history were the ones to lose it.

With 2 minutes to go, the Tigers had their hands on the Cleary Cup, and I was getting ready to start this report with a whole paragraph about how the Panthers are a pack of underperforming spuds and Ivan Cleary is a hopeless joke who brings shame to his family every day he coaches Penrith.

Then they finally got a break, when Jack Edwards, who was hooked from fullback in the 60th minute after another below par performance, found himself on the wing and crashing over the line with just over a minute to go to cut the lead to 8-6.

And who would be the player to knock through the tying conversion with no time left? Cleary’s son, Nathan, and it wasn’t a touch wood kick either.

After Luke Brooks missed his own shot at goal in Golden Point, ‘Nafan’ buttered up again and ended the game by slotting a 40 metre drop goal like he was Jumbo Ozaki smacking one off the tee.

Wests now have a Golden Point record of: 18 games, 4 wins and 14 losses.

Penrith by contrast: 17 games, 10 wins, 2 draws and 5 losses.

Manly-Warringah 13 defeated Souths 12 IN GOLDEN POINT @ Brookvale

Stuff it, I can’t write Lottoland.

The Bennett Bunny Bus was Bogged down at Brookvale by the resurgent Sea Eagles as Greg Inglis preferred to stay at home and enjoy his Chinese,

The Rabbits actually took the lead at the half 10-6, and it was another horror watch for Manly as Tommy Trbojevic went down with another hamstring problem during a kick return, adding to the losses of Corey Waddell and Martin Taupau due to concussions (Taupau passed his HIA test), the problems were mounting up for Des.

Showing some true grit, hooker Manase Fainu scored to grab the lead back 12-10, Adam Reynolds leveled the scores through a penalty goal, and so once again, we had a Golden Point game.

Reynolds missed two shots at winning the game, so DCE showed him how it was done in the 84th minute, with his record 5th career field goal in Golden Point.

Speaking as a fan of the ‘other’ code, Tommy Turbo’s hamstring problems remind me of how Hawthorn had problems with Cyril Rioli’s hamstrings for a full 6 seasons (2009-14), during which time he had to work with physios to completely change his running technique.

Something similar could fix up Tommy?

Canberra 30 defeated North Queensland 12 @ 1300SMILES Stadium

Not much to say here, the Raiders went up to Townsville and melted the Cowboys in a fairly lopsided performance, with the Leipana combination ensuring another rough night for the North Queenslanders, if the threat of being torn to pieces by a crocodile wasn’t hard enough.

And thanks to his 14 points, Raiders captain Jarrod Croker passed the 1800 point mark for his career, moving ahead of Eels champ Luke Burt (1793) into 10th on the all-time scorers list!

He’s still only 28.. a few more good seasons with the boot and he’ll be up there with Smithy and El-Magic!

Parramatta 24 defeated Cronulla 12 @ ANZ Stadium

Cronulla’s recent spate of injuries finally caught up to them, with no Moylan or Gallen, Shaun Johnson went down in the warm-up with a quad problem to quite literally add insult to injury, as the Eels snapped a 5-game run of outs against the Sharkies and ‘farewelled’ ANZ Stadium in style.

The Eels back 3 of Gutherson (249m), Sivo (194m) and Ferguson (240m) ran for a combined total of 683m- By comparison, the Sharks back 3 of Dugan (136m), Feki (179m) and Katoa (129m) had 444m, although Feki did score a double.

In the end, those running metres showed as the Eels ran away with it with 2 tries in the 2nd half, and the Sharks picked up another injury to Aaron Woods.

At this rate, John Morris will pull on the boots for the game against the Chooks next week.

Melbourne 18 defeated Canterbury 16 @ AAMI Park

As I somewhat called in that preview post, the Dogs would keep the scoreline respectable, although I didn’t quite expect them to nearly defeat the last undefeated team in the league.

The Dogs led 12-0 after 22 minutes when ‘Jamal Junior’ Jayden Okunbor scored his maiden try in First Grade, but the Methodical Melbourne Machine were going to find a way back at some point, and they did eventually tie the scores 12-all, before Munster scored the winning try, and it has to be said it was pretty easy.

Yet the game was almost the latest to sent to Golden Point, when the Dogs caught a bomb and Reimis Smith scored in the corner, but Rhyse Martin’s sideline conversion effort was shanked, and the Storm saw out the final seconds.

A wooden spoon contender performed better against the Storm in Melbourne than some supposed finals contenders.

St George-Illawarra 13 defeated Newcastle 12 IN GOLDEN POINT @ McDonald Jones Stadium

Another week, another close Knights game, and yet another loss which could’ve been reversed- That 7 tackle set in Golden Point where they had the ball and played like a mule with a spinning wheel finished them off.

Another week, another game decided by Corey Norman roosting a drop goal on the last play to get the 2 points for the Dragons, who also took home the Alex McKinnon Cup!


The Horses- The Championswamps

In an effort to save time, considering there was 9 Group Races and a Regional Final, I’ll condense things down to the Group One action:

Microphone reverses the Slipper result in the Sires

Backing up from his 2nd placing in the Golden Slipper, Microphone let Slipper winner Kiamichi build a lead on what was a much fairer track than Rosehill on Slipper Day, and overhauled the Godolphin stablemate to send anoher Group One the way of the Sheikh.

It was Bowman’s 90th Group One Victory, an amazing effort considering pretty much all of them have been won this decade.

Tulloch & Derby double for Markwell & Brown

Last week, Angel of Truth scored an upset victory in the Tulloch Stakes at Rosehill, beating the more fancied Kiwi raider Madison County, who was one of my selections in the ‘S’ Backing Guide for that particular weekend.

And wouldn’t you know it, fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

With another gun ride by Brown, the Angel give the field divine retibution, with Madison County yet again flying in for 2nd, making it a hat-trick for winners of the Tulloch Stakes & Australian Derby, joining Jon Snow (2017) and Levendi (2018).

Santa Ana Comes To Town In The TJ

Here comes Santa Ana, here comes Santa Ana, right down Santa Ana Lane.

Santa Ana Lane has now won 5 Group One races… and you wouldn’t even know he’d won 4 prior to Saturday, compared to the audlation reserved for the likes of Redzel, who only has the measly 2 to go with his Everest wins.

Even as Redzel got a relatively easy lead, he fell into a hole as the likes of Ozzy Bulls, Sunlight and Pierata fought it out, while Santa Ana Lane as the widest runner easily discombobulated the country’s best sprinters like they were a pack of Benchmark 64 plodders.

In what was probably a year too late for his stud value, Trapeze Artist was retired after a shoulder injury. Still, 4 Group One victories is a great career.

Santa’s stablemate Shoals was also retired to stud, while for Santa, Hong Kong here we come!

Bossy makes it a Brutal Doncaster

Glen Boss has reigned as the King of the Randwick Mile since before I was born, winning the Doncaster 6 times prior to Saturday, and he flew in from Singapore to partner the Team Hawkes colt Brutal, and at the tender age of 49, Bossy can remarkably still ride at the lightweight of 49.5kg.

With a huge field and starting from Barrier 18, Boss was able to work the colt to sit just outside the leader Dreamforce in the run, exactly what the Hall of Famer was after.

When you sit outside the leader you control the speed. We never gave those behind a chance. Tactically, he was perfect.Glen Boss on Brutal

Glen Boss on Brutal

With the lightweight advantage, he proved too good in the straight, edging clear in the final 50 metres to give Boss his first Group One win in Australia in just under 4 years.

Another superb run by the old boy Hartnell to finish in 3rd in start number 50, still going as well as ever!

Of Bossy’s 7 wins in the Doncaster, 4 have been on three-year-olds; Racing To Win (2006), Haradasun (2007), Triple Honour (2008) and Kermadec (2015)

Was it any coincedence that Brutal & Dreamforce were also the Quinella behind Winx in the George Ryder?


A-League- Round 24

A snapshot of the round:

Melbourne City 4 defeated Brisbane Roar 1 @ AAMI Park

There’s nothing like beating up a cellar dwellar to turn your form around, as City found out on Friday night, in the process putting two fingers on a spot in the finals, and remarkably, after a long strange journey, they’re still a point off the Phoenix for 4th spot and a home final.

Newcastle Jets 3 defeated Western Sydney 2 @ McDonald-Jones Stadium

With both teams still on the outside looking in, there was plenty at stake between the two teams, and after the Jets trailed twice, it took something called an Angus Thurgate to score his first A-League goal and get the Jets home, however Adelaide’s win meant they gained pretty much no ground whatsoever.

Sydney FC 2 defeated Melbourne Victory 1 @ The SCG (Sydney Crippling Ground)

Even the Big Blue isn’t safe from the Falkland Islands minefield that is the SCG surface, with Victory midfielder Terry Antonis suffering a knee injury (Severity to be determined) when he slipped on the raised edge of the cricket pitch, marring what was another thrilling edition of the biggest rivalry in the league.

It’s an utter miracle nobody else was hurt, and it’s unfortunate that Antonis was the poor bastard who had to suffer for it.

It also overshadowed Milos Ninkovic scoring a deflected winner in the 93rd minute, to send Sydney 4 points clear of the ‘Vuc’ in 2nd place.

For players to go out on to that – whatever itโ€™s called – is a disgrace. If we accept it ourselves as a code, it is part of the reason why everybody else treats us with contempt. All the other codes and everybody else treats us with contempt because we accept that ourselves. Instead of looking outside, lets look at ourselves.”

Victory manager Kevin Muscat on Australian football pitches

And that was only a small snippet of the scorn for the playing conditions.

Say, who were the dickheads that knocked down a perfectly good rectangular stadium just over the street?

Adelaide United 3 defeated Wellington Phoenix 1 @ Hindmarsh Stadium

United did the damage in the 1st Half, scoring 3 times as Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, the Greek God of Goals, scored a brace before being sent off in the waning seconds to half-time.

Adding to the fun, Michael Marrone scored only his 2nd goal in some 200 appearances!

Despite being a man-down, the Reds comfortably held out the Phoenix, who could only peg back one goal from three as they dominated the half.

A big win, with United and the ‘Nux now level on 37 points!

Perth Glory 3 defeated Central Coast 0 @ Bluetongue

After the loss to the Victory back in Perth, it was back to regular programming for the ladder leaders with an easy win to stay 6 points clear, as the Premiers Plate beckons again.

Joel Chianese opened the scoring with this fine cutback:

And then Dino Djulbic scored his first goal since 2015!

A good day for die-hard Perth sports fan Mick Soh, with his beloved Dockers and Glory winning in the span of a few hours!

Matildas Watch- A 5-3 defeat to the US and A

The Women’s World Cup in France is now just a few months away, and the Matildas, just a few months after dumping Alen Stajcic and bringing in Ante Milicic, and based on their defending in a friendly against the World Champs, it’s a great decision.

All we learned from Friday morning is that while the ladies still have plenty of firepower (Kerr and Foord both scored) and can produce some very entertaining football, but with a backline as stable as the Opal Tower , the theory of scoring more goals than the opposition won’t hold water when the opposition are scoring more goals than you.


Super Rugby- Round 8

Seems like I’ve been posting a few death notices of late, but some sad news on Sunday morning in Wallaby World, with Lloyd McDermott, the first Indigenous player to represent the Wallbies, passing away aged 79.

On top of being the first Indigenous Wallaby, McDermott was the first Indigenous person to become a barrister- He was the very definition of a trailblazer.

Reds 24 defeated Stormers 12 @ Suncorp Stadium

After the first scoreless half in Super Rugby since 2013, the game suddenly opened up when Stormers captain Siya Kolisi was shown a yellow card for slowing the ball down by not rolling away.

With the player advantage, the Reds scored a pair of converted tries as the skipper could only watch, and they were on their way to another good win.

Crusaders 36 defeated Brumbies 14 @ Christchurch

Swimming naked in the Amazon is a very risky business decision that often proves fatal, and something just as risky is screwing up against the Crusaders in Christchurch… as the Brumbies found out on Saturday.

The Brumbies led 7-nil at the half, but the heavyweight champions of the Southern Hemisphere blitzed them out of the sheds, scoring 3 tries in the opening 20 minutes of the 2nd half, exploiting the fatal flow of the Horsies.

Blues 32 defeated Waratahs 29 @ Eden Park

The ‘Tahs haven’t won at Eden Park in 10 years, and now the ‘Tahs haven’t won at Eden Park in 11 years, as a slow start saw them trailing 17-0 inside 20 minutes, and from there they were always a short half-head behind, losing narrowly to a team that has now won 4 straight games.

ON the bright side, Issy Folau did score his 60th try to take the outright all-time lead!

Rebels 42 defeated Sunwolves @ AAMI Park

In the battle to see who is the least crap team in the Australian Conference, it appears the Rebels are now in the box seat, after doing what the ‘Tahs couldn’t, belting the Sunwolves in a 6-try bonus point romp, highlighted by Reece Hodge scoring a hat-trick.

Oddly enough, 3 players were shown yellow cards in the final 10 minutes, all for separate incidents.

SUPER W CHAMPIONS- NEW SOUTH WALES

Waratahs 8 defeated Reds 5 @ Leichhardt Oval

To very little fanfare, the Super W final was a rematch of the epic extra time decider between the ‘Tahs and Reds which went the way of the New South Welshladies (If that isn’t a word I’ve just created it), and once again in 2019, the blue team went unbeaten through the season, and wherever a New South Wales team is in the universe, a bunch of Queenslanders eager to start a punchup aren’t too far behind.

And yet again, we got a gripping contest, and the difference was Grace Hamilton doing it at both ends, scoring the winning try in the 54th minute, and then forcing a last minute turnover to deny the Reds at the death.


Supercars- The Commodores Crack It In Tassie

Defending champion Scotty McLaughlin was technically unbeaten in 2019, winning both races in Adelaide, the opening two races in Melbourne, before colliding with Cam Waters on the warm-up lap for Race 5, and then winning Race 6.

The painful part was that Race 5 was worth 150 points for the win, so he went into the weekend with a slight lead over Chas Mostert and Jamie Whincup.

During the time between Albert Park and Symmons Plains, there were changes to the centre of gravity on the Mustang to try and bring it back to the Commodores, after wearing their balls as earrings through 2 rounds.

Pfft, back in the Group A days they used to just throw weight penalties on the Skylines, just ask Skaifey.

On the short track, Mark Winterbottom at least gave a glimmer of hope for the General’s Men by claiming pole for Race 7… only for business to return to normal, as McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard did a number on the field in a DJR Penske 1/2, with Shane Van Gisbergen pipping Winterbottom for 3rd, while Whincup was nowhere to be found in the Tasmanian wilderness, finishing dead last.

The Giz finally stopped the rot for the Holdens, winning Race 8 from Coulthard, while McLaughlin was finally beaten on his merits in 2019, finishing in 4th behind David Reynolds, but he still comfortably leads the championship by 124 points from teammate Coulthard.

The only significant news from the weekend’s racing is that the recent changes have worked (At least for Tassie) and Holden aren’t a total laughing stock.

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