Farewell to the Happy Hobbit, Brendan Bolton.
Carlton have pulled the trigger and jettisoned coach Brendan Bolton after winning 4 times in 43 games, a run of ineptitude only managed by Fitzroy… who were about to have their organs harvested by the AFL in 1996.
On the bright side for us all, Steven Silvagni is still the Blues’ list manager.
Here is Mr Bolton in simpler times, after flaying Joel Selwood when the Blues defeated Geelong in 2016.
NRL: Round Does It Matter Because Origin is on Wednesday.
Penrith 15 defeated Manly 12 @ Panthers Stadium
One thing you find during the Origin-affected games is the lesser known ‘scabs’ coming out of nowhere and playing an important role for their teams.
And that’s what the Panthers got on Thursday night in a 23-year-old centre named Brent Naden, who had been slugging it out in reserve grade since 2016, and finally made his First Grade debut, and there was also Liam ‘First Name As A Surname’ Martin, playing in his 6th First Grade Game, having never known what the glory of victory smelt like prior to that evening.
Like any game affected by a loss of Origin talent, it was pretty scrappy, and keeping up with the ugly standard of the game, the officials called the Panthers for one of the strangest obstruction calls in recent times, which denied the Mountain Men and Mitch Kenny what would’ve been the opening try of the game.
The only problem was, the player they called for obstruction (Liam Martin) was the one who had just played the ball, and had absolutely no way of getting himself out of the way, save for a nearby shrink-ray.
A fair dinkum bad decision that fortunately for everyone except the Sea Eagles, didn’t affect the final result, and spared them the Ben-Hur of ball-tearings from Buzz Rothfield.
Funnily enough, Martin was also prominent in another incident, ending up being the victim of a headbutt from Corey Waddell, an act which earned Waddell a three-match ban.
Like most Panthers games this season, it was error riddled and slightly ugly, but hey, they won, and that’s what bloody matters.
Parramatta 26 Souths 14 @ Bankwest Stadium
Well, beating the Souths Reserves is slightly better than losing to the Souths reserves, and I’m sure Brad Arthur would agree.
Bagging the Souths Reserves for losing to the Eels doesn’t really have the same kind of jagged edge.
As a result, the only highlight ended up being Blake Ferguson copping a hit to the Jatz Crackers and waiting for them to re-emerge from his body for the rest of the game.
Sammy Thaiday inquired into the state of Blake’s plumbs after the game on Channel Nine, and he delivered this reply.
“My missus came up to me after the game and she goes, how are your nuts?”
“I was like, yeah they’re alright- Hopefully they work tonight!”
Canberra 12 defeated Canterbury 10 @ ANZ Stadium
25 years on from the 1994 Grand Final, the likes of Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley, Brett Mullins, Baa Baa Lamb, Darryl Halligan and Jarrod ‘Phil’ McCracken weren’t available to strap on the boots and lift the quality of the game, although Ricky Stuart and Dean Pay were both able to make an appearance, apparently coaching the Raiders & Dogs.
It wasn’t quite as big a blowout as it was in 1994, but the result was still the same- The Raiders were victorious.
With Hodgson, Wighton and Papalii preparing for Origin, John Bateman made a heroic early return from a fractured eye socket, and he was nothing short of inspiring, racking up 126 metres and scoring a fantastic solo try in the 1st Half to put the Raiders up 10-nil.
How could you not be inspired by the man who will inevitably win the Dally M Medal, and have Batemans Bay renamed in his honour.
The game was marred by an ugly incident for Raider Hudson Young, who earned a five-match ban for an eye gouge on Aiden Tolman, which was originally a seven-match ban, downgraded with an early.
Strange stuff, considering Josh McGuire did the same thing to Cameron Munster in the Cowboys-Storm game in Round 4, and got away with a $3350 fine.
North Queensland 6 defeated Gold Coast 4 @ Cbus Super Stadium
Not much to say about this latest edition of the Queensland Derby- The Titans pissed up several chances to tie the scores in front of the sticks after they went down 6-4, with Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts both shanking penalty kicks in the 2nd Half, and throw in the missed conversion.
Ultimately, it was a pair of try savers that got the ‘Boys home- Jordan Kahu (Before he injured his shoulder) pulled a blinder on AJ Brimson in the 1st Half, and then right at the death, Kyle Feldt submitted his nomination for Try Saver of the Season, and saved the Cowboys from certain doom.
Bloody oath, the Titans must drive their fourteen fans up the proverbial tree.
Super Rugby: Round 16
Waratahs 20 defeated Rebels 15 @ AAMI Park
The Ghost of Waratahs Past came back to strike the Ebeneezer Rebels for the sixth consecutive time, and derail their push for the Super Rugby finals.
The Melbournians were somewhat stiffed in the 1st Half, especially when Curtis Rona wasn’t punished with a card or a penalty try for a shoulder charge on Marika Koroibete in the 32nd Minute.
Now THAT’S a bloke with a rugby league background.
Despite the loss, the Rebels did actually manage to pick up a bonus point and go ahead of the Brumbies on points differential… for a good 16 hours.
Brumbies 42 defeated Sunwolves 19 @ Tokyo
Another week goes by, and another Brumbie crashes over for a hat-trick, with the latest ‘lucky bastard’ being Connal McInerney.
A pretty good effort, considering he only came on at half-time, and in a remarkable coincidence, every single one of his three tries was set up by a short line-out, allowing the Brumbies front row to make mince meat of the Sunwolves, with McInerney riding shotgun and making it count every single time, in what was the Sunwolves’ farewell game in Tokyo.
I had a quick squiz at Connal’s Wikipedia page, and all I can say is… he enjoys food.
With 2 games to go, the Brumbies now have a 5 point lead over the Rebels, who have a relatively easy run home- They only have to play the Crusaders in Christchurch, and then the in-form Chiefs in Melbourne.
Conversely, The Brumbies are playing the ‘Tahs in Sydney, and then the Reds in Canberra- Two very winnable games.
Jaguares 34 defeated Reds 23 @ Suncorp Stadium
The Reds fired themselves up with some Indigenous magic to get them out of their losing streak, in what was Scotty Higginbotham’s 100th Super Rugby game, but unfortunately for the Reds’ only remaining player from the 2011 title, the boys couldn’t score an upset to mark the occasion.
Some say Phil Kearns is still pissing and moaning about the Jaguares being the the equivalent of the Argentinian test team, after they yet again knocked off an Australian team on the road.
Although, that young Reds team gave a good yelp, with the game not being decided until the final minutes, when Santiago Carreras pounced on a loose pass from Reds’ captain Samu Kerevi and ran some 70 metres to score.
It sat in his face like was staring at Page Three.
AUSSIE CONFERENCE TABLE AFTER THE ROUND
Super Netball: Round 6
Melbourne Vixens 62 defeated Sunny Coast Lightning 52
A situation where you had Melbourne playing a team part-owned by Melbourne.
Of course, the Lightning being co-owned by the Melbourne Storm.
The Lightning’s Lauren Langman celebrated her 200th game in the national league, but in the battle between the 2nd placed Lightning and the 3rd placed Vixens, it was the visitors who came up to the Sunny Coast and did a number on the defending champs, who did manage to deny the Vixens all 8 points by winning the final quarter 17-14.
After copping a defensive pasting from the Swifts last weekend, the Vixens paid it forward, with the Ministers for Defence Jo Weston and Emily Mannix winning the battle against Peace Proscovia, Cara Koenen and Steph Wood, and Player of the Match honours went to the Wing Defence of Australian international Renae Ingles.
A good performance all around from the Vixens, especially after Mannix missed out on Austraian selection!
Queensland Firebirds 62 drew with West Coast Fever 62 @ The QSNC
My goodness! For the second time this season, it’s a draw!
Technically speaking, the Firebirds actually won the match, on account of picking up four Premiership Points to the Fever’s three (Two points for the draw plus two quarters won).
NSW Swifts 68 defeated Collingwood 52 @ Qudos Bank Arena
The best team in Australian netball proved too good yet again, and after leading 17-14 at quarter time, it was never a true contest in the sense of the word contest- The Swifts ended up increasing the margin in every quarter, and wound up bagging all 8 points on offer.
Funnily enough, the Maggies shot slightly better than the Swifts (91% vs 90%), the only problem was they turned the ball over 22 times, and just couldn’t close the gap as a result.
GIANTS 65 defeated Adelaide Thunderbirds @ Qudos Bank Arena (Doubleheader)
The second leg of the Sydney Sunday doubleheader, and the second leg was just as dominant as the first for the home team, this time the Giants landed a clean sweep on the Thunderbirds, taking all 8 points and beating the South Aussies in the midcourt, thanks to the performance of Amy Parmenter and the Hyphenator, Jamie-Lee Price.
Symbolic of the rout was Australian captain Caitlin Bassett’s performance in attack against Shamera Sterling, with Bassett beating Sterling to the point that Thunderbirds coach Tania Obst dragged the Jamaican gun in the third quarter.
Roland Garros: Australian Edition
The Barty Party is still raging on, sending the Parisians on a bender they haven’t been on since last year’s World Cup win.
She knocked out Andrea Petkovic on Saturday in straight sets, 6-3 6-1, to advance to the Round of 16, and in the process, is a win away from the WTA’s Top 5, and the first Aussie to visit the upper echelons since Sam Stosur was World No.5 on August 5th, 2012.
As a result, she’ll face off against Sofia Kenin, who ended up an afterthought, thanks to the fact she knocked out Serena Williams, who then turned into a carnivorous lizard and ate Dominic Thiem in the press conference room… despite the fact that Domi actually won.
As an added bonus, the Dream Team of Barty & Vika Azarenka are through to the 3rd Round of the doubles, and their latest performance was a mega comeback, after they faced 3 match points in the tiebreak against Viktoria Kuzmova and Belinda Bencic, before reeling off five consecutive points to win the tiebreak 8-6, and then used the momentum to run away with the win, taking the final set 6-1.
It sets up a clash of the titans- Barty & Azarenka vs the Australian Open champs Zhang Shuai, and our own Sam Stosur!
Jordan Thompson did the best of the men’s brigade, reaching the 3rd Round, and he got revenge on up-and-coming 40-year-old serving machine ‘Doctor’ Ivo Karlovic, who knocked Thommo out in 5 sets in the Second Round back in 2016- The 5th set that year went 12-10.
Ultimately, he was brought undone by the ever likeable Juan Martin Del Potro in straight sets, extending the Australian male drought in Paris to 50 years.
Surfing: Margaret River Pro
We’ve finally reached the Semi-Final stage of the WSL event at Margaret River, an event that you’d swear wasn’t even on this year thanks to all the crap press, and I can absolutely say it has improved, especially compared to last year’s edition, which was cancelled and threatened with extinction due to the sharks nibbling away at surfers in the South-West of WA.
Julian Wilson is the only local representative still in contention for the Men’s title, he’ll take on American Kolohe Andino in his semi-final, and John John Florence will face off against Caio Ibelli in the other showdown.
Sally Fitzgibbon is still in contention for the Women’s title, and she will take on Brazilian Tatiana Weston-Webb in the first semi-final, while Steph Gilmore’s conqueror Lakey Peterson will take on Carissa Moore in the other semi-final.
Zac Purton in Hong Kong
In the last two Sunday meetings at Sha Tin, the Emperor of Hong Kong, Zac Purton, has ridden SIX winners on both occasions.
The expat Queenslander now has 140 wins in Honkers this season, easily his career best, he leads the Jockey’s Premiership by 64 winners, and there’s still a good six weeks to go until the Hong Kong season finishes up.
For context, he rode 136 winners to claim the Premiership last season… Yikes.
Golf: Adam Scott Runner-Up in the Memorial Tournament
Great to see Scotty back in form ahead of the US Open, as he reeled off a final round 68 to charge into a magnificent runner-up finish at The Memorial Tournament in Ohio.
He carded a 72-hole 17 under, and his final round score of 68 would’ve enabled him to rocket to victory over the German Martin Kaymer… the only problem was, Patrick Cantlay carded a ‘ridonculous’ eight-under 64, finishing on 19 under and beating Scotty by 2 strokes.
Marc Leishman went virtually unnoticed by the Australian media for the whole weekend, but he would find himself finish in a very respectable 5th at 12 under.
Jason Day didn’t make the cut, but he provided us with one of the highlights of the weekend, managing to land an Eagle from behind a treeline and right in the rough.