Better late than never, primarily because there’s so much crap to sift through.
CRICKET: WORLD CUP
Some say Michael Holding is still going off about how pathetic the umpiring decisions were in the Australia-Windies match.
India (5-352) defeated Australia (316) by 36 runs @ The Oval
Much to my disappointment, Ash Barty was not called up to replace Usman Khawaja, or Glenn Maxwell.
Right from the start, when Virat Kohli decided to bat first, the Indians were the better team, with Shikhar Dhawan, the greatest Indian player to live in Fountain Gate, carting the impotent Aussie attack to all corners, as he racked up a masterful 117 off 109, with Kohli happy to provide the side entertainment with 82 off 77.
Probably the highlight of the match, aside from Dhawan’s innings, was when Steve Smith got sent to field on the rope, and copped a chorus of boos from the very partisan Indian crowd.
Fortunately, Virat was at the crease, and very clearly heard the boos, and gestured to the fans to show respect and applaud Smith instead.
What a gesture, and that alone probably does highlight how much influence and respect Virat has amongst Indian cricket fans.
If an Australian captain tried that Down Under, we’d probably boo even harder.
Thanks to some power hitting from Hardik Pandya and M.S Dhoni in the final 10 overs, the Indians smashed their way to 5/352, the highest score ever conceded by Australia at a World Cup, and only the 2nd time they’d conceded 300+ in a WC match.
It really did highlight one major flaw in the Australian team- This bowling attack, at least on the surface, isn’t good enough to win a World Cup.
The record for the highest chase at a World Cup is still held by Ireland, who chased down 329 to beat England in 2011, which I remember was described as the apparent sporting equivalent of New Zealand beating Australia in a game of Australian Rules.
Actually, I’d argue it was closer to Australia beating New Zealand in a game of Rugby.
Now, when you’re chasing a score requiring 7+ runs per over, the key is to score quickly and early, and typically the kind of player you’d expect to carry out that brutal task is a Donnie Darko impersonator like David Warner.
Instead, after Aaron Finch was foolishly run out on 36 at a run a ball, Emperor Napoleon showed no signs of teeing off, and powered away to a barnstorming 56 off 84 balls, playing with the urgency of a eunuch on a date.
I reckon that ban has taken the angry streak out of Dave- Through the first three matches, he’s faced a cultimative 206 balls, and scored a mere 13 fours and no sixes.
With Smith still at the crease and working the singles with Khawaja, the Aussies reached 155-2 by the 30th over, still needing a good 10 an over to win, and not having hit a boundary in the equivalent of 6 overs.
It’s fair to say, the Aussies were stuffed with a capital F.
Khawaja did at least try something, producing 42 off 39 before he was clean bowled by Bumrah, which brought in Glenn Maxwell, with Australia now needing 12 an over to win.
The crowd went wild in the 40th over when Smith was finally gone for 69 on a referred LBW call by the Indians, and then Stoinis got nutted for a second ball duck that cannoned into off stump, and that was when I went to sleep, safe in the knowledge that the Aussies were toast.
It turned out, the only thing I missed was Alex Carey producing a cameo that featured the fastest half century of the tournament, and meant Australia only lost by a mere 36 runs, capped off by Zampa holing out on the last ball.
Apparently, that was the first time Australia has lost a World Cup match batting second, since losing to Pakistan at Leeds in 1999, who ironically, play Australia next.
NRL: Round 13
Newcastle 20 defeated Souths 12 @ ANZ Stadium
I think the Knights are slipping- They can’t even win games by more than 10 points anymore.
In all lack of seriousness, the Knights are the hot hand of the competition, having reached a point that Nathan Brown can rest Kalyn Ponga and David Klemmer, and still have a Dally M candidate steering the ship to Victory Island.
James Roberts made his second debut for Souths, and capped it off by scoring the Rabbits’ opening try.
And that was as good as it got for the former ladder leaders.
For the fans of the biff, the real highlight of the match came when we had a rare ‘Double Donnybrook’ to end the 1st Half, as two seperate fights involving the Burgess brothers broke out, which ended up in four players getting sent to the bin, reducing the game to 11 vs 11 to kick off the 2nd Half.
The whole thing started when Tom Burgess shoved Daniel Saifiti, setting off further events that saw Sammy land several apparent Liverpool kisses on Lachie Fitzgibbon, while Tom was more than willing to provide a few Liverpool kisses to Safiti.
Which means that Fitzgibbon was sin binned for effectively standing there and getting his head caved in without fighting back.
Oddly enough, despite Tom Burgess starting the fight, Souths were awarded the penalty, which was slotted through by Dane Gagai as the siren sounded.
The Knights ended up taking advantage of the 10 minutes of the National Rugby A-League, with Connor Watson scoring in the 45th minute to push the lead out to 18-6, and it ended up being the sealer.
The way Pearce is playing, he’ll be back in the Blues Origin team for Perth, and then he’ll sadly revert back to being the Mitchell Pearce that Blues fans came to fear and dread.
Canberra 28 defeated Wests Tigers 0 @ Bankwest Stadium
For the first time in their history, the Green Machine have pitched three shutouts in a season.
Think about it- Even those great Raiders teams of the 80s & 90s didn’t pitch three shutouts in a season, which didn’t really matter, because their attack was so good it pillaged every backline in New South Wales.
During the Tigers’ bye week, Robbie Farah got a hall pass to go and watch Liverpool win the Champions League final in Madrid, although he saw better foot skills from the Raiders on Friday Night.
If the Pommy football team had John Bateman in their starting XI, then they probably would’ve won the Nations League.
All in all, an absolute arse-kicking, and the Raiders provide their fans with entertainment not seen since the days of Mal and Loz.
Melbourne 32 defeated New Zealand 10 @ Mt Smart Stadium
It must feel great being 10-2 down, knowing you still only have to play at 75% of your best to get past a team.
And that was all despite Christian Welsh winning a trip to the bin for persistent foul play from the Storm, who scored just before the half to cut the gap to 10-8, and after that, they went wild in the 2nd Half like an Australian tourist in Queenstown, slamming on four tries to no score.
Of the three leading teams to play this weekend, the Storm were the only ones who didn’t balls it up, which is pretty much the difference between them and everyone else- Consistency.
Cronulla 42 defeated Parramatta 22 @ Shark Park
I’d best do this in the style of Scott Morrison.
HOW GOOD’S CRONULLA!
HOW GOOD’S WADE GRAHAM!
HOW GOOD’S KYLE FLANAGAN!
HOW GOOD’S BRONSON XERRI!
If this result wasn’t bad enough for the Eels, they were hit by an atom bomb filled with shock, as skipper Tim Mannah’s distinguished time with the club is over, after he requested a release on Monday evening, to sign with Wests Tigers effective immediately.
Just think about that- Tim could be the first person in history to wake up in the morning, and willingly think to himself, “Hm, I want to join Wests.”
Of all players to transfer mid-season, Tim bloody Mannah would have to be the most unexpected ever seen.
Manly 22 defeated North Queensland 20 @ 1300SMILES Stadium
After losing to the Titans and Panthers, and then conceding three tries in seven minutes before the half to fall behind 20-12, Des Hasler finally cracked the shits with his Sea Eagles, and gave them a spray so powerful, that the visitors change-rooms at the Willows now resemble a bomb fallout.
He did it to get a response.
He got it.
Funnily enough, the Sea Eagles actually hit the lead in the 2nd Half, during the 10 minutes when Jack Gosiweski was in the bin for a professional foul.
Capping off that piece of humiliation, the Cowboys ended up being the team to finish the game with 12 players, after Jordan McLean was forced off the ground in the 68th minute with a hamstring injury.
The problem being that Paul Green had used all eight interchanges.
A true Homer Simpson moment.
And in one last black eye for the ‘Boys, after getting away with one facial massage this season, the NRL decided to SLAM Josh McGuire for his latest ‘grub act’, by dishing out a $4500 fine to Josh for giving a facial to Dylan Walker, reduced to $3400 with an early pea.
On the one hand, it is Dylan Walker, but on the other hand, it’s McGuire’s
One more stuff-up this year, and McGuire will automatically miss a week, which means he’d have to be a moron to try something like it again.
But then again, it is the NRL, and nobody’s an Edison.
Gold Coast 26 defeated Brisbane 18 @ Suncorp Stadium
There was a wholesome moment before the game, as Alex Glenn was honoured for his 250th game with Broncos, and in commemoration, his mum Ann presented him with his milestone jersey!
And that was as good as it got, because the Tits went off,
Tyrone Peachey’s time on the Gold Coast could be finished within weeks, apparently unsatisfied with being the second-best Tyrone in the Titans line-up.
That title belongs to Tyrone Roberts.
You really knew the Broncos were in trouble the second that Darius Boyd reverted back to being Darius Boyd, and simply dropped to his knees at the sight of Roberts.
Say what you will about Darius, but he gives the fans what they love to see.
The only problem is, they’re the fans of 15 other clubs.
The biggest problem with game is, there’s still questions about the performance of both teams- Can the Tits seriously claw themselves to a challenge for the Top 8, now that they’re clear of last, and can the Broncos still recover and mount a sustained charge for the Top 4.
At this stage, it’s probably no on both fronts.
Penrith 19 defeated Sydney 10 @ Panthers Stadium
The Chooks are in serious trouble having lost three in a row, the Rabbits are getting stewed, and the Storm are now a game and a monster chunk of percentage on top of the ladder.
I think it’s fair to say, life has returned to normal.
Bolstered by a loud home crowd and the Roosters not having Latrell, Keary and Waerea-Hargreaves, the Mountain Men came out and played with the sort of intensity and commitment that nobody has seen in 2019.
James Maloney actually looked like someone that was a first-choice halve for New South Wales, and Nathan Cleary saved two tries, a decent performance, especially with the shadow of Mitchell Pearce floating over him and eager to take back his place in the Blues team.
If missing two shots at goal in the 1st Half didn’t hurt the Chooks, the sin-binning of Joseph Manu for holding on to Brent Naden too long in the tackle certainly did, especially as the scores were only 6-4.
Kikau scored 5 minutes later, which was converted by Cleary to make it 12-4, and even when Radley scored to make it 12-10, Naden responded 2 minutes later and pushed the lead back out to 18-10.
The Panthers have now won three in a row, further highlighting that the universe doesn’t make sense.
St George Illawarra 36 defeated Canterbury 12 @ ANZ Stadium.
After losing five straight games, I doubt Saints fans could’ve cared if they’d beaten the Ballina thirds to change their form- A win is a win.
While several teams and players deal with the wrath of Origin, Ben Hunt crawled through the river and came out clean on the other side.
It also helped that Corey Norman finally came back from injury to partner Hunt in the halves, and instantly, the Dragons looked something resembling cohesive.
After the Dogs scored in the 2nd minute thanks to Tariq Sims knocking-on in the opening set of the game I thought it was another classic case of “Hahaha, not again” for the Dragons.
After that, they were the ones laughing at the Dogs, scoring two tries in four minutes, both of which involved Hunt (Assisted the first) and Norman (Scored the second).
The Rev V scored another try just before the half, and then piled on two more just before the hour mark to make it 30-6, and from there, it was game, set and match.
We should also point out Zac Lomax’s goalkicking- 6/6, and throw in a try he converted, it once again shows the importance of having a good kicker.
Apparently there was something misleading headline in the DT, about the Dogs trying to sign Shane Flanagan (Who will still be banned next year) to coach the Dogs from 2020, and replace Dean Pay.
It makes perfect sense- Re-sign a coach, and then get ready to sack him and pay him out when he’s got a year left on his contract.
Fortunately, it’s all poppycock.
Well, on the bright side, Dallin Watene-Zelezniak is on his way to the Berries, effective immediately.
Super Rugby: Round 17
Congratulations to the Brumbies, on earning this year’s title of “Least Crap Australian Team!”
May you go forth and knock out a South African wildcard, and then get demolished on a trip to New Zealand.
Reds 29 defeated Blues 28 @ Suncorp Stadium
On Wednesday evening, it was the Maroons beating the Blues at Lang Park, and then on Friday evening, the Reds knocked off the Blues at Lang Park.
And it was a sweet, sweet win too, beating the worst Kiwi team by somehow erasing a 21-5 deficit in the 1st Half, and was capped off with a fairytale ending to Scott Higginbotham in his last Reds game at Lang Park, scoring a double, including the try at the death which was converted by Bryce Hegarty to give them the match-winning lead.
A rather nice way to farewell whatever remains of the Reds’ Lang Park faithful for 2018, downing the worst Kiwi team, and at the very least, giving Brad Thorn a sign of hope for the future for this youth-filled team.
Let’s check the final record of ‘Blues’ teams against the Queenslanders this past week.
New South Wales on Wednesday: Lost
Auckland on Friday: Lost
Carlton against the Brisbane Lions: Won.
Crusaders 66 defeated Rebels 0
Last year, the Rebels ended up losing in the last round of the season and missed the play-offs on Points Differential.
Good to see they got the points differential problem sorted this year, now all they have to do is lose to a red-hot Chiefs team at AAMI Park next weekend.
My only disappointment is that the Crusaders didn’t land another shot at goal during the match before Ryan Crotty converted his own try after the final siren, because then it would’ve appropriately finished 69-0.
Obviously, in reference to the position that the Champs left the Rebels in all afternoon.
Although, this was slightly better than Melbourne’s last trip to Christchurch, in which they conceded 85 points in 2016.
A full 19 fewer points- If that worrying trend continues, the Crusaders will score negative points against the Rebels in 2023, by which point, Crusaders fans will still be booing Quade Cooper.
I do find it funny that the Crusaders have ended their regular season with more draws (3) than they do losses (2)… although the +240 PD makes up for that.
The other funny result of that is that the Hurricanes are locked in to finish 2nd in the New Zealand Conference, and given they’re playing the Blues next weekend, will probably end up with one more win (12) than the Crusaders (11).
Brumbies 35 defeated Waratahs 24 @ Bankwest Stadium
What an utterly fitting end to the Waratahs season, as the Brumbies utterly destroyed the hosts with arguably the best 20 minute burst from an Australian team this season, racing out to a 28-3 lead after a half-hour.
It was hard to tell who did more damage- Israel Folau to RA, or the Brumbies forward pack to the ‘Tahs.
In hindsight, they should’ve called off the match after that fourth try. , and wheeled out the hats and t-shirts and given it to them on the spot.
Here’s a true fact, scientists will re-define a pack a wild horses as a “Rolling maul”, in honour of this Brumbies forward pack.
FIFA Women’s World Cup: Italy 2 defeated Australia 1 @ Valenciennes
And that’s any hopes the Matildas have of a decent result at this World Cup smoked in the space of an afternoon.
Actually, more like smoked in the space of a last minute set piece.
I thought it was ironic that Italy’s keeper Laura Giuliani pretty much defended every set piece the Matildas threw at the Azzuri defence, and then the one time the Italians
The Matildas took the lead in the 1st Half thanks to Sam Kerr tapping in the rebound from her own missed penalty, but the Italians had our ladies covered for pace.
As it turned out, the true saviour of the Italian people was not Giorgio Armani, nor was it Paolo Maldini, Francesco Totti or Andrea Bocelli, it was ‘B Squared’- Barabara Bonansea, who scored a second half brace, including the winning header with effectively the last play of the match.
It was damn lucky if you ask me, since it was somehow one of only two occasions the Italian forwards were onside for a goal scoring opportunity for the entire afternoon- They had about 3 or 4 goals wiped out by the linesperson.
And as if trying to give us Vietnam-esque PTSD, Bonansea performed that same thumb sucking celebration that Totti performed after he scored the winning penalty against the Aussies in Germany in 2006.
It’s like the universe sticking a middle finger at the FFA for being morons.
Now it’s on to Brazil next on Thursday evening, who lost 9 consecutive matches before smashing Jamaica 3-0 on Sunday, which means they’ll probably pick up and turn around their recent form against the Matildas and kill them by the same scoreline.
Great job getting rid of Stajcic, you frikkin’ morons.
South Korea 1 defeated Australia 0 @ Busan
It’s amazing how people can pluck out 10 minutes of highlights for a match that finished with one goal.
It was a fairly experimental friendly from Graham Arnold, as Mitch Duke played his first Socceroos match since 2013, and Sydney FC’s title winning pair of Brandon O’Neill and goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne made their debuts for the Green & Gold, while the Koreans actually played their talisman Son Heung-min, a mere five days after he played for Spurs in the Champions League Final.
Basically summing it up, Duke hit the post in the 1st Half, the Koreans didn’t a shot on target, and then ultimately scored the only goal of the match thanks to a lucky deflection in the 76th minute for Hwang Ui-Jo.
Super Netball: Round 7
Lightning 59 defeated Thunderbirds 53 @ Territory Netball Stadium
Netball came to the Top End for the first time, and as the locals love to say, ‘See You in the NT’, which is bold, especially with a women’s competition coming to town.
It was quite appropriate that in a town renowned for repeated thunderstorms, the Lightning were the ones to claim that historic win, overcoming an early 7-goal lead to the Thunderbirds to claim 6/8 points on offer, with Lightning centre Laura Langman’s non-stop performance earning her player of the match honours.
Fever 62 defeated Giants 62 @ RAC Arena
Far out, it’s like every week I’m writing about the Fever playing out a draw.
More specifically, it’s like every week I’m writing about the Fever playing out a 62-apiece draw.
Really, both teams can only blame themselves- The Fever committed 41 penalties to 23 in the 1st Half and trailed 28-32, while the Giants were denied the win thanks to Caitlin Bassett shooting half-a-second too late at the end of the match- The ball fell into the net after the umpire had blown the whistle, and of course, there’s no after the siren goals in netball.
Swifts 68 defeated Firebirds 46 @ QSNC
It’s somewhat funny that the Swifts can have their biggest win of the season, and still not record an 8-point clean sweep.
Unfortunately for the Swifts, that wasn’t their biggest problem from the match, because captain Maddy Proud went down with a knee injury, which for all we know, could end her season.
Aside from that horror watch, the Swifts are now 12 points clear on top.
Magpies 55 defeated Vixens 52
All I had seen in the lead-up to the Queen’s Birthday Bash is how the Magpies had never beaten the Vixens, and how the big sister was on track to get it done yet again.
How’s that going for you now, ladies?
Most of us only expected that one Collingwood team would win on the Queen’s Birthday- It turned out they both did.