You know a few weeks ago, after the Aussies smacked England at the World Cup, I made a ripping gag that the Poms were going to be sponsored by Viagra, since they couldn’t reach a Semi.
Turns out they took up that sponsorship, and good on them, they’ve now come first*.
NRL: Round 17
You know, I didn’t even mention Gavin Cooper was playing his 300th game.
I blame the fact that the news only got to Perth this morning.
Penrith 24 defeated Gold Coast 2 @ Panthers Stadium
Ivan The Not So Terrible has done it- The Panthers are officially in the Top 8!
What a time to be alive.
Prior to the game, the Cats had a PD of -93.
The Titans had a PD of -71.
Now, the Panthers have a PD of -71, and the Titans are on -93.
Based on the evidence before our eyes, that was enough for the Titans to give Garth Brennan the arse, with the team now staring the barrel of a second wooden spoon, and that running concurrently with Mal Meninga ripping them to pieces in a full-scale review of the club’s football department.
I wasn’t aware the Titans actually had a football department, but there we go.
So in their recent history, the Tits have now sacked Neil Henry because Jarryd Hayne didn’t like him, before Jarryd promptly pissed off to the Eels after wrecking the team, then they gave Brennan the head coaching gig at the end of 2017 to appease Ash Taylor, and now Ash is on personal leave, and they gave Brennan the arse anyway.
It just confirms to me that the Suns and the Titans are just another pair of pieces of irrefutable evidence that the Gold Coast is Australian sport’s Bermuda Triangle… whereas Western Sydney is the Vietnam War.
In a piece of good news/bad news, Kev Walters has already said he’s not interested in the role for 2020, but the Titans are still going to ask him, because ‘No Means No’ doesn’t exist in the NRL.
Craig Hodges and Luke Burt will take over for the remainder of the season, with Mal watching over them.
Yep, they’re boned.
Canterbury 20 defeated Newcastle 14 @ McDonald Jones Stadium
The Dogs unveiled their latest weapon, with Dean Pay having somehow developed a time machine, travelled back to 2002, and called up a young Big Willie Mason to wear the No.15!
They might claim his name is Renouf To’omaga, but the Dogs are clearly lying to the NRL, because that has to be Big Willie!
Whether or not he made a difference was unclear, but what was clear was that the sin binning of James Gavet for a hit off the ball on the hour completely changed the game for the Knights, and probably wrecked their Top 4 hopes as well, as the Dogs turned around that 8-nil deficit and rocketed to a 20-8 lead in 15 minutes, giving Mitchell Pearce his worst experience with Dogs since January 2016.
The Dogs have now won back-to-back games for the first time all year, they’re off the bottom, and the Knights…
GBP- Get Ponga Back.
Souths 21 defeated Manly 20 @ ANZ Stadium
It appears Souths are actually capable of winning a game, coincidentally coming after the Origin period finally ended, and pretty much all of their key players were inserted back into the line-up.
Ethan Lowe had a rest due to having a sore back from carrying Queensland to within a minute of winning an Origin series, while Des made a tactical move to rest Tommy Turbo and preserve his unbeaten record in 2019.
Sure, many would see this game as a loss for Manly, and the record will show that, but Tommy didn’t lose, so that’s a win.
And also, that hit by Jorge Taufua… I think we might need to rename Adam Doueihi the telephone, because two days later, his head’s still ringing.
But at the end of the day, what kind of a team would lose after scoring more tries than their opposition?
Ah, of course.
Brisbane 18 drew with New Zealand 18 after Golden Point @ Lang Park
I assumed this game was going to be akin to a bible, but as it turned out, it was so tough, that neither the Broncs or Warriors could split the other, and for the first time since Round 21, 2016, we have a draw!
Which means I can finally play THE DRAW SONG!
It was an encapsulating and highly frustrating game, full of some fantastic performances- 6 missed field goals, David Fifita destroying 5 tackles and running 25 metres to put the Broncos up 18-16, Jazz Tevaga with 72 tackles (23 more than anyone else), while Roger Tuivasa Sheck looked like a Dally M Medalist, and smashed the record for the most run metres in a single game (367 from 34 runs), beating Anthony Minichello’s record of 364 from Round 3, 2004.
It’s the first draw since Round 21, 2016, when the Sharks drew 18-all with the Titans, and as it turned out, it wouldn’t be the first tie for a New Zealand team on the weekend… but at least these Kiwis got something out of it.
Melbourne 40 defeated Cronulla 16 @ AAMI Park
You just know deep down, Channel Nine were internally raging at not being the ones to flog Cameron Smith’s 400th game to death.
Case in point: Fox League drew 357,000 viewers- The best Pay TV audience of the year.
Not that anyone is shedding a tear for Nine.
But anyway, everyone except Cooper Cronk had a tribute for Cameron Smith on his 400th game, and his Storm teammates pulled off a fantastic one during the game, as every Storm point in the 1st Half was scored by either a Cameron, or a Smith.
The universe is full of strange coincidences.
The last team to knock off the Storm (Back in Round 8) were half a chance of pulling off another upset when they got back to within 2 points with half-an-hour to go, but the moment Shaun Johnson went down injured again, it seemed to be the dam wall bursting on the Sharks (Which is ironic, since you’d think they could swim through it), and the Melbourne Smiths went berserk and ran home 4 more tires, and chalked up a regulation 2 points.
So SJ won’t be able to endure boos from Warriors fans next weekend, Josh Dugan hurt his hamstring and was put into retirement by Gordy Tallis on Fox League, and Josh Morris broke his nose, meaning the Sharks now have $4 million worth of salary cap out injured.
They’re now out of the Top 8, and with that injury list, their season is looking stuffed with a capital F.
As for the Storm and Smithy… 400 games, and he’s only played a bad game in by my estimates, 13 of them.
North Queensland 15 defeated Sydney 12 @ Central Coast Stadium
I like how Uncle Nick and the Chooks hierarchy keep bringing a game to Gosford every year and gifting the opposition two points.
2 wins from their past 12 visits to the Central Coast… They’re providing great entertainment to the locals, year after year.
I will say that I am glad the Cows got the job done, not because it was Gavin Cooper’s 300th game, but because it means I don’t have to mull over the fact that the Dogs might have cost me a perfect round in the tips.
Unsurprisingly, Trent Robinson tee’d off on the Chooks like he was John Daly at the PGA Championship, calling his defence a disgrace, mainly for the try they conceded to John Asiata when they had all the momentum at 12-6, Jared Waerea-Hargeaves getting himself suspended again (2 weeks for driving Josh McGuire’s head), and for the crap kicking from Cronk and Keary (Who missed a combined 3 drop goals) that cost the Roosters what should’ve been on the balance of things, a win.
Then again, JWH going through a game without having a chat from the referee is rarer than the NRL going a month without an off-field scandal.
Cronk missing two field goals (One got charged down), Keary completely misjudging the breeze from straight in front, and then Cowboys got one final crack, and Jake Clifford, after hitting two kicks superbly that both missed, kicked an absolute lamb shank that swivelled into the bottom left corner.
The Chooks then gave away a strip penalty at the kick-off in a last minute desperation job, which will explain the 15-12 scoreline.
A very well earned win for the Cowboys, and if the Chooks play like that after Cordner and Tedesco come back, they’ll be next to no chance of going back-to-back.
Parramatta 30 defeated Wests 18 @ Bankwest Stadium
It was a touch closer than the 45 point margin on Easter Monday, but alas, it was still double figures the way of the Eels in Benji’s 300th game, which will forever be remembered for some figurative and literal dickhead becoming the latest streaker at Bankwest.
You know what the funniest part is?
That guy was an Austereo executive.
So now not only is he probably out of a job, but now everyone knows he suffers from the dreaded effects of shrinkage.
After proceedings finished and the Eels took over the final hour of the game and won, there was one last tribute for Benji, in the most Kiwi way possible- A mass breakout of
Slice Of Heaven The Haka.
Canberra 36 defeated St George Illawarra 14 @ WIN Stadium
If having the first draw in 3 years wasn’t crazy enough, Nick Cotric decided to beat out some of the game’s great thugs, and become the first player to get himself sent off in 2019 for a dangerous throw on Tim Lafai- The first dangerous throw dismissal since Peter Driscoll for Souths in 1995.
Nick the Dick is off for a holiday, and he joins an illustrious list of players sent off this decade; Petero Civoniceva (2010), Paul Aiton (2011), Adam Blair and Glenn Stewart in the Battle of Brookvale (2011), Matt Prior, Travis Burns and Anthony Minichiello (2012), Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (2013), Kade Snowden (2013 & 2015), David Shillington (In his 200th game in 2015), and of course, Curtis Scott for punching Dylan Walker last year.
It all distracted us from another milestone from a player this weekend- Jarrod Croker became the Raiders all-time leading try scorer, with his 121st career try surpassing the man who he was almost the namesake of, Jason Croker on 120, and to boot, Jarrod became the youngest player to reach 1900 points, at the age of 28.
He probably won’t be able to catch whatever Cameron Smith’s points record ends up being, mainly because he’ll probably die of old age before Smithy hits his prime, at the ripe old age of 137.
The send-off also made you forget the fact that the Raiders actually managed to increase their lead 10-4 after Cotric’s dismissal, just to highlight how dismal the Dragons were on Sunday evening.
The Raiders are now up to 3rd, and the Dragons… are a game ahead of the Bulldogs.
Actually, that’s being harsh- A game and GDP’s worth of points difference ahead of the Bulldogs.
Wimbledon: Dylan Alcott completes the Dylan Slam in the Quad Wheelchair Singles
While the world was off focusing on the irrelevant Gents and Ladies finals, our most successful Men’s tennis player rolled up to the hallowed grounds of SW19 and did what he’s turned into child’s play- Win majors.
Buoyed by his success at winning the Graham Kennedy Award at the Logies, Dylan Alcott warmed up by claiming the inaugural Wimbledon Quad Wheelchair Doubles title with Brit Andy Lapthorn, defeated Koji Sugeno and David Wagner 6-2 7-6 (7-4).
He also won the first ever Quad Wheelchair Singles match at Wimbledon against Koji Sugeno 6-3 6-4,, and progressed through to the final against Lapthorne- Who managed to defeat Alcott’s great rival David Wagner in the Semi Final.
The Final was even more a methodically one-sided victory than Simona Halep’s win in the Ladies’ Singles proved to be a few hours later- Alcott won the 1st Set 6-0, and then demoralised Lapthorne by racing away to a 5-0 lead, although the Brit did spare himself the pain of a double bagel, managing to win the next two games (Breaking Alcott when he served for the title at 5-1), but Alcott didn’t make the same mistake twice, and broke Laptorne to claim that historic title.
I’d say what makes Dylan so damn dominant is that he’s able to pull off a part of the game that is basically ignored in wheelchair tennis (Because it’s usually too difficult to attempt) – The slice and drop shot.
And of course, Dylan gave yet another fantastic speech, which he’s had plenty of practice at performing of late.
50 years after Rocket Rod completed that legendary second Grand Slam, another Aussie holds a Grand Slam of his own, and while it is a Non-Calendar Grand Slam, Dylan will have the chance of completing the Calendar Grand Slam at Flushing Meadows in just under 2 months.
What a good bloke.
Netball World Cup: The Diamonds go 3/3
Pretty easy stuff so far for the Defending Champion Diamonds after the first Group Stage, having beaten up the might of Northern Ireland (88-24), Zimbabwe (73-37) and Sri Lanka (99-24), in what was the most agonising anchoring on 99 since Fev couldn’t kick his 100th goal back in 2008.
It was three games of mix and matching combinations, swapping around Caitlin Bassett, Steph Wood, Gretel Tippett in attack, and Courtney Bruce, Jo Weston and April Bradley in defence.
Realistically, we’ve got to wait until Stage Two of the Group Phrase (Starting TONIGHT) to get a better reading on how the Diamonds are going to perform, with the litmus test coming when they play the Silver Ferns on Thursday evening.
Cricket: Australia A Tour
Stumps on Day 1: Australia A 4-362 vs England Lions @ Canterbury
Against a bowling attack featuring 4 no-names and Sam Curran, the touring Aussies went to town on the most important cricketing match in England on Sunday, particularly ‘Heady’ and ‘Wadey’, who both blasted centuries and put a marker down to the selectors that says, “I want to be selected”.
The way that Matty Wade in particular is playing on this mini-tour, he should be a mortal lock to get a crack at the Ashes squad.
Which means he won’t be.
Tour De France
So as the French celebrate Bastille Day, I can finally say HUZZAH! The Aussies actually racked up a stage win!
Except it wasn’t a rider, it was the only Australian team on the Tour, Mitchelton-Scott, and their South African rider Daryl ‘Jarman’ Impey, who won the 170.5km Stage 9, the fourth stage win for Mitchelton-Scott overall, and their first since Michael Matthews won Stage 10 of 2016.
Richie Porte is still the best Australian, sitting 18th in the General Classification, Michael Matthews is still 2nd in the hunt for the green jersey, basically the best of the rest behind Peter ‘Tourminator’ Sagan, who is as per usual, annihilating everyone in the points classification, leading 204 to Matthews on 144.
Golf: Scottish Open
Not much to report Australian wise at the Renaissance Club, as the Austrian Bernd Wiesberger cleaned out Benjamin Hebert to win the title in a play-off, after they both finished at 22 under, in what was a big four days for low scores, a rarity for a Scottish golf course.
Lucas Herbert was the only Aussie to make the cut, finishing on 9 under… and tied for 62nd.
Anyway, on to Royal Portrush!