JT’s Sporting Review: 1st-4th August

“At the end of the day I don’t care about rankings at all.”

“I just want to grow as a person, as a human, and if that comes along the tennis player will come with it so you know that’s all I can do. Just small habits every day, trying to get better.”

Saint Nicholas of Canberra, after saluting in the Citi Open

The Ashes: 1st Test

Steve Smith isn’t the greatest batsman since Don Bradman, he’s just a male Ellyse Perry.

Anyway, I’ll have a review up tomorrow when it’s all said and done, especially since I had something prepared after Day 1, which will have to be revised to just abusing Dave Warner & Cam Bancroft for being the only Austraian batsman not to pass double figures.

NRL: Round 20

And after stumps for Round 20, Queensland has lost by a combined score of 126-14.

In fact, the Doggies defeated Queensland 16-14.

Yes, that’s correct, the worst attacking team in the league defeated Queensland 16-14.

Wests Tigers 28 defeated North Queensland 4 @ Leichardt

I noticed the grounds crew had painted the hashtag “Robbie 300” in the middle of the ground.

Surely it was more appropriate to paint “Robbie 301” on there.

Anyway, I kept flicking in between this game and the cricket, so the bad news for the Cowboys was that they were outscored by Cameron Bancroft, but at the same time, they managed to outscore David Warner.

That was as good as it got, because the Tiges defense had them wearing gimp suits for the whole game, and it was pretty much summed up when Kyle Feldt was certain to score in the 50th minute, only for the ball to spill out when Luke Brooks came across to cover the line, and Wests ended up with the feed.

Source: Twitter

Completely ignoring that they scored 2 minutes later, if that didn’t drive Cows fans mad, then there was something else that sent them to Bedlam- Paul Green leaving Jason Taumalolo on the bench for most of the 2nd Half.

When your season is slipping away, surely the one thing any coach shouldn’t do is leave their best forward on the bench WHEN HE’S NEEDED THE MOST.

Wests ran in a pair of tries to seal the deal in the last 10 minutes, sealing the win, which means that Farah (Who did score another try) & Benji Marshall have played at Leichardt 29 times as a duo- Their record is a cool 20-9.

The Tigers are back in the Top 8, and the only team they play who are currently in the Top 8 for the rest of the season is THIS THURSDAY.

Unfortunately, that team just happens to be Manly.

Canberra 46 defeated New Zealand 12 @ Mt Smart

Those whistles and referees tops worn by the local actually made a massive difference to the penalty count- The Warriors won it 6-4!

That was the only thing they won on Friday, because good lord, the Raiders sliced and diced them to pieces, and it was in no small part thanks to the sort of team play which has defined their rise into the Top 4.

Case in point- This team try to cap off the 1st Half.

Source: NRL Twitter

After the game, the Raiders belted out a rousing edition of The Mighty Green Machine in the sheds, although I did notice what appears to be Corey ‘Big Red’ Horsburgh bashing his locker drum so hard, that he dislodged it from its hinges.

“We just kicked the Warriors’ arse!”

And then Jack Wighton randomly whipped out the old backflip to finish off the song.

Both pieces of footage from the Raiders Twitter

I’m not sure what Sticky Ricky has created down there in Canberra, but as long as it’s got nothing to do with drugs, I want in.

Melbourne 40 defeated Brisbane 4 @ Suncorp Stadium

Until Cameron Smith retires, or is abducted by international scuba terrorists, the Broncos may as well deliver a “We forfeit” note to the referees every time they play the Storm in Brisbane.

I’m amazed some bookmakers haven’t been run out of business by people taking the handicap on the Storm in Brisbane over the last decade- That might be a more effective money maker than most insurance funds.

With no Pangai or Gillett (The best a man can get), the Storm demolished the Broncos on the ground to the point that it should’ve been classed as workplace bullying- 66 more runs, and 872 more running metres.

Looking at those stats, you’d think the margin was 30+ points.

And it was.

On the downside for the runaway leaders, Christian Welch couldn’t dodge the knee gods for a second time in 2019- He’s officially done for 12 months with an ACL tear.

This result was also the perfect opportunity for Gus to emerge from his burrow and start ripping shreds off everything to do with the Broncos, going after the players, but moreso Anthony Seibold, who is apparently the cause of the ills of the current Broncos team, and possibly every disaster striking Queensland in 2019, including crocodiles ripping people to pieces every 5 seconds in North Queensland.

If I was Anthony, I’d be blaming Australian society, and the loss of backyards in contemporary homes, which has led to a decline in the production OF quality players.

Look at Steve Smith- He grew up in a backyard.

Manly 30 defeated Newcastle 6 @ Brookvale

Jesse Ramien got the arse from the Hunter Valley after a dust-up with Browny, and if the 2nd Half at Brooky was any guide, there’s quite a few Knights players who are going to be joining him on the way out.

Ramien was on the verge of playing for the Blues… What a turnaround.

After leading by 8-6 at the half, the Sea Eagles didn’t fancy grinding another team another into the ground like they did with the Storm, so they simply ran over them instead.

Des has this Sea Eagles team believing so profoundly in his philosophy, that he could probably have all 17 players simultaneous scratch their arses on Thursday evening against the Tigers.

The Sea Eagles are now right on the edge of the Top 4, and in the sheds after the game, Jorge Taufua took a break from smashing attacking players, by instead smashing a bin against the wall to create the beat for the club song.

Source: Sea Eagles Twitter

Given it is Brookvale, I’m surprised the force of that contact didn’t cause the Grandstand to crumble.

On the flip side, it probably feels like now, after such a slow start, the Knights are regressing back towards the mean, having put themselves in the position where they had to win so many games in a row just to have a chance of playing finals.

You could pretty much interchange that paragraph with Penrith, who are also hitting the wall.

Canterbury 16 defeated Penrith 8 @ Bankwest Stadium

It really is saying something about the state of the rabble competing between 7th and 12th, that the bloody Doggies, all the way down there in the cellar, can show more guts on a weekly basis.

Dean Pay probably knows the Dogs are a busted arse team on both sides of the ball, but regardless, he’s got them slogging their guts out week in and out, by attempting to drag their opposition down with them, like the classic days of the Dogs of War.

It worked perfectly on Saturday evening.

It is quite alarming seeing the Panthers attack fall off the edge of the world without Viliame Kikau- He’s back next week, but James Maloney goes out in a suspension swap, after he was done for tripping Jeremy Marshall-King in the 73rd minute, which he will fight at the judiciary.

Regardless, unless a meteor strikes Sydney in the next month, the Berries have done more than enough to dodge the wooden spoon for this year.

As for the Mountain Men, as I mentioned above, they could be regressing back towards the mean after starting from so far back, or Kikau comes back next week and they return to their recent good form.

Cronulla 39 defeated Souths 24 @ Shark Park

There was a team that looked like contenders at Shark Park on Saturday night, and they definitely weren’t wearing red, green and white.

Souths must have a contract with the Burgess family, which stipulates that at least one brother has to do something stupid every week.

This week it was Slammin’ Sam, who returned from injury, and was almost instantly reported for murdering Matt Moylan, earning himself a Grade Two charge, and giving Moylan a HIA test, which he somehow passed, despite being pretty brutally hit.

(Footage: Fox Sports)

Burgess was a part of the reason the Sharks flew out to a 16-nil lead, before Souths got it back to 16-12, but from there, the Sharks just went straight back to work, and tore the Rabbits to shreds like they were a swimmer off the coast of Amity Island.

It’s fair to say WAYNE probably attempted to suck Sam’s soul from his body after the game, because in a crucial weekend in the context of this season, 3 contenders huge statements, and then there was Souths, sitting there in the corner eating glue.

Easts 58 defeated Gold Coast 6 @ The SCG

Yes, hello police? I’d like to report a mass murder in Moore Park.

The only thing that you could take away from this battle of men against boys dressed as traffic cones, is that Justin Holbrook is walking straight into the maw of hell coaching this Titans team next year.

Within 21 minutes, not only had Brett Morris become the 12th player to bag 150 career tries, but he’d moved into the Top 10, after finishing off his hat-trick.

Cooper Cronk also scored his 100th try, and in the process, the Chooks ran up their highest score the SCG in some 297 appearances at the former home of rugby league, breaking the previous record of 57, set way back in 1935 against North Sydney, in the old days of 3 point tries, which would be the equivalent of scoring 70 points today (13 tries & 9 goals).

The Immortal Dave Brown scored 4 tries that day (As did Fred Tottey), and then scored another 4 when Easts ran another 53 points on the Bears later that year.

Unsurprisingly, that Easts team went okay- They lost just one game for the year, and won the premiership against Souths.

Amazingly, despite scoring 58 points on a competition heavyweight, Angus Crichton says the Chooks can get better.

Besides Bondi, I can see where he’s coming from, especially if they crack down on the errors and actually get through their sets, as they did yesterday.

Parramatta 12 defeated St George-Illawarra 4 @ Kogarah

A classic smash and grab job from the Eels, and by my estimations, that’s the first time they’ve bagged a win at the spiritual home of St George since the 2009 Qualifying Final.

Then again, they’ve only played at Kogarah 3 times since then… and been shutout twice.

The moment that summed up the evening came when the Dragons had around 5 consecutive sets on the Eels line in the 2nd Half with the score at 10-4, and every single time, they were repelled, with the final set ending with an intercept by Michael Jennings.

The sealer for the Eels came thanks to Paul Vaughan in the 68th minute, when he collared Clint Gutherson with one arm, and then gave away a penalty for holding on too long in the tackle.

The reason I say one arm is because he’d dislocated his finger seconds earlier, and was trying to tell the world.

Footage: Channel 9

Moses added the 2 points with no issue, and killed off the Dragons’ finals chances in 2019, and in the process, warmed up the blowtorch on Mary McGregor.

Not a game you’d set your watch to, but regardless, the Eels have made another giant stride towards the finals without Blake Ferguson, and they’d have to lose 4 of their last 5 games to miss out from here.

But, this is Parramatta I’m talking about, so it is possible.

Tennis: There’s never a dull moment with Saint Nicholas of Canberra.

Nick Kyrgios could be the only man in Washington to willingly interact with the American public.

That Semi-Final against Stefanos Tsitsipas (Who he’d played doubles with earlier in the week) was the most Nick Kyrgios performance that Nick Krygios could Nick Kyrgios.

Interactions with the crowd (Who gave him correct advice on where to serve on match point), the usual meltdown, Nick blowing a 5-1 lead in he final set tiebreak, a missed double fault by Nick down match point 5-6 in the same tiebreak that wasn’t challenged by Tsitsipas, and of course, that classic moment when he delivered Stefanos his fresh pair of Adidas sneakers and bowed to the Greek God of Tennis.

Al Bundy helps out a customer, circa 1992

But most importantly, the tennis was of a very high quality, between two unconventional characters of the ATP, that enjoyed the hell out of it.

If you’ve read Stefanos’ Twitter feed, you’ll know why I wrote unconventional.

Nick did of course ultimately win that tiebreak and the match 9-7 after breaking Stefanos’ serve at 7-all, and thus, one the craziest matches of 2019 ended with one the craziest stat lines.

It actually made you forget that there was still a final against Danii Medvedev to come.

The final was dominated by the serve of both players- There wasn’t a single break point chance all evening and highlighting the evenness of the contest, Kyrgios won 72 points to Medvedev’s 71 for the match.

The only obvious difference was that for the second night running, Kyrgios stood up when it mattered in the tiebreaks- He had just one set point in the 1st Set tiebreak, and converted thanks to Medvedev spraying a forehand, and the 2nd was much more straight forward- Breaking for 5-3, and then on Championship Point at 6-4, he went back to the crowd and asked a random lady for advice on where to serve.

It turned out to be an ace to Medvedev’s forehand side, and thus, Saint Nicholas was a rather popular winner in DC, the third ATP 500 title of his career!

Still: ATP Tennis TV

That was a very good performance, especially considering his serve never dropped off at any point, despite having back treatment after the 1st Set.

Another two wins over Top 10 players this week (He’s now 5-1 on the year), his 2nd ATP 500 title this year (Acapulco back in March), and more importantly, he’s back in the Top 30 a month out from the US Open.

I didn’t think Nick could top Acapulco for quality, but then the madman only went and did it this week.

Now, hopefully Nick can keep this up in Montreal, where he may end up playing Medvedev again, assuming he defeats Kyle Edmund in the 1st Round!

Golf: The Women’s Open Championship @ Woburn

Completely unrelated to the major triumph of a certain Sandgroper named Hannah Green, plus another Sandgroper in Minjee Lee, I had to mention the British Open, after I completely missed the memo that the Evian Championship was last week.

Of course, no Aussies factored in the fairlytale story of 20-year-old Japanese woman Hinako Shibuno, the ‘Smiling Cinderella’ , who had never played an event outside of Nippon, and had never played an LPGA event, let alone a major.

Shibuno finished on -18, winning by a mere shot to the American Lizette Salas, making Shibuno just the second Japanese player to win a women’s major, after Hisako Higuchi won the 1977 LPGA Championship, and the first player to win a major on debut since South Korean Kim Hyo-joo won the 2014 Evian Championship.

I think they might have just found a more popular Japanese golfer than Jumbo Ozaki.

Lee was the best of Aussies, finishing tied for 11th, 10 shots back on -8, with Green tied for 16th, one shot behind on -7.


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