Capping off Grand Final weekend with the news that Alex De Minaur won his 3rd title of 2019, and the Wallabies are back to blaming the referees.
Life is back to normal.
The Wild Wobblies Rugby World Cup Adventure.. Or whatever the hell I call it.
Wales 29 defeated the Wobblies 25 @ Tokyo Stadium
Before I begin, here is an alarming scene before the game yesterday:
They truly are everywhere.
Another somewhat strange moment was that the crowd seemed to be in favour of the Wallabies, further proving Japan’s contempt for Wales- They were even belting out Waltzing Matilda during the game.
Just think, 80 years ago, they’d be firing at both teams in the name of Hirohito.
The first signs of danger were when the Welsh forced a turnover on the kickoff, and Dan Biggar booted through the fastest ever drop goal in Rugby World Cup history… at 40 seconds.
Getting the points on the board whenever you can- England did that to very good effect with *shudder* Jonny Wilkinson back in 2003.
The Welsh then went 10 points up after Hadleigh Parkes took a hanger on Koroibete and got the ball down , and then Foley did his only good thing for the evening, finding Old Man Adam Ashley-Cooper, who achieved a unique piece of history, becoming the 4th player to score a try at 4 World Cups, joining Samoa’s Brian ‘The Chiropractor’ Lima, Welsh great Gareth Thomas, and a certain Brian O’Driscoll.
And then from there, the rest of the half was referee Romain Poite making decisions none of the players or viewers understood, allowing the Welsh (Who were all over the Aussies) to keep building the pressure by slotting through penalty goals.
The stupidest decision of the entire game had to be penalising Samu Kerevi for ‘aggressively using his forearm’ while bracing for a tackle (Which hit Rhys Patchell in the throat), leading to the TMO (A sheep rooter who will go unnamed) wasting 5 minutes pissing around reading Hustler magazine, before justifying his decision by recommending a penalty.
I know it’s worthwhile that World Rugby are cracking down on head high contact, but crikey, that was a crock of shit.
Patchell kicked the penalty goal to make it 16-8.
Another thing that was repeatedly missed was Gareth Davies charging off the line when Poite had his back facing the play, and he was able to take full advantage on the stroke of half time, when he came up again intercept a loose pass from Will Genie and raced 60 metres to put Wales up 23-8 at the half, which carried on a theme from the Fiji game- The Wallabies have put themselves in a hole twice.
Forget about bumbling referees for a moment, that’s on Genia for stuttering 3 steps backwards and then throwing that stupid cutout pass with barely a minute before the half.
Patchell put the Welsh up 26-8 with an early 2nd Half drop goal, and from there, it was all Wallabies, as Cheika Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself pulled out the classic “Go to Plan B”, and pulled off the disappointing Bernard Foley for Mr Elyse Perry, Matt Toomua, and later brought on Nic White for Genia.
It actually worked.
In a 20 minute burst of dominance, the Welsh lead was slashed to 4 points, and what was telling was that thanks to all of their attack, the Wallabies had only made 82 tackles to 160 after an hour, and the Welsh were repeatedly penalised for ruck infringements (yet amazingly didn’t even cop a warning).
Toomua slotted a penalty to make it 25-26 with 12 minutes to go, but a series of silly penalties killed Australia’s momentum, and the Dragons kicked another penalty goal through Patchell to give themselves breathing room again.
Poite decided to waste the final 6 minutes giving a lecture on how to pack down a scrum, and by the time the Wallabies got the ball back from a scrum penalty and went into Welsh territory, Kerevi lost the ball, and the Welsh wasted away the final seconds to complete what was a well-earned win.
Combined with that win in Cardiff last year, this is now Wales’ longest winning streak against the Wobblies since 1975, and it’s only the 3rd time the Aussies have lost a Pool game at the World Cup (1995 to the Springboks, and 2011 to Ireland).
The officials have given Cheika the scapegoat he and his slightly whiny players needed to disguise the truth- They were out-played when it mattered, Cheika was out-coached by Warren Gatland, and once again, he started the wrong damn players.
I can’t help but feel the inevitable end of his tenure is coming sooner, rather than later.
Racing: Group 1 Wrap Up
First up this weekend was the Golden Rose meeting at Rosehill, and in the fabled 3YO feature, Godolphin’s Bivouac carried the spirit of the Sheikh through Hugh Bowman, and managed to fight back and win from Mr Waller’s Yes Yes Yes, who, despite having Nash Rawiller aboard, obviously said “No No No” when asked the unknown question by the Cummings colt at the 100m.
Due to a broken finger, Hughie was forced to wear a special glove throughout the Rosehill card, but it did the trick, considering he won another Group One.
It makes me think- Michael Jackson also wore a special glove that made him successful, and like Hughie, he was also a much-loved figure, despite some derision for the choices he made.
In the supporting Group races, Mister Sea Wolf got a better run in transit to win the Shannon Stakes, and the Golden Pendant was highlighted by the Sydney debut of the hotpot Enticing Star (From the West), who was in the weird position of being 1st Up at 1400m, despite being a sprinter.
Predictably, McDonald took her back to last (As she had always done in Perth), missed the kick, and she finished 5th out of 7 runners, as Mizzy won the race with Tommy Berry aboard for Anthony Cummings.
After that, it was the Sunday Underwood meeting at Caulfield, which also featured the Preludes for both the Caulfield Guineas and the 1000 Guineas.
In the Guineas Prelude, David Vandyke’s Alligator Blood ventured down from Queensland and proved he was far better than smacking Class 5 fields at the Sunny Coast, winning the Prelude (And staying unbeaten) from Dalasan, who was really flat until picking up when it was too late, while Acting sprung an upset in the 1000 Guineas Prelude, ridden by none other than Mr Berry, taking advantage of the market leaders being drawn out wide and subsequently being held up in the straight (Bowman gave Flit a nice barrier trial).
Trent Busuttin claimed she’s the best horse in his and Natalie Young’s stables…. blow it out your arse Trent, with a clean run, a horse like Flit would’ve left her coughing up blood and cobwebs.
And then in the Underwood, defending race winner Homesman was sent out at the short odds, and produced a massive effort being 3-wide the trip, but in the end, Lindsey Smith, as he’s done for years in WA, pulled the rug out big time, as Black Heart Bart, who hadn’t won for 2 1/2 years, was pulled out of retirement from his repeated leg problems, somehow won the race for the second time at 100-1, beating Homesman.
It continues this utterly stupid trend of long shots from WA coming Pushin’ Shapes won earlier in the day for the Pearce Bros., and Gatting a few weeks ago in Makybe Diva.
It clearly shows that the ghost of Darren Weir still floats around Western Victoria.
Tennis: Ghostbusters can’t stop The Demon in Zuhai!
He defeated Adrian Mannarino 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 in the Final, having beaten 2nd seed Robert Bautista Agut, 4th seed Borna Coric, and former World No.1, Mr Metal Hip himself, Andy Murray.
The second you watch Alex, you can instantly see the Lleyton Hewitt influence on him.
A scrappy counter puncher with plenty of passion and motivation… minus the slightly offensive outbursts.
At the age of 20, ADM has won 3 titles this year, and meanwhile, the other 20-year-olds on the ATP Tour haven’t won a single Tour title between them this year.
Mannarino defended pretty admirably, saving 12 break points throughout the match to send the 1st Set into a tiebreak (Which De Minaur won 7-4), but the 13th time was the charm for The Demon at 5-4 up in the 2nd, which as you can probably guess, was the break that sealed the title for the Aussie.
Conversely, De Minaur didn’t face a single break point during the match.
Thanks to this win, Alex is back up to World No.25, moving ahead of Saint Nicholas of Canberra to be the No.1 ranked Australian male once again.
Speaking of Nick… You just know he’s Winx odds to miss as long as possible with his shoulder problem, and then come back right as his 6-month probationary period is going to end next year, promptly do a Kyrgios thing, and get banned for 4 months.
Ash Barty also reached the Semi Finals of Wuhan, but in something that seems to have defined her season since Wimbledon, she was no match for Aryna Sabalenka on Friday, who won in straight sets 7-5 6-4, and ultimately won the title.
It was the unforced errors again… If Ash loses, it’s not because of the other player being better on the day, it’s because of Ash’s unforced errors.
On the bright side for Ash, she didn’t miss Richmond on Saturday.
NRLW: Round 3- Broncos vs Dragons next week!
New Zealand 10 defeated Brisbane 8 @ The SCG
Congratulations Warriors, you’ve made history- You’re the first team to ever defeat Brisbane in the NRLW!
Your reward for this historic achievement- Having your season ended when the Dragons win the next day.
What a fantastic win through plenty of sad circumstances- Their coach in Luisa Avaiki couldn’t travel with the team due to the passing of her father on Tuesday, and their star recruit Honey Hireme (Who didn’t play a game in 2019) was still caring for her mother, who sadly passed away on Wednesday.
Both teams scored two tries, but it was ultimately Apii Nichols with the only conversion of the game following Annetta Nuuausala’s try in the 26th minute that proved the difference.
If that Nuuausala name is familiar, it’s because it is- Annetta is the sister of the one and only Frank-Paul the Wrecking Ball.
St George-Illawarra 24 defeated Sydney 16 @ Leichardt
All the Dragons had to do was win, and they were playing next week.
They scored 3 tries in 12 minutes in the 1st Half to lead 16-10 (After trailing 4-10) at the break, until Ruan Sims provided one of the few bright spots for the Roosters in a winless season, when she crossed over in the 33rd minute to score a try in her final game.
The Chooks were half a chance of springing an upset,, until Jess Sergis got on the end of a Mel Howard pass to race 80 metres against the run of play and finish off a double, and give the Dragons the lead and momentum, and sealed the win when Maddie Studdon put through a penalty goal with 4 minutes to go.
Can the Dragons gain revenge for the 1992 and 1993 Grand Final losses to the Broncos, despite the fact those games didn’t involve Illawarra, it was in the old NSWRL, and the fact that most of these ladies weren’t alive for those games?
We’ll find out next week.
League continued: The finish to the Canterbury NSW Cup
Newtown 20 defeated Wentworthville 15 in Extra Time @ Bankwest Stadium
A fantastic game that not too many of us would’ve seen on Sunday.
I’ll keep a long story short- While trailing Wenty 15-14 with just on 2:30 to go in Extra Time, the Jets kicked on the 5th tackle through Billy ‘The Greek’ Magoulias, which hit Tyrone Phillips on the run, who reeled in the fullback, then fed a pass through on his inside to Fullback of the Year Will Kennedy, finishing off the 60m play with the winning try.
Quite fittingly, Kennedy was named Man of the Match for his 245m, three line-breaks, one try-assist, seven tackle-breaks, and that try.
After losing last year’s Grand Final to Canterbury 18-12, the win capped off a crazy season, in which the Jets lost their first 4 games, reached the finals in 7th place (With a perfect record of 11-11 and 0 PD), then knocked out Mounties, and then defeated the 3rd placed North Sydney in a thriller, before knocking out minor premiers St George in another thriller to make the Grand Final, and then finishing off the fairytale by ironically denying the Magpies a fairtytale of their own, given they’d finished the season in 8th.
Apparently there was also the Queensland Cup Grand Final that the Burleigh Bears won against Wynum Manly, but was that as entertaining as the action in Parramatta?
Just a note: The Cricket Review is tomorrow