The record of new Melbourne teams wearing green and black this past week: 2-0
Well… ‘Technically’ South East Melbourne Phoenix wear grey.
The Wet And Wild Wobblies World Cup Adventure
Australia 27 defeated Georgia 8 @ Shizuoka
Ah, Georgia, a proud country who helped prove Channel 7 have no understanding of Vexillology.
Kids at school are all taught about the American Civil War, when President Lincoln abolished slavery in Eastern Europe.
Unfortunately, Typhoon Hagbibis failed to wipe out the Wallabies-Georgia game, and not even a TMO check from Ben Skeen was able to change that decision.
Ball handling was already tough enough with the Japanese humidity, but the persistent rain and winds the speed of bullet trains meant there was a good chance the teams would break the world record for errors.
The Wallabies attacked hard in the opening 20 minutes, and yet the Lelos had no problems repelling, but the dam wall finally cracked a few minutes later as Nic White crossed over.
The bulk of the game came down to this: Error error error error Isi Naisarani gets sin binned error error error error error error error error penalty goal error error error error error.
Thankfully, after the arduous torture, 20 minutes into the 2nd Half, Koroibete provided the game breaking try, and crikey, it was a beauty.
The Georgians then scored their only try with 10 to go, when Alexander Todua broke out down the left and ran a good 50m to score, but Matiashvili missed his kick to the right, and the score stayed at 17-8, and then Jack Dempsey and Will Genia scored 2 tries, and both teams ran like shit to the nearest bomb shelter to avoid waking up somewhere in Suruga Bay.
Compared to the Japan-Scotland game, this was like watching an NRC game.
And so, for about the umpteenth time, the Wallabies will play England in a World Cup game- 1987, the ’91 Final, the Rob Andrew QF in ’95, Johnny F***ing Wilkinson in ’03, the ’07 QF, The Beautiful Humiliation of 2015, and of course, England’s inevitable revenge on Saturday.
The Eddie Jones-Michael Cheika shitfight is already in full fling, and I noticed Phil Kearns believe that going a fortnight between games might be a problem for the Poms, but let’s get serious.
England could go a year between games, and still handle the Wallabies.
NBL: Round 2
Brisbane 90 defeated Cairns 74 @ QSNC
The first game for the Bullets at the State Netball Centre, and they turned it into the same old story for their brothers from Katter Country.
Up 49-45 at the Half… and then when 3/4 time wheeled around, it was 76-63 to the Bullets, who outscored the snakes 31-4, and then just about hunted them into extinction in the 4th Quarter, which was only 14-11.
Funnily enough, with 4:25 to go in the 3rd, it was 61-60 to the Bullets.
45-25 in a lopsided 2nd half.
Nathan Sobey scored 21 points with 5 assists, and it was a big collective effort from the Bullets, Matt Hodgson scored 14 points and claimed 4 rebounds, having to wage a one-player fight against the tall Taipans like ‘Outback Shaq’ Nate Jawai, Majok Deng and Mirko Deric, and throw in Scott Machado’s 16 points and 10 assists.
Ultimately, 9 Bullets scored points, and they started the season 2-0.
Perth Wildcats 103 defeated Illawarra Hawks 76 @ Perth Arena
Now I don’t like to speak Illawarra, but they were completely outmatched by the premier franchise in the NBL.
It was never really a contest- Bryce Cotton scored 23 points in the 1st half and finished with 28, Terrico White racked up 19 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, Dario Hunt dominated the boards with 16 points and 10 rebounds, Majok Majok had an 8/8 night.
In what will be a familiar story for the Hawks most of this season, Lamelo Ball was the only shining light, with 15 points, 8 assists and 2 rebounds.
While the Kings get all the attention, just remember- There’s a horde of big cats lurking in the Jungle.
Sydney Kings 102 defeated Adelaide 36ers 80 @ Qudos Bank Arena
South East Melbourne Phoenix 113 defeated Brisbane 93 @ Melbourne Arena
Not too often that you see scores like 113-93 in a league of 40 minute games, but both teams shot the lights out.
Then again, we had a team off a 10 day break versus a team travelling off a 2 day break.
It was moreso that the Phoenix were firing bullets at a team called the Bullets- 42/69 from the field, headlined by firing 19/33 from 3-point land, with import John Roberson shooting 9/11 in a superb shooting display.
Compare that to the Bullets shooting 7/24 from deep, and you can see where the 20 point margin came from.
Illawarra 89 defeated Cairns 88 @ WIN SEC
A game the Hawks absolutely had to win, and thanks to AJ Ogilvy sinking a clutch
putt free throw in the last second, they somehow got there, in a game that was the equivalent of a Throng In The ‘Gong.
It used to be Ogilvy sinking a clutch putt to win a tournament, now it’s Ogilvy sinking a clutch free throw to win an NBL game.
(V)A(R)-League: Week One
Sydney FC 3 defeated Adelaide United 2 @ Hindmarsh Stadium
Here’s a brief summary of the evening- Listening to the VAR blabber on the referee, telling him to award a penalty.
If this is a guide to the season, the record for penalties in a season is going to get smashed faster than a Bill Shorten election campaign.
WSW 2 defeated Central Coast 1 @ Bankwest Stadium
The Red and Black Bloc finally had a place to call home for the first time in 3 years, and for the first time in 3 years, they apparently have something resembling a team they can happily set flares off for.
It does help when the VAR can get it done for you.
Melbourne Victory 0 drew with Melbourne City 0 @ Marvel Stadium
We were promised the usual dose of fireworks in the Melbourne Derby, and it was just 90 minutes of end to end action, about 5 shots on target from a combined 23 by both teams, and the only goal from ‘The King’ Elvis Kamsoba immediately being wiped out by the VAR .
That was pretty much it- A rarity for a Derby, never living up to anything.
Western United 1 defeated Wellington Phoenix 0 @ Westpac Stadium
Besart Berisha is used to scoring goals for Melbourne teams, and this time, his strike in the 34th minute made sure the new boys of the A-League will never forget their debut.
And further compounding the misery for the Phoenix, Mark Rudan and Andrew Durante, who were with the Phoenix last year, are now the manager and captain of United, and must have absolutely loved it.
Leaving a good first impression is always important, and in the land of the All Blacks, United adopted the ‘Sweep The Sheds’ mentality- Always good to see- And then for some reason, they left graffiti on the whiteboard.
That appears to be code for “Hahaha, you lost to us, and thanks for Rudan, you sheep rooting dickheads.”
Perth Glory 1 drew with Brisbane Roar 1 @ Bankwest Stadium
I swear this exact same thing happened in Week 1 of last year when the Glory played the Wanderers.
The Glory score the first goal of the game about half an hour in, and then the visiting team peg them back in the 2nd Half, and then the game ends in a frustrating draw.
It was quite fitting in this, a round marred by the VAR saying hellow, that the VAR would hand the Roar the equaliser in added time.
The Nags: Guineas Day
Another big Saturday in the Spring, and both the 1000 Guineas and the Caulfield Guineas were superb for entertainment value, as were the support races like The Herbert Power, claimed by Murray Baker’s swooping The Chosen One, or as he’s known in Mexico, The Chosen Juan.
In the 1000 Guineas, James Cummings’ Flit for The Sheikh was all the rage , and it looked like she was going to somehow go under again, after hugging the rail to save room, then when Southbank produced a very nice kick in the straight, and then when Missile Mantra had a rocket strapped to her arse, and forced an almighty 3-way finish.
Flit somehow got the nod with a clear nose margin.
I put it down to Hugh Bowman’s special Michael Jackson glove for his broken finger on the right hand- It does questionable things with young children, but it works with horses.
Black Heart Bart looked like he was going to somehow win again and drive another nail into our WFA stocks… and then along came Cape of Good Hope, 1st Up in Australia for Lindsay Park, to do the job for him.
Avilius was the people’s elect, but was unable to make up any sort of ground on a Good 3, and Homesman was simply proven as another of Lloyd’s imported spuds for second start running.
Then came the feature race of the day, the Caulfield Guineas, and all eyes were on Dalasan versus Alligator Blood, and it was the Gator from the Sunshine State, who won the Guineas Prelude, who looked like the winner for all the money in Disney’s bank vault at the 300, but the hot speed up front had him crying for the post at the 100, and then, out of bloody nowhere, Mark Zahra on Anthony Freedman’s Super Seth got shot out of a cannon, producing a blinding turn of foot, and grabbing the Gator on the post in a superb finish.
Of course, that gave Zahra consecutive G1 winners.
The Toorak Handicap went to Fierce Impact, the expat Japanese horse (Son of Deep Impact) for Matty Smith from Warwick Farm, thanks to the efforts of the so-called pretty boy Craig Williams, beating Night’s Watch, who was caught behind a wall in the straight, and didn’t get out until the bird has flown the coop, making him just about a moral beaten.
And meanwhile at Randwick, they had their last Group 1 of the Spring, the 3YO Spring Champion Stakes, and Mark Newnham’s Shadow Hero was all the rage after his thumping win in the Gloaming, to the point that Josh Parr made the call to jump off Castelvecchio to stay aboard the favourite.
Turned out to be completely justified, as Shadow Hero powered home in the final 300, claiming the lead from the typical Waterhouse tearaway leader Just Thinkin’ with 100 to go, and won from the fast-finishing Castelvecchio by a length, giving Newnham (Who was called Matt by Bruce McAvaney) his second consecutive winner in the Spring Champion.
Shadow Hero will start favourite for the VRC Derby if they do bother to go there in 2 1/2 weeks, and meanwhile, Richard Litt and the owners of Castelvecchio are making an insane bid to get into the Cox Plate, where the colt will be treated like an old tennis ball being chased by my dog against the internationals.