A-League

JT’s Sporting Review: 18th-21st October

This Week On, Moments Before Cheeky Drongos Got Their Arses Handed To Them

The End Of The Wild Wobblies World Cup Adventure


England 40 defeated The Wobblies 16


I read the talking heads (Possibly David Byrne and Jerry Harrison) on Fox Sports this week, going on about how the Jordan Petaia selection was effectively Michael Cheika gambling his legacy as Wallabies coach.

Stuff that, this game will DEFINE Michael Cheika’s legacy.

A team with plenty of passion, but one this riddled with absolutely no consistency at selection time, who were comprehensively outplayed and outcoached in the final 30 minutes of a knock-out World Cup match, who tried going balls to the wall all the time instead of playing smart footy, and one that will fall to 7th in the World next month…. just one spot behind Japan.

Yep, the Wallabies will fall below a Tier 2 nation…. who are verging on becoming Tier 1.

It’s a very appropriate end of an error in the history of Australian rugby.

The first signs of a belting came on Thursday, when Matt To’omua couldn’t even knock off his former Leicester teammate Ben Youngs with a classic sledge that I once saw delivered to Mark Waugh.

If that sledge was a tennis serve, I think Youngs rifled his forehand return down the line for a winner.

The other sign the Wallabies were about to be brutally devoured came during this moment early in the game.

To provide some context to this image, the Wallabies had the momentum and won a turnover in the scrum, so Silatolu Latu decided to be a bit of a smart arse and give renowned hot head Kyle Sinckler what was apparently a tap, and most definitely not an asphyxiation attempt.

As if life was hilarious enough, Sinckler later scored a try in the 2nd Half, blowing past Latu in the process.

In his 50th test, Jonny May scored the opening try for England, and then bagged a second 3 minutes later when David Pocock threw a stupid nothing pass, which Henry Slade happily took the other way, and put in a deft kick which fell perfectly for May to score in the left corner.

That second try was a shotgun wound the Wallabies never recovered from, despite Marika Koroibete cutting the gap back to 17-16 early into the 2nd Half, but like the world class team they’ve become under Eddie Jones, the Red Rose went into 8th gear and pushed the lead out past double figures again, and then the Wallabies discombobulated in the final 15 minutes, as the English replacements come on and bullied the Wallabies in the ruck.

They forced multiple penalties which Owen Farrell (Who kicked a perfect 8/8 at goal) turned into points, giving England an unbeatable 33-16 lead with 10 minutes to go, and it was only fitting that the rout was completed with Kurtley Beale throwing a completely desperate Harbour Bridge pass that Anthony Watson happily intercepted and scored, completing the 40-16 scoreline.

7 straight losses to England under Eddie Jones, the Wallabies’ heaviest loss to the Poms in their century long rivalry, and for all I know, this was the first time the Wallabies had conceded 40 points in a World Cup match, as well as being their heaviest defeat in a World Cup match.

There’s only one way you can go you’re buried 400 feet in crap, and that’s buried 401 feet in crap.

On a miserable night, the real highlight for the game came right at the end, when Jerome Garces did Ben Skeen’s job for Ben Skeen, calling back what was a pretty obvious forward pass from James Slipper to Taniela that disallowed an Australian try (To Koroibete), when Skeen in the TMO had somehow given the all clear.

Audio from the Fox Sports broadcast

BS: “Jerome, I’m going to show you both passes, I am happy with both of them.”


BS: “I’ll show you both… “

Replay shows forward pass

BS: “That is not clear, so then we play on.”

JG: “For me it’s a clear forward pass. The ball is clearly in front.”

Blows whistle for the scrum, and everyone laughs

Give it up Benny boy, if you’re not fooling me, you aren’t fooling anyone.

This World Cup really has been the culmination of 15 years of failure from the head honchos at the ARU, and later Rugby Australia- The Wallabies are officially completely and utterly irrelevant to international rugby.

Greg Martin shouted the sentiment of the townsfolk loudly from his rooftop- Get rid of Castle, get rid of Kline, get rid of every moron sitting on the board, and thoroughly annihilate the entire rugby set-up in this country with an atomic bomb, and get some ‘Rugby people’ in charge after dealing with the fallout.

Let’s just say Quade Cooper might not be one of them.

What do you wanna be Quade, the pot, or the kettle?


Rugby League: World Cup Nines

The first edition of the modified World Cup out in Western Sydney, and if you take out the typical shit crowds that are customary of most sporting events in Sydney (Barely half-filling a 30,000 seat stadium in perfect weather), the overall product was pretty good.

Not that it counted for the Lebanese men, who added another fine notch on their belt of 2019 brilliance (After the governing body banned 17 players for criticising them), by playing 17-year-old Jacob Kiraz in their win against France on Friday, after the NRL, like a shit nightclub bouncer, didn’t check that he was 18 and let him play.

This was followed by realising the next day that 17-year-old Jordan Samrani was also under aged, forcing the Lebanese to withdraw him IN THE WARM UP, leaving them shorthanded against Wales… they predictably lost.

That sounds like the opposite of me getting into licensed establishments.

It also sounds like one of those deadset hilarious situations where European football clubs recruit kids from African countries who are listed as teenagers, only to look ike hardened middle-aged men- Like Jospeh Minala.

As a result of the NRL’s retrospective ineptitude, Lebanon’s other upset against England meant nothing, because with the France points stricken from the record, they missed out on the Final Four of the men’s side, and eventually, unsurprisingly, Australia and New Zealand reached the finals of both events.

The Kiwi ladies sprung the surprise of the weekend, defeating the Jillaroos for the first time since 2016 to claim the Women’s title, and in something that was a tad less shocking, the Aussies won the men’s title, and David Fifita has just about played himself into Kangaroos contention for the upcoming Tests.

When asked for his thoughts on the event, Braith Anasta said he didn’t give a rat’s arse, and that Nelson Asofa-Solomona’s suspension from the upcoming rep games was an absolute joke.

On to the Tests!


(V)A(R)-League: Round 2

Western Sydney Wanderers 2 defeated Melbourne Victory 1 @ Marvel Stadium

Wearing a kit that looked like it had been stolen from the Newcastle Jets and rebranded by the Nike brain trust, the Wanderers kept up a promising start to the season, after a goalless first half, they produced 2 beauties in the space of 8 minutes- Keanu Baccus scored the opener in the 54th minute with a lovely curling shot from outside the box to beat Lawrence Thomas into the top left corner, and the second came from Alex Meiber, who took full advantage of a complete arse-up between Storm Roux and Thomas, who cleared a ball straight to Meier, who lobbed the exposed keeper to make it 2-0 with half an hour to play.

The Victory did peg a goal back thanks to a 72nd minute penalty for a handball, which was converted by skipper Ola Tovionen, and they spent the final 20 minutes hammering the Wanderers defence, but they couldn’t find an equaliser, and thus, the Vuc stay winless through 2 games.

On the flip side, the Wanderers have just about ensured a full house next weekend for the first Sydney Derby at Bankwest!

Western United 1 drew with Perth Glory 1 @ Kardinia Park

Peak A-League material right here… the Glory somehow losing their kits in transit to Melbourne, trying to pin it on Qantas, only to get called out and hastily revise.

So either Qantas are incompetent, or the Glory’s equipment guy is a dickhead.

Considering it is the Glory we’re talking about, I’ll go with Option B.

In their first-ever home game in their temporary home of Australia’s armpit of Geelong, United and the Glory played out an entertaining 1st Half, but despite some endevour, the 1st Half ended scoreless.

Straight after the break, United got on the front foot, and eventually opened the scoring in the 49th minute thanks to a very nice shot from marquee man Panagiotis Kone straight into the top left corner, and after failing to press the advantage, Tony Popvic’s nepotism came home to roost for once, with son Kristian coming off the bench in the 68th minute, and 8 minutes later, he found himself on the end of a very sweet cross from Neil Kilkenny to head through the equaliser, which was also his first A-League goal!

Bravo Poppa, and Poppa Jnr.

United had chances to score the winner throughout the final 15 minutes- In the 82nd minute, Kone forced a save from Reddy, and Berisha fired a follow-up shot wide, and 3 minutes later, substitute Dylan Pierias came the closest of anyone, leaving the Glory defence flat-footed to sneak through on goal, only for his chip to hit the crossbar, and Reddy claimed the rebound.

In the end though, a draw was a pretty fair result.

Central Coast Mariners 1 drew with Newcastle 1 @ Bluetongue

The M3 Derby began with a bang, as Milan Duric scored for the second game running just 4 minutes in, and barely a minute into the second half, Duric almost made it 2-nil with a pearler of a free kick from the left of the box that Glen Moss parried onto the post.

And then a few minutes later, it was time for another edition of…

(V)A(R) LEAGUE!

The Jets earned a penalty for a handball in the 52nd minute, and Dimitri Petratos had his original take saved by his former teammate Mark Birighitti, only for the VAR to step in and cite Birighitti for coming off his line, allowing a retake, which Dimi didn’t waste.

Despite plenty of chances for both sides, neither team found a winner thanks to some decent keeping from Moss and Birighitti, and another riveting edition of the M3 Derby ended in a draw.

Melbourne City 2 defeated Adelaide United 1 @ AAMI Park

Ahead of the FFA Cup Final this Wednesday, one man in particular continued his recent scoring rampage.

In his first A-League appearance this season, Jamie Maclaren scored a brace inside the opening half hour, his 5th and 6th goals in his last 3 appearances, if you include those goals for the Socceroos against renowned Asian heavyweights like Nepal, filled with Sherpas, and ‘Chinese Taipei’, who look suspiciously like Taiwan.

Still, despite trailing, the Reds proved to be the better team of the 2nd Half

City get the A-League points, but it’ll be a whole different ballgame with the Final in Adelaide in front of the ferals.

Sydney FC 2 defeated Wellington Phoenix 1 @ Leichhardt

The defending champs played their home opener, and despite scoring an early goal through Rhyan Grant, they weren’t really that convincing for most of the evening, and after coming pretty damn close several times (David Ball hit the post in the 50th minute), the Phoenix got a well-earned equaliser in the 69th minute through Ulises Davila, the first time a Mexican had scored in the A-League, but Rhyan Grant was able to conjured up the winner in the 77th minute, getting on the end of Brandon O’Neill’s low free kick, producing a looping shot over Stefan Marinovic that landed perfectly just under the crossbar.

2 minutes later, the Phoenix were reduced to ash when Liberato Cacace originally got away with a 2-footed leg breaker on Caceres, only for the VAR to step in and do the job it was constructed to do, and send him off.

The ‘Nux never really threatened after that, and the Sky Blues start the season a perfect 2/2, ahead of the one of the more anticipated Sydney Derbies in many a year this Saturday.


NBL: Week 3

Sydney 96 defeated New Zealand 91 @ Qudos Bank Arena

Showcasing how weird the start of the season has been due to all these exhibition games, this was the Kings’ 3rd game of the season…. and the Breakers’ season opener.

Andrew Bogut had been suffering problems with his back, but completely disregarding all sound medical logic, he threw the Kings on his back, finishing with 11 points, 15 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Cairns Taipans 99 defeated Perth Wildcats 76 @ Perth Arena

The Taipans have led at the half in all 4 games during this very brief season, and given they’d lost the first 3 games, I figured the Cats in The Jungle would make it 4/4, despite losing the lead just before the Half.

In a rare display of competency, the lowly Taipans strung it together in the 2nd Half, and downright cleaned up the defending champs like Ajax on a sauce-stained table.

Every starter shot at least 50% from the floor, and scored at least 10 points, led by the big boys in Cam Oliver, with 22 points (4/5 from 3) and 9 rebounds, and Majok Deng, who also scored 22 points, and in general, the Taipans packed some really impressive bite, taking advantage of an off-night from pretty much all of the Cats starters, and springing what will be one of the more impressive upsets of the season come March.

Saturday

Adelaide 36ers 104 defeated Brisbane Bullets 98 @ Adelaide Arena

The sort of performance that would have had Andrej Lemanis peeling paint off the walls, as the 36ers, in their homely confines of the City of Churches for the first time in NBL 20, shot 36/68 from the field, had 32 trips to the line, shooting 25/32, compared to the Bullets 17/28 (8 free points in a 6 point game), and the Sixers cracked 100 points thanks to the work of the big guys- Dan Johnson’s 16 points included a perfect 8/8 free throws, and Eric Griffin put up 22 points on 6/11 shooting, and 10/11 from the line.

The 36ers scored their first win of the season, while the Bullets continue their middling start to the season.

SEM Phoenix 106 defeated Illawarra Hawks 102 @ Melbourne Arena

While the big names shine as per usual, John Roberson put up another huge performance, as the Phoenix kept their promising start in the NBL humming along with another triple figure, highlight entertaining win.

Roberson’s latest big day out featured 26 points on 6/11 shooting (with 5/9 from 3), with 10 assists and 4 rebounds, supported by Mitch Creek with 23 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds, as the Phoenix beat up the Hawks 19-12 on the offensive glass.

Still, this promising start is helped by the fact that the Phoenix haven’t travelled outside of Victoria yet.

Sunday

Sydney Kings 76 defeated NZ Breakers 66 @ Spark Arena

Backing up on the two day rebound, the Breakers finally played their home opener, but ended up experiencing the exact same result as Friday, thanks mainly to the Breakers shooting 26/78 from the field, which really came back to bite the Kiwis hard at the end, as the Kings dominated the final quarter 19-8, and that scoreline will probably give you a fair indication that both teams were pretty much scraping the bottom of the fuel canister by the end of the night.

Bogut dominant once again, with 13 points and 16 rebounds, the Kings are now motoring along at 4-0, sitting top of the ladder, banking early wins, before they inevitably hit a brick wall at some point in the new year.

No matter how good the team, it somehow always happens.

Perth Wildcats 95 defeated Melbourne United 93 @ Melbourne Arena

On the very court that the Cats won last season’s title, it wasn’t Terrico White taking a dump on the hopes of United fans this time, it was Bryce Cotton… or as he’s known in Perth, BFC.

Bryce F***king Cotton.

27 points, of which 20 came in the 2nd Half to complete a massive bounceback from Friday night, to drop United to 0-3.

You could copy word for word the story from the Cats-United game in Round 1, and it would fit perfectly to this game, because that’s what makes the Wildcats the Wildcats- They win games they have no right to win.

Monday

Adelaide 36ers 98 defeated Illawarra Hawks 92 @ WIN Centre

In the latest battle between the Froling brothers (Harry on the 36ers and younger brother Sam on the Hawks), it was a game not short of entertainment for Monday night, and despite the relatively close scoreline, the 36ers never trailed all night, led by David Johnson (In his 250th 36ers appearance) with 19 points and 10 rebounds, overcoming the massive game from Aaron Brooks, who led all scorers with 31 points, to go with 5 rebounds and 3 assists.

It seemed like every time the Hawks got within at least 5 points, they’d miss the next shot, and then the 36ers would make their next shot and extend the lead out past 3 scores.

In fact, that minor paragraph could just about the entire game.

It was none more evident than in the final 40 seconds when the Hawks got the defensive rebound and the scores at 91-93, and spaced out the floor so that Tim Coenraad had a wide open 3 to put the hosts ahead… only for it to rim out, and the 36ers benefit from several intentional fouls to see out the game, and make it 2 wins in a row.

In another positive for the Hawks, Lamelo Ball had another solid night, with 15 points 5 rebound and 7 assists- One of which was a pretty damn smoove no-look flick out the back in the opening minutes.


Supercars: Garry Rogers Motorsport departs the ATCC after 24 years

While everyone focuses on CAMs giving the DJR-Penske boys and girls an arse-whipping for their Bathurst antics, it’s a bloody shame to see a mainstay of Australian touring car racing disappear from the Supercars field.

How many very good drivers got starts in the V8s thanks to Garry’s talent spotting- Steven Richards is now the second most successful driver in hi family, Jason Bargwanna and Garth Tander won Bathurst together for GRM, and then GT won a few more + a championship, Jamie Whincup (Who got arsed after a year), Lee Holdsworth has lasted a good 15 years in the main game, and most recently, Scotty McLaughlin.

And then there were his Valvoline Commodores- His association with Valvoline (You know what I mean) was like what Mobil was to Brocky, Shell to Dick Johnson, or Castrol with Larry Perkins.

“The team’s future was put in doubt when major sponsor Boost Mobile announced it would not remain in the series unless a control upright was introduced.”

First they got rid of Garth Tander from GRM and robbed a former Champion of a well-earned farewell, and then they went one step further and pretty much sealed GRM’s exit from Supercars.

Go sit on a twig Boost Mobile, you cockholes.


The Nags: The Protesters crawl out of the woodwork for the Caulfield Cup and The Everest

Despite prognostications of doom from esteemed soap operas like The Project, a combined 80,000 (Just 26,000 shy of a Derby Day crowd) crammed into Randwick and Caulfield for one of the biggest day, with just as many protesters outside of The Heath, who always seem to sprout and bloom like tulips at this time of year whenever a horrible story breaks into the mainstream about thoroughbred racing.

I imagine this will somehow all die down, and no much needed change will occur, when the used car salesman that is Peter V’Landys comes out and announces he’s created some new McRace, distracting everyone from the fact that he didn’t give two shits about the failures in the horse re-homing programs.

And for that matter, I hope those pricks in the knackeries get a nice dose of crap.

As for the actual race, with the best assembled field in terms of prize money and Group 1 wins for an Australian feature race since arguably the 1992 Cox Plate, Redzel’s hopes of a hat-trick were shot by the 300m mark, and the only colt in the field, Yes Yes Yes, racing in Chris Waller’s own slot, caught enough of a break in the straight from a flying Santa Ana Lane to bag the richest prize in Australian racing, while Trekking, on the 1 week back-up from claiming the wildcard slot at Caulfield, ran a superb 3rd.

Another feather in the cap for the master expat Kiwi, and the Caboolture bogan Glen Boss, who publicly detailed his amazing efforts to ride at 53kg.

Yes, this is the same person who rode Makybe Diva to 3 Melbourne Cups… which means he probably knows what he’s doing.

In an odd connection, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is a part-owner of another Chris Waller runner in Nature Strip, who ran a solid 4th, despite not being a really strong 1200m horse and attempting to lead all the way, and taking time out from the aftermath of the ABs shitting on Ireland, he spoke at a Sunday press conference about NS’ efforts, and gave some pretty solid insight on his compatriot as a fellow mentor.

I believe the ‘home boys’ would say, real recognise real.

Of course, there was also the Caulfield Cup, and once the camel races were run and won, Bunbury battler Damien Lane completed one of the greatest long-cons in recent memory, by giving the field a deadset arse-tearing aboard Japan’s Mer de Glace, trained by Hisashi Shimizu, giving Nippon their second Caulfield Cup winner, joining the ill-fated Admire Rakti in 2014.

Hopefully his Melbourne Cup goes a bit better than Admire’s did… poor bastard.

This whole long con started when Frosty went to Japan in April for a short riding stint, found himself piloting Mer De Glace to a couple of Group 3 victories, and subsequently convinced the owners to target the Caulfield Cup.

It worked out alright.

Shimizu’s translator said he was delighted and all that crap after the race, but I get the feeling he was actually saying “Your stayers are shit, thanks for the millions… dickheads.”

Frosty also did the same thing with the owners of Lys Gracieux, who won the Group 1 Takarazuka in June, and will bowl around Moonee Valley on Saturday as the favourite for the Cox Plate, and based on our WFA performances this season, will win eased down.


The Constellation Cup

Silver Ferns 54 defeated the Diamonds 53 @ Sydney (Lead 2-1)

As netballing history shows, it isn’t a 21st century Diamonds-Silver Ferns game unless it’s decided by a goal in the final seconds.

Sunday was no exception to that rule, as the Kiwis, as they’ve done so many times over the years to the Aussies- As recently as the World Cup Final in July- Trailed for pretty much the entire afternoon, tying the scores with 5 minutes to go, and through a sea of nervy errors, Ameliaranne Ekenasio fired through her 27th goal from a tough distance with 20 seconds to go, and the Hail Mary relay from the Diamonds ended with a turnover, and the Kiwis, for the second time this series, won by a goal.

And thus, the series comes down to a Game 4 deathmatch in Perth this Sunday, with a few simple equations.

New Zealand win, and they win the series outright 3-1, which would be their first Constellation Cup win since 2012.

Australia win, and they at least retain the Constellation Cup on account of a superior goal difference, thanks to that 6-goal win in Auckland.

Much like most of the rules of rugby, I can’t claim to understand what the hell is going on during the game.

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