A-League

JTs Sporting Review: 6th-9th December

They couldn’t keep up with the Jones…. eses.


Golf: Matt Jones wins the Australian Open


After an arduous 4 days through the choking smog at the Australian Golf Club, as the likes of Adam Scott couldn’t even make the cut, the fight for the Stonehaven Cup went right down to the 72nd hole, with 2015 champion Matt Jones on 15 under, leading by 3 shots to the 2010 Open Championship winner, King Louis Oosthuizen, in his first appearance in Sydney ahead of the President’s Cup.

Jones had started Sunday on 13 under, leading by 3 shots to Cameron Tringale, but it was the Springbok who emerged as the only realistic challenger, as Jones maintained that 3 shot lead through 17 holes, but on the Par 5 final hole, Oostihiuzen set up an almighty finish, by picking the perfect time to card an Eagle, finishing with final round 5 under 66, to end on 14 under, meaning Jones had to make par to win the tournament, unlike the bogey he originally assumed.

In contrast, Jones’ approach was one Shark-esque screw-up after the other – His drive finished well and truly left, his second shot struck a branch, his third shot landed in a bunker, but in a great escape, his fourth shot would sit no more than four feet from the hole, and with the title on the line, Jones overcame a visit from Greg Norman’s ghost to sink a mentally tough putt to become the latest multiple winner of Australia’s premier tournament.

The added bonus to winning the Stonehaven Cup is that Jones is once again guaranteed a spot in the field for next year’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s, as is the top-ranked amateur Takumi Kanaya from Japan, and Queenslander Aaron Pike, who finished tied for third at 9 under – Oosthuizen is already in the field as a past winner, alongside World No.14 Paul Casey (The top ranked player in the field), who finished tied for 5th.

Now, the light reading material is over, bring on the President’s Cup!


Queensland bidding for the 2032 Olympics

With the way the bids for the 2024 and 2028 Summer Games went (Hint – 99% of countries avoided it like Germans avoid attempts at humour), the Queensland Government will probably be the only poor bastards bidding for the 2032 Summer Games, most likely to be staged in the charred out remains of Brisbane.

Here’s my early nostradamus prediction for when they somehow bribe enough of Juan Antonio’s posse and win the bid – Someone will stumble and drop the coal-powered torch during the relay, and burn down the remaining 2% of the Sunshine State not destroyed during the Great Australian Fire of 2027.


NBL: Week 10

I tell you, I still love how the NBL gives cheesy nicknames to the arenas.

The Kings played in the Kingdome, the Taipans have The Snakepit, the Wildcats have The Jungle, the Bullets have The Armory, The Phoenix now have The Fire Pit, and Melbourne United have The Toilet.


Friday

Cairns Taipans 108 defeated New Zealand Breakers 90 @ The Snakepit

In what was a sign of things to come this weekend, Scotty Machado led the way for the Snakes with 26 points on 6/10 shooting and 7 assists, with 5 of his teammates reaching double figures, as Cairns took the lead on the opening layup to Kouat Noi, and never trailed at any point in the game, leading by as much as 22 points, but to the Breakers credit, they did cut it to only 8 points in the 4th Quarter, before Machado and Deng drained a pair of 3 pointers and finished them off, as both teams emptied the benches and gave everyone a workout.

The stocks on the Taipans are as high as a kite right now, and they kept soaring a few days later in the Harbour City.

Perth Wildcats 96 defeated Sydney Kings 77@ Perth Arena

Holy moly, talk about Friday night entertainment.

On paper, it was a slugfest between the 2 top teams, as former league MVP Kevin Lisch finally returned to the Kings after 2 months out, but he and his star-studded teammates took it up the backseat from the defending champions, who produced an all-time 1st Half.

After leading 30-27 after the 1st Quarter, the Wildcats brandished their claws, with Bryce Cotton knocking down everything every time he got his hands on the ball, Nick Kay was draining 3s and giving the Kings talls a bath, to the extent that the rebound count was 23-9 to the Wildcats 2 minutes before the half, and they led a staggering 62-41.

Giving the Cats reward for a huge effort, the 1st Half finished 70-45 – The best 1st Half score by any team this NBL season, and the best since games were shortened to 40 minutes 11 seasons ago.

And it was against the team on top BY 3 GAMES.

With the game realistically over, the Wildcats pushed the lead to 30 points in the 3rd Quarter, but that said, the 2nd Half was a complete afterthought, with the total score (32-26) falling a lazy 12 points short of the Wildcats’ 1st Half performance, as both teams fired down brick after brick, which may have also been influenced by the fact they were both travelling and playing again on Sunday.

Still, what a performance from the Cats, quite easily their best performance since Game 4 of last year’s Grand Final series, and the kind of performance giving hope to the rest of the league that the Kings aren’t nigh-on unbeatable.

Saturday

Melbourne United 112 defeated Adelaide 36ers 90 @ Melbourne Arena

Former manbun advocate and Battle of Bocaue survivor Chris Goulding played his 300th NBL game, and his United teammates duly lifted for their beloved captain, crushing a 36ers team that had come in looking very good.

Goulding racked up 14 points and rebounds, Melo Trimble recorded 20 points, Casey Prather contributed 17, but it was Shawn Long who dunked the Sixers into the box they floated down the Princes Highway on, with 34 points and 15 rebounds.

Brisbane Bullets 101 defeated Illawarra Hawks 91 @ The Armory

The Hawks were always going to struggle without Lamelo Ball (Out due to a foot injury), and on the basis of the scoreboard, the loss of that creative spark he provided on the floor and the scoreboard proved the difference.

After a close 1st Quarter, the Bullets shot away to a 25-13 2nd Quarter and a 49-37 lead at the half, and for the rest of the night, the lead was always out beyond double digits, thanks to an even contribution from Brisbane’s starting 5 – Lamar Patterson with 19 points, Josh Cadee with 18, Matt Hodgson with 14 and 10 rebounds, and Nathan Sobey with 14 on a pretty piss poor 3/15 shooting (He was 8/8 from the line).

Unfortunately, adding to the pain for the Hawks, the news isn’t good for Lamelo – He’s out for a month with that foot problem.

Sunday

Perth Wildcats defeated SEM Phoenix @ The Fire Pit

Here’s a good way to beat a team who love sending up a 3-ball ad nauseam.

Make more 3-pointers than them.

The Cats as a team shot 15/31 from deep, compared to the Phoenix with 10/28, who did lead 51-46 at the half, but the Wildcats backed up that mega win over the Kings by reducing the hosts to ash, posting 31 points in both the 3rd and 4th quarters, powering over the top to a 10 point win.

Leading the charge from beyond the arc for the Cats was Clint Steindl, who shot 5/8 off the bench (17 points for him), Terrico White shot 5/10 from deep as part of his 19 point performance, and Bryce Cotton shot 3/5 in a 26 points, 7/10 shooting performance (9/12 from the line).

That was enough to overcome Phoenix captain Mitch Creek’s big shooting performance – A game-high 31 points on 11/18 shooting (7/9 from the line), supported by Ben Madgen with 20 points and 10 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to contain the depth of the Cats, who move to within 1.5 games of the ladder leading Kings, based on what happened in the other game on Sunday!

Cairns Taipans 109 defeated Sydney Kings 98 @ Qudos Bank Arena

The baffling journey of the Snakes continues.

They can’t beat Illawarra under any circumstance, but they can knock off just about every top team in the league if they bother, with the latest example being this win, making them the first team to defeat the Kings in Sydney!

The upset was set-up by MVP candidate Scotty Machado, who pulled one on Casper Ware with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists and 3 steals, while DJ Newbill dropped 30 points, including 4/8 from 3, which was collectively enough to overcome Ware’s mega final quarter, in which he scored 21 points, and dragged the deficit from 17 points to 5 with 2 minutes to go, but the Taipans, as they did all game, fought fire with fire, and prevailed in a well-earned victory, their first ever win at Sydney Olympic Park.

On another note, Ware’s 21 points equalled the record for the best individual score in a quarter in NBL history!

Out of nowhere, the Kings have lost back-to-back games, and after a rocky start, the Taipans have gone from 2-6 to an even ledger at 7-7, jumping into 4th spot!

Monday

NZ Breakers 96 defeated Brisbane Bullets 85 @ Auckland Arena

The Breakers endured an utterly forgettable build-up, not only losing RJ Hampton to a hip injury, but making the call to lodge a bullet to the temple of Glen Rice Jnr’s NBL stint on Monday morning, for breaching his bail conditions.

But, they were crucially offset by the returns of Corey Webster and Scott Hopson, with Scotty starting and scoring a tidy 14 points with 6 rebounds in 20 minutes, while Webster starred, playing 32 minutes after starting on the bench, and scoring a game-high 23 points.

That all managed to curtail the influence of Lamar Patterson, who scored 36 points, the best by any Bullets player since they were readmitted into the NBL in 2016, but as you can tell by the scoreboard, he had next to no support, with Jason Cadee and Matt Hodgson the only other Bullets to score in double figures.

There was only one team shooting bullets in Auckland, and it sure as crap wasn’t the team called the Bullets.


Ben Simmons Watch

Another great weekend for the Crown Casino reject, starting when he posted 26 points in the 1st Half against the Cavs on Saturday evening, before finishing on a career best 34 points (Plus the usual 7 assists) in a 141-94 blowout, which included his second successful 3 pointer of the season!

Sixers coach Brett Brown issued a new decree for his star player – Attempt one 3 pointer per game.

Then this morning, Simmons posted 16 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists as Philly knocked off Toronto 110-104, to extend their run to 12 consecutive wins in the City of Brotherly Love, putting them ahead of the Raptors for 2nd in the Atlantic Division, and half a game behind the Celtics for the lead.


(V)A(R)-League: Round 9

Nowadays I only watch he domestic league holding out hope that the VAR is going to get his chance to shine.

For some reason, he really loves the Red and Black Bloc…. even more so than some of the really fruity Sydney FC fans.


Perth Glory 3 defeated Melbourne City 0 @ AAMI Park

Yet more proof that nothing in the A-League makes any sense.

The Glory with 1 win from 7 matches, City in 2nd only 2 points off Sydney FC, and once the 90 had elapsed, the game ended in the 3-0 scoreline that looked likely.

Only that the Glory had inflicted all the damage, and reminded everyone that they did indeed win the Premier’s Plate last season, with the performance really set up by an effective counterattacking gameplan, which naturally led to City finishing with 62% of possession, while Bruno Fornaroli marked his return to the supporters of Sheikh Mansour’s Financial Group by scoring the opening goal.

It was the Glory Boys’ biggest win at AAMI Park, and more importantly, their first clean sheet of the season.

Capping off the shitshow for City, they were the only team who didn’t score this weekend.

Much embarrassment.

Wellington Phoenix 2 defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 1 @ Eden Park

You know, through the first 2 months of this season, I’ve learned a great life lesson.

The VAR exists purely so we can experience the feeling of joy watching the League find a way to bend over the Wanderers every week.

This latest example of buggery came in the 87th minute, when Ulises Davila rifled a shot into the hand/arm of Wanderers midfielder Pirmin Schwegler attempting to get out of the way.

Referee Elder originally stuck with the call of a corner, but the VAR said hello, the decision was reversed, and a penalty was awarded.

Davila made no mistake, finally getting one past Daniel Lopar from 12 yards, after Lopar had made several outstanding saves in the 2nd Half, while Davila’s goal meant he has now scored in his last four matches, equalling a Phoenix record.

Predictably, Wanderers manager Marco Kurz wasn’t happy, and had the usual post-match whine, served with a side of crackers and cheese.

Once it can happen, twice, but three times in a row, then I think it’s a bit personal against me.

Marco Kurz, trying to remember the lyrics to a certain Commodores song

I don’t think a volcano was the only thing that exploded in New Zealand this weekend…

So the Wanderers’ struggles with technology continue, and at the same time, after losing their first 4 matches and looking like a very viable wooden spoon candidate, the Phoenix have reeled off 3 wins in a row to jump to 5th!

Sydney FC 5 defeated Brisbane Roar 1 @ Kogarah

It’s only fitting that the Sky Blues are sponsored by The Star, because they put in another 5 star performance on Saturday night.

Adam Le Fondre scored a hat-trick with 4 shots on goal, Milos Ninkovic added the second, and Trent ‘Budgie’ Buhagiar came off the bench to score the 4th goal, just before Le Fondre completed his hat-trick.

The Roar’s only consolation was an added time penalty to Roy O’Donovan, when just about every other player on the pitch had stopped giving a shit and was hanging out for the whistle, although I’d say based on their lack of effort, nobody in that Roar 11 gave a shit on Saturday night.

Sydney good, Brisbane bad, life goes on.

Western United 3 defeated Melbourne Victory 1 @ Kardinia Park

Thinking beating an underperforming Glory team had restored them as a league heavyweight, the Victory were slapped back to reality against their red-headed step brothers in the latest Victoria Derby.

Proving that 2-0 comeback on Derby Day last month was no one-off miracle, United once again made their elder Prictorian relatives look second rate, thanks to a familiar face in Besart Berisha scoring a brace against his former team, joined in support by Panagiotis Kone, with Berisha cancelling out Andrew Nabbout’s 14th minute thunderbolt into the bottom left corner after only 3 minutes, Kone scored 7 minutes later to give United the lead, and Berisha added a 3rd goal only 2 minutes before the main break – All the scoring being done in the 1st Half, as United broke a 3-match losing streak.

Back to normalcy for Marco Kurz’ Victory, and Mark Rudan’s chargers managed to take the title of ‘Most competent Victorian A-League team’ for this week, and looking at City’s efforts on Friday, bloody hell, United could have severed the legs of their entire starting 11 and still won it easily.

Adelaide United 2 defeated Newcastle Jets 1 @ Hindmarsh

I’ll keep this fairly simple.

One team utterly dominated and produced 31 shots on goal.

The other produced a comparatively small 13.

Given I’ve just mentioned those numbers, you can probably guess who won.


Ange winning the J-League with Yokohama F.Marinos!

I’d rate that as the best win by an Australian in Japan since Takeover Target won the 2006 Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama.

Bloody well done to Ange – Multiple A-League titles, an Asian Cup title, and now he’s once again given water to the theory that the further Australians move away from Australian football, the more likely they are to succeed.


Tim Tszyu defeats Jack Brubaker

Forget about that, did you see Justin Hodges get dropped by Darcy Lussick inside 39 seconds?

Should change his name to Darcy Arsekick.

Look on the bright side Hodgo – You can’t develop a brain injury if you didn’t have any brain cells to begin with.

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