AFL

Tuesday Tithbits: 23rd June

Apparently we’re about a month away from this happening.

Still, I don’t know why they said they could get 60,000 for AFL games at Optus Stadium – The best they’ve ever pulled was 59,608 for that West Coast-Melbourne Prelim.

Last time I checked, that’s 392 fewer patrons than 60,000.

Get your maths right, McGowan.


May as well rename Netball to Basketball

With the introduction of the SUPER SHOT to Super Netball, to try and entice new fans and piss off the existing ones.


The only way Novak Djokovic can learn a lesson from this Adria Tour arse-up

Is to forcibly change his name to Novax.

Organising a charity tournament with absolutely no protocols in the middle of a pandemic that you don’t really believe in is riiiiiight up there for crazy.

This is almost beyond Peter Brock (With the Energy Polarizer) levels of “Insanely good at his craft, and insane in what believes.”

And the Djoker the head of the ATP Player Council… not for much longer.

Everyone who took part in that tournament, whatever good intentions they had, made Saint Nick Kyrgios, doing the right thing and staying bunkered in Canberra, sound like the voice of reason.

Apparently Thiem and Zverev are both in the clear, thankfully.


Further signs we’re in an alternate reality

The three Queensland NRL teams are currently a collective flaming pile of garbage and currently sit in the Bottom 8.

Both the Queensland AFL teams are in the Top 5, and both of them look more than decent.


The Latest Wild Ride of Essendon

“How can they even field a team against Carlton and Collingwood with all the players in quarantine?”

“How can they even play without their entire starting backline?”

“I wonder how many players will be defined as close contacts?”

“Apparently it isn’t multiple players, it’s only one!”

“His initials are JS? Damn, Jake Stringer will be a loss.”

“Oh, it’s only James Stewart, who gives a crap.”


Australia & New Zealand now have a huge chance of hosting the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup

So with the Japanese withdrawing and throwing their weight behind the joint bid, it’s us Antipodeans (Apparently with backing from Asia) versus…

COLOMBIA.

The bribes must be amazing – Tim Tams and Split Enz albums, versus 20 tons of Grade A white stuff.

I’ll be honest, after I heard the Japanese withdrew their bid, I assumed the joint Australasian bid would win by default, and I had this ready to go:


A wild anniversary

Yesterday – June 22 – Was 10 years to the day since the John Isner-Nicolas Mahut match at Wimbledon began.

When I think about greatest matches of the decade – Djokovic-Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open Final at No.1, Isner-Mahut match should at least be at No.2 for sheer history value alone, because 70-68 is a record that may very well stand forever, especially with tiebreakers at every major except the French Open.

The funnier part – Wimbledon posted THE ENTIRE MATCH – 11 HOURS AND 5 MINUTES OF IT – ON YOUTUBE.

Now THAT is a social media team that knows their audience.

So a bit of a history lesson, the match started in the evening (6:13pm) of June 22 out on Court 18, and was halted due to bad light (At 9:07) after Isner won the 4th Set tiebreak, forcing a deciding set.

The match resumed at 2pm local time (Because you can’t resume postponed matches first up), and at 5:45pm, 6 hours and 34 minutes in, the pair broke the record for the longest match in professional tennis history, previously held by Fabrice Santoro and Arnaud Clement at the 2004 French Open.

Play was suspended on the 23rd at 9:09pm, with the score tied at 59 games all, after Mahut saved a fourth match point on his serve in the last game of the day.

Play resumed at 3:40 pm on Thursday, 24 June, with the crowd overflowing on Court No.18, and after reaching match point No.5 on Mahut’s serve, Isner won the match for the ages at 4:47 pm, the 5th Set score finishing at 70-68.

In the list of longest matches, if you were to only count the 5th Set, which lasted for 8 hours, 11 minutes, it’s still the longest match BY OVER AN HOUR.

Isner & Mahut met again the next year at Wimbledon, with Isner winning in a much shorter straight sets, and more recently, Isner (And Kevin Anderson) managed to introduced 5th Set tiebreakers to Wimbledon + the Australian Open as a knock-on effect, thanks to their 2018 Semi Final, which finished 26-24 in the 5th Set, lasted 6 hours and 36 minutes, pissing off everyone because it was a massive serving exhibition, and it delayed Rafa vs Novak.

When you consider which players have changed the game of tennis, well, John Isner, by virtue of playing the two-longest matches in Wimbledon history and forcing rule changes, has changed the game.


WA firming up to save the AFL season

So from Mr McGowan’s latest round of announcements:

Under Phase Four from this Saturday, WA can have 50% capacity at all major sporting & entertainment venues, which would allow 30,000 fans at Optus Stadium if a game were held there, although the earliest either WA team can play there is Round 6, after the Royal Pines hubs run their course.

But, assuming things track well, Phase Five is planned to be introduced on Saturday July 18, three weeks after phase four, at which point major venues would be back to 100% capacity, which is where the 60,000 crowd figure comes into play.

Given the rolling fixture, it would also allow for the AFL to schedule a Western Derby between the Eagles and Dockers, and get some decent crowds if a Perth hub does eventuate.

It also gives us Sandgropers the hope that as things stand right now, with Victoria having to deal with the Black Death, Perth could do a Hail Mary and host a Grand Final, and wouldn’t it be bloody hilarious if it was between two Melbourne teams.

With the way the Eagles and Dockers are tracking, the’ll be lucky to even feature in the Top 8, let alone a home Grand Final.

The other facet is that the WAFL season will be back on that July 18 weekend, and South Fremantle have already gone on record and said that if nothing changes on the health front, they’ll be pushing to get 10,000 local footy starved fans to Fremantle Oval for the Derby against East Freo – Which would be the biggest home & away WAFL crowd this century.

It’ll probably be enough to put them in the black for 2020.


Still on WA – State Cricket Contracts

As a WACA Member, I was delighted to get an email and read the big new signing for the men’s team:

USA cricketing legend, and last season’s leading Shield wicket-taker, Cameron ‘The Sex Cannon’ Gannon.

Apparently the worst kept secret in Australian state cricket was Gannon going from QLD to WA, and it’s happened.

In another welcome sight, D’Arcy Short also didn’t go to Tasmania, which would’ve made sense, considering people associate him more with the Hobart Hurricanes than his ‘home’ state..

The other facet – Nathan Coulter-Nile and Andrew Tye, two stalwarts of WA’s short form success the 50 over format and with the Scorchers, weren’t offered contracts.

The NCN decision is probably down to the fact that he’s barely featured in Sheffield Shield cricket and the WACA didn’t want to give him a contract solely for to play 50-over matches.

Plus, he’s playing for the Melbourne Stars, and he’s going to play club cricket in Melbourne, and as for AJ Tye, well, same thing – He’s a white ball specialist.

That said, he’s apparently still in Adam ‘Hank’ Voges’ plans for the Marsh Cup, so there’s still a chance for WA cricket fans to either marvel at his knuckle ball, or randomly abuse him.

And on the Women’s team, who finally managed to win the WNCL title after decades of being pilfered by New South Wales, Heather Graham has fled for Tasmania, and in comes Alana King from Victoria, apparently no relation to Emma King.


The Supercars Season Returns This Weekend

Eastern Creek is the venue… BUT YOU CAN’T GO.

The E-Series was wildly entertaining to watch, and we got to witness tens of millions of dollars worth of virtual damage and some drivers die in horror virtual accidents, but, it will be great fun to watch the actual gas guzzlers go around again.

And, it means for the first time since early March, I’ll have to write a Motorsport Monday report!


An Australian horse won an American Group 1

Oleksandra, a mare who was a 3 race maiden with Bjorn Baker several years ago before sprouting wings in the US and A, won the Jaipur Stakes at Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes day this past Saturday, the first Australian bred horse to win an American Group 1 since ‘Grade 1s’ were introduced to the U.S. back in 1974.

Fancy that – One of Bjorn Baker’s useless fillies did what some genuine champions Strawberry Road, Alinghi and Anamato couldn’t do.

Technically, Let’s Elope did ‘win’ the 1993 Beverly D. Stakes, but she was disqualified for interference.

And she was bred in New Zealand.

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