The View From Down Here #8

Finals time! When the best of the best try to out do the rest! Or something. Meh. Let’s get on with it…

Tennis
Federer won the US Open.
            Surprise!!

Rugby League
First round of the league finals and there was an absolute boilover… but what has been dominating the rugby sports pages? Yep, more sports stars ‘allegedly’ involved in another sex scandal. I didn’t even know who’d won 2 of the four finals because the Broncos and the three players being investigated for sexual assault have been dominating the headlines. This happens a lot in football codes in Australia. And why? Is it because these young men / old boys are taken away from their homes at a young age, placed in with a bunch of ego-driven older guys with absolutely no guidance or moral compass, and are feted by the media, sponsors and adoring fans, think that their shit doesn’t stink, and then they get all indignant when something like this happens? Of course not, say football chiefs; it’s just some bad apples. What a load of crap. But it’s going to keep on happening while the football bosses put money ahead of everything else in their game. Including the welfare of their charges…
Finals Week 1 Results:
Warriors beat Melbourne 18-15. Yes, the minor premiers and hot favourites beaten. This has really thrown open the whole finals series.
Cronulla hammered Canberra 36-10. This gives Cronulla the bye in week 2, leading them straight into week 3, while Canberra are eliminated.
Manly slaughtered St George Illawarra 38-6. And so Manly also go through to the third week, and St George Illawarra are also gone.
Brisbane beat the Sydney Roosters 24-16. Both teams are back for week 2.

Australian Rules Football
AFL
Strangely for the football code that is the only truly national one here (maybe soccer… maybe) all the headlines, all the news has concerned the football clubs – what are they going to do now they’ve been eliminated, who’s coming and going, the teams, the match-ups. Quite a pleasant change, really. Talk is already starting to turn to the year’s end draft of out of contract, young and fired players. The pickings this year are important, because with new teams entering the fray in the next five years, and with these teams undoubtedly likely to be given draft concessions, this could be the last good, wide open draft for a long, long time.
Semi-Finals
St Kilda 17.4 (106) def Collingwood 9.18 (72)
Many will undoubtedly bemoan the Magpies inaccuracy as the reason for their loss, but they were lucky in week 1, and this was made clear in week 2 when faced with a more determined St Kilda. After the match, Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse had the entire playing group, support staff and administration locked in the change-rooms while he said lots of things. What did he say? Who knows… no-one’s talking, but you can bet it involved lots of words the majority of the footballers did not understand, and held many implied threats. St Kilda now go on to face Hawthorn, in what will most likely be a very close match.
Western Bulldogs 16.10 (106) killed Sydney 9.15 (69)
Sydney were exposed and the Bulldogs went on their merry way to meet hot favourites Geelong next week. Jason Akermanis, the AFL’s human headline, has claimed that Geelong are vulnerable because they have been so dominant. Well, if any team was going to beat them, it was going to be the Bulldogs or Hawthorn. If St Kilda and Geelong get through, watch Geelong rewrite the record books again in their thrashing of the Saints.
SANFL
First round of the finals went as everyone expected. No surprises, no dramas, nothing but two really good games of football.
Elimination Final
Norwood 18.11 (119) def Port Adelaide 15.8 (98)
Port tried hard, but their luck ran out just getting to the finals, and Norwood ran away with it.
Qualifying Final
Central Districts 9.13 (67) def Sturt 9.10 (64)
Close game, good game. This could have gone either way, and Centrals’ win puts them against Glenelg this week, while Sturt get the second chance against Norwood.

Cricket
Australia is now crying again and saying they won’t go to India for the Champions Trophy because a bomb went off. They are stupid. Australian cricketers are revered in India where bowler Brett Lee has even had a top 10 single (!) and has appeared in a Bollywood film (!!). In the lead-up, however, wayward all-rounded Andrew Symonds has not been selected for the tour (should it go ahead), while the Indians are already trying mind games on Australian captain Ricky Ponting. They’ll work, but the rest of the team will cover up for him. Look, the more the years go on, since Steve Waugh retired, Australian cricket seems to be becoming more and more populated by whingers, whiners and sooks. They get paid surprisingly well to play a game they love, and yet nothing is ever good enough for them. Just play cricket, that’s all we ask.

Paralympics
Australia has done really well and these games have received a surprisingly large amount of mainstream media coverage. I have just watched the Canada-USA wheelchair basketball match go into double overtime. I was on the edge of my seat. And yet, people are actually complaining about these magnificent examples of the human spirit overcoming adversity taking them away from their localised football finals. How pathetic. And, unlike our other Olympians, these guys and girls are not supported with obscene amounts of money by our government, with a lot of them having to find their own funds to get over to Beijing. Matt Cowdry has proven a real revelation, Heath Francis is damn fast, Lisa McIntosh was awesome, the wheelchair basketballers are insane (in a good way)… I could go on, but I won’t. We need more coverage of them and their deeds, because they really do put those of the able-bodied athletes to shame.

Soccer
In response to an e-mail (one of three I have received), here are the latest results from the A-League soccer:
Round 4
Melbourne Victory FC def Adelaide United FC, 1-0
Newcastle Jets FC drew Sydney FC, 0-0
Wellington Phoenix FC drew Central Coast Mariners FC,  0-0
Perth Glory FC lost to Queensland Roar FC, 0-3
Happy?

So that’s the view from down here!

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