The View From Down Here #15

Wow! Things actually got interesting here for a brief moment… Honestly. And it had to do with soccer! I know, wonders will never cease. Oh well, here goes as I try to convince you all of that.

Basketball
NBL – Round 6
Townsville 103 def Sydney 101 (actually a round 5 game played on Wed night)
Cairns 101 def New Zealand 92 (another Wed night round 5 game)
Wollongong 98 def. Gold Coast 96
Perth 104 def. Adelaide 93
New Zealand 116 def. Gold Coast 113
Melbourne 104 def. Townsville 97
South 94 def. Cairns 65
Sydney Spirit 99 def Wollongong 86
WNBL – Round 4
AIS 88 def Perth 63
Townsville 97 def Sydney 58
Dandenong 66 lost to Adelaide 80
Bendigo 90 def Perth 62
Logan 82 just edged out by Sydney 83
AIS 43 hammered by Canberra 77
Bulleen 86 edged past Adelaide 84

Soccer
Asian Champions League
Bunyodkor 1 def Adelaide United FC 0
After the flight from Hell and India once again being the country to make Australians feel racist, the Adelaide United team arrived in Uzbekistan and the second leg of this part was upon us. Now, Adelaide put up a solid defence, allowing only one goal in which means they progress to the final on aggregate! The best result ever for an Australian club… and some of the eastern states media has had the gall to suggest they should give up their place to a Melbourne or Sydney club. The game itself was dour and boring, as defensive games often are, but the result was a good one for South Australians and the team in particular, so who really cares? Maybe those in Uzbekistan…
A-League Round 9
Central Coast Mariners FC 1 def Newcastle Jets FC 0
Melbourne Victory FC 0 lost to Sydney FC 2
Sun 26 Oct 2008 Adelaide United FC 2 def Perth Glory FC 1
            Backing up from the long trip back from Uzbekistan, Adelaide pulled off a magnificent win with several players rested after the arduous journey.
Wellington Phoenix FC 0 lost to Queensland Roar FC 1

Cricket
Australia v India
India 469 & 3/314 (dec); Australia 268 & 195 – India won by 320 runs
The second test loss – Australia’s largest ever to India – showed some serious cracks in the Australian team. We have a very inexperienced attack, but our batting has more runs than most other test playing nations. And yet we crumbled. Capitulated. Less than 200 runs in a test match innings? What the hell is going on?! And when we did so, the egos of the team went with them. Sure, India play the game like that niggling little chihuahua always biting at the ankles of the owner’s boyfriend, but Australia gave them more than enough ammunition this time. Fast bowler Brett Lee and captain Ricky Ponting had a ‘spat’ and although it is being downplayed, some have said that Lee’s recent personal issues are part of the problem. If that was the case, he should not have gone. Playing in India is extremely tough at the best of times; when you’re going through the worst of times it is just a hundred times worse. Maybe Cricket Australia should have bitten the bullet and let Andrew Symonds play. At least he gives as good as he gets.
Australian Domestic
Sheffield Shield:
Western Australia 283 & 6/197; Tasmania 187 & 292 – WA win by 4 wickets (WA 6 points)
Queensland 245 & 150; Victoria 353 & 1/45 – Vic win by 9 wickets (Vic 6 points)
South Australia 313 & 300 drew with NSW 576 (NSW 2 points)
One day:
South Australia 6/262 (49.5 overs); NSW 9/261 (50.0 overs) – SA win by 4 wickets (1 ball to spare! That’s cutting it close!). Good to see Shaun Tait firing up again as well, with 5 wickets for SA.
Western Australia 6/217 (42.2 overs); Tasmania 9/222 (45 overs); WA win by D-L system (and please don’t ask me to explain the Duckworth-Lewis system because I only studied mathematics at university and have no hope in understanding the convoluted and downright confusing mess that works these things out…)

Australian Rules Football
I am not going to regale you with the latest comings and goings off the field with players and coaches and administrators and support staff because, really, it doesn’t mean anything until the pre-season draft next year anyway. This is about the so-called International Rules event.
Ireland 3.6.9 (45) d Australia 0.12.8 (44)
Look, as a spectacle, it was great to watch, if not a little confusing (especially as different rules were applied to the Irish as opposed to the Australians). It was fast paced, it was hard-hitting, it was fun to watch. But it meant absolutely nothing. A hybrid game is not the way to get people to tune into your code; it is a way to alienate hard-core fans. It does nothing to advance Australian rules football, and it does nothing to get people more interested in watching the game. It is just a freak show of a sport. Which is a shame, because this was harmless was fun, and yet I honestly think Australian rules could be exported to the world if marketed properly.

Rugby League
The world cup has started here in Australia. With maybe four countries realistically capable of winning it and 20 countries entered, it’s like watching the early rounds of Wimbledon. Sure, there may be an upset or two, but rugby league does not yet warrant a world cup. Especially after the regular season has ended on such a sour note (this week more Brisbane Broncos players have been accused of being turds in public, but because the police minister is a publicly avowed fan, they’ll get off) this so-called showpiece is all set to be as dull as ditch-water. Southern hemisphere countries are into off-season mode, northern hemisphere into start of season mode. Oh well, let’s see how this one pans out as well, shall we?
England 32 def Papua New Guinea 22
Scotland 18 lost to France 36
Australia 30 hammered New Zealand 6
            Hang on… what the? New Zealand are a powerhouse! Australia are full of themselves. What the hell happened here?
Tonga 22 def Ireland 20

Something Else (Sports Related)
I watched a bit of NFL this weekend (one of our HD channels has decided to fill its Sunday-Tuesday schedule with NFL… never a bad thing). So I caught Monday Night Football and watched it (I am a Pats supporter from way back and seeing them demolish the Broncos was fun) with interest. And here is what I notice. I’m not sure what Americans think of them, but the commentators – those calling the game – in America are superb. They tell the story of the game, they give relevant statistics, and they don’t seem to get carried away with emotion. And, most importantly, I could not tell any bias towards or against any team by any of them men calling the game. Oh, that that was the case here! You can tell who they like… and who they really don’t like. If you listen to radio or TV commentary based in South Australia, they wear their hearts on their sleeves in a most pathetic, kid-brother sort of a way (you know, the whiny, “take me along too” little kid who follows you and your girlfriend on a date and then won’t stop complaining… that’s them). And if a Victorian team is playing an interstate team in Melbourne, the commentary is so woeful you’d think the states were actually at war. Of course, there are exceptions (or one exception – Dennis Commetti who is a master of understatement, the superior metaphor, subtle humour, and unbiased calling) but generally the state of play is appalling. And the worse offenders are those who have been in the media game for years. I enjoyed listening and learning about NFL… even if I want to think that the last Superbowl never actually happened…

And that’s what it looks like down here!

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