The View From Down Here #23

It’s all go down here with sport dominating the front pages, back pages and half the pages in between. So let’s get to it!

Basketball
NBL – Round 14
            Wow! Basketball just played ball this week! No new crises! No stupid owners! Just some good, close games!
New Zealand 114 def Sydney Spirit 70
Adelaide 107 def Gold Coast 104
Perth 94 lost to New Zealand 118
South Dragons 88 def Townsville 84
Melbourne 128 def Wollongong 101
Sydney Spirit 101 def Townsville 90
WNBL – Round 10
Adelaide 90 def Sydney 76
Townsville 87 def Bendigo 57
Bulleen 81 def Dandenong 57
Dandenong 58 lost to Canberra 63
Logan 67 def by Bendigo 85

Soccer
A-League Round 15
What a round! World Cup hero Aloisi booed by his own fans after missing the simplest goal possible, but even this has been overshadowed by the betting scandal enveloping the Melbourne club, embroiling even its captain. They bet on soccer matches! Only one bet on his own tam (which I can see as a big no-no), but the others were still punished for betting on other teams. Wow. Sport as a metaphor for life in Australia obviously involves no gambling, no getting drunk, no recreational drugs and no fun. Just like life everywhere in the Western world, I guess… if you’re a head-up-your-arse sports official with no sense of the real world.
Wellington Phoenix FC 1 def Central Coast Mariners FC 0
Newcastle Jets FC 4 def Melbourne Victory FC 2
Sydney FC 1 lost to Perth Glory FC 4
Melbourne Victory FC against Adelaide United FC is to be held Wednesday
FIFA World Club Cup
Adelaide United FC 1 def Al Ahly (Egypt) 0
This win put Adelaide into fifth place in the Club World Cup, equally Sydney’s 2005 placing, but Adelaide did it with two wins, which Sydney had not managed. A stunning result… despite the fact that the local Football Federation and the other clubs get the bulk of the money they won, leaving Adelaide in the red. Gotta love the politics of sport!
W-League Round 9
My numbering of the rounds has been bad… and that has purely to do with laziness on my behalf.
Adelaide United 1 lost to Perth Glory 3
Newcastle Jets 2 def Sydney FC 0
Queensland Roar 2 def Central Coast Mariners 0
Canberra United 3 def Melbourne Victory 2

AFL
Quick note – Cousins was indeed picked up by Richmond, and has been welcomed at Punt Road as a conquering hero after just one training session. He looks good and fit, and is under the most ridiculously stringent testing regime for any one (why one rule for one player who was not even caught by the league’s so-called comprehensive testing, and one rule for everyone else?) and now has the weight of the Richmond faithful upon his tattooed shoulders.

            Good luck, Ben!
            On a media-related note – the football season is still months away and yet the national code has dominated headlines, taking away from cricket, soccer and basketball, all of which have deserved headlines of their own. The national media’s obsession with a local sport played nowhere else in the world to any great degree is actually quite amusing… and also really, really nauseating.

Cricket
International Cricket
Australia 375 & 319; South Africa 281 & 4/414 – South Africa won by 6 wickets
            Yes, South Africa won, defeating Australia on home soil with the second-highest fourth innings run chase in cricket history (serious!). They played very well, and Australia played okay. But to read the media reports and listen to the radio and television pundits, apparently this is the complete and utter death of Australian cricket. Yes, Aus cricket has been in a decline for some time, and South Africa just wanted it more, but the death? I don’t think so. I have been critical of Australia’s attitude towards cricket of late, especially captain Ricky Ponting, but while we may no longer be number one if South Africa wins the series, we are still a powerful cricketing nation. IU just think our captain should shoulder a lot more of the blame than he does. And it looks like bowler Brett Lee will bear the brunt of the loss, not out of form Matthew Hayden, or whingeing captain Ponting.
            Having said that, Mitchell Johnston bowled well for Australia with 11 wickets for the match and De Villiers with a half century and century was the match-winner for the Proteas.
Australian Domestic
Sheffield Shield:

Western Australia 211 & 140; Victoria 296 & 2/58 – Vic won by 8 wickets (Vic – 6 pts)
Tasmania v Queensland at Hobart – Dec 16-19, 2008

Queensland 230 & 93; Tasmania 214 & 4/111 – Tas won by 6 wickets (Tas – 6 pts)
            Weird match, this one. Queensland had a collective brain fart in the second innings.
New South Wales 6/483 (dec) & 2/120 (dec); South Australia 3/304 (dec) & 224 – NSW won by 75 runs (NSW – 6 pts)
            At least these two teams went out to try for the result, even if the final result means South Australia is back on the bottom of the Shield table…
One-Day
South Australia 5/285; New South Wales 112 (30.3 overs) – S.Aust won comprehensively by 173 runs
Western Australia 198 (47.3 overs); Victoria 6/199 (45.2 overs) – Vic won by 4 wickets

Tennis
The Australian International tennis season is getting close to beginning with the first of the major tournaments leading up to the Australian Open. And first result is Australian again Jelena Dokic – a former world number 4 who was a naturalised Australian, then went with her slightly out of control father off back to wherever he came from, and is now Australian again – getting a wild card for the Oz Open. Considering the dearth of Australian women who are genuine contenders at this stage (Casey Dellaqua notwithstanding), this is a positive for the sport in this country. And the really sad thing? Some of our junior women are awesome players. I’ve watched some under-age events and have been astounded at the shot-making and the dedication. So where do they go? Why don’t they continue on into the higher ranks? What part of Tennis Australia’s system is failing them? We’ll never know because, like every other sporting organisation in this country, they blame everything else and don’t look at the internal, intrinsic problems that beset the sport. They have good times, think these will go on forever, and when things go bad, they don’t understand because all they did was sit on their hands and let the world pass them by. Only swimming seems to actually be pro-active, and even then it’s a handful of swimmers who make a difference, not the whole swimming fraternity…
            I seem to have gone off track a little here. Oh well…

Closing Paragraph
Christmas is fast approaching, like that cancerous growth that the doctors can’t cut out because it will kill the patient to have his lungs, kidneys, spleen and brain removed. Sucking money from parents, with endless advertisements (of course, a $3500 fridge IS the perfect Christmas gift!!) and meaningless messages. Decorations went up in October, and will come down before New Year’s Eve is upon us. Sales that really don’t reduce prices, angry shoppers who feel their children’s lives will not be complete without the Hilary Cyrus Wii obnoxious brat attachment game, stressed shop assistants who man the check-outs and have no idea why the company has the Christmas lights for sale in the baby wear department… What a joke of a time of year. The message has well and truly been lost in a morass of crass commercialism and never-ending raw human emotion, like greed, anger and disappointment.
            And to make it worse, my birthday is on Dec 25, and so I am reminded quite starkly of my advancing age and, hence, my own mortality.

And that’s the view from down here!

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