The View From Down Here #37

This is late due to a house full of vomiting family members (myself included). We’re better now, but it does mean I am late. So for the half dozen of you who actually read this, sorry.
            I received an e-mail from a Michael in Yorkshire (I’m guessing the Yorkshire in the UK) asking what I think about England’s chances in the Ashes. Unfortunately, I can’t really comment because in Australia we get very little other cricket and so I have not had a chance to watch them play. But from what I’ve heard, now that the team has settled with a new coach and captain, if they can niggle enough, they have a good shot at winning the Ashes later on this year. But I think the deciding factor will be, as it usually is in England, the weather. I plan on writing a little more about that series closer to the time, however. I would be interested to hear how you guys see the upcoming Ashes battle, however…

Cricket
International Cricket
First One Day International

Australia 7/286; South Africa 145 (33.1 overs) – Australia won by 141 runs
Hauritz with 4 wickets and Hussey not out on 83 starred for Australia in a win in which the team played as a team. This Australian team is frustrating, running hot and cold… much like the South Africans. It could be an indication of the level playing field between the two teams, but it seems more that the psychological game is more important here than what would otherwise be expected. So how will both teams handle masters of psychological battle like the Sri Lankans or Indians if they are becoming this fragile against each other?
Second One Day International
Australia 131 (40.2 overs); South Africa 3/132 (26.2 overs) – South Africa won by 7 wickets
And they did it with over 140 balls remaining. Look, I’ll re-emphasise what I said above – what is it with these two teams? They do well, or they do really badly, and never the twain shall meet! As lopsided as the first one was, this was the same only in the other direction. For Australia Ferguson got 50, Johnson 30 and Hauritz 10; no other batsman made double figures. Meanwhile, Steyn and Parnell took 4 wickets each, and all batsmen except Gibbs got a decent start for the Proteas.

Australian Rules Football
The big news out of the week has been the pathetic, bully-boy whining of Port Adelaide. One of their thuggish players dropped an opposition player after the siren. At the tribunal, this player said what happened honestly, backed up by the words of the umpire. And Port Adelaide whined that what happens on the field stays on the field. Hang on… this wasn’t even during play. It was a simple act by a simpleton. The Port player got a one match ban (fair enough) and Port belly-ached. Let’s see if Port remember this next time one of their players is decked behind play by another lout.
Round Two
Adelaide 10.9 (69) lost to St. Kilda 15.11 (101)
A home loss to the Crows already. Last week’s win has been brought down to earth with a nasty thud… And it is interesting to note the supporters blamed the umpires (to the point of a fan being banned for the season for throwing a plastic bottle in their direction, missing, and hitting a 12 year old; with aim and accuracy like that, he could be playing for the Crows later this year!) and not the fact their team played as though they had the game in the bag from the first bounce. Their arrogance cost them.
Geelong 15.15 (105) def Richmond 13.7 (85)
And the Cats continue on their merry way…
Collingwood 17.15 (117) def Melbourne 10.4 (64)
You cannot judge Collingwood by this match. Against Melbourne… if anyone is defeated by Melbourne this year they’ll only have themselves to blame.
Carlton 18.11 (119) def Brisbane 15.10 (100)
Not sure what to make of this match. While on the one hand Brisbane have a new coach and a newish squad while Carlton are experienced, on the other hand Brisbane should be riding high after last week…
Sydney 22.11 (143) def Hawthorn 15.15 (105)
Can we say “premiership hangover”, everybody?
Essendon 16.13 (109) def Fremantle 10.11 (71)
See my comments regarding Melbourne above…
Western Bulldogs 11.14 (80) def North Melbourne 9.11 (65)
Pretty much as expected, except the match was a lot duller…
West Coast 19.11 (125) def Port Adelaide 10.15 (75)
Port Adelaide really missed Brogan in ruck, but they also seemed to be content to hang back and play catch-up football. Also their accuracy in the first quarter set the tone for a dismal day.
SANFL
Round Two

West Adelaide 11.11 (77) drew with Woodville-West Torrens 10.17 (77)
First drawn match of the year. This either means the Eagles have gone backwards or West Adelaide have improved…
North Adelaide 15.11 (101) lost to Central Districts 19.15 (129)
Getting rid of Andrew Jarman as coach will prove to be the worst decision North have made…
Port Adelaide 15.8 (98) lost to Glenelg 17.13 (115)
It’s not settled: Glenelg for the final 5, Port to miss out…
Sturt 14.16 (100) def Norwood 12.8 (80)
A good game. These two teams are going to make football worth watching this year.
Bye: South Adelaide

Motor Sport
Nothing to report this week…

Netball
When it comes to names, after this week I’ll stick with the names the teams are known by, but this week I’ll put the full names (minus sponsors) so you can tell where they come from. Four New Zealand teams and six Australian teams make up the competition. It is also interesting to note that the Adelaide Thunderbirds have followed the lead of many European sporting clubs in that a dominant football club supports them. In Europe the beneficiary is normally a basketball club or volleyball or similar while the benefactor is always a soccer club. In this case, the Port Adelaide Power AFL club supports the Thunderbirds in a nice bit of cross-promotion.
Round One
Southern Steel 55 def Central Pulse 46
Melbourne Vixens 57 def West Coast Fever 44
Queensland Firebirds 48 lost to Adelaide Thunderbirds 60
            Despite the scoreline, this was a close, tight game. The Thunderbirds are showing early season promise, and I can’t see them missing out on the finals.
Northern Mystics 38 lost to Waikato/Bay Of Plenty Magic 51
New South Wales Swifts 62 def Canterbury Tactix 45
An interesting start to the season. It is going to be hard to pick the real contenders this year until about round 3, so I’ll leave my predictions until then.

Rugby Union
Super 14 – Round 8
Crusaders 16 def Bulls 13
Force 39 creamed Reds 7
Sharks 33 def Hurricanes 17
Chiefs 36 def Lions 29
            I know this makes me somewhat pathetic, but I enjoyed this match. Lots of great scoring and hard hitting made it an enjoyable one…
Waratahs 12 def Stormers 6
            This, on the other hand, was not…
Cheetahs 27 lost to Brumbies 40

Rugby League
Round Three
Manly 10 lost to Penrith 12
            Manly defeated again? Oh well…
Round Four
Brisbane 12 lost to St George Illawarra 25
Sydney Roosters 24 hammered Parramatta 6
Penrith 42 killed Wests Tigers 22
Melbourne 6 lost to Gold Coast 18
Warriors 16 lost to South Sydney 22
Bulldogs 24 def Cronulla 12
Newcastle 26 def Manly 12
            Manly lost? Oh dear…
Canberra 23 def North Queensland 18
            Canberra’s first win of the season; I thought they’d do much better than that.

Soccer
Asian Champion’s League
Next round this coming week…

Rugby Sevens
Adelaide has been host this past weekend to the world Rugby Sevens championships. A number of friends of mine went along and all said they were thoroughly entertained and that it was a great success. Well done to all involved organising such a tournament in a place like this, and I just wish I’d had time to go along and enjoy it as well…
Results:
Kenya 12 def Japan 5
South Africa 28 def Cook Islands 7
USA 17 def Tonga 14
|New Zealand 24 def Wales 10
Fiji 33 def Scotland 7
Argentina 14 def France 7
Samoa 26 def Portugal 5
England 17 lost to Australia 21
New Zealand 33 def Tonga 0
USA 17 lost to Wales 24
England 29 def Portugal 0
Samoa 19 lost to Australia 26
Argentina 12 def Scotland 7
Fiji  21 def France 10
South Africa 43 def Japan 0
            Holy cow! In a 22 minute game!
Kenya 27 def Cook Islands 0
Wales 19 lost to Tonga 26
Australia 31 def Portugal 5
France 24 def Scotland 12
Cook Islands 12 lost to Japan 20
England 24 drew with Samoa 24
Argentina 21 lost to Fiji 26
New Zealand 27 def USA 5
South Africa 14 lost to Kenya 15
1/4 Finals Bowl Samoa 27 def Scotland 14
1/4 Finals Bowl Japan 19 lost to Tonga 33
1/4 Finals Bowl USA 19 lost to Cook Islands 31
1/4 Finals Bowl France 27 def Portugal 12
1/4 Finals Cup Australia 5 lost to Argentina 12
1/4 Finals Cup Kenya 33 def Wales 14
1/4 Finals Cup New Zealand 0 lost to South Africa 17
1/4 Finals Cup Fiji  40 def England 0
            Another demolition!
SF Shield Scotland 17 def Japan 14
SF Shield USA 29 def Portugal 14
SF Bowl Samoa 24 def Tonga 12
SF Bowl Cook Islands 14 lost to France 35
SF Plate Australia 38 def Wales 7
SF Plate New Zealand 14 lost to England 21
SF Cup Argentina 5 lost to Kenya 17
SF Cup South Africa 21 def Fiji 10
Shield Final Scotland 21 lost to USA 24
Bowl Final Samoa 35 def France 14
Plate Final Australia 19 lost to England 24
Cup Final Kenya 7 lost to South Africa 26
            South Africa are the champions and after 44 games of full-intensity rugby, I hope they come back here again one day and next time I’ll go see them!

Professional Wrestling
Riot City Wrestling:  Scarstruck 4/4/09
            mmm… There was something about this show that was not quite right. Part of it was the crowd. Small by RCW standards and until TJ Rush came out and forced them to get into the show, quiet as well. But the rest was that some of the matches just seemed off. Nothing bad – no blown moves or injuries or anything like that – just lacking a certain intensity we have come to expect.
            First up, commissioner Andy Cruise comes out announce that this tournament thing he’s been rabbitting on about for a while now is about to come to pass. The final 6 contenders are to be paired off with a three-way dance at the end for the number one contendership. This has been a mite confusing. We needed brackets to see who was in it and who had defeated whom, I think, to really make it seem like something special. It lacked that ‘something’. It is also announced that Matt Silva could not make it, so his spot would be taken by the man he defeated, Jacko Lantern (both from Victoria). And then it was announced that Adrenaline (from Victoria) could not make it either, so some-one gets a bye. This brings out the three masked men of RCW who demand a spot in the tournament finals. Cruise agrees, telling them that they had to decide now who would be in it. And then he tells them that that person would be facing GD Grimm. In that regard, Plasma, the youngest member, is fed to the proverbial lion.
            Match 1: GD Grimm v Plasma
Plasma actually made a good showing of himself here. He took it to Grimm, but fell, of course, to the curbstomp. Not a bad opener.
            Match 2: Voodoo v Jacko Lantern
Voodoo continues to look like he is improving in the ring with the crispness of his moves. And Lantern was a good foil for him. However, the audience really did not get into it that much, and that seemed to hurt the match. The end came after Jacko spat the red mist at Voodoo, but Voodoo managed to fight back with his stalling elbow for the pin.
            Match 3: Brad Smyth v Steve Valek
The problem with this match is that Smyth played it a little too much of the comedy match with over-acting and ridiculous cheating. The ref was made to look like a moron. Valek had him killed several times, but the pin did not come until Fuzion (Smyth’s mentor) ran downj to the ring and dropped a set of knucks on the ring which Smyth then used to KO Valek for the pin. And then he left the knucks in plain view in the corner of the ring. Look, I don’t mind the comedy aspects, and Smyth is a performer who has proven (especially last month) that he has it in the ring. But there is a fine line which I feel has to be treaded warily.
            And so we have our fatal three-way later on tonight!
            Match 4: Marvel v Luke Santamaria
And Luke continues his war with the masked wrestlers of RCW. And, as usual, all of them come down to the ring with Marvel and cause distractions. However, for the early part of the match Luke fought them all off until one lot of interference too many saw Marvel lock Luke up in a nasty submission hold for the win. And, again, the referee was made to look like a moron. Del Taurino outside the ring took a punch at Luke in full view of the ref. Where was the DQ? Nope, Marvel gets the win mere seconds later.
            Some dissension in the masked ranks is teased as Plasma is left by himself after the win, and that after being fed to Grimm…
            We’re now into the second half of the show and it is announced that Vixsin could not make it, so there will be no women’s match. Savannah Summers and Miami come out to run down the absent Vixsin. That’ll come back to haunt them…
            Match 5: TJ Rush v Del Taurino
To his credit, TJ single-handedly got the crowd into the show. He got them pumped, interacted with them and made them feel they were a part of the show. And on the way he defeated Del Taurino, and knocked down the other two masked wrestlers. He hit the shooting star press on Taurino with ease and the roof blew off the building. The masked wrestlers have become genuinely hated as well, and in a good way. Not “I hate to watch them wrestle” but “I hate them and want to watch them get their arses kicked.”
            Match 6: Mimic v Fuzion
With this not the main event, my prediction is Fuzion wins the title, and then Voodoo (or maybe Fuzion’s protégé Smyth) wins the tournament. Let’s see. This match also lacked intensity. It was a fine match, but there was something about it that just felt like it lacked something, especially after the past two months of battles between the two. However, to my surprise, Mimic comes out with the win with the Sega Mega Driver. I think I know who is going to win the tournament then… let’s see if I’m right.
            Match 7: Strength ’09 Tournament Final: GD Grimm v Voodoo v Brad Smyth
This being the main event does give the tournament a little more prestige, but it needed even more “something”. And, I will say from the outset that the majority of this match was the sort of three-way I don’t really like – two guys fighting in the ring while the third is injured / skulking / avoiding pain. Compare to the three-way at last year’s Scarstruck between Grimm, Matthews and Mimic (is Scarstruck the three-way show?) where all three guys fought each other for the majority of the match. Anyway, despite this, it was actually a good match. Again, Smyth’s buffoonery did not quite fit in with the seriousness the other two brought, but when all is said and done, they all pulled out all stops and fought a good match. Grimm pulled out the win with a curbstomp on Voodoo. And, yes, I picked it…
            Now Mimic comes out the face his brother for the match that has been teased since Mimic became champ. Some choice words from Grimm and they start to trade blows until the entire roster rushes out to separate them. Commissioner Cruise makes the match between the two not for next month but for the month after, and says if they lay a hand on one another in the meantime they will be punished accordingly. This makes the next show a holding show in the title picture, but maybe some of the other storylines can be advanced a little more…
            Okay, a good show, but not a great show.
            By the way, to buy RCW DVDs (remember, they are region 4 so you’ll need a multi-region player outside of Australia), go to:
http://www.riotcitywrestling.com/dvds.html
            It is well worth it! Get the entire 2008 series. You won’t be disappointed… especially if you watch Raw or Smackdown or TNA.

And that’s the view…

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