The View From Down Here #53

I’ve been offline for a fair chunk of the weekend, so this will be short, sharp and shiny…

English Tour
Second match in the Ashes series!
(Played at Lords, the spiritual home of cricket)
England 1st innings – 425; Australia 1st innings – 215; England 2nd innings – 6(dec)/311; Australia 2nd innings 406
            England won by 115 runs
A match marred rather badly by some of the worst umpiring decisions. Now, I’m not complaining because I’m Australian and they all seemed to go against the Australians; the way the Aussies played this test (apart from one or two batsmen in the second innings and maybe Hauritz in the bowling), Australia did not deserve to win. But they also did not deserve to be done over by myopic umpires well past their retirement age. Paul Reiffel is the way umpires should be going – former international players who know exactly what is like out there and can actually relate to the pressure. And I cannot wait now for the referral system of disputing umpiring decisions (apart from the fact you know India are going to abuse it). We need more Reiffels and less doddery old farts.
            As to the match itself…
            England made the right decision not enforcing the follow-on; their bowlers were growing more and more weary and it would have allowed Australia to dominate and probably force a draw.
            England’s first win against Australia at lord’s for 75 years was a good result for them, placing the Australians behind the eight-ball for the rest of the series. England deserved this win. Their bowlers were clearly better and their batsmen did not seem to be faced with the same mental pressure as the Australians. England outplayed Australia. And with Ponting as captain, it is going to be tough for the Aussies to get back from here…

Australian Rules Football
AFL Round Sixteen
Essendon 11.4 (70) def by Western Bulldogs 15.13 (103)
            The Bulldogs are cementing their place near the top of the ladder, even though this win was not the most convincing one.
Carlton 19.10 (124) def Sydney 9.9 (63)
            Carlton are making their run too late, while Sydney have picked the wrong time of the year to go to sleep. Neither team is a threat for the premiership… although Carlton may look the goods next year.
Geelong 17.15 (117) def Melbourne 11.5 (71)
            They’re back. The last two weeks were a mental aberration, and now Geelong are showing why they are believed by most to be the only team capable of beating St Kilda in the Grand Final. But I fear it may be like the Cats of the 1990s, when they were in three Grand Finals without a win. A dynasty with nothing to show for it…
Collingwood 11.10 (76) def by Hawthorn 18.13 (121)
            The grand plan falls down here as Hawthorn are making a come back too late in the year. But the good thing is they beat Collingwood.
Fremantle 7.4 (47) def by Brisbane 9.8 (62)
            At least Fremantle went out there with more than one goal in mind…
Port Adelaide 17.10 (112) def West Coast 11.10 (76)
            Port’s yo-yo season continues with an emphatic win over the Eagles keeping them in touch with the top eight.
Richmond 12.13 (85) drew with North Melbourne 12.13 (85)
            Richmond let this one get away from them. They were forty-odd point ahead… and let North Melbourne back into it, and they get this. Great for North Melbourne, not good for Richmond.
St. Kilda 15.15 (105) def Adelaide 7.6 (48)
            An even contest for the first quarter, then St Kilda started playing like St Kilda and their unbeaten streak now stands at 16. They have become THE team to beat… but so were Geelong last year. Just saying.
SANFL Round Sixteen
Central Districts 12.14 (86) def Woodville-West Torrens 11.10 (76)
            Not a convincing win, not a convincing game, but the points are enough for Centrals to keep in touch with the top three, and the mental edge it gives them – just having a win over another good team – could prove more invaluable than anything.
North Adelaide 12.9 (81) def West Adelaide 7.9 (51)
            I can’t work out either of these two teams. They play well one week, like rubbish the next. And this game was not a good one to watch.
Glenelg 8.21 (69) def Port Adelaide 9.9 (63)
            Glenelg won, just. They could not kick straight. An opponent stronger than Port would have made them pay dearly. This is probably the jolt they need to power on, but they almost lost all their momentum of the past few weeks.
South Adelaide 14.8 (92) def by Sturt 14.16 9100)
            And Sturt are in the same boat. South – and this sounds like a broken record – pushed a top team to the edge, but just could not take that next step. For my comments on Sturt, see Glenelg above.
Bye: Norwood
            I get mail. For Stewey G of MN(?): He wants to know why I post the results of the SANFL and not the VFL, WAFL or QFL. Well there are two reasons – one, I live in South Australia, and so this is my local football, and two, in my opinion, the standard of football is better than the other state leagues in the SANFL. And I feel because of too many ridiculous rules in the AFL, the SANFL is actually a more enjoyable spectacle to watch on a purely football level. Yes, the athletes in the AFL – who get paid a shed-load more – are better athletically, and their skills may be of a slightly higher quality (but only slightly, as the number of mistakes is pretty standard across the board), but the way the game is played and umpired makes the SANFL more enjoyable to me as a fan of the game.

Finals – Preliminary Final
Magic 37 def by Thunderbirds 51
            Adelaide were emphatic in their away win against the Magic, as most people thought they would be. They had a mid-season blip, but, really, the whole year has been leading to this weekend’s Vixens-Thunderbirds grand final. Being in Melbourne, I expect the Vixens to come out triumphant, but they underestimate the T-Birds at their peril. It will be a damn fine game and if you get the chance to watch it next weekend, I encourage you to do so.
            Netball is a hell of a lot more exciting than basketball, faster and maybe a little simpler to follow. It is the most commonly played sport by adult women in Australia and is one of the top five sports played by all Australians (I played in a mixed team for a few seasons). If you’ve never seen it before, I hope the grand final coming up will be a good introduction to what is a superb sport.

Rugby League
State Of Origin
Game Three
Queensland 16 def by New South Wales 28
            New South Wales avoided being swept clean, but this match is going to go down in history for an on-field altercation which left Queenslander Steve Price being carried off the field. People are baying for blood – particularly in the media – and have demanded Brett White’s head. But they are wrong. It actually showed some passion, which has been sorely missing from the game on the field for so long. Off the field… let’s not go there. And I guarantee those same media types calling for blood will be using footage of the fight to promote next year’s series. Hypocritical morons.
NRL Round 19
Brisbane 12 hammered by South Sydney 44
            Yes, that ‘other’ South Sydney turned up and defeated Brisbane in Brisbane for the first time in twenty years.
            However the big news was the referee being knocked out by an errant knee after being accidentally knocked down by another player. The players should not be punished for this as it was all an accident, but because refs and umpires are sacrosanct the poor guys will be made to pay for a referee being out of position. If you can find it on YouTube, though, it certainly looked nasty.
Bulldogs 23 def Gold Coast 16
            Second match of a Queensland double header… the Queenslanders lost Origin 3 and these two matches. Not a good week for them.
Penrith 27 def Canberra 14
            The Raiders are really gone…
Cronulla 26 def by Manly 32
            Good game.
Sydney Roosters 24 def by Warriors 30
            The big news happened off-field after the match when Roosters’ coach Brad Fittler found out through the media that some-one else (Newcastle’s Smith) would be coach next year. Fittler is one of the Rooster’s ‘favourite sons’, especially as a player, and this has left him with such a sour taste he has ruled out any role with his former club beyond this year. And then clubs cry foul when players run off to the big money in international rugby. You want loyalty, you give loyalty. Hypocrites.
Wests Tigers 34 def North Queensland 14
Parramatta 18 def Melbourne 16
            Quite a fun match, with Parramatta withstanding a late Melbourne onslaught to eke out the win.

Rugby Union
This also doubled as the first Bledisloe Cup match of the year. This is the greatest sporting rivalry with another country in Australia outside of the Ashes cricket – Australia v New Zealand in Rugby Union.
New Zealand 22 def Australia 16
            A game of two halves, with Australia up at half time, and the All-Blacks overwhelming them in the second. New Zealand certainly look the goods. But this was also a great game of rugby.


Sporting Morons
Yes! Finally! After two months I can say this:
            NO-ONE NEW THIS WEEK!
Tally: 32

And that’s the view!

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