THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #60

Another week, another view, with cricket, finals, netball and wrestling dominating my life. Okay, I know this means I have no life, but bear with me because this week has been a good one for the sports nut.

Cricket
Third One-Day International
England 9/228; Australia 4/230 (48.3 overs) – Australia won by 6 wickets
            A convincing win in the end for the Aussies, but with a few players returning, the stability the side has enjoyed may well be gone. Some of the better players look like being dropped to make way for old campaigners who have had a break. And this is what is fundamentally wrong with the Australian cricket team and has been for a while – it is harder to get out of than get in. Once you’ve been there for a while and are from New South Wales (or suck up to New South Wales well enough), then you have a job for life. So some of the good youngsters who have played Australia to three victories in a row may well be dropped because they are new and young. I hope this is not the case, but all indications are it is.
Fourth One-Day International
England 220 (46.3 overs); Australia 4/230 – Australia won by 7 wickets
            Brett Lee returned and won the match with 5 wickets and unsettling pace. Simple. He was the difference between the two sides, and it is clear Australia missed his all-out pace attack in the test series after watching this match. While erratic at times, his sheer intimidation factor could well have been the difference between the two sides.

Australian Rules Football
AFL Finals Week Two
All matches from now on are do-or-die. It’s getting tense and with any of the six remaining teams potentially able to win the flag, it now looks to be a close race…
Semi-Final One
Collingwood Adelaide
            Adelaide had it. They were 32 points up and had it. Then Collingwood came back and Adelaide… lost it. Sure, the umpiring was a little dubious, but that did not really affect the ending. It was Adelaide’s lack of finish. They have the potential in their players to be a force in the next two years; what they need to do now is find the mental strength. Collingwood, on the other hand, deserved a hard-fought win but I don’t think they’ll get through next weekend and Geelong.
Semi-Final Two
Western Bulldogs 16.11 (107) def Brisbane 8.8 (56)
            And insipid performance from Brisbane but a good one from the Bulldogs in windy conditions made this an intriguing final. Not for the result – foregone after the first quarter, although the Adelaide/Collingwood game proves that that is not always the case – but in watching how well the Bulldogs came back after last week’s loss. They could give St Kilda a real scare next week.
SANFL Finals Week One
Elimination Final
North Adelaide 14.7 (91) def by Woodville-West Torrens 15.12 (102)
            Really, this final means nothing as neither of these teams have a hope of taking it all out. The flag is up for grabs amongst the other three finalists, with these two making up the numbers. Having said that, this was quite a good game to watch.
Qualifying Final
Sturt 10.9 (69) def by Central Districts 11.9 (75)
            Even at three quarter time, a goal in it – is it any wonder these two teams are fighting it out for the premiership? Centrals got the win – just – in a tight, hard-fought, entertaining game. Sturt looked down after the match, but I am sure they will bounce back next week when they face Woodville-West Torrens.

Netball
Test Series
Test One

Australia 50 def by New Zealand 53
            Australia tried hard, but they looked a little lost and did not seem to be able to go in for the kill. Of course, New Zealand and Australia are the two best netballing teams in the world, so it is always going to be a challenge between them when they get together. But Australia had a lot of missed opportunities and they looked almost jaded after their loss to the world team.
Test Two
Australia 48 def New Zealand 44
            The turnaround in attitude from the Australians was amazing and it comes down to one woman – Natalie von Bertouch, still my choice for Australian sportswoman of the year in 2009. Her mere presence was enough to give the Australians stability and lifted them to a great victory. And what was with New Zealand? The calm confidence of the first test was replaced by errors. Strange.
Test Three
Australia 36 def New Zealand 33
            Now this was the game that they all should have been. Close all the way through until the last quarter when Australia sneaked ahead. A simply brilliant game that had those watching on the edge of their seats. Low-scoring, but that was down to the defensive work of both teams going into overdrive.

Soccer
A-League – Round Six
Adelaide 1 def Central Coast 0
            Adelaide were lucky to get the win in a somewhat dour affair.
Newcastle 0 def by Brisbane 3
Sydney 0 def by North Queensland 1
Melbourne 1 drew with Wellington 1
Perth 2 drew with Gold Coast 2

Rugby League
Finals Week One
Qualifying Finals

Melbourne 40 def Manly 12
            A reversal of the result of last year’s grand final, with Melbourne gaining a measure of revenge in emphatic fashion.
Brisbane def Gold Coast 40-32
            This match was marred by some quite frankly odd refereeing decisions.
Sydney Bulldogs 26 def Newcastle 12
St George Illawarra 12 def by Parramatta 25
            Huge upset, with the minor premiers going down and missing the much-needed week off.
            So Newcastle and Manly have been eliminated from the finals race, and the Bulldogs and Melbourne get the week off.

Rugby Union
Tri-Nations
South Africa 32 def New Zealand 29
            South Africa have come back amazingly well from their shock loss to Australia, but New Zealand have come out of this game with a serious injury to their winger, putting him out oif the final match against a rejuvenated Australia.

Sporting Morons
Brendan Fevola (Carlton, AFL): Caught and photographed wielding a large ‘sex toy’ after a drinking session with team-mates.
Nikita Beriman (horse racing): Suspended for 2 months after fighting with another female rider after a race meet.
East Geelong Football Club (football, Victoria): An unknown man killed a club member, but the rest of the club partied on while attempts were made to revive him. We’ll call the club one big moron and wait to see who, if anyone, is charged and convicted of the killing.
Tally: 58

Professional Wrestling
Riot City Wrestling – Ascension 4
This is the show that has been anticipated by fans of the promotion for a while – the hardcore death match between Grimm and Mimic for the title. And the show? Well, some overview first. The crowd was huge. A sell-out. People were turned away at the door. Pre-sold tickets made up over a third of the seating. And they were loud and into it (even if the moron in front of me continually shouting inane comments he and his equally stupid mates thought were funny grated a bit). Next – it was a long show. Started at 8, finished at 11:30… but felt like it was about an hour and a half shorter. The first half dragged a little, but the second half flew by. Two matches in the second half and… well, we’ll get to them later.
(1) Del Taurino v Brett Reynolds
            Del Taurino came out with his masked cohorts Plasma and Marvel while Reynolds came out with his Hang Time partner Brodie Archer. Good opener with the rookie Reynolds looking smooth in the ring. And, to cap it off, he scored the upset pin! While the masked men blamed Plasma for the loss, Hang Time were flying high.
            Mimic came out to cut a promo, and called out Savannah Summers, his girlfriend, after her actions against Miami. She hit him with a low-blow, thus finishing the heel turn… and angering Mimic even more. Miami came out, challenged Savannah, and was refused.
(2) Luke Santamaria v Jacko Lantern
            This match started off as being played for laughs which came up every so often during the match. Loose action, with loose shots and a lack of hard-hitting, which would be accentuated throughout the rest of the night with every other match looking harder. Jacko won after the mist blinded Luke. Now, this also irks me – the misting was done in full view of the ref, but no DQ? What, is this now a legal move? Lack of sense there in the finish as well.
(3) Fuzion v Brodie Archer
            And again Hang Time came out together while Fuzion’s running mate Brad Smyth sat in on commentary. And again the rookie impressed, hitting his moves well and taking Fuzion’s punishment. Funny bit as an audience member came out dressed as a gorilla with ‘Fuzion’s mum’ on a t-shirt. Fuzion’s angry reactions were perfect within character, especially when the head was ripped off. The ending came when it looked like Archer had the pin, but Brad came down and argued that Fuzion’s foot was on the ropes, so the ref restarted the match and Fuzion got the pin, then put the hurts on Brodie a bit more. This was important for the next match.
(4) Savannah Summers v Shazza McKenzie
            Shazza’s first time in RCW, coming from interstate, but with Savannah going heel (and screaming a lot because of it… why? She’d do so much better as the cocky ‘I don’t understand why you hate me’ style heel), was the defacto face. And then Miami came out to lend support. By the way, this match then had three of the most attractive female wrestlers in Australia in or near the ring at once. Like most interstaters when they first come to RCW, Shazza’s offence looked a little soft-hitting; Savannah, on the other hand, was as hard-hitting as ever and looked even better for it. Shazza’s technical prowess however was better than many females we’ve seen from across the borders. The end came with Savannah getting the pin but holding onto the ropes. When Miami complained, she was ignored. Why, when Brad was believed? And again, that logical leap between two matches did not make sense. However, post-match, Savannah accepted Miami’s challenge and next month, it’s on.
            Brad Smyth came out for a promo, and TJ Rush answered, and the next match was on.
(5) Brad Smyth v TJ Rush
            This is the first in a best-of-three series for the “key to the city”; think money in the bank – guaranteed title shot whenever, wherever. Now, in any other show, this would have been match of the night, but not this show. The high flying moves, technical wrestling and the story being told were all fantastic. And so it was a great match to start the series, with the win coming for Smyth after Fuzion interfered on his partner’s behalf.
Intermission… and we all needed it after that first half.
(6) Voodoo v Marvel
            Again, on any other show, this match would have been the stand-out, but… With Marvel’s technical abilities and Voodoo’s high-flying, this was potentially a clash of styles, but they meshed well. The submission moves Marvel used were well-countered by Voodoo’s agility. The masked men were ejected from ring-side, leaving this one-on-one. The two of them fought well. They even had a Mexican stand-off portion where they hit each with move after move at the same time, which was stunning. (Unfortunately, the moron in front of me didn’t get it; I think it wasn’t WWE enough for him.) Marvel finally got the tap-out win, which means he has now had an impressive string of victories, and should be in line for some sort of title shot.
            And now the match that this show had been hyped and built on.
(7) GD Grimm v Mimic – RCW Championship match, Hardcore match.
            This was the make or break match for the show. And… it made it. Holy crap, did it ever. The hardcore elements were not a constant (and hence not over-used), with both men preferring to wrestle and brawl, but when they were used they were used well, with minimal set-up and yet keeping the story of the match flowing. They had the entire 300-strong crowd in the palm of their hands for 50 minutes (which really felt like barely 20). They fought and from the first chair shot – which broke the steel chair, literally – the crowd knew this was going to be intense. German superplex through a table, moves hit through set up chairs, trash can shots (followed by some panel-beating, then another shot – nice touch), chops that echoed in the hall, it was all intense, but the powerbomb from the stage through a table with a ring of people all around was stunning and, quite rightly, signalled the end of the match. The bleeding added to it; there has not been blood at an RCW show for a long time, so it felt like it was something special and important. The end came when Grimm carried his brother to the ring after the powerbomb; there he handcuffed Mimic, then used his belt to curb stomp him into oblivion, retaining the title. But, holy cow, what a match. Ladies and gentlemen – your match of the year.
            What a night…
            The last two matches alone will be well worth the price of the DVD when that becomes available next year. A great night out, and 300 other Adelaideans will agree.

 

And that’s this week’s view.

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