THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #94

It’s been another weekend of too much sport, too little sleep and some great match-ups… and some real duds as well. But before we go into that, a word of warning – if you see an Australian TV mini-series called ‘The Legend Of Billy Sing‘ advertised, avoid it. Billy Sing was a Chinese Australian sniper in World War One who did some amazing stuff, rightly considered a war hero. Well, there’s a mini-series about him… starring a Caucasian as the titular figure… and he’s the son of the director. Yep, a Chinese-Australian played by the white son of the white director. Don’t give this rubbish any consideration. Let it die.
            Rant over.
            Sport time!

Australian Rules Football
AFL Round 7
Melbourne 9.12 (66) def by Western Bulldogs 10.10 (70)
            Melbourne were game and tried hard and almost had it, but the Bulldogs eked out a win. While Melbourne will be pleased with their effort, even though losing, the Bulldogs would worry about how difficult the win was. Melbourne really are travelling above expectations this year.
Essendon 16.10 (106) def by Port Adelaide 17.7 (109)
            Three points! Last year, Port would have crumbled under the pressure, but this year they held on and managed an astonishing away win. Port Adelaide, much like Melbourne, are hitting above expectation. Essendon are rebuilding and their young team showed a lot of fight and as the year goes on and they get more experience they will be hard to beat.
West Coast 15.12 (102) def Hawthorn 14.10 (94)
            West Coast won at home against a Hawthorn team that looks lost out there on the paddock. Yes, West Coast won, but it was not convincing.
Collingwood 23.19 (157) hammered North Melbourne 14.7 (91)
            Collingwood showed a deal of class out there in this game, but North Melbourne showed their recent wins may gave been more fluke than anything else. Collingwood have moved to the top of the table with this win, and (as much as I hate to say it) deservedly so. And they will probably stay near the top with the AFL’s favourable draw for them.
Brisbane 15.10 (100) def by Fremantle 15.23 (113)
            Fremantle won in Brisbane for the first time ever, stretching back 15 years. Yes, Brisbane were without several key players through injury, and yes they did mount a stirring last quarter fight back, but the fact is Fremantle won and if they had kicked straight would have won by a hell of a lot more. Freo are now second on the ladder and the Lions’ up and down season has gone down again.
Geelong 19.12 (126) embarrassed Sydney 9.5 (59)
            Well, it seems Geelong did play themselves into some form last week, and that Sydney’s recent run of great matches has come to a sudden and gut-wrenching halt. It was like two different teams from a fortnight ago on the field in this match and Sydney did not even make a real game of it. After such a great start this was very disappointing for the Swans while Geelong are showing once more some of the form that took them to a couple of recent premierships.
Adelaide 15.14 (104) def Richmond 7.12 (54)
            The battle of the wooden spoon was a turgid, disappointing, horrid affair. Neither team looked any good for the first three quarters, both almost playing to lose. However, in the final quarter something happened and Adelaide suddenly began to play football again, and Richmond… didn’t. It was not a great game and Adelaide did not play fantastically, but they won and Richmond lost, and Richmond I cannot see winning anything for the rest of the year. Are there still priority draft picks now that we have new teams joining? If not, then Richmond are doing all this for nought.
            (Priority picks are given in the draft at the end of the season to those teams that do spectacularly badly, winning a stupidly low amount of games. But with draft concessions given to the two new teams, priority picks may mean nothing and the teams get no advantage for being total losers…)
St Kilda 9.14 (68) def by Carlton 20.9 (129)
            This is St Kilda, the team so many experts had as winning the flag in 2010? And Carlton, an also-ran team? This competition is proving that, apart from Richmond and probably Adelaide, anyone can win on their day, and this result in what was a dull game really, just reinforces that.
SANFL Round 7
Norwood 16.13 (109) def Glenelg 6.6 (42)
            All right, joke’s over. Who took the Norwood from the start of the year and replaced them with a team that can actually play? Glenelg were tipped by many to be premiership contenders but they looked anything but against a hungry Redlegs side. Norwood’s stunning form turnaround has been amazing, and makes for another interesting cog to be thrown in for the year.
Port Adelaide 12.12 (84) def by Central Districts 22.10 (142)
            Back to reality with a thud for the Magpies as Centrals show that their form from last week was not a one-off, but they are back and back in force.
South Adelaide 9.6 (60) def by West Adelaide 12.15 (87)
            Well, last week was clearly indicative that South Adelaide have not only fallen back into their bad habits, but are going to play them to the hilt. This was an ugly game and Westies did enough to win in an unconvincing game that did nothing for either team.
Woodville-West Torrens 18.6 (114) def North Adelaide 5.17 (47)
            The Eagles still keep going on their merry way, winning and keeping a low profile. North Adelaide – who were embarrassed by Centrals last week – were made to look ordinary yet again. It seems that the predictions of North struggling this year are starting to come to fruition.
Bye: Sturt

Cricket
International
Twenty20 World Cup

7th Match, Group B: Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe
Sri Lanka 7/173 (20 overs); Zimbabwe 1/29 (5 overs) – Sri Lanka won by 14 runs (D/L method)
            Rain, so shortened form of the shortened form of the shortened form of the game. Ridiculous to have a twenty over game shortened even further; what hope did Zimbabwe have?
8th Match, Group D: West Indies v England
England 5/191 (20 overs); West Indies 2/60 (5.5 overs) – West Indies won by 8 wickets (D/L method)
            And again. One ball remaining as well, so it was a good, close match, but it’s hardly worth padding up for 6 overs, is it?
9th Match, Group B: New Zealand v Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe 84 (15.1 overs); New Zealand 1/36 (8.1 overs) – New Zealand won by 7 runs (D/L method)
            Yep, despite bowling Zimbabwe out for a paltry score, they had to use Duckworth-Lewis again! Insane! Maybe the solution is simple – stop playing tournaments in places and at times where it rains! Australia in winter – it rains. West indies in wet season – it rains!
10th Match, Group D: England v Ireland
England 8/120 (20 overs); Ireland 1/14 (3.3 overs) – No result
            And so it rains so much this time even Duckworth-Lewis can’t save the ay. And shame, because not only did Ireland look like doing something really good, but England looked like doing something really bad.
11th Match, Group A: Australia v Bangladesh
Australia 7/141 (20 overs); Bangladesh 114 (18.4 overs) – Australia won by 27 runs
            Australia’s fine form with the bat continues with a convincing win over Bangladesh. The score was just too large for the Bangladeshis to chase and they lost wickets too regularly, forced by a sense of panic.
12th Match, Group C: Afghanistan v South Africa
South Africa 7/139 (20 overs); Afghanistan 80 (16 overs) – South Africa won by 59 runs
            This wasn’t a win, it was a massacre. Poor Afghanistan. They are so out of place in this tournament that it’s not even pleasant to watch them flounder out there.
Now we hit the first of the “super” rounds, where the top two teams from each group now play one another.
            The standard should, logically, step up from here on in.
13th Match, Group E: England v Pakistan
Pakistan 9/147 (20 overs); England 4/151 (19.3 overs) – England won by 6 wickets
            And straight away the high scoring and fine bowling from both teams is a huge improvement. Both these teams have not been convincing all tournament, however, and both were lucky to face one another at this stage.
14th Match, Group E: New Zealand v South Africa
South Africa 4/170 (20 overs); New Zealand 7/157 (20 overs) – South Africa won by 13 runs
            This game would have been closer, I would have thought. But South Africa played very well and new Zealand just could not match them.
15th Match, Group F: Australia v India
Australia 5/184 (20 overs); India 135 (17.4 overs) – Australia won by 49 runs
            India were defeated by a lot more than they should have been. But look at that score from the Australians! That intimidation factor alone is probably what defeated India. But that is a huge score from 20 overs.
16th Match, Group F: West Indies v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 3/195 (20 overs); West Indies 8/138 (20 overs) – Sri Lanka won by 57 runs
            And as if to say that anything Australia can do Sri Lanka can do better, this score was phenomenal… and with the loss of just three wickets. Poor West Indies did not stand a chance. The Sri Lanka/Australia showdown is now greatly relished by everyone!
17th Match, Group E: New Zealand v Pakistan
New Zealand 7/133 (20 overs); Pakistan 7/132 (20 overs) – New Zealand won by 1 run
            Two good matches for Pakistan, two losses. And good to see New Zealand bouncing back from their loss as well.
18th Match, Group E: England v South Africa
England 7/168 (20 overs); South Africa 129 (19 overs) – England won by 39 runs
            After such a good win over New Zealand, South Africa seemed to fall in a heap against inconsistent England.
19th Match, Group F: West Indies v India
West Indies 6/169 (20 overs); India 9/155 (20 overs) – West Indies won by 14 runs
            It’s like getting thumped by Australia has shattered the confidence of the Indians. They should be playing better than this and need to get their heads on straight to live up to their potential. Some are blaming the long IPL season for their current woes, but the captain’s having none of it. Instead he offers “no idea” as an explanation.
20th Match, Group F: Australia v Sri Lanka
Australia 5/168 (20 overs); Sri Lanka 87 (16.2 overs) – Australia won by 81 runs
            The match everyone was waiting for turned into a complete fizzer, almost a farce of a game. Sri Lanka are so much better than this, but played like they did not know what was going on out there. Australia, on the other hand, were 5/67 and recovered incredibly well. If some-one fails it seems there is always some-one else to cover for them. A good team effort in the tournament thus far.

Rugby League
International
Australia 12 def New Zealand 8
            Not a great game, but for the first international hit-out for both teams in a little while it did its job.
NRL – Round 9
            Due to the International game, this is the first of many shortened rounds to come as representative rugby takes centre stage. But other news this week is that two of Parramatta’s star players have signed to play for the New Zealand Warriors come 2011. This is a huge coup and an enormous blow to the Eels. And it also shows what a marked difference there is in recruiting philosophy between rugby and Aussie rules. In Aussie Rules, this is illegal, as no players can be recruited mid-season from another club. Well, in the NRL it appears to be open slather… and look where that got Melbourne. Just saying…
Manly 24 def St George Illawarra 6
            St George looked anything but the competition leaders as Manly humbled them all match.
Newcastle 36 def by Gold Coast 38
            This was a battle of the tries and the Titans just managed to keep the Knights from stealing it, but this was a game that is a great advertisement for the sport. Hunt down a replay if you can.
Melbourne 14 def by Brisbane 36
            Melbourne’s brand new stadium was christened with this match, and it was supposed to be the homecoming to make the fans forget about the past two weeks of absolute crap, but some-one forgot to tell Brisbane as they made Melbourne look second-rate. Mind you, nice arena.
Sydney Roosters 14 def by North Queensland 32
            15th on the ladder defeated 7th. If that doesn’t show how even this competition is, then nothing will. North Queensland, though, really did dominate the entire game, leading by 8 at the half, and then cruising to a comfortable win.

Rugby Union
Super 14 Round 13
            I was asked why I don’t put commentary in for these matches. Simple, really – I don’t get to see them. They are not shown in Adelaide without paying some private company an exorbitant amount of money. Yes, I know you have to pay to see the cricket as well, but only if you don’t have a decent internet connection. So sorry, people. At least you get the results.
Hurricanes 44 hammered Reds 21
Bulls 40 def Crusaders 35
Chiefs 19 hurt by Waratahs 46
Brumbies 31 embarrassed Highlanders 3
Lions 14 slaughtered by Blues 56
Cheetahs 29 def Force 14
Sharks 20 def Stormers 14

Netball
ANZ Championships – Round 8
WBOP Magic 56 def Pulse 44
            Rough match. Not a good spectacle, but hard fought all the way by both teams.
Swifts 60 def Thunderbirds 44
            The Swifts remain unbeaten after easily running over Adelaide. The Thunderbirds had no answer and their determination to win from the past month seemed to desert them. At this point, the Swifts look like the ones to beat this year.
Steel 49 def by Mystics 52
            The difference was the shooting of the Mystics forwards in what was quite an intense, good game.
Vixens 53 def by Fever 56
            Last year’s champions just cannot seem to take it up that next step this year, with the Vixens going down again.
Bye: Tactix, Firebirds

Motorsport
Formula One
Mark Webber won the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix. He’s Australian, so, after receiving a vaguely threatening e-mail, I have posted the result here.

Tennis
Davis Cup
Australia v Japan
A convincing performance from Australia has given them a shot at entering the World Group in Davis Cup for the first time since 2007. Lleyton Hewitt whinged his way back to Australia from Europe for the tie, but apparently was so happy with the way he played he even played in the dead rubber on the final day, something he has hardly ever done in Davis Cup.
Lleyton Hewitt def Tatsuma Ito 6-3 6-3 6-2
Carsten Ball def Yuichi Sugita 6-3 6-4 6-4
            Nice debut from the youngster, who didn’t let the big stage upset him.
Lleyton Hewitt / Paul Hanley def Go Soeda / Takao Suzuki 7-5 6-4 6-0
Lleyton Hewitt def Yuichi Sugita 7-5 6-2
Carsten Ball def Tatsuma Ito 6-3 7-6 (9-7)

That’s another one down. And still no suggestions regarding the column. However, I did receive a nice e-mail from Johnno, “Thank-you for NOT putting the Logie results in your column.” He then went on to abuse Australian television in general, and I found it quite hard to disagree with him, so thanks again, Johnno. Love to know what he thinks of the Billy Sing debacle. At least some-one reads me.
            So, please, let me know what to do.

And that’s the View – May 4 through May 10.

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