I swear it’s a brief one this week as not much has happened. I mean it. No honestly.
            All right, you know that’s not gonna happen.

Australian Rules Football
AFL Round 9
            And another round where every tipster in Australia was pulling their hair out and going “WTF”?
Collingwood 6.14 (50) def by Geelong 12.14 (86)
            Even at the start, but Geelong kicked 8 unanswered goals at the end – the Maggies scored no goals in the final quarter – to let the world know they are back in business. Some one recently asked me about Geelong – if Collingwood are the team the AFL is trying to give the flag to, what about Geelong? Well, the AFL have given the new franchises virtual carte blanche to sign away any player they feel like, and Geelong’s Gary Ablett Jr is widely touted to head the wish list. This was supposed to sow the seeds of dissension in Geelong ranks, making them easy pickings for Collingwood.
            Well, it failed. And Collingwood have been exposed this week. It will be interesting to see what strategies the AFL puts in place now to ensure Collingwood win the flag.
North Melbourne 7.15 (57) absolutely creamed by Western Bulldogs 20.7 (127)
            North Melbourne tried to intimidate the Bulldogs into submission, including a 3-on-1 gang up on Barry Hall (which got Hall reported by the umpires? Really?), but to no avail. The Doggies ran away easy winners.
Sydney 9.9. (63) def by Fremantle 14.16 (100)
            So last week was enough for Fremantle to learn from? Wow, they are a different team this year! And Sydney looked like an old team, losing at home to the fairy tale team of 2010.
Essendon 19.16 (130) def Richmond 14.11 (95)
            Some things, though, look like they are going to be constants this year, and Richmond losing is one of them. Don’t let the score fool you – this was not a pretty game.
Melbourne 17.9 (111) def Port Adelaide 16.14 (110)
            Played in Darwin in the tropical weather, Melbourne had this sewn up at three quarter time, leading by 6 goals, but in one of the greatest comebacks ever Port almost snatched it. This showed 2 things – Melbourne are definitely not the loser team everyone assumed they were going to be, and Port have shaken off the choker tag this year. The game was mediocre until the last quarter, and then it got intense.
Adelaide 13.15 (93) def Brisbane 11.15 (81)
            Another upset, as Adelaide seem to be finding some of the form most assumed they would have all season. Maybe having three players internally castigated for doing something stupid by the leadership group has made the actual players take some responsibility for their actions, but whatever it was, Adelaide suddenly played like a strong team.
Carlton 8.12 (60) def by Hawthorn 16.14 (110)
            Another game, another upset. Hawthorn have decided to play like yo-yos, up one week, down the next. And it’s random, too. Weird game. Neither team started off well, and Carlton just did not seem to be in the game mentally.
West Coast 8.8 (56) def by St Kilda 13.13 (91)
            First half was close… and then the Saints went up a gear and ran away with an easy win. They looked like they have started to play themselves back into a little bit of form with this easy win against a team struggling this year.
SANFL Round 9
Sturt 10.15 (75) def by Port Adelaide 14.10 (94)
            What? Port win their second game against a legitimate finals contender? What is going on here? Sturt started as though they thought they were going to win, and then they were forced to play catch up football for the rest of the game, and Port, to their credit, held on.
South Adelaide 11.8 (74) def by Glenelg 18.12 (121)
            No such luck for South though, as Glenelg hammered them comfortably. Being a supporter sometimes seems like it just is not worth it.
North Adelaide 13.14 (92) def West Adelaide 9.9 (63)
            And North Adelaide are also playing the yo-yo game with everyone, being on quite the “up” this week, defeating Westies well.
Central Districts 19.6 (120) def Woodville-West Torrens 14.8 (92)
            Well, I guess this says it all. The Eagles have now lost two in a row and Centrals are winning with ease and confidence. They’re back… and a continuation of the Decade of Dominance could well be at hand.
Bye: Norwood

Rugby Union
Super 14 Semi Finals
            Interesting to note that the home teams have won the finals in every case since, I believe, 2002. This certainly gives another meaning to the concept of a home town advantage.
Bulls 39 def Crusaders 24
            Good game! I saw this one and enjoyed it immensely. This would have been a worthy grand final.
Stormers 25 def Waratahs 6
            And the last Australian team goes out with quite the whimper.
            That leaves two South African teams for the grand final.

ANZ Championships – Round 10
Pulse 45 def Tactix 43
            The first win of the season for the Pulse, and it was a tight one, with Tactix throwing everything at them at the end but just not able to reel them in. Good stuff.
Thunderbirds 53 def Firebirds 51
            They’ve met 7 times over the years, and the Thunderbirds have won every single time. The Firebirds threw all they had at Adelaide, but just could not do enough to win. And so the Thunderbirds look like they’ve consolidated a top four spot for the moment.
Steel 52 def WBOP Magic 47
Fever 52 def by Swifts 61
            The Swifts led for the entire match and kept their noses in front the whole while. Fever just could not match or catch them. Comfortable win for the New South Welsh team.
Bye: Mystics; Vixens

Rugby League
NRL Round 11
            Another abbreviated round with the first state of origin clash coming up on Wednesday night.
            I will go into State of Origin rugby next week as part of the score overview, but as a precursor, it is often the finest rugby seen anywhere on the planet. Forget tests and world cups – New South Wales against Queensland brings out the best of the game.
Newcastle 6 def by Wests Tigers 23
            First Tigers win since April, and they did it in fine fashion with some great running and fierce tackling.
Parramatta 18 def by Cronulla 22
            Something of an upset, but it seems the Eels just cannot beat Cronulla, no matter what they do. And yet Ricky Stuart has now quit as Cronulla coach with a year left on his contract. He said he was doing it for himself, and well done for putting himself first, but he should not be the one falling on his sword – there are administrators and players who share far more of the blame in the club being where it is than the coach.
Warriors 26 def South Sydney 24
            Close game all day. They were at each other the whole time. But it may be something of a Pyrrhic victory for the Warriors with some injury concerns.
St George Illawarra 14 def by Canberra 22
            Huge upset as the competition leaders were beaten by a team not even in the top 8!
Penrith 31 def Canterbury-Bankstown 16
            Good game from these two, but Penrith jumped away at the end of the first half and the Bulldogs were struggling to catch them all night after that.

Australian Vic Darchinyan won the vacant IBO bantamweight title, defeating Eric Barcelona from the Philippines with a unanimous points decision. He is apparently the first boxer to win three IBO world titles in three different weight divisions, having already won the flyweight and superflyweight belts.
            So yet another adopted Australian lays claim to yet another boxing world title (mind you, there seem to be as many weight divisions and world titles and organisations in boxing as there are dollars in the US national debt). Sorry. Another adopted Aussie wins a boxing crown. There must be something in that, but buggered if I can work out what it is.
            And so I say, well done to that man. Another Australian defeating everyone else. Bravo!

Byron Nelson Championship
            Australian Jason Day has won this US PGA tour tournament, the youngest Australian to win on the PGA Tour (he’s 22).
            And that’s all I have.
            I had never heard of him before this. But it seems he was signed to the tour 2 years ago, got a heap of juicy sponsorship deals and just lived the high life instead of setting the world on fire with his golfing prowess. (Who said John Daly was not a role model?) Well, now he’s won so the Australian media will be demanding that he win everything now or they will turn on him like a rabid wolverine.
            It’s like the tale of the youngster who beats the old gunslinger, so that every punk who wants to be a hero faces him. (Thank-you ‘Blazing Saddles’ for the analogy). And before some kid shoots him in the arse, I’d like to say well done to that young man.
            And good luck in the future. With the Australian media, you’re gonna need it.

Asian Champions League
(Yes, I know, a week late – I forgot last week. And with the European Cup thing going on, soccer actually didn’t slip my mind this week.)
Adelaide United 2 def by Jeonbuk Motors 3
            They were bundled out in front of a large home crowd after putting up a good fight. But the South Korean team scored a header with just moments to go before it was due to go to a penalty shoot out. Hopefully this augurs well for an Adelaide resurgence in next season’s A-League, especially after the dismal showing this past season. And that’s that for soccer for a while…
            A thing called the World Cup?
            Look, I am not a fan of soccer – it’s like McDonalds, as I’ve said before; it’s everywhere, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. So I shall leave the World Cup pre-analysis to people who know and enjoy the sport, and shall give the Australian results (at least for the first round) and maybe the New Zealand results. This is not the place to come for detailed and in-depth World Cup writing.

Lance Armstrong v Floyd Landis
            Look, I’ve met the guy and he seems a very genuine sort of guy. I have no doubt that after his cancer he took something, but for Floyd Landis to say that he is on the juice and then fail to back it up, especially after Armstrong apparently put himself through so much testing is rather poor form. Armstrong was a freak, the likes of which we may never see again, but to try to tarnish him because you got caught out…
            On the other hand, I am never going to say never when it comes to elite sportsmen. When I was studying sport science we were given the results of a sociological study. Respondents (US college athletes) were told that they could take a drug that would guarantee them a gold medal, completely undetectable. Downside – they’d be dead in 2 years. You know what? 80-something percent said they’d take it, and a further percentage said they might. The modern society’s values of win at all costs is driving athletes to do more and more stupid things with their bodies so we couch potatoes can watch and admire.
            And you know what? The athletes and their success is doing more harm than good. Because the focus is on almost purely winning, those who do not have the bodies to match or the ability to be at the top level see themselves (and are perceived by the media) as losers, so they quit and never do anything. This then influences their children and those they come into contact with. So physical fitness levels drop because no one is participating in sport because the media and winning have made simple participation a bad thing.
            People are told if they don’t win they are useless. And get told something like that often enough you believe them. Christ, I’m guilty of it here, putting teams that lose down. But when it comes to the individuals, only those who seem to have the expectation of always winning do I try to put down. Arrogance is not a good thing.
            So if he has taken drugs, it is because of the stupidly high expectations of always being the winner. In Australia we cherish our cyclists in the Tour de France. None have ever won, but we still think they’re great. Until one wins. And then they’ll all have to win.
            But, hey that’s the way of the world. Win at all costs. In sport, in politics, in business. And hasn’t that made the world such a wonderful place in recent years?

All right, not that brief, but shorter than last week!
            Oh, and based on the lack of response, after #100 I shall be changing the format of this because I need a change. Unless some one convinces me not to.

And that’s the View – May 18 through 24.

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