THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #97 – State of Origin

A new view with a rant about the Thunderbirds and some State of Origin history. It’s another long-ish one, so grab a cold beer, sit down in front of the computer with a snag sanger and enjoy to your heart’s content.

Australian Rules Football
AFL Round 10
            And the “WTF” results continue for another week…
Essendon 15.9 (99) def Western Bulldogs 14.6 (90)
            First of the upsets. The Bulldogs looked out of sorts and sluggish while Essendon played as if there was everything on the line in this one. The final result did flatter the Bulldogs somewhat, but Essendon played very well for this important win.
Geelong 18.13 (121) def Melbourne 10/7 (67)
            This one went according to the script. Geelong barely got out of second gear as they ran rampant over the Demons. Geelong are back, ladies and gentlemen. That’s all you need to know.
Port Adelaide 3.12 (30) embarrassed by Richmond 10.17 (77)
            Yes, you read that correctly – not only did Richmond win their first match of the year (and their first match in the past 14 rounds, stretching back to last year), but Port Adelaide scored their lowest ever AFL score. And at home. In front of their smallest ever crowd. Richmond travelled, faced Port in the wet and wind, and still pulled out a more than comfortable win. Port should feel more than embarrassed – they should be downright humiliated and should give back all the money to their poor fans. Disgusting effort… or lack thereof.
Brisbane 13.10 (88) def Collingwood 11.14 980)
            Collingwood led at three quarter time, but then the Lions ran over them. While this is amusing on many levels, it is another upset, and shows that maybe Collingwood are not the force they like to think they are, either. It seems that after they defeated Fremantle, the Magpies felt they could beat anyone and so have played like they are owed the win. Arrogance has been their undoing. As to the game, it was a thrilling ride, but no great shakes as a spectacle.
St Kilda 19.9 (123) def Adelaide 12.4 (76)
            Too close to call at three quarter time, and then St Kilda lifted their game and cruised home way too easily. It is easy to say the off-field shenanigans in Adelaide over the week (Goodwin announcing his retirement, Edwards quitting and then having dummy spits with his dummy spitting team about a final game, more friendship break-up revelations in the media and on the big screen) hurt them, but they didn’t. Adelaide are an also-ran team in 2010. And the last quarter of this game proved it.
Hawthorn 10.19 (79) just def Sydney 11.11 (77)
            A last quarter come back from the Swans almost stole the game for them, but Hawthorn held on in a game more notable for the poor kicking for goal than anything else really. Just a game.
Carlton 15.15 (105) def West Coast 11.10 (76)
            Carlton were in front all day, West Coast outscored them in the last quarter, and it was a dull game to boot. But the Carlton coach enlivened things by saying his team played poorly and coasted. Well, duh!
Fremantle 21.13 (139) def North Melbourne 11.12 (78)
            Fremantle completely dismantled the Kangaroos, making their place in the top two definite and well deserved. The fairy tale season just keeps on keeping on, and only the powerhouse that is Geelong is keeping them from top spot. As to the game – they outplayed North in every conceivable way. That’s it. They won and did it well. Very well.
            I hope it is Fremantle’s year this year.
SANFL Round 10
Central Districts 15.12 (102) def South Adelaide 8.5 (53)
            Yet again South were humiliated in defeat. They did not score AT ALL in the third quarter, and even though they outscored Centrals in the last the damage was done, the horse had bolted and they had already lost.
Glenelg 13.8 (86) def Port Adelaide 11.11 (77)
            Port again played better than they should have… but were still defeated. Glenelg showed the form they should have been showing all season.
Woodville-West Torrens 11.6 (72) def by Norwood 14.4 (88)
            Remember how I’ve been asking what happened to the old Norwood, who were being hammered week after week? Well, they’re the new Woodville-West Torrens, who have gone from undefeated to defeated by almost everyone. But it was a close match, with only 2 points in it at three quarter time. Strong work from both teams.
Sturt 8.9 (57) def by West Adelaide 10.3 (63)
            Not a good game. But how the mighty have fallen with Sturt in the bottom three. The game… not good.
Bye: North Adelaide

Rugby Union
Super 14 Final
Bulls 25 def Stormers 17
            Well, the Bulls won for the third time in four years, but apparently the crowd was fantastic. I saw the game on the computer with no sound, and it looked like a fine example of rugby, if not a touch dull. But still, as a final and as a showcase for union, it was a great ending to a very even season.

Netball
ANZ Championships – Round 11
Mystics 48 def by Swifts 54
            And the Swifts unbeaten run continues, while at the same time the Mystics’ hopes of making the finals now seem to have faded. A comfortable win for the Swifts and while the Mystics pushed them all day, they just could not match the New South Welsh team.
Steel 52 def Vixens 39
            The Vixens were not just defeated, they were embarrassed here. Virtually unbeatable last year, this year they are just dropping lower and lower after winning the first five games on the trot. As such, this game was very one-sided.
Thunderbirds 58 def Tactix 34
            A 31 to 11 last half tells the tale of this game – the Thunderbirds were not just out to win, they were out to make a point, that they deserved to be in the top four and that the other teams had better watch out. They were that dominant. Oh, and on a side note, they were the only South Australian team in a national competition to win on the weekend and the media in this state treated it as if it didn’t happen. Yes, it’s netball, but netball is second only to cricket in numbers of participants in this country. How pathetic.
            All right, this comes with a caveat. And a small rant. The Thunderbirds are the South Australian team. How many locals are in the starting 7? Hmm? 1. Yes ONE. And with maybe 3 or 4 on the bench, two of whom have not had court time this year! What is going on here? South Australia has talent in the state leagues, (and would do better in national age events if the selectors did not insist on putting talented juniors in age groups higher than their own but that is another story) but these girls are having trouble seeing a higher level future when Netball SA looks elsewhere for players and takes cast offs from other places. I know of many supporters who are considering not renewing membership because of this. Netball South Australia is an oxymoron.
WBOP Magic 54 def by Firebirds 55
            Tight back and forth match which the Firebirds really won on the back of an outstanding first quarter.
Fever 63 def Pulse 45
            The Fever jumped out to an early lead and the Pulse just could not catch them in what was a standard game.

Rugby League
NRL State Of Origin – Game 1
New South Wales 24 def by Queensland 28
            NSW went out there looking like they were not going to win. People were picked simply because they were good players, and then they were played out of position and it took the entire first half before they even looked like a team. Queensland, on the other hand, picked the best players for the positions and deserved the win and, if this keeps up, deserve their unprecedented fifth straight series win.
            Now, what is State of Origin?
            New South Wales and Queensland have been having interstate competitions and matches for a long time (as far back as the early 1900s). But it always depended on where the players were actually playing at the time, which was seen as unfair because of the greater money available in NSW. So in 1980 a one-off ‘State of Origin’ match based on where they played their first senior match was done. This was repeated in 1981, and from 1982 it has been the official series set up. And there is something about it that brings out the best in players.
            It is the best rugby played in the world, when these two states go head to head. The games used to be real bloodbaths, but are nowadays just fantastic games of the highest skill.
            By the way, the NSW team is known as the Cockroaches or the Blues, while Queensland are called the Cane Toads or Maroons. Just so you know.
NRL Round 12
St George Illawarra 30 hammered Parramatta 0
            This was as one-sided as the score indicates. While the Dragons feel they got some revenge over the Eels for last year’s loss in the finals, this was a virtual no-contest.
Wests Tigers 50 absolutely hammered Warriors 6
            At the end of the first half the Warriors looked the better team and Wests had scored only 4 points. Fast forward to the end of the match and Wests have almost erased memories of their embarrassment to South Sydney a few weeks ago. Weird game. Talk about a match of 2 halves. First half was hard rugby; second half was a training run.
Cronulla 4 embarrassed by Brisbane 20
            Don’t let the low score fool you, this was a good match. Cronulla fought hard for the whole game, but just could not match the Broncos.
North Queensland 20 def by Manly 24
            Manly led 24 to 6 and almost managed to give the game away, but time just ran out for them. Because it wasn’t the Cowboys who were playing the better football – it really did look like Manly wanted to lose. Not a good game here.
Melbourne 23 def Canterbury-Bankstown 12
            The Bulldogs just can’t win in Melbourne. But Melbourne, even under strength with many stars out injured, showed that they can match any team. No matter what, even after the disaster that has been 2010, it looks like next year they are still going to be a force.
South Sydney 42 def Penrith 22
            Despite a brief Penrith come back in the middle, Souths ran out easy winners here. They are playing much better and much more consistently this year, and their fifth place on the ladder is a fine result for them at this stage of the season.
Gold Coast 16 def by Sydney Roosters 30
            More refereeing controversy marred a pedestrian game with an easy win for the Roosters, with players more out for themselves, vying for selection in the next State of Origin squad.

Soccer
International – Women’s Asia Cup
Australia 1 def DPR Korea 1 (5-4 on penalties)
            The Matildas (yes, the “cute” name of our women’s team…) become the first Australian team to win in Asia. Well done! They played well against strong opposition… and like so many of these games, it was all tied up after extra time, and so went to penalties. If that’s what it takes to win, why not just change soccer to a game of penalties?
            Dull end to a great match. (And yes, I don’t care – penalty shoot-outs are inherently dull and ruin a game. They are nothing of the sport except one skill. Can you imagine a tied basketball game being decided on free throws? Or gridiron game on field goals?)
International – Friendly
Australia 2 def New Zealand 1
            A friendly match as a warm up for both teams headed into the World Cup. Australia were lucky to get the win; a draw would have been a better result as it not only showed how even the teams are but how DULL this game was!
            And it gets worse! Oh yes it does!
            Channel 9 in this country have been showing reports of how well the Socceroos – the allegedly cute name of the Australian men’s team – have CAUGHT THE DAMN PLANE to South Africa for the World Cup! They were there first! They taught some poor kids soccer skills! They sat in a lounge and hotel suite! Wow!
            And the very worst of it? This is still probably more exciting than 75% of the matches we’re going to see!
            AUGH!!

Motorsport
Formula One – Turkish Grand Prix
1st Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
2nd Jenson Button (McLaren)
3rd Mark Webber (Red Bull)
            Mark Webber managed to get pole position, continuing his amazing season, and giving us this headline, which is really the only reason I mention it: “Webber beats Hamilton to Turkey pole” (from formula1.com). I don’t know why, but this struck me as funny, in a dying AWA kind of way.
            But Webber should have won, yet his team-mate seemed to go out of his way crash into him. It put his team mate (Vettel) out and dropped Webber to third. Even Hamilton saw it that way, as he was in third place and following. But the Red Bull team are blaming Webber. At least it made for an interesting race and really interesting post race press conferences.
            However, third is still enough for Webber to maintain his lead in the drivers’ championship.

Lots of sport again, so lots to write about.
            But to any readers out there – tell me! Anything! Write!

And that’s the View – May 25 through 31.

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