Great article!!! I only know about NRL and hope this link to the table will help as well: NRL Ladder - NRL.com constantly shocked that Rabbitohs are on top!
Firstly thank you to everybody who provided feedback and “advice” on our initial column last week, I didn’t receive any David Warner style feedback so we will continue with the column. And to the Hawthorn supporter that tweeted me at 2:36am for wrapping his team, dude it’s not all cocaine and hookers for me and some of us have to sleep at that hour of the night….
On Friday night we saw the ever improving NSW Waratahs travel down to Mexico to take on the Rebels, in a seesawing first half the Rebels got away to an early lead before the Tahs led at Halftime through an Israel Folau try 16-13. In a penalty swapathon in the second half the Rebels got home 24-22 after Queensland junior Brendan McKibbon missed a penalty shot for the win after the fulltime siren. Waratahs fans were very sceptical about the amount of improvement the team were going to be able to make after what was a VFO season last year, to their credit they have and are playing the type of rugby that they have played for a long time by running the ball and backing each other up instead of constantly kicking for field position and hoping for the opposition to make an error like they do in Northern hemisphere rugby. I know there season is effectively over with the loss this weekend after losing to the Rebels for the first time ever but the improvement that Michael Chieka has bashed into the troops is to be applauded as it looked like a full over haul and a change of personnel of the squad was going to be required to get them heading in the right direction.
On Saturday afternoon we saw the ACT Brumbies travel to Auckland to take on the Blues. According to Jake White the Brumbies coach they were treating it as just another game against the club that knocked the Brumbies out of last year’s finals series in the last round. Just the same as when a player is “taking it one week at a time” you simply cannot believe that the Brumbies were not going to be up for this game and they came away with the win 20-13 to maintain their place in the race for the finals, of all the Australian teams they have the easiest run into the finals and should see post season action this year as their fate is in their hands.
Saturday night saw the Western Force host the Otago Highlanders in Perth, before we get to the result has there ever been an unluckier side in top level rugby than the Highlanders this season, they play rugby the way it should be played, they throw it around, chance there arm and live by the creed “just run it” Unfortunately this season it has not meant winning as a result of playing good rugby and they are running dead last in the super rugby comp, they have lost so many games by three point or less between minutes 75-80 it shows the rugby gods must be Crusaders fans the way karma has smashed them this season. In this game the Force beat the Highlanders 19-18 I am sure that the Force are wishing that they could play the teams from the south island of New Zealand at home every week with the results they have achieved in Perth this year.
Early Sunday morning or late Saturday night for anyone on the sauce saw the Cape Town Stormers host the Queensland Reds at Newlinds. The Stormers won 20-15 to maintain their place with the frontrunners of the competition and the Reds can thank the Waratahs unexpected loss to the Rebels for the maintaining their place in the race for the finals.
On Friday night the Canterbury- Bankstown Bulldogs took on the Brisbane Broncos at Homebush, in greasy conditions the Doggies led 6-4 at halftime and got away in a messy second half to win 24-14. Looking at the two teams they both they are at the crossroads of their season the Doggies after an ordinary start are heading for the finals and the Broncos are heading for Mad Monday after 26 rounds.
In the late game Wests Tigers hosted the North Queensland Cowboys at Leichhardt Oval, The Tigers led 12-10 at halftime. In the second half I am adamant we spent more time waiting for video ref decisions than actual play but the Tigers got home 22-20 to end the clubs worst ever losing streak. We are all aware the Tigers have had a lot of injuries in the first ten rounds of the comp but despite the win in this game, here is a club that is paying the price for selling its culture. Bryce Gibbs, Chris Heighington and Beau Ryan are fringe rep players at best who obviously brought more to the club than their footballing ability as you can see by their results the club have achieved since the trio departed for Cronulla.
In Saturday night Footie we saw the St George Illawarra Dragons host the Penrith Panthers at Jubilee Oval. For the first time ever the Dragons were kept scoreless at Jubilee Oval by losing 19-0 and you could hear their supporters booing at Mascot airport. As for the Panthers they let go of their three biggest names in Michael Jennings, Luke Lewis, Michael Gordon and replaced them with local juniors who are prepared to play footie and have a go and it is getting results. I am yet to be convinced they will see action in September this year but if they keep going like they have in the last month they will undoubtedly see September action and with Tim Grant been overlooked for Origin they will not be affected by the Rep season and the flow on effects.
You hear that ringing sound, it’s the noise of some of the tackles that were handed out in both directions in the game between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Canberra Raiders at Brookvale Oval which Manly prevailed 16-10, the hit that Steve Matai hit Blake Ferguson with was felt back in Canberra and the hit that Josh Papali hit Jamie Buhrer with will ensure that the structural engineers are doing an inspection on the grandstands at Brookie on Monday. It wasn’t the most exciting game you’ll see this year but Canberra were not outclassed and I think both coaches would be happy with the showing by their respective teams.
In the other game we saw the Melbourne Storm beat the Sydney Roosters 26-18. It ended the Roosters winning run and saw the Storm win for the first time in a month and badly exposed Mitchell Pearce for having as much attacking creativity as a government accountant. As both teams are going to be losing players to origin the two points earned and lost in this game could be vital come the end of round 26.
On Sunday afternoon we saw the New Zealand Warriors host the Newcastle Knights across the Deetch after a week where the Warriors have been nailed from all sides after a club record loss last week at the foot of the mountains. Ex players, ex coaches, supporters and even the Sydney media have laid the boot into the Warriors and quite unfairly coach Matt Elliott who inherited the squad put together by Brian McClelland last season. And surprise surprise they prevailed 28-12 after trailing 12-10 at halftime thanks to their siege mentality. In a game where the Knighties lost Darius Boyd to a broken ankle and again showed they do not like playing in cold weather it will be looked back on as a dropped two points by the Knights as they have to a tough draw over the next month starting with the Bunnies at Homebush next Saturday night.
In the televised game the Parramatta Eels took their home game against the Gold Coast Titans to Mudgee in country NSW to open up a new base of fans and let the people of the Mudgee area see some top level sport. The Titans treated it like a training run and won 42-4 and will enjoy the lovely wines that come from a weekend in wine country.
This move by the Eels is to take a game to the bush should be applauded and embraced by every club in Australian sport. The sooner League, Union games are taken to regional centres like Wagga, Dubbo, Tamworth, Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Mount Isa, Cairns, Mackay & Rockhampton the better the support will be for our sporting teams. The AFL currently do this with games in Hobart Launceston and Darwin and the A-league started last season with the country round with games in Bathurst, Hobart and Mount Gambier and Albany.
You only have to look at the way the Manchester United and Liverpool games have sold out in Sydney (an 85,000 seat venue) and Melbourne (a 95,000 seat venue) this winter to see clubs don’t only have fans that are based in and around the areas that they are based but due to pay TV and the internet fans are spread far and wide and there is money to be made by taking games to regional areas.
The English Premier League and NBA in America are already looking at this as a way to increase revenue and you can look at the success of the Swans v Saints game in New Zealand earlier in the year to see that it can work.
In Monday night footie we see The Cronulla Sharks host the South Sydney Rabbitohs at what will be a freezing Shark Park, this is a danger game for the Bunnies as the Origin side will have been announced and a game you would expect them to win, with both teams expected to lose a couple of players to the origin series I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Sharkies try a good old ambush and get the better of the Bunnies. As someone who lived in the Shire for a while I hope they don’t fall for the trick running with the wind in the first half, it always come up in the second half and if you can limit the damage in the first half it is a lot easier coming home on the tails of a southerly at Shark Park.
In Friday night action we saw the Collingwood Magpies host the Sydney Swans at the MCG. At half time the premiers were leading 51-22 with Adam Goodes again showing his class for the Swannies and the Swans ran away with it 102-55. In the last quarter we saw an ugly incident between a Collingwood supporter and Adam Goodes that involved a racist remark. Adam Goodes had both the class to deal with this and no hesitation in identifying the suspect and you didn’t need to be a lip reading specialist to know what was said and the AFL and Eddie McGuire moved like a fat kid chasing a cupcake to:- A) Remove the supporter from the ground B) apologise to Adam Goodes C) go on the front foot about what happened. The fact that Eddie McGuire was prepared to hold a Channel 7 microphone and be interviewed on Channel 7 about the matter after the game show how serious they are treating the matter. Given time I think the AFL will look back on this moment in the same way they look back at the stand Nicky Windmar made in 1995 when the same thing happened to him and I hope lessons are learnt for our whole country from this.
In Saturday afternoon action we saw two both last start losers Port Adelaide Power and the Geelong Cats at Footie Park and Geelong won 116-68 after a strong start the Power have dropped four in a row and will want to stop the rot over the next couple of weeks. The power have already had more wins this year than they did for the whole of last year so it will be interesting to see how they respond of the next few weeks from these losses. New coach Ken Hinckley will be working on this and hopefully can turn it around for the powers passionate fans.
In the second game we saw Greater Western Sydney Giants host the West Coast Eagles at the Sydney showgrounds at Homebush and West Coast prevailed 155-55 Playing Greater Western Sydney in Sydney is basically a home game for all away teams that have supporters living in Sydney and the crowd numbers are reflecting this. With the success the Wanderers had in their debut season by embracing the community of Western Sydney you can see the support you can receive but the Giants have some work to do both on and off the field if they are going to see any of this success in the short term.
In Saturday night action we saw St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs do battle at Docklands and after me bagging the Doggies last week they came out and won this one 110-101 to relieve to pressure on coach Brendan McCartney. Saints have a talented but ageing roster and will want to get some wins on the board in the next month or its Mad Monday for them after 22 rounds.
In a game that is gaining ground on the ANZAC day clash in terms of popularity amongst fans for a regular season fixture the Richmond Tigers hosted the Essendon Bombers at the MCG for Dreamtime with the Bombers winning 91-62 in front of nearly 80,000 fans. It was a game that showed the difference between a team that sees finals action regularly and what the Tigers are going to have to do to improve their game to play finals.
On Sunday afternoon we saw the Hawthorn Hawks tackle the Gold Coast Suns at the MCG and beat the Suns 118-92 and the Hawks continue on the way to seeing action deep into September, It makes them a happy bunch at Hawthorn and will let the Melbourne media run the “where’s Buddy going next year” story again this week.
In the west we saw the Fremantle Dockers take on the Melbourne Demons at Subiaco and the Dockers got home 130-40.The bonus for Fremantle at the moment is they are winning without their two biggest stars in Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands which is a bonus for a club that has under achieved for a while. With the Demons they are starting to look more and more like Fitzroy both on and off the field and personally I think they should look at a move to Tasmania who are screaming out for an AFL side and they could make the place Van Demons land and only get stronger in a similar manner to what South Melbourne did when they became the Sydney Swans.
In the late game the North Melbourne Kangaroos took on the Adelaide Crows at Docklands and for the second game in a row the Kangaroos got rolled by less than a kick going down 125-124. For less than a goal they have dropped 12 competition points this season and could mean they are contemplating a bit of coulda, woulda, shoulda after 22 rounds while on their end of season trip instead of playing finals. The Crows are just continuing to roll through the season and will be sitting nicely come if they continue to play like they are at the moment.
State of Origin
It’s that time of year when the rugby league community takes on an AFL style of mania in regards to league for 6 weeks where any player that wakes up a little fluey or has a rolled ankle is suddenly made into front page news. Queensland as the reigning champions or winners of seven consecutive series will head into this series as favourites against an NSW side that is getting closer to an ageing Queensland side that will be looked back on in the future as one of the greatest side put together as much as that hurts to say I think Queensland will win again unless the NSW crowd can get the boys home with two games in Sydney this year.
Have a good week and I am off to have a couple of beers with Kurtley Beale and Todd Carney as they having nothing else on this week, and I might tweet Dave Warner on the way home……
Great article, and good knowledge of the Shark Park there Schooner, would have been a good one to see live:
spoilers for those that have recorded it, full time and rolling cover on here:
Rolling coverage: Sharks beat Rabbitohs 14-12 at Sharks Stadium | News.com.au
Nice writeup, these posts get some solid views!
thank you for this, I missed a few over the weekend.