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Thread: Super Rugby, AFL, NRL, State of Origin and Socceroos report for the weekend 31st of May - 3/06

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    Junior Member Schooner's Avatar
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    Super Rugby, AFL, NRL, State of Origin and Socceroos report for the weekend 31st of May - 3/06

    Firstly a shameless plug; Thank you to everyone that is reading this column, but like a footy team we are only as good as our supporters and we are asking if you are reading this on Twitter or Facebook could you please re tweet or post this to all your followers or forward the link to everybody that you can as we are trying to increase our readers and followers. And please do not be afraid to follow us on twitter - Twitter @mickskehan - and we will get a Facebook page up and running as soon as it rains and we get a couple of rain days at work.

    In a weekend when all that’s good beat bad on the field and that was just with the Greenies beating the Wanderers !! The headlines were dominated by off field issues and stupidity rather than the racism that raised its ugly head again it was good to see some footie played come Friday night.

    Super Rugby

    With the Lions due in the country this week all the Aussie Super Rugby Franchises were playing their last game for 6 weeks while we host the Lions and all their supporters , all the Aussie teams would be hoping for a win to keep their seasons moving.

    On Friday night in Christchurch we saw the NSW Waratahs take on the world’s premier provincial rugby side the Canterbury Crusaders. A team that is packed with All Blacks of all varieties in past, present and future and a crowd that is every bit as hostile and intimidating as Lang Park on Origin night it’s not the favourite spot to visit as an opposition rugby player. The fact that Robbie Fruean cannot make the starting side says it all about the quality of the Crusaders, if you are not sure who he is or what that means imagine having a double door fridge running at you at with a head full of stream and you have to try and tackle the fridge, that’s what it looked like when he was running towards us at the SFS last year when he tore the Waratahs apart and still did not get an All Black jersey. In this game the Waratahs got away to an early 15-3 lead before the Crusaders struck back to trail 15-10 at half time. In the second half both teams scored tries before the Crusaders got home 23-22 with Berrick Barnes missing a penalty goal after the siren to miss out on the win and stretch it to ten years since the Waratahs have beaten the Crusaders. It’s the second week in a row that the Waratahs have lost by a penalty kick late in the game and is also an example of the games you have to win in this comp if you are going to make the finals.

    In Canberra we saw the ACT Brumbies host the Wellington Hurricanes at Bruce Stadium. The Brumbies lead 14-10 at halftime through a try to fringe Wallaby Nic White. In a high pressure second half the Brumbies got home 30-23 mainly thanks to the boot of fly half and Wallaby hopeful Christian Lealiifano to maintain their place at the top of the Australian conference and third overall. In a city of 300,000+ and an area of half a million people to see this game played in front of just over 11,000 people was a disappointment and the Brumbies fans have to realise that a home game does not mean sitting at home watching their team on the TV. There are fans out there in regional areas screaming for games and I think they could have got the same size crowd or bigger if they had taken this game to Wagga or Albury.
    The bonus for Australian Rugby from these two games on Friday night has meant that the Australian front row announced to play against the British and Irish Lions got to play against the All Blacks front row in the Crusaders and Hurricanes games and will give The Aussie’s a better idea of where they are at in the lead up to the Lions tests over the next month.

    On Saturday night we saw the Queensland Reds host the Melbourne Rebels at Suncorp Stadium with the Rebels aiming to win three games in a row for the first time in their history. The Reds lead early through a charge down try and looked settled until two intercept tries late in the first half to the Rebels had them leading 17-13 at halftime. Whatever was said or drunk at Halftime by the Reds I hope they start selling it as they came out and blew the Rebels away in the second half to win 33-20 with the whole team turning it on in a show of strength that we have not seen from an Australian team since the Reds put the Crusaders to the sword in the 2011 final. I know Robbie Deans and Quade Cooper don’t share the love but in this case as a rugby fan you would have to ask them to put “the club first” and Cooper must be included in the test’s remaining spots for the Lions series based on tonight’s performance.
    In this round the Western Force faced the bye and got home just……
    In a matter away from top level sport can we give a huge Congratulations to Dylan Evans and Lewie Catt who have been the only two non super rugby players chosen to play against the Lions in the game between NSW Country and the Lions next week in Newcastle, except for an untimely injury they would have been joined by Hamilton Hawks lock Nick Palmer. Both these players have the capability to play at a higher level if they get away from their current club but the exposure and experience they will get in the Lions game will be a huge for both of their careers.

    In Friday night action we saw the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs host local rivals St George Illawarra Dragons at Homebush. This is a game where sometimes the best action can be off the field and in the crowd and on the trains going to and from the ground as the fans genuinely do not like each other. The Dragons entered this game without Origin players Trent Merrin and Brett Morris and the Doggies were without Josh Morris and Josh Reynolds. And most fans would have been expecting the game to be played based around the two attacking fullbacks in Josh Dugan and Bennie Barba. After leading 12-0 early the Doggies went into halftime leading 12-8 after an 8 point try to Dragon Jamie Soward. Unfortunately the play that involved the two fullbacks was the last play of the game and resulted in the Dragons been awarded a penalty 32 metres out 8 metres in from touch with the Bulldogs leading 16-14 and Jamie Soward pushed the shot at goal wide with the crowd absolutely giving it to him and the Dragons lost 16-14. The next 8 weeks of the comp while there are split rounds and byes while the Origin period is upon us is usually where teams seasons are made or broken and I think the result of this game is a perfect example of the two teams seasons so far.

    Saturday night saw the South Sydney Rabbitohs host Newcastle Knights at Homebush with the understrength and injury hit Knights bursting out of the blocks again to lead 12 nil early before the Bunnies struck back and locked it up at 12-all at halftime. In the second half the Bunnies kicked away through halves John Sutton and Adam Reynolds to win 25-18 at fulltime. The Bunnies are leading the comp at the moment and the Knights are still on track for a finish in the bottom half of the eight but I cannot see them getting near the Bunnies, Storm, Bulldogs or Roosters who I would expect to make up the top four this year with the inconsistency that the Knights are producing week in and week out.

    Sunday afternoon saw two Queensland teams the Gold Coast Titans and North Queensland Cowboys go round at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast, both teams were missing players due to Origin and in wet conditions you would have expected both teams to lock it up and play one out football, wrong they both came to throw it around and the this suited the Titans better than the Cowboys who missed the direction that they get from Jonathon Thurston and the Titans led 19-4 at half time with fringe Queensland forward Dave Taylor having a devastating first half. The tone of the game didn't change much in the second half although it was played more in the forwards as the rain tumbled down and the game finished with the Titans winning 31-12.

    Monday night footie this week sees the Brisbane Broncos host the New Zealand Warriors at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. In the past you would have said that this game would have been a gift two points for the Warriors as the Broncos would have been decimated by Origin selections but not any more. While the Broncos form has been a bit hit and miss this season and the Warriors having huge support in Brisbane due to the number of ex-pats residing in the banana republic’s capital. I think this game will be a lot tighter than everyone expects going by the teams respective position on the ladder. The Warriors will have their best team on the park but the Broncos will miss the go forward and high work rate of Corey Parker and Sammie Thaiday but I would expect to see the Broncos get home in this one on the back of Scottie Prince, Peter Wallace and Corey Norman.

    In the week that saw the Blues do the best “Australia’s next top Model” impersonation and Queensland have had the banjos twanging louder than ever we have the teams announced for this Wednesday nights Origin game to be played at Homebush. NSW have announced the following side:
    1. Jarrod Hayne 2.Brett Morris 3.Michael Jennings 4.Josh Morris 5.Blake Ferguson 6.James Maloney 7.Mitchell Pearce 8.Paul Gallen 9. Robbie Farah 10. James Tamou 11.Ryan Hoffman 12.Luke Lewis 13.Greg Bird 14.Trent Merrin 15.Andrew Fifita 16.Anthony Watmough 17.Is it Reynolds or Sutton Reynolds or Sutton, in scenes reminiscent of the final of Australia’s top model they bombed the announcement of who replaced the injured Kurt Gidley and on Wednesday afternoon half the news agencies in Australia announced that John Sutton had been named to play Origin while the other half were saying that Josh Reynolds was in the team. After seeing the confusion corrected Josh Reynolds from the Bulldogs was announced to play over John Sutton from the Bunnies. As it was a race between a dog and a rabbit I would rather have seen them have a race at Wentworth park to see who got in the side……..
    Queensland have gone with:
    1. Billy Slater 2. Darius Boyd 3.Justin Hodges 4.Greg Inglis 5.Brent Tate 6.Jonathon Thurston 7.Cooper Cronk 8.Matt Scott 9. Cameron Smith 10.David Shillington 11.Nate Myles 12. Sam Thaiday 13. Ashley Harrison 14. Corey Parker 15. Matt Gillett 16. Ben T’eo 17. Chris McQueen
    It’s no secret that Queensland will attack NSW’s right side with Greg Inglis doing a wrecking ball impersonation and NSW needs to make the most of its speed man in Michael Jennings and the Morris boys through offloads and second phase plays especially around the ruck where the aging Queensland forwards will be found wanting once the initial sting has gone out of the game. While they have chosen Andrew Fifita as a bench forward I think NSW will miss the big straight runs of Tim Grant that they built a lot of their attack on last year.


    In Friday night action we saw The Brisbane Lions host the Collingwood Magpies at the Gabba. At halftime it was the Magpies 61-16 and ended up winning 100-51. Unfortunately this game was over shadowed by midweek events involving Collingwood president Eddie McGuire. Last week I gave Eddie a wrap for the way he stood up and lead from the front when there was a racism incident between a Collingwood fan and AFL Life member and Swans legend Adam Goodes. This week the whole world would like to see Eddie to sit on an umbrella and open it for his Neanderthal like comments regarding Adam Goodes on a Melbourne radio program midweek. It showed how stupid he is as an individual not how racism and sport are entangled in our country and how everyone in this country of ours has to change deep seated views towards people of all origins. And it wouldn’t be a bad thing for our whole country if he was stood down from all media commitments for a long time as a punishment.

    Saturday arvo saw the Adelaide Crows host the Fremantle Dockers at Footie Park in Adelaide and the Dockers came away with a historically rare but ever increasing road win to beat the Crows 66-59. This was again done without Matthew Pavlich and Aaron Sandilands and keeps the Dockers in touch with the top four. If they can continue this form and increase their self-belief the Dockers will be there deep into the finals which will be a wonderful achievement for the team and their fans who have stuck loyal for a long time with limited success.
    The Carlton Blues host the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Docklands in what is becoming a bit of a pattern for the Giants they got rolled 148-54. While the Giants have never given up on the field this team of kids that have been sent into an expansion area are still 2-3 years off been a force in the AFL providing they can keep this squad together for that long as other teams will want to cheery pick a lot of the youngsters with returns to their home state come trade time each year. With the Blues they seem to be believing in Mick Malthouse’s style of coaching and will finish somewhere between 3-6 on the ladder if they keep playing the style of footie that they are at the moment.

    In the late game we saw the Sydney Swans host the Essendon Bombers at the SCG and I don’t think the Swans would ever at any time in their history been so glad to run onto a field and leave a horror week behind them. In greasy conditions the Swans leapfrogged the Bombers on the ladder to win 115-71. Depending on the ASADA investigation that is going slower than the horse I backed on Saturday both of these teams should see finals action this year based on the showing in this game.

    Saturday night saw the Western Bulldogs host the Port Adelaide Power in Darwin and the Power lead the way in the first half to lead 35-24 at halftime. But in the second half the Doggies turned it around and ended up winning 67-58 making it five loses in a row for Port Adelaide and leaves them at the crossroads for 2013. It looks like the boys from Alberton need a few days off training and a BBQ and couple of cartons of Coopers on Monday to increase a little bit of spirit within the squad as you don’t go from been as good as they were earlier in the year to how bad they have been in the last few weeks without dropping their heads a little.

    Down the Princes Highway we saw the lights turned on for the first time at Kadinia Park in Geelong as the Cats host the Gold Coast Suns in what was the first time that local junior and former Cats golden boy Gary Ablett junior had returned to Geelong in away colours. The Cats lead at halftime 42-32 before the Suns launched a comeback in the third quarter to lock it up at 64 all at three quarter time. And as your told as a kid “don’t pull the Cats tail” which is what the Suns did in the third quarter and the Cats turned it on in the last quarter to blow the Suns away and win 123-71 which is about the difference between the two teams at the moment.

    Sunday saw the Melbourne Demons host the Hawthorn Hawks at the MCG, the one time merger candidates faced each other and the result was only going to go one way with the way this season has panned out for the Demons. Before the game kicked off all the talk was when not if but when the Demons were going to sack coach Mark Neeld. At halftime when the Hawks led 82-13 the talk only increased and to see some of the footage of the poor guy coaching in the first half it might be best for everybody if there is a parting of the ways as he does not look like he is enjoying it in any way shape or form. At fulltime it was 143-48 and by the end of the week you will find either ex Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams or former Adelaide Crows and current Melbourne assistant coach Neil Craig will be trying to salvage the season for the Demons from the coaching hot seat.

    In the late game we saw the North Melbourne Kangaroos host St Kilda at Docklands, in a game that will not have any bearing on makeup of the finals the kangaroos got away to an early lead and were leading 88-27 at halftime. At fulltime the Kangaroos had got up 133-65, the highlight for the game was seeing Brent Harvey celebrate his 350th league game by kicking four goals which is a fair effort considering the club he has played his entire career with has not consistently played finals over the last ten years or so.

    And in Monday night action this week we see the West Coast Eagles host the Richmond Tigers at Subiaco Oval, due to the size of Subiaco and the vast amount of space available on ground you would think this game should be a gift four points for the Eagles. But the Tigers have more stiffness throughout the pack this year than in years gone by and I think they will push the Eagles all the way in this one. Boosted by the re-signing of Captain and Brownlow favourite Trent Cotchin and them having very little in the way of injuries at the moment I cannot see this game blowing out in the score line.

    In a qualification game for Brazil 2014 this week we see the Socceroos go around against Japan in Tokyo. In a transitional period for our national squad we see a team go out with players that have the experience of the past two world cups under their belt in Lucas Neil and Mark Schwarzer and future superstars Robbie Kruse, Tom Rogic and little Tommie Oar. While we should have already qualified for the world cup we face an uncertain few weeks while the qualification games are played. While every football fan in the world wants to see their country represented at the world cup Australia does not have the quality on the field to be competitive at this world cup and it is not the end of the world if we don’t qualify for Brazil. In our favour we have three of the four remaining qualifying games in Australia so that will help our cause, so we wait and see what results the boys gain over the next few weeks.
    Have a good week everybody, enjoy the Origin and Socceroos games especially for all our red shirted friends who are flying in from the UK this week to start supporting the Lions over the next few weeks

    Twitter @mickskehan
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    Junior Member Schooner's Avatar
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    Administrator fool's Avatar
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    Haha, love the pic-

    Updated 1 hour 32 minutes ago
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    Senior Member DealDude's Avatar
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    saw this on facebook about Queensland supporters:

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    Senior Member shopaholic's Avatar
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    i don't know anything about either of the rugbys but it's nice to have a round up of the real sport AFL!
    I love to shop!

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    Senior Member DealDude's Avatar
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    Celebrated a little hard after the Blues win last night!
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    Photos from my local newspaper:
    GALLERY: State of Origin I | Newcastle Herald

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