Come On the Pies! What a half time score!
In a week where summer sports have tried to pinch the headlines, if itís true that David Warner has hit Joe Root in the nightclub I think itís a good thing that he still has his eye in as he hasnít been able to hit a red or white ball since ChristmasÖ. But there has also been some footie played and here is this weekís report on the 3 codes of Footie played over the last week.
Last Saturday night we saw the Queensland Reds host the touring Lions squad on a wet and windy Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The Reds arenít afraid to throw the ball around at the best of times and they didnít die wondering in this contest. With future Wallabies coach Ewan McKenzie pulling the strings he gave an exhibit on how to play the Lions and what I dare say will be a blueprint for what the Wallabies will do next weekend in Brisbane when they play Lions. In the end it resulted in the Lions winning 22-12 in what has been the closest game so far on tour and asked quite a few questions of the Lions all over the field and will ensure that Warren Gatland and his staff have been going over the videos all of last week.
Last Tuesday night the Lions ventured to Newcastle to take on a combined NSW-QLD Country side in front of just over 20,000 supporters. In a game that I saw live the difference in the level of rugby played by the two teams was clear from the outset and the end score of 64-0 showed the difference between the two teams. For the visitorís Irish flanker Sean OíBrien, Captain Brian OíDriscoll and winger George North were the best on ground and for the Country boys it would have been the impact off the bench with Dylan Evans and Adam McCormack making the most in roads into the rock solid red wall that happened to be wearing Lions jerseys. The game was played in good spirit and showed that if you take games to regional areas of the country they will be well supported as this game was by people from all over country NSW going by the vast number of different club jerseys that were scattered amongst a large number of Lions jerseys. As for the country boys they had smiles on their faces a mile wide after the game and were more than happy to play in the game and they could not have cared less if they had just lost a game even if they wouldnít have been able to move on Wednesday or even Thursday and it made everyone one in the country areas of NSW and Queensland extremely #Countryproud
On Saturday night the Waratahs hosted the Lions at what was a sold out Sydney Football Stadium and the teams turned on a high quality display of rugby that has been the best game of the tour so far. With Warren Garland saying pre game that everybody was playing for their positions including captain Sam Warburton the Lions came to play and the Waratahs were stretched early before fighting back in the later parts of the first half through a good team try to Tom Carter. In the second half the game opened up a little and the Lions finished winning 47-17 through 5 tries and a perfect kicking display by Leigh Halfpenny who has now kicked 23/23 while on tour. While the Lions have won all the tour games so far they are also taking a fair hammering in the injury department and if the Brumbies can belt them on Tuesday night regardless of the result it will make the Wallabies job a lot easier in Brisbane next Saturday night, it seems to be getting to the stage the Lions have a squad that is starting to outnumber their supporters with the injury toll they are taking at the moment.
On Friday night we saw the Manly Sea Eagles host the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval on the northern beaches and in the first half the Doggies could do no wrong and went into halftime leading 18-6 mainly due to some good work by Josh Reynolds and Michael Ennis. In the second half both teams played some entertaining footie in amongst some strange refereeing decisions and at the end of fulltime it was 30 all. In golden point the Dogs kicked a penalty goal through ex Manly player Trent Hodgkinson to win 32-30 after some milking by Josh Reynolds and the Doggies continued on their way to a top four finish. The downside to this game was the behaviour of the Manly ďfansĒ after the game towards the Bulldogs players as they left the field where Bulldogs players Dene Halitau and Ben Barba were spat on by supporters, while not condoning violence if the players had of soughted this out themselves it would have stopped future incidents from happening, the best way to get clubs to stop this from happening would be to strip the offending club of competition points and their would be no problems of this kind in the future.
In the late TV game St George Illawarra Dragons hosted the under siege North Queensland Cowboys at Win Stadium in the Gong, with the Cowboys having their chief playmaker in Jonathon Thurston they settled into the game where the wind was going to have a fair say in who won and lost the game, at halftime the Cowboys were leading 16-10 and went onto win 22-16 at fulltime and break a losing run of five games. The fact that the Cowboys were able to win this game without test front rower James Tamou who has been stood down after a large drink driving effort in Townsville earlier in the week shows how much better team the Cowboys are with Jonathon Thurston in their team as he does it all and controls the play better than anyone else in the competition. As for the Dragons it would be scary to think how bad they would be as a team if they did not have the input of Josh Dugan, Trent Merrin and the evergreen Matt Cooper.
Late Saturday arvo saw the Canberra Raiders host the Penrith Panthers in Canberra in cool conditions. The Panthers would have spent the week smarting after losing to the Tigers last week and would have gone to the capital with intent to win back the points they dropped last week, but the Raiders controlled this game from the get go and played a very controlled style of football to win 24-12 with Blake Ferguson and Dane Tilse laying the foundation for the home side with the Panthers only scoring a late try to add some respectability to the scoreboard. The Raiders seem to either be slow starters or know how to time their run to the finals perfectly and are heading in that direction again this season after sacking Josh Dugan earlier in the season and look a lot tighter unit as a result of making the tough choice to sack a local junior. One thing that was good to see and the Raiders must be given a wrap for this was letting twins Travis and Reece Robinson have their photo taken with their mum on the pitch post game as it is very rare that brothers get to play against each other in the NRL let alone twins and this was good to see.
On Saturday night the Cronulla Sharks hosted the Parramatta Eels at Shark Park and the Eels managed to make their season go from bad to worse from losing this game 32-14 despite a lot better showing from the Eels in the second half. Earlier in the week Eels captain John Mannah was quoted as saying he thought that there was light at the end of the tunnel for the Eels, I hate to be the one to say it but thatís a fully laden coal train heading straight towards them with its lights on and I think the Eels will be lucky to get away from consecutive wooden spoons from what I have seen from them so far this year.
Sunday arvo saw the South Sydney Rabbitohs play the Gold Coast Titans at Cairns in North Queensland, this game was Rugby Leagues oldest top level club was hosting its youngest top level club in what will be a future expansion area of the sport. With Origin jerseys available for players on both sides if they performed today in the first half there was some enterprising play from both sides and at halftime it was all locked up at 18-all with ďQueenslanderĒ Greg Inglis doing so good work with and without the ball in the first half. In the second half the Bunnies got a bit more ball and field position and got home 30-24 with strong performances form Adam Reynolds the Burgess boys and John Sutton to maintain their lead at the top of the table.
The Melbourne Storm hosted the Newcastle Knights at AAMI Park in Melbourne on what was old boys day for all the ex-Storm players. In the first half it was all the Knights with two tries to left centre Joey Leliua and the Knighties went in at halftime leading 14-10. In the second half for about the third or fourth time this year the Knights were kept scoreless and the Storm got home 16-14 in front of a really good size crowd in Melbourne. The Knights are fit enough to compete for the full 80mins but they seem to be lacking some self-belief that they can compete for the whole game and itís going to affect their finishing position on the ladder as a result of these fadeouts.
Sunday night Footie saw the Sydney Roosters host the New Zealand Warriors at the Sydney Football Stadium. Before kick-off I saw a comment from a journalist saying ďHeads Warriors turn up Tails the Warriors donítĒ and I think thatís the way to deal with the Warriors and a few other NRL teams at the moment. In the first half the teams played some good footie with Shaun Kenny-Dowell causing havoc every time he touched the ball and the Roosters went into half time with a 12-10 lead. In the second half Shaun Johnstone decided to take the game by the scruff of the neck and the Warriors got home 23-12 to win the battle of Bondi. On the upside Michael Jennings, James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce had strong game heading into game two of State of Origin
In Monday night footie the Brisbane Broncos host the West Tigers at Suncorp Stadium. Oh how the mighty have fallen, for the first 25 years of their existence the Broncos have seemed near unbeatable either at home or on the road but not anymore. Itís hard to get a read on what they are doing and how they will go in this game as their form has been up and down like a pogo stick this year, they still have a good roster and have a very good team off the field so itís hard to know why they are not performing on the field but will want to win this game against the Tigers for pride as much as anything else. The Tigers are coming off an upset win at the bottom of the mountains last week against Penrith and would love nothing more than to knock over Brisbane in this one but they will need a lot of improvement on last weekís performance if they are to come away from Suncorp with the two points from this game.
On Friday night we saw Carlton and Hawthorn Hawks go around at the MCG and the Hawks got home 102-87 after trailing by two goals at halftime. The Blues were in this game for a long period and would feel that they were hard done by to lose by 15 points in the end. As for the Hawks I still think that they will go one better than last year come the end of the season and its going to take a really good team to stop them from winning the comp.
Saturday arvo saw the Richmond Tigers host the Adelaide Crows at the MCG and the Tigers led at every change to beat the Crows 110-72. Without wanting to put the curse on the Tigers the yellow and black army seem destined to see finals action this year for only the second time in 34 years. The fact that they have 60,000 members who will turn up to watch them in Melbourne each week shows how passionate their fans are and will enjoy seeing their team get the results they deserve. As for the Crows they will need to turn their season around soon if they are to see post season action as they have gone on a downward spiral the last couple of weeks after a strong start to the season.
In the west we saw the Fremantle Dockers host the Brisbane Lions at Subiaco and the Dockers continued on their way to a top four finish with a 86-46 win here over the Lions without breaking into a sweat. This result will continue to increase the pressure on Lions coach Michael Voss and how the Lions are going to handle the sacking of a club legend. Been a star player and life member it can never be easy to then have an ordinary coaching record at that club without it causing problems as Voss would be held in such high esteem for his deeds on the field but has not had the same success in the coaches box but the Lions will want to make a decision to get their team back in the top half of the comp as they have not played finals for a few years now and they have a good bunch of kids that can play some good footie if they are given the right support.
Saturday night saw the Essendon Bombers host the Gold Coast Suns at Docklands and in one of the better games of AFL you will see the boys from Sin City play the Bombers only got home 115-72 to continue their strong showing this season. As I have pointed out before the Bombers season this year hangs on the result of the ASADA investigation but if they can keep the whole squad healthy and on the park they have a team capable of giving this competition a real shake with Jobe Watson a big chance to win a second Brownlow medal with the form that he has shown in the opening half of the season.
Sunday arvo saw the Greater Western Sydney Giants host the Port Adelaide Power at Homebush, this was a game that Port Adelaide needed as they had lost five straight and the Giants played them back into some form and at halftime it was Port Adelaide by 68 points. This game was definitely history in the making for the amount of empty orange seats that it was played in front of and at fulltime it was 125-50 to give the boys from Alberton a much needed win and will probably be a turning point in their season.
At Docklands we saw the Collingwood Magpies host the Western Bulldogs at Docklands and sadly this was just a game for the Pies to increase their percentages for the season, at halftime they were in front 70-17. In the second half the Doggies mounted a comeback to lose 99-65 which I think is about the margin that their most famous supporter will lose by at the election so itís not going to be much of a year for the Dogs in any way shape or form. I will say that itís good that us general public have not had to see as much of Eddie McGuire in the last few weeks and I havenít heard anyone complaining about that at all.
Have a good week Iím off to a fancy dress pub crawl and am just hoping that we run into Dave Warner in one of the pubs as Iím going dressed as a leprechaun
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Come On the Pies! What a half time score!
I love to shop!