By Max Lane.
Back by popular demand is our weekly review of all things good, and some that are bad in the world of sport. Well, according to us anyway.
League was back, Cricket return to our screens, and the Winter Olympics is still on.
But that’s not all of it, we’ll cover what we think is worth talking about below.
Eat the pudding, eat the pudding, eat the pudding, eat the pudding.
The STABILO BOSS HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK – brought to you by CANBERRA MILK
– First up, has to be the Australian Cricket Team. After the high of the Ashes series, it was always going to be interesting to see if the progress made during the summer would continue against the number one team in the world away from home. Happily, it looks good after one test. Yes, it’s only one test, but the manner of destruction in South Africa is a good sign for a new era of goodness. There’s still work needed like a firing top order, but what a distance we’ve come since the Indian and England series less than a year ago.
– Queensland Bulls also get a nod this week for an incredible win against the odds. After South Australia battered Queensland around for days and many hours, and Queensland responded with bugger all, a large loss looked likely. But like any Queensland sporting side they set about amassing the near 500 runs with spirit, and with a few overs remaining on the last day crossed the line with just 5 wickets down. In ended up the second biggest successful chase in Shield history. A long cry from the biggest chase which was another of those 1980’s disappointment for Queensland when ironically South Australia made just over 500 runs to beat Queensland.
– Whilst still on cricket – a shout out for anyone who scores a triple century. So kudos to Mr McCallum from NZ for his Bag O’Runs against the soon to be replaced 2nd best test side in the world. Not bad going after a double in the previous test. All whilst keeping and captaining. Talk about all rounder, batsmen everywhere else in the world have no excuse.
– Auckland 9’s – quite a risky concept, but one that looks to be have been a hit with all involved. The fans loved it, and the dressing up was first rate. The football itself was not bad either, less of the bastardised version of League that was expected. The success highlight that a Magic Weekend concept copied from UK where all teams play at one venue over a weekend would be a great idea and a highlight of the fixture list outside origin. Hopefully the success of the 9’s convinces them to do it.
– Mourinho vs Wenger – quality thinly or invisible veiled swipes at each other keep the football world ticking in the brief moments when nothing is happening on the field.
THE “ABOVE THE TOP SHELF” PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
– Has to be Mitchell Johnson. Before the Ashes series who would have thought that the mo would have transformed the erratic left armer into the most feared fast bowler in the world. Breath was held awaiting the South African series to see if the same Mitchell Johnson from the Ashes would show up, and happily he did, and then some. Some of the bowling was brutish, setting up real fear amongst the opposition for the rest of this series, if not batsmen all around the world.
GRAB THE PLUNGER – THE LOWLIGHTS
– Winter Olympics – yes it’s on. Now Australia can go back to usual caring levels now that the hyped superstars have all missed gold. Although 2 silver and a bronze is still a great effort for a country which has had a s many 40+ days this summer as we have had.
– Graeme Smith’s blaming pitch for first test loss. Both sides batted on it.
THE STREET MONEY OF THE WEEK
Australian Olympic Committee reportedly spending $1 Million on Chumpy Pullin.
If the reports are true, then the funding of Alex Chumpy Pullin to the tune of a million seems to be a poor investment. Like in horse racing anyone with a million to spare can back the most obvious short priced favourite, and when they lose a harsh lesson is learnt. No winter Olympian is worth that kind of money. That’s what Red Bull for, to spend multi million dollars on extreme sporting stars.
UPCOMING WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS – presented by Womack Industries Inc. (Formerly Womack & Womack)
– 2nd Test v South Africa – more of the same please. A win would almost secure Australia as second best in the world and on the right path to the crown.
– F1 testing at Bahrain. With the first test a minor waste of time except for marvelling at the nose sections on the new cars to match this year’s attempt to slow down the cars, hopefully Bahrain will offer something more meaningful in how the grid will shape up this year. Surely Renault can’t have a worse test, so we’ll see the Red Bulls in action. A team hoping the temps will be higher than their total of points lasty season will be Williams. After a promising first test, a lot of people are hoping the timely switch from Renault to Merc will pay dividends this year. Losing Maldonaldo Venezuelan cash and being replaced by Martini branding can only be a good thing.
– A couple of proper League Games are coming up too. World Club Challenge and the annual Charity Shield. Both should prove good contests, and a welcome taste for the season ahead.
THE JACK THE SLASHER ALMOST FORGOT EVENTS
– More Winter Olympics but especially the Ice Hockey – highlight of the games.
– AFL Pre Season Tournwa continues all over the place.
– Bound to be some Golf somewhere – World Matchplay is usually interesting, for golf.
– A League
THE BEST BETS OF THE WEEKEND
Sydney Roosters / South Sydney Double – $1.90
Draw – Friday Night A League – Central Coast v Wellington – $3.50
Ian Poulter to win World Matchplay – $29.00