By Max Lane.
Another sporting week goes by, and another one looming providing plenty to discuss and dissect.
Australian Cricket proved it was too good to be true, the Winter Olympics finished (if you hadn’t noticed) and the Australian football seasons get closer and closer.
That will gives us more to talk about soon, in the meantime we have to settle for what’s on offer right now.
The STABILO BOSS HIGHLIGHTS OF THE WEEK – brought to you by the NOKIA 7210.
– Jason Day’s win at the World Matchplay was a quality result for a quality guy. Hopefully it’s a warm up for a trophy filled majors tilt to improve on the excellent showing from last year.
– Sheffield Shield Cricket – just glad to have it back to fill those boredom dross filled days at work with Cricinfo and Local AM radio updates.
– Proper Rugby League trials. Proper results too (for a long suffering Souths fan). Both the Charity Shield and World Club challenge showed glimpses of two teams who should be in the sharp end of the comp this year.
THE “ABOVE THE TOP SHELF” PERFORMANCE OF THE WEEK
– The announcement of the FFA Cup. It may be a slightly poorer cousin of the famous FA Cup in England, but it has potential to be a top notch sporting event. Not only a knockout winner takes all cup, but it has been engineered so lower league teams are primed to upset. All Non League v A League games are to be played at the lower team’s home ground. Also, the draw is designed so that 1 Non League Team will make the last 4. The lips smack with anticipation for a Brisbane blockbuster of North Pine vs Roar at Bob Brock Park.
GRAB THE PLUNGER – THE LOWLIGHTS
– In stark contrast to last week – the lowlight is the Aussie cricket team’s loss in the second test. One could add the cliché of one week is long time in sport, but we couldn’t be bothered, even though it’s true. Although some factors were against the Aussies like an ordinary pitch on the first day, they were thoroughly beaten by quality South African bowling. It also shows just how much the Haddin bonanza saved our rings in the Ashes. Our top order is far too inconsistent, and centuries only seem to come when the person in question is close to losing their place. Case in point our opener who was on the chopping block before the test. Going on that form, the whispers of unhappiness about Michael Clarke will ensure a game winning century this test.
– Special mention to Nathan Lyon’s shot in the first innings, which is one of the worst attempts to a show this summer.
– Brisbane Broncos – looking an ordinary season ahead if the pus they served up in NZ continues.
– Winter Olympics Closing ceremony. Is there anything more useless and wasteful than an opening ceremony. Yes, a closing ceremony. A Winter Olympics one no less. Good to spend several millions on a celebration to tell everyone where the next one is. Not that anyone will remember or know now where the next one is. Somewhere in Korea I think.
– Man Utd fans whinging about how bad their team is. Try spending a lifetime in the lower divisions.
INTERMISSION LINK – kill some time.
You think you love football?
SPORTING MYSTERIES – sponsored by Rodger Davis Menswear. It’s Plus Four – Plus!
LUCAS NEILL – the forgotten man of Australian Football. Hard to think that an Australian captain of any sport would be booed by his own fans, and Michael Clarke aside, Lucas Neill has received that “honour”.
It is something he won’t have to worry about next week in London as he was overlooked for the friendly at Millwall. Fairly too in this regard seeing he hasn’t had a club for some time. Despite best efforts to sell himself to football clubs like a meat tray at an RSL, the best he could do was Watford in the UK Championship.
His old club Blackburn were ok to let him train with the kids but not a full time or even temp gig. Harder to imagine is no A League wanted him either. Not sure what riders he had to come and join, but surely he would have offered to play for free to make the World Cup. If it wasn’t for the Elton John’s former team, he may well have been playing for the powerhouses of Marconi or Sydney Olympic in the NSW League.
UPCOMING WEEKEND HIGHLIGHTS – presented by Womack Industries Inc. (Formerly Womack & Womack)
– Final F1 Test in Bahrain. Last chance for Red Bull to get more laps on their car before the season starts. Other teams get their chance to keep the advantage. With all the unreliability and unpredictability of the cars, Melbourne looks to be a cracker in a few weeks time.
– Adelaide 500 – whilst on motorsport, the V8’s kick off this weekend. A shame the two races have been changed to three, but still a welcome return. Safety nuts will find it hard to contain the excitement of Volvo’s introduction. Unfortunately not the station wagon driven by Rikard Rydell back in the 90’s.
– QRL Rugby League returns. An early start, but for a good reason – the Superbowl vs NSW Cup on Grand Final day that is well overdue. What better fixture to kick off the first round than perennial achievers Redcliffe against newcomers Papua New Guinea. Some bone rattling crunches will surely be on offer and the Gurgler will be there to recover the bits of human and report for your pleasure.
– 3rd Cricket Test v South Africa. Both teams have flogged the other, and now it comes down to a series defining test at a ground that Australia was bowled out for a total less than an under 12 cricket has to retire at. 2nd in the world and another failure for South Africa to beat Australia at home in the modern era is at stake. As are the standard top order batting places.
THE BEST BETS OF THE WEEKEND
QRL MULTI $18.50
+ PNG to cover 14.5 points v Redcliffe
+ Norths to beat Ipswich
+ Wynnum to beat Tweed
+ Easts to beat Mackay
MICHAEL CLARKE MOST RUNS 1st INNINGS – $4.50
SHANE VAN GISBERGEN ADELAIDE 500 WINNER $10.