It’s been 8 days since my last confession, and I must confess that the AFL season has now entered the finals and has been virtually ignored by this column, and in general. It’s not you AFL, it’s me. With all the Football, World Cup, F1, NRL, Mechanic not winning any of the golf majors, and of course Rugby Union, it’s been hard to keep up with everything. My penance is to watch all four finals games this weekend. Tough life.
So as the AFL enter the finals the NRL as ever are behind with their final regular week only being played this weekend. Although with every game except the Tigers v Sharks meaning something to the finals race it looms a goodun’.
What’s also looming is in about a month or so there’ll be no Australian Football to talk about. With only Cricket and handful of RL tests and V8’s to cover the summer, it could be a lean period for this article. Never fear, we’ll just come up with a Summer Series of the article, just like our favourite now defunct TV Show Today Tonight.
Continuing on the theme of crap, the horrible realisation that a big cricket summer also involves way too much Michael Slater (with >0 being the maximum The Gurgler can stand). We can only hope the ABC Grandstand coverage is not far out of synch. No doubt there’ll be more whinging about that in the not too far future. But best we get back to the very recent past and future.
WILL POWER – An “at last” that has rarely been more deserving for the Toowoomba speed merchant. He finally nabbed the Indycar championship last weekend after many attempts and close Chaves. So our hat off to you for the championship, and thankfully due the season ending in August, you’ll have plenty of time to celebrate. The way Caterham are changing their drivers, he might be a chance there before the year is out.
GWS – Avoided the wooden spoon which is an achievement to be proud of. Victory in the last round against the Bulldogs confirmed third last and progress. With only one win less than Premiership juggernauts Brisbane Lions and Carlton they can look forward to next season and improve again.
EVERTON 3 – CHELSEA 6 – who doesn’t love goals. 9 goals in all with the usual pieces of controversy and feistiness. There won’t be another one this season so enjoy it while it lasts.
ZIMBABWE beat AUSTRALIA – OK, so it’s only a meaningless ODI tri series (which one isn’t) and we did beat South Africa, but Australia shouldn’t be beaten by Zimbabwe. Let alone easily beaten too. Not doubt selectors will blame it on Phil Hughes. It does highlight the perils of minnows for the upcoming (wait for it and try not to get too excited) Cricket World Cup.
REFEREES BRONCOS v DRAGONS – Sure officials make mistakes, and the binning of Gillett in last Friday’s game was plenty big. However it highlights two frustrating things with officiating. One – with all the extra officials and ability to go to the video replay system, why can’t moments as big as these be reviewed before a side is punished for 10 minutes. Two – why aren’t the officials held to account more. Surely if a team who have been beaten by 60 points have to front up to a presser against their best wishes, a ref could be made to explain on the night how they reached some of the conclusions they did. Not going to happen. The NRL will be hoping the next error isn’t against the Cowboys in a knockout final, or they may need some troops diverted to Townsville.
PNG HUNTERS OUT OF QRL FINALS CONTENTION – The PNG Hunters were undoubtedly the great story of Rugby League this year. Faced with a bye and a list of results needed to continue into the finals, the PNG Hunters came up short, but only just. Need either Ipswich or Tweed to lose their final game, the Jets took out half of the equation on the Saturday. Tweed however made PNG wait until the very last minute for their disappointment. A last minute try to the other Seagulls sunk the hopes of the Hunters and League fans everywhere. Their cavalier style will hopefully continue next year all the way to the NRL Superbowl Final.
FOOTBALL INTERNATIONAL BREAK – a bunch of meaningless friendlies a few months after the World Cup. Who gives a shit. Only upside is the third and fourth tier get their moment on Soccer Saturday, and Non League day in the UK gets bigger and bigger.
THE WEEK’S POISONED CHALICE
Gold Coast Titans appointed Neil Henry as coach for the next three years. Given their late season form it is hard to see that 3 years being completed. A question mark on whether the club itself will be around in three is also in the back of the mind, given Gold Coast’s apathy towards sport at times. Daikyo Dolphins anyone?
THE MEH OF THE WEEK – US OPEN TENNIS.
It’s on and we have no idea aside from the Aussie exits who is where. If anyone knows please feel free to text me.
NRL FINAL REGULAR ROUND
THE GURGLER WIN WIN WIN SUPERMULTI
GEELONG to beat HAWTHORN
SYDNEY SWANS to beat FREO
ESSENDON (with 24.5 Handicap)
PORT ADELAIDE to beat Richmond
NEWCASTLE to beat DRAGONS
DRAW – Switzerland v England
ICELAND to beat Turkey
SAN MARINO to beat Lithuania.
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