The 3rd test against South Africa was a dead rubber, but it was good to see the revitalised Australian team turn around their fortunes and get a win on the board. There were three debutantes playing in the game and I was impressed with Renshaw & Hanscombe. Unfortunately, Maddinson got a very good ball early in his only innings, so it was impossible to say if he will be any good. Renshaw resisted very well on the first night and while he only made 10 in the first innings, he showed similar application in the second innings. In the second innings the commentators were criticising his slow play which was somewhat in contrast with their lamenting in the first and second tests the lack of players that could stick around. He was in his first test, they had plenty of time, so I could not see the issue. He did seem to play and miss a lot, but I think on some of those “misses” he actually deliberately played inside the line. Hanscombe got a 50 in his first dig and then hit the winning run so a very promising debut.
The cricket now moves to a one day series against New Zealand, which seems to be a puzzling piece of scheduling .
Sticking with cricket it was great to see the Bushrangers get up against South Australia after conceding a first innings lead. Just reminding the Australian selectors that there is some quality south of the border.
Monday saw the AFL Rookie Draft and there seemed to be a clear pattern of recruiters getting in ruckmen and taller players. There was 27 players (ound half of the draft) over 190cm and ten of those were ruckmen. It does seem clear that clubs are not willing to waste a pick on a ruckman who may take 3-5 years to develop. This is a wise strategy, but does it jeopardise the future of ruckmen picking the AFL over basketball? I really think this is something which could cause long term problems with participation and needs to be monitored by the AFL.
Great to see Melbourne City win the FFA Cup on Wednesday night in a clash of the current top two teams in the A-League. I have been a little concerned about the City defence, but holding Sydney FC to a clean sheet perhaps indicates that my concerns were misplaced. On present form these two teams will be in contention at the end of the season and a win to City does provide some psychological advantage. Also great to see Tim Cahill amongst the goals….an inspired signing for Melbourne City.
Have a great weekend!
This time last year the Fremantle Football Club were the only undefeated team in the AFL, this year they are the only team not to win a game. What has happened? One of the reasons is personnel, they are an aging list and some of their key players are injured, but the main issue looks to be a change of game plan. It would seem they are trying to play more in the Hawthorn style, but unfortunately they don’t have the skill to execute that type of play. Their negative, lock down style of play got them to a Grand Final and save for a bout of stage fright and poor umpiring, they could easily have won that game, why change? I think they should revert to the style of football that made them successful. It may not be pretty, but it worked.
I have also got to have a say about the scheduling in the A-League. Melbourne City were scheduled to play after a five day break and while the best team on the night won the match, the fatigue factor certainly influenced the margin. Then you had Brisbane who had played on the previous Friday playing on the Sunday. Why didn’t Brisbane play on the Friday and Melbourne on the Sunday which would have been the fairest outcome. To compound the issue, the grand finalists have also been mismatched by the schedule with Adelaide playing at home on an eight day break playing the Wanderers on a six day break. At least in the AFL each side gets a seven day break leading into the final match of the season. How do you take a competition seriously with scheduling like that for a marquee game? By the way, I don’t care who wins this final.
I know that a lot of other people have commented on Mick Malthouse’s comment that Alex Rance should have been let off by the AFL Match Review Panel on the basis of his good character, but I could not let it pass without comment. What Rance did may have been out of character, however, he still did it and it was intentional. To excuse someone in that situation would be a total miscarriage of justice. Did it deserve 2 weeks? Maybe one would have been sufficient on the basis of impact/injury, but a suspension was definitely required. Good character may lead to a reduced sentence, but guilt is guilt.
Have a great weekend!
Well the Chelsea manager’s job continues to be a poisoned chalice with Jose Mourinho being moved on by the same Club for a second time the year after he took the title. It is pretty clear his team is not playing for him and being on the brink of the relegation zone, it did look to be inevitable and a case of when, not if.
Sticking with the EPL, Louis Van Gaal has also come in for some stick as well. While Manchester United have not been winning, they certainly haven’t been conceding many goals with the least “goals against” in the League so I don’t think it is all doom and gloom or as bad as the situation at Chelsea.
On the local scene we have the big local A League derby this weekend with Melbourne City coming off three very impressive wins as opposed to Melbourne Victory coming off three disappointing losses. The form guide couldn’t be more opposite. Personally I would like to see City continue their winning ways as they have been quite entertaining slotting the goals away at a consistent rate.
The Hobart test match finished, as predicted by most of the pundits, with an easy victory to the Australians. I think it is time the ICC stepped into the West Indies situation to provide more finance and support. Cricket needs a strong West Indian team as they are the only test playing “nation” in that part of the world and like the AFL commission fostering football in the northern states, the ICC have the same responsibility to world cricket.
Have a great weekend!
Well not only is Jordan Spieth the number one golfer in the world, he is also the number one tipster in the world having tipped Matt Jones to win the Australian Open title last weekend. Knowing that Jones is a friend of his and that he had tipped him to win, it got me thinking if Spieth had allowed Jones to win, not necessarily consciously, but maybe unconsciously. Watching the final hole with an eagle chance to put him into a play off, Spieth’s putt looked a little unconvincing. Putting aside my conspiracy theory, a great effort by Jones holding off the world number 1 in Spieth and a former world number 1 in Adam Scott.
The final test against the Kiwi’s in Adelaide last weekend breathed some life into the cricket despite it only going for three days. Finally the ball carried sway with the top score of only 66 being made by Peter Nevill the Australian keeper. The day/night concept was an undoubted success, but common sense should dictate that not every Test should be played in that format.
The Kiwi’s continued to fair badly with the DRS with Nathan Lyon getting a reprieve. The ICC has since come out and advised that the decision was wrong, however, the third umpire has to be absolutely sure if he is going to overturn the officiating umpires decision and there was certainly some doubt in my mind. The other decision which I think requires some review was the decision to send Mitchell Starc out to bat in the dying stages of the game. I had no problem with Starc going out there and trying to belt a few boundaries, but why not send him in before Peter Siddle and not when there was one ball to go in the over. Fortunately it didn’t matter and Australia got home.
Melbourne City have strung together two 5-1 results in a row in the A-League and they should make hay before the January transfer window, because if Aaron Mooy is not picked up by a European side I would be very surprised. He appears to be a class above his opponents and deserves a chance for higher honours.
Have a great weekend!
The biggest thing in local sport in the last week was the A-League grand final and what a comprehensive result for the Melbourne Victory. They were aggressive and positive from the start and played almost the complete game. Sydney FC only had two real shots on goal and both went straight to the keeper. Speaking of the keeper, Lawrence Thomas, in my far from expert opinion, he is better than
the injured Nathan Coe so they didn’t lose anything there. I think in the previous week Melbourne City put more pressure on the Victory defence for the same score line. This is perhaps the most complete side to take out the title and while they lost and drew a few games during the year that they should have won, it was evident that if they clicked no other side in the competition could beat them. Mark Milligan was a deserved winner of the Joe Marston Medal and it is surprising that he has not find greater success overseas.
In the AFL it is interesting to see the issue about the head high tackles and the tactics employed by the likes of Lindsay Thomas in drawing free kicks. I raised this issue earlier in the year and players that drop their knees and dip/raise their shoulders are almost impossible for the umpires to detect even though it is the equivalent of ducking the head. I think it is unfair to be critical of the likes of Thomas, the Selwoods, Shoey and Puopolo when coaches from all teams should be teaching the players the same tricks. Every supporter hates when these frees are paid against them, but delight when they go in their favour.
The heat on Mick Malthouse continues and it reminded me of when Ron Barassi went back to Melbourne. He had been successful at two clubs, but could not work his magic a third time. I think the main issue at Carlton is their atrocious disposal. They win the ball in contested situations and then give it straight back to the opposition. I think they could be a sneaky chance tonight against Geelong, but I am still not prepared to pick them. My upset for the round is the Saints to topple West Coast.
The NBA finals are entering the final phases and wouldn’t it be great if the Golden State Warriors played off against the Cleveland Cavaliers so we could be guaranteed an Australian was on the winning side. Andrew Bogut v Matthew Dellavadova. From a personal point of view I would like to see the Golden State Warriors win the title for Andrew Bogut given his constant battles with injury he deserves the reward.
Have a great weekend!