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Monday, June 14, 2004

It Was Like, Y'know, Suuuurrreeall...Man 

What the hell was up with that weekend of sport?!

I had an inkling that the AB's may just go ballistic and blow the poms away hence my hesitant pick for them by 15 points, but I didn't quite see that allround dominance coming. Not by a long way. There's no point going on about what happened as I'm sure you all saw it with your own eyes. Although I did notice that David Long mentioned in that Marshalls "passes to Spencer weren't always as clean as they should be and was shown up by Matt Dawson in this area whose passes were much more crisp", while Chris Hewett in the Herald said that "Dawsons service was laboured". So it's true then, they really do just make all those aftermatch analyses up.

Anyhow, I thought Marshall didn't have a great game by his standards and was probably the weakest performer in the team but his service has always been a talking point. That's his style though, he's a running playmaker type halfback rather than one who merely concentrates all his energy on passing as quickly and as accurately as he can from scrums, rucks, mauls and lineouts. That's the reason why we have all seen him surging through gaps around the fringes and having people run off him. If we want a robotic half who just levers the ball quickly out to his first five then wake me up when the game is over.

Also check out the great comments by the fans on the games over the weekend at Planet Rugby. Boy does Stephen Jones get it. I think I'll not bother mentioning the guys name in the future as it seems everyone in the entire southern hemisphere is hung up on one mans flawed opinion. Let the guy think what he wants.

OK so on to the second surreal moment of the weekend. The Warriors. I was off in an American military base in the centre of Seoul playing a soccer game on one of their artificial pitches. There's a whole story there about what's going to happen to this base in the coming few years, but that'll have to wait I'm afraid. So we played ok but lost 2-1 with yours truly 'throating' the ball into the goal for us before the oppositions star player knocked in a couple and blah blah. So then I get home late in the evening and quickly get on the comp to see what the score was. 50 fucking 4 loss to the Tigers and in NZ as well. Sorry Tony Kemp but the Watson boys would have been looking for a new coach for next season (or earlier) before the players came up the tunnel for halftime. Absolutely shameful.

I don't care how good people think the Tigers are this season I'm going to show you how good they are. They now sit 6th on the points table but that's slightly misleading as both the Sharks and Dragons have bye points owing to them which would see those teams draw level on 16 points. Looking at the Tigers results this season. They have had seven wins and six losses. All their wins have come against teams below them on the table with the exception of a win over a depleted Bulldogs team a few weeks back. Teams like the Sea Eagles, Warriors, Eels, Raiders, Cowboys and Sharks...whoop dee doo. I would say that tentatively you could pencil them into the playoffs though along with the Storm, Sharks and Dragons to join the current (and permanent) top four. All the Tigers have to do is keep winning the games they should do and they will get in there (only to get thumped out immediately). Those fringe teams I named seem to have a touch more consistency than the likes of the Knights, Raiders and Eels. Here's the reframed points table after each team is given all their bye points.

1 Roosters 22
2 Bulldogs 20
3 Broncos 20
4 Panthers 20
5 Storm 18
6 Dragons 18
7 Wests Tigers 18
8 Sharks 18
9 Knights 16
10 Raiders 16
11 Eels 16
12 Cowboys 15
13 Sea Eagles 12
14 Warriors 12
15 Rabbitohs 11

And then there was the cricket where we simply seemed to bowl too many four balls and once again lost a player through injury (Mills). I really don't want to spend half an hour trying to go through all the articles from the tour to get the full accurate count so here off the top of my head is the injury and illness list:

Bond goes, bowls, hurts and leaves.

Astle pukes and has to bat at number 7 in the second innings of the first test.

Vettori pulls his hamstring fielding in the second and pulls out.

McMillan breaks a finger and misses the second test (I assume that's why he only bowled 2 overs in the series).

Oram injured in first test then has to play as a batsman only in the second test (before bowling again in the third and finishing with series figures of 2 for 212).

Tuffey breaks down in the second test (series figures 3 for 246).

Papps breaks a finger and misses the third test.

Martin bowls 11 deliveries in the third test before breaking down.

Mills breaks down in the third test but not before bowling 36 deliveries for 31 runs.

and Fleming wanted to go home all along to give his body a rest.

What and who am I forgetting?

And anyway, last but not least from the weekend. I stayed up till 5:45am last morning? to watch England play France in Euro 2004 and boy was it worth it. England looked very solid for ninety minutes and if Beckham hadn't had his penalty saved in the second half it was all over at 2-0. But then somehow out of their froggie arses the French scored two goals in two minutes in injury time to win 2-1. You can bet that the 3-0 whitewash of the Black Craps has been swallowed up by the aftermath of that game. The looks on the English fans faces after the match was priceless. Utter disbelief and in some cases tears. And all that for their first pool match in a regional tournament.


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