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The Roar

Connor Bennett

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Joined July 2015

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I've loved all things sport since I was old enough to know what sport was

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Props to Carlos Sainz who is having a great season in the McLaren, but Horner is right… Gasly shouldn’t be racing against those guys in the midfield, not with the car he has. Verstappen has proven, despite the slow start to the season, that Red Bull have the machine to compete at the top but Gasly is making the team and especially himself look second rate.

I think everyone hopes for his sake that he can find some form. No one likes to see people crumble or be thrown out of a team and potentially the sport if he can’t find a team to fall back on next season, but it’s a ruthless game that he’s a part of and he’s currently losing at it.

It's time for Pierre Gasly to go

Vettel’s best chance of a World Title with Ferrari came in the last two years. I think unfortunately for him, that ship has sailed now through mostly his own fault of reoccurring errors in 2017 and 2018.

Ferrari have proven they have the car for it over the last few years if the driver can execute, but they just haven’t been able to do that.

With Kimi in the other seat, Vettel was never really under pressure as the leader, but now Leclerc has well and truly proven that he’s the man to drive for a title now. Earlier in the season he was given the team orders as the junior driver to let Vettel through, which I guess was fair considering the experience of himself compared to Vettel, but only half a season into his first year and he’s proven that it’s Vettel who will need to be moving over for him now.

It’s a bleak outlook for the German who I don’t think was intending to retire at the end of the season when it began, but might just consider it the way he’s going. Looks like he’s lost his passion for it after last season’s championship miss.

Also… how good is Verstappen vs Leclerc! The last two races have been outstanding for the sport, especially after the French GP.

Whether he wants to or not, Vettel is passing on the baton

Really harsh on Shakib not to get Player of the Tournament. Nothing against Williamson who indeed had a great few weeks himself, but Shakib’s all-round numbers were phenomenal. By themselves, he had enough runs for a great tournament and enough wickets for a very good tournament. He managed both!

The Roar's 2019 Cricket World Cup awards: Player of the tournament to biggest disappointment and everything in between

It’ll take something pretty spectacular for anyone else (basically just Bottas) to win the title from here. Hamilton is as clinical as they come, and while a great car helps, he’s shown by beating his teammates over the years that he nca do something with any car that others can’t.

Circuit Paul Ricard is sealed until 2022. Unless something changes, they surely can’t return after that. A terribly boring spectacle put on by a terribly boring circuit (in my view). The runoffs are massive, no squeezing along walls or even grass and gravel, over-taking opportunities are few and far between. From most accounts it’s not that challenging for the drivers either.

The title's finished, but you have to admire the way Hamilton ended it

I’d like to think that by pushing the scheduled time back 10 minutes from last year that they might actually be closer to the advertised time…

But who are we kidding, they’ll still drag it out! I’ll go with 8:21

VOTE: When will State of Origin Game 1 start? Queensland Maroons vs NSW Blues kick-off bingo

Most would think that resting your best against an assumed easy win is the way to go, but you’re right, no point risking an easy win when you can just cop a loss you were very likely to concede anyway

Have the Waratahs learnt nothing from their loss against the Sunwolves?

Particularly after Baku last season Bottas just looked really dejected, as if he didn’t have the motivation anymore to keep the fight up but like you say, a real killer instinct came out in Melbourne. He blitzed everyone off the line, it wasn’t even a challenge going into the first corner!

“Playing the political long game” looks exactly like what he’s doing. Especially in his comments before qualifying about being a No. 2 driver and knowing his place as the rookie driver and team orders etc. spoke volumes of his maturity and understanding of the politics in the sport and the Ferrari garage, something I don’t think Vettel (fighting Webber) and Verstappen (fighting Ricciardo) really had at the same age… even though had at the very early stages of their career, a kind of level of respect for where they sit in the team and how they need to develop as a team player as well as their own driver.

Obviously as an Aussie I hope Ricciardo heads up the midfield, but Hulkenberg can really fly under the radar as he has the last few seasons and Haas are on for a big season if they can maintain early signs. Kimi hitting Q3 and a top 10 was beautiful to watch, he’s such a good driver regardless of car or race situation.

Defying expectations: What we learnt from the Australian Grand Prix

Stunning drive from Bottas! He made Hamilton look second rate, and it’s not like Lewis had a bad race, he still finished second, but Bottas was SO dominant he made everyone look average. I hope for his sake he can genuinely challenge for the title. It would be nice to see another Rosberg-esque charge at Hamilton’s reign from within the team.

I loved the intensity and strategy around the fastest lap extra point. Bottas saying repeatedly “I want 26 points today” on the team radio was great to hear, the extra point will hopefully add a lot of extra excitement, tension and strategy at the end of races. I think it has the potential to add a lot to any given race.

Ferrari was pretty disappointing, although Leclerc showed very good signs later in the race, it’s a pity he had to back off Vettel despite him comfortably cruising (what should have been) past him but that’s just the way of the sport, he made a point that he can and will keep up with the preferred driver which is all he needed to do.

Haas looking very much improved from seasons gone by, could be a contender to lead the midfield in a nice battle with Renault if they can avoid more speed bumps.

Defying expectations: What we learnt from the Australian Grand Prix

It would be very sad to see the Sunwolves go. They’ve improved every single year (in terms of wins) and while they’re likely to finish at the wrong end of the ladder again this season, they’re good for the competition. They’re a team people love to watch, and love to see win. The people’s team!!

The Brumbies are about as consistent so far this season as my golf swing (hint, not at all) which can be said about the Australian Conference as a whole so far despite some good wins coming in the early rounds. Wins against NZ sides is a good start, a better start than the last few years, but consistency is key and that’s something Australian rugby is still missing

Six talking points from Super Rugby Round 4

It’s still astounding to think Kubica is driving again, I hope he settles back into the competitive racing side of things despite having to reportedly drive 70% left-handed!!

Bold call giving Hamilton the Drivers and Ferrari the Constructors. I think it’s a Ferrari double personally, but if it was going to be split I would have thought it’s the other way around. Hamilton and Bottas both have the consistency to take the Mercs to a Constructors. I think Leclerc will have his moments but I can’t see him keeping up with Vettel, Hamilton and Bottas to enough of an extent to move them ahead on Constructors.

Renault has to finish 4th, and even challenge the Red Bulls at three if Verstappen and co falter at any part of the season. Their drivers are 23 and 21, and while Max has wins and years under the belt, it’s still a very young setup. I’m expecting them to hit a road bump here and there throughout the season just through inexperience and youth.

Closer than close: 2019 F1 championship predictions

Surely, SURELY, Ferrari won’t find a way to ruin another season in which they should win. If they don’t take home Constructors and possibly strap a fifth Drivers title on Vettel this season then they should be kicked out of the sport for negligence!

In all seriousness, they’re looking like the team to beat so far, but the real excitement really has been the midfield. A strong midfield is a strong F1 and the teams below the top three are pushing harder than ever right now.

Who's hot and who's not after the F1 preseason?

I don’t know what he’s on about, that’s every weekend hackers dream save from the sand

The bunker shot that led to Sergio Garcia's epic meltdown

There definitely needs (or needed when they set it out) to be a better layout of Sheild, JLT and Big Bash, BUT, in regards to your main point of the piece… I pretty well agree.

I know a few people that don’t like how long the new season is but it really doesn’t bother me. Like you say, you can tune in or out at any time without any consequence. It might look like a lack of investment by the fan base but let’s be real, there aren’t really many passionate Big Bash followers, mostly just casual fans who don’t care who wins, they just want to see something entertaining. And that’s the point of the Bash, entertainment… it’s what gets bums on seats and multi-million dollar TV deals.

As for the competitiveness, there’s currently only ONE game that separates nearly the entire competition. Between last place and 3rd is just two points, with second place only one game further ahead, that’s about as close as it gets.

I agree with many complaints surrounding the scheduling and breakup of the summer, but if the argument is solely against a longer BBL season, then I haven’t been budged.

Yes, the BBL is slightly long. But does it matter?

A very interesting read James, well done on the stats work. It’s fascinating to see guys like Tremain and Neser appear so highly, names that many wouldn’t really think of in the selection arguments who have been plugging away in Shield cricket for a few seasons now.

I seriously doubt the selectors would look at a method like this but it’s cool to see how things shape up when you take a different perspective on the selection process.

Moneyball: Selecting the Australian Test team on stats only

Vettel’s championship is already gone for mine, he’s done the exact same this as last year and just blown the second half of the season when the pressure started to arive.

Credit to Hamilton though, the guy is consistent. When he isn’t winning he’s finishing podium, but when Vettel doesn’t win he gives up so many more points.

Red Bull should take a punt on Hartley for next season, they’re taking a backward step going back to Kvyat, who I’m sure has matured as a driver, but he had his chance and it’s time to try someone else

What's at stake at this weekend's Russian Grand Prix?

I was definitely anti-halo when they announced it last year. Not just in terms of the aesthetics, but the actual vision-impairment of the driver who now has a huge thing in front of their eyes while trying to navigate a track at 300km/h plus speeds.

Realistically though it hasn’t been the end of the world as a lot of stubborn fans were expecting. Yeah the cars look different, but the racing hasn’t been too affected and we have situations like this where Le Clerc gets to keep his head on his shoulders. Better to be safe than sorry, move on.

How Belgium put the halo debate to bed

Surely, SURELY, by now the UCI would have some idea on how to handle situations like these more professionally and clearer for the fans, the riders and the media.

SURELY!!!

Although I agree with the concept of innocent until proven guilty, if Froome takes the Tour you can bet your bottom dollar there’ll be outrage this and outrage that from everyone under the sun about the credibility and validity of such a “tainted” victory

Maybe the British media will be the exception…

Other than that, bring on the race! Should be a pearler this year

The UCI's handling of the Chris Froome case begs the question: Have they learnt anything from 20 years of scandal?

I guess it’s because we have so many other sports that we’re not accustomed to diving, although it is creeping in, and I understand that.

So if the rest of the world doesn’t get on board with this or any kind of change, then what happens??

We just say bugger it and let it go, let it keep happening and get worse? It’s probably the likely outcome which is unfortunate

KNOW YOUR LAWS: The act of diving

If they’re getting up and playing on a minute after carrying on like their bone just shattered through their leg. Red card.

It won’t stop, nothing will change, unless there is something to stop them doing it, and getting red and missing a game is just that.

Yes there will be teething problems initially, but it’s a long term play that has to be made to stamp out diving which is something the rest of the sporting world laugh at and brush football aside as a joke because of the theatrics.

It also creates problems when players are actually injured, because fans, officials, trainers and other players don’t know. They think it’s just another sell job to win a penalty and the person that is legitimately hurt could suffer because of it.

Pepe’s collapse from a tap on the back and Neymar’s rolling around after a touch of the shin is laughable, a joke, it makes them look like idiots and it makes the sport look stupid for allowing it.

KNOW YOUR LAWS: The act of diving

Valentine Holmes kicked 1 from 3 conversions. Missing out on four points… Queensland lose by four points

I guess all the concerns about not having a legit goal kicker leading into the series have come to fruition

Nine talking points from State of Origin Game 2

I don’t doubt he would have been the first person to the ball, but whether he picks it up, puts it down or the ball actually stays in as a whole other story

Tough call

Nine talking points from State of Origin Game 2

Tell that to Daly Cherry-Evans who took the Clive Churchill medal despite losing the 2013 GF

Nine talking points from State of Origin Game 2

Well… you’ve got a point

State of Origin 2018 kick-off bingo: What time will Game 1 actually start?

I’m calling an early one, I think 8:12 just because I think they’ll be making an effort this year to be on time and avoid the waffling

State of Origin 2018 kick-off bingo: What time will Game 1 actually start?

Williams has pulled out (retired) before the match with a chest injury. Sharapova through

Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova: French Open live scores