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Joined January 2013

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Formerly The Master Mind, I cover mostly AFL and tennis, as well as some NRL and other sports.

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2020 AFL preliminary finals preview

The Port Adelaide, Brisbane Lions, Richmond Tigers and the Geelong Cats are left in this year’s race for the AFL premiership, with Victorian fans currently in lockdown hoping that their state will be represented in next week’s grand final.

“the Bulldog fans are much more ruckus than the Panthers fans.”

I agree, Bulldogs fans have more passion because they have been a successful club over the course of history, though they haven’t won a premiership since 2004. It was also at ANZ Stadium where the club regularly play their home games, but despite being the minor premiers in 2012, it was their lack of finals experience (prior to 2012, they hadn’t played a finals series since 2009, and not a Grand Final since 2004) that failed them on Grand Final night.

But while I will stick to my prediction of the Panthers, it’s anyone’s to win here.

2020 NRL grand final: The ultimate preview

Sorry, I meant Nathan Cleary. Easy to get the names mixed up!

2020 NRL grand final: The ultimate preview

Knew this from the beginning that the Panthers could build on from its round one win over the Roosters, even after COVID-19 caused the season to be suspended.

It’s wins like these that can make or break a season, and in the case of the mountain men, it was the first brick laid in a season of success they are enjoying.

Also worth noting, the only team they failed to beat all year were Newcastle, against whom the Panthers had a 14-all (?) draw in round three. Though they did have a loss to the Eels in round five, the mountain men got them back in round 18.

First win set up Penrith's record year

CORRECTIONS: “ It all begins on Thursday night…”

That and all references to Thursday night should be Friday night.

2020 NRL finals series: Week 1 preview

Nah, I never intended to use that as the article heading.

From powerhouse club to wooden spooners: The Brisbane Broncos' demise is complete

“Wayne Bennett is always in the conversion with this topic, winning the minor premiership in 2009 and then the premiership in 2011”

Think you meant 2010, the year the Dragons won their first premiership as a merged entity.

Anyway, on topic, and it’s hard to argue the fact that Trent Robinson is indeed the best coach of the modern era. Got the best out of Anthony Minichiello in his twilight years, and produced the most impressive rookie season out of any NRL coach since Ricky Stuart led the Chooks to the title in 2002.

I’d say out of Robinson and Stuart, the former’s feat was particularly impressive because not many thought of the Roosters as premiership contenders in 2013, especially after they’d missed the finals in the preceding two seasons, whereas Stuart took charge of a world-class team (think Minichiello, Fittler, Fitzgibbon, Ricketson, Wing and Hodges) that underachieved in 2001, despite them making the finals where they were knocked out in the first week of the finals by the eventual premiers, Newcastle. Not to mention that the Roosters had also made the Grand Final under the late Graham Murray in 2000, only to be on the wrong end of a gut-wrenching defeat to Bennett’s Broncos.

But you also have to give Bellamy the credit for the way he turned the Storm around after the devastation that was the salary cap scandal in 2010. Many said it would take years for the club to recover, but he got them back to the top of the ladder and then the title in 2012, and have been up there among the contenders since.

Trent Robinson: The best coach of the modern era

As a Queensland derby should be. I’d expect that it would still be well-attended despite both teams’ positions on the ladder and COVID-19 restrictions surrounding attendances at sporting events.

Final chance for Broncos to avoid wooden spoon in Queensland derby mockbuster

…that’s if the Broncos win by a large margin AND the Bulldogs lose by a large margin, which is just about impossible.

But if both the Broncos and Bulldogs win, then the former will finish last on percentage.

Final chance for Broncos to avoid wooden spoon in Queensland derby mockbuster

😂

I actually live in Sydney but of the two major footy codes (AFL and NRL) I tend to lean more towards the former.

What Round 1 of the 2021 AFL season should look like, plus other fixture proposals

That’s what I’m thinking too, if the regression continues next year as I fear it may, then the board will have no choice but to move Leon Cameron on.

Next season will be his eighth at the helm and I dare say anything less than (say) a top-six finish will see him finished at the WestConnex Centre by this time next year.

From grand finalists to flag favourites to also-rans: the sad story behind the Giant downfall in 2020

This year would’ve been Port’s turn, but the Crows were successful in lobbying the AFL for a round one home game so that they would toast Rory Sloane’s 200th game at the Oval.

But because next year is an odd year, it’d be the Crows’ turn (again) to play at Adelaide Oval in round one. Also worth noting, Port had three straight round-one home games between 2008-10, so why can’t Adelaide?

What Round 1 of the 2021 AFL season should look like, plus other fixture proposals

I’d like to think that we’ll be back to a standard 23-round season next year, assuming the COVID-19 situation is under control in Australia by then.

Alternatively, the AFL could unveil two alternate fixtures – the standard 23-round one, and a rolling 18-round one (similar to this year’s) in the event that state border closures prove a challenge to the season being completed.

What Round 1 of the 2021 AFL season should look like, plus other fixture proposals

CORRECTION: “… could yet finish in 17th place should North Melbourne upset West Coast on Thursday night.”

Should be “should North Melbourne be beaten by West Coast”.

2020 AFL season: Round 18 preview

Honestly I can’t see the Panthers dropping the points to the Bulldogs next week because the last thing they want is to cop a psychological blow ahead of October.

In that, a loss to such a lowly-placed team could affect their mindset in the finals series.

2020 NRL season: Round 19 preview

On the women’s side, I know there may have been plenty, but the one that stands out is the 2017 French Open, whereby each of the quarter-finalists in the draw had never previously won a Major.

Serena Williams wins her 100th as Alex de Minaur breaks new ground

…after 1990 for that matter, as Vasek Pospisil (born that year) was knocked out by Alex de Minaur this morning.

The last man under 30 to win a Major was Andy Murray (29) at Wimbledon in 2016.

It has been well documented that Djokovic, Nadal and Federer have dominated the Slams for so long and so I think it’s finally refreshing to see someone else win it for a change.

But could this be merely a pause in their dominance, or is this the changing of the guard that has rather come belatedly?

Controversy promises renewal at Flushing Meadows in the Round of 16

At this stage I have said “finalist”, doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll lose. Rather, I expect her to reach the final because despite having not won at Flushing Meadows since 2014, she has played her very best tennis in New York.

She has not failed to reach the semi-finals here since 2007, despite missing the 2010 and 2017 tournaments due to injury and pregnancy, respectively.

2020 US Open mega preview

Commentator’s curse. Bombers have just come from six goals down to beat the Hawks by 16. I actually tipped the Bombers to win, too.

Your AFL team's run home: Part 2

CORRECTION:

Predicted finish: first (15 wins, 3 losses, 60 premiership points)

Should be first (14 wins, 3 losses, 56 premiership points).

Your AFL team's run home: Part 1

Three, actually. Or if you meant south-East Queensland, you’d be correct with four as Cairns is in the far north.

Your AFL team's run home: Part 1

As much as I hate to say this, I think that given the circumstances with COVID-19 and Melbourne being locked down, the Dreamtime in Darwin will be a one-off. However, should it prove successful, then what I think could happen is that the game be played in Darwin every three years.

So for example:
2021 will be a Richmond home game at the MCG
2022 will be an Essendon home game at the MCG
2023 will be a Richmond home game in Darwin
2024 will be an Essendon home game at the MCG
2025 will be a Richmond home game at the MCG
2026 will be an Essendon home game in Darwin
…and so on.

However, I believe there is a contract tying the Dreamtime game to the MCG, but let’s see what happens.

A Dreamtime with a difference as Darwin becomes the AFL's epicentre

Apparently the decision to move him on was brought forward.

I think this might be so that he can prepare for the Parramatta game knowing it will be his final game in charge before moving on, unlike others who were sacked or resigned after the weekend of their matches.

Paul McGregor resigns as Dragons coach

CLARIFICATION: “…despite being held scoreless in the second half.”

Should be tryless.

2020 NRL season: Round 14 preview

Cheers. Thought it was at BankWest, but misread the round information. Didn’t know until just now.

2020 NRL season: Round 13 preview

Re:Scott Lucas – could be considered unlucky not to be named an All-Australian in 2006 given he (literally) carried Essendon on his shoulders that year.

It’s worth noting that, despite the Bombers’ dismal 2006 season in which they lost newly-appointed captain Matthew Lloyd after round three, they scored the highest amount of points among non-finals teams, and ranked ninth overall in attack.

The AFL all-time great alphabet teams: Letter L