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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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Final thoughts on the 2019 US Open

The US Open, and the grand slam season, is over for another year, and while Rafael Nadal became the oldest winner of the US Open in nearly half a century, in the women’s we saw our youngest major champion since Maria Sharapova won here at Flushing Meadows in 2006.

Tennis
 
Sep

Who could forget the controversial finish to their round eight stoush at the SCG earlier this year?

Five AFL games you cannot miss in 2020

CLARIFICATION: It will be the second straight year the Adelaide Crows play at home in round one, a streak which hasn’t occurred for two decades, while it will be the fifth straight year that the pre-finals bye will be employed before the finals.

The AFL rounds, matches and moments you cannot miss in 2020

Well written review of the Gold Coast 600.

I was at the event on Saturday and it was a great atmosphere; was also great to see Red Bull Holden clean-sweep the event after what’s been a difficult year dominated by Scott McLaughlin.

Great move by Lowndes to overtake Premat right at the very start and Car 888 never really relinquished the lead from that point.

Supercars Gold Coast 600 talking points

CORRECTION: Scott McLaughlin is actually 26 not 25.

Red Bull Holden Racing turn back the clock with a clean sweep of dramatic Gold Coast 600

“the Blues were moved into the semis, where they beat fifth-seeded West Coast.”

It must also be noted that the Eagles had their home final taken away from them due to the controversial MCG finals contract that was in place at the time.

If that game had remained at Subiaco, then god only knows whether the result would’ve been different or not.

Same case in 1996 when the Eagles also had a second-week home final against Essendon taken away from them.

No sixth seed has ever won the grand final. Can GWS buck the trend?

CORRECTION: “…saw the Tigers qualify for their 14th grand final”

Should be 24th, as I originally wrote.

2019 AFL grand final: Your ultimate preview to the big game

CORRECTION: This part of the headline is supposed to say “Little brother beats big brother”.

Hopes this clears up the confusion.

Little brother beats big brother as all-Swiss semi, and 'Fedal' final, go begging at Flushing

They did beat Fremantle by 44 points in the 2003 elimination final at Subiaco Oval (it was Freo’s first ever final). It also happens to be their most recent win in an interstate final.

Tomorrow marks 16 years to the day since that occurred.

2019 AFL finals series: Week 1 preview

Whoops, thanks for the pick-up there. It is indeed at Optus Stadium; I must admit I went too fast while writing my preview.

2019 AFL finals series: Week 1 preview

TOURNAMENT UPDATE

Rafael Nadal and Bianca Andreescu won their respective matches against Marin Cilic and Taylor Townsend this morning/afternoon.

Naomi Osaka crashes out of US Open to drop top ranking

Apart from Western Derbies, this has only ever happened once, when the Gold Coast Suns had to “host” Fremantle at Optus Stadium due to Metricon Stadium being unavailable (last year’s Commonwealth Games).

2019 AFL finals series: Week 1 preview

“imagine if West Coast had 7 or 8 weeks in a row at optus”

This is not possible, because the fixture requires that West Coast and Fremantle must each alternate playing at home every week (e.g. Freo in round one, WC in round two, vice versa).

Same goes with the Crows/Power, Lions/Suns, Giants/Swans etc. though there are instances where one team plays at home or travels for two weeks in a row.

2019 AFL finals series: Week 1 preview

Another one of the biggest victims of this controversial MCG rule were the Adelaide Crows in 2002.

That year, they finished in the top four, but never got to play a finals game at home, although they were entitled to one.

They lost their qualifying final to the Brisbane Lions, and were then supposed to host Melbourne at AAMI Stadium. But because Port Adelaide also lost its qualifying final (to Collingwood), and finished higher on the ladder, they were allowed to keep their home final while the Crows had to travel to the MCG to play the Dees (effectively making it a Melbourne home game).

The Crows then made the preliminary final, where it was beaten by Collingwood. Port lost to the Lions in the other prelim.

And in the second week of finals in 2003, there was no match played at the MCG because out of the two matches (Port vs Essendon, Lions vs Crows), one of them involved the eighth-placed Bombers, who finished just on the edge of the ladder.

I reckon had this rule not been in effect in 2004, the Lions could so easily have been quadruple-premiers and Port would still be flag-less in the AFL era.

2019 AFL finals series: Week 1 preview

I reckon Lloyd would have reached the 1,000 goal milestone if he hadn’t suffered a serious hamstring injury in 2006. That season, he kicked just over 12 goals (including eight against Sydney in round one).

Buddy brilliant: After one 'bad' year, Sydney's rebuild is already complete

Could be a potential Grand Final preview, as it was in 2011 (minus the violence in that Brookvale Oval match). I was disappointed that the Storm didn’t hold up their end of the bargain that year, otherwise there would have been fireworks (think what could’ve been a round two between Glenn Stewart and Adam Blair).

A Manly premiership this year would well and truly vindicate their decision to bring Des Hasler back to the club; I just feel that the team were missing the Manly DNA during the time he was away coaching the Bulldogs.

Get set for the battle of Brookvale this Saturday night

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and not every team can be premiership contenders for so long. That’s why the salary cap and drafts exist, so as to give every team equal chance of winning the flag at the start of every season.

I was privileged enough to be at the game on Saturday afternoon and I have to say, watching the Swans play in front of a capacity crowd at the SCG is one of Australian sports’ greatest sights. When you go to the ground, you know you’re always going to see a good contest, and this was no different.

It must also be noted, in the trade period and draft that followed the 2009 season, the Swans were able to recruit the players that would form much of the team for the next decade, namely Gary Rohan, Josh Kennedy, Ben McGlynn, Sam Reid and Lewis Jetta, among others. I sense there could be something similar come trade period/draft time later this year.

The end of an era for the Sydney Swans, but the future is bright

Cheers 🙂

2019 AFL season: Round 23 preview

Thanks for the correction regarding Nathan Jones’ age. I thought for a while he was 32 now.

Can the Demons bounce back after a 2019 from hell?

Port had three straight Round 1’s at home between 2008-10, and two straight between 2001-02.

Adelaide hasn’t had consecutive Round 1’s at home since 1999-2000 so I thought it’s time that changed.

What Round 1 of the 2020 AFL season should look like

@Billy – I wasn’t aware that the SCG would still be unavailable until around the end of March.
@TomC – if that’s the case, then another alternative would be –
Saturday
North Melbourne vs Melbourne at Blundstone Arena, 1:45pm
St Kilda vs Fremantle at Marvel Stadium, 4:35pm
Brisbane Lions vs Hawthorn at the Gabba, 7:25pm (local)
Collingwood vs Sydney Swans at the MCG, 7:25pm (Seven) <– first time the Pies have had a home game vs the Swans since the 2013 controversy.
Sunday
GWS Giants vs Gold Coast Suns at UNSW Canberra Oval, 1:10pm
Having the Suns play away in round one would allow them to play their milestone 200th match at home.

What Round 1 of the 2020 AFL season should look like

CORRECTION: The Roosters’ 58-6 victory is the second highest/largest by any side this season. I forgot that Melbourne Storm beat the Parramatta Eels by 64-10 in round nine.

Get set for a huge Super Sunday in the NRL

Also worth noting that Melbourne Storm lost 38-36 to the Gold Coast Titans at Suncorp in 2017.

History is against the Broncos as they face a Storm surge on Friday night

CORRECTION: “…with the Eagles recording their lowest score for the season with 5.4 (41).”

It is 6.5 (41).

2019 AFL season: Round 19 preview

Another thing that I must note was that it took Djokovic 56 minutes less than it took for him to beat Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final, in which the final set went to 7-5. One of the all-time great matches.

Final thoughts on Wimbledon 2019

Thanks for the heads up. Sometimes it is hard to keep count when the most celebrated trio in men’s tennis (namely Djokovic, Nadal and Federer) have won so many titles that you tend to miss out on their exact figures by one or two.

I think Djokovic will be the fresher for the fact that 1) he played his semi-final first and 2) he was barely stretched by Roberto Bautista-Agut in his semi though he did drop the second set. He’s also 3-1 against Federer in Major finals (2-0 at Wimbledon and 1-1 at the US Open) so that will also play a factor.

Wimbledon 2019: Men's final preview