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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 season: Round 2 flashbacks

With the AFL season currently suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, instead of providing a weekly preview to the round of games, I will instead provide a flashback to a memorable game between the two sides which would’ve met this weekend.

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Roar Guru
Roar Guru

2020 AFLW: Round 1 preview

After the Geelong Cats and North Melbourne made their debuts last year, in 2020 we see four new teams enter the AFLW fray – the Gold Coast Suns, Richmond, St Kilda and the West Coast Eagles – thus expanding the league to 14 teams.

CORRECTION: “Essendon 14.19 (93)”

The Bombers’ score was 14.19 (103).

From the Vault: AFL Round 3

That was an amazing match that I had the privilege of watching.

At 19 points down with five minutes to go, many teams would throw in the towel, but not the Swans. While a lot of the discussion post-match was about the Swans’ great escape, there were also plenty about the Bombers’ collapse in those final few minutes.

Another classic between the two sides I had the luck of watching live was the Round 1 game in 2015. Half of the Essendon side were playing their first game that year, due to the ASADA suspensions, but shocked the Swans in the first three quarters, at one stage holding a 41-point lead.

However, the Swans would score the final 53 points of the match to steal a thrilling two-goal win, iced by Lance “Buddy” Franklin and first-gamer Isaac Heeney.

One of countless entertaining matches between Sydney and Essendon over the past few years, if not decades.

Flashback Friday: Swans vs Essendon, Round 14 2017

I did make the note about two of the three games in the NBL Grand Final series being played to a crowd of zero, though it didn’t make it to print.

Thanks for pointing that out, though.

2020 AFL Women's season: Finals Week 1 preview

bad news now – no fans will be allowed to attend any more matches (after tonight’s Geelong vs Kangaroos game) for the foreseeable future.

2020 AFL Women's season: Round 6 preview

Cheers.

Normally I’d write my weekly preview article on Tuesdays but because I was away from my computer all day I had to write mine a day late, on Wednesday.

I must admit it is a bit more difficult covering the women’s game because not only is it such a short season, you also need to read a lot of the match reviews from the previous week to get a glimpse of what to expect the following week.

That being said, GWS in particular will be bracing themselves for an angry Adelaide Crows side this week after the premiers copped a walloping from North Melbourne, and the Giants’ inconsistent form has been a worry which is why I’ve backed the Crows to bounce back on Sunday. But this whole competition is unpredictable – who would’ve thought that a Brisbane Lions side that 1) has been gutted by expansion and 2) couldn’t kick a goal for a whole trial match would still be in contention?

2020 AFL Women's season: Round 6 preview

As are nearly all the AFL Women’s games this season.

2020 AFL Women's season: Round 6 preview

Just a shame the wrong player was victorious, in my opinion. But in all seriousness, Sharapova was a well-deserved winner especially after the humiliation she suffered against Serena Williams the previous year.

And in a case of what-goes-around-goes-around, Ivanovic did the unthinkable and knocked Serena out of the tournament in 2014.

It's all Sharap-over: Thanks for the memories, Maria

What was impressive above all was the way in which she’s rebounded from the injuries and probably the most devastating loss of her career when she lost to Serena Williams in the final of the 2007 Australian Open.

My view of it, though, is that Serena went into that match not forgetting what had happened at Wimbledon in 2004, and was on a clear revenge mission. A lot of people will also think that Maria only defeated Serena once, but that’s not correct – she also repeated the dose at the WTA Finals later that year. After that, Serena won the final 19 meetings in a row.

I also think Sharapova should consider herself privileged to have played in the same era as the Williams sisters, because they above all inspire others to play well and lift their game.

It's all Sharap-over: Thanks for the memories, Maria

GRAMMATICAL CORRECTION: “ Coach Scott Gowans has already laid down the law for her side…”

Should be his side.

2020 AFL Women's season: Round 2 preview

“He also had two match points against Djokovic in a US Open semi-final but still lost.”

Not once, but twice. Those came in 2010 and 2011.

Also, to be fair, Roddick, Hewitt and Safin all won five major titles between them. Roddick in particular could consider himself unlucky not to win a Wimbledon title, especially in 2009 when it took Federer until the death to break the American’s serve for the first time in the match.

Federer could have also advanced into another AO final in 2005, had he converted one of the two match points he held against Safin (who he’d beaten to the title the previous year) in the fourth set. While Safin vs Hewitt was the most-watched tennis match in Australia to my knowledge, a Federer vs Hewitt final would’ve smashed the roof.

Presently, I think the lure of trying to finally win the Olympic singles Gold Medal is what’s driving him to play on this year.

Race for greatness: The case for Roger Federer

I strongly agree with you that it should’ve been a 13-round season instead of this controversial conference system that we have in place. This would’ve seen every team get to test themselves against the rest of the competition.

Re: finals – a top six ladder would’ve been a good idea. The top two teams get a bye and then teams 3 and 6 play in one elimination final, with the winner playing team 1 in the prelim, and teams 4 and 5 playing in the other elimination final with the winner playing team 2 in the other prelim.

As a result of this, apart from Adelaide not getting to play Collingwood for another year, GWS don’t get to play Freo either. So therefore we really don’t know how well certain teams match up.

2020 AFLW: Round 1 preview

Yep the Sydney International has been axed in favour of the Adelaide International.

However, Sydney will still get the group and knockout stages of the ATP Cup.

Your guide to the 2020 Australian summer of tennis (Part 3)

Yes, for walking out on his contract with the Bulldogs in mid-2008 after he had signed a five-year contract extension.

A look back at a decade of NRL football

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