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Joined January 2013

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Formerly The Master Mind, I cover AFL, AFL Women's, NRL, the Supercars and tennis.

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2021 NRL season: Round 6 preview

We are a fifth into the season and several things are still very clear: the Panthers are the team to catch, the Storm, Rabbitohs and Roosters are still contenders, while another long season could loom large for the Broncos, Cowboys and Bulldogs.

CORRECTION: “but that’s not to say that Matthew Clarke’s side will be back for another shot at the premiership…”

That should be “but that’s not to say that Matthew Clarke’s side won’t be back for another shot at the premiership…”

Third time lucky for Brisbane Lions as they finally capture the AFLW flag

also worth noting that there was a contentious MCG finals contract that was in place at the time, that required at least one finals match be played at the ground every weekend leading up to the Grand Final.

Twice, when Brisbane and West Coast were allocated home finals (in 1996 and 1999 to be exact), it was the Lions who finished the higher of the two teams and thus got to keep their home final while the Eagles had theirs taken away from them.

In 2002, the Crows finished third and never got a chance to host a final, that was because both the Crows and Port Adelaide lost their respective qualifying finals against Brisbane and Collingwood, and because Port finished higher on the ladder, they were allowed to keep their home semi-final against Essendon while the Crows had theirs moved to Melbourne (where they then came up against the Demons).

In 2003, there was one weekend where no finals match was played at the MCG because one semi-final match featured Port vs Essendon and the other the Lions vs Crows; the Bombers had finished eighth on the ladder and it would’ve been inappropriate for them to “host” the minor premiers Port at the MCG.

And in 2004, Brisbane controversially had its prelim vs Geelong moved to the MCG and many argue that eventually cost them a four-peat. The MCG finals contract was then abolished at the end of that season.

Revisiting the Brisbane Lions' improbable 2001 premiership ahead of another Dons showdown

CORRECTION: “ The Lions went into the match having won their previous 1% matches…”

That should be 15 matches.

Revisiting the Brisbane Lions' improbable 2001 premiership ahead of another Dons showdown

The St Kilda vs West Coast Eagles game that has just finished as I am typing this, has produced a surprise result with the Saints coming from 33 points down to upset the Eagles by 20 points, seven nights after their humiliating loss vs Essendon at Marvel Stadium.

I have a feeling the upcoming Pies vs Giants game might go either way, though the Giants are without several key players they are not to be taken lightly, as the 2019 preliminary final showed.

As for the Sunday games – Crows, Cats and Hawks for me.

2021 AFL Women's finals series: Week 2 preview

Sorry I misread the round information.

2021 NRL season: Round 4 preview

This has since been amended on my request.

Two unexpected winners and two unexpected losers to face off in AFL Round 2

Hawthorn to finish 18th is a huge call IMO.

Adelaide will improve, they do have some winnable matches in the first part of the season but that does not include their first round clash against Geelong.

The Swans could be in for another long season and a first-round thrashing by Brisbane could confirm that.

While I also think this year is the Cats’ last shot at a flag while Joel Selwood is playing.

Six spoilers for AFL season 2021

CORRECTION: “Due to the pandemic, early 2019 matches in Victoria were played with crowds banned from attending…”

That should be 2020.

2021 AFL season: Round 1 preview

CORRECTION: “ But to say that the club has not failed to live up to expectations since Balmain and the Western Suburbs merged at the end of the 1999 season would be harsh…”

The word “not” should not be in there.

2021 NRL season: Round 1 preview

CLARIFICATION: “…disappointing and controversial semi-final loss”

Should be “quarter-final”.

Three old favourites and some fresh faces line up in Australian Open semi-finals

LATE FIXTURE CHANGES:

On Sunday it’s now Richmond vs Collingwood at Punt Road Oval and Brisbane vs West Coast at Hickey Park (likely venue).

2021 AFL Women's season: Round 3 preview

as it stands, these two teams will have an unofficial bye this weekend, but if the COVID situation in WA clears up tomorrow then we could have a Western Derby.

2021 AFL Women's season: Round 2 preview

FIXTURE UPDATE:

Collingwood will now play the Geelong Cats, while the Brisbane Lions will now play the Gold Coast Suns.

A match between the GWS Giants and Adelaide Crows has been added, with that match closed to the public.

2021 AFL Women's season: Round 2 preview

To be honest, I’m not a real rugby union follower.

A look back at an unprecedented sporting year impacted by COVID-19

also –

* fourth straight year that the only match between Brisbane and West Coast is at the Gabba (including as part of the original 2020 fixture).
* fifth straight year that the only match between Richmond and Sydney is in Melbourne.
* fourth straight year that the only match between Brisbane and Sydney is in Queensland, though last season’s match was a Swans home game in Cairns.

Too many fixture repeats that should be ironed out come the 2022 season.

The moments and matches you must not miss in the 2021 AFL season

LATE NEWS: Xavier Coates will miss the Origin decider due to injury.

2020 State of Origin Game 3 preview

“the Sunshine Coast Storm”

Would love to see Melbourne Storm play at least one home game at their adopted home next year, this is of course pending the re-opening of the border between Victoria and Queensland, which may be possible before Christmas.

Storm’s 2020 title must be their toughest one yet, considering the circumstances that were thrown their way, including being forced out of Victoria in mid-June after the second wave of coronavirus took grip on the state.

The A to Z of season 2020

“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