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mastermind5991

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Joined January 2013

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I cover mostly AFL and tennis, as well as some NRL and other sports. ATTENTION: I am on holidays at the moment and won't be on this site as much. I will resume normal operation on Sunday 22 April.

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@IAP – that’s because Spotless has a capacity of 24K whilst the Gabba has a capacity of 42,000. These days, the Lions struggle to get a crowd that is over 50% of the Gabba’s capacity, but that should change in the coming years when their on-field results continue to improve.

What Round 1 of the 2019 AFL season should look like

In that case, I’d have the Giants playing Fremantle at Spotless in round two before the horses take over the ground.

After that their next game at the ground won’t be until at least round eight or nine; in the meantime they’ll have to play two home games in Canberra and also face the Swans at the SCG.

What Round 1 of the 2019 AFL season should look like

The only way that would happen is if you have all the interstate derbies in the opening round, which I can’t see happening.

To date there has never been a Showdown in round one of any season, and I doubt that will change.

What Round 1 of the 2019 AFL season should look like

That is true, but just to point something out, in 2010 and 2011, the Crows didn’t play Collingwood at home. So it is possible at the Pies might face the Crows in Adelaide again next year, and if they do have to face Power there, it’ll be the first time since 2006 that the Pies have travelled to the City of Churches twice in the one season.

Last time the Pies played the Crows in Adelaide in consecutive seasons was in 2005-07.

Also it is not guaranteed that Collingwood will play Port in Adelaide next year. This year West Coast missed out on hosting the Pies for the second straight season, so anything could happen with the fixture.

What Round 1 of the 2019 AFL season should look like

Here in Sydney there was a Sunday twilight Sydney Derby in 2016, but it was still well-attended with 21,541 fans turning up to Spotless Stadium.

What helped was that the following Monday was the Queen’s Birthday public holiday, but if it had been in a standard round (i.e. no public holiday fixtures), it would have been poorly attended, as the start of the working week is just around the corner.

Earlier this year there was also a Sunday twilight QClash, in which the Suns beat the Lions by less than a kick at the Gabba, but it was just after the Queensland school holidays, which had been brought forward due to the Commonwealth Games, had concluded. Not surprisingly, it was poorly attended, with just over 16K attending.

Some people will also be thinking what exactly is the point of the Sunday twilight games, knowing that it is typically the worst-attended timeslot of the round for obvious reasons (one being the short turnaround between full-time and the start of the working week).

I think this is for television broadcasting purposes, as prior to 2007, on most Sundays you’d have the situation where three matches are being played all at once, except if one match was being played in Perth. I know for a fact that, between 2002 and 2006, Channel Nine had the rights to two of the Sunday matches, with the 1:10pm match being telecast live and the 2:10pm match being crammed into a two-hour broadcast window (with half-time being omitted) leading into the news.

It therefore is impossible for the Sunday twilight timeslot to be abolished, sadly.

What Round 1 of the 2019 AFL season should look like

And that was a week after they got beaten by Essendon at Etihad Stadium.

Missing the finals is the wake-up call Adelaide needed

CLARIFICATION: “since the Tigers suffered defeat against a Victorian team”

Add to that “…at the MCG”.

2018 AFL season: Round 23 preview

Also, Stevie J missed the prelim due to suspension. Who knows whether his presence could have been the difference?

Are the battered Giants the most credible threat to Richmond’s crown?

Yeah I’d love to see the Supercars race in Singapore one day, though take note that the Singapore Grand Prix takes place in mid-September and it would be about three or four weeks before the Bathurst 1000. And while it would be a twilight affair as you pointed out, it would be perfect for the Australian east coast audience for the fact it would be televised into our prime time.

I agree that having one of the two Gold Coast races under lights would be exciting, it would add another dimension to the sport and offer something of a rock concert-feel to it. As you pointed out, it would remain two races, but you also repeated what I had proposed: the Saturday race at night and the Sunday race in the afternoon.

If that proposal becomes successful, then in the future a Saturday night race and a Sunday afternoon race could become the norm at the majority of future events such as the Adelaide 500 and the Newcastle 500, which is still only in its infancy. It would also boost the popularity of the Supercars as a whole in terms of television ratings, attendances and revenue. Just a shame that we only get a limited number of extensive coverage on FTA, though.

Night racing here to stay, so where should the Supercars target next?

Whoops, you’re right. Thanks for the pick-up.

Storm and Rabbitohs to clash in top-of-the-table blockbuster

Normally at this time of year I throw up how Round 23 should unfold.

I strongly agree with Sydney vs Hawthorn on the Friday night; at this stage, it looks like the only match that is worthy of being played in this timeslot, especially with both teams purely in the finals race.

Adelaide are still in the finals mix, so the shape of the final ladder could come down to whether they can beat the Blues by a required margin to sneak back into the eight come the end of the round. We could have another situation like we saw with West Coast and Adelaide last year, whereby the Eagles won by the required margin to get into the finals at Melbourne’s expense.

The Dees vs Giants match, which you have scheduled for the Sunday, could also loom as a win-to-get-in match and both teams won’t be giving an inch on what could loom as an interesting final day of the season.

Bring it on.

My crystal-ball look at Round 23 of the AFL season

ANOTHER CORRECTION: “…to advance to his first Major semi-final in nearly twelve years…”

It should be “in nearly two years”.

Federer crashes out in stunning fashion, as Djokovic and Nadal set up blockbuster semi-final

CORRECTION: “…with games to be played in Adelaide next year and Perth in 2020.”

It’s the other way around. Perth will host a game next year and Adelaide in 2020.

No white wash for the Blues as Maroons farewell Slater in style

CORRECTON: “Next for the Canberran is 24th seed Kei Nishikori, who came from a set down to defeat lucky loser Bernard Tomic in straight sets.”

Should be “in four sets.”

Women's defending champion crashes out, as Nadal and Halep march on

Actually, the interstate clubs fly ten times in a regular season – you’re forgetting that the Swans only have to make the short road trip west to face the Giants. Only exception is Fremantle, who only have to fly nine times in the year as they played an “away” game against the Gold Coast Suns in Perth earlier this season.

A potential grand final preview looms between the Tigers and Swans

That’s if the Blues win Game II, in which case Game III would be a dead rubber, or Game III if it goes to a decider. Wouldn’t think the Maroons fans would want to stick around after the full-time siren to watch Boyd Cordner lift the trophy.

2018 State of Origin: Game II preview

TOURNAMENT UPDATE:
* Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza will go head-to-head in the semi-finals, with the winner to claim the world number one ranking on Monday regardless of how they fare in the final.
* As already noted in the article, Madison Keys and Sloane Stephens will go head to head in the other women’s semi-final.
* Both top half men’s quarter-finals were suspended overnight due to rain. Rafael Nadal is serving to take the second set against Diego Schwartzman after dropping the first set, while it is 5-all in the first set tiebreak between Marin Cilic and Juan Martin del Potro.

Djokovic crashes out as Keys, Stephens set up friendly semi-final

Sorry I meant “losing to Collingwood”.

More Friday night Blues looming for the AFL

Yes, that game vs St Kilda that you mentioned was the 2005 season opener. It was the first time an AFL season was ever opened outside of Melbourne.

Brisbane won that game but would then struggle for the rest of the season, to the point where they suffered a humiliating 139-point loss to the Saints in the return match at (what was then known as) Telstra Dome in the final round. It was in that match where Stephen Milne kicked eleven goals, four more than the entire Brisbane team that night.

Fair to say the Lions haven’t recovered since that defeat.

More Friday night Blues looming for the AFL

Sunday’s clash against the Crows at the Oval is looming as the Battle of the Wounded.

Giants – no Deledio, Greene, Scully, Williams or de Boer (Phil Davis in doubt)
Crows – no Walker, Sloane, McGovern or Smith (Brad Crouch and Paul Seedsman in doubt).

To think that two teams that finished in the top four last year could be so decimated by injuries at this point in the season. Don’t think the Giants will make it into September, while I think the Crows will simply be making up the numbers should they get there.

What has gone wrong for the Giants in 2018?

A well-unknown fact is that Tomljanovic has reached the fourth round at Roland Garros once (albeit before she chose to pledge her allegiance to Australia); she beat Francesca Schiavone and Agnieszka Radwanska before losing to Carla Suarez Navarro.

She has done very well to get her level back to where she wants it to be after such a shocking run with injuries as of recent.

Ajla Tomljanovic vs Elina Svitolina: French Open live scores

Cheers.

It is noted that the last time Serena Williams was unseeded at a Major, she not only went on to win it, but did so with a devastating performance against the (then-soon-to-be) world number one Maria Sharapova in the final. The way she performed in that match was absolutely stunning beyond belief, given how much criticism she had copped over her fitness entering that tournament.

So there is a precedence. What I also forgot to mention was that Kim Clijsters also won her first Major tournament back after giving birth, at the 2009 US Open. She went on to win two more majors, successfully retaining that title as well as winning the 2011 Australian Open.

Given that Serena has yet to really return to top form since returning earlier this year, I wouldn’t bet my money on her winning. But if what she achieved at the 2007 Australian Open, and Kim Clijsters’ heroics at Flushing Meadows in 2009 are anything to go by, then watch out.

If Serena bombs out early here then I suspect she might put all her focus and energy into winning Wimbledon again. An eighth title at SW19 would be the perfect way to cap off her comeback, though she will be 37 this September.

As for the men’s, it’s almost inevitable Nadal will lift his eleventh title at Roland Garros and it will take only a bad day at the office (think his loss to Robin Soderling in 2009) for him not to reach the final.

2018 French Open: draw analysis and potential matches to watch

CORRECTION: “…including their last four in succession against the Bulldogs, Cowboys, Knights and the Wests Tigers.”

They lost to the Cowboys in round nine, though they had beaten them in Townsville in round four.

Top of the table clash to also double as Origin audition

Without a doubt the Dragons’ big-name recruits, James Graham and Ben Hunt, have made an instant impact on the club both on and off the field and are living up to their price tags.

When you consider the modest form endured by their former clubs, the Bulldogs and Broncos respectively, and more importantly, how impressively the Dragons have started the season, their decision to join the club was the right one and will benefit all parties going forward.

I went to the game against the Roosters on Anzac Day and I was very impressed by how they played both in attack and defence. I knew that it would be an enjoyable afternoon (and I’m probably saying this on behalf of all the fans) the moment they scored after just one minute of play because they are a side that are relentless and never let their opponents get into the match (the loss against the Warriors, which was no shame given how impressive they have also been, aside).

The win against the Storm was made all the more impressive given their recent dismal record against the southerners. Storm coach Craig Bellamy said it best – the Dragons are the benchmark of the competition and he knew it – his side still have a lot of work to do to catch them.

As many people have said, State of Origin will decimate the side, and I can’t see them losing another match until at least the rematch against the Storm, which will take place in Melbourne where the Red V have not lost since 1999.

While exciting times do beckon for the club and their fans, we should all not get too far ahead, especially when you consider how the second half of last season unfolded, culminating in that heartbreaking loss to the Bulldogs in round 26. On a side note, it will also be exciting seeing the Dragons field a side in the NRL Women’s premiership later this year – if they can win the inaugural premiership it would be massive for not just rugby league in Sydney, but also women’s sport overall.

Now for the Bunnies this Sunday!

St George Illawarra take charge of 2018 season

That’s a different story. All four teams involved (Dragons, Roosters, Storm and Warriors) entered their respective Anzac Day clashes on the back of short turnarounds, because those matches started the round rather than ended them.

Next year, the Richmond vs Melbourne Anzac Eve match, which falls on the Wednesday night will start the round, as will also be the case in 2020. In 2021, it will fall on a Saturday night, and the Essendon vs Collingwood match (which falls on a Thursday afternoon next year) will be on the Sunday.

Just as a guide for the next few years:

2019: Richmond vs Melbourne Wednesday night, Essendon vs Collingwood Thursday afternoon
2020: Melbourne vs Richmond Friday night, Collingwood vs Essendon Saturday afternoon
2021: Richmond vs Melbourne Saturday night, Essendon vs Collingwood Sunday afternoon
2022: Melbourne vs Richmond Sunday night, Collingwood vs Essendon Monday afternoon

Anzac Day will not fall on a Wednesday again until 2029. Who knows if the Dees vs Tigers match will remain by then? Previously, in 2001, 2007 and 2012, the Anzac Day round would start on the Wednesday, though this year the Anzac Day round ended on the Wednesday, just past the halfway mark of a typical week. Amazing to think that round six starts tomorrow night, just two days after the end of round five.

Short turnarounds set to test Bombers, Dees, Pies and Tigers