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I cover AFL, AFL Women's, NRL, the Supercars and tennis.

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Roar Guru
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2022 AFLW: Round 1 preview

We are only just a few days into the new year but we do not have to wait long for the return of Australian rules football, with the sixth season of the AFL Women’s competition to get underway this weekend.

Re: the five-minute warning – examples of notable matches Ten televised during this period include, among others:
* the 2005, 2006 and 2009 Grand Finals
* all those close West Coast vs Sydney matches (the 2005 and 2006 QF’s, both matches in 2007 and a mid-season match in 2009)
* the 2005 semi between the Sydney Swans and Geelong Cats where Nick Davis booted the match-winning goal at the death
* matches between the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans early in both the 2004 and 2005 seasons which were decided by less than a kick. In the former, Jason Ball missed a shot at the death while in the latter Barry Hall booted a goal after the final siren to give the Swans the lead for the only time in the match.
* the Brisbane Lions vs Carlton EF in 2009 and the West Coast vs Carlton SF in 2011
* a 2003 match between the Adelaide Crows and Collingwood where Chris Tarrant booted the match-winning goal after the final siren
* a 2002 match between St Kilda and Sydney which, for the most part, was a dour affair which only sprung to life in the final five minutes or so. In that match, Nick dal Santo, playing just his second game, missed a shot at goal after the final siren.

Ten years on: Why Ten's AFL commentary still reigns supreme

“Parra beating Storm in the GF”

That cannot happen this year, because whoever wins the Panthers vs Eels SF will go on to face the Storm in the preliminary final. A Storm-Souths prelim IS possible, because both sides won their respective QF’s in week one.

NRL semi-finals preview: Expect spite in a grand final replay and a western Sydney derby

I always like to market past Grand Final match-ups (in this case, Roosters vs Sea Eagles this weekend) as such, like I did last week with the Eels vs Knights elimination final, though their Grand Final showdown was twenty years ago and no player or coach remaining from that match is still in the NRL today.

That’s because a past decider will almost always get brought up when two teams meet each other in a subsequent finals match – watching Channel Nine’s pre-match coverage of the Eels vs Knights match last Sunday, they did air a flashback to the said 2001 decider which the Knights on 30-24. Same goes with the Storm vs Sea Eagles QF last week.

NRL semi-finals preview: Expect spite in a grand final replay and a western Sydney derby

I have noticed that some of his comments are basically rehashes/summaries of the main article, and sometimes stating the obvious; read some of my articles and you’ll know what I mean.

The ten greatest preliminary finals of the last 30 years

in fact, the Swans were the third-lowest scoring side in the regular season, even the wooden spooners Carlton scored more points than them across twenty-two matches (2016 to 1974 IIRC).

I think it was rather appropriate that they kicked the winning score of 8.10 (58) in the Grand Final, as they did in the aforementioned loss to the Saints, as it was basically a summary of their season in a nutshell (long, hard defensive slogs which became unwatchable in most matches).

The Swans back then were more of a defensive side, as they continued to be John Longmire, and it wasn’t until Buddy arrived at the club in 2014 that they added a dimension in their offence.

The ten greatest preliminary finals of the last 30 years

That is not possible this time, because Alexander Zverev, who faces Novak Djokovic in the men’s semis tomorrow morning (AEST), is 24.

But yes, it would be nice if we could have two teens facing off in a men’s Major final one day. If my memory serves me well, Rafa (2005 French Open) was the last male teenager to reach a Major final, let alone win one, when he beat Mariano Puerta to win the first of his 20 Major titles.

Raducanu, Fernandez in all-teen US Open final

You may also recall that Paul Roos and the Swans copped plenty of severe criticism for the way they played against the Saints earlier that season (in Fraser Gehrig’s 200th, the Saints blew them out of the water with a 43-point win with the G-Train kicking seven goals). If I also remember correctly, that match copped some terrible television ratings in Sydney as well.

Both Andrew Demetriou and Robert Walls went as far as saying that the club couldn’t win the flag that year, but both would ultimately be proven wrong. Ironically it was the Saints that would save their worst for when it mattered most, despite going in as flag favourites.

The ten greatest preliminary finals of the last 30 years

I was at that game, and as a GWS member I was so heartbroken that I left immediately after the final siren. Still, it was a privilege for me to witness one of the great finals matches in the flesh.

The ten greatest preliminary finals of the last 30 years

May have to wait until the team lists are released tonight, but there is a good chance he will.

'Through hell and back': AFL prelim previews

From what I can remember, Parra attended the Grand Final breakfast that year looking tense and nervous, while the Knights seemed to enjoy it more. Also worth noting, the Novocastrians had only won the title four years earlier in 1997 and so had that big game experience as opposed to the Eels side which was contesting its first decider since 1986.

Still on the Eels, when they reached the Grand Final in 2009, they tended to enjoyed the moment more because they were the underdog and didn’t have the burden of favouritism on their shoulders. Sydney embraced them, as they would in a typical Sydney vs Melbourne rivalry.

NRL finals Week 1 preview: The quest to stop the Storm

Now that’s the million dollar question. As I noted in the article, they have twice wasted a double chance, in 2017 and 2020, and in both years were unlucky to have had to face the Storm in a qualifying final.

The other time they reached the finals in the past decade, in 2019, they thrashed the Broncos by 58-0 only to then get blanked themselves by the Storm in the semi (32-0).

My feeling is that if the Eels drop their first final, it could be curtains as far as Brad Arthur’s coaching career is concerned.

NRL finals Week 1 preview: The quest to stop the Storm

Cheers, I hope you are enjoying the US Open as much as I am.

Two more favourites fall in New York as Djokovic closes in on the Calendar Slam

“There’s no telecaster for the Beijing Paralympic Games but I believe that Seven will more likely have the rights to the Games (becuase due to the fact that Seven secured the rights to the 2022 WInter Olympics in Beijing).”

I think you’d be on the money with that. The last Winter Paralympics, Seven was restricted to only daily highlights, partially because of 1) the limited sports/disciplines that were held and 2) the fact that winter sports aren’t really our strength, Alisa Camplin and Steven Bradbury aside.

A look back at Australia's very successful Tokyo Paralympics campaign

CORRECTION: “She did, however, reach last year’s US Open final – her first in eight years…”

That should be seven years – prior to last year, her most recent appearance in a US Open final was in 2013.

Azarenka, Muguruza set up third round clash while Osaka walks over

Sorry I forgot about those two losses in 2019.

It's winners vs losers: AFL finals Week 2 preview

Some (if not all) of the time, it’s not how you perform in the regular season, but rather how you perform in September, that counts.

Look at Parramatta in 2001 for example – they broke all sorts of records but then choked in the biggest match of all. Again looking at them in 2009 – they had a poor season right up until just after Origin, but then went on a stunning run that took them to a shock Grand Final berth where they then fell short vs the Storm.

The difference between 2001 and 2009 was that the Eels went into the latter Grand Final with a relaxed attitude as opposed to the former year when they appeared nervous as hell and were caught on the hop by the Newcastle Knights (which still had remnants of its 1997 premiership side playing in their 2001 team).

In 2005 the Eels and Broncos were the standout teams for the majority of the season, but neither side reached the Grand Final. The Wests Tigers were as low as 12th after round 15, but timed their run to an unexpected premiership well.

2021 NRL season: Round 25 preview

UPDATE: Both Williams sisters have withdrawn from the US Open due to injuries.

2021 US Open: Preview

That’s a good point you make there!

Also, this year and in 2004, a Summer Olympics were held, too. That being said, this is the first season in which Essendon has made a finals series in the same year a Summer Olympics was held (though the Tokyo Games delayed by twelve months due to the COVID-19 pandemic).

Historic firsts and only one 'home' advantage: AFL finals Week 1 preview

at least for the Giants, which had made a Grand Final in 2019 and were expected to again contend for the flag in season 2020, even with the season interruptions.

The Swans also failed to win a match in south-east Queensland last year, too.

Two Sydney derbies in two different sports is what Sydney needs right now

I think it was a tongue-in-cheek from the Parramatta Lord Mayor in reference to the Storm’s salary cap scandal.

Also worth noting, while the Eels went into the 2009 decider as the underdogs, they took a more relaxed approach as opposed to 2001 when they were the ones feeling the pressure and were thus caught out by the Knights early on (it was 24-0 to the Knights at HT). I still remember the Eels players feeling nervous at the Grand Final breakfast two decades ago, whereas in 2009 they seemed to enjoy the moment more.

History awaits the Melbourne Storm this Saturday night

In a way I was somewhat disappointed that he wouldn’t go on for another season, as he would’ve had the chance to bring up his 400th game as coach in round ten.

Anyway, as I noted in the article, he leaves Hawthorn in a better state than when he found it, and in the more than capable hands of Sam Mitchell.

Thanks for the memories, Clarko

CORRECTION: their round eleven clash was played in Dubbo, not Bathurst.

Finals come early for the Panthers and Rabbitohs in Brisbane this Friday night

I did say “if Essendon and West Coast beat Gold Coast and Freo respectively“ meaning Bombers > Suns and Eagles > Freo.

And thanks for correcting the ordinal mistake it was on my end.

The beginning of the end of Richmond - or is it?

which is why I didn’t include him in the small group of Hawthorn players that are still at the club.

The beginning of the end of Richmond - or is it?

Nope – Dean Rioli (Essendon) missed out on playing in his side’s 2000 premiership, and the following year he played in the Grand Final where they finished runners-up to the Brisbane Lions.

Maurice Rioli also won the Norm Smith Medal in the year Richmond lost to Carlton in the Grand Final (1982).

The beginning of the end of Richmond - or is it?

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