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Sunday, July 31, 2011

NRL Results

Round 21 kicked off with the Sharks hell-bent of playing for their season, against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Suncorp is always an event, but the Sharks appeared overawed, and went down by 46-16. For the Broncos, Justin Hodges showed he was a good as ever with a hatrick of tries, and sent shivers down the contenders. The Tigers kept the front runners looking over their shoulder, with a 14-12 victory over the front-running Sea Eagles.

Super Saturday was highlighted by the North Queensland Cowboys winning again with Jonathon Thurston defeating the Panthers 30-18, while the Roosters certainly put paid to the Bulldogs season with a 32-28 victory.

Sunday games saw the New Zealand Warriors again, stamp themselves as a genuine threat with a convincing 29-10 win over the Raiders. The Gold Coast Titans season from hell, continues to set new worst-ever records when they were flogged by the Newcastle Knights 50-20. The Dragons threw away a 20-nil lead, with a stirring comeback from the Rabbitohs seeing them win 34-24. The Dragons are in a free-slide at present and need to reset their defensive attitude if they want to defend their title.

Dragons Defence Goes on Holiday

The St George Illawarra Dragons have slumped to a second consecutive loss, after jumping away to a healthy lead in the first half. The Famed Dragons defence has gone missing as they packed their cues away in the bag, and the Raiders and now the Rabbitohs have put the Dragons under pressure and panic has taken hold. Schoolboy errors and paper thin defence are not the hallmarks of Premiership teams, and unless the Dragons deal with this, and refocus, they defence of their premiership will go the same way that that their current results are going...down.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

AFL Preview Round 19

Last week 8/8 = 104/140 (74.3%)
Two perfect scores this season is worth crowing about I guess and maybe that’s because the unpredictability of form is becoming predictable. One thing you cannot predict is when and where an earthquake will happen and a couple of days ago I experienced another first in life, albeit one I would have been happy to miss, a cute 6.2 on the richter scale movement of the earth while I was lying in bed! For those readers that may have experienced such a frightening event first hand I apologise for recalling the terror. I had just retired to bed after walking along the beach at Subic Bay in the Philippines and it was about 1.00am. Firstly there was a rumbling sound which made me sit up quickly then the room in which I was staying at the Vista Marina resort started swaying and shaking. Being virginal in earthquake experience the mind takes a few seconds to grasp what is happening but there was soon no doubt as to what it was. To be quite frank it’s a terrifying experience and when all had settled down seismically it was a restless night. Apparently measurement of quakes goes on the scale of a 7.2 is 10 times the force of a 6.2. The mind boggles to think of what would have happened to the building if the tremors were 10 times that which occurred! The safest place is outside, away from buildings but if you are in bed and the building crumbles you really don’t have the chance to get out.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Petro Comes Home

Petro Civoniceva today announced a return home to Brisbane for season 2012. In a move that had been mooted, but not really thought likely, Petro will be returning home with his wife and four kids. Petro denies a rift with Phil Gould is the reason for his return and even that the rift existed. Currently the best front rower in the game, Gould is full of admiration for the Fijian giant, Petro will add experience to the young Broncos pack as they attempt to consolidate the gains of season 2011.

NRL Teams Round 21

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles: 1 Brett Stewart, 2 Michael Robertson, 3 Jamie Lyon [c], 4 Steve Matai, 5 Will Hopoate, 6 Kieran Foran, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Jason King [c], 9 Matt Ballin, 10 Brent Kite, 11 Anthony Watmough, 12 Joe Galuvao, 13 Glenn Stewart . Subs: 14 Vic Mauro, 15Jamie Buhrer, 16 Shane Rodney, 17 George Rose, 18 Tim Robinson, 19 Darcy Lussick (two to be omitted).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dragons Hoodoo Remains!

The Dragons hoodoo in Canberra remains with an incredible 24-19 victory by the Raiders with a try to Josh Dugan in the dying seconds after the Dragons appeared to be headed to victory after nailing a field goal with just over a minute left. A short kickoff was not cleaned up by the Dragons with Mark Gasnier slipping in the process, and the Raiders launched one final attack.

The Dragons plight was not helped by an ordinary kicking performance from Jamie Soward who kicked one from four. The Dragons do appear to staggering somewhat, and it was disappointing to see some of the errors committed from players like Ben Creagh. They need to regroup and refocus......

NRL Round 20 Review

Round 20 of the NRL started with a barnstorming game featuring two of the game heavyweights, in the Melbourne Storm and the Brisbane Broncos. The Broncos hung in, while the relentless nature of the Storm always gave them the indication that they would crack. The Broncos hung in at 6all for much of the game, but when they cracked the floodgate opened to some degree. The Storm won 26-6, but the Broncos didn't lose too many admirers. The other Friday Night game was heartbreak again for the Eels with the Bulldogs winning a thriller 8-7.


Saturday night saw the Cowboys win again without their captain Jonathon Thurston, although his presence was felt with a blistering half-time rev-up by the injured captain. The Cowboys disposed of the Titans 28-20. The Tigers played the Roosters on Saturday night as well, and many thought the Roosters were ripped off....but the scoreboard ended up saying 19-12 to the Tigers. The Sharks bubble has burst with the Knights touching them up 18-0.

Sunday saw an amazing performance by the New Zealand Warriors. They defeated the Rabbitohs 48-16, after a first half performance that some say was the best of any team for the season. Manly and Penrith played the other game on Sunday, and in a see-sawing game which was their for both sides to win, the Sea Eagles took the honours 12-8.

AFL Review Round 18



AFL Review Round 18
Round 18 might best be described as a big yawn as teams put away their opposition by big margins except for the derby in Perth which was a cracker and went down to the wire with the possibility of a last kick after the siren changing the result. The final top 4 is not yet completely settled as the Eagles continue their resurgence from last year in an incredible form reversal. Carlton cannot afford to slip and West Coast need to keep winning. One thing is for sure, the desperately poor in the Philippines don’t give a stuff about the AFL.

Friday, July 22, 2011

AFL Preview Round 18

Last week 3/8 = 96/132 (72.7%)
It took 17 rounds to register an abysmal score and for a while as the season progressed I thought we might avoid it. However, results did not go my way so now the pressure is on to score more than 6 each round. Not easy as teams vie for those few remaining places in the 8.
When living in Australia you can usually decide to take a holiday overnight and make a booking and head off. I thought you could do the same in China forgetting that it was the main break and 110 million people had the same idea! Can’t get a train as they are all booked and you have to be quick to catch any remaining flights. Having finally achieved getting a flight out of here you then have to work out a place to visit that maybe only a million Chinese holiday makers will go to so you can avoid the crowds!! Living inland and in a cold area the beach is a major attraction to us residents of north east China and to Aussies that love he ocean so places like Dalian and Henan are the best beach resorts. Problem is you have to book 32 years in advance to get a place to stay. If you go to these beaches on spec you will be fighting for your 1 square metre of sand and running into the water to do a head first dive into a wave is an impossibility. I wonder if all those people bathing in the water jumped up and down at the same time they would cause a tsunami???

Monday, July 18, 2011

NRL Review Round 19

Round 19 of the NRL finished this evening with a comprehensive victory from the Dragons over the Sharks. This game was eagerly anticipated as the local derby and the Sharks winning form leading into it, gave the Sharks fans something to dream of. The Dragons were systematic in the first half and led 24-0 at half-time. The Dragons ultimately won 38-8, and the Dragons have again moved into close  favouritism to back up and win their back-to-back premierships.

The round started with two Friday Night games with the Warriors flogging the Bulldogs 36-12 and the Broncos knocking over their South-East Qld rivals, the Gold Coast Titans 30-10. Saturday Night saw two absolute rippers with the Souths Rabbitohs defeat Foundation Rivals the Sydney Roosters 21-20, and the Panthers nailed the Eels 23-22. The other game certainly wasn't close with the Tigers flogging the Cowboys 38-18.

Sunday was the Manly Sea Eagles and the Melbourne Storm time to put a stamp on the comp with the Storm beating the Raiders 26-0 while Manly defeated Newcastle 32-10.

The finals look centred, with Manly, Storm, Brisbane and the Dragons likely to finish within the Top 4, with the Cowboys in fifth having a four point buffer to the sixth placed team. The fight is on for places, 6, 7 and 8.

AFL Review Round 17

This week 3/7 = 96/132 (72.7%)
I guess, in hindsight, there were a few silly tips in the preview but I thought there were a few unfavourable results too. Another win to the Suns? Well I haven’t tipped a single win by them but then who has? I thought West Coast would have been buoyed by the Carlton defeat and snatch 4th spot on the ladder but they really blew it in the last quarter listening to the commentators. Freo’s win was always a possibility and they were playing as well as Sydney this year and then the factor that the game was at home for the Swans had to be considered although they hadn’t been winning there consistently this season. Then we have North Melbourne, after a 100 plus points drubbing by Collingwood the previous week, come out and kick a similar score to what the Pies kicked against them and beat the Bulldogs who were on a roll with 4 consecutive wins.

Friday, July 15, 2011

AFL Preview Round 17

AFL Preview Round 17
Last week 5/7 = 93/124 (75%)
Last week, on the Sunday, a group of us boarded the train in Daqing and took the journey to Harbin about an hour and a half’s journey due east. Harbin is the capital of the Heilongjiang Province so with just over 9 million people it is more than a village! Travelling by train is an adventure as well and it’s from the Chinese train stations that the term “if push came to shove” originated I’m sure. It’s pointless being polite because you will never get on your train in time. Also there are no announcements telling you that your train is about to depart, nor what platform from which it is leaving. Seats are all numbered and you sit where your ticket states you can sit and you have to ask sneaky Chinese travellers who boarded without a ticket to vacate your seat if they have squatted there in the hope that the space will be empty. Fat chance of that I thought because every train going anywhere is full. It was an express train and it was a very smooth journey apart from us noisy foreign revellers heading to the big city for a drink. The Harbin hotel we booked cost 100Yuan for the night and for that price it was far from being a dive but also far from being more than 2 star.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NRL Teams Round 19

FRIDAY

BRISBANE BRONCOS v GOLD COAST TITANS at Suncorp Stadium, 7.35pm
BRONCOS:
Josh Hoffman, Gerald Beale, Justin Hodges, Jack Reed, Jharal Yow Yeh, Darren Lockyer, Peter Wallace, Ben Hannant, Andrew McCullough, Scott Anderson, Alex Glenn, Sam Thaiday, Corey Parker. Interchange: Matt Gillett, Ben Hunt, Mitchell Dodds, Josh McGuire, Kurt Baptiste, Dunamis Lui (two to be omitted).
TITANS: Luke Capewell, Steve Michaels, Clinton Toopi, Bodene Thompson, David Mead, William Zillman, Scott Prince (capt), Luke Bailey, Matt Srama, Anthony Laffranchi, Greg Bird, Mark Minichiello, Ashley Harrison. Interchange: Matthew White, Michael Henderson, Luke O'Dwyer, Preston Campbell, Brenton Lawrence (one to be omitted).
Referees:
Gavin Badger, Chris James.

You Surprised me Mal

You could have blown me over with a feather when I read about the tirade launched by big Mal Meninga through his Sunday newspaper column. Mal has always been a man of integrity and one could sense his indignation at being mis-represented in the NSW press. But really???? This is Origin....

I am a QLDER, born in NSW but a Qlder since I was 7..... I bleed Maroon and all this was because of me listening as a youngster at Maroochydore to the systematic beatings that QLD would suffer at the hands of the Blues. My dad, a long renowned NSW Country referee, even bled for the Qlders, who would fight gamely until the final 10-20 minutes when eventually the floodgates opened. I know what Origin is about for Qlders as it finally gave me the opportunity to cheer a winning side...and one that beat the team that came from the birth of the game in Australia.

So....I understand Qld, but even I felt that this year the Qlders actually overstepped the mark on two accounts in the press. The major newspaper led push for the BLUES BIAS to be settled in favour of more maroons in the commentary teams. In my opinion, Phil Gould and Peter Sterling are two of the more trusted commentators of our game, and yes they played for the Blues and show their allegiance, BUT they are also more than accommodating in their praise for this great Qld side. In fact, Gould should be running our game in my mind, but that is another story in itself.

The other thing is the Conspiracy theories that trot out every year. Taylor's tackle was bad...he fought it...he had carryover points. He lost. SIMPLE... It does highlight some inconsistency with the penalties, but please...a conspiracy against a QLD Origin player.

The Qld crowd that booed Paul Gallon continued a long run of history on both sides of the border. Was it right? Probably not....and I won’t look at history..but it was no worse than others. Maybe if Gallon hadn’t mentioned the ref’s decisions in his first post-game comments he may have had some good press. He did go onto to acknowledge that Qld were the better side, and that NSW was flattered by the scoreline.....but all that was missed because his immediate comments about the decisions. Personally I am struggling to see which decisions he alluded to....but again that is Origin. Gallon took a massive step up in my eyes in the way he led his team and played the game. Tough and uncompromising. Booing is a mark of respect in some ways, and maybe he will learn to live with that, as I hope he stays as Qld’s nemesis for a number of years.

Mal did get it right. This Qld team is something special. He compares them with the great St George teams of the 50-60's who won their eleven straight Premierships. Mal describes that era as a time where universally, the Dragons were acclaimed as an outstanding team, admired, respected and revered. Now I really wasn’t around then, but I reckon they may just as much copped press that wasn’t so acclaimed and revered....It is a mark of respect, that people may try and unsettle great teams.

This run of wins is fantastic for the game! I have friends in NSW that are filthy at losing six straight series....I think NSW now have a real taste of why Origin is so special to Qlders.... They stood toe to toe on passion this year. Just as the Mighty Dragons drew record crowds, many showing up to hope that their team would be the ones to beat them.....Just as it will be for Origin. This year was great, next year will be better!!! Just cut out the Bullshit....

Monday, July 11, 2011

Cowboys Knock over Knights in Newcastle

The North Queensland Cowboys have come up with the points against the Newcastle Knights 22-12 even without Jonathon Thurston. The seventeen Cowboys that took the field, obviously had a point to prove and showed it, and their job was mad easier by the injury to Kurt Gidley during the game.

NRL Review Round 18

Round 18 of the NRL kicked off on Friday Night with identical score lines of 22-6, with the Warriors snuffing out the Matt Rogers comeback inspired Titans and the Eels finally finding some form over the Tigers. Benji Marshall made a return to the side and noticeably was slower and heavier. He can only get better.

Saturday night saw the Storm travel to Adelaide for the Bulldogs Home Game, and were clinical in their disaposal of the Dogs 28-18, with a Bulldogs late try making the scores look more respectable than what the game actually was. Kevin Moore must be in serious trouble, presently with the Dogs and it is our tip, he will not see out the nect month. The other Saturday Night game saw the Sharks continue their winning streak with a 26-12 over a listless Raiders outfit.

Sunday saw an enthralling encounter with the Manly-Souths game, with the lead changing several times, and both teams mounting comebacks during the course of the game. Manly were the side that surged at the right time to win 36-22. Across town at the SFS, the Roosters finally showed some form in defeating the Panthers 34-26, although both sides will not trouble the finalists in 2011.

Monday night sees the Cowboys travel to Newcastle to take on the Knights, and the Cowboys will be long shots after the loss of Jonathon Thurston.

AFL Review Round 16

AFL Review Round 16
Lots of rain in northern China at the moment. Actually there seems to be a lot of rain all over the country with the southern provinces really copping it. The mud here is diabolical. You can get away with doing some real weird stuff here because everybody else does usually does something pretty weird as well at times. If it’s something new and people like it then it goes viral and soon everyone is doing whatever it is you decided to do. I ride a bicycle around the place and when it rains I ride my bicycle with my umbrella. Looks a bit like Mary Poppins but it keeps you dry regardless of how silly it looks. To keep the mud off your shoes while just walking to the shop I tied two shopping bags over them and walked around like that.A bit like the plastic bags the medical staff wear in a hospital operating theatre.

Friday, July 8, 2011

AFL Preview Round 16


Last week 5 / 8 = 88/117 (73%) There are 24 rounds of footy this year so we have 8 more to go after this weekend. The top two positions on the ladder seem to be fixed with Geelong and Collingwood unless one of these teams gets hit by injuries and suspensions and suffers a dramatic loss of form. It can safely be said that Carlton will finish in the top 4 and Hawthorn should make up the other position. West Coast is appearing as a dark horse and regardless of where they finish the coaching job is safe and secure with Whoosha. Last to a possible preliminary final….that’s significant improvement. Conversely we see St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs go the opposite way without seeing a huge change in personnel. That might mean coaching changes or speculation of coaching changes. At the bottom of the ladder we see the two QLD teams and the two SA teams.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

QLD SIX PACK!!!

IT has taken me a while to collect my thoughts and clear my head after a night of wild Queensland celebrations. What a night and what an Origin series. Qld were just superb in most aspects of the game last night, but there was some lazy efforts which led to NSW tries during the game. Qld could, and should have been more ruthless, however you can't say a bad thing against the NSW side, who toiled gamely all night.

Origin is back and even with QLD now winning SIX series straight, the passion from NSW supporters will only grow from here. They have a taste of what Origin is all about for QLD...beaten and downtrodden in the old interstate series, until given a chance with Origin. NSW must now feel that spark.

Some big thanks to Ricky Stuart for instilling some old seige mentality into Origin and for the creation of many headlines. A big thanks to Paul Gallon.....the way he played this series has changed opinions of this man right around the league world, and he will be a worthy NSW captain for many years to come. Jamie Soward came of age... and I just hope this NSW team sticks together as they will become more formidable in future years.

For QLD....what a way for a champion to go out....Congrats Darren Lockyer. I was also so impressed with Jonathon Thurston last night. NSW dominated him early with rushing defence but the champion soon found a way to silence them. It was brilliant. Cam Smith, Billy Slater, Greg Inglis were all just superb and Matt Scott was the most dominant forward on the field for mine.......

Roll on Origin 2012.......it just gets bettter

Monday, July 4, 2011

AFL Review Round 15


Rain in Daqing means mud, mud, mud. With all the paving having been lifted, all the pipes and services having being replaced and piles of earth from diggings and excavations everywhere there’s nothing like a rainy day to turn all this into rivers of mud. Add to this the early morning starts to construction activity and you have trucks outside the window warming their engines at 4.30am (it is light and the sun is up at that time), labourers are still arguing about last night’s card game right outside your window, taxis are already aggressively honking horns and excavators start digging at 5.30am.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

NRL Results Round 17

The Round 17 of the NRL has showcased some great and gutsy efforts by teams under seige. Friday Night saw the understrength Broncos take on an Eels outfit needing to win to stay in touch with the Top 8. The Broncos stormed out to a 12-0 lead, which the Eels pegged back in a massive second half effort. Just when the Game appeared to be heading into Golden Point, Matt Gillet stepped inside his defensive man to run 30 metres to win the game. Nathan Hindmarsh showed his displeasure at game end, and realised that for 2011, the Eels are gone.

The Saturday game saw a hyped up Panthers outfit dispose of the Bulldogs 20-6. The playing group of the Panthers have rallied and in their current form, may just be a dark horse in the competition race. Sunday saw another win by the Cronulla Sharks who just crushed the Rabbitohs 26-4. The third win in a row by the Sharkies, and this win came without their inspirational captain Paul Gallon, which makes the win all the more meritorious. In the Final Sunday game, the Dragons, missing their six Origin stars, just ran out of gas as an energetic Knights outfit got home, 14-10.

Friday, July 1, 2011

AFL Preview

Last week 6/8 = 83/109 (76.1%)
If the weather forecast is a possibility of rain why don’t they close the roof at Etihad before the game? I believe there is some sort of rule that does not allow them to do it during a game. Unlike tennis. I heard the commentators talking about it during the West Coast and Carlton game. Did it actually rain during that match?
When it rains in China it’s diabolical. Apart from disastrous flooding in the south of China and currently in Beijing the rain in the north east provinces creates some interesting observations. Many of the roads are really badly built and even in the case of the latest freeways there has been no allowance for drainage. When they built the roads it seems drainage was not part of the plans so there are no outlets for water from the roadway and in the event of a few mm’s of rain huge puddles and pools form in whatever area of the road there is a dip, an incorrect camber or just bad levelling. On some roads they have actually put in drains but the levelling is so bad that only after rainfalls of 125mm that some of the water finds its way into the drain opening.