Home > General, The Final Word > The Monday Wrap – 10/10/11

The Monday Wrap – 10/10/11

The Monday Wrap returns following a massive weekend of sport, and one enthused (by sport), yet heavily bored (by other things) author. Trying not to miss anything I’ll take a look at the return of the A-League, the Champions League Twenty20 finals, the Rugby World Cup quarter finals (although I’ll leave the main analysis to our man on the ground and the best in the business Shippy) as well as  the battle for Brookvale version two. All that and more in The Monday Wrap!

A-League Kicks Off

After what seems like the longest and biggest build up for a domestic football season since the A-League’s debut back in 2005, the 2011/12 season finally kicked-off on Saturday, and what a start! The opening game was an unexpected bottler, with the new-look Heart and controversy filled Jets battling in what many people saw as a potential bottom of the table battle. However what ensued, after some early slow points, was open and attacking football from both teams and some great goals. The pace on show was particularly impressive, with the counter attack a feature for both the Heart and Jets, while Ryan Griffiths provided a contender for goal of the year in game one. To finish it off, Buyn scored a 94th minute winner for the home side to give interim manager Craig Deans a debut win.

This was followed by a tense and enthralling 0-0 draw between the two blue-chip clubs in Sydney and the Victory (otherwise known as the Big Blue). While Harry was a standout, playing 90 minutes and threatening throughout, it was the goalkeepers who impressed the most. Ante Covic saved the game for the Victory with a penalty save from Brett Emerton (who himself was impressive with the limited time he had on the ball), while Liam Reddy was even better at the other end for the Sky Blues. He made countless important saves, including one off a Kewell header that looked certain to go in. From both teams players impressed, including Marco Rojas, Adrian Leijer, Nicky Carle and Pascal Bosschaart. Overall a tremendous game.

The final game I saw (there were two games in between I missed, one quality, one eh) was the Perth and Adelaide game. Perth were much more impressive than last year, with Scott Neville and Tommy Amphlett working well down the right side, and the experience of Billy Mehmet in the centre paying dividends. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for the competition, but without all the build up and the marquee matches, this week firms as an important one for the competition into the future.

Warner’s whirlwind falls short

The Champions League Twenty20 is again over, but not without some amazing fireworks in last group games and semi finals. NSW fell short in the semi against the Royal Challengers, with David Warner’s second straight hundred in the tournament only surpassed by the Royal Challengers’ second straight 200+ chase. The inexperience of the NSW bowling attack was probably a big point, as Cummins and Starc both had their moments, but lacked the variety and concentration of the side that won it back in 2009. Warner’s form though has almost certainly got him a starting spot for the limited overs games in South Africa, and hopefully helped him gain a regular first class spot at the top of the order with Simon Katich for NSW. The fireworks provided by Warner and then Chris Gayle in that semi final are the reason this game has taken over cricket. (For the record, the Mumbai Indians beat the Royal Challengers in the final with all twenty wickets in the game falling for under 250 runs.)

Favourites fall in quarters

As I said before, I’ll keep this short at let Shippy do the RWC analysis, but how good was it to see the Wallabies defend for their lives against the Springboks? Quade Cooper was off his game, but they still knocked off the defending champions thanks to some epic forwards work, particularly from David Pocock and James Horwill. In the other games, the Welsh upset the Irish, the Kiwis got over the line against the Pumas and the French added to a weekend of misery for the English, who couldn’t beat Montenegro in the football and are not out of the RWC. Great stuff. We’re left with the same quarter finalists as 1987 when the Kiwis won the first RWC in New Zealand (deja vu much?) and wait for it….in the same year the Sea Eagles won the NSWRL! All I’m hoping for now is an Australia v France final, so we can repeat the 1999 win, but anything could happen from here.

Sea Eagles squabbles

So it seems winning a premiership has done more harm than good on the Northern Beaches this week, as the Sea Eagles look, from the outside at least, as through they are falling apart. It started when long time media manager, and close mate of Des Hasler, Peter Peters was told his services weren’t required for the 2012 season. Whatever the reason provided by the Sea Eagles, a couple of things are certain. A – they need an image change from the seige mentality that currently is tossed around, and B – they probably could have timed the Peters decision better. Anyway, since then, there have been rumblings of discontent and despite winning the premiership last Sunday, star back Will Hopoate decides to sign for the Eels upon his return from a Mormon mission in Brisbane for the next two years, and then coach Des Hasler knocks back a comparable offer from the club to join the Bulldogs from 2013 onwards. Whichever way you look at it, things are a little off at Brookvale.

Personally, whether the Hasler decision is right or not, I believe they need to let him go to the Bulldogs straight away and not have this hanging over their head for the full season. For the purposes of player retention and recruitment alone, they need to have someone in the job now who will be there in the future (most likely Geoff Toovey) and settle the place down. If they can move on from this and re-establish themselves with the image that the administration want, then they will be back at the top in no time, but if they let this drag on, they could lose a golden generation of players and take possibly even a decade to get over it all.

In other news…

The annual sporting event in Australia for rev-heads, the Bathurst 1000, was on on Sunday as well. While not my cup of tea, the race enthralls hundreds of thousands at the track itself, and a couple of million in their homes on TV, and is one of Australian sport’s marquee events. Congratulations to Garth Tander for taking this year’s race out, grabbing the Peter Brock Memorial Trophy.

I mentioned the A-League before, but equally as impressive was the Socceroos on Friday night. They were methodical and clinical in the first half against Malaysia and put four goals in. While they only managed one in the second, Josh Kennedy and Alex Brosque both impressed up front, while Matt McKay and Rhys Williams also pushed their claims for regular spots. Adam Federici in goals didn’t really have to do much and came off at half time, but he’ll retain the number one jersey for the qualifier with Oman on Tuesday night. Brett Holman should return for this game, which will only help the Socceroos fluency in midfield and potency in attack.

The NBL also kicked off over the weekend, with the Patrick Mills inspired Melbourne Tigers grabbing a close win over the Sydney Kings. The Kings were expecting to have star Boomer Andrew Bogut while the NBA lockout is in place, but unfortunately his move was vetoed by the insurers of his Milwaukee Bucks.

In the MLB, the Cardinals face the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League championship series, with the Brewers winning game one 9-6 at Miller Park this morning. In the American League, the Detroit Tigers are up against the Texas Rangers for a spot in the World Series, with the Rangers taking out game one 3-2.

The Diamonds also grabbed a win over the English in the first game under a new coach…if anyone was actually watching it.

Finally, AFL Trade Week begins today, with some notable trades already made. The Swans (Tom Mitchell), Carlton (Dylan Buckley) and 2011 NAB AFL Draft: (Jed Bews) have all grabbed the sons of famous names this morning via the father-son rule, but most of the big changes aren’t expected until later in the week.

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