Jump Ball Sports
Ashes, AFL Finals, Kyrgios and Storm.
It's lunch at Old Trafford at the time of writing and Australia is content.
Not Lord's balcony Warney stump dancing content, but more squinting Steve Waugh content which is not really content but a combination of not angry and alert.
That's because the Warner situation has gone from red flag to evacuation zone, and somehow Jofra Archer bowling intentionally slowly makes him even more frightening because maybe he's actually crazy on top of being a bowling menace.
Dead Club Walking
If you read recent media reports about the Bombers in a vacuum, you would not be blamed for thinking the club has already been eviscerated by the Eagles in Perth tomorrow night.
The talk of a likely John Worsfold exit, potential Joe Daniher / Orazio Fantasia / [insert 5 other Essendon players' names] trades and - in the wake of the club's 2019 injury crisis - the confirmed departure of physical performance boss Justin Crow all speak to the kind of post-season upheaval normally associated with a club reeling from a brutal first round finals loss.
Not to mention the slightly subdued red and black faithful, for whom customary September excitement has been slowly chipped away by either none or ugly one-and-done finals campaigns since 2004.
Which is not to say that a West Coast victory is not a safe bet, after all it’s the reigning premiers at home still smarting from laying a final round egg against the Hawks which cost it a top 4 berth.
But there is that whole two horse race thing and it’s at least interesting to think how dramatically different the lens applied to Windy Hill would be if the club somehow manages to flip the script, and in so doing, breaks its league-leading finals win drought.
Suddenly the Bombers are heading into a new season with a vindicated Worsfold, newly armed with Blake Caracella’s sorely needed tactical nous, a host of re-signed players - headlined by Anthony McDonald -Tipungwuti - and a far healthier list.
Cats v Pies
How did Chris Scott and co miss Tim Kelly throwing the cup of Cats Kool-Aid over his shoulder instead of gulping it thirstily down like everyone else?
That reports of his plans to head west at season's end have broken on the eve of Geelong’s finals campaign is the rarest of pushbacks on the good news story that is the contemporary Cats.
As an aside, it’s easy to forget the Cats only beat the Pies by 5 points in the 2007 preliminary final thriller before throttling the hapless Power in the big one a week later.
We all know what happened to the dominant Cats from there, but the Pies’ revisionist history exercise is a good one.
If the Pies had prevailed, it’s basically 2008 Hawks 2.0: Collingwood gets an early bonus flag – and Nathan Buckley steals Shane Crawford's fairy tale farewell premiership – before veterans are shed, kids grow up and take the club into a prolonged premiership window, the Eddie McGuire orchestrated Mick Malthouse – Buckley Kirribilli agreement is likely never brokered and Buckley is probably coaching another club having secured the black and white flag that he so desperately craves.
The ATP Tour should ban Nick Kyrgios for a year because Kygrios wants to be banned, or at least, he wants to be banned but he might not want to be banned when he is actually banned, which means on either score he should be banned...if that makes any sense.
This is because he doesn’t love his job – at least for now – which we all know because he is always telling us he doesn't love his job and that he would rather be playing basketball, and just in case we don’t believe him he wears his Boston Celtics singlet to a press conference.
So now here is Kygrios' long awaited intervention, the chance to break the Groundhog Day cycle of meek capitulations and meltdowns.
The problem is that one suspects the ATP Tour – the body charged with making the decision – may well be bowed by players’ rights-related pressure and the fear of losing a marquee name to the tour.
Here’s hoping, because we all need a spell.
Here’s a shocker, last weekend the Melbourne Storm sewed up the NRL minor premiership.
Yep that’s right, the same Melbourne Storm that has made 9* grand finals and won 5* premierships / (now) 7* minor premierships since its inception a little over twenty years ago.
All this despite being based in AFL bandit territory, enduring a horror salary cap breach saga (hence * for stripped everything), being widely reviled by the rest of the league and – in this case of this year’s performance – recovering from a former (and soon to be again) favourite son driving in the dagger that was the Storm’s soul crushing loss to the Roosters in last year’s decider.
Hats off Stormers.