THE HANGOVER: DRAFTSTARS WEEKLY WRAP
The Twittersphere stopped midweek as the basketball world awaited Kawhi’s free agency decision.
And then it absolutely exploded when he inexplicably signed for the Clippers, got Paul George to join him, and single-handedly blew up the whole NBA landscape like the “evil villain whose face you never see until they swing around in their revolving chair” he truly is.
But while Andrian Wojnarowski and Kawhi were in limbo at the centre of the Twitterverse, many chose to turn their minds to the women’s soccer World Cup which saw the U.S. claim their second consecutive title thanks to the brilliance of Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan.
Concurrently, the AFL, NRL and Cricket World Cup kept on keeping on and provided some of the most exciting spectacled this year.
The NRL, once again, was split and featured just four games, but they were four crackers. Three of them were decided by less than a try with the Storm winning their second straight game by two points and maintaining a three game buffer at the top of the table. Storm legend, Cam Smith, nailed his 2500th point during the match, becoming the first man in NRL history to achieve the feat.
The fourth game saw the Roosters hold off Wests by eight to keep in touch with the insatiable Storm. Ryan Matterson did he utmost for the Tigers racking up 78.8 DS points for his 138 metres gained, 41 tackles and a try. For all of Matterson’s work, it was a Luke Keary Hail Mary that was the major takeaway from the game.
In a rivalry round of sorts, featuring the Western Derby and Adelaide Showdown, the AFL produced a round of exciting finishes and remarkable upsets. Friday night saw the Hawks come from nowhere to beat the Pies, while the Doggies and Lions claimed huge scalps over Geelong and GWS respectively.
The round turned the AFL setting on its head and had betting agencies overreacting and making the Tigers fourth favourite for the flag as they show parallels with their 2017 flag winning season, and putting the Eagles ahead of Collingwood in the market.
Australia lost just their second World Cup match while New Zealand scraped into the finals despite losing their past three games. Now they face an uphill battle against India in the first semi-final while Australia and England battle it out in the second. Pakistan are left to rue their early tournament form after missing the four on only net run rate after four wins in a row nearly got them over the line.
AFL ROUND 15
The Hawks set the round on its unpredictable trajectory by booting five last quarter goals to run over the Pies. James Sicily was easily the best player on the ground after being moved back into defence. He scored 121 DS points from his 28 disposals and 14 marks. For the Pies, they will take away the positive performance of debutant, Isaac Quaynor who managed 18 disposals and 78 DS points on debut.
Essendon are flying up, up and almost into the eight after a grind it out victory over the Swans. Without his skipper, Dylan Shiel was instrumental in carrying the Bomber midfield to victory with 29 disposals and a workmanlike nine tackles. He was a match and contest winner with his 125 DS points.
Up north, Gold Coast look to be in real trouble. They conceded 100 points in the first half against the Tigers and eventually lost out 58 to 150. Grim. Richmond’s mosquito fleet up forward were the chief destroyers with Jason Castagna booting five goals and snaring 118 DS points while Shai Bolton (116 DS points) racked up 26 touches and booted two majors of his own.
The Showdown turned into a fizzer after half time with the Power comprehensive victors. Tom Rockliff and Justin Westhoff played in the reserves last week but returned to the senior team with a point to prove. Rockliff had the top score of the round with 150 DS points from his 36 touches while Westhoff had his best return of the season, chalking up 132 DS points.
Marvel stadium is a happy hunting ground for the Doggies, and it proved that way again against the Cats. They repeatedly halted Geelong’s momentum and then exploded in the final quarter. Aaron Naughton was the match winner with four goals from nine marks culminating in 106 DS points. He was priced at just over $8k. Lachie Hunter, the Bont and Josh Dunkley combined for 368 DS points and won the midfield battle.
The Western Derby was another rivalry fizzer. Freo booted 1.7 to half time and 2.19 for the match as they were annihilated by a rejuvenated Eagles side to the tune of 91-points. Brad Sheppard won the Ross Glendinning medal for his 100 DS point, 25 disposal stoical defensive game while Chris Master was the best value pick priced at just over $8k but delivering 92 DS points.
Melbourne and Carlton played out an instant classic on Sunday afternoon. Just when the Blues looked like snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, Jayden Hunt bombed a late goal from an uncharacteristic Kade Simpson turnover. But it was not over yet, Mitch McGovern got an opportunity with just seconds to go but his unlikely soccer attempt his the post. That does not do it justice, watch the final two minutes. It was crazy.
Tom McDonald and Bayley Fritsch were the match winners for the Demons. McDOnald booted 6 goals in three quarter to take him to 127 DS points while Fritsch returned a season best 121 DS points for his 26 disposal, 12 mark game. Not only were they match winners, they proved to be contest winners too.
The Roos has stitched up their encounter with the Saints by quarter time. Jye Simpkin continued his hot form with 36 disposals and a goal en route to 110 DS points. For the Saints, Jack Steele played as his name suggests with 18 tackles which took his DS score to 132, his best for the season.
And the final game was one of the best, the Lions played an exciting brand of football as they ran all over the Giants. Are these cubs the real deal? Linc McCarthy impressed with 22 disposals, three goals and 109 DS points at a price of just over $8k. Giant Stephen Coniglio continued to bump up his contract offer with 146 DS points from 34 disposals and 11 tackles. He has a three game average of 125 DS points.
CRICKET WORLD CUP
With the round robin matches done, the final four is set. As written above, India play New Zealand and Australia play England for a place in the World Cup Final.
Australia faces two fierce match ups if it is to win the Final, with long-time foes England, India and New Zealand all standing in their patch.
And their final round robin match was one of their worst of the tournament. In losing to South Africa by 10-runs, the Aussie middle order highlighted its vulnerability. But Alex Carey again showed he can bring it in for Australia with 85 from 69. He combined with Dave Warner 122 from 117 to be the pick of the side. Warner now has three tonnes this World Cup, still two short of the incredible Rohit Sharma who has five.
Speaking of, Sharma, unsurprisingly, finished the round robin segment as the top run scorer with 647 runs. His output will determine the who wins the World Cup.
His last tonne came opposite KL Rahul who has hit form at the right time for the Indians. He has 188 runs in his last two innings and has formed a powerful relationship with Rohit at the top of the order.
Pakistan did their best to try and claim fourth spot on the table in their final game against Bangladesh. Imam-ul-huq chalked up a century while Babar Azam proved he is one of the best batsmen in the world with 96 of his own. They combined for a partnership of 157.
They had to obliterate Bangladesh to get into the final sand Shaheen Afridi did what he could to make it happen. His figures of 6 for 35 are the best so far at this World Cup but were not enough. Bangladesh can, once again, thank their fearless leader, Shakib Al Hasan who top scored for his side with 64 runs.
Shakib had one of the great World Cups with 606 runs at 86 and claimed 11 wickets to boot.
Written by Brin DugganAFL, BBL, Latest, NBA, NRL