As the Indian batsmen pounded the Aussie attack it was nice to be able to change the channel and watch a high quality contest between two strong teams. The Pies were back on the box tonight and it was good to have a full length game to watch after the two 40 minute games a fortnight ago. My two young boys, aged 5 and 2 and a half, slipped straight back into footy mode, instantly shouting out in unison “Go Pies” as Collingwood ran out. I was thrilled with their response after a long Summer of “Go Bushrangers”, “Go Australia”, “Go Victory” & “Go Pombo (Pomborneit) Bulls” was repeatedley drummed into them. It’s important to teach your kids the right teams to follow. Otherwise someone else will.
For a game played on the 3rd of March it was of a high quality. Both teams looked super fit as you would expect this time of year. As someone who likes to watch great players regardless of their club it was great to see Mark LeCras back for the Eagles. He looks fitter than ever and has lost none of his touch after a year off with his knee reconstruction, slotting through 4 goals. Will be as good as a recruit as any club will have this year.
While there was only 2 points in it at half time, the Pies played some excellent football in the second half to run out 20 point winners, 3-10-9-96 to 1-10-7-76. Super goals to Swan, Seedsman and Cloke. 2 regular 6 point goals each to Elliot, Mooney and Sidebottom. Paul Seedsman was for mine the standout, not necessarily the best player but damaging when he got it, has bulked up and lost none of his pace. A big year awaits for Seeds after playing 11 games in his debut season in 2012. Of course Pendlebury, Swan and Shaw were in the best and racked up possesions. They always do. Elliot, Blair and Sinclair stepped up and played tackling forward roles reminiscent of the Collingwood team of 2010. Irishman Marty Clarke looks the fittest he has ever been and will need to be given the addition of Clinton Young and Jordan Russell. Maybe he has cut back on the Guiness pints and Magners Cider. His Irish mate Mooney was dangerous with his two goals and explosive pace. Have been very impressed with mature aged rookies from the VFL in Sam Dwyer, Kyle Martin and Jack Frost. All look ready to step in if needed, Martin in particular looks a hard nut who could be a regular. Hudson and Witts were competitive enough in the ruck against the best ruckman of the last 20 years in Cox, Hudson will be a great back up if needed for Jolly while hopefully Witts will get plenty of games this year.
All in all some good signs and a good win in a match that doesn’t mean much. No Beams, Jolly, Thomas, Ball, Keefe and Didak. Against a team that was missing Kerr, Naitanui, Waters and Wellingham. Although the former Pie Wellingham joined the Fox Footy commentary team for this game. Stick to playing Sharrod.
A League: Has there ever been a more impressive debut season in any sport by a new team in an established competition than this season’s entry to the A-League by the Western Sydney Wanderers? Their community meetings at the start gave the Western Sydney community the choice of venue, name and colours and they didn’t disappoint, playing games at the fans preferred venue in Parramatta, where they have drawn great crowds, the black and red strip which looks great, the old fashioned logo and most importantly putting together a great team that now sits on top of the ladder after defeating the previously top placed Central Coast Mariners.
Archie Thompson returns and the Melbourne Victory look a different team. While he didn’t score in the Victory’s 5-0 rout of Newcastle he played a great game and helped set up Marcos Rojas’s 2 goals. While Western Sydney and Central Coast are ahead at this stage don’t discount a Victory team containing Thompson, Rojas, Flores and Milligan as grand final contenders. Anything can happen from there.
Cricket: We are in big trouble against India. That’s putting it lightly. Clarke’s decision to declare at 9/237 had some merit at the time but not now. Both Pattinson and Doherty can bat a bit and anything extra would be handy as it turns out. We’re paying the price for playing four openers and one middle order bat. Who is the only one who can play spin competently (Clarke). Doherty has been copping some flack but I think he has bowled reasonably well so far, a couple of half chances of his bowling and not going for too many. Where we are struggling is with Siddle and Pattinson not being effective on this this pitch and then being left with Maxwell and Henriques who are not wicket taking bowlers at this level. Doherty won’t ever run through a team but he can be an effective bowler in a good attack. A 4-0 result to India is on the cards here.
Finally I watched the Melbourne Rebels go down to the NSW Waratahs on Friday night. The Rebels were very competitive and led at half time but just couldn’t hold on. James O’Connor was brilliant for Melbourne as he took the role of stand in captain filling in for the injured Gareth Delve, a good sign for the Wallabies. A poor crowd in Sydney though for this game when there was no A-League on and before the AFL and NRL seasons start.