The Success Of the Big bash
Not many thought they would have already wrapped up the Ashes after three tests. Steve Smith continues to amaze and is building a good side around him.
But not taking anything away from Test Cricket I am just in awe about how well and how successful the Big Bash has been. Over the past few days I’ve seen tweets that read something similar to “What did I do in the Summer before the Big Bash was on?” and I couldn’t agree more.
I wasn’t in Australia for the launch of the Big Bash so when I returned from the UK I was coming in blind to what this competition was. From the very first game I was hooked. Sure not every game is close but the majority of them are and quite often it leaves you on the edge of your seat right until the final ball.
The move to Channel 10 and free to air TV certainly did help the competition and the great coverage they do can’t be underestimated. Which is one of the main reasons a lot of people want all Cricket to go to Channel 10 in the near future.
Even the Big Bash’s critics, which there are many, can’t disagree with how well this competition has been run. Most say a lot of other sports can learn from how it’s ran and it’s very hard to disagree with that.
The Big Bash is now an institution in an Australian Summer and I can’t wait to see how it grows even more over the next few years.
But this year’s Origin victory was something very special. I was right in front of Jarryd Hayne bombing that try not sending it onto an unmarked Brett Morris which all things being equal would have secured the Series victory for NSW.
But it’s very unfair to blame just one man from a NSW point of view. The second half performance in Origin 2 was just not up to Origin Standard and QLD capitalized on that.
And how fitting was it to see Johnathon Thurston in what turned out to be his last game for QLD effectively kick them to victory. Then in the third game, when people were still writing them off and thought NSW would reproduce their performance of the Game One, Queensland put on an Origin masterclass for the ages.
They were simply brilliant and one can’t deny they are one of the best sporting sides we have seen in this generation.
We will see what next year brings – NSW has a new coach who many believe can turn things around for the Blues and bring the culture back to the camp.
QLD have no Thurston and no Cronk but they have amazing depth, Michael Morgan showed that this season.
After what we’ve seen from QLD in recent years you’d be a brave man to bet against them next year.
A Wonderful World Cup
Of course most expected Australia to win in the end although even that wasn’t as easy as some people claimed it would be. The World Cup Final was one of the best and gripping games of Rugby League I’ve seen in a long time. It also showed that the likes of England are not as far away as many people think they are.
However the real success of the World Cup was the Pacific Nations. In particular Tonga and Fiji, not to mention the great scenes we saw for three weeks in a row in Papua New Guinea.
Everybody knew when Andrew Fafita and Jason Taumalolo left their respective countries to represent Tonga that this would improve the spectacle of the World Cup. Nobody knew just quite how much.
Tonga’s victory against New Zealand was something very special, equally as was Fiji’s victory the weekend after. The emotion showed by the players in all these teams was something very rare and something you don’t see often in top class sport. And the scenes in New Zealand when Tonga played England was amazing. Having spoken to a few people that were at the game they say it’s an atmosphere they’ve never experienced before at a Rugby League.
Now it’s very important, no actually it’s essential that all quarters of Rugby League make sure they capitalize on this tournament. We need to see more games involving Tonga, Samoa, PNG) and Fiji. Target the big growth areas in the game because if they do it correctly international Rugby League could have something very special on their hands.
An Open To Remember
With no real genuine Australian Open on the mens side of the draw and no Lleyton Hewitt who people got behind even in the latter stages of his career when he wasn’t a real threat of winning the tournament needed something special.
At the start of the two weeks of Tennis I noticed Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal were on opposite sides of the draw. Like many as the two weeks went on every night we were watching and hoping that they could get over their next opponent. Once upon a time victory would have been almost a given in most of these matches but not so this year with age and history of injuries not on their side.
Which is why what we saw at Melbourne Park in January was so special. Two of the best Tennis players of all time, maybe the two best ever going at it once again. It was the only final I remember that the majority of people didn’t really have a favourite. Sure, some were leaning towards one or the other but most just wanted the final to keep going as long as it possibly could.
By the end of it nobody could deny Roger Federer yet another Grand Slam victory but the sportsmanship shown by these two players all throughout the tournament and in particular the final was so good to see.
The Australian Open without doubt is my favourite two weeks of Sport every year and no matter what happens I’m sure it’s going to deliver some very special moments again in just a couple of weeks time.
The Last Ride of the big three
Well they definitely proved everyone wrong.
The Storm’s dominance throughout season 2017 was something you won’t see in NRL very often. From the moment they started the season they looked a few steps ahead of any other team this year and that continued all throughout the season.
Not that they needed another reason but when Cooper Cronk announced midway through the year that it would be his last year at the Melbourne Storm it gave them yet another reason to take out the title in 2017. The class he showed all through the season and after the season speaks volumes about the man he is.
I’ve watched NRL for about 20 years now and not once have I basically declared the premiers in July but it just seemed all year that Melbourne was going to win it. Yes, they could have hot some injuries but that seemed like the only thing that was going to stop them.
They had their challenges but sides like the Roosters were quite a way behind them and teams would have needed a lot of luck to stop the Storm juggernaut this year.
A great team display all year, one of the best I’ve ever seen in any sport. They will have their challenges next year without Cooper Cronk but when they’ve still got Slater, Smith and Bellamy at the helm they will always be hard to beat.