Monday, July 15, 2024
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More good than bad [and ugly]

From late charges on the golf course, rampaging Warriors, and fabulous Fijians to poor discipline and faltering cricketers, there’s plenty to whet the appetite in this week’s ‘Good, Bad and Ugly’.

Where does one start – Ryan Fox or ‘the Wahs’?

It’s a near dead-heat for the highlight of the week, so let’s kick off in chronological order with the mighty Warriors.

After years of despondency, the long-suffering fans finally have something to smile about after one of the greatest-ever performances in the club’s history, bludgeoning the Newcastle Knights 40–10 and booking a trip to Brisbane with a spot in the grand final on the line.

The Broncos will hold no fear, and it could almost feel like a home game, with plenty of Kiwis set to invade Suncorp Stadium. Is this finally the Warriors’ year?

How good was Ryan Fox in bagging the richest-ever prize won by a Kiwi golfer, pocketing NZ$2.6 million for winning the British PGA?

After a triple bogey on the third hole of the final round, the bookies had the Kiwi at 400–1, but six birdies in the back nine saw the prowling Fox go in for the kill and a one-shot victory.

Fiji – one must admire the manner of their dominant win over the woeful Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup. Brutal at the breakdown and clinical in taking their chances, the fierce Fijians won in the most un-Fijian fashion to get the kava flowing at home in the islands. A quarterfinal is far from assured, but with Georgia and Portugal to play, it’s a very realistic proposition.

Liam Lawson again highlighted his immense potential, scoring his first F1 points for racing to ninth place in the Singapore Grand Prix in only his third start. Just another of the rapid Kiwi motorsport stars giving “it some jandal” on the international scene, including the two Scotts – Dixon and McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen, Brendon Hartley, and Courtney Duncan, just to mention a few.

This comes in the remarkable category but has a feel-good factor. The Wellington Phoenix signed former Liverpool goalkeeper Rylee Foster just two years after she almost died when flung from a car during a crash in Finland.

Let’s finish the good stuff with a local angle.

The WBS Douglas Villa Junior Football Tournament – 1200 kids doing what they love: Running around, kicking a ball and scoring goals. Hats off to the hardworking club!

The Wairarapa women’s hockey team won a bronze medal at the national tier two championships. It wasn’t the coveted gold but it still represented a good return after a horror start, which saw them lose their opening two games.

The woeful Wallabies [how many times has that phrase been bandied about over the decades?] easily fit into this section, but I’d rather reflect on the fabulous Fijians. As an aside, should the Aussies’ first try have been allowed to stand? Take a look and did the quick throw-in travel the required 5m? To my eyes, no!

Inconsistency around the officiating, though, was always going to be a contentious issue at the tournament. Already, we’ve seen varying interpretations of how yellow and red cards are dished out and a proliferation of penalties leading to disjointed and elongated games.

That brings me to players’ individual discipline, and despite the whims of the referees, when are they going to learn – get your tackles down and stay away from the head?

The All Blacks discipline with penalty counts of 12–4 and 12–7 against, and one yellow and one red card, does not make good reading.

And why not chuck in my pet hate – driving mauls – too many and it’s ruining the game as a spectacle.

Wairarapa-Bush – another slow start and a third loss on the road. They’re better than that, which is the disappointing thing.

Three bads equals an ugly, and the Black Caps’ three heavy losses to England fit the bill perfectly in what has quickly become a far-from-ideal buildup for the World Cup in India, topped off by Tim Southee fracturing a thumb which puts the veteran seamer’s tournament in doubt.

Many will think this should fit into the ‘Good’, but this is my column, so Manchester United’s start to the EPL fits the ugly. A 3–1 loss at Old Trafford to a very good Brighton side has left the Red Devils languishing in 13th place with two wins and three losses, and there’s the potential for it to become really ugly with an away trip tomorrow to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Okay, all you haters, you can wallow in my despair.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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