Sports round up archive

Thursday November 2nd 2006

Without Makybe Diva in the Melbourne Cup
market, the honours for Cup favouritism goes to the overseas raiders. Tawqeet has jumped in the betting after his fantastic Caulfield Cup win, with UK horse Yeats remaining as joint top pick. Yeats jockey Kieren Fallon has rated him as a certainty in the Cup. On the next line of betting are the Japanese horses Pop Rock and Delta Blues. Of the local hopes, Our Smoking Joe is rated highest in the betting with Zipping coming back into contention after his win on the weekend.

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Rugby League Tri Nations
The Kangaroos will take on Great Britain in the fourth Tri Nation game to be played at Aussie Stadium this Saturday night. The Lions were sub standard last week against the Kiwis and will need to improve if they are to beat the classy Aussie outfit. The strength of the Lions team is their forward pack with the likes of Morley, Peacock and Fielden more than capable of looking after themselves. There should be a great competition up front with the Aussie big men raring for the chance to prove that they are the dominant forward pack in world League. However, it will be the class of the Australian backline that will decide this game. The changes that Coach Ricky Stuart has made should make no difference to the attacking prowess of the Aussies. Sportingbet offers telephone only 'Live Betting' at half time on this match.

NBL Basketball
The New Zealand Breakers will host the Melbourne Tigers tonight and they will have to get over their regular third quarter slumps if they are to challenge for the win. They have looked good early on in past matches, only to watch the game get away from them after half time. The Breakers attack is being effective and scoring points though it is the team's defence that is letting them down. The Tigers will not show any mercy to a weak defence and the Tigers will be looking for their seventh win when they travel to the Shaky Isles.

English Premier League.
Australian Tim Cahill will be in action for Everton when they travel to Craven Cottage to play Fulham this weekend. Cahill scored first to take Everton to the lead against Arsenal, only to see the Gunners come back and score a late equaliser. Everton has only lost once, to Middlesbrough, in the past month and it will take a good display for Fulham to deny them the points this week. Lucas Neill and the Blackburn Rovers will take on Aston Villa this weekend, with the Rovers looking to bounce back from their loss to West Ham. Arsenal will prove to be a tough task for the Rovers especially after their UEFA Cup match against Basle tonight.

ICC Champions Trophy.
The winner of the South Africa v West Indies Champions Trophy semi-final to be played tonight will have the somewhat unenviable task of playing the Aussies in the final. South Africa have a terrible record against Australia in recent matches, while the Windies will feel confident going into the fnal if they were to win this match as they beat the Aussies in the group stage. The South Africans demolished Pakistan in their last group match to top their group. Makhaya Ntini was awesome with the ball, taking 5 wickets.

The Windies batting line up can be the best in the world if they all play to their potential, so the South Africans need to make sure no one gets a start. The South African batsmen will have to back their bowlers up as the Windies also boast speed in their line up. Sportingbet offers telephone only 'Live Betting' at the breaks on all the ICC matches.

Thursday November 9th 2006

Melbourne Victory has definitely been the form team of the 2006 A-League season. They will host Perth Glory tonight and a win will all but qualify them for the play-offs. In an often fiery encounter with the Mariners last week Melbourne recorded their first draw for the season, coming back from 2-3 with nine players. While Perth can still make the play-offs their form would suggest that they are a long way off this season - they are sitting on 11 points and one win off Sydney who is fourth. Beating Melbourne this week will be a difficult preposition for the Westerners.

The most anticipated Ashes series in years will start later this month. After England's thrilling victory in last years Ashes series, the cricket world has focused on the form of these two teams over the last 12 months. The Aussies have had the better of form and injuries. They have enjoyed a very good record with series wins over South Africa and the West Indies, while the English have struggled against Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Injuries to Simon Jones, Andrew Flintoff and Michael Vaughan have also dented the preparation of the English squad.

Rugby League
There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this seasons League Tri Nations series, with the 'Granny Gate' affair and the sometimes lax and inconsistent interpretation of the rules. The Kiwis will be revved up after being docked two points for fielding the ineligible Nathan Fien. They made the Lions look ordinary in defence the last time the teams met and even after the Lions beat the Aussies, there are still big questions about the English ability to control the game. Both of these teams will be reliant on the power of their forwards to gain metres with the Kiwis looking a little more dangerous in the backs. The winner of this match will have the chance to meet the Aussies in the final and with both teams having beaten them in the last 12 months, both teams would fancy their chance to win.

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Thursday November 16th 2006

After two bad losses on the road the Kings will now travel to New Zealand to take on the Breakers. After years of dominating the competition the Kings have been brought back down to earth over the last fortnight. Firstly, they gave newcomers the South Dragons their first ever win and then they self destructed in Perth when they played the Wildcats. For the Breakers this game is a perfect opportunity to inflict more pain on a team that will be down on confidence.

Andy Roddick will be ruing the three match points he let go against Roger Federer in their ATP Masters tie earlier this week. That match was the hardest Federer has been pushed in a long time and Roddick looked the goods until late in the second set. David Nalbandian will be a different proposition for Roddick with the Argentine more inclined to come into the net and mix his game up. This could negate Roddick's massive forehand. Nalbandian has shown that he does not handle the big serves well. In his last match he let in 30 aces in his 2 sets to one loss to defending champion Ivan Ljubicic.

Rugby League
When the Lions take the field this Saturday night, they will know that only a win will keep their 2006 Tri Nations hopes alive. After the thumping they received from the Kiwis last week the Lions will need to regroup. This will prove difficult with the controversial sending home of Sean Long, who played a man of the match game when they played the Aussies in Sydney. The Aussies were outplayed up front when they last played the Lions and coach Ricky Stuart has upped the ante at training attempting to get the complacency out of the Kangaroos' play. The Aussies are guaranteed a place in the final after their two wins over the Kiwis, so the Lions have it all to play for in this match.

Thursday November 23rd 2006

The Breakers have had a good season so far and they are sitting in the top 8. Their last up loss to the Kings was disappointing for the home fans and they can't drop too many more home games if they are to make the play-offs. The Sixers are travelling terribly at the moment and were lucky in their win over West Sydney. The Breakers have already beaten Adelaide this season and they will have to beat the likely wooden-spooners again this week or the task of playing higher placed teams may be too much.

The Kings and Wildcats will clash in the neutral venue of Canberra. A fortnight ago Sydney played the Wildcats in Perth and experienced a passionate home crowd so the Kings players and fans will miss the opportunity to return the favour. In that game the Kings were right in it until the offense imploded and they scored 2 from 26. The Kings will again look to pressure the Cats all over the court and tire the big men from Perth. This strategy will benefit from the return of David Barlow.

Rugby League
In a repeat of the 2005 Tri Nations final Australia will play New Zealand. Last year, the Kiwis absolutely smashed the Aussies winning 24 - 0. So far this season the Aussies have won both of their preliminary matches though have looked far from their best. There should be some great fireworks in this match with Willie Mason out with a point to prove. The forwards are the Kiwis main asset, so the Aussies will need to be dominant up front. The Australian backline boasts a lot of talent and if they get the space to run New Zealand will be in trouble.

In the EPL this week the match of the round will be the top of the table clash between Manchester United and Chelsea. In the Champions League during the week Man U went down to Celtic, though in the EPL they are travelling well dropping just the one match. Last season's winner Chelsea have dropped just the two matches and a win here will have the teams level on points.

Thursday November 30th 2006

After a poor start to the season new franchise South Dragons are on fire. Coach Shane Heal has turned the fortunes of the club around and now they are in play-off contention. The Dragons are one of the form teams of the NBL and are coming off back to back wins. The Perth Wildcats on the other hand are looking mediocre, especially after last week's performance against the Kings. The Wildcats will need to lift as the Dragons will be a handful on their home court.

Justin Langer got the Australians off to a perfect start in the first Ashes Test, hitting a much needed 82. Captain Ricky Ponting also started in style, dominating the English attack to get 196. Michael Hussey and Michael Clarke also notched up 50s in the first innings. Glenn McGrath, who some English commentators had written off prior to the first test, had a whale of a first innings finishing with 6 for 50. Brett Lee and Stuart Clark also chimed in, taking a combined four wickets. Shane Warne however finished with no wickets in the first innings, although in the second, he came out and took four wickets, destroying any hope the English had. Stuart Clark also took four wickets in the innings. With the bat in the second innings Langer again starred, notching up his 23rd test century while Ponting scored 60.

For the English their second innings with the bat was probably the only time they looked threatening. After scoring 16 in the first innings Kevin Pietersen came out in the second and scored an impressive 92. Paul Collingwood also made a vast improvement on his first innings, scoring 96 in the second. The only other batting highlight for the English was Ian Bell's 50 in the first innings. With the ball the English bowlers have a way to go before the second test in Adelaide with only Captain Andrew Flintoff having any effect in slowing down the run rate.

The teams now head to Adelaide to prepare for the second Test. Australia will have the same thirteen that they used for the Brisbane Test at the expense of Stuart MacGill, who was tipped to make the squad. England needs to do something with their bowling attack as Steve Harmison was ineffective and James Anderson was way too expensive to be a serious threat.


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