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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

[Sport] Happy Birthday Your Majesty

Hands up who saw the BOP/Lions match on Queen's Birthday weekend.
Keep your hands up if you were in the crowd at Rotorua watching it.

Yep, I was! My first international match (I’ll see the All Blacks eventually; I’m just waiting for a corporate box invitation). What a game!

But let’s try and do this chronologically.

The Sting beat the Force and will host the National Bank Cup Final. I threw a long train of expletives at the television when Sting coach, Robyn Broughton, said that she felt for the Magic, but that the Sting were over the moon at being able to host another final. I discovered through certain sources that Shelley McMeekan lied on national television when she said to John Campbell that Netball New Zealand (NNZ) wouldn’t make any money out the final. It turns out, according to my source, that NNZ will take 20% of the ticket sales (the Sting get 50% and the Magic get 30%).

The whole thing gets dirtier and dirtier though.

Magic chief executive Sheryl Dawson said it had asked to use Diamonds home ground of Waitakere Stadium as an alternative home ground but NNZ board had rejected the idea.
What?! First check out this map (pdf file) and have a look at the places the Magic franchise covers. Are there NO venues in this entire region? Second the disputed Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre has held regular season games, why can’t it host a final?

I spoke briefly to Hori BOP after the Bay game he said basically that he was pissed off and he was currently looking for a sponsor to fly him down to Invercargill.

I have an idea. If the Magic go down and win, it will be huge. But if they lose, then no one will remember their struggle, they will only remember the Sting winning title #7. So what the Magic should do is: not show up.

Flying the team and support staff down will cost heaps of money, hardly any Magic fans will make the journey (I will be proved wrong here) and the team doesn't even benefit from it. A boycott of the match will show NNZ that their management style is not appreciated. The Magic could, instead, show up at the QEYC and sign autographs and maybe put on an exhibition match for their hometown fans. Hey, passive resistance worked for Ghandi.

I nipped across the road to the pub at about 4pm to catch the game (everyone else was watching on a big screen provided by work, but I wanted a beer while I watched it). Dom met me a little while later and we watched in horror as the Fijians ran rampant. It was kind of unfair on the Māori because the Fijians were playing Sevens. All of them, even the forwards, even 165kg “Big“ Bill Cavubati, the world’s heaviest ever rugby test player.

It looked tome like the Māori were struggling in the heat. Marty Holah was missing his usual headgear (and got a stomping on his face) and everyone was dripping sweat. The ground looked like rock as well. I expect we’ll see an improvement on their game when they play the Lions on Saturday (7.10pm on Sky). Does anyone know why all the games are being played at 7.10pm? We believe it’s something to do with the British television audience. If you do know please leave a comment.

I would like to say that I was under the impression that the players who had opted out of the trial game to play for the NZ Maori and the BOP were still eligible to be selected for the All Blacks. While this seems to be true for the Maori it doesn’t seem to be true for the BOP.

Bernie Upton worked really well in the BOP line out during their match against the Lions include a few wins against the throw, but didn’t get a call. Not even to just join the practice squad. Still it would be very stink for the players who did play well in the trial (like James Ryan) to miss out.

The trail went really well for the most part, though I found it slightly boring with most of the “big” players out, like Umaga, Oliver, most of the Crusaders, and all the guys in the NZ Māori. The side has been named and a few players have missed out, according to Graham Henry, due to “niggly injuries”. Like Ma’a Nonu and Anton Oliver. But hang on, Mils Muliaina is in the squad and he pulled out of the trail with a shoulder injury. You weren’t lying were you Mils?

Sitivini Sivivatu was absolutely awesome though. No one could deny that. Byron Kelleher also did his Jack Russell Terrier impersonation going hardcore for his time on the field.

That’s the weird thing about All Black trials: the good players get subbed off.

Right next up:

Actually I do not have time today to blog about this game. See you tomorrow with stories and photos.

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