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Goodbye Goodes as Day has his day

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Cherry Blossoms 34 - Springboks 32 (Image via travelpapa.com)

Lachlan Barker wraps up a big fortnight of sport, including the AFP and League finals, the Rugby World Cup, Jason Day losing the world number one golfer mantle and the great Adam Goodes bowing out of AFL.

Sport rolls on with its endless cycle of wins and losses, however no longer will Adam Goodes be a part of the Aussie Rules component of the Australian winter sport landscape.

The Sydney Swans, for whom Goodes plays for, were defeated by North Melbourne, 77-51, a week ago and since Goodes had previously announced this would be his last season, this became his final match.

However he made no mention of it, just slipped away down the tunnel at the final siren and then was gone.

A fuller account of this can be found in this article on The Roar by Glen Mitchell, an excellent piece.

However though gone, the racist controversy that has been stressing Goodes has one final round to play out.

The tradition is that a player who retires that year gets driven around the Melbourne Cricket Ground before the grand final to accept the last cheers of the crowd before retiring into private life.

However, Goodes has chosen not to take the final ride as it was unclear whether the crowds present would boo him as he rode.

The AFL have been supportive of Goodes through this terrible time, however I have no doubt they are relieved beyond measure that Adam Goodes won’t be taking his lap of honour. To see a champion of Goodes’ calibre being booed by those who have done nothing greater in life than buy a ticket for some football games would be a black mark beyond measure on the sport.

So Goodes will not be present at the MCG on that one day in October.

I’ll close this sorry section with some more from Glen Mitchell on Goodes, who said the final lap is

 ... a fitting farewell for all those who have earned the right to be saluted on the biggest stage the sport has. 

Sadly, Goodes will not be among them.

And that is a great shame.

In fact, it is a blight on the game.

As for the grand final itself, this year there is great relief for the host state, Victoria, as one Victorian team, Hawthorn will be participating.

The final four showdowns saw Hawthorn play the Freemantle Dockers, while the West Coast Eagles took on Sydney’s vanquishers, North Melbourne.

There was considerable nervousness in the east as it looked all too likely that the grand final would be between the two Western Australian teams.

However, Hawthorn proved too good for the Dockers, getting home 94-67, to great exhalations of breath in Victoria. While in the other leg of the final four, the Eagles had too much for North, booking their grand final berth with an 80-55 victory.

Thus many, if not all in Victoria, who would generally rather see Hawthorn thumped by 15 goals every Saturday, will put their antipathy aside for one Saturday at least.

In the rugby league however, the out of state grand final did eventuate.

The rugby league grand final will be played in Sydney at Stadium Australia and this year it is to be an all Queensland affair, with the North Queensland Cowboys taking on the Brisbane Broncos.

Brisbane put the Eastern Suburbs Roosters to the sword, winning 31-12, while the men from the far north did more than enough to get home over those from the far south, the Melbourne Storm, 32-12. 

With Queensland's enduring dominance of rugby league, reflected through them winning nine of the last ten series, the fact two Queensland teams are contesting a grand final is hardly surprising, but good luck to the rugby league mad State anyway. They deserve it.

https://www.facebook.com/NRLHumour/photos/a.574083619311769.1073741825.359074060812727/902605193126275/?type=3&theater

So the grand finals are upon us and although Adam Goodes will not receive his ultimate lap of honour, there is an upside, HG & Roy will be broadcasting.

Even for those who hate sport, there is always more than enough of wider interest from these two to sustain interest.

They bring humour and incisive comment on the issues of the day, so I for one will turning the simply awful sound of the commercial TV commentators down and turning the dulcet tones of HG & Roy way up.

Also in the world of footballing mayhem is the Rugby World Cup, currently underway in the United Kingdom.

The really big news so far has been the defeat of mighty rugby nation South Africa by Japan, 34-32.

This has been described with some justification as the biggest upset in rugby world cup history and I, for one, could not disagree. No one saw that coming and even the Japanese supporters must have been as surprised as most.

South Africa was actually leading by three points when the 80th minute came up and would have thought they were home. However, the indomitable Japanese Brave Blossoms, as they are nicknamed, never called time, and ran in a try in the fourth minute of injury time.

The nickname, by the way, was originally the Cherry Blossoms, as the cherry blossom plays a great part in Japanese culture.

So Blossom fever gripped the town of Gloucester for Japan’s second match against Scotland. However, the fairytale was not to continue, with the Scots winning 45-10.

However, this scoreline was somewhat unflattering to Japan, as they was in the hunt throughout the first half, with the score 12-7 to Scotland at half time. However, the second half saw Japan begin to wilt and the men in dark blue ran in five tries.

Part of the problem for Japan, it seems, was the quick turnaround, they only had four days between the South Africa and Scotland matches. Japan’s coach, Eddie Jones, refused to blame the quick turnaround, but there can be no doubt that such a titanic struggle against South Africa must have taken its toll.

South Africa, by the way, clearly nettled by that defeat, then went out and blasted respected rugby nation Samoa to pieces, 46-6, and so are back on track to qualify and possibly top the group.

Australia for their part played well in their first match against Fiji and registered a solid 28-13 win.

David Pocock notched two tries in the first half, both from powerful forward blasts against the Fiji pack from close. Then Sekope Kefu crossed soon after half time to take the score to 23-3, Bernard Foley converted to take it to 25-3 and Australia had the job done pretty much then and there.

In Australia’s second match, the Wallabies nailed a comprehensive victory over rugby minnows Uruguay 65-3. The Australians were brilliant at times, but made 19 handling errors, which will not please Coach Michael Cheika.

Australia’s next pool match is a big one against England at Twickenham. While you can get away with errors against a lower ranked team, Cheika will clearly be seeking a greater focus on ball security against the home team.

Lastly, we once again give note to Australian golfer Jason Day. He achieved the world number one ranking following a victory in a tournament in Illinois.

However, Day’s day was short in the end, with American wunderkind Jordan Spieth wrestled the top ranking off Day at the end of the Tour’s year.

Still, this albeit brief stint in the number one jersey is really well deserved for Day, as midway through this year he suffered bouts of vertigo. There was some conjecture at the time that he may not even have been able to complete the tournament, the U.S. Open, at which his vertigo manifested most severely.

However, he pushed through and thus receives a just reward for his emotional strength in getting back on the course. Day finished the season ranked three, still a marvelous achievement for him, while Ireland’s Rory McIlroy finished in second spot.

So there we leave sport for the period.

The lowest note is that a true champion like Adam Goodes fades out without his final lap of the biggest Aussie Rules stage of all.

However, without wishing to be flippant in any way, the highest point is that Roy and HG will once more be back on the ABC – on ABC News Radio – where they do their best work, ad free.

Roy and HG lift the spirits of anyone who listens to them, so we can only hope Adam Goodes tunes in as well. I’d like to think that Goodes’s final act of the season of his retirement is listening to the biting satire of the greatest sport comedy team ever.

Lachlan Barker blogs at cyclonecharlie88.blogspot.com.au. You can also follow him on Twitter @CycloneCharlie8.

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