Wednesday 28 October 2009

Are Fans Finally Getting What They Want?

More Day Games PLEASE.

If there is a sport played on an outdoor field - there is absolutely no question that the quality of the game is far superior to when it is played at night.

The National Rugby League switched their Grand Final from a 3pm start to an 8pm kick-off in 2001 to satisfy television network Channel Nine's desire to show the code's biggest game in prime time.

What wasn't taken into consideration was the concept of 'Grand Final Day' when fans could organise a big get together to watch all three grades and celebrate their team's victory (or wallow in their defeat) on into the night. But with a night Grand Final - kids in particular would miss out - celebrations would be curtailed by the late night finish.

The euphoria of a Grand Final victory would last barely an hour before people began to leave, rather than the debrief starting at about 6pm and going well on into the evening. And those who went to the game would consider trying to beat the traffic home first and staying to take in the post-game atmosphere a distant second following the full time whistle.

But Television only cared about the ratings during the game itself and from 2001 to 2007 the game was kept at the prime time kick-off. Finally people power made some headway (after a long time complaining) and Channel Nine and the NRL made a concession - moving the kick-off back to 5:15pm.

This still meant that part of the game is played at night, but the first half started in the twilight.

It was a compromise that didn't quite give fans everything they were after - but it is better than having to wait til 8pm for the biggest game of the season.

The Australian Football League has so far resisted overtures from TV to move their game out of the Saturday Afternoon time slot - and their Grand Final is far better for it.

Now Major League Baseball may be following suit.

Right now the entirety of the World Series (the Grand Final of Baseball is a Best of Seven Game Series) is played at night - with Television Stations who spend millions of dollars demanding that the games be in prime time. Not since 1984 when Detroit and San Diego played a day game in the World Series has the true essence of baseball been a consideration in the final games of the season.
The downside to the prime time revolution is when at least one West Coast team makes the World Series. This is because a prime time start in the West means a late night start in the more lucrative East Coast market. In 2002 when the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Angels played in the World Series, the starting times were a nightmare for East Coast centric TV executives.

News today that MLB Commissioner Bud Selig wants to have at least one afternoon start for a World Series game is fantastic. There is no doubt that baseball is a better game during the day (much like how cricket is a better contest during the day) and for a lot of fans - the game never feels the same at night.

Here is a link to the article on Yahoo! Sports.

Perhaps the most cranium scratching facts about night games for the biggest matches of the year are the fact that particularly in baseball - the majority of games are day games... yet when the biggest matches take place - we play them at night.

It begs the question - does the championship winning team need to be the best team over 162 Games or just the best team at playing night baseball?

Just food for thought... why do we play day games in any sport if the biggest game of the year is played in different conditions?

Thursday 22 October 2009

International Rugby League: Four Nations Wallpapers miss the mark...

The Official Gillette Four Nations Website is now online, with the first round of games kicking-off this weekend. England take on France in Doncaster on Friday Night, while the reigning World Cup champions New Zealand play Australia in London.

The website is average for the most part - a tournament like this should lend itself to a plethora of intriguing content options for the International Rugby League fan - but the best they have been able to do is make four wallpapers available for download for each Four Nations team and list the players in each squad...

It is nice and colourful but where's the substance?

Where's the reasons for a fan to visit the site more than once?

Still searching for them myself... suffice to say - the site has a lot of room for improvement.

Here are the Wallpapers, they are baffling to say the least... what do you think of them?





It might be just my opinion - but does the English Wallpaper look like the only graphic that has Jamie Peacock's actual body attached to his head?

Or is it some sort of cutting edge design technique I don't know about?

Friday 16 October 2009

Vancouver unveil Medal Design for 2010 Winter Olympic Games

Question: Name the cities who have hosted the last three Olympic Winter Games?

Before you cheat and say Vancouver - you'd be wrong as the Canadian west coast city doesn't qualify for that question until late February next year.

Today the Vancouver Olympic Committee unveiled their designs for the Medals to be awarded at the Games. They are undulating rather than flat and have a native motif amongst the Olympic Rings.

They look good. Not great but they are different.

Just a note on the official website - the medal news today has spiked the site's hosting capabilities and it is down. Here's the screen shot that greets you trying to log into the official site...

Internal Server Error - Erreur interne de serveur

The server has encountered an unexpected internal error which has prevented it from displaying the requested page.

Please try again later. If you still experience problems, please e-mail

Le serveur a rencontrĂ© une erreur interne inattendue qui l’a empĂȘchĂ© d’afficher la page demandĂ©e.

Veuillez rĂ©essayer plus tard. Si vous Ă©prouvez toujours des problĂšmes, veuillez envoyer un courriel Ă  l’adresse

That's not a good sign at all... the Games haven't even started yet and the site can't deal with the spike in hits from a MEDAL DESIGN ANNOUNCEMENT!

I shudder to think how critically wounded the site would be when the Canadians win Gold in the Ice Hockey...

Answer: 2006 - Turin, Italy; 2002 - Salt Lake City, USA; 1998 - Nagano, Japan.

Thursday 15 October 2009

Could Beauty & The Geek save Australian television?

Guess what's on Channel Seven tonight?

The best Australian-made show since... well... gee I don't know when. The Australian version of 'Beauty & The Geek' snuck under the radar before its debut and still drew over one million 'viewers' whilst being the 7th most watched show last Thursday night.

Episode Two airs tonight at 8:30pm on Channel Seven and goes up against CSI on Channel Nine, Rush on Channel Ten, Dave in the Life on SBS and Whale Patrol on the ABC.

It'll cover Ten and SBS but the ABC's Whale Patrol doco and the Morpheus-led CSI will give it a run for the timeslot money.

I didn't see the first episode of 'Beauty & The Geek' live, in fact I didn't even know the series had started yet. But while out for dinner Saturday night - the show came up in conversation over coffee. Having already watched a few episodes of the American version of 'Beauty & The Geek' in the past, I am a big fan of the concept because it produces truly entertaining television. So when said Australian version was available to watch after dinner, I jumped at the chance.

I was not disappointed.

Case in point - the map of Australia (see picture left) is a beauty... just think how entertained the children who were being 'taught' were by it.

Once you got through the staged, heavily scripted introduction portion of the first episode, the spun gold began. The girls and boys have next to no idea how they are coming off to the audience but it's kind of endearing rather than a degrading way that is brought out on television. By that I mean - although you spew forth comments like 'you've got to be kidding' or 'no way!' and 'no no nooooooo!' while watching both groups do their thing - you are thoroughly entertained. Which is exactly what a format like this can do.

I've got a lot of respect for both the girls and guys for going on the show and putting up with being told what to say in the 'interview sections' - because they make Australian television watchable once more.

Only a handful of Australian produced shows have caught my interest in the past few years (most recently Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation & The Hollowmen) because they were able to freshly squeeze out entertainment. This is what 'Beauty & The Geek' does just as well - sure it's cringe worthy but it is fresh and vibrant thanks to the cast.

The host and 'special guest' judges however... well Molloy Meldrum was solid but did Jessica Mauboy say anything that Molly hadn't already said before? And the host, Bernard Curry, has a better spray tan than the entire female cast!

And that takes some doing.

So check out 'Beauty & The Geek' and don't let scripted dribble like Curry's summation of the first two challenges scare you off - and I quote: "Beauties you scored an A-Plus teaching a class and Geeks you rocked the mike and busted out some serious moves with your mus---BLEURRRGGGGHHHH (that's me throwing up)."

Trust me the show is ridiculously entertaining, so get on it - and save yourself and Australian television from the current plague that is stale clichĂ©d dribble like Packed to the Rafters, Home & Away and Neighbours.

Monday 5 October 2009

NRL Grand Final 2009 - Melbourne Storm 23 defeated Parramatta Eels 16 - Game Result & Review



The Grand Final of 2009

NRL GRAND FINAL SCORE: Melbourne Storm 23 (Hoffman, Blair, Inglis, Slater; Smith 3/4, Inglis 1 FG) defeated Parramatta Eels 16 (Grothe, Reddy, MoiMoi; Burt 2/3) @ ANZ Stadium, Sydney.

Full Game Match Report via the NRL Tweets below:

1 The #NRL Grand Final kicks-off in just under 5 hours - don't miss our Video Preview of the Game

2 The #NRL Finals Tweet will have our in-game update service running throughout the Storm v Eels Decider.

3 #NRL Grand Final Predictions - Melbourne Storm 24 def. Parramatta Eels 16. Greg Inglis 1st Tryscorer, Cameron Smith Clive Churchill Winner

4 The rain is still hovering around... this will not be a dry #NRL Grand Final. Still liking the Storm.

5 The lounge room votes are in... Game Result: Eels 2 votes, Storm 3 votes.

6 #NRL Grand Final Teams: - No changes to either team. Nathan Cayless is playing... no real surprise at all. Here we go...

7 #NRL Grand Final Votes Pre-Game - 1st Tryscorer: Inglis, Turner, Burt, Slater. Clive Churchill: Cameron Smith, MoiMoi, Slater, Finch.

8 Just minutes away... the phone will be turned off for the next few days if Parra win, to avoid those annoying Parra fans. GO STORM!

9 Here come the Eels up the tunnel... Grothe and Mannah arm in arm. Followed by the Storm in a much calmer mood...

10 National Anthem time... the Eels and Storm are about to get underway. Not even close to the scheduled kick-off time...

11 A minute's silence for those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia and Samoa...


13 Storm kick-off... MoiMoi crushed by Johnson!

14 Hayne clears on 4th tackle... but Turner gets it back to halfway... not a good first set by the Eels. Storm into Parra's half...

15 Cronk's cross kick is taken beautifully by Grothe just outside his own tryline. Good start by the Storm.

16 Turner gets a roll on from dummy half... Storm back into Eels territory for 2nd set in a row.

17 Smith grubber is fielded by Hayne in goal but Cronk pulls him down. First repeat Set now

18 HOFFMAN IS IN! He's crying!

19 Easy easy try... there goes the vaunted Parramatta defence. Finch short ball to Hoffman who runs 20m to score.

20 Smith to try and convert from about 10m in from the left sideline. It's good, sneaks inside the right upright. MELBOURNE 6-0 after 6mins.

21 Robson and Reddy exposed by the quality of the Finch short ball.

22 INU knocks on... first mistake.

23 Storm get another crack at the Eels inside their half. Parra under pressure.

24 Hoffman almost goes in again from a Finch short ball... Hoffman tried to off-load but his pass goes to ground. Reddy picks it up.

25 News from the sheds... Jarryd Hayne left one of his boots at home... genius huh?

26 Parra get first set inside Storm half from strip by Adam Blair...

27 Hayne injects himself... chip over the top but it goes dead in goal. Storm 20m restart.

28 10th minute... Storm still 6-0 up.

29 Miracle Inu offload... gets away with it. Eels marching up field now...

30 Slater dancing through the defence on a kick-return. Turner keeps the metres coming from dummy half.

31 Inu lies down after copping a slap across the cheek when he caught an Inglis bomb. Barely touched him... tissue Krisnan?

32 Mortimer tries a little chip back across the play the ball from 15m out. Burt can't hold it and stay infield. Storm ball.

33 15th minute - Storm still 6-0 up but Eels back in the contest.

34 Lima into the game for White.

35 Turner with a great mark in goal. Robson kicked it in behind the winger once again and Turner is equal to it.

36 40/20 attempt by Smith... Hayne brings it back and Lima doesn't miss.

37 Slater makes a run across field from the kick-return. Making good metres. For some reason Parra are targeting Turner rather than Nielsen.

38 Tandy Electronics is into the game.

39 Almost a quarter of the way through the game... what does Daniel Anderson have planned for the half time tape recording?

40 News from Sterlo - Hindy has 23 tackles in the first 20 minutes. Storm still lead 6-0.

41 Grother does another fine job defusing the Cronk kick. Grothe gets it back out to the 20.

42 MoiMoi replaced by Galuvao.

43 FLOP!!!! Hindy racks up tackle number 4, flop number 18

44 Hayne with his first real shot of the contest... Parra making a good return in this set. Cayless off after 20 minutes.

45 Inu made a great catch on a bomb above Slater but his offload couldn't be held by Galuvao. Storm get a penalty. Johnson looking sick.


47 Finch changed side of the field to Cronk, who dummied to Slater split the defence, drew Hayne and Blair races over!

48 Smith for the conversion and a 12-0 lead. What a great play by Cronk.

49 Mannah and Lowrie split way to easily. Both two Storm tries have been relatively soft in regards to the Eels defence.

50 Smith missed the kick. After 26 minutes it's 10-0 to the Storm.

51 Mortimer tries a chip and chase... Cronk - the man who is in everything - cleans up. Storm get another set inside the Eels half...

52 Lima with the ball playing skills... Tandy almost through.

53 Inglis tried a chip but gets leveled by Lowrie.

54 Sorry gets leveled by Ben Smith.

55 Gus likes it.

56 Mortimer gets through! Eels press!

57 Hayne almost put Reddy through but a fantastic tackle by Nielsen. Hayne tried a DUMB cross kick with numbers left... shocker.

58 From across the room 'Parra's last tackle plays have been appalling."

59 Some sloppy work in that Storm set but Cronk kicks it over the line, smartly.

60 Penalty to the Eels... Tony Archer gets himself on TV.

61 32nd minute - Melbourne 10-0.

62 Key set for the Eels. At worst need a repeat set from 20m out.

63 Forward pass called by Hayne. It was so good call. Reddy to Grothe... young Eric looked set to score but the pass was forward.

64 Vince Noir is not well... Joel Reddy for those who haven't been told of the similarity yet.

65 35th minute - Storm 10-0. But the Storm look tired.

66 Hayne with a nothing kick... Slater fields it easily. From across the room "how bad is Hayne playing? & 'his kicking is terrible!'

67 Inglis with a crucial tackle on a Hayne kick-return.

68 Hindmarsh with 31 tackles, Johnson next best with 22.

69 Cronk tried to steal a few more metres before kicking but Hindmarsh puts a huge push on him and no last tackle play for the Storm 20m out.

70 Mateo announces himself with a great offload to Inu. Eels moving up the field again!

71 Hindmarsh knocks on in the play the ball. But Gus still loves him.

72 90 seconds to halftime. Storm set from halfway... Field Goal?

73 Slater and Blair combine down the left but Cronk's pass goes forward. Wasted chance at a field goal there. 30 seconds to HT.

74 Wow... Eels with one last chance before halftime and he kicks the ball over the sideline from halfway... what was he doing there?

75 #NRL GRAND FINAL HALFTIME SCORE: Melbourne Storm 10 (R Hoffman, A Blair tries, C Smith 1/2 Goals) lead Parramatta Eels 0.

76 #NRL GRAND FINAL HALFTIME BEST: Cronk, Hoffman, Hindmarsh, Finch, Smith, Blair, Slater, Cayless, Turner, Inglis, Grothe, Lima, Johnson,

77 So who wins the 2009 #NRL Grand Final from here? Storm leading by 10 at the break.

78 Do Channel Nine have no shame??? Hey Hey host Daryl Summers hijacks the Grand Final telecast to showcase his botox.

79 @rdhinds pick that up did you? Sterlo trying hard not to but Rabs... geesh

80 @LoteTuqiri or if you're watching tv we got Daryl Summers dribbling on about his show...

81 Eels coming back after halftime... Rabs is talking up their chances like a good Parra fan.

82 Storm will receive the kick-off to start the second half.

83 Joel Reddy hooked? He's on the bench to start the half.

84 Storm get an early penalty. Into the Parra half already.

85 GREAT HIT! MoiMoi on White. Whiplash!

86 Wow... Storm go right and Slater tries a bit too hard... throws it over the sideline.

87 Where's Billy? Asks Jarryd Hayne.... great step by the Storm fullback to beat the Eels superstar.

88 Mateo breaks up the left!

89 Robson holds the play up... Keating to Mateo... offload to Burt... to Robson!

90 Stopped just short... Grothe out wide!!! TRY!

91 Grothe runs over Slater to score Parra's first try in the 45th minute! Here come the Eels!

92 Grothe had a lot of work to do on his right sideline... but beat a few players and crashes over!. Parra needed that!

93 Burt with a big kick. Gets this and the Eels could take the lead with another try. He gets it.

94 46th Minute - Melbourne 10-6.

95 It was a Hayne cut out... went to ground but odds are he'll get the Try Assist because of who he is and what NRL Stats tends to do...

96 Important five minutes or so here for the Storm. Need to stay with their game plan in the face of this Parra surge.

97 MoiMoi gets Johnson! with a corker.



100 Cronk puts it high, Grothe and Hayne found wanting but Inglis races through takes it easily and SCORES!

101 Smith will make it an immediate strike back. Converts and Melbourne 16-6.

102 51st Minute - Melbourne 16-6 after Inglis takes a Cronk bomb to score under the posts.

103 Huge play by the Storm. The game just shifted once again.

104 Chambers does his turnstile impersonation... Galuvao into space!

105 Reddy pulled down on the last tackle... 5m out. Good defence Melbourne.

106 Mateo is looking dangerous but there's the error trying to force the off-load, helps if you've got players supporting you, not your fault.

107 Hit him MoiMoi! White is such a pretender.

108 MoiMoi again! Anderson gets clocked.


110 That's not a typo.... Slater is over!

111 Cronk to Blair who broke through and found Slater who SCORES! The Storm are out to 22-6 after 56 mins.

112 Mortimer exposed by Cronk to put Blair through. Great play. Cronk is the front runner for the Clive Churchill Medal... but it ain't over yet

113 TACKLE! Turner on Burt down the left touchline. Great play.

114 Good option for the Eels but Turner was there to make the tackle. Burt into touch.

115 60th Minute - Melbourne 22-6.

116 Hindmarsh goes past 50 tackles... Flop count close to 20 though... still he's such a great player, shame the Storm are 16 in front.

117 Slater defuses another dangerous bomb.

118 Hayne has been hurt on his kick-returns all game. But he's been far better this half.

119 Great offload by Cayless... Eels need something soon.

120 Inu tries to offload to Mateo who knocks on... great tackle by Smith on MoiMoi the play earlier. The Eels passes aren't sticking now...

121 That's terrible.... Robson at halfway gets rushed on the kick... and finds touch 40m out... from the halfway line.

122 65th minute - Melbourne 22-6.

123 Time is definitely not on Parramatta's side now.

124 Inglis injects himself beats Ben Smith... tries to reach Finch back on the inside but it gets toed through by Finch... Eels to drop out.

125 Eels go for short drop out... Chambers shows his IQ by touching it before the 10m line... Penalty Parra... well done scoop.

126 Adam Blair stops Hayne on one of those danger runs. Good tackle.

127 Mateo knocks on again... but penalty for not straight markers. Parra MUST score in this set.

128 68th Minute - Storm 22-6.

129 Inu tried to put Burt over but Turner gets in the way. Another set for Parra but Turner stopped a try.

130 Rabs just asked Sterlo 'Why are you always right?' - easy answer Rabs - They watch the game!

131 Twitter held up updates after reaching a limit I had no knowledge of. We've covered the final 12 minutes will update later. Well Done Storm!

132 So we had the game heavily covered by the 68th minute... then Twitter killed us! Updates above were written live but updated to Twitter 2 hours late - through no fault of our own.

133 At the risk of overloading the Tweet again... here are the updates as recorded during the final 12 minutes. Apologies it wasn't our fault!

134 Reddy Scores! From a Robson kick! Burt converts. Melbourne 22-12.

135 Here come the Eels! Razzle Dazzle stuff!

136 70th Minute - Storm 22-12.

137 OH MY GOODNESS! MoiMoi has run 85 metres to score! Ok 20 but he's run over 3 or 4 defenders to score.

138 WOW! Eels back in it! Turner and Slater have tried to stop MoiMoi but he's been given the try via the Video Referee!

139 72nd Minute - Melbourne 22-16 with the kick to come! Mateo off-load to MoiMoi and the big unit runs over everyone!

140 Missed the kick! 73 minutes gone and the Eels are racing home! Down by 6 with 7 minutes to go!

141 Big set for the Eels to get out of their own half. The game has come alive!

142 Huge Hoffman tackle on Mortimer. Last tackle - Hayne goes to the air! Knock on Slater! Here's the Eels chance!

143 From the scrum… Eels on the verge of something amazing! Chambers stops Inu - had to be made that.

144 Todd Lowrie has a brain explosion… kicks straight to Cameron Smith! Hayne needed the ball! Wow… what a waste.

145 Storm looking dead though… must find touch. Slater great run. Gets a penalty! MoiMoi in the play the ball… huge call by Archer.

146 Slater loses it but MoiMoi had not let go when he had to… still that'll be the call Parra fans blow up about.

147 Field Goal coming!?

148 INGLIS! FIELD GOAL!!!!!!!!!!

149 Wonky as… but it's over!

150 Inglis kills the Eels! YEEHAAA!!! 78th Minute - Melbourne 23-16.

151 Reddy tries to hold onto the short kick off… knocks it on.

152 Cronk finds touch, slows it down. Game is over. With 90 seconds left… Eels will keep at it but are out of it.

153 Storm 23-16 with a minute left. Knock on Melbourne after a Mateo offload. Only hope for the Eels is an 8 point try… not gonna happen.

154 Melbourne deserve to win this. And they will… 2 Premierships in 4 years… well done.

155 Interesting… Hayne knock on in the final 20 seconds… the star couldn't pull the win off when it ultimately mattered. Still what a year.

156 STORM WIN!!! The Melbourne Storm are the 2009 NRL Premiers!

157 NRL GRAND FINAL: FT SCORE: Storm 23 (Hoffman, Blair, Inglis Slater; Smith 3/4, Inglis 1 FG) def Eels 16 (Grothe, Reddy, MoiMoi; Burt 2/3)

158 #NRL GRAND FINAL FT BEST: Cronk, Smith, Hoffman, Inglis, Hindmarsh, Slater, MoiMoi, Lima, Blair, Johnson, Turner, Mateo, Cayless, Grothe.

159 Billy Slater gets the Clive Churchill Winner… questionable. He was great but there were a few players who were better. Like 3 or 4.

160 Clive Churchill Medal that is, even Slater acknowledged Cronk was the best on ground.

161 Cayless to speak on behalf of the Eels. Enjoyable ride the sentiment.

162 Here comes Cameron Smith to accept the Premiership Trophy.

163 Cameron Smith lifts the trophy high with a real sense of relief on his face.

164 Eels players doing a 'lap of honour' while the Storm captain does his acceptance speech… pathetic.

165 What a great Grand Final. No fairytale for the Eels but the Storm did deserve to win.

166 Love the Nathan Hindmarsh interview… asked what the Eels boys said in the huddle post-match… he said - "Don't know, wasn't listening."

167 That'll do us, thanks for following NRL Finals Tweet through the Finals. We will continue to operate through the off-season with NRL News.

168 @LisaahAurelia You're welcome - pity about Twitter killing the feed with 12 minutes left!

169 The #NRL Finals Tweet has selected Cooper Cronk as our Player of the 2009 Grand Final. Outstanding performance at halfback.

170 A day after the Storm's 23-16 GF win & Melbourne fans are giving it to the Parra supporters: #NRL

171 Reading Bob McCarthy's reasoning for picking Slater ahead of Cronk was hilarious. Yes Slater was great, but Cronk was the difference maker.

172 Daniel Mortimer post-Grand Final: "We've learned a lot about what it takes to win a grand final..." umm how so? Didn't Melbourne win it?

173 If Nathan Hindmarsh can play through a shoulder injury, Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens WILL pick him for the Australian team in the Four Nations

174 #NRL Finals 2009 is now The NRL Tweet - the Finals are over, Melbourne are the 2009 Premiers but our coverage of Rugby League will continue!





Melbourne Storm
8.5 Billy Slater Fullback
7.5 Steve Turner Winger
6.0 Will Chambers Centre
8.0 Greg Inglis Centre
6.0 Dane Nielson Winger
7.0 Brett Finch Five-eighth
9.0 Cooper Cronk Halfback
7.0 Aiden Tolman Prop
8.5 Cameron Smith Hooker
6.5 Brett White Prop
8.0 Adam Blair 2nd Row
8.0 Ryan Hoffman 2nd Row
8.5 Dallas Johnson Lock
6.0 Ryan Hinchcliffe Interchange
8.0 Jeff Lima Interchange
6.0 Ryan Tandy Interchange
5.5 Scott Anderson Interchange
Total Score: 124.0

Parramatta Eels
5.5 Jarryd Hayne Fullback
6.5 Luke Burt Winger
6.5 Krisnan Inu Centre
5.5 Joel Reddy Centre
7.5 Eric Grothe Winger
6.0 Daniel Mortimer Five-eighth
5.5 Jeff Robson Halfback
7.0 Nathan Cayless Prop
5.0 Matthew Keating Hooker
7.5 Fuifui Moimoi Prop
8.0 Nathan Hindmarsh 2nd Row
4.5 Ben Smith 2nd Row
5.0 Todd Lowrie Lock
6.0 Kevin Kingston Interchange
7.0 Feleti Mateo Interchange
6.0 Joe Galuvao Interchange
4.5 Tim Mannah Interchange
Total Score: 104.0

NSC Man of the Match:
Cooper Cronk, Storm
Official Clive Churchill Medalist: Billy Slater, Storm
Glenn Lazarus Medal Points - Grand Final
6 -
Cooper Cronk, Storm
3 - Dallas Johnson, Storm
2 - Billy Slater, Storm
1 - Cameron Smith, Storm

ACTUAL RESULT - Melbourne by 7 (MEL 23-16)
ACTUAL RESULT - Ryan Hoffman
ACTUAL RESULT - Billy Slater


Finals Week One:

Finals Week Two:

Finals Week Three:

Finals Week Four:

The best way to follow the 2009 Finals Series was via NRL_Finals_2009 on Twitter We produced 900+ Tweets - with some great nuggets of information in there, as well as news as it breaks. For the games themselves, regular Tweets will be uploaded giving you an instant evaluation of how the game is being played out and what to watch out for during the match. You can check out the In-Game Tweets within the Game Reports from all Semi Finals - just click on the linked articles on the drop down archive menu on the right of this page.
The NRL Tweet will continue during the off-season so sign up.

So subscribe today and get involved with feedback - either here at, at NRL_Finals_2009 on Twitter or via email

Get on board and may the best team emerge from a great month of football to take the 2009 premiership.


Saturday 3 October 2009

NHL Season Preview 2009/2010 - The Cup goes to...

The new National Hockey League season started Wednesday with Montreal defeating Toronto in Overtime 4-3, Calgary outgunning Vancouver 5-3, Washington knocking off Boston 4-1 and the Colorado Avalanche celebrating Joe Sakic's retirement with a crushing 5-2 win over the highly fancied San Jose Sharks.

Also opening the NHL season over the next few days - the Detroit Red Wings play the St.Louis Blues in Stockholm, Sweden and the Florida Panthers taking on the Chicago Blackhawks in Helsinki, Finland. The game has now played season openers in countries outside of Canada and the USA for a few seasons and the only downside to it all - is people aren't sure WHEN the season actually starts.

But started it has. The reigning Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins will open their defence against the New York Rangers at home on Friday Night.

Pittsburgh came back from a 3-2 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals against Detroit to claim the Cup and enter the year with expectations that a possible dynasty is underway in the Steel City.

Here is all 30 Teams in Predicted Order of Finish in each Conference (after the regular season).


1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. Washington Capitals
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Carolina Hurricanes
5. New Jersey Devils
6. Philadelphia Flyers
7. New York Rangers
8. Ottawa Senators
9. Boston Bruins
10. Tampa Bay Lightning
11. Buffalo Sabres
12. Toronto Maple Leafs
13. Florida Panthers
14. New York Islanders
15. Atlanta Thrashers

Eastern Conference Semi Finals
Washington Capitals over New Jersey Devils
Pittsburgh Penguins over Philadelphia Flyers

Eastern Conference Finals
Pittsburgh Penguins over Washington Capitals

EAST RECAP: Hard to go past the two teams that boast the names Ovechkin, Crosby and Malkin, if you're looking for favourites this season. The Penguins and Capitals have the tools to return to the top of the East and I think that you might see Boston struggle in particular. Watch for the Senators, Sabres and reconstructed Canadiens to make big strides with at least two of them making the Playoffs. The Thrashers will be Ilya Kovalchuk-less by February... and in the basement at the end of the season. Devils to have a wow of a year before fading late but that'll be enough to get Brodeur another Vezina and Lemaire the Jack Adams.


1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Anaheim Ducks
3. Calgary Flames
4. San Jose Sharks
5. Columbus Blue Jackets
6. Vancouver Canucks
7. Chicago Blackhawks
8. Los Angeles Kings
9. Edmonton Oilers
10. St.Louis Blues
11. Minnesota Wild
12. Colorado Avalanche
13. Dallas Stars
14. Nashville Predators
15. Phoenix Coyotes

Western Conference Semi Finals
Detroit Red Wings over San Jose Sharks
Calgary Flames over Anaheim Ducks

Western Conference Finals
Calgary Flames over Detroit Red Wings

WEST RECAP: The Red Wings will once again be the dominant force in the West, with the Sharks not having a great regular season this time around. The Flames and Canucks will fight out the North West all year, before the Flames make a late push come playoff time. The Ducks will get 80+ points each from the Koivu and Selanne combo but be outmuscled by the Flames in the Semi Finals. As for the bolters - the Los Angeles Kings will make the playoffs before getting beaten by experience in the playoffs by the Red Wings. The Blue Jackets will either be very good or take a giant step back, while the Blues chances rest on the health of Paul Kariya.


Pittsburgh will return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the third straight season but they will face a new opponent for the first time with the Detroit Red Wings falling in the Western Conference Finals to the Calgary Flames. The Penguins biggest challenge comes from the Flyers in the East and they will handle the Capitals in the Eastern Conference Finals once again. The Flames are a team that if they get hot (apologies) come playoff time they can beat the Red Wings in a long series.

So the Penguins and Flames for Lord Stanley's Cup... with the Crosby, Malkin, Gonchar, Fleury foursome being the difference as the Penguins repeat as champions in 5 games.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will make it 2 Stanley Cups from 3 straight visits to the Cup Finals in 2009/2010.

Hart Trophy (MVP) - Martin Brodeur, Devils
Art Ross (Leading Scorer) - Sidney Crosby, Penguins
Norris Trophy (Top Defenceman) - Nicklas Lidstrom, Red Wings
Vezina Tropy (Top Goalie) - Martin Brodeur, Devils
Jack Adams (Top Coach) - Jacques Lemaire, Devils
Lady Byng (Gentlemenly Conduct) - Chris Pronger... ok Henrik Sedin, Canucks
Frank J Selke (Best Defensive Forward) - Mike Richards, Flyers
Calder Tropy (Best Rookie) - John Tavares, Islanders
Conn Smythe (Playoff MVP) - Sidney Crosby, Penguins
Lester B Pearson (Best Player Voted By Peers) - Alexander Ovechkin, Capitals

So the Pens to repeat... who is your pick for the Cup?