The scene has been set for an epic moment for combat sports in Aotearoa and Australia with an almighty #KiwiUFC fight between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya all but locked in.
Two losses in the lower grades for Aotearoa Warriors to go with the NRL team's loss and overall, it's been a rough start to the season for the club as the Jersey Flegg team are sitting 10th (of 14) and the reserves are 11th (of 12).
So far in 2019, we have seen Aotearoa Warriors win games they should win against Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans, setting the tone for a Warriors team that should beat North Queensland Cowboys.
Siliva Havili is more effective than James Gavet and we have an almighty #KiwiNRL forwards battle in Melbourne Storm vs Sydney Roosters.
2018 was an intriguing year for Aotearoa Kiwis footy as new coach Michael Maguire got the Kiwis back on track, with a few impressive wins and a niggly trip to England.
After dwelling in that yucky feeling as Cody Walker soared to the Aotearoa Warriors try line, giving South Sydney Rabbitohs a 28-24 win, a beautiful sense of calm swept through my loins.
Aotearoa Warriors reserves grabbed a W last week over Penrith Panthers, while the Jersey Flegg youngins' suffered defeat to the Panthers and today, both teams take on South Sydney Rabbitohs at North Harbour Stadium.
Having rode the wave through the opening rounds of the NRL season, this week's game vs South Sydney Rabbitohs feels like the first opportunity to get a genuine gauge of who or what the 2019 Aotearoa Warriors are.
Josh Aloiai has been selected to start by Wests Tigers and Aotearoa Kiwis coach Michael Maguire, Sio Siua Taukeiaho is in fabulous form for Sydney Roosters and Mason Lino has to offer greater support for Mitchell Pearce at Newcastle Knights.
After a few low weeks, Aotearoa Warriors grabbed a 26-10 win over Gold Coast Titans at Mt Smart to bounce back into the positive vibes.
Another week and another bunch of reserve grade changes via shuffling of Aotearoa Warriors NRL team, while the club's depth is again on display with the Jersey Flegg crew.
Aotearoa Warriors are back at home to face Gold Coast Titans and coach Stephen Kearney has made a few tweaks to the team as he tries to find the best 17.
Mason Lino has been named for Newcastle Knights, Sydney Roosters will again unleash their three #KiwiNRL middle forwards and two young #KiwiNRL edge forwards are mandatory viewing in Eels vs Sharks.
Right on cue, after three (of 24) games, the mainstream media in Aotearoa are talking about New Zealand Warriors being in crisis.
There are two channels to any reaction for the last two losses for Aotearoa Warriors and you have to be a super enlightened twice-a-day meditator to take up one of those reaction channels.
To look at Aotearoa Warriors loss to Wests Tigers in the NRL last week in isolation, doesn't do justice to what a nightmare the excursion to Sydney was for the entire club.
Aotearoa Warriors will face Manly Sea Eagles in Christchurch on Saturday evening as our nifty journey to suss out the Warriors in these opening rounds takes in interesting turn.
Major #KiwiNRL shuffling for North Queensland Cowboys and Canterbury Bulldogs, while Parramatta Eels edge forward is officially a youngster you need to follow closely.
The first two weeks of the 2019 NRL season for Aotearoa Warriors have perfectly encapsulated the journey we are all on as Warriors fans.
Not only do we have an Aotearoa Warriors reserve grade team to face Western Suburbs Magpies over in Sydney, we can now finally suss out some Warriors Jersey Flegg footy.
Having laid the foundations for 2019 down at Mt Smart in a solid win over Canterbury Bulldogs, Aotearoa Warriors now take a minor step forward with their first away trip to Sydney to face Wests Tigers.
Bad news is a well-liked and successful manager leaving your football club. Worse news is when that manager is almost certainly leaving to join a rival club in the same competition. Worst news is when three-quarters of your current squad are still unsigned and might all decide to pop across and join the old gaffer at his new club.
Des Buckingham has named his 21-man squad for the upcoming U20 World Cup in Poland in five weeks and, mate, it’s a doozy. There are senior internationals, there are overseas professionals, there are Ole Academy stars, there are Wellington Phoenix grads.
Speak it into existence. Chris Wood knows the trick. Saying the words aloud is the first step towards success and the first hurdle to overcome in that process. The rest may as well be inevitable.
Alright good people, settle down now. Mark Rudan is leaving at the end of the season. We sorta already knew this news was coming though, right? If he wasn’t willing to shut down the speculation then it meant he was considering it and if he was considering leaving then he was always going to eventually decide that he had to go.
We’ve had a couple days now to contemplate the events of Friday evening. The news breaking about Mark Rudan was one thing, and it’ll get plenty more words as the week progresses, but the performance in Brisbane was unacceptable regardless of whatever else was going on.
It’s been two months since the Ferns polished up their Cup of Nations work in Australia. It’s two more months before they kick off their 2019 World Cup campaign. Things are seriously ramping up right now and Tom Sermanni has been working against the clock from day one so there’s honestly just no time left for stutters or setbacks.
Oh so you thought that Premmy Files was over? Nah mate, plenty more going on even as the season’s come to its glamorous conclusion. The winter club season’s well underway now but Team Wellington and Auckland City still have another few weeks of challenging for silverware as the Champions League hits its latter stages.
In the 18th minute Chris Wood popped up at the far post and get in there, lad! Asmir Begovic came leaping for it from the corner kick but couldn’t get a touch on the ball and Chris Wood basically had an open header from half a yard out. No dramas for that fella. None whatsoever.
Important football fan lesson: never get too far ahead of yourself. Three wins in a row for the Nix… that was something special. Fifteen goals in 270 minutes. But all against teams outside the top six. Travelling to Adelaide was always going to be much tougher task.
People, your patient wait is over. It is time for the second annual Premmy Files Team of the Season. And not just one team either like most jokers, but three teams ranked in order. First team, second team, and third team.
If we’re being honest then the Nix got away lightly on the ol’ injury front until pretty recently. For the longest time it was a couple spare games missed by Filip Kurto in which Oli Sail chipped in brilliantly anyway, and maybe a couple niggles for a couple fringe players that didn’t really affect anything. Suspensions were the bigger problem.
Michael Woud has been staying ready. Since transferring from Sunderland to Willem II last year he’s been making moves in the background, already working his way up to back-up goalie status and even earning a new contract a few weeks back.
The simplest way to judge this game was that if it were going to be an open game then Eastern Suburbs had the advantage. If it was, on the other hand, a tight and cagey matchup… that’d lean towards Team Wellington. It was an open game, at one end anyway, and there was nothing Team Wellington could really do about it.
At the most crucial time of their season, having previously gone four games without a win and seen their playoff probabilities sink into the toss-of-a-coin realm, the Nix have now ripped off three straight wins while scoring fifteen goals in the process.
Okay, so here’s the situation. The Nix are currently sitting pretty in fourth on the A-League ladder after winning their last two games rather handily. Eleven goals in 180 minutes has really done the trick. Playing a couple teams outside the playoff hunt was a boost as well.
It’s really all on the line here. Not just the title but also the second Champions League position for next season. Suburbs would have already qualified had ACFC won through but with the fourth-placed TeeDubs making it this far the winner of this game takes it all and the loser can forget about it.
The Rapids were the only of the kiwi MLS teams to play this week, with Portland and Minnesota both getting a week off. International break and all that jazz. Away to FC Dallas, it only took three minutes before Dominique Badji – who Anthony Hudson traded away last season – got completely unmarked from a corner routine and smacked one off the post.
There are no more promises at this stage of the season. Past results mean little as the entire five months leading up to this point can be wasted away by a single mistake, a single moment of brilliance, and replaced with bitter disappointment. Eighteen games each leading up to it but only the next ninety (to 120) minutes matter anymore.
When the Wellington Phoenix announced that they’d come to a mutual agreement to release defender Dylan Fox from his contract a little over a week ago, at first it appeared to be a squad thing. Sliding an injured player out of the way since he wasn’t going to be able to play again this season and his contract was almost run down anyway.
The journey is almost complete. Eighty-nine games plus an abandoned one in the can and there are just three more to go. We took the first tentative steps along this expedition in the middle of October and here we are five months later about to wrap it all up.
Playoff Steve turned up, that much was true. With the Blazers copping a massive blow to their chances in the playoffs a few weeks back when Jusuf Nurkic was hurt, that meant a Stache Bros reunion as starting centres opposing each other in the playoffs
When Sean Marks left the warm and nurturing bosom of the San Antonio Spurs, there was talk. Of course an NBA GM’s gig is one that would be almost impossible to turn down. But not every GM’s gig is like the rest and the job he inherited at the Nets provided a team left reeling from one of the worst trades the NBA has ever seen.
Ask anyone at UVA and they’ll absolutely rave about Jack Salt. Sometimes he’d have a prominent role in games - setting screens, guarding the rim, and grabbing rebounds – other times he’d only play a few minutes.
Keep it quiet, don’t want get ahead of ourselves here or anything… but the last few games have seen a big boost in the statties for a certain Steven Adams. The Thunder overall… not as much… but let’s bookmark that one for now.
Last time it was a full on look at how Steven Adams has been tracking against the criticism that’s come back his way in recent times. Mostly from frustrated fans, to be fair. This time it’s all about why those fans are frustrated. Because you may recall a moment in history not completely forgotten in which the Thunder were hanging in there for the third seed in the west.
All them trips throughout Asia and back as the Tall Blacks sought qualification for the 2019 FIBA World Cup came to their conclusion in late February with a dramatic 69-67 win away in Jordan followed by a bit of a disappointing 86-80 defeat in Jordan.
There’s like, seven games to catch up on this week because of the post-All Star smashing out of the schedule so thinking we may do something a little different here. Rather than the all-in recaps of each individual game, this week’s gonna be more of an overall look at the state of things.
All Stars concluded. Nicely rested and relaxed after a week’s break. Good to go all over again.
The initial feeling was pretty strong about this Breakers side. They’d reshaped the roster to play fast and aggressive and the pedigree of their imports, so often the factor that turns a good team into a great team in this league, was as high as its been for years, not to mention bringing back Corey Webster.
The fact right now is that Steven Adams is playing a supporting role to The Paul George and Russell Westbrook Show these days. The Great Funaki made a decent attempt at cracking the All Stars this season, but he didn’t quite get there while the other two were almost automatics.
There’s never been an NBA trade deadline quite like that one, that’s for sure. So dense and crazy that it’s taken a week for all the dust to settle and we’re still not quite there yet with the whole buyout season now on the cards.
There was good news before tip-off, with that old pesky ankle injury not about to stop Kiwi Steve from getting to work against the Miami Heat. Certainly didn’t look like it was holding him back much when he rose all the way up for a little bit of this on the first possession of the game…
This is not the Super Bowl that the people demanded. Saints against Chiefs would have had everything this matchup has but with a smile on top. Instead we’ve got the evil twin matchup of that which is the Los Angeles Rams against the New England Patriots.
They laughed when he made a mess of his eurostep. He laughed too, to be fair. Everybody laughed. It was very funny, dude stepped all over the place like he was on the dancefloor not the hardwood.
1,779,073 votes was good for sixth on the standings, trailing LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Kevin Durant, Paul George and Anthony Davis. Ahead of Nikola Jokic, Kyle Kuzma, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins (people vote for Lakers and Warriors regardless of if they’re playing or not). That’s pretty bloody amazing, to be honest.
It’s been a strange old season for the Breakers, at times they’ve looked magical and at others they’ve looked atrocious and at all times they’ve looked inconsistent. A bit like the NBL as a whole, really.
It’s been a couple weeks since the last Kiwi Steve update, a couple weeks too many to go through with all them game recaps or whatever. So instead, to catch up on what’s been missed, we’re going to do things a little different this time by focussing on a few of them bigger picture happenings instead.
The commanding dunks are just the icing on the cake. He’s got a bit of range to his shooting as well, making three triples against Perth last game. There’s the rebounding which is utterly essential from him in this team, which has prioritised speed over size and therefore needs a proper old bully going up to get those loose ones like Shawn Long can do.
All Star voting is officially open as of Christmastime and it is your civic and patriotic duty as a New Zealander to submit those cheeky ballots for Steven Adams as often as humanly possible… which is once per day (per email addy) across three different avenues.
Well, this is it my friend. We’ve stomped and spun our way to the last round of the regular season, with sixteen more games to decide once and for all which twelve teams get to continue into the real stuff. Sixteen games of which a handful have some incredibly massive repercussions to them while the rest are basically just for pride and giggles.
We haven’t heard much from Joseph Parker lately. Since bouncing back with a routine win in December, knocking out Alexander Flores in the third round in Christchurch, old mate’s been laying pretty low.
Initially we had just three lads on the Kiwi County Tour for 2019, however it looks as though we have a fourth as Hamish Rutherford appeared for Worcestershire to join Logan van Beek, Matt Quinn and Lord Jeetz.
The selection of Tom Blundell in the Blackcaps World Cup squad was packaged as a notable inclusion, right alongside that of Ish Sodhi.
Our first round of Kiwi County Tour is a wrap and in a quiet moment to myself as I waited for Logan van Beek to finish his post-match antics, was how lovely it was to start this year's KCT with two young lads doing their thing in England.
While the selection of Tom Blundell in Aotearoa's World Cup squad isn't the most important, nor the craziest Blackcaps selection in recent times, all the tell-tale signs of weirdness are there.
Given what happened in terms of selection leading into the 2017 Champions Trophy and then performances at that Champions Trophy in England, it would have been lovely to have a Blackcaps World Cup squad that had zero head-scratcher selections.
With a World Cup going down during the 2019 Kiwi County Tour, our touring party is a wee bit smaller this year without losing any of the funk that makes the KCT what it is.
Three batsmen scored over 600 runs in Plunket Shield this season and to say it's a weird mix of lads is an understatement.
The 'winner' of Aotearoa's Plunket Shield was decided in the worst way, when Canterbury opted out of their remaining game against Wellington Firebirds at the Basin Reserve.
Among the mayhem of the last few days, the third Test between Aotearoa's Blackcaps and Bangladesh was understandably called off.
While Canterbury vs Auckland Aces and Otago Volts vs Wellington Firebirds head into the final day of Plunket Shield round seven, Central Districts Stags wrapped up a victory over Northern Districts Knights on day three.
Good things are happening in Central Districts cricket, or continue to happen as the CD Hinds added another trophy to the cabinet after snaring the Hallyburton Johnston Shield in the final of the national 50-over competition.
Having spun an almighty yarn about the demise of Aotearoa's White Ferns after losing their first two games of the Rose Bowl vs Australia, the kiwis then went on to suffer a series sweep in losing the third ODI.
Runs in Plunket Shield round six primarily came from those batsmen who could consider themselves on the fringes of Blackcaps Test selection and it was the same yarn with the ball as Matt Henry, Ish Sodhi, Ajaz Patel and Will Somerville racked up wickets.
Runs flowed in abundance throughout Plunket Shield round six and while there was also no shortage of wickets, having six centuries in round six is made funkier by having sixteen other 50+ scores.
There are always going to be nooks and crannies in which minor differences live, festering upon the intricacies of Test cricket and yet despite those nooks and crannies, the first Test between Aotearoa and Bangladesh finished with the expected result.
While they would all rather be playing more international fixtures for Aotearoa, the Blackcaps Test trio of Neil Wagner, Jeet Raval and BJ Watling aren't exactly in the worst spot.
Despite what many would have you think, there doesn't appear to be a bigger issue in kiwi sport than the demise of Aotearoa's White Ferns.
Prior to the return of Plunket Shield cricket, I threw up a bunch of stats to suggest that Wellington Firebirds batsman Devon Conway is the best in Aotearoa right now.
On Thursday we welcome Test cricket back into the mix like an old homie who ventured off into the wilderness to find themselves as the Blackcaps start their Test series vs Bangladesh.