In terms of sporting action on, this weekend just gone didn't quite have the quantity but in the two sports that us kiwis love it delivered the quality. Funnily enough, while the Australian victory over England in the Rugby World Cup and the NRL Grand Final weren't all about kiwis with no kiwi teams taking part, there were some funky links that we can be proud of.
Did you know that Jonathan Thurston's dad is Maori? That means that he's a quasi-kiwi and if the greatest rugby league player that I've ever seen is half Maori and quasi-kiwi, then today is a great day. I will get knee deep in the NRL GF later on today with a plethora of different thoughts, but this Thurston fella deserves to lead our Monday Crumbs - that's how great JT is.
Before jumping all over Thurston, I've gotta obviously shoot the praise towards his Cowboys homies. Don't ever sleep on the fact that Thurston won his first Premiership with the Cowboys in 2015, a year in which we've seen the best Cowboys roster assembled. That is no coincidence and while Thurston's shenanigans will be remembered, the entire Cowboys club, not just the players, deserve all the beer, drugs and whatever else they want.
But there's no other player on the field, from either the Cowboys or Broncos that could have brought me close to tears (I actually cried) besides Thurston. I've got soft spots for all the kiwi lads that were on the field, especially Antonio Winterstein who tragically lost his little brother earlier this year, but I just wanted to see Thurston win.
The anguish of hitting the post - HITTING THE FUCKING POST!! - with the biggest sideline conversion that I've ever witnessed. How about that anguish? I didn't quite tear up then, but damn, I was questioning my existence like 'if that wasn't meant to be, then what is meant to be!?'
Anguish, followed by more anguish for Ben Hunt who dropped the kick off in golden point extra-time. That's sport though, shit happens ... like hitting the fucking post with the biggest kick of your life.
Then pure joy. Like, the most purest joy I've seen on a sports field. If you weren't hootin' and hollerin' like the Cowboys and their fans, then you may have been like me - quietly tearing up 'cos you just witnessed something straight up redonkulous/amazing/sensational/fabulous.
Seeing England being kicked out of their own Rugby World Cup gave me immense joy.
But not pure joy. I don't think you can have pure joy based on the misfortune of someone else.
Nah, watching England get dismantled by the Wallabies was something different. It was obviously good, but you could always sense it coming. Even leading into the game, I couldn't help but wonder how England were going to score more points than the Wallabies - there's no x-factor, no pizzazz, no panache in England rugby.
Then during the game, ever time England strung a few passes together and looked to be building towards a dangerous attack, they would fluff it. No matter how threatening their attack was looking, you just knew that they would somehow find a way to fluff it ... or David Pocock and Michael Hopper would spoil it.
I didn't experience the same pure joy from England's loss as I did from the Cowboys' win, but it did open my mind to a sporting thought that I love - you do need that x-factor/panache/pizzazz. You might win by playing solid and tough, but every good sporting team needs a bit of razzle dazzle in it. The Wallabies had it, just look at that play between Kurtley Beale and Bernard Foley to put Foley through to score. It was a creative play, well drawn up on the whiteboard and perfectly executed - a splash of funk that enhanced the flavour of the dish.
Michael Morgan then produced a different type of razzle dazzling funk to set up Kyle Feldt for the last try in the GF, whereas the Wallabies produced a set-play, Morgan conjured up something off the cuff. Morgan scooted across the field and then flicked a one-handed pass to Feldt after drawing in three defenders - the Cowboys don't win without a little moment of funk.
Ah, what else happened over the weekend?
Dan Hooker lost at UFC 192, which put a dampener on things. Hooker was defeated by Yair Rodriguez by unanimous decision, which puts Hooker back a few steps but this Rodriguez kid looks like he's going to have a long future in the UFC. The dude can kick, that's for sure...
And Daniel Cormier defended his belt against Alex Gustafsson, which sets up a Cormier vs Jon Jones fight somewhere down the track ... should Jones get back into the UFC all good.
Ain't nothing like a training montage #MondayMotivation
Lastly, shout out to the Black Sticks ladies who are locked at 1-1 in a three match series against Argentina. The ladies lost their first game and then responded well to win the second against an Argentinian team who are consistently regarded as one of the best teams in the world. The Black Sticks ladies have handed out debuts to Maddie Dowe and Kelsey Smith for this series which is also pretty cool.
The men have had their squad for an upcoming series against India and the Oceania Cup named as well with Kyle Pontifex back in the squad and Matt Rees-Gibbs handed his first call up to the squad. The India series gets underway tomorrow and like the Argentina games for the women, these games are streamed live via Hockey NZ and there's even replays available.