I feel for those who don't enjoy a bit of sport, I really do. It's one of those stages in the year where there's sporting funk in abundance, especially on the world scale. We'll keep it local though to start with, as once again Auckland City FC are the champions of Oceania and will, once again head to the Club World Cup to take place in Japan later this year.
While it may appear like a bit of 'same old same old' Auckland City were up again Team Wellington in the final of the Oceania Champions League, with the Wellingtonians pushing them all the way. The game went to a shootout where Auckland City won 4-3, which is nice isn't it. What's more impressive for me is the tournament itself, sponsored by Fiji Airways and held in Fiji.
Sure, it would be fabulous to see Auckland City take on Team Wellington in Aotearoa for fans and stakeholders, I reckon it's important that these games are hosted in the islands. Let's be honest, kiwi teams should usually win this tournament so the island nations have to get something out of it as well. This goes back to my thinking that we should put Oceania on our shoulders and do as much possible to help out the island nations, especially as we'll be staying in the Oceania Federation and benefiting greatly. It's looking good though and shout out to the OFC for doing a great job with their online presence, many other organisations could learn a bit from this.
The Wellington Phoenix won't be carrying any great form into the A-League finals, but that's all good as they can now focus on simply winning this week. After loosing to Sydney FC, the NIx will face Melbourne City next Sunday after they played out a nil all draw a few weeks back. Don't stress too much about their recent performances, Ernie Merrick made it pretty clear that all he wanted to do was make the finals and did a great job keeping expectations low.
Well, that's only if the Nix can show that they've been working towards something despite not performing at their peak.
The Melbourne Victory and Sydney FC have earned themselves a week off, with Adelaide United playing the Brisbane Roar. It's always interesting to see how the week off impacts those teams, but that's for next week. Both Adelaide and Brisbane have had a win and a loss in their past two games so who knows how that's going to pan out, obviously I have to side with the Nix and I'll go with Adelaide.
You know what's funnier than seeing the Auckland Blues continue to fail? Knowing that the Blues are run by a blatant old boys club, which isn't going too well for them.
I'll dive all the way into the rugby league rep weekend all week, stay tuned, but I just want to say how excited I am for it. It's taken a while, but we're starting to see all the different cogs come together for the complete package to really celebrate international rugby league. Starting on Friday night with the ladies; Jillaroos vs Kiwi Ferns which is followed by the Kangaroos vs Kiwis, we no longer have a sole focus on one game. Saturday night has three games, three! with the Junior Kangaroos up against the Junior Kiwis, Papa New Guinea vs Fiji and Samoa vs Tonga then you throw in City vs Country on Sunday. Bless.
In the ANZ Championship, we had some ANZAC netball, lovely. What's interesting is how the Aussie teams are leading the charge as the two top kiwi teams, the Northern Mystics and Waikato BOP Magic lost to the two top Aussie teams, the Westcoast Fever and Queensland Firebirds. The Fever have won twice as many games as the Mystics, with each topping their respective conferences.
Quick check in with the lads in County Cricket; Craig Cachopa's lean patch continues as he scored 17 for Sussex in their first innings against Durham. Kieran Noema-Barnett didn't go much better as he was dismissed for 21 for Gloucestershire in their first dig against Martin Guptill's Derbyshire. Interestingly, Guptill isn't opening with Derbyshire currently 20/0. James Franklin bowled 6 overs for 45 runs without a wicket for Middlesex against Somerset and is currently waiting for a bat while Jesse Ryder continues to impress with the ball.
Ryder snared the wicket of Kevin Pietersen, bowling first drop for Essex against Surrey. Ryder's got 3 of the 5 Essex wickets, including Pietersen and the great Kumar Sangakkara. Shot bro and Ryder's batting at 6 which will be interesting to see how he goes down the order. Jeetan Patel probably won't get a bat with Warwickshire batting nicely against Yorkshire in their first innings and if he does, he's coming of some funky form with the willow.
There were a few big EPL games, that didn't produce big results but I'll leave that for the Wildcard. What caught my eye was naming of the Professional Footballers Association team's of the year. Obviously it's cool to see who made the EPL side, but peep the League One side as well with the Aussie Massimo Luongo, who scored a screamer in the Asian Cup final making the cut. You'd have to imagine he'd be on the radar of a few clubs higher up the pecking order.
The NBA playoffs are in full swing with round one almost done and dusted. The Golden State Warriors have swept the New Orleans Pelicans 4-0 while the Houston Rockets, Mephis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards all one win away from making the second round. The series to watch is between the Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs with the Spurs defying belief once again by getting a few wins on the trot. This series will go back and forth so if you see it on telly, tune in.