Before Australia took on South Africa in Brisbane on Saturday night, I heard someone question whether Australians care about rugby as much as us kiwis do. This person said that there was little 'buzz' around the Wallabies and made it sound as if Australians should care about rugby like we do.
I found this very odd, firstly because it came from someone who apparently loves sport. Secondly, there's no nation in the world who follows their national rugby team like we do, let alone supports rugby as we do. And finally, well, the only major sporting fixture over the weekend in Aotearoa was the All Blacks taking on Argentina on a Friday night. It's pretty easy to get excited and have that 'bro, where you watching the All Blacks tonight?' sort of vibe when that's the only game on.
Compare that to Australia where both the NRL and AFL are knee deep in their respective seasons, at the point where teams are jostling for positions on the table and where wins and losses became super important. On the same night as the Wallabies' Test, there were five AFL games (!!) and three NRL games which some would consider to be a bountiful catch of sporting action.
In Aotearoa, we have been graced with pre-season fixtures involving West Ham from the EPL, the glorious West Ham. In Australia over the weekend, football and sports fans were treated to Liverpool vs Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City vs Manchester City and Real Madrid vs AS Roma, sure they may just be pre-season-good-vibe games with little to no importance.
Four big footballin' clubs playing in Australia over the weekend? That's stuff that us kiwis can only dream of.
Not to mention the Ashes which Australians would have been tuning into via the telly, throw in some Tour de France and the Open Championship where Jason Day is competing very nicely and those bloody Aussies had plenty of options. These three events aren't really a part of the argument, but could be if you consider those who would rather sit at home and enjoy some overnight entertainment.
To compare our love/excitement/anticipation of an All Blacks' fixture to Australia and the Wallabies is so dumb and very much a case of apples and oranges. That being said, Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane still saw 37,633 people turn out and enjoy an exciting game between the Wallabies and South Africa. That itself threw the argument out the window as Australian rugby fans got out and supported their team. The night before, Suncorp Stadium saw 50,000 people show up to watch one of the most popular football clubs in the world play the local team. I mean....
And on Sunday, still at Suncorp Stadium and 37,260 people showed up to watch the Brisbane Broncos play and beat the Wests Tigers who currently sit in last spot on the NRL ladder.
This is no longer part of the 'apples and oranges' argument I made at the started, this has now become 'holy shit, what a weekend of sport in Australia'. Suncorp Stadium hosted three different sports on three consecutive nights, sure, the pitch looked a bit beat up by the time the Broncos and Tigers took the field yesterday, but I mean it looked a whole lot better than many other fields might have after three games in three nights. Whether you were a rugby league fan, an AFL fan, a rugby fan or a football fan, you were graced with something to sink your teeth into, which some, like myself would consider a rather lovely situation.
Even Aussie surfer Mick Fanning wanted in on the sporting headlines this morning when he tried to start a fight with a shark. Jeepers creepers, definitely one of the numerous pitfalls of being a surfer, but I'd take the many positives any day of the week #SignMeUp. Here's all the action and re-action from the shark attack courtesy of the World Surfing League who have one of the best online/video presences in world sport...
While we're on the topic of some footage, here's some golden bits of skill from Liverpool's Adam Lallana and Manchester City's Samir Nasri...
This Shaun Kenny-Dowall situation caught everyone a bit off-guard, mainly because I, and probably most other people didn't think SKD was that type of guy. With situations like this, I always like to take the 'innocent until proven guilty' angle and while he has been charged, we still don't know what the deal is. Some people prefer to take the 'I hate men who hit women' angle, which is admirable but we just simply don't know enough to start ripping into the character of SKD.
We're gearing up for a big final round in The Open, where amateur Peter Dunne from Ireland shares the lead with South African Louis Oosthuizen and Australian Jason Day. Everyone's keeping an eye on Jordan Spieth as well who is a shot behind those three on -11, poised to attack. Kiwis Ryan Fox and Danny Lee are well back, with Fox on +1 and Lee on +3.
Shout out to Lydia Ko who finished third at the LPGA Marathon Classic in Ohio. Not a win, but third's pretty freaking handy if you ask me and to even the ledger against the Aussies, the best Aussie golfer - Minjee Lee finished tied for 22nd.