Midweek Bulletin - What A Wednesday

Wednesday, hump day, but instead of a bit of afternoon delight you're going to be watching All Blacks take on Samoa and then you might take a nap because there's the Ashes AND State Of Origin on at around 10pm - all hail a beautiful sporting Wednesday!

Ah, some of you have to work though, lol.

It's funny because while all our attention is zoned in on Samoa, in the Pacific, the Pacific Games in Papa New Guinea are in full swing and there are 12 Pacific nations with more medals than Aotearoa, 12! Sure, the kiwi team isn't very big, but that's the main problem.

The kiwis won a few more medals

The story of the last few days though has been Australian weightlifter Malek Chamoun who despite being blind, won gold against 'able bodied' athletes. Absolutely super.

I woke up this morning with excitement oozing out of my pores, which made for a slightly wet mattress but that's the price you gotta pay. Here's a few last minute thoughts on each of the three bigguns'...

Besides the all round good vibes of having the All Blacks visit Samoa, this Test will mean sweet F-A and let's not beat around the bush about that. So while we may have an eye on who is impressing and who isn't, in the great scheme of things with a Rugby Championship for players to hang their hats on, this Test is all about the vibes.

Anyone surprised by the reception the All Blacks have received in Samoa clearly lives in an Aotearoa bubble, without much thought or care for their Pacific neighbours. Not only are the All Blacks the biggest rugby team in the world, but Aotearoa is that big brother nation for Samoan, Tonga, Fiji etc and it shouldn't surprise anyone how excited the Samoans are that we care for them.

I tweeted a little tweety tweet that basically said that the All Blacks should make a trip to the Pacific Islands every year, which was met with a response of "we're not a charity team". Obviously that joker is a bit dumb and I think that it's a genuine option, there's no reason why the All Blacks can't head to one of the Islands before their season really gets underway and spread the gospel. In both rugby and rugby league, Aotearoa and Australia have some responsibility for supporting that code in the Islands, we're only a hop, skip and a jump away and we need to accept that responsibility instead of cashing out.

In a sense, it's great that the All Blacks are in Samoa, in another sense it's disgusting that it's taken this long. What happens from tomorrow onwards will be very interesting to watch - will the All Blacks return to the Pacific Islands within the next five years? Imagine how Tonga and Fiji are feeling? They're watching from a distance and I'm sure they want some of the action, but I'm not convinced that beyond the one-off feel good factor of this Test, that the NZRU will head back anytime soon. I hope they do.

Jump off your All Blacks high horse and think of the greater rugby world as the All Blacks can only be judged on how good the rest of the rugby playing world is, hence we should all take a minute to read this.

It's hard to see the NZRU returning to the Islands and it's hard to see England making much of a dent in Australia's current stranglehold over them in the Ashes. England and their media are talking themselves up, they don't have much of a choice but I think this Australian team is highly underrated. Yup, Australia are underrated.

Come to think of it, it's actually quite amazing how Australia have maintained their high level of play despite going through a raft of changes over the past five years. Every time that we've thought that Australia might fall off, and they've teetered on the edge there a few times, they've got back on the wagon and won games of cricket. I'm running with Australia to win this first Test but I'm very interested to see how England deal with the Australians, whether they are in the same class or whether they have a long way to go.

Game three, State Of Origin, Suncorp Stadium. It doesn't get much bigger than that in rugby league and we're graced with the deciding game tonight, a deciding game that is too close to pick. Laurie Daley reckons that New South Wales are the underdogs 'little New South Wales battlers' which is nothing more than a ploy from the coach to lessen the expectations, both teams appear to be equal.

Whether it's the return of Cooper Cronk, David Klemmer bringing the ruckus, Trent Hodkinson proving his worth with a new deal with the Knights, Justin Hodges bowing out of Origin football, Cameron Smith dealing with the Alex McKinnon situation, the Robbie Farah will he/won't he play dramas, the debut of Dane Gagai, Greg Inglis moving to fullback, the fitness of Paul Gallen, it's a humdinger of a fixture to get excited about.

Wimbledon's heating up as well and we've still got a bunch of big names in both the men's and women's side of the draw and we've managed to bid farewell to Nick Kygrios. I've got to speak on Kyrgios who has snatched a headline with every minute of his existence at Wimbledon, but we have to keep it all the way real here - it would be super boring without him. Maybe Kyrgios is what tennis needs? Obviously no one wants his antics as they are never a good look but they dude can play tennis and a villain always go down nicely in hyping up a sport or competition.

We always like to find the positives here at the Nichey Niche, so it's cool that Kyrgios has performed the way he has. Instead of listening to how boring Andy Murray is or having to listen to Maria Sharapova grunt her way to a loss to Serena Williams (it'll happen) (Serena The Great), Kyrgios has shocked the plain-Jane system of tennis, or Wimbledon at least.

The men's quarter finals consist of Novak Djokovic vs Marin Cilic, Stan Wawrinka vs Richard Gasguet, Vasek Posipisil vs Andy Murray and Gilles Simon vs Roger Federer. 

The women's semi finals are Serena Williams vs Maria Sharapova and Garbine Murugurza vs Aga Radwanska.

Here's some Wimbledon stuff...

Spare a thought for Bernie Ibini, who I loved watching with Sydney FC last season in the A-League as he's fractured his leg in a pre-season training with his new club FC Brugge in Belgium. Bummer.