May the Netball World Cup begin!
And in this day and age, it's one extremely strange World Cup as the final will he be held next Sunday. Yes, that's correct: the whole World Cup will be done and dusted by next Sunday. This is obviously great because World Cups tend to drag on a bit, but with games getting underway today, we are about to be treated to a manic week of net-ballin' action.
Today we have Fiji vs Wales, Jamaica vs Samoa, Singapore vs Sri Lanka, Malawi vs South Africa, Uganda vs Zambia, England vs Scotland, New Zealand vs Barbados and Australia vs Trinidad and Tobago. You could be forgiven for not quite being able to keep up with that amount of games in quick succession, which would push you towards only watching New Zealand or Australia play, but it's a World Cup, it's a celebration of netball so we're going to do our best to have a geeze at all these other teams as well.
Right now, before the World Cup starts, Australia are sitting pretty on the throne as the world's best netball team. You can, however, expand that out to a big-four as such with New Zealand, England and Jamaica all in the mix as well, which raises an interesting question - what's the best result for world netball? Put your bias aside and you could say that world netball needs to see the likes of England or Jamaica actually win something and push their way in between Australia and New Zealand who have dominated world netball for so long.
I see netball as a similar sport to rugby or rugby league in that it is played by many nations, but it's not a truly competitive worldwide sport ... but there is great potential in all three sports to tap into new markets. Teams like Sri Lanka, Singapore and Zambia are classic minnows, but they need to be celebrated and the reason I love World Cups, whatever the sport, is because they put their sport in the spotlight for a brief period of time.
Hopefully we get something funky, whether it be a few upsets or a massive run from an underdog to push this Netball World Cup into the sporting conversations of casual fans around the world. Sure, I love the Silver Ferns, but I have to be completely 1HUNNIT and say that netball just isn't that exciting when there's only Australia and the Silver Ferns. Netball needs that injection of funk and our best bet looks to possibly come from England or Jamaica. Anyway, here's to netball.
And here's to Queen Val who has made the brave decision to not partake in the World Championships next month as she continues to find some form after coming back from elbow surgery. You've probably seen headlines and read about how Val is no longer the force that she once was, which is fine, but Val states that her main focus is the Olympics and if there is any kiwi athlete, let alone any athlete in the world, that deserves the right to pick and chose where and when they compete, it's Valerie Adams.
Just as I was about to lay down my English Premier League angle, Jack Wilshere went and got injured. This comes after I have been telling the Wildcard how great it is not to have a whole host of injured players, making the medical staff more important than Arsene Wenger, the hype was real but the sporting gods don't give a fuck about hype.
In the big scheme of things, the single loss of Wilshere isn't too bad as we have plenty of cover in the midfield, it's just a bummer. The pick of the games this week gets our season started with Manchester United at home to Spurs, while the Gunners take on Winston Reid's West Ham at home as well. I'll try to pick out a game from the middle of the table each week to keep an eye on, which is hard to do in round one but I'm liking the look of Crystal Palace and they are away to Norwich which could be fun.
Floyd Mayweather aye, this guy. I like him but it's hard to like his next fight which will apparently double as Mayweather's last, with Andre Berto announced as Mayweather's next opponent. However it does stick to Mayweather's line and as he decides who he wants to fight, he wasn't exactly going to put his perfect record at risk this late in his career.
Mayweather also doesn't need the money that will come or not come from pay-per-view buys and what not because it's hard to see many people paying to watch Mayweather fight Berto who is 3-3 in his last six fights. In those six fights, Berto has lost to Robert Guerrero and Victor Ortiz who Mayweather rather easily dealt with himself and with many boxing fans calling for Mayweather to fight Brit Amir Khan, this is nothing more than a let down.
Harping back to something earlier in the week and Joseph Parker's next opponent has been found with Kali Meehan stepping up. Meehan is based in Australia and is the father of Willis Meehan who had a promising league career ahead of him before being cut by the Roosters thanks to off-field issues - I say that because Willis is a handy boxer and I want to see Parker vs Meehan Jnr instead.
Kali is vastly experienced and he's a big lump of a lad, but at 45 years old it's hard to see him kicking it with Parker's speed. Not to mention that his last fight was against Shane Cameron and that he hasn't done much more recently than take part in the Super 8 Heavyweight thing, it's not exactly a mouth-watering prospect but I guess we've just got to be patient don't we.
Here are some Ashes numbers/things from Australia's capitulation this morning...
And here's the guys from the Deadliest Catch's Northwestern ship (Sig, etc.) reacting to the Superbowl...