He writes from a land down under – Neil Sherwin checks in with the sports stories from Australia every Monday.
After last week’s heroic win over Port Adelaide, Gold Coast Suns came crashing back down to earth with a 197-58 trashing at the hands of Essendon.
The Bombers were at one stage ahead 100-1 with Kyle Reimers helping himself to eight goals.
The defeat has reignited the debate about new franchises being brought into the AFL and diluting the playing pool even further than it already was.
The Suns became the competition’s 17th team this year with Greater Western Sydney set to join for 2012. While Gold Coast has an extremely young playing group in comparison to the other sides, it is still a concern that the margins of the defeats are so great.
Collingwood maintained its unbeaten start to the year by seeing off the Western Bulldogs as Andrew Krakouer scored a real contender for Goal of the Year (below), while Carlton beat Sydney, Richmond downed Brisbane, Adelaide overcame St. Kilda, and North Melbourne claimed their first win of the year against Port Adelaide.
On Thursday last I took some Irish friends along to their first AFL game and they got a good one with West Coast Eagles putting in a superb performance to hammer Melbourne 106-52.
There were some big results on the field at the weekend, in particular the Hurricanes 28-26 defeat of the Queensland Reds. In the aftermath of the game, Reds back Digby Ioane lashed out at referee Keith Brown via Twitter, labelling him as “the worst ref ever”.
Ioane, who is currently out injured, tried to delete the tweet but it was picked up instantly by followers and he is now set to face sanctions from SANZAR, Super Rugby’s governing body. He has also banned himself from the social networking site.
Saturday evening saw a compelling game between the Western Force and the Crusaders that ebbed and flowed for 70 minutes before two late tries gave the New Zealanders maximum points. Israel Dagg (2), Sonny Bill Williams, Corey Flynn and Kahn Fotuali’i all touched down for the Crusaders in the 42-30 win while Cameron Shepherd scored a brace of tries for the Force.
Of the other Aussie sides, the Waratahs easily beat the Rebels 28-9 and while the Brumbies lost to the Cheetahs 47-36.
The V8 Supercars came to Barbagallo Raceway in Perth at the weekend with Jamie Whincup and Jason Bright taking out the big races on Sunday.
However a great day of action was overshadowed by a horrendous crash which left Karl Reindler of Brad Jones Racing with superficial burns to his hands and face. Reindler’s car stalled on the starting grid and was hit from behind at around 150km/h by VIP Pet Foods Steve Owen creating a massive fireball as he slid off the circuit.
“I loaded the clutch up and it stalled,” said Reindeler. “I had my foot all the way down; I didn’t even release the clutch. I couldn’t get it going at all.
“There was nothing I could do. Before I knew it I saw flames inside the car. I guess I panicked and tried to get out as quick as I could. My body’s fine, it’s just my hands.”
Reindler was able to get out his vehicle and both he and Owen were taken to hospital the race was stopped. There will be an investigation carried and there has been some criticism of the reaction times of the emergency services.
Whincup leads the Championship with 946 points after five rounds ahead of his Team Vodafone team mate Craig Lowndes with Garth Tander of HRT in third.