Hello again, welcome to the second edition of the ‘Spotlight on Sport’ blog.
It’s been a massive couple of weeks in sport outside of the deep and dark walls of the La Trobe Bundoora campus, with the AFL season kicking off, the NRL going full speed ahead, the EPL coming to the business end of the season and the T20 Cricket World Cup wrapping up.
The first two rounds of the AFL season have been captivating, with only four teams remaining unbeaten and plenty of surprises occurring. The four teams: Western Bulldogs, Sydney, Gold Coast and North Melbourne have all exceeded expectations at this early point of the season, with Gold Coast being the major shock of the lot.
There are also four teams yet to win a game this year, being St Kilda, Fremantle, Brisbane and Carlton. Fremantle, who were preliminary finalists last season, have been particularly disappointing so far. Already there is a large cluster of teams on the same amount of points, which is just a sign of things to come this season in the AFL, which could be one of, if not the most even seasons in history.
The NRL has also been tight throughout the first five rounds, with no team undefeated and only the Roosters and Knights being winless, although the Knights have registered points with a draw against the third-placed Canberra. The Roosters have been a powerhouse of the competition in the last few years, which makes it a huge surprise that they are sitting at the bottom of the table, but they seem to be missing the presence of experienced half-back Mitchell Pearce following his misdemeanours on Australia Day which have seen him rubbed out of the game for a lengthy period.
A hugely exciting T20 World Cup came to an end in the most unbelievable way on Monday morning. The final between England and West Indies may go down as the best final in the history of the T20 World Cup. England, who have had a massive turnaround in T20 cricket in only the past six months, found themselves well and truly in the box seat after 39 overs of cricket and only one over to play. Posting 155 off the back of Joe Root’s classy 54, England fought hard with the ball to look the likely winners of the title. The West Indies needed 19 to win from the final over with Ben Stokes to bowl the last six balls. Enter Carlos Brathwaite. The man mountain exploded from nowhere to finish the game with 4 sixes in a row and devastate the England players and supporters who were quietly thinking they had one hand on the trophy. Marlon Samuels, who was criticised for his careless body language earlier this year when the West Indies toured Australia, was awarded Man of the Match for his 85 not out off just 66 balls, arriving at the crease when the Windies were at their most vulnerable.
Earlier, the West Indian women set the tone for the day, accounting for red-hot favourites Australia in the final over of the game. The Southern Stars, gunning for their fourth T20 World Cup in a row, were chased down by the Windies women after the Aussies posted 148 off the back of fifties from consistent tournament performers Elyse Villani and Meg Lanning. However, it proved not enough, with the West Indies holding the trophy aloft for the first time. The wins by both the Windies men and women completed the three-peat of titles for the Caribbean nations, with the U19 team winning the World Cup earlier this year also.
In the EPL, the fairy-tale season for Leicester City is continuing as they sit comfortably at the top of the ladder, seven points clear of Tottenham in second. Although they were given no chance at the beginning of the season and still slim chances at the midway point where they maintained top position of the league, Leicester are now definitely in the box seat to take the title, in what would be one of the most remarkable title wins in the history of the EPL. There still remains doubt as to whether they are the best team in the league and they have been particularly lucky of late, winning their last four matches in the EPL only by 1-0 score lines. It will be fascinating to see if the Foxes can be overcome this late in the competition.
Away from the national and international scene, sport has been quiet at La Trobe as a result of the Easter break. However, Volleyball and Basketball soon have training, being held on Monday for Volleyball and Tuesday for Basketball already. The next round of sport will be crucial to the colleges to register some points and get off to a good start in the Sporty Cup.
By Tennyson Tinning