Francis Leach takes a look at what was great about the weekend’s sport, what wasn’t and what could be.
It’s a season of uncertainty and disruption in the A-League, one that has long-time devotees of domestic football fearing the Australian game is stuck in a rut it can never get out of.
There was the FFA board turmoil, the chaos surrounding the timetable for expansion of the competition, and the two Sydney teams being homeless, couch surfing home venues as they await promised new stadia.
It’s a laundry list of headaches that would have the most hardened administrator looking for a Bex and a good lie down.
The one thing that keeps hope alive for the true believers is the standard of the football. It has been top notch this campaign.
— 10 Sport (@10SportAU) December 1, 2018
Melbourne Victory’s performance on Saturday night as it ran riot to claim a 4-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers was some of the finest football we’ve seen in recent A-League history.
It was high tempo, ambitious and at times artful stuff from Kevin Muscat’s team.
Japanese superstar Keisuke Honda has exemplified all of these characteristics in his brief history with Victory. He turned in another outstanding performance against the Wanderers, scoring his fourth goal of the campaign and putting on a show for the fans.
Most importantly, it clearly matters to the Japanese legend. He’s not here simply to collect a superannuation cheque on the way to retirement.
His animated exchange with Victory captain Carl Valeri at the final whistle about wanting more from the team to entertain the fans, even though they were strolling to a huge win, speaks volumes about his standards.
“It’s important that we make people happy here. The supporters want to be happy for the full 90 minutes,” Honda told Fox Sports.
It’s everything you want from your marquee player. Honda is delivering on his promise and is making damn sure his teammates do as well.
Honda’s attitude stands in stark contrast to that of Wayne Bennett, who has basically told Broncos fans they can jam it. Give me the money and I’ll get my coat.
The Broncos confirmed they had sacked Bennett on Sunday, only two days after Bennett insisted he would see out the final year of his contract next season.
It was a high-stakes power play from the one-time Broncos favourite who knew his position was untenable but was prepared to plunge the club into crisis in order to dictate the terms of his departure.
The now-former Broncos coach has torched his reputation as rugby league’s elder statesman and moral compass.
— The NRL Footy Show (@NRLFootyShow) December 1, 2018
As the coach swap soap opera with South’s Anthony Seibold dragged on, Bennett paid no mind to the damage he was doing to his club and its fans, the reputation of the sport, or the culture of greed that he for so long railed against but which he was now neck deep in.
Bennett got his payout and will be at Redfern before too long.
Seibold, only in the second year as coach, will head the other way wondering what he did to deserve a walk-on part in this farce.
Bennett won seven titles with the Broncos and was a crucial component in what made the Brisbane outfit one of Australian sport’s most iconic brands.
His record of success is undeniable. So is the bitterness from his fallout with the club he did so much to build.
Bennett always stood apart from rugby league’s high octane ego, fast cash culture as a man of substance.
Time will tell if the price he pays for his choices will be all worth it.
“Ever get the feeling you’re being cheated?”
They were Johnny Rotten’s last words as a Sex Pistol.
They could have rolled him out at centre ring after the 96 seconds of the Jeff Horn-Anthony Mundine fight to deliver the line again – just for old times sake.
That pay-per-view provider Main Event gets away with serving up a late-night bout at top dollar ($60) that lasts about as long as a Ramones song is a great swindle.
Sure, they can’t control the narrative of the fight, but Foxtel is a master of ratcheting up its prices to long-suffering subscribers every time it adds another show about drag queens baking cakes in a home they just renovated or some other garbage.
— Ringside Rave (@RingsideRave) November 30, 2018
So why not give us a partial refund on the price we paid for the fight that was over before it started?
Unlikely, but so is the prospect of many fans stumping up their hard earned to be sucker punched like that again.