Sport Sport Focus Week in sport: Ablett’s lost that loving feeling
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Week in sport: Ablett’s lost that loving feeling

Gary Ablett
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AFL: Guilty Gazza tries to cut comp some slack

Gary Ablett was leading his Suns into the top four and lapping the competition in the race for a third Brownlow, but something was wrong. It was all a little too easy. He hadn’t been challenged for years: all those possessions, all those goals, all the accolades, it just felt so…empty.

Gazza was numb. He couldn’t remember what it felt like to try and fail, to have an opponent laying a tackle on him. He was the AFL’s golden boy, he was stuck in a gilded cage. He wanted to break out – he just wanted to feel again.

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Standing up: Laurie Daley. Photo: Getty

Then that bloody Liam Picken waddled into his field of vision, and everything went fuzzy. Time slowed down, and Gazza knew what he had to do. He raised his elbow…and landed one of the softest blows in living memory.

Oh, Gazza.

NRL: Blues poised to break drought? 

A distant rumble gave way to drought-breaking deluge across New South Wales on Wednesday, as a plucky Blues side brought down the heavens all over the withered carcass of once-mighty Queensland – at least, that’s how it felt if you happened to be in Sydney. The rest of the country (read: Queensland) saw a close game that went one way rather than the other, but New South Wales, starved of success, saw a dynasty rising, and an empire crumbling.

In true Druidic style, they read Queensland’s numerous injuries not as a key reason for their win, but as a message written in the stars, an omen of glorious future that awaits. They bathed in fate’s embrace.

Ray Warren, washed clean of a near-decade of failure by the cleansing rain, heralded the new era with the joyous proclamation: “Laurie Daly’s standing up!”, he boomed, “Bob Fulton’s standing up too!!!”

Truer words have never been spoken, Ray.

Socceroos: Cahill Ca-thrills in soporific send-off

The Socceroos expertly managed expectations in their final hit-out before Brazil on Monday night, finishing up 1-1 against South Africa in the stalest of stalemates. Ange Postecoglou set out to dampen the enthusiasm of the 50,000-strong crowd at ANZ Stadium. However, when South Africa managed to break through the general torpor to score in the 13th minute, cautious fatalism tipped into outright pessimism. Tim Cahill’s quick reply restored the balance, at which point Postecoglou put his team on autopilot, lurching towards the finish line.

Then, just to make sure the team lacks even the verbal implication of success, Postecoglou also cut Curtis Good and Josh Brillante from the squad.

Still, at least Mike Jedinak was on the plane.

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Clay man? Andreas Seppi. Photo: Getty

Tennis: Clay-court obscurities emerge from the murk

They emerged from the lower reaches of the Top 100, squinting into the light. They were the clay men, and they lurched towards Roland Garros.

For nine months they cracked on the hardcourt and were ground into the grass, but now their oppressors were weak, dragged into the sandpit they called home. They looked to their idol, Thomas Muster, and he gave them strength. “Fear not these athletes and their well-rounded games,” he said, “They cannot run in the dirt, and they are too flighty to grimly cling to the baseline. They vary their game: this is weakness! Punish them with the topspin that you nurse like a grudge. Your limitations will be their limitations – for you are…CLAY MEN!”

The clay men roared, and hobbled into battle, where they were defeated by Rafael Nadal on one leg.

Things to look forward to

Most of the NRL’s leading teams will resemble a casualty ward this week, so it might be worth looking out for a few upsets. North Queensland are in with a very good shout against Melbourne, with Storm stars Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater all set to be encased in cotton wool for the foreseeable future.

In the AFL, Gary Ablett will be thanking his Creator for the opportunity to carve up Adelaide, while the match of the round will be done and dusted by the time you read this. Either Geelong won, or Sydney won. When you get down to it, that’s all that sport really is.

Was it good for you too?

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