Sport Sport Focus The week in sport: Bootsma balls-up, Mankad madness
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The week in sport: Bootsma balls-up, Mankad madness

Josh Bootsma
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AFL: Bootsma balls-up breaks spin machine

Coaches might have to speak plain English this weekend after the AFL’s euphemism generator finally conked out on Tuesday. Details are sketchy, but it’s understood that Carlton’s sacking of Snapchat seducer Josh Bootsma caused a catastrophic overload in the machine. Since then, the device has been spitting out long streams of ‘inappropriate behaviours’ and ‘disciplinary issues’, which has made for some bizarre and fascinating press conferences.

Always image-conscious, the league has long favoured cryptic middle-management jargon for its ability to convey absolutely no information at all, but they relied on the euphemism generator to vary the shape and the texture of the horse dung that they fed to journalists and fans alike. Mick Malthouse is understood to be particularly crestfallen by the news.

• Ablett’s lost that lovin’ feeling 
• Toby’s Greene and the Soccer-who’s

Cricket: Everyone is very upset over nothing in particular

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Sachithra Senanayake appeals to umpire Michael Gough while Jos Buttler looks on. Photo: Getty

In the Northern hemisphere, the cricketing world eagerly distracted itself from the cancer at its very heart by engaging in a spirited debate over an incredibly obscure point of etiquette. Basically, Jos Buttler found himself on the receiving end of a Mankad, an Indian phrase that roughly translates to ‘arcane cricketing term that I’d only be too happy to explain to you at length’. England accused Sri Lanka, their opponents, of poor sportsmanship, which is akin to rearranging the moral deckchairs on some sort of ethical Titanic as it sinks into a corrupt ocean. Somewhere, a very wealthy man stroked his cat and swivelled in his chair, laughing a maniacal laugh.

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Kirstin Dwyer keeps her eye on the ball. Photo: Getty

Hockey: Finally, a World Cup we can win

Disappointingly, the Socceroos haven’t given me a reason to bag them out since last week’s column, so we turn our attention to hockey instead. They do a crap federal budget, but our Kookaburras and Hockeyroos sure can play. Both started their tournaments with a win: the Hockeyroos scraped past South Korea 3-2, while the Kookaburras steamed over Malaysia like they were a papier mache speedbump. It’s early days, but our women are in with a shout, while our men are looking very good indeed for their title defence.

Which is more than you can say for Mike Jedinak and his rag-tag crew.

Basketball: Aussie threatens to do something good

It feels like the NBA playoffs have been running for the better part of decade, but the pointy end has finally been reached, and the end is in sight. Once again, San Antonio will be facing LeBron James’ Miami, and once again, Miami are highly fancied to lift one of the ugliest trophies in sport, the coveted Win-Funnel©. The Spurs weren’t quite good enough last year, and this year their star point guard Tony Parker is under an injury cloud that is threatening to pick up a storm classification.

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Patty Mills looms as a key weapon in the NBA finals series. Maybe. Photo: Getty

Don’t worry, though! Patty Mills will save ‘em.

In that time-honoured ritual, coach Gregg Popovich has been stoically talking up the odds ‘n’ sods bench player charged with the task of replacing the key playmaker, hoping that his words will transform Mills into a world-class point guard/warlock. Of course, Mills might single-handedly wrestle the championship away from one of the greatest teams, and greatest players, of the modern era, in which case I’d be looking like a right goose, wouldn’t I?

Things to look forward to:

League fans who struggled through an underwhelming post-Origin round will be licking their lips at the prospect of Manly versus Canterbury on Friday night. The Sea Eagles welcome back a cluster of Origin names, but the Bulldogs have the Blues’ halves combination, Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson, who probably feel like they could walk on water right now. The clash will shape a lot of people’s premiership predictions as the season reaches its mid-point.

No matter how many times you paint the fibro shack, it’s still just a fibro shack. Similarly, Richmond’s attempt to re-brand itself as a sleek, modern sportsball entity can’t disguise their inherent ludicrousness. They’ve become must-watch entertainment, but generally not for the right reasons. Will North Melbourne tear them apart on Sunday? Will they tear themselves apart? Will Jack kick eight? Will Damien Hardwick kick his head off? Anything is possible down at Tigerland…

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