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Here’s another team performance all around by the Hockeyroos thanks to a 4-0 win v USA early in the afternoon over in India. They too have been brilliant both in defense and most importantly also up front in attack. Alice Arnott controlled well inside the circle en route with the opening strike earlier on followed by back-to-back goals by Maddison Brooks & Rebecca Greiner to make it 3-0 at half-time. Claire Colwill helped extend the Kookaburra’s winning score to four off the back of a penalty corner late in the 3rd quarter while things were quiet in the 2nd half. They did well to stop USA though in its tracks despite some good opposition work by the goalkeeper as well as some attacking effort against their own territory, having seen them leave without a goal as the clock ticks down in the end 4-0.

Then we saw such a close high scoring game between India and the Kookaburras later on at midnight our time. Forward Blake Govers absolutely bagged two quick goals off Aran Zalewski for the Kookaburras just inside two minutes into the match before India dominated most of the first half thanks to skipper Harmanpreet Singh off penalty corners going into half-time 4-2. So a few ill-discipline here & there has gave them the upper hand but the game isn’t over yet. As the game goes on, the Kookaburras found the net again after a predominantly quiet 3rd quarter that rounds off Govers’s hat-trick haul. Then they went even better in the 4th & final quarter to level India at 4-4 all before the Kookaburras can taste the winning feeling on what has been a mighty team effort 4-6 thanks to Lachlan Sharp, Jacob Anderson & Jack Welch.

Both of our men’s and women’s hockey teams sit 2nd now on their respective team ladders in the 2023-24 FIH Pro League season with the Kookaburras v Netherlands next up tonight followed by Hockeyroos v India tomorrow. 

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Field Hockey goes on and on over the last couple of days with the Men’s Kookaburras team started their 2023-24 FIH Pro League season from Sunday with back-to-back wins against Spain and Ireland while the Hockeyroos had a few days off at the same time after their huge 6-2 loss against the Netherlands last Friday before they finished off their opening game payback v China last night. In the first men’s game, the Kookaburras were way out in front thanks to a wonderful start 0-3 earlier on before Spain has held them back in between the half-time breaks during the 3rd quarter at 3-3 apiece. Fortunately, we were able to escape the Spanish unscathed in the end 3–4 thanks to a game-winning strike upfront by Lachlan Sharp, who got his 2nd goal into the net with eight minutes to go (4th quarter). Two days later, they made even more winning progress – having led comfortably 3-0 in the 1st half before they collected two more including another Kye Willott finisher to make up a thumping 5-0 win v Ireland. And last but not least, the Hockeyroos have returned for their 2nd Indian leg yesterday where the game might be quiet for nearly the first half but they at least got away with two goals back from their opening game defeat before last week v China. Grace Stewart has scored once again as many goals per match now & Steph Kershaw finished off her side’s quick counter-attacking play for the 2nd even against without a goalkeeper involved with a clean strike into the net.

Now there’s a huge double-header tonight with the Hockeyroos starting the day early v USA again before the Kookaburras take on India later on during midnight our time in the hope of continuing their unbeaten run for win No.3 so far this week.

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The Dolphins have got the gold at last halfway through this week’s World Swimming Championships as what a moment by Sam Williamson – the 26 year old from Mount Waverley in Victoria – who wowed everybody in the Men’s 50m breaststroke sprint Final. He might have fired off the bat from behind but had a brilliant last 25m form to lock out Italian Nicole Martinenghi at the end of the wall by just 0.07 of a sec at 26.32 – how good!! This is his first World Championship gold medal as let’s hope he will kick on for more throughout this year including the Summer Olympics in Paris this July-August.

Other than that, we were also oh so close where Elijah Winnington was two seconds behind Daniel Wiffen from Ireland in the Men’s 800m Freestyle Final & also in the 4 x 100m Mixed Medley Relay Final to Team USA. Elijah was outstanding from the start with the early lead where he was on the World Record radar at one stage but just couldn’t stay ahead when he lost the lead towards the last 400m. He did get back a spot back that late towards the very end though – just not enough time to challenge Wiffen there a bit longer. Meanwhile in the Mixed Medley race, slow start but Williamson (Breaststroke) organised a great springboard for his female team-mates to bring it home from 3rd where Brianna Throssell (butterfly) & Shayna Jack (freestyle) did their best during the last half shift – even though it wasn’t possible to catch down Team USA for 2nd.

And shoutout to Throssell again with the 200m Freestyle in bronze. Now the race for gold may be out of reach by Siobhan Haughey from Hong Kong while Jack’s good start has quickly faded not far from the end down in 7th, but she too has a brilliant swim all along on what has been her first individual World Championship medal other than lots of team relays.

Another four days left to go despite the chances of topping the medal charts may be out of reach since most of our top swimmers are choosing the Olympics over this World Championships, but there will be at least 1-2 gold medal opportunities coming up tomorrow such as Iona Anderson in the 50m backstroke sprint and the Women’s 4 x 200m Freestyle Team Relay.

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Still no gold on Day 3 of the 2024 World Swimming Championships but the Dolphins Swim Team collected just the one silver from Iona Anderson in the Women’s 100m backstroke final that includes fellow Aussie Jaclyn Barclay, who finished 4th in that race. Good effort up front in the last dash but just not enough to stop Clare Curzan in time for the gold by nearly one second (+00.83). It’s her first World Championship medal at only age 17/18 as WA has a brilliant talented swimmer right there & sure she will get better in the years ahead with lots of gold medals being earned all over it. The same goes to Barclay, who fell short outside of the podium spots, but again Barclay is 16 from QLD & also one of the brightest next crop of stars to light up in the next few years including the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles and the home games in Brisbane for 2032 as well.

Other than that it’s not Elijah Willington’s day as we hoped for in the Men’s 200m Freestyle Final where he finished 7th. So does Maddy Gough after she also came home in the same position as Elijah in the Women’s 1500m Freestyle Final, having competed in the open water World Championship races with Moesha Johnson earlier this month in 18th.

Going into Day 4, we might not have the time to catch up and dominate this medal tally again like last year in Fukuoka, Japan, since most of them have skipped this WC on what is going to be a huge Olympics year in July-August. But there’s a few gold opportunities we can look forward to with Sam Williamson in the Men’s 50m breaststroke (fastest in his own semi heat & will start from lane 4) as well as Shayna Jack & Brianna Throssell in the Women’s 200m Freestyle with huge competition up for grabs, Winnington again in the 800m Freestyle & the 4 x 200m Mixed Medley Team Relay. So 2-3 would be great but to be real with USA & China comfortably in front, the Dolphins should finally take out the gold tomorrow.

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Yesterday’s Super Bowl 58 was so unreal to watch where the Sam Francisco 49ers & Kansas City Chiefs have gone side-by-side right from the start to the very end through overtime at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. It was quiet for a bit over the first quarter by both teams before the 49ers got away with their first scoring touches off the boot & the big score while the Chiefs took a little longer to finally get themselves going before they earned a lifeline with not long left on the clock in the fourth quarter. So that leaves one last round to fight on the run home in extra time but still one team will have to take home the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the World Championship. At the end of the day, the winning belongs to the Chiefs once again thanks to a championship-winning setup by Patrick Mahomes to Mecole Hardman, who caught that golden pass in the end for the touchdown by just 3 points with 3 secs to go on the overtime clock. The final score was 22-25.

As said, great start by the 49ers but a few hit and misses later on gave a great opportunity for the Chiefs to catch up whilst leading. Unfortunately, that became their tipping point at overtime where the game was eventually won by the Chiefs & it’s a bitter pill to swallow when being second best. Not a bad season though where they made all the way to the main event which is never easy as it will be exactly three decades now since the 49ers last won a World Championship. Meanwhile, congratulations to the Chiefs on what has been an incredible performance from behind after they came back to haunt the 49ers so late it was enough to take home the trophy. It was a final that was never going to be so easy as it was up to them to stop the 49ers in their tracks and they did so to bring back another huge of silverware in front of their fans and hometown too. Looks like the Chiefs are setting the benchmark now, having won three World Championships in the last five years after a long drought & shortcomings that goes way back to Super Bowl IV (1969). Speaking of the Chiefs, let’s see if a Super Rugby in Waikato, New Zealand, will win at last this season that will begin next Friday. They dominated the round robin part almost undefeated until they fell short in the Final at home (FMG Stadium) by the still unbeatable Crusaders team yet again.

And finally straight after the Super Bowl coverage on TV here, Seven have accidentally showed a bit of CBS’s new drama show called Tracker (based on The Never Game novel by Jeffrey Deaver) for 10 seconds before they quickly moved on to their normal programming for the rest of the day. Not sure if they have the rights to that show since 20th Television handles the International Distribution as would love to see a simulcast or even same day airing of first-run US shows here.  It won’t be possible unfortunately due to the time difference worldwide where we all work during the day while some sleep at the same, so don’t think it will make a difference. Not even in a million years that we will get to watch a live simulcast TV drama or comedy ever that can shared by everyone worldwide from its original country of origin other than just the US and Canada legally unlike news, special events and sports coverage. Plus, reality TV shows lead the way these days which isn’t expensive to produce and have it on the air. For now, bring on Super Rugby again soon starting next Friday while a few more scripted shows have returned with more on the way in the next few weeks to resume & finish off this unusual prime-time TV season.

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Day 2 of the 2024 World Swimming Championships was okay but underwhelming when trying to snatch a gold medal for our Dolphins where Cam McAvoy only walked away with just the bronze in the Men’s 50m butterfly Final ahead of team-mate Isaac Cooper who finished 4th. Other than that, there were close finishes just outside the podium spots like Sam Williamson in the Men’s 100m breaststroke Final as well as Brianna Throssell in the Women’s 100m Butterfly Final. Also, Alex Perkins was with Throssell in that race but she finished 6th.

So still no gold yet going into Day 3 but there’s always a few opportunities coming up with Elijah Winnington in the Men’s 200m Freestyle, Maddy Gough in the Women’s 1500m Freestyle, Jaclyn Barclay & Iona Anderson in the Women’s 100m backstroke. As said while some of our best swimmers will prioritise the Olympics this year over another unusual World Championships, but our Dolphins team are doing their best & sure they will get better as it gets later this week in Doha, Qatar.

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The first day of another unexpected World Swimming Championships from Doha, Qatar, saw the Dolphins collect all two silver medals – despite falling one short away from gold – as they sit 5th on this medal tally. Oh so close from Elijah Winnington who came back so hard to hunt the leader down in the last 100m towards the end on what has been a huge 400m Freestyle Final, but just didn’t tap the wall first under pressure to upsurge Woomin Kim (South Korea) in 2nd. Good to see him rebound though as hope he will go one better again like he did two years ago with his first gold medal, having only collected one bronze during the 4 x Men’s 200m Freestyle Relay at the last World Champs in Fukuoka, Japan, seven months ago.

Now some of our top swimmers have chosen to forego this tourney, especially with a big year ahead that early with the Olympics later this July-August. However, the female relay team did their absolute best in the 4 x 100m Freestyle Final consisting of Shayna Jack, Abbey Harkin, Alex Perkins & Brianna Throssell. Again, brilliant start by Throssell up to 2nd place while things could’ve been better when it comes to the last half dashes during the middle leg in particular with Harkin & Perkins in there, but Shayna Jack got them back up front in the best way possible where she fell so short by just 00.32 sec towards the end there to the Netherlands. Sure the second string squad will learn well from the best who are not in Doha by filling their void and push themselves towards the next level throughout this week and the months to come.

And shoutout to our Tasman neighbour Erika Fairweather who won her first ever gold medal for both herself and New Zealand after she dominated comfortably in the 400m Freestyle Final. Let’s hope despite some of them missing or sitting out, the Dolphins can do better on Day 2 tomorrow morning (Australian time) by topping the medal charts once again.

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It was a very tough day in the office last night after the Hockeyroos were beaten so bad by the top-ranked & free scoring Netherlands team. The Netherlands have started off well who scored three goals in the first two quarters before Tatum Stewart snatched one back for the Hockeyroos ahead of half-time at 3-1. Unfortunately, the Hockeyroos fell way behind later on where the Dutch kept on scoring with their extended lead during the 2nd half. Marjin Veen got away with a hat-trick while midfielder Yibbi Jansen continued to score as always with two off the penalty corner. Yes, another Stewart in Grace have added the 2nd consolation goal for the Hockeyroos herself in the 4th & final Quarter on what has been her third goal this week like the other Stewart in Tatum. But again, a tough pill swallow against a very strong & powerful Dutch side with the loss by 6-2. 

Marjin Veen is such a goal scoring machine where a mistake of two or a missed scoring opportunity from the opposition would give her the benefit to ruin them in return following her first International career hat-trick. She’s got a great eye right in front of goal every time the ball was given to her where Veen wanted it so badly from her own numbers in the final third attack before she has the licence to thrill to finish it off past the keeper with credit to their possession. There’s another goal Dutch scoring machine in the middle of the park of Yibbi Jansen, especially when it comes to penalty corners off the back from Hockeyroos’ ill-discipline with two goals to her name where she struck really well like a rocket. She too would’ve liked to get a hat-trick herself but Jansen will ensure that the Dutch will keep on firing with lots of goal scoring chances for the team including some for herself on top of the benchmark with 11 goals this season. And finally, so sorry to the Hockeyroos where they defended hard against the No.1 team but some missed finishing chances also turned the favour to the Dutch after the huge loss. Hats off to Steph Kershaw up front having gave two goals to the Stewart’s – one for Tatum via the penalty corner & another for Grace later on when she found some space through the channels. It’s just not her day where things could’ve been better if her team successfully converted all chances into goals that would the Hockeyroos a fighting chance v the Dutch, but again they are a team that is unstoppable & it’s up to them to respond before coming back with confidence next time around.

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From a 3-0 loss at a start to now back-to-back 3-0 wins, the Hockeyroos were on fire two days ago v India ahead of a huge showdown later tonight v the No.1 ranked Netherlands side. It might have been a quiet first quarter but they too have opened the scoring account with two goals ahead of half-time thanks to Grace Stewart & Tatum Stewart. Although things were quiet again in the 3rd quarter while they hold a 2-0 advantage before Kaitlin Nobbs completed her attacking masterclass that sealed the Hockeyroos’ 2nd win this week towards the end 3-0.

As said, hats off to Kaitlin Nobbs who has been a huge menace for the Indian defenders with her excellent attacking performance of two assists to the Stewart’s followed by that 1 v 1 counter-attacking finish herself off the left side pitch. She always made sure that the communication is there with her numbers before all systems can go to finish it off the work for her either way. Meanwhile, Grace Stewart has scored once again where she’s been an excellent threat upfront with credit from the service being given in the final third. So much pace and physicality alongside a great height on offer every time she appears up close off the net as she can do anything & everything that is right in front of her.

And considerations to India there with the loss at home, having won possession earlier on with some opportunities here & there. But unfortunately, the executions was vague while the defense was wide open & vulnerable that made it so easy for the Hockeyroos to get the job done at their own territory. They lost two goals in the lead up towards half time before it was too late after India struggled to find the net all along with the loss 3-0.

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Good to see the Hockeyroos women’s team turn around yesterday from a 3-0 loss the other day v China to a 3-0 win v the USA. It was a brilliant team effort all around where they scored the first two goals by Tatum Stewart & Stephanie Akers has in the lead up towards half-time before they added one more goal thanks to a brilliant tap-in finish right into the net from Grace Stewart to make it 3-0. So what a relief that is as they are 4th in the standings right now ahead of their next match v India at midnight tomorrow morning. For the Americans, it’s been a tough start for them having been beaten so hard by the Netherlands 7-0 followed by another loss against the Hockeyroos. They will haven’t scored any goals yet ahead of another tough series of challenges going forward with China at the same time tomorrow as well as India on Friday.

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