Talking Sport: Australia do it again

It comes as no surprise at all to see that Australia are in the RL Four Nations final, despite a first match thumping by New Zealand and edging home against England.

Friday, 14th November 2014, 6:00 am
Trevor Watson

This always seems to happen, when it comes to the crunch they step up. It’s in their nature, look how the Burgess brothers and James Graham have developed since moving there.

The Aussies needed to beat a dangerous Samoa side to reach the final.

As usual it was settled by half-time, just as they did in the final against the Kiwis last year and have done so often in Ashes deciders against what used to be Great Britain.

Australia are now firm favourites to beat New Zealand in Saturday’s final, even in Wellington.

You couldn’t knock England’s spirit, they really had a go with little luck but also made some awful attacking mistakes. I’ve never understood the policy of swapping props after 20 minutes.

If a bloke was ripping my team apart, I’d be delighted to see him given a rest and why on earth they took hooker Daryl Clark off is a mystery, after all the job isn’t so hard these days.

The other hooker, Josh Hodgson, who missed out last Saturday, distinguished himself by being filmed diving through a door at a student’s flat after the game. If he’d shown that sort of determination on the field England might have been in the final.

As many people will confirm, I’m a fashion guru. So it was galling to see England coach Steve McNamara interviewed after the game with an open necked shirt.

There was a tradition on tour that all members of the squad wore the Great Britain tie with pride on Test match days.McNamara looked like those 1950s holiday photos of dad ready to go paddling with his trousers rolled up.

The other disappointment of the weekend was Leeds United beating Blackpool.

Leeds season ticket holder Gerard Mitchell had stated that if United didn’t win he would bear part of his anatomy in Birstall Market Place at 9 o’clock on Monday morning.

A witness, Ian Waring, thoughtfully filmed the claim and many people in Hanging Heaton held their breath, especially when Blackpool scored and threatened to pull back from 3-1 down.

However, Leeds held on and the good folk of Birstall escaped what could have been an ugly scene.

There is always smug talk of ‘our’ Premier League being the finest in the world.

Yet Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, whose side are sixth, has suggested that Chelsea are already as good as champions. Say what you like about Jose Mourinho but he knows how to put a side together.

Wayne Rooney collects his 100th England cap against Slovenia on Saturday and looks set to beat the appearance and goals record for his country in time. Bobby Charlton holds the latter and you wonder how many he would have notched against the likes of San Marino and Eskimo Co-op.