Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rugby League's Darkest Day

April 22, 2010 will forever be etched into the minds of every NRL fan. One of the competition frontrunners, Melbourne, the team who had won the title in 2007 and 2009 got hit with the largest ever penalty in Australian sporting history. Over a period of five years, they managed to conceal over A$1.7 million worth of payments to the players, breaching the salary cap.

Their punishment for this was that they were stripped of both titles, their minor premier status (winning the most points before the playoffs start) from 2006-2008, all their points in this current season and can't win any points for the rest of the year, fined A$500,000 and forced to repay over A$1 million in prize money.

At this stage, the NRL are pointing the finger at the officials, not the players.

Where this now leaves the club that has had to fight its way into peoples hearts given the fact that it's the AFL, not the NRL, that Melbourne gears up for remains unknown as there are talks the team will fold in the light of these revelations.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Congratulations Hank!

This weekend saw the end of the two scoring titles in the NHL and they both went right down to the wire. Ultimately, Sidney Crosby and Steven Stamkos tied for the Rocket Richard trophy with 51 goals apiece, while Henrik Sedin banished the Vancouver demons of 2002/2003 that saw Markus Naslund pipped for the Art Ross trophy on the final day of the season.

This time though, the Canucks wouldn't be denied as it became quite obvious early on in the game against the Flames what their game plan was; don't shoot the puck unless the pass came from Henrik.

Henrik became the first Canuck player to win the Art Ross trophy.

He ended up with four assists to move three points ahead of Ovechkin, then had to wait for the Sunday games to be over before knowing if he'd done enough. Yes, 'the great eight' played ten less games this year, yes both he and Crosby scored a lot more goals than Henrik...but Henrik's red hot form around Christmas proved to be the difference in the end.

Whether or not this lifts a somewhat flat Vancouver team going into the playoffs remains to be seen, but, for today at least, they know they have the best player in the league.