The Weekly A-Z


It seemed we had seen the last of Tom Brady … on the football field that is. Then the man regarded as the greatest player to have set foot inside an NFL arena popped up in the UK to watch Manchester United and Tottenham do battle over the weekend. It was in the aftermath where he was asked by Cristiano Ronaldo, fresh off a hat-trick in the Red Devils’ win, whether he was done, all done. Brady’s wishy-washy response caused a stir. The rumour mill subsequently started to crank up again. And then Brady turned the sporting world on his head soon after when he declared he wasn’t yet ready to hang up the cleats. He intends to return for a 23rd season and carve out a third year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Brady’s retirement lasted all of 40 days.


They go on the line tomorrow out in western Sydney when boom three-year-olds Anamoe, Converge and Profondo lock horns in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m). With apologies to Home Affairs, Anamoe is viewed as the best colt in the country. But Converge (yes, I know he is a gelding) is a dual winner at the elite level, including most recently in the Randwick Guineas when he took down Anamoe, while Profondo won the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) last October at only his third start. His first-up run in Melbourne earlier this month should be forgotten. Cannot wait.


It sounds a little silly to say it given she has just won the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington, but Duais’ slashing triumph last Saturday gives trainer Edward Cummings a wonderful dilemma. The four-year-old daughter of Shamus Award, already a dual winner at the top level, shapes as a genuine Cups horse later this year. Duais has stayer written all over her, yet possesses an excellent turn of foot. Even if the international raiders decide to come Down Under, she has to be a live hope in either the Caulfield Cup (2400m) or Melbourne Cup (3200m).


Trainer Adam Durrant is entitled to be doing both over the next week or so. As he closes in on another metropolitan trainer’s premiership, the Karnup horseman would love to create a little slice of history and take out his first WA Oaks. In Constant Dreaming, he appears to have the right filly. She has won her past two starts, the Listed 1000 Guineas (1800m) and Listed Natasha Stakes (2200m), in fine style and looks assured of starting favourite in next Saturday’s Group 3 feature given her main rival, Fine Romance, was this week withdrawn from the nominations.


That is what awaits the Fremantle Dockers ahead of their first-round match against the Crows at Adelaide Oval. The Dockers are on the right trajectory under Justin Longmuir and now have a gilt-edged chance to move into the upper echelon of teams and play finals football on a consistent basis. They haven’t been helped in their bid to hit the ground running by the unavailability of star trip Nat Fyfe, Sean Darcy and Matt Taberner, but the game is still very much winnable.


Many lovers of the thoroughbred game have enjoyed themselves in Coolangatta. It’s hard not to. Tomorrow at Rosehill, Coolangatta will be out to enjoy herself and put a bit of colour in the cheeks of her supporters when she seeks to maintain her unbeaten record in the $5 million Golden Slipper (1200m). Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s filly has been at the forefront of betting since her slashing Gimcrack Stakes win late last year and if she is exposed to an improving track, looms as the testing material.

G – G.O.A.T

The greatest of all time in the NBL is … Bryce Cotton. Supporters of Andrew Gaze are entitled to be a little miffed by that declaration. Gaze is a living legend, a Hall of Fame inductee and one of the most famous names in all of Australian sport. He quite rightly has claims on the being the best we have seen go about his business in the NBL. But Cotton’s CV is ultra-impressive, even though he hasn’t been in the league for all that long. He is clearly the best import to have ever plied his trade in Australia and his highlights reel is more spectacular than Gaze’s. And the best part is, we get to see him and his Perth Wildcats for an extended period at home now courtesy of their string of matches at RAC Arena.


The Australian cricket team would have left the ground at Karachi at stumps on day three thinking a Test match victory was within reach. Fast forward 24 hours and not much would have changed. But by the time the Test had concluded, Pakistan had dug themselves out of a crater to force a draw. The hosts denied the Aussies in a marathon batting stint in the fourth innings, compiling 7-443 off 171.4 overs. Not only was Australia’s pride dented, there would have been some very, very, very sore and weary bowlers.


Social distancing is no longer a must on the east coast. Just as well. AFL supremo Gillon McLachlan all but gave supporters to right to storm Accor Stadium tomorrow should Lance Franklin kick the five goals required to reach 1000 goals and join an exclusive club that consists of only Tony Lockett, Gordon Coventry, Jason Dunstall, Doug Wade and Gary Ablett Snr. It’s not ideal for Franklin’s teammates and the GWS players, however such a milestone deserves a deviation from the norm.


The American rock band is best known for belting out the track “Don’t Stop Believin'”. If you haven’t heard of it, you are beyond help. If you haven’t danced to it, the same applies. It might have got a run once or twice from delirious Carlton supporters in the wake of Sam Docherty’s triumphant comeback at the MCG last night. Docherty stepped aside from football last August to undertake 12 weeks of chemotherapy, required to tackle a second bout of cancer. He wasn’t sure he would ever play the game he loves again. Not only did he regain full health, he regained full fitness and performed a starring role before more than 70,000 supporters. Docherty’s heroics included a goal and was key in the Blues’ come-from-behind win. Good things do happen to good people.


Will the decision by Andrea Dailly to head west bear fruit? Those who have dissected tomorrow night’s Perth Cup (520m) at Cannington believe it will. Her star chaser Lala Kiwi hasn’t missed a beat in two runs at Cannington and will jump from box four for the Group 1 feature. Boasting 22 wins from 51 starts and more than $630,000 in prizemoney, it is little wonder why TABtouch has her the $2.30 favourite.


Mambo Monelli and success over 715m at Cannington. It’s hard to believe there were ever any doubts about the two going together like bacon and eggs. Steve Withers has done a marvellous job since taking over the training of Mambo Monelli, guiding him to five successive wins, the past two being over the distance of tomorrow night’s Group 1 The Galaxy (715m). His ability to scorch out of the boxes and ride the speed makes him a nightmare for his rivals. Expect him to start odds-on and expect him to justify that short quote.


To outsiders, Stuart Dew has a sizeable mountain to climb if he is to remain at the helm of the Gold Coast Suns. But speak to those with direct access to the decision makers at the club and they paint a completely different picture. Not in dispute though is the opportunity for Gold Coast to complete a hit-and-run raid against a banged-up West Coast at Optus Stadium on Sunday. Even in the absence of Ben King, this is a match that sits up especially well for the Suns.


Many of us admire the mindset of the AFL to commit to a fixture of certainty. To snub COVID-19 and give the fans a level of surety. What you see on the fixture is what you are going to see week in and week out. But the fact clubs needed to assemble extensive top-up lists of players outside the system is an indication of where the league is at. The challenges might not be as great as what they were the past two years, but they remain very much in the psyche of AFL officials, coaches and players.


I cannot recall many WA Derby hopefuls stretching their legs at a race meeting at Ascot on a Sunday afternoon less than a month out from the Group 2 feature. Enter Alaskan God. The Danny Morton-trained youngster beat up on a group of older horses the day after his main rivals were matching motors in the Listed JC Roberts Stakes (1800m), his third win in a line. TABtouch reacted immediately to the effortless victory, propelling him to the top of its WA Derby market at $4. He remains there as of today and if he can measure up in the Listed Melvista Stakes (2200m) next weekend, the price will disappear.


Just insert a photograph of Luke Beveridge here. His post-match crack at Tom Morris, who now finds himself in the spotlight for unacceptable comments regarding a female colleague, on Wednesday night were disgraceful. For an experienced AFL coach to accuse Morris of gutter journalism, just moments after admitting his club was suffering from “leakage”, was inexcusable. He can consider himself fortunate that the Bulldogs were required to “donate” only $20,000 to a charity. Beveridge’s behaviour from here on in will be scrutinised to an inch of its life.


Bring on the new NFL season. The sooner we get to see the seriously stacked AFC West teams butting heads the better. A division that was already overloaded with top-end talent and firepower on both sides of the ball became even more potent this week when Davante Adams agreed to join the Las Vegas Raiders. One of the premier wide receivers in the game, Adams will depart Green Bay to link up with Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, who he played college ball with. This is going to be fun.


If you were asked to list the top six male golfers in the official world rankings, how do you think you would go? Those who live and breathe the sport would probably be fine. Most however would struggle and there is no shame in that. It’s fair to assume though that most Australians will pay particularly close attention from this point on given Queenslander Cameron Smith leapt to sixth with his stirring victory at The Players’ Championship in Florida this week. Smith trails only Jon Rahm, Collin Morikawa, Viktor Hovland, Patrick Cantley and Scottie Scheffler. Smith is without doubt the best player on the men’s tour from Down Under and one of four Aussies — Adam Scott (37), Marc Leishman (42) and Lucas Herbert (44) — inside the top 50.


There are other two-year-old races to be contested following tomorrow’s Group 3 Gimcrack Stakes (1100m) for the fillies and Listed Perth Stakes (1100m) for the boys. However, on what we have seen to this point, you would be a little surprised if the winner of the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate in a fortnight’s time wasn’t on display at Ascot tomorrow. Amelia’s Jewel created an impression when winning the Listed Supremacy Stakes (1000m) on debut and will start favourite in the Gimcrack, while no less than five of the colts and geldings in the field of 13 have tasted success previously. The three debutants — Givemeonereason, Torpedoman and Trespassing — all boast trial victories.


You never say never in the current climate. But West Coast coach Adam Simpson will be praying he doesn’t have to dip into the club’s top-up stocks for Sunday afternoon’s clash with Gold Coast at Optus Stadium. There was an expectation that Sandover medallist Aaron Black could have been included in the Eagles’ squad after being invited to training during the week. Injuries and COVID-19 have wreaked havoc on West Coast’s round-one preparations and they will be hoping of regaining some key personnel over the next few rounds.


Born in Uruguay and proud to have represented his country at under-17 level, Bruno Fornaroli is now on the cusp of helping the Socceroos reach the World Cup finals. The Perth Glory striker, who was recently granted citizenship, was this week named in the national squad for crucial qualifiers against Japan and Saudi Arabia. The 34-year-old was one of five uncapped players in the 27-man squad selected by coach Graham Arnold.


There are going to be a string of downs to go with the up that Carlton experienced last night when beating Richmond at the MCG. That is inevitable. But what we witnessed, albeit from a very small sample size, is that the Blues are now a club with direction. Michael Voss has more midfield tools to work with than Brendon Bolton and David Teague thanks to the addition of Adam Cerra and George Hewett. Most tellingly though, is a far more sturdy mindset, an approach that requires complete buy-in to the contest. It was terrific to see.


Roch ‘n’ Horse is the answer if the question was which horse won the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at  Flemington last Saturday. And if the answer still doesn’t quite resonate, it’s okay. Roch ‘n’ Horse was having her first run in Australia for Mike Moroney after establishing herself as a quality sprinter back in New Zealand. Even with her runner-up placing at Group 1 level in a ridiculously-fast run Telegraph over 1200m at Trentham, she was given little hope. How little? Next to none when you consider she started at $101.


Indefinite. It is not horrific when a sporting organisation relays that prognosis regarding a player’s injury. But it doesn’t instill a great deal of confidence either. So you can understand the despair of Golden State Warriors fans after the side listed Steph Curry as “indefinite”. The best shooter the NBA has ever seen underwent an MRI on his left foot soon after it became tangled under Marcus Smart this week. The scans showed ligament damage and we now have to wait and see how long Curry rehabs the injury before returning.


After a summer and pre-season of excitement and predictions, the time has come for gifted teenagers Nick Daicos and Jason Horne-Francis to do what they do best and love the most …. play football. The pair were this week selected for round-one debuts after handling everything asked of them by Collingwood and North Melbourne respectively. It might be premature for them to impact games straight away. In saying that, they are elite talents destined for celebrated careers at their respective clubs.


Annabel Neasham is no stranger to big-race success. She has made a wonderful fist of the  training caper since branching out from Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and could be the toast of Australian racing tomorrow should Zaaki claim the $5 million All Star Mile. The gelding was brave first-up when second to Inspirational Girl in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) and provided the distance and barrier (15) aren’t an issue, he gets a pull in the weights that could tip the scales in his favour. Having an in-form Jamie Kah on his back certainly doesn’t hurt either.