The Weekly A-Z


Liz Cambage says she doesn’t intend to play for the Australian women’s basketball side any time soon. Maybe it would be best if her and the Opals went their separate ways … for good. Cambage’s behaviour whilst representing her country during a pre-Olympics encounter against Nigeria last year was disgusting. Her unnecessary physicality towards Nigerian players and allegations of racial comments should ensure she has a line put through her name from the governing body in this country. There can be no place for Cambage within the Australian basketball system ever again.


West Coast had been loathe to use the term “rebuild” until it was firmly put on the table by chairman Russell Gibbs in a letter to members last month. Now that the club is committed to overhauling its list in order to climb the ladder, it’s fair to say we are seeing the regeneration take shape. The recruitment of Jai Culley, a goal-kicking midfielder from the Dandenong Stingrays, is an important step in that direction. 


Fortunately it won’t be raining them inside Marvel Stadium tonight thanks to the roof. As a result, conditions inside the Docklands venue will give the Western Bulldogs every chance of taking down Geelong, whose last visit there resulted in a loss to St Kilda. The Bulldogs are better suited inside Marvel Stadium, their home ground, than any other oval around the country and if they bring their best tonight, are well and truly capable of making a statement around the top-eight conversation.


It’s already been a big week for Rafael Nadal and it could yet get even bigger. The Spaniard was at Stade de France over the weekend to watch his beloved Real Madrid overcome Liverpool in the final of the Champions League. He then dug deep to get over the top of Felix Auger-Aliassime in five sets in the fourth round of the French Open before downing world No.1 Novak Djokovic in an epic quarter-final. Nadal is now only two wins away from establishing a handy buffer of two on Djokovic in the grand slam singles titles leaderboard.


That they were at Muirfield overnight when Japanese superstar Hideki Matsuyama was disqualified from the Memorial Tournament. Matsuyama had applied liquid paper to the face of his 3-wood to help with alignment. He was spoken to by rules officials early in his round and was three-over through nine holes before he was informed of his fate on his 10th hole. It was the first time Matsuyama had been disqualified in his career.


I’m not sure the AFL needed to apologise, but that is what it did yesterday after labelling Lance Franklin’s contact with Richmond veteran Trent Cotchin as “cowardly behaviour”. AFL legal counsel Andrew Woods used the term during a tense AFL Tribunal hearing held following Franklin’s one-week suspension for striking. Franklin and the Sydney Swans were unsuccessful in appealing the ban, but had a win yesterday when the league unreservedly apologised to Franklin for the Woods’ wording.


The Golden State Warriors, in particular Steph Curry, need no reminding of what is on offer in their NBA Finals appearance against the Boston Celtics. The Warriors are chasing a fourth title in eight seasons, underlining their greatness and giving Curry as many rings as the revered LeBron James with the prospect of more to come. But the  Warriors were stunned at home this morning in game one of the best-of-seven series, with the Celtics producing a clinical final quarter in Oakland. 


For those who have been to Adelaide’s CBD, a trip down Hindley Street never disappoints. There is plenty to see and do, and on the odd occasion, much mirth to be had at the expense of others. WA cyclist Jai Hindley was a long way removed from South Australia late last month. Indeed, he had far more important things on his mind … like winning the prestigious Giro d’Italia. The 26-year-old from Perth became just the second Australian after Cadel Evans to win one of cycling’s grand tours. Hindley won’t contest the Tour de France, but the prodigious talent’s Giro triumph won’t be his last victory. 


The golfing world was gob-smacked on Wednesday when it was revealed Dustin Johnson had opted to join the Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf International Series. Unlike others who have linked up with the breakaway league, which gets underway in England next week, Johnson is still very much a potent force in the game. A dual major champion, Johnson won the US Masters late in 2020. Sponsors were quick to react, dropping off the laid-back American, who had expressed interest in the new frontier before seemingly re-committing to the PGA Tour. I suppose Johnson did have a cool $175 million reasons to defect.


If you can’t watch a game of cricket live in Australia later this year and into early 2023, then it is because you are not really interested. There are going to be ample opportunities right around this country to witness international cricket and you can pick your poison — T20s, ODIs or Tests. In a positive for the game here in WA, Test action returns in late November to Optus Stadium, with the arrival of the West Indies to open a two-match series. That follows the World T20 which will also feature games at the Burswood venue before a limited-overs clash with South Africa midway through January next year. 


That was the sentiment from West Coast Eagles greats and the Australian Rules community towards Peter Matera following a heart attack on his property in regional Victoria. With so much grim news surrounding our cricket greats this year, there was a sense of dread when news broke about Matera’s plight. But swift action and excellent medical treatment enabled the dual premiership hero to walk from hospital and hopefully avoid any other setbacks for the rest of his life.


Fremantle did just that at the MCG last Saturday. Dockers coach Justin Longmuir and his assistants implemented a game plan that took away the Demons’ strengths, illustrated perfectly by the fact Fremantle rallied from a 30-point deficit in the second term to win by 38 points running away. It was a performance that shook up the premiership market. And if the Dockers are able to back it up against Brisbane on Sunday and occupy second position on the ladder after 12 rounds, the expectation surrounding the men from Cockburn will only heighten. 


George Kambosos Jnr will look to etch his name into boxing folklore when he sets foot inside the ring at a heaving Marvel Stadium on Sunday. The Australian boxer will put his 20-0 record and WBA (Super), WBO and IBF lightweight belts on the line against brash American Devin Haney, who has journeyed Down Under in possession of the WBC belt. Unifying a division is one of the great accomplishments, with the winner becoming the first to do so in the lightweight division since the great Pernell Whitaker in 1990, and the first in the four-belt era which came into effect in 2004.


Only the biggest, best and baddest are required. We all know the selection criteria for rugby league’s State of Origin series goes a little bit deeper than that, but the grandest stage of all is not one for the faint-hearted. This is as tribal as it gets, with the divide between Queensland and NSW undeniable. Game one of the series is set down for Stadium Australia in western Sydney at 6.10pm on Wednesday, with the countdown to the second match at Optus Stadium later in the month already underway.


If you were one of those clever enough to have invested in God Has Chosen in last Saturday’s Group 3 Belmont Sprint, congratulations. And if you had your heart in your mouth as the field wheeled for home, then that is entirely understandable. It looked like Clint Johnston-Porter and the rising star of WA racing were in a world of hurt with nearly all of the capacity field in front of them. But Johnston-Porter channeled his inner William Pike to weave a passage through and spear the Lindsey Smith-prepared gelding to a stunning victory. It would seem the Hyperion Stakes (1600m) is at God Has Chosen’s mercy before a decision is then made whether to push on to the Strickland Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later.


Unless you are an absolute tennis head, you are probably unaware of how dominant Iga Swiatek has been on the WTA Tour. Granted, she is a French Open champion (2020), but the Polish young gun has been going about her business with a minimum of fuss. However, her 6-2 6-1 win over Daria Kasatkina was her 34th in succession, drawing level with Serena Williams’ mark in 2013. And only one other player — Serena’s older sister Venus (35 in 2000) — has won more matches in succession in the women’s game this century. Swiatek still has some way to go to eclipse Martina Navratilova’s 74-match winning streak back in 1984, but what she has done is still mighty impressive.


It was with some bemusement this week that a lot of people here in WA absorbed the commentary surrounding West Coast’s plight. It’s not as if the 101-point pasting from the Western Bulldogs was a complete and utter shock. The Eagles have been dreadful for the past two months, yet it seems the capitulation last Saturday night was the final straw to many in the football media on the east coast. One thing that was bang on in regards to the critique of West Coast was the “reasons” and/or “excuses” from within the four walls at Mineral Resources Park had to stop. 


If five years counts as “recent history”, then the Raconteur Stakes’ “recent history” is something to behold. WA Guineas winner Variation returned in the autumn to take out the race in 2017, while Mizlecki was victorious 12 months later and we all know she finished her career as a multiple black-type winner. The 2019 edition was won by Cup Night, a winner of the Group 3 Northam Stakes, Kingston Town Classic winner Kay Cee saluted in 2020 and Graceful Girl won last year’s Raconteur before returning later in the year to snare the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes. It wouldn’t be a shock if the winner of tomorrow’s Listed three-year-old feature is lining up in some seriously rich races later this year in the TABtouch Masters, with the market struggling to separate headline acts Rokanori, Searchin’ Roc’s and Devoted.


Isn’t she just! The daughter of Gold Standard created an impression in her initial two-year-old campaign over here in the west and she illustrated just how good she was with a slashing finish to take out the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm last weekend. Co-trainer Peter Snowden was in awe this week at Sheeza Belter’s constitution and firmly believes she won’t be out of place in the spring against some of Sydney’s elite fillies. Exciting times ahead.


It was only natural for master trainer Peter Snowden to have one eye on Moonee Valley following import Huetor’s giant-killing performance in last Saturday’s Doomben Cup (2100m). Huetor found the line strongly, dashing past raging favourite Zaaki inside the final 150m, to claim the Group 1. He will now line up in the $1.2 million Q22, also at Eagle Farm, before a campaign is likely to be tailored around a start in the weight-for-age championship of Australasia, the Cox Plate, at Moonee Valley in October.  


Better late than never. That most certainly applied to Nottingham Forest, who over the weekend just gone, earnt promotion to the English Premier League with their 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town at Wembley. It will be the first time in 23 years that Forest have been in the top flight of English football. They were the last team to make up the 20 sides that will contest the new season, which is set to start in early August, joining Fulham and Bournemouth, who also made their way up from the Championship.


Think giants of the global thoroughbred world and Lester Piggott is a name that automatically springs to mind. Sadly, we lost him this week when he passed away at the age of 86, leading to a swag of tributes. A legendary figure whose ability in the saddle was only matched by his longevity, Piggott died in a hospital in Geneva. Piggott retired from riding aged 49 after riding more 5000 winners right around the world. In a sign of his dominance on the UK racing scene, he won the Epsom Derby nine times.


It isn’t the first time that Michael Maguire has had his coaching credentials questioned during his tenure at the Wests Tigers. But if the jungle dreams beating are to be believed, it might be the last. Maguire has overseen another tough season at the Tigers, who entered this round of fixtures in 15th position with just three wins. The fact that football director Tim Sheens has declared “we need to have a good look at ourselves” and he would be talking to Maguire doesn’t augur well. 


There can be no getting away from the harsh reality that Aravene is facing her stiffest test to date in tomorrow’s Group 1 Queensland Oaks. But the Caroline Jenninings-trained filly has something about her that suggests she will more than hold her own. Brett Prebble has been on the back of many a good horse and he is adamant she is a Group 1 winner in waiting. Relatively inexperienced with three wins from only six lifetime starts, the daughter of Fastnet Rock is out of a Zabeel mare and could not have been more impressive when winning by three lengths over 2000m in her most recent outing at Rosehil..


Day one of the opening Test in England for the summer was like watching a re-run of a popular move. James Anderson and Stuart Broad running in and making the Dukes ball sing, both through the air and off the wicket. After winning the toss and deciding to bat, New Zealand slumped to 7-45 at Lord’s before recovering to make 132. At stumps on the opening day, England had squandered a 0-59 start to be 7-116. Game on.


That was the immediate response from Tim Tszyu after he learnt the WBO had ordered Jermell Charlo to fight the Australian, the No.1 mandatory challenger in that division, later this year. Charlo will put all four belts on the line in the bout, providing Tszyu with the opportunity to make a splash in the biggest boxing market, the USA, like his Hall of Fame father Kostya did when sensationally knocking out Zab Judah in Las Vegas more than two decades ago. “This is my Zab Judah moment,” Tim said. “For me this is everything.” It will be massive.