20 THINGS YOU MISSED
1 However bad your day is, just remind yourself that it’s still probably be er than what Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius suffered through in the UEFA Champions League final ...
2 India says no to a day-night Test in Adelaide this summer. So that se les it. The Indians have yet to play in a pink-ball match, and while it was interpreted as the BCCI flexing its muscle, some observers noted it might give Virat Kohli’s team a be er chance of an elusive series win in Australia.
3 Snooker’s new world champion keeps his promise, a ends winning press conference naked. Mark Williams, at 43, became the sport’s oldest world champ since 1978, and his victory at the Crucible came 15 years aer his last world title. Aer failing to qualify for the event last year, he thought he was done, prompting his naked promise. “To be honest, if I win this next year, I’ll do this again,” Williams told the radio audience. “I’ll cartwheel round here naked.”
5 FIFA boss Gianni Infantino proposes a radical shake-up of international football, with an expanded Club World Cup and new nations league to replace World Cup qualifying, as well as the expanded World Cup finals. What makes this grand plan no idle daydream is the backing – reportedly, Infantino’s project has a mind-spinning $25b behind it, from Japan’s richest man, Masayoshi Son of SoBank.
4 A new “fame tax” proposal in the federal budget would hit athletes in their hip pocket. The change in the law would prevent athletes from licensing their name and image to another entity for tax purposes. Instead, that income would be taxed at the relevant personal rate, rather than the 30 percent corporate rate. While the proposal was meant to target the likes of the social media influencers, representative group Athletes Alliance said it could really affect athletes with low salaries but high-level marketability – Olympians, or the new class of female team sport athletes.
6 A university student in Boston sets a new record by running a mile in 4:43.2 – while juggling three balls. Zach Presco broke the record, which had stood for 32 years, although he needed a second a empt – a li le over a kilometre in the first time around, he dropped a ball.
7 For those of us who can never forget that morning in Trent Bridge in 2015 when Stuart Broad rolled the Aussies in 111 balls, we know the English quick has a knack for pu ing it together at the right time. Further evidence: in the second-last week of the Premier League season, Broad’s fantasy football side hauled in 180 points, which was the top score of the near six million players in the EPL’s fantasy comp.
8 Hahor Bjornsson, or “The Mountain” of Game Of Thrones fame, wins the World’s Strongest Man competition in the Philippines. He had finished in the top three of the event every year since 2012 until this first-time breakthrough. And thankfully, single combat was not one of the categories.
9 Curtis Sco becomes the first one-punch send-off in the NRL since 2015. The Melbourne Strom tyro later received two weeks for decking Manly’s Dylan Walker, breaking his eye socket. The rules might have changed in rugby league, but the a itude about fisticuffs remain – veteran Luke Lewis noted that Walker had deserved it.
10 Our long national nightmare is over – the losing streak against Super Rugby’s NZ sides finally came to an end! Now, if rugby can only figure out how to stop the cocaine abuse and Israel Folau’s social commentary, the sport might do average.
11 The domestic baseball league, the ABL, will add a seventh expansion team – from Korea. The all-Korean side, who will play in the competition during their winter, is likely to be based in Geelong.
12 One of the great intrigues at the NBA’s get-together for potential rookies, the Draft Combine, is when the prospects get measured. A particular object of fascination is wingspan – NBA players are true outliers in this measurement, well-exceeding the usual one-to-one relationship between arm length to height. This year, American teen Mohamed Bamba, just shy of 213cm tall, set a new record with a reach of 238cm, fingertip to fingertip.
13 Cameron Smith retires from representative football, says he wants to spend more time with his family (really). But if Craig Bellamy actually leaves the Melbourne Storm, we all know who the next coach should be, right?
14 AFL forms a committee – another one – to examine the “look of the game”. Malcolm Blight is one of the greats serving on it, and previews one of the issues sure to be tabled: “You know that 36 players in a quarter of the ground is my pet hate.”
15 Docklands, er, Colonial, ah Etihad to be renamed ... Marvel Stadium. Yep, after the Disney property that makes all the money at the cinema. Melbourne’s other stadium will reportedly have a Marvel-themed store there, which will mix well with the sporting crowd. Immediate rule: any AFL commentator who invokes a comparison between any player and Iron Man/Captain America/ Thor will be summarily executed (but comparisons to the Hulk are okay).
16 Serena Williams withdrew from Italian Open, citing she wasn’t “100 percent ready” to return to competing. The tennis champion then went searching for the last bits of extra percentage at the Royal wedding of Harry and Meghan, which Williams was suddenly free to attend.
17 AB de Villiers retires from international cricket. Bowlers all over the world breathe a sigh of relief. The only shame was missing out on seeing the South African maestro on Australian soil one last time – as he missed their Test tour two seasons ago – and the Proteas on their way to an ODI series later this year.
18 Just as the ball-tampering outrage was dying down, cricket officialdom have a spot-fixing scandal to deal with. In an undercover report from Al Jazeera, an Indian national working for a criminal syndicate claimed that a pair of Australian batsmen were paid to manipulate the scoring rate in a Test against India in Ranchi. Cricket Australia denied that there was any credible evidence.
19 Meanwhile, Shane Watson hits a ton to power the Chennai Super Kings to the IPL title. Why doesn’t anyone call for Watto to be brought back to the Australian side?
20 One of the last historic sporting prizes eluding the nation has been claimed – Will Power becomes the first Aussie to win the Indy 500. Power had been a favourite at the Brickyard in years past, but luckless. Even after the breakthrough, the 37-year-old still had a bit of fortune go against him – it happened to coincide with Daniel Ricciardo winning the Monaco GP and stealing some limelight.