Field Theory by Hadyn Green

7

Kicking the underdog

I saw three games this weekend and none of them were worth it. The Pulse lost 44-66. The Chiefs lost 61-17. And currently the Cubs are down 8-0 in the bottom of the sixth.

There's something about games like these. You just can't watch them for too long.

I stopped watching the Super 14 final when the result seemed inevitable.

I couldn't stop watching the Pulse get spanked by the Steel because I was there covering it. The crowd stopping lustily cheering almost from the beginning of the fourth quarter, replacing it with lacklustre clapping. The children, bless them, continued to make up chants ("C'mooooon, ThePulse… C'mooooon, ThePulse…") but it was all done and dusted.

There is an awful inevitability to blow-out games. The winning team's defence closes down, the offense stops taking chances.

Even in a game like the Pulse-Steel match where the Steel are trying to inflate their Points Differential (they currently have a finger-hold on fourth place), the winning team only blows out the score when they knows there is no chance the opposition can come back.

Personally I hate teams that blow out the score against a weaker opponent (where points diff is not an issue), but I'm not going to tell them they can't. After all part of competition is crushing all those who stand in your path.

At the press conference coach Robyn Broughton seemed a little peeved when she was told the Magic had put 23 points on the Pulse, one more than the Steel could manage.

Still it's not much fun to watch the underdog get kicked.

When the Chiefs got to Pretoria I don't think anyone thought would win. Many thought they had played their final against the Hurricanes the week before. I call ballsack on that. The Bulls were the best team all season and looked like they would've outplayed any team in that final.

Of course now all eyes turn to gaze upon Graham Henry, readying their ridicule at his crazy selections for our national team. Will Tanerau Latimer become an All Black while playing for Bay of Plenty (something unheard of in the modern era)? Will Luke McAlister rejoin the team he left? Will Henry suffer some sort of brain trauma and select Sione Lauaki?

all photos by Michael Roseingrave

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