Oh joy, oh rapture, the finals season is here

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THE WRAP
Nanjing Night Net

Finals fever: a nation gets sick … Sky Blues win race for Del Piero … Brian Smith loses the lot … Could there be four better NRL finals? … Swans limp into finals but can change their fate today … Tomic given a serve by Rafter … Pistorius pipped by better legs … One, two, three, Van Persie.

REVELATIONS

Sepp Blatter took time out from his busy schedule to wish Alessandro Del Piero good luck for his move to the A-League. ”All the best with your new club, Sydney FC,” he tweeted. ”Sure you’ll be a great ambassador for the game Down Under!” The man speaks some truth. Now, tell us how Qatar won the 2022 World Cup hosting rights …

PREMONITIONS

GWS Giants midfielder Toby Greene has clearly been the best first-year player in the AFL this season but because of a bizarre – OK, let’s just say stupid – ruling, he couldn’t win the Rising Star award (won by Adelaide’s Daniel Talia). Greene spent a week on the sidelines after round eight having accepted a guilty plea for a high bump on Brisbane’s Jed Adcock, thus ruling him out of contention. While that’s all well and good for the Brownlow Medal to be the ”best and fairest” as a hangover of gentlemanly tradition, why must first-year players to be subjected to the same spurious quirk? It’s ridiculous – especially when such a worthy winner is ruled out. Expect the AFL to change the rule next year.

C-YA A-ROD

When Andy Roddick was only eight, his parents took him to Flushing Meadows for the 1990 US Open. Somehow or other, he snuck into the players’ lounge and met his idol, Pete Sampras. In 1991, with just an outside court pass, he again duped authorities to get into centre court, getting a look at Jimmy Connors as the ageing warrior courageously made it into the semi-finals. Both players have long since retired. This year it was Roddick’s turn, bowing out after a four-set loss to Juan Martin Del Potro. We hope a young kid managed to sneak in and see him fight to the death. Thanks for the memories, A-Rod.

BROTHER CAN YOU SPARE A SLEDGE

Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov looked set to be joining Italian club Fiorentina last week – they even paid for his flights, accommodation, everything, only for the Bulgarian to slip away and talk turkey with their rivals, Juventus, instead. ”The player and his agent had embarked on a flight to Florence, with tickets paid for by the club,” said Fiorentina in a statement. ”But they never arrived because of reckless and arrogant actions of other clubs which have nothing to do with the values of honesty, fair play and sporting ethics.” They went on to say Berbatov doesn’t ”deserve our city, our shirt and the values it represents”. But here’s the kicker – Berbatov then went and snubbed Juventus, infuriating their stand-in manager, Massimo Carrera: ”Seeing what happened, perhaps it is better that he did not join us as we are talking about an unreliable player.” In the end Berbatov decided to stay in England and bed down with Fulham. Could have just caught the train from Manchester, surely?

BOOKIES’ BEST

AFL: Geelong (half-time/full-time) into West Coast (half-time/full-time) – $2.40

”The Cats still remain the best ‘sleeping’ value in the flag market and their contested pressure and transitional play will be too strong for the Dockers at the MCG. The Eagles will also make a statement at home against the Kangaroos, dominating the centre clearances.”

Neil Evans, Luxbet南京夜网.au

IT’S NOT PORN BUT YOU’LL LIKE IT

Off all the unfortunate images to have come out of world of sport in recent years, we think this one of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, taken during last week’s match against Liverpool, is up there with the best of them … or worst. https://twitter南京夜网/BBCSporf/status/242343796870901760/photo/1/large

IF YOU’RE NOT WATCHING SPORT, YOU SHOULD BE LISTENING TO …

Roman Ruins. Line & Circle. This single is a belter. A bit like R.E.M. (when Michael Stipe had hair) and a touch of The National. Americana at its best. Bring out the album, lads.

@EarsMcEvoy

TRIVIA FILE

Until last night at ANZ Stadium, the largest crowd for a match between Canterbury and Manly was in the 1995 NRL grand final when 41,127 wedged into the Sydney Football Stadium to watch Terry Lamb inspire his teammates to a famous victory.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.