Although
there is some serious AFL silverware up for grabs this weekend, you wouldn’t
know it from reading today’s papers or listening to the radio news. Indeed, the
Commonwealth Games have consumed the media’s attention.

This
morning, it’s all about Libby Lenton missing out on one of her seven gold medals,
gazumped by Scottish swimmer Caitlin McClatchey
in the 200 metres freestyle.

It’s
all about sisters Anna and Kerrie Meares, who cycled to gold and bronze respectively.
Although not reported widely, it’s also about Australian crowds supporting the
underdog, with the biggest cheers at last night’s rugby 7s reserved for Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Sri Lanka had 181
points scored against them in 42 minutes of rugby. Given their reluctance to
chase, tackle, and score, they might as well have not turned up. But when they
made a break for the try line, the crowd roared its approval.

And
pleasingly, this morning it’s all about the gold medals that didn’t go Australia’s way,
notably the two Scottish golds in the pool. When teenage weightlifter Erika
Yamasaki, a Brisbanite, won bronze in the women’s 48 kilogram division, it
pointed spectators to the event’s winner, 38-year-old Indian Kunjarani Devi,
who set a new Games record to take out the gold medal.

For
those interested, tomorrow’s NAB Cup final should be a decent game of footy.
Along with West Coast and St Kilda, Adelaide and Geelong are expected
to be in the top four at the end of the home and away season, and both teams
are expected to field near full-strength teams in pursuit of the $220,000 prize
money. It’s a prize worth chasing: the Swans earned $250,000 for winning last
year’s premiership.

It’s
also the culmination of a competition that has been plagued with questions
about its relevance, perhaps more than ever before, with clubs this year openly
criticising it. At the NAB’s request, the AFL even sent a memo around to clubs
asking them to stop sledging it. Geelong coach Mark
Thompson said he didn’t read that memo, admitting he just deleted it from his
in-box.

If
his boys get over the line on Saturday night, you don’t imagine he’ll be
deleting any emails with instructions on how to pick up the winner’s cheque.

Peter Fray

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