Thomas Hunter at the Crikey sports desk writes:

Collingwood bandwagon comes to life: You can feel it already. After two wins in a row, the Collingwood bandwagon is getting excited. And perhaps with reason. Yesterday’s 77 point demolition job of the Kangaroos saw the Pies totally outclass their opponents, placing them fourth on the ladder after three rounds. Typically, Mick Malthouse has played down the win, but his players and fans are already daring to dream. “If the guys stick together and stick to the game plan, we can pretty much achieve anything,” Alan Didak told the Herald Sun. But let’s return to reality for a moment. There are nineteen games left before the finals and the one game Collingwood has played this year against a finals contender – round one against Adelaide – they lost comfortably. September is still but a distant dream.

Having God on your side: Aaron Baddeley, the young Aussie golfer who burst onto the scene in 1999 when he won the Australian Open as an 18-year-old amateur, has finally delivered on his promise by winning the Heritage Classic in Hilton Head, South Carolina. It’s his first title since winning the 2001 Greg Norman International, and in time may be remembered as the moment he arrived as a contender. Trailing Baddeley on the leader board were names like Els, Furyk, Price, and Daly. It also came on Easter Sunday, which holds some significance for Baddeley. On the morning of his last round, Baddeley, a devout Christian, told a congregation of 400 worshippers of his relationship with Jesus. 18 holes later, Baddeley told reporters of his winning putt: “I had a nice read on it and I said to myself, ‘This is for you Jesus,’ and knocked it in.”

Punter gets lippy, and fined: If it took a spirited performance from Bangladesh in the first Test to reawaken the Australians’ competitive instinct, that toughness has followed the Australian captain into the second Test … and cost him $4300. After Bangladesh batsman Ahmed Aftab hit the ball into this foot, which then bounced up to be caught by Adam Gilchrist, the appeal was referred to the third umpire who ruled it not out. Ponting then argued the point with field umpire Ian Howell, who reversed the decision after conferring with his walkie talkie. The Bangladeshis took the matter to match referee Jeff Crowe, who initially defended Ponting, before later deciding his actions were “tantamount to dissent”. When rain stopped play on day two, the Australians were 2/151, 48 runs behind with 8 wickets in hand.

Gift goes to Mott: Those hankering for some good old fashioned sport – a few runners, a track, a finish line – would have enjoyed the 125th Stawell Gift run over the weekend. Compared to the $20m dollar track used for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games, the Gift is a humble affair, looking more like a Little Aths meet than Australia’s richest footrace. The big names were there – Olympian Patrick Johnson, and two time winner Josh Ross – but both failed to reach the final. The eventual winner was 20-year-old Adrian Mott, a fitness instructor and student from Ballarat, in regional Victoria, covering the 120 metres in 11.98 seconds. His next goal? Selection for the Beijing Olympics.

Peter Fray

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