The sharp knives of September begin. With the end of the AFL home and away season, the annual “Behind you! Behind you!” season has begun. While half the teams are concentrating on finals and premiership dreams, everybody else is nervously watching for knives, from players coming off unspectacular individual form to coaches. While Geelong’s Mark Thompson, fresh from a 61 point final round loss to Hawthorn, had to face yet another round of media tiptoeing around the question of whether a tough internal review will include a call for his head, it seems the vultures might have been circling the wrong coach. The Herald Sun’s Mike Sheahan says his mail is that Carlton’s Denis Pagan will pay the price for the second wooden spoon in as many years.

Hot golf all weekend.

Australia’s Robert Allenby struck an ace to grab a share of the second round lead at the PGA Tour event just outside of Boston (see it here), but then Vijay Singh blitzed the third round, shooting a 10-under 61 to move from equal 17th to be three shots clear of Tiger Woods in second place. Tiger could only manage a pathetic four-under for the third round. Allenby will head into the last round (tonight, our time) seven shots behind Singh, as will Aaron Baddely. Meanwhile, a couple of US states to the west, Swede Annika Sorenstam shot a LPGA record 10-under for the last round of a tournament, to come from the clouds and steal the State Farm Classic by two shots.

What drug scandal? Bonds continues record chase. Barry Bonds, the baseballer at the centre of the BALCO drug claims, sails along regardless. The San Francisco Giant smashed his 729th career homer to help his team to victory over the Cubs overnight, and moved him to within 26 of Hank Aaron’s all-time Major League home run record. Scott Ostler at the San Francisco Chronicle still questions whether he can get there but the fact is that Bonds has hit five homers in his last 11 games, leading the Giants’ pitcher Jason Schmidt to enthuse: “He (Bonds) is starting to get hot again and be the Barry of old.” Whatever that means.

Peter Fray

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