Mad on Sport
I'm very excited to have received an invitation to see the world champion Black Sox take on Australia in a three-game softball series.
It's on Friday at 7.30pm and on Saturday at noon and again at 3pm, and it's being played at Rosedale Park.
I reckon the Black Sox don't get the credit they deserve although they did, of course, do very well at the Halberg Awards and rightly so. It was my very great pleasure to co-present them with their trophy with Prime Minister John Key.
The Aussies go under the name the Steelers but my money is on the Sox. Sadly I can't be there because I'm in Wellington with the Vodafone Warriors. But you can be, because it's open to the public. There's more information on the series online at softball.co.nz.
And I couldn't be happier that the Warriors ended their two-game losing NRL season start by beating the North Queensland Cowboys up in Townsville on Saturday night.
Normally I would talk about my beloved Vodafone Warriors but there is a league matter of far greater consequence on my mind this week.
On Saturday the Mighty Mangere East Hawks play Marist Saints for the Roy Chan Challenge Cup at Walter Massey Park at 2.30pm.
It's a very special day indeed because Roy was a great servant of the Hawks and we lost him last year in a tragic workplace accident.
Roy coached the Hawks and was one of those people if a job needed doing around the club, he did it. That meant he served on the committee, advised coaches, helped out anywhere where his expertise was needed and filled the rest of his time by being a thoroughly good bloke.
Losing Roy was a great blow to the club and to me personally because I regarded him as a good friend.
I'd been chomping at the bit to see the Vodafone Warriors play and 80 minutes later all I could think of was how I was going to have to suffer through endless talkback radio about how it was a case of the same old thing.
A first-up game against lowly-rated opposition, high expectations, four new signings on debut, all the promise and excitement - and nothing to show for it.
Beaten 36-16, we were a poor second in every area, there is no going back on it.
Parramatta's wingers both scored a hat-trick and you do not need to be any kind of league expert to know that's not good.
It was disappointing and coach Matt Elliott will be scratching his head about how a side that looked so good pre-season against Brisbane can have turned in what was at best a lacklustre performance on opening night.
By crikey, it's no wonder I'm yawning. Talk about burn the candle at both ends. It all started on Wednesday when I went across to Sydney for the official launch of the 2014 NRL season.
Vodafone Warriors coach Matt Elliott was there along with five players and we had a blast.
Also present were members of each club - in the old days we just called them fans - but the bigwigs have decreed they are members now.
It was great to see the members-fans along though. They loved it and the whole launch was really professional. It has left me raring to go for the year.
But of course before that happened I got home in time to tune in for the Blues against Canterbury and what a ripper of a Super Rugby game it was.
The NRL Nines came to town and the 90,000 people there over the two days at Eden Park weren't disappointed. It was a blast.
A big thumbs up must go to Dave Smith and the whole NRL team, Dean Lonergan and David Higgins of Duco Events, and to mayor Len Brown and his ATEED staff, because without their efforts it simply wouldn't have happened.
The Eden Park team were sensational, from catering to the security staff who showed really good levels of common sense around how they handled people over the two days.
And of course the biggest thank you has to go to major sponsors Dick Smith, who gave Auckland an event to be proud of.
I have been involved in rugby league for 50 years give or take and I have managed the mighty Mangere East Hawks, the Vodafone Warriors and the Kiwis, and had amazing experiences because of it but the Nines was the complete experience in two days.
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