Makos' misfire resolves semifinal debate

PETER JONES
Last updated 08:58 15/10/2012

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Much debate ensued late last week over a situation that never came to fruition. If the Tasman Makos were to beat North Harbour on Saturday night - a lay down misere according to most - where would the semifinal be played, Nelson or Blenheim?

Nelson had hosted three games this season and Blenheim just two, and the crowds on this side of the hill were as good as, if not better than, those at Trafalgar Park. But the Makos players are based in Nelson, they live and train there and may perceive the trip across the Whangamoas as something of an "away" game.

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for those who had to make the call, North Harbour stepped up and blew the Makos off the park. Perhaps the Tasman lads had an eye on the semi, maybe their heady win over the championship leaders Counties Manukau had instilled a false sense of well being, maybe the Tuesday/Saturday turnaround was a (Harbour) bridge too far.

Whatever, there was only one side in it from midway through the first half and now the Makos face another trip to Dunedin, where they were dealt to three weeks ago.

Remember, this is an Otago outfit whose participation in the competition was in doubt not so long ago, so desperate was their union's financial plight. There will be no shortage of motivation among the men in blue and gold. But the Makos have probably performed better away than at home during this campaign - except against Otago!

Marlborough is moving closer to hailing its first national senior netball representative - and it could well be a man.

Jayden Stark, Marlborough Express netballer of the year 2011 and a standout defender for the men's team in the local premier competition, wore the silver fern proudly while representing NZ under 19 in Auckland late last week. The Kiwis took on their Aussie counterparts at the AMI Netball Centre and, although losing all three tests comprehensively, enjoyed the experience.

Earlier in the season, Jayden played for the Wellington men's team, training weekly against the Pulse during the ANZ Championship, and represented Nelson at the nationals. After featuring at goal defence for the under 19 NZ side, his next step is the national under 23 side then, hopefully, the open team.

I managed to catch the boys' final of the Gavin Roberts football tournament at Renwick on Saturday. Despite battling a howling gale the under 13s turned on a superb array of skills, producing touches senior players would be proud to possess. Canterbury beat Nelson 5-1.

Our Olympic hero, Joseph Sullivan, was in attendance at Friday night's Marlborough Hall of Fame and Roll of Honour induction ceremony in the mayoral chambers.

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He motored south from Cambridge in his recently-acquired Audi to be there, and was duly inducted into the Hall of Fame, along with six others who have represented their country at the top level. Joseph's commitment on the water is there for all to see. His commitment to Marlborough is also indisputable.

No prizes for guessing who this quote is from.

"I have been on my deathbed, and I am not stupid. I can emphatically say I am not on drugs . . . There's nothing to find . . . and once everyone has done their due diligence and realises they need to be professional and can't print a load of crap, they'll realise they are dealing with a clean guy."

That's a statement from Lance Armstrong during the 1999 Tour de France, reproduced from his book, It's Not About The Bike.

Sport needs its heroes, its fairy tales, and Armstrong's tale of surviving cancer to win seven Tours inspired a generation.

But, as the body of evidence against him grows, the greatest Tour rider of his generation is fast becoming the greatest hypocrite of his generation.

It's definitely not about the bike now, Lance.

- The Marlborough Express

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