The chatter about a player rift at Collingwood will be put to bed this weekend.
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1. Pies galvanise behind Buckley
The war of words this week between Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and former coach Mick Malthouse hasn't been a pretty look for a club that normally prides itself on being the most professional in the competition. It will, however, serve a useful purpose in galvanising the troops to make sure their lacklustre effort against Carlton last week is a thing of the past. Nathan Buckley handled the situation with aplomb at his weekly press conference, understanding where Malthouse was coming from with his comments without putting his president offside. Meanwhile, the talk of a player rift by Wayne Carey, and Carey alone, means there is unlikely to be any truth behind the rumours. The opposition may only be Port Adelaide this week, but they are a vastly improved outfit this season. The Pies, all pulling in the same direction again this week, will be the first team this season to hand the Power an absolute smashing. - BH
2. Tander wins final Hamilton street races
The V8 Supercars visit the Hamilton street circuit in New Zealand for the last time this weekend and after the domination of Garth Tander and Jamie Whincup at the track, most drivers will be happy to see the back of it. Of the nine races held at the venue, Tander has taken three wins and Whincup four. Last year was the first time that neither driver triumphed at the circuit with Rick Kelly winning race one and Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen taking his maiden race win in the second. While Whincup has led 168 of the 462 racing laps at Hamilton, which is remarkable considering he didn't contest the three races in 2008 after a crash in qualifying, an upset is probably on the cards and Tander is probably best placed to provide it. He showed he had plenty of pace in the last street race in Adelaide, walking away with two podium finishes, and he should be capable of taking a clean sweep in New Zealand. - BH
3. City-Country clash disappoints yet again
The annual City-Country fixture heads to Mudgee this Sunday and while the clash is billed as a selection trial for the New South Wales State of Origin team, it's hard to understand why the match is still played. These games, while often close, are usually dour affairs given the limited timeframe the sides have to prepare and develop settled combinations. Queensland doesn't hold a selection trial, and they've won the last six series. Why not just use NRL matches as a guide to pick the best 17? NSW should be worried about beating Queensland, not beating up on themselves. There is a fair argument that the bush needs a high-quality fixture each year – why not take an NRL game out there instead? For the record, Country should win. Only five players are seemingly certain of Blues selection – Paul Gallen, Luke Lewis, Kurt Gidley, Akuila Uate and Danny Buderus – so the rest will be pushing their claims. Jarryd Hayne's appearance at five-eighth for City should provide some level of intrigue. – DR
4. Postecoglou leaves Brisbane Roar a loser
Perth Glory caused a major upset last week just by reaching the A-League grand final. They face an even bigger challenge to take the title from last year's champions but they have a number of factors in their favour. Firstly the speculation that coach Ange Postecoglou is heading to Melbourne Victory has provided just the destabilisation the Roar doesn't need on the eve of their biggest match of the year. Postecoglou's unwillingness to make an unequivocal statement on the matter isn't helping things. Add the distraction of the Roar's midweek Asian Champions League match against Ulsan Hyundai and the seeds for a major upset have been sown. In-form striker Shane Smeltz will almost certainly be the difference between the two teams in the end, should the Glory emerge victorious. – BH
5. Ecclestone ensures motorsport stays dangerous
There is a famous motorsport bumper sticker that harks back to the time 'when sex was safe and motorsport was dangerous'. Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone seems determined to take the drivers and teams back to that time (well at least the second part) by forging ahead with the Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend, despite a fresh outbreak of violence in the troubled kingdom. This week there have been numerous protests against the race as well as calling for an end to the rule of King Hamad, desperate democratic reform and an end to reported human rights injustices. The fact Ecclestone is happy to have the F1 circus associated with such a regime speaks volumes for the way the paddock is dominated by dollars and it has upset a number of teams and drivers that they are being forced to race there. The Bahraini police are likely to make up the majority of the crowd to make sure no violence breaks out at the event, but even former politician fears there could still be casualties during the weekend of the race. One thing is certain: whatever happens during the race is likely to be overshadowed by the geopolitical machinations surrounding the event. - BH
Saturday, 1.15pm – Sydney Swan Lewis Robert-Thomson joins Russell Barwick in the BigPond Sports Weekend studios to discuss how the team plans to beat the Kangaroos without Adam Goodes on Sunday.
Saturday, 2.10pm – Parramatta's Nathan Hindmarsh stops by the BigPond Sports Weekend studios to dissect the Anzac Test with Matt Burke.
Saturday, 3.35pm – Can More Joyous give Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse her seventh victory in the Doncaster Mile or will Shoot Out ruin the party? Watch the race live on BigPond Sports Weekend.
Sunday, 4.38pm – Triathletes Emma Moffat and Brad Kahlefeldt drop by the BigPond Sports Weekend studios to discuss how they are preparing ahead of the London Olympics.
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