Sonny Bill Williams shone a light on the horrors of war this week and should be praised for his efforts.
Photo Source: AAP
Sonny Bill Williams (All Blacks)
We're not saying sports stars have it tough, but they do get mixed messages from the public at times. People rightly criticise them for poor behaviour and for not being role models, yet at the same time if they use their fame and speak out on non-sports-related issues they feel strongly about, they also cop it. Despite the negative comments and criticism All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams received for posting photos of two dead children on social media following a trip to Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, his act is that of a wonderful role model. 'What did these children do to deserve this? … This summer share a thought for innocent lives lost everyday [sic] in war,' he tweeted to accompany the graphic images. SBW was simultaneously demonstrating an unwillingness to gloss over or sugar-coat the truth, however horrible or ugly it might be, and a passion for speaking out on something he believes strongly in. Surely these are things we want to encourage in young people?
Travis Head (Adelaide Strikers)
Travis Head played the best innings of the Big Bash League thus far last Friday night to help his team to a remarkable win over the Sydney Sixers. Head smacked 101 off 53 balls with four fours and NINE sixes to get his team home after they had been in a mountain of strife, needing 56 runs off the last three overs. Head took care of that, belting 27 runs off Sean Abbott's second-last over, to get his team back into the match before polishing off the winning runs with three consecutive sixes, again off Abbott, who ended up conceding 45 runs off his last nine deliveries. Ouch.
Ben Stokes (England)
The English all-rounder had the day of his Test career (and many other people's as well), belting the Proteas' attack to all parts of the Newlands ground on his way to an unbelievable 258 off only 198 balls, the fastest 250 scored in Test cricket history. Stokes' incredible innings included 30 fours and 11 sixes as the tourists completely outplayed the hosts again to take an early stranglehold on the four-match series. To top off his magnificent day, the all-rounder also took the wicket of Dean Elgar late in the day to pile even more pressure on South Africa.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United)
The United captain has copped a lot of flak this EPL season for his inconsistent form, but he seems to be playing inspired and consistently good football again, as evidenced by his stupendously skilful match-winning goal during the Red Devils' two-one win over Swansea. Rooney did what not many could as he got his left heel to teammate Anthony Martial's cross to send the ball between his legs and into the far corner past a hapless Lukasz Fabianski for the winner. The goal means Rooney now moves to second place on the all-time goalscoring lists for both the Premier League, with188 goals, 72 behind Alan Shearer, and for United, on 238, 11 behind Sir Bobby Charlton.
Roy O'Donovan (Central Coast) and Manny Muscat (Wellington)
Two things sports fans hate most of all are dirty, gutless off the ball sniping and players diving or staging for frees. During the Mariners' three-one win over the Phoenix on New Year's Eve at Central Coast Stadium, O'Donovan and Muscat showed us the worst of both. First Muscat lashed out with an elbow a couple of times but failed to really connect during a tussle for the ball with O'Donovan, who then had a bit of a brain-snap and retaliated with a tame headbutt to send Muscat to the ground as if he had been shot. O'Donovan rightly suggested post-game that his opponent deserved an Oscar for going down and staying down for so long, but he might have also have had a go at himself, and not just for his dim-witted action, which earned him a yellow card. After Muscat went down, O'Donovan tried to somehow blame the cut on his face, inflicted from his own headbutt, on Muscat.
Milinda Siriwardana (Sri Lanka)
Rain. It's one of a spinner's worst enemies, along with tiny boundaries and the mammoth bats everyone uses these days. Unfortunately for orthodox left-arm tweaker Milinda Siriwardana, there had been plenty of precipitation in the morning before the fourth ODI between Sri Lanka and hosts New Zealand in Nelson, making it pretty hard to grip the ball – but still … The ball that Siriwardana 'bowled' – and we use the term loosely – to Kiwi batsman Henry Nicholls ranks right up there for worst-ever in the history of cricket. Siriwardana released the ball only for it to bounce well inside his own half of the pitch in a manner not dissimilar to one former Australian prime minister John Howard delivered whilst in Pakistan in 2005. The ball then bounced two more times as it headed in the direction of somewhere near short point, with umpire Billy Bowden first calling it a no-ball only to change his call to a wide.
Have a look at Siriwardana's John Howard impersonation here:
And the original for those that have forgotten:
We had to laugh at all the talk this week that the 'tank engine' had grown up and 2016 was going to be his year, blah blah. Seems like we've heard it somewhere before. Here's what Tomic said in mid-January 2015: 'I really feel like I'm improving every day, not just as a tennis player but as a person and really becoming more mature in this big sport of tennis.' And the result? Anyone remember his meltdown and post-loss rant against TA at Wimbledon? His arrest in Miami? His throwing in the towel against Tomas Berdych in the same week? We'll believe Tomic has matured when we actually see it.
Singer of the Rally Around the West Indies anthem
On the morning of the third Test at the SCG the vocalist absolutely butchered the cricket-oriented anthem in a remarkably tuneless and embarrassing display of wailing, and had us wondering – again – why organisers don't at least listen to people sing before they hire them for big events. The singer hit so many bung notes in his rendition of the song, which became the anthem of Caribbean cricket back in 2008, that thoughts automatically went to Meatloaf's disastrous performance at the 2011 AFL grand final. But that is unfair. The SCG singer was bad, but he wasn't THAT bad.
Who were your heroes and goats from the week in sport? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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