Rugby League, coming off one of the most successful seasons ever, launched its 2004 season on the weekend with the much anticipated world sevens tournament.
On the back of its tremendous success last year, ?the carnival? did not disappoint, with teams from Australia, New Zealand, PNG, France, The Pacific Islands, Lebanon and Russia all competing for the 100,000 dollar first prize. In the end, it was the Wests Tigers who took out the trophy, defeating the former sevens champions the eels in the final.
The Sevens format provided a chance for new stars of the future to show their talent. From Players with the raw speed to burn like Scott Donald, players with clear potential to be superstars like Benji Marshall, to the lesser known likes of players such as Ricky Sibia, who up until the last game was leading the total points scored in the tournament.
Each of the 52 games put forward provided entertainment, be it watching a young George Carmont come from one side of the field to the other to make a try saving tackle, or watching the Wests Tigers score in the last 30 seconds to make the final over St George Illawarra, who up until that point had not lost a game in the sevens competition.
Mexican waves were rampant, beach balls (despite the efforts of the boys in blue) were tossed around with vigour and flair, and more importantly for this Knights fan, the Roosters lost every game that he did bear witness, much to the joy of the very Anti-Rooster Crowd.
Apparently there was one win by the boys from Bondi, but unfortunately I must admit that I was unable to make it to the ground while it was on, so I cannot confirm or deny this vicious rumour.
My Three-Two-One votes for the most memorable events at the world sevens are as follows:
One Point goes to those crazy blokes from the Bulldogs/Lebanon game, who decided that fourteen minutes was plenty of time to start a fight, much to the delight of the crowd. Never mind that the bloke who took the initial punch was Saleh El- Masri, a bloke from Lebanon who was actually Hasem El Masris brother. Good work boys, I hope you made it up over the family barbecue.
Two Points goes to all the little kids who entertained us for a few hours by trying to run away with the beach balls, only to be crash tackled by hordes of kids with the same idea coming in the other direction. There were some real big hits on the other side of the fence, but none moreso than the ?stacks on? competition that was being played out in the grandstands, and this is why it gets 2 points.
But above all, there was one event that stood out above everything else, and it was this
The Number 12 for the Russians. Call Him Igor, Boris, Alexander, Vladimir or whatever else name, the 6?7 monster from the Siberian alps proved a huge favourite with the crowd. When ever this giant touched the ball, the crowd would erupt into a frenzy, as if trying to drive him and his team to victory. Boris didn?t happen to score a try, but he did succeed in dragging players all over the field, so we salute you. The world sevens organisers thought that Scott Sattler was the best player on the park, but I would have given it to Boris, with a bottle of vodka as well. Boris. The true champion of World Sevens 2004.