The Wax Conspiracy

Break like the wind; Sydney Kings vs New Zealand Breakers - Entertainment Centre - 29/12/04

Canadians behind talking about Bryan Adams and Shannon Noll, Chinese in front with a kid covered in chicken pox, the line at the ticket window is people heavy, one of which smells of cherry bubblegum in her hair. The queue runs up to the front door of McDonald's and tourists choose just one point in the line to break through to the other side. Greasy locks on a guy selling match day raffle tickets shine with a dull thud, no knowledge of the previous Kings captain sees him writing down Matthew before stumbling on Neilsen. With the trans-Tasman match, both anthems meet the stadium. A man in his late twenties/early thirties, presents God Save New Zealand, cramming in the last syllable and Rita R-something, a teenager in a black dress in stylistic tatters on her way to a party, delivers Advance Australia Fair with solid justice despite the song itself being a let down.

Rolan Roberts starts the tally and the Kingdome continues on majority mute, the songs aren't blasting nearly as overtly as previous outings. The play is also a luke-warm affair, the speed is gone and the energy pretty much non-existent. And this is the opening quarter, both teams should have enough energy. Doesn't show. People are still filling in the seats right up to the end, beefing out the atmosphere. New Zealand almost have the first easily in the bag before a late surge from the Kings see them watching the margin dissipate. BJ Carter falls over himself to close out the first, Kings behind on 31 to 36.

Running in for the two minutes, the Harlequins cheerleaders conquer the floor with their eight, minus one. Formation and verve flowing nicely, the entertainment picks up as they continue their steps. Then the show gets all busy at the end, a few doing flips, some spinning and the rest doing kicks and a variety of other moves. The head explodes trying to contain the overload: much fun with darting eyeballs picking a focus.

The second quarter starts to electrify the crowd, the referees and their calls doing most of the work. The reaction is grand, the calls are going mostly toward the Breakers of New Zealand. The Kiwis—a team made with imports—bring on the beat and Breakers' captain Pero Cameron, a football player in their midst, charges the floor running visual interference as the other players sneak in their shots. Bringing down the margin and taking over the lead, the Kings are on a high, Jason Smith pockets a three to see the first half out, 59 over 48.

Half-time: under-eights, in two teams, Fire and the Sharks, a girl or two in their make-up. Showing initial signs of team work, the play is fast and Sharks look to be in the lead. Back from their half-time, individual players steal the show, their team-mates only getting in the way of showboating and collecting elbows to the face. Defence is strong, the numbers clearly outweighing the offence on every occasion. No one is counting the score and ends even before they huddle in the middle to walk off waving to the sated crowd.

Harlequins have split into two groups, one with three, the other on four. The quad at Kings end jump and jolt far more than the trio who are content on shaking the pompoms. Disparity works, stringing out robots bleeds boredom.

Leading into the third, the pace looks like it might be gaining some steam. Referees start bring back the balance in the calls and the crowd love it. A lot more travelling is seen here, everybody spinning their arms. Clear felling all opposition with a sneak, Bradley Sheriden takes it down the court and passes it to Mark Sanford who spins a reverse cradle slam with rapturous delight. With a more powerful strut, Sanford is a clear scream better now than he has ever been in earlier games. Hell, the entire team looks to have brought on a massive dose of rebounds back into their play. Kings end this quarter holding 81 on the Breakers' 67.

Rodney O gets his cheer squad on, their chanting zooms past paying the Lion any affection/attention. "RR" appears to be the nickname of Rolan "I could almost pass for Babyface" Roberts. What they need now is to drop a certain Limp Bizkit tune when the guy slams another dunk.

Tepid fire introduces the last of the quarters, Money Time for those in earshot. Thankfully, the lyrics to Queen's We Will Rock You makes a return. Half of the fun in listening to Queen is knowing the lyrics, the other in just singing along. That there is a full meal even if the beer is still wafting up from the guy slipping his hands.

Collecting his sixth foul, Cameron is sent off. Taken as a ghost, Mike Chappell from New Zealand plays out the rest of the match in a singlet with no numbers. No calls of any kind are made against his number either. Kicking around a 20 point margin, nearly there for 21, the Kings sprinkle some crumble on and let the visitors sneeze within a chance of sending the game into overtime, Marcus Timmons and Aaron Olson doing majors. Jason Smith finds a foul time at the line but doesn't spread the ease, staying on the underside of 100. Luke Martin soon finds himself at the line and teases out the score to 102 and the nail is through with 97 for the Breakers.

Post-game talks hand Kings and Smith the Bondi Shield for the Sydney versus New Zealand series. The lock is at this year with 2 - 0.

Ethan Switch

Reviewed on Thursday, 30 December 2004

The Wax Conspiracy




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