Australian sport is a tribal beast, and nothing confirms this quite like what is unfolding in New Zealand tomorrow.
Sometimes the Wellington Phoenix can’t buy a trick. Top of the table, and their first game at their proper home since January 4. And it coincides with the Cricket World Cup final; the first Cricket World Cup final that happens to involve New Zealand.
They are the victim of the uniquely competitive landscape of Australian sport, and who would have picked that a New Zealand based franchise would suffer?
The Phoenix tried to get the game shifted to 2pm, which made so much sense it should never really have required discussion. But no; the FFA decided that it is the FFA and its sport is the only show in town.
Was there any other professional sport played in New Zealand while the 2011 Rugby World Cup was taking place?
Was there any other professional sport played in Brazil, or anywhere, while last year’s Football World Cup was taking place?
The thing with Australian sport is that each code is in the trenches fighting for its spot. And, being Australia, it is all about giving the appearance that your sport is the one. Co-operation is weakness. The NRL are similar, although at least they had the common sense to have the Warriors playing at 2pm NZT.
The only exception is the AFL who have postponed their season by a week.
To their credit, Phoenix and Westpac Stadium are making as much as they can out of the situation. The screens on the concourse will be showing the game from Melbourne; it will be on the big screen at halftime, and the Mezzanine Bar will remain open for an extra hour until the change of innings.
But, really, did it need to be so hard?