As the AFL and NRL seasons charge towards finals action, let’s pause a moment to discuss one of the worlds great sporting contests that will take place next weekend in Europe.
Heinola in Finland is the setting for the ninth annual World Sauna Sitting Championships. The men’s comp has been totally dominated by the locals from it’s inception in 1999 but, controversially, brilliant Belorussian sweater Natalia Tryfanava picked up three consecutive women's titles earlier this decade, much to the shame of the locals, although they did bounce back with back-to-back titles in 2006 and 2007 with the talented Leila Kulin.
The championships begin with the preliminary rounds and end in the finals, where the best six men and women see who can sit in the sauna the longest. The starting temperature in the men’s comp is 110 degrees Celsius and every thirty seconds a litre of water is poured on the stove. The winner is the last person to stay in the sauna and walk out without help.
The rules state that competitors must sit erect, keeping their elbows on their knees and buttocks and thighs firmly planted on the seat. Medics stand by and if the officiating jury considers a competitor to be wilting they are shown a yellow card. If things get worse then the red card is shown and the competitor must leave the arena...I mean sauna. It is said that the jury can tell when a competitor is wilting by looking at their nose. Good job if you can get it.
Anyway, enough of the background to the event, let’s get down to tipping the winner. My mail is that Timo Kaukonen is unbeatable in the men’s event and Leila Kulin will make three in a row in the women’s. They look a moral double.
Now to the AFL, after an extraordinary round last week when six outsiders got the money. Here are the prices for this week's matches, from Lasseters Sportsbook. As always, prices are subject to change.
The Tigers are on a roll and incredibly have a chance at finals action. But they come up against the Cats this week. Geelong are very, very short at $1.16 but the line seems very friendly at -31 ½ points. The enigmatic St Kilda are also very short and their line against Port is -31 ½ as well. Port Adelaide packed up and went home a month ago and despite the Saint’s inconsistent record, this could well be a major flogging.
I wasn’t going to bet in the North Melbourne versus Brisbane clash on the Gold Coast but I can’t for the life of me work out why Brisbane are favourites. Surely it is a flip of the coin game and if North Melbourne drifts any further from their current price of $2.25, I’ll be forced to invest.
Now to the NRL and I'll be watching this week's league with a beret on, drinking some champagne and eating snails and baguettes. If you believe all the headlines of the past week, all our NRL players will be over in France playing, so I may as well join the fold as well!
Before they all head off though, we have to find a few winners, and there is money to be won this weekend.
Canberra have had their fair share of troubles over the Todd Carney issue, but they looked impressive again without him last week. The Raiders were favourites to run last before the season started, but this team of 'no names' have served it up to most sides this year. Not sure if they can beat Brisbane on Sunday, but they can definitely get within the nine point handicap they have been given as the Broncos have just been struggling to put sides away lately.
Perhaps have a little something on the Tigers -12½ against the Bulldogs on Sunday as well. I am not overly keen on conceding the big starts as a rule, but the Bulldogs look completely gone.
The first Bledisloe Cup match was a beauty last weekend – what a change to see a game of union with a few tries scored. The new rules have made the world of difference, and the Wallabies did a good job to win after being headed in the second half. But it gets a lot harder this week with the game to be played in Auckland. Australia haven't won at Eden Park since Adam was a lad, and they have had that statistic force-fed to them all week. Although the Kiwi's have been forced to make a couple of changes this week, I still like the look of their side on paper, so will be helping myself to the $1.55 that some bookies are offering.
Can't wait for next week. Two weeks of Olympics, but more importantly there will be around 1500 betting opportunities. More on that next week and remember, let’s be careful out there.