Rugby League World Cup Semifinal Connectivity Diagrams

The BBC’s quarterfinal micro-highlights video is here. Obviously they can’t show the entirety of NZ vs Fiji, despite it being 80 minutes of gloriousness and far more entertaining than any 4 – 2 rugby league match should ever be.

Do, however, spend 5 minutes watching the start of the match. Not just because Fiji have an entire squad that can sing.

The semifinal diagram is much simplified due to New Zealand and Samoa’s removal.

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The club team nearest the centre are now St George Illawarra, while the national team nearest the centre are Australia. England do stick out somewhat.

The club team with the most players left are Melbourne Storm with 9. The players they lost between the quarterfinals and the semifinals were 2 New Zealanders, 1 Samoan and 1 Papua New Guinean). They are followed by Brisbane Broncos and St George Illawarra with 6. Brisbane are missing 2 New Zealanders, 1 Samoan and 1 Papua New Guinean from before while St George are missing 2 New Zealanders, 2 Samoan and 1 Papua New Guinean.

The community view is interesting.

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In the community view, the four countries are all different communities. Clubs which link players from more than 1 country (Sydney Roosters: Boyd Cordner (Australia), Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Daniel Tupou (Tonga) and Kane Evans (Fiji); Wests Tigers: Aaron Woods (Australia), Tuimoala Lolohea (Tonga) and Kevin Naiqama and Pio Sokobalavu (Fiji); Manly Sea Eagles: the Trbojevic brothers (Australia) and Apisai Koroisau and Akuila Uate (Fiji) and Huddersfield: Jermain McGillvary (Eng) and Ukuma Ta’ai (Tonga)) are also each their own separate community, which makes some sort of sense.

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Rugby League World Cup Semi Final Predictions

The matches are Australia vs Fiji and Tonga vs England.

Australia vs Fiji:

I know what people are saying, that we have been here before and it ends badly for Fiji.  And yes, it did.  I know because I was quite literally there, but I believe Ashton Sims when he says that this Fiji team are better than that Fiji team, not just because I’d believe Ashton Sims if he said the moon was made of cheese.  And this is not a classic Australia side.

Such tiny hopes are what sports fans hangs their dreams on.

Tonga vs England:

Tonga are beatable, and Lebanon did themselves more than proud.  May all our national teams perform with as much heart.

I have given up on England.  I know I always say that, and I know that they are in the semifinal which is what they were expected to do.  Which makes them more successful than New Zealand.  At the same time, none of England’s performances have been that good and, Kallum Watkins and Jermaine McGilvary notwithstanding, no one has lived up to their potential.  Admittedly there are a couple of players who have been played in positions that seem designed so that they can’t.

England may or may not beat Tonga, but even if they do, I can’t see them beating the winner of Australia vs Fiji (please let it be Fiji).

Rugby League World Cup Quarter Final Data Visualisation

You have no idea how difficult it is to post this without giggling with glee about today’s results. Let me assure you there is off-screen gleeful giggling.

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For those who haven’t been watching, please enjoy the Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3 highlights from the BBC.

This is my favourite individual try so far.

The two best moments have probably been the Sipi Tau vs Siva Tau war dance off which was amazing, and then the Haka vs Siva Tau near fight which may have taken dance-related leniancy to it’s extremes. It also lead to the glorious Tongan victory over New Zealand. Which has ensured that there cannot be an Australia vs New Zealand final, which is unexpected.

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Well that was embarrassing for the Northern hemisphere. None of them, with the exception of Ireland, who were stuffed by being in one of the 3 team pools, can complain given their performances. I realise that it’s a minority sport in the countries that have not qualified from the groups but there’s a difference between losing and losing horribly!

Samoa are the national team closest to the centre, Catalan Dragons are somehow the club team closest to the centre.

Melbourne Storm now have the most players in the World Cup with 13, followed by St. George Illawara and Cronulla Sutherland Sharks, with 11. All the Melbourne players that started the tournament are still in while 1 St George’s and 1 Sharks player, both playing for Italy, are out.

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In the community view, despite how interconnected Australia, New Zealand, Tonga and Samoa are, they all appear as separate communities.

Rugby League World Cup Quarterfinal Predictions

Since I will not have my quarterfinal dataviz ready before Australia vs Samoa on Friday, I want to record my predictions now. Mostly so I can say I told you so.

The four quarterfinals are:

Australia vs Samoa
Tonga vs Lebanon
New Zealand vs Fiji
England vs Papua New Guinea

I expect Australia will win, but I hope Samoa will get at least a couple of tries. Tonga vs Lebanon could get tasty but I expect Tonga to win by several tries. I am excited for NZ vs Fiji, even if I know Fiji, the team I want to win, probably won’t win.

With regard to England’s quarterfinal, I want to join everyone else in saying that it’s not fair that it is being held in Melbourne rather than Port Moresby. As Papua New Guinea are co-hosts with NZ and Australia, it is wrong that they don’t host any matches after the group stage.

It also improves England’s chances of beating them.

I am slightly torn because I want PNG to do well, but I don’t want a team featuring James Graham, James Roby, Alex Walmsley and Mark Percival to lose. I also think a close match might finally kick England’s posteriors into gear. Because that second half against France was not acceptable.

Thor: Ragnarok

I can see why some people thought it was too broad. Because it probably was, a smidge.

I don’t quite get why people thought it was so wow, but it was fun. Which is something which should never be underestimated or undervalued.

Spoilers begin underneath

I would probably have restructured it slightly, with less time on planet weird so that Skurge got more screentime for his last stand.

Karl Urban is great in the time he does get. Because he makes it quite clear that Skurge is a loser, rather than evil, and that he’s in over his head. Without any dialogue. This use of Skurge also fits in with the overall theme of the Thor films – we all make mistakes, the important thing is to try to fix them, rather than pretend you didn’t make them (or you know, bury them and paint over them with a giant mural).

Thematic consistency, I like it.

The new stuff also makes sense of things from the first film, like why Odin flipped out when he thought Thor was being too blasé about war with the Frost Giants. To have one child go kill crazy is unfortunate, to have two smacks of carelessness.

I love that Thor has learnt enough to push Loki’s buttons back. That scene in the elevator is some of the best work Hiddleston has done as Loki, because he conveys how worried Loki is that this is it and Thor has finally had enough of him and it upsets him.

That’s the thing. Loki would do anything for Thor if Thor made it clear how much he loves him, while Thor just doesn’t get it because of course he loves his little brother. Even if they occasionally stab each other.

I know it was deliberate, but I didn’t like how every serious scene was immediately undercut with a silly bit.

I would also have saved “Immigrant Song” for the last fight only.

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I had been pre-warned that Matt Damon would appear, possibly so that I didn’t grab L and go “OMG, is that Matt Damon?!” It didn’t stop me from giggling and then going “OMG is that Sam Neill?!” Of course Odin is Loki, you’d think someone else that wasn’t Heimdall would have twigged roughly when the statue was made with horns!

I see that Doctor Strange has taken over his rightful role as explainer of mystic weirdness from Selvig. Which makes more sense than Selvig knowing about mystic weirdness in Age of Ultron.

I did love Doctor Strange inconveniencing Thor and then Thor being gloriously petty back. Particularly Thor’s smile of “sorry, not sorry”.

I know they killed off the Warriors Three to make Hela look dangerous but there must have been a better way. Then again, I am probably out of step with everyone else in missing them and the usual Earthers.

That being said, notice that Hogun, on his own, did nearly as much damage as Thor and Loki did in their first confrontation with Hela. Warriors Three represent.

I do love that Thor now has sub-plans for that moment when Loki betrays him. The boy is not as stupid as he looks or pretends to be. I’m also reasonably sure that Loki stole both the tesseract and any other shiny things present in the treasury, because he’s a power magpie in human form.

I also love that Valkyrie is every bit as fight mad as the rest of the Asgardians. I believe Thor when he says that he wanted to be a Valkyrie when he was little. I just get this vision of him running around pretending to be a Valkyrie, Odin going “someone’s going to have to tell him,” and Frigga going “nah, what’s the harm.” Loki is, of course, the one to tell him in the end.

I am trying to decide if Cate Blanchett can do *that* with her voice naturally or if she just has a voice SFX pedal on hand at all times. I want to believe she has a natural reverb setting.

Heimdall is the most polite rescuer ever – “sorry about the violence while I was rescuing you”.

I get why there was almost nothing of the gladiators’ revolt, but I would have liked to have seen a bit of it anyway.

Somehow, Chris Hemsworth looks ever more attractive the more damage he takes. That is voodoo, either from the actor or the director.

I know the scene where Bruce chooses to Hulk out is a counterpoint to the one where Black Widow forces him to, but I think Natasha did the least worst thing there so I am, once again, not the intended audience. It also shows the problem with any Hulk solo film. A goodly chunk of the audience are waiting for the bit where Bruce loses and becomes the Hulk despite himself.

I do love that Thor’s plans involve him doing the risky bit, and total trust in Loki, because he knows that Loki can be trusted, as long as you don’t give him time to think. I wish we’d got the hug that came roughly three nano-seconds after Thor realised that Loki was staying.

The loudest laugh I gave was when the Grandmaster landed amidst the people he’d held under. I live in hope he got his the same way the Beast Rabban got his.

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In other important news, I’d like to give a shout out to EJ at the BFI IMAX. He deserves any Nandos that he got from the blue forms.

Also, just an FYI, if you position yourself just right, the subway tunnels running from the BFI IMAX to Victoria have fantastic acoustics if you’re singing along with Robert Plant. It’s possible that I don’t need the help on the volume though 😉