Racism, the things people say, stalkers and refreshment solutions – footy news week 09

Indigenous round got off to a rocky start with indigenous players making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Buddy Franklin for having a yelling match with a fellow patron at a Chapel St bar, Nathan Lovett Murray for being stabbed outside his girlfriend’s house in Reservoir and the lowlight of the week –“f*cken ape” yelled at Adam Goodes by a 13 year old female Collingwood supporter during the opening game of the Indigenous round on Friday night. An incident that raises many questions about footy fans and people in general. Following this incident Collingwood President, Eddie McGuire, spoke about how there was no place for racism in AFL.

Just when you thought it had all hit rock bottom Eddie McGuire goes and introduces his size 10 foot to his mouth with a comment on radio today that Adam Goodes should be involved in the promotion of the new King Kong movie. His bumbling explanation/retraction /apology did not cut the mustard for me. McGuire’s matey humour  and over the top footy fan blokiness (calling everyone by their nickname) have always grated with me and his statements on Friday night about how racism is unacceptable now ring hollow. McGuire’s actions on radio this morning speak louder than his words on Friday night.

 

 

The highlight

Swans: catching a tram to their favourite ground
Swans: catching a tram to their favourite ground

The Sydney Swans team bus broke down on the short jaunt from the Spencer St end of the CBD to Jolimont last Friday night. So the Swans did what many footy fans do to get to the MCG – they caught a tram to their favourite ground. Kind of reminds me of a Greg Champion song – I wonder if the Swans also got their scarf and their old coat… Maybe Sydney will catch the tram every week in Melbourne, it seemed to work pretty well on Friday night.

 

 

The lowlight

Crowds.

Just 6,000 fans in the Greater West of Sydeny could be bothered showing up to watch the Giants get done by an even triple figures by West Coast. Only 28,000 fans showed up to a Hawthorn home game at the MCG against Gold Coast. Odd considering Hawthorn spruik having 61,000+ members on their website. And finally all the fair weather Collingwood supporters who left early on the Friday night game aganst Sydney in the – the game finished with half the crowd gone. Side by side we walk out together at the 5 minute mark of the last quarter if we are taking a beating.

 

Seemingly people in AFL circles can’t help but say the wrong thing or perhaps are surrounded by a culture that doesn’t recognise what is appropriate and what isn’t.

 

Harry O’Brien said he was extremely disappointed with Eddie McGuire comments above and would never tolerate racism. Well people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, two weeks ago Harry was seen on TV calling Tom Hawkins a “fat f*ck”   not very sensitive and respectful to people with weight and body image issues if you want to be politically correct. A word the allegedly sensitive and respectful Harry O’Brien might want to ponder next time he’s in his contemplation chair is hypocrite.

 

Kevin Sheedy claimed the Department of Immigration was recruiting fans for the Western Sydney Wanderers. More of the usual nonsense from Kevin – try winning some games, like the Western Sydney Wanderers, and maybe you will get some fans turning up to watch. Of course we are all wise to Sheedy’s BS at post match press conferences to deflect from onfield events by now – this comment came after GWS had lost by 160 odd points. Deflect by creating controversy 101.

 

Another person who has become a master at dealing with the press is Alistair Clarkson. Um wait no he hasn’t– he let his true short man syndrome colours shine through the other week by calling a journo a cockhead as he left an airport press conference. Way to go, Clarko, really shaking that tag of an angry little man after smashing a hole in the wall of the coaches box back a couple of years.

 

 

The unbelievable

This one was settled in court last week. Richmond player Alex Rance had a male stalker. It all started innocently and all very normally enough with the pair exchanging 40 text messages a day, going to movies, having dinner and going on shopping trips together. But 23 year old Rance and his 35 year old male friend had a falling out and then Rance found out hell hath no fury like a male shopping companion scorned: the stalker hacked Rance’s Facebook and email accounts, sending a message to his girlfriend that Rance was “living a lie and was, in fact, homosexual” and then arranged a  “gay orgy” at Rance’s family’s home. The stalker was jailed for a year.

 

 

The boring

Darren Jolly’s articles in The Age.

First there was his whinge about not getting a game under Neil Daniher at Melbourne, then there was a whinge about the Rules of the game committee and potential capping of interchange and how it would force players to be on the ground for longer periods. Now he’s whinging about the rules of the game saying the game was better back in his days of watching as a kid. Well I’m the same age as Jolly so go for it, return to the days of the mid ninties  I remember them well. Melee charges started in 1996 so fines for the pointless push and shove aren’t new (fact error there for Jolly) plus a general statement that a lot of fans miss argy bargy falls flat for me. Also back in the 90’s the interchange was used very sparingly by today’s standards so Jolly would spend pretty much every  minute of every game on the ground not lolling about resting on the interchange. Make up your mind Jolly do you want 90’s footy or do you want modern day rotations  – you can’t have it both ways so stop whinging! Either shut up and get on with playing footy or if you don’t like the game stop playing it. That’s right if you’re no longer enjoying playing AFL just walk away and go and do something else – preferably not writing for The Age. To finish Jolly gave us this:“For over 150 years, AFL  has been a hard, physical, intense contact sport that has turned young boys into men
Woah ease up on the rhetoric – it’s just a game.
Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/our-great-game-is-heading-in-the-wrong-direction-20130528-2n985.html#ixzz2Ug7m3b52

 

 

VFL watch

Coburg Football Club are in the final year of their alignment with Richmond and will attempt to field a stand alone VFL side next year. The predicted tough times seem to have already hit with Coburg putting out an SOS for volunteers to help at home games.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Coburg-Football-Club/172400646148468#!/pages/Coburg-Football-Club/172400646148468

 

One shining light for Coburg this year is their new YouTube channel – Coburg TV. Some very insightful interviews into the inner workings of a VFL club in the first few minutes. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJjfIPN3Vzg

 

I ventured to the VFL recently and was happily hanging off the boundary fence when I noticed the guy near me was filming the game on his iPad. Not that unusual until I realised he was only filming the boundary umpires returning the ball to the centre square after a goal. I can only assume he was some sort of boundary umpire coach/adviser and he was gong to sit down with those boundary umpires on Monday and review the tapes with them so they could become expert at returning the ball to the centre square. Like tying shoelaces something’s just aren’t complex enough to become expert at.

Step 1. Get the ball Step 2. Throw it in But what to do after a goal is kicked....
Step 1. Get the ball
Step 2. Throw it in
But what to do after a goal is kicked….

 

What they should do

Kardinia Park now has lights and the first AFL night game will be played at the Cattery this Saturday. A planned VFL game last Friday night was canned due to a refreshment/beverage issue. The powers that be at GFC are concerned that the locals may get a bit too animated if the full strength beer served during day games at KP is also served at night times, however they are also nervous that the good folk of Geelong may get restless nay even riot if their full strength beer is replaced with any watered down light amber fluid. The solution – Miller Chill. It’s a “light” beer in the low carb sense with less than 100 calories and  4.2% alcohol with a splash of lime that tastes so disgusting that a) no one in the right mind will want to drink it and b) anyone who does couldn’t possibly stomach more than 2 or 3 let alone get drunk on the stuff.

Splash of lime!? Enough Miller Chill for six people
Splash of lime!?
Enough Miller Chill for six people

 

The quote

The reduced time in congested, high impact situations will have a positive effect, Lewis says.

“I’ve got no doubt that if you play a crash and bash style of game every week, your body will eventually start to tell you it’s had enough,” Lewis told AFL.com.au. 

“I’m not saying that half-back is not a crash and bash sort of position, but it has definitely freed him up. 

“He’s recovering a lot better; you don’t get those little niggly ‘corkies’ that sort of hang around. 

“I think he’s relishing it.”

 

So which way is it Jordan? Jordan Lewis can’t decide if Sam Mitchell has or hasn’t  moved to the halfback line or something like that….

One Test Wonder XI

All pretty quiet at the moment on The Ashes front. England beat New Zealand in the first test of the English summer with the Mercurial Stuart Broad cleaning up with 7/44 in the Black Caps second innings. It reminds me of how he did jack in the 2009 series and then from nowhere ripped out the Aussie top order in an hour of madness with a  Michelle in the final test at The Oval. Anyway enough about blonde haired, baby faced assassins and down to more pressing matters.

There are no tour matches to report on. Back in the good old days Australia would have been 4 weeks into the tour and up to its 8th or 9th tour match. Instead the Aussies are either playing County cricket (Chris Rogers, Ed Cowan) or IPL (James “Wayne Newton” Faulkner is the leading wicket taker) or tweeting (Dave Warner is the club house leader) or pumping petrol (Michael Clarke for some reason)

The only news I have seen of note n the last little while that will be of interest to true cricket lovers is the finalising of the state cricket contracts. In case you missed it Jason Krejza was cut from Tasmania’s contract list.To my surprise Krejza played 2 tests for Australia – I thought he’d only played the one where he took 15/800 against India. I was wrong. But it did get me thinking , if Krejza had only played one test would he make it into a One Test Wonder XI (or at least a long break between test appearances)

One test for Krejza? No two if you don't mind.  Note: this appeal was unsuccessful.
One test for Krejza? No two if you don’t mind.
Note: this appeal was unsuccessful.

1. Wayne Phillips

WA’s Geoff Marsh was dropped for the 5th Test at the WACA of the Australia v India Test series in 1991/92.Victorian Wayne Phillips (not to be confused with a South Australian of the same name from the same era) stepped into the breach to open despite a modest first class record. In two innings he made Richie Benuad happy – 22 runs in total.

2. Chris Rogers

One test a career does not make. Hopefully Rogers will have an opportunity to rectify this situation in the coming months as he is in Australia’s Ashes squad.

3. Matthew Elliott

Seemingly not enough batsmen get burnt by the selectors after just one go in Australian cricket yet a scorched earth policy is still rampant amongst bowlers- particularly spinners. Rob Quiney was a candidate for “one test wonder” with his brilliant 9 that Ian Healy is still talking about until he buggered it up by playing the next Test and then probably buggered up his Test career by bagging a pair on an Adelaide belter.

Moving on to Elliott who, despite making a duck on debut and mangling his knee colliding with Mark Waugh when running between wickets in his second test, did manage 20 Tests from 1996-99 with a top score of 199 against England in 1997. His Test career appeared over until, in July 2004, 5 years after his previous Test, Elliott was called up as a replacement for a paternity call for Ricky Ponting and played against Sri Lanka at the historic and famous cricket venue of Darwin. It was part of Cricket Australia’s short lived “Top End Tours” with Tests against Bangladesh & Sri Lanka in Darwin & Cairns in July 2003 & 2004 respectively. Batting at 3, Elliott made 1 & 0 in Darwin and was never seen again on the international stage which probably isn’t comforting news for Rob Quiney. Elliott also played one ODI on the 1997 Ashes tour.

4. Stuart Law

Stuart Law & RickyPonting made their Test debuts in the same match in December 1995 against Sri Lanka at the WACA. This was so long ago it was BEFORE Mural got called for chucking. In Australia’s only innings Law made a composed 52* and Ponting was sawn off with a shoddy LBW call when on 96. Ponting’s test career ended at the WACA 17 years later Law’s also ended at the WACA but just 3 days after his first day of Test cricket. Steve Waugh returned from injury for the next Test and Law made way. Despite a respectable ODI career for Australia SG Law never got another Test call up.

5. Shaun Young

An injury to Jason Gillespie and a paternity call for Paul Reiffel meant Australia were bereft of pacemen for the 6th (yes 6th) Ashes Test at The Oval in 1997. Two allrounders were summed from around the traps to fill the empty bowling berth despite both being more batsmen than bowlers in my mind: Tasmania’s Shaun Young was summoned from county cricket at Gloucester while NSW’s Shane Lee was summoned from somewhere.(Yes Brett’s brother! Remember him from the band “Six & Out” with Richard Chee Quee?) for a bowl off in a tour match. Young won and his prize a baggy green.

6. Phil Emery

Ian Healy only missed one Test during his illustrious 100+ cap career. It was the 3rd test on the 1994 tour of Pakistan and NSW stalwart Phil “Fatty” Emery, the back up gloveman on tour, ably filled the breach recording 6 dismissals (5 cathces and 1 stumping) plus a solid 8* with the bat. “Slink” also made his sole ODI appearance on this tour.

7. Beau Casson

Casson made it on to the 2008 West Indies tour as back up to Stuart MacGill. What was probably envisaged of a tour of net bowling and pena coladas turned into a Test debut after Stuart MacGill variously missed the team bus, bowled rank long hops and full tosses, retired mid series stating carpel tunnel syndrome in his wrist had stuffed his bowling hand. Casson played the final test and grabbed his first wicket thanks to a catch at short leg by another nearly man of Australian cricket, Phil Jacques (in what turned out to be his last Test too) Casson’s form then deserted him and he was playing in Darwin over winter to shore up a Shield spot for NSW. A heart condition forced Casson to retire from cricket in 2011 at age 28.

8. Matthew Nicholson

Australia didn’t lose a lot of Ashes Tests in the 1990’s but MJ Nicholson’s only test for Australia was a loss to the old enemy at the MCG, Boxing Day 1998. Originally from NSW, fast medium bowler Nicholson moved to WA to further his opportunities (a rare move in Australian cricket some may say) and made it into the Australian team through what I can only imagine must have been a spate of fast bowler injuries the likes of which have never been seen before or since – well at least not since Scott Muller got his call up. No performance was going to spare Nicholson the chop as Warnie returned from a long term injury for the next test at the SCG.

9. Dan Cullen

Before Australian Cricket went into meltdown  post Warnies retirement trying to find the next spinner they went into meltdown during Warnies career trying to find the next spinner. In a game possibly, perhaps even probably better known for Jason Gillespie making 201*. Dan Cullen made his Test debut as the 3rd spinner alongside Warne and MacGill against Bangladesh in April 2006. Cullen wasn’t some sort of quasi all rounder Steve Smith/Cameron White/Glen Maxwell type he was a genuine spinner but with Warne and MacGill in the line up he only bowled 7 overs in each innings. DC was a model of consistency taking 1-25 in the first innings and 0-29 in the second and made his one day debut in the subsequent 3 game ODI leg of the tour where he played alongside another debutant in the canary yellow – Mark Cosgrove. These remain the only 3 games Cosgrove has played for Australia but he does continue to make plenty of runs on the domestic scene. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Dan Cullen whose most recent first class game was in 2009 – he is currently 29 years old – what might have been.

10. Bryce McGain

It was a day of Test Cricket that should have warmed the heart of any proud Victoran. Three Vics representing Australia in a test match – Peter Siddle, Andrew McDonald, and on debut leg spinner Bryce McGain, who was just 6 days short of his 37th birthday.Unfortunately there was no early birthday present for McGain as was mercilessly smashed to all corners of the picturesque Newlands ground in Cape Town by AB deVilliers. The backdrop for watching the ball sail into the stands may have been pretty but McGain’s bowling figures were not:18 overs 0-149 –  that’s 8.27 runs per over. Ah McGain, never again.

11. Peter George/ John Hastings

George played one Test in India n 2010 and has been battling to get a game for South Australia of late. He made a cameo appearance in their last Shield game of the season.

Hastings was one of the replacements when Hilfenhaus & Siddle were infamously “rested”: for the 3rd Test against South Africa in Perth last year. Seen more as a one day bowler who can bat a bit it Hastings was jettisoned from the Test team ASAP and then didn’t get a look in in the subsequent one dayers and hasn’t made an Aussie squad in any format since. Odd.

 

12th man: Pat Cummins

No one does injury recovery better than Pat Cummins (except maybe Ryan Harris). In his only Test he was Man of the Match against South Africa in November 2011. May yet get another chance at Test cricket being only 20 years old – if he can recover from those damn injuries.

 

Coach:Brad Hogg.

Everyone knows Damien Martyn had to wait 7 years for a test recall after an injudicious shot against South Africa in 1993 but did you know Brad Hogg had a 7 year wait for his second test. After making his debut in a one off test against India n October 1996 as injury replacement for Shane Warne. Hogg’s next test wasn’t until April 2003 against the Windies when Warne was on a 12 month “drug sabbatical” Hoggy finished with, you guessed it 7 test caps, in a career spanning 12.5 years between first and last test.

 

Right let the games begin so I have something better to do…..

The Ashes squad disected

For an in depth look at the Australian test squad I hand over to guest blogger Davey Smalls:

Now that the red dust has settled on the Indian pitches and tour, we now head to the Old Dart to take on the Motherland.

Recent history has not been kind to us in the battle for the Ashes, and I fail to see how this one will be any different. However, this is my take on the squad;

Michael Clarke (Capt.) – Tests 92, Runs 7275, Avg. 52.34, 23 100’s.

Clarke is still suffering his back issue and it will continue to get worse as he looks to carry this Australian team through a cold, brutal English summer. Averaged just below 50 in the Indian series which was a fine return from the skipper. Will need to be at his very, very best if Australia are any chance to return the urn.

Brad Haddin (VC) – 44, 2308 Runs @ 35.51, 3 100’s.

One out of the box as someone who was not considered good enough to keep for Australia upon his return from leave for ‘personal reasons’ now finds himself in the leadership group and back as the number 1 wicket keeper despite not having improved at the tender age of 35. Old T.D Watson is to be blamed for this selection as he decided he no longer wanted the responsibility of being a Vice Captain (cutting oranges, collecting $10 from all the chaps to pay for the umpires etc.) Will hopefully sure up some of the difficulties Australia have been having behind the stumps.

Jackson Bird – 2 matches, 11 wickets @ 16.18.

Promising start to his career V Sri Lanka was halted due to, surprise surprise, injury. If he could stay on the park could be prove to be a handful in what would prove to be helpful conditions. English pitches promise to have plenty of juice in them so should be able to extract some movement off the straight.

Edward Cowan – 17 matches, 987 runs @ 41.45, 1 100.

Made a handful of 30’s and 40’s on the subcontinent. A handy contributor without really helping, but he wasn’t alone. Trapped LBW six times in India and his fate may be the same this series (provided he bats 6 times). If he is not out LBW he will be bowled by the ball ducking back into him as the English rub lolly after lolly into the red duke. Will need to start converting some starts if he wishes to play in the return Ashes series later in the year.

James Faulkner – 0 matches.

A much better selection than Glenn Maxwell or Steve Smith. Had a good year with the Tassie Tigers and was awarded Man of the Match in the Tigers shield triumph. A bowling all rounder who won’t be selected for his batting talents. Will need to swing the ball in England (if picked) to be effective. Will provide some handy hitting down the order after Warner and co fail to do the job.

Ryan Harris – 12 matches, 47 wickets @ 23.63, 2 5w’s.

A star that, if fit, will just behind Clarke as Australias most important man in the series. Took 7/139 in Shield Final and almost won the match for the Bulls. A much needed player who may not get picked at all due to the strength of the Aussie pace barrage.

Phil Hughes – 24 matches, 1452 runs @ 33.00, 3 100’s.

Good old Filthy may be on his last legs once again. Had a terrible time in India, at one stage facing over 50 balls for a return of one run from the Indian spinners. English conditions should suit his play more than the low slow turners of Calcutta, but the swinging ball may prove to be his downfall. May need to see his mentor in county cricket for a long long session prior to putting the pads on. It’s not all bad news for the Filth Man though, should Haddin get injured, Phil will be the first choice back up for the gloves I am sure.

Usman Khawaja – 6 matches, 263 runs @ 29.22, 0 100’s.

Proving quite adept at carrying the Kia-Ora. Won’t play.

Nathan Lyon – 22 matches, 76 wickets @ 33.18, 3 5w’s.

Dropped for the second Test in India for unknown reasons he came back to take a 7fa later in the series. Has been the best of the plethora of spinners tried since the retirements of Messrs Warne and MacGill. Would most likely have more than 100 wickets had it not been for the ordinary glovework and slips catching he has had to bowl too. Don’t think Australia will go into any Test with an all pace battery, so unless Warne or MacGill decide to whack the whites on again, Lyon to play every Test.

James Pattinson – 10 matches, 40 @ 23.37, 3 5w’s.

Going to be a tough ask to fit all of the fast bowlers into the team, but with informed player management taking over, all are sure to break down at some stage. Back when the Aussies were successful they had a little thing they liked to call ‘continuity’ but with each passing generation, they think they know more. Will need to bowl extremely well in the lead up to be assured a spot, but has a bit of mongrel in him and would love to see him getting in the faces of the English “pace” attack.

Chris Rogers – 1 match, 19 runs @ 9.50, 0 100’s.

Rogers earns a recall after his one Test cap in 2008. Has made a mountain of runs for Victoria and, since his selection, has also piled up runs for Middlesex in England. If selectors are looking at recent form and a ‘horses for courses’ selection policy, he must be considered to play in England. However, will most likely be there just incase one of the 5 back up opening batsmen get injured.

Peter Siddle – 41 matches, 150 wickets @ 28.84, 7 5w’s.

Led the way in India with both skill and endeavour. Took 24 wickets in the last series against India, while also knocking up a couple of half tonnes with the bat. Will lead the pace attack once again in England and will get a bit of sideways nip to just trouble the English top order. Unless informed player management rears its ugly head, will play every Test.

Mitchell Starc – 9 matches, 30 wickets @ 34.03, 2 5w’s.

Starc has taken 6 wickets in three Tests this year but amazingly will still be the favourite for a spot in the First Test. After the Black Caps left armers put some hurt on the English top order in both innings of the last Test, the selectors will be excited to see what Starc will bring. They will be hoping for the Kallis unplayable ball, he’ll be hoping it’s not like the rest of the trash he has served up and the results will be somewhere in the middle. Handy lower order tonker and will feel aggrieved that David Warner bats ahead of him in Test cricket.

Matthew Wade – 12 matches, 623 runs @ 34.61, 2 100’s.

Had a shocking tour of India with the gloves, which is not unsurprising in itself as it was his first tour there, but his batting was equally as bad. A victim of Shane Watsons bone idleness with the Vice Captaincy, which forced Brad Haddin to be recalled for leadership purposes. Haddin is now favourite to start in each game which will mean Wade can either play a few one dayers and eat a lot of curries or try to take Watsons spot as a batting all rounder. Bowls a heavy ball.

David Warner – 19 matches, 1263 runs @ 39.46, 3 100’s.

Old Hurricane Warner. Two Richards Warner. Motor Mouth Warner. Tweets like he bats, with all out attack and very little thought process as to what is actually going on. Will struggle to reach 20 on the decking English pitches but is short priced favourite at the tote to punch a journo in the face. Not sure how the man can be upset at stories circulating that he is paid too much to do too little, as it has been a known fact since his debut. Needs to toughen up a bit or will be rolled for nothing against the Poms.

Shane Watson – 41 matches, 2580 runs @ 35.34, 2 100’s.

Never in the history of Australian Test cricket has one man been given so much and delivered so little in return. Had injury not intervened ‘Watto’ could have played upwards of 80 Test matches for our country and scored 3 hundreds and 50 Test 50’s. Homework-gate has done a lot to ruin his reputation as he stormed out mid-tour to “think about his future” only to then recall himself and be CAPTAIN!! How he continues to thrive under this system is no surprise, it is a buddy club that celebrates mediocrity… like Gimpy G. Will play every game, will make a few 40’s, bowl 8 overs and take a wicket. Mediocre is what he does.

Having said all that, I still believe the Aussies are half a chance to sneak in a series victory. If our batting can withstand their assault then our bowlers can do some damage. We need to give them something to bowl at however.

My prediction – Australia 2-1.

Well I agree with all of that Smalls except the prediction. For me it will be England 3-1. Their batting looks far superior to ours and they will be comfortable in home conditions.

What’s your prediction for the Ashes?

Radical dance moves, goal kicking and social media protocol – footy news week 08

Thanks for all the feedback on facebook about last week’s footy news week. I’ve tried to work in as many suggestions as possible this week.  To receive an email every time I post  enter your email address in the ‘Follow my blog’ section – scroll right down to the bottom of this if your on a smartphone or it’s on the right hand side if you on a laptop/desktop. That way you’ll never miss a footy news week fix.

 

The highlight

Josh Kennedy’s run up for a shot at goal. Well run up would be generous – it’s a stuttering, spluttering tippy toey kind of Fred Flinstone at the bowling alley approach to goal kicking. Kennedy has been operating with this set up for a while with some success but it seems the “Every day I’m shuffling” phase has got more pronounced in the last few weeks (or so I’m reliably informed by people who closely monitor these sort of things) to the point where Kennedy is almost getting ‘bogged’   – doing his tippy toey  thing up and down on the one spot –  before kicking for goal off just a couple of steps. I have also been informed that this new manoeuvre is actually an RDM (radical dance move) that Kennedy has been perfecting on the tiles at Trak night club in Northbridge each weekend. It’s working for him – his accuracy is up to 76.4% this season (2nd best in the top 20 goalkickers) and he sits second behind Jack Reiwoldt in the race for the Coleman medal. Other key forwards take note – work a dance move into your goal kicking routing, practice it relentlessly at nightclubs and watch your goal kicking accuracy & performance improve.

 

Another important dance move: The double fist pump goal celebration
Another important dance move: The double fist pump goal celebration

The lowlight

Courtney Dempsey: If you are going to go out on the piddle til 4:30am when you’re recovering from injury don’t take selfies with a drink in your hand and post it on instagram. Rookie error. It looks like a play that could only have come from the Dave Warner handbook of social media.

 

The unbelievable

The Western Bulldogs played an exhibition match against Port Adelaide at The Oval in London on November 4, 2012. On May 12 this year former England test cricketer Paul Collingwood was playing for Durham against Surrey in a county cricket match at The Oval and said this about the cricket pitch:

“It’s a little bit of a lottery because there are actually patches where the Aussie rules footballers have scuffed it up with their boots,” 

What?!? The game was 6 months ago. Listen to Cricinfo’s Jarrod Kimber (from Melbourne) unload one of the great rants on this topic.

http://www.espncricinfo.com/england/content/video_audio/635866.html?genre=27;

Listen from 21:00 to 23:30

 

 

The boring

Free kick counts. This issue is a hardy perennial raising its head every year without fail. There is no reason why the free kick counts have to be equal or near equal for a game to be considered to have been umpired “fairly”. Supporters may protest, “But they had 50 free kicks and we only got 8” but it doesn’t wash with me if every free that was paid was warranted and no frees were missed. The free kick count does not have to be level at the end of a game. Now get on with it.

 

VFL watch

It seems Sam Landsberger of the Herald Sun has been stealing ideas from my blog!

http://www.heraldsun.com.au/sport/afl/this-weeks-installment-of-draft-watch-takes-a-look-at-chris-cain-who-could-be-the-next-sam-dwyer/story-e6frf9jf-1226647796787

Foxtel Cup gets a VFL flavour next week as Werribee Tigers take on perennial ACTAFL powerhouse the Queanbeyan Tigers. Expect a big crowd of Tiger fans at Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night. Restricted viewing seats are expected to sell out soon.

 

The Quote

“There was one preseason where we all got slugged with $120 to buy our own footies to train with.”

Heath Scotland explains just how bad the first world problems were at Carlton when he arrived in 2003.

 

 

 

The bump is dead, clash jumpers & Doomsday Double Sunday AFL – footy news week 07

The bump is dead. Personally I don’t care. Why not sheppard or tackle rather than bump? I don’t think ironing a bloke out with a shirt front shows any particular ability, athleticism, poise or skill. The drop kick, the place kick and the flick pass are all dead – yet I hear no waling, gnashing of teeth or shedding of tears over these matters. As long as the speccy doesn’t die I will be happy.

 

The highlight

Kane Mitchell last year won the Sandover medal in the WAFL playing for Claremont. This year he is Port Adelaide’s super sub having played 3 of his 4 AFL games as the substitute.  In both season’s he has sported a magnificent mane of hair. In a look that hasn’t been seen on an AFL oval since Brad Peirce in 1995, Mitchell has gone for the long hair with some in a pony, some flowing freely  down the back look –  the bit up/bit down construction. It’s a winner for me and it’s turning back the clock to the mid 90’s.

Kane Mitchell rocking the bit up, bit down look
Kane Mitchell rocking the bit up, bit down look

Majak Daw was pretty handy too – he’s already passed Lachie Hanson as a forward in just 4 games.

 

The lowlight

A bad knee injury

Chris Knights received a handpass and snapped at goal just as his knee buckled underneath him. Knights appeared to have his kneecap sitting half way down his shinbone and seemed in a lot of pain. The diagnosis was a season ending snapped patella tendon, thankfully he did kick the goal. It reminded me of Michael Long against Geelong in the centenary match in 1996. He slipped having a set shot at goal from 50 and wrecked his knee requiring a reco – he did however kick the goal.

 

Clash jumpers

Jumper clashes do exist and at times a light coloured or white variation jumper is required. However utterly crap designs and splashes of colours are not required and if there is no clash of colours don’t wear a clash jumper for the hell of it! Brisbane Lions wore a white outfit against Sydney, last time I checked maroon and blue didn’t clash with red and white – Brisbane wearing white probably clashed more with the Swans. Adelaide turned out in their paint splashes jumper against GWS. But for me the red number with red shorts & red socks the Western Bulldogs were rocking out in as they got trounced by the West Coast Eagles in Round 6 takes the biscuit. Shit.

 

Hang your heads in shame at that outfit Doggies and anyone want a paint splash on  a white jumper?
Hang your heads in shame at that outfit Doggies and anyone want a paint splash on a white jumper?

 

The boring

Doomsday Double Sunday

Pretty shit boring football served up on Sunday to be honest. GWS getting belted by 140 odd points with some bloke called Tom Lynch kicking 10.2 (That’s a bit like making a double century against Bangladesh I reckon) then Melbourne dished up an insipid performance against the Gold Coast Suns. To top it off Adelaide & Gold Coast were wearing unnecessary and horrid clash jumpers. Any Sunday where there are only 2 games and they include GWS & Gold Coast Suns is a Doomsday Double Sunday – this was the seconds such occurrence (Easter Sunday Rd 2, 2012 was the first) and was made less palatable by the fact Melbourne were involved. Given how much time the AFL spend doing the fixture and telling us how complicated it is and how hard it is to do and how we all know it’s about maximising TV viewers and attendances you would think they could eradicate the Doomsday Double Sunday from the fixture.

 

 

The unbelievable

“Tuck played for six minutes with his injured left shoulder tucked by his side. He was in incredible pain, but remained on the field deep in the forward lines to assist with Richmond’s rotation plans.”

http://m.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/deledio-of-the-pack-20130511-2jf1q.html

I didn’t watch this game but if this is true it’s not just unbelievable it’s ridiculous. Surely getting a fit player on the ground would have been better than a player who couldn’t use one arm. Stuff the rotations – this is nonsense.

 

VFL watch

The impeccable Chris Cain

Chris Cain has been in a rich vein of form for Port Melbourne across the first 5 rounds of the VFL season culminating selection for the VFL against the WAFL last weekend where he furthered his credentials by winning the Frank Johnson medal for best VFL player on the day.

He’s a tough, hard running midfielder who wins his own ball and has a great understanding with his skipper and midfield partner John Baird. He has poise, impeccable skills – hitting forward targets like Big Adrian Bonnadio & Sam Sullivan lace out with perfect passes – and loves to kick a goal. And in season 2013 he has been a model of consistency.

The VFL team’s assistant coach Simon Goosey was effusive in his praise of Cain after his efforts for the VFL last Saturday and trumped my research on Cain before I could type this segment. Cain is the same age (26) and similarly experienced (6 seasons and just over 100 VFL games) as Sam Dwyer, his former Port Melbourne midfield teammate who has slotted nicely into the Collingwood midfield. Watch for the name Chris Cain come draft time this year.

 

 

Kurt Tippet countdown

Nothing takes your mind off training, hanging out at Bondi, thinking what to do with the swathes of cash you have previously and are currently being overpaid and not playing footy like cooking up a storm for your new housemates. I am reliably informed Kurt has been very busy in the kitchen this week. Only 38 days until his suspension ends.

 

Quiche anyone?....... It's French for egg pie
Quiche anyone?……. It’s French for egg pie

 

 What they should do

Build up the Foxtel Cup – the premier, 2nd tier, interstate, club competition is suffering from a lack of exposure. The first round starts next Tuesday live on Foxtel at 8:30pm with a ball tearer between Norwood and East Fremantle yet I bet very few people would know this. Shame. Its’ the AFL’s answer to the FA Cup except none of the top 18 clubs compete and only 6 of the 27 2nd tier teams compete and the other 4 teams are really from 3rd tier competitions. Hmmmm.

 

The quote

”The NAB Cup’s too long, four or five weeks. Usually you play a couple of internal game as well; it does tend to drag on a lot. I think two pre-season games would be more than enough… It’s certainly better than playing in a pre-season comp that not a lot of people care about.”
Kane Corne’s lets his thoughts on the pre-season competition be known.

Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/bye-bye-to-prospect-of-a-longer-season-20130514-2jkmg.html#ixzz2TLiJ7h00

The Ashes Tour Back Up Keepers XI

My good mate Guinness is getting sick of these fantasy XI’s people keep putting together in the lead up to the Ashes. If it’s not an Ashes XI of bowlers getting printed in Fairfax newspapers it’s an XI of right hand batsmen who bowled  left arm, who wore a helmet without a grill, played for or against NSW, once top scored in a Shield match at the Gabba and had an uncle named Trevor. Enough is enough!

I feel my mate’s pain there is nothing worse than a fantasy XI than a fantasy scorecard of how that fantasy XI would hypothetically perform against another hypothetical XI in a hypothetical fantasy Test match.

So I have produced the most obscure XI I could think of – The Ashes Tour Back Up Keepers XI

1. Steven Davies

Davies came as Matt Prior’s back up on the 2010/11 tour. As all good back up keepers should he saw no game time in the Test series. He was however first choice one day keeper for the 50 over segment of the tour which backed onto the World Cup. Davies played the first one dayer in Australia before Prior replaced him for the rest of the tour (save for a cameo duck in Perth) and the World Cup.

2. James Foster

Alec Stewart’s back up on the 2002/03 tour. Stewart missed the Boxing Day test through injury and Foster played the last of his 7 tests at the MCG at the tender age of 22.

3. Phil Hughes

It’s not clear why Phil Hughes is in the current Ashes squad: Is he the back up/3rd opener? Is he the back up No.3? No after he kept to Matthew Wade’s over in Hobart last year it is clear that he is on this tour as the 3rd keeper – the back up to the back up if you like.

4. Graeme Manou

A low profile selection for the 2009 tour who received an unlikely Test call up for the 2nd Test at Edgbaston when Brad Haddin broke his finger in the warm-up 10 minutes before play began. It was his only Test cap.

5. Chris Hartley

The 2009 tour grew to 3 keepers when Haddin and Manou were not available for the tour match at Cantebury, Kent (the ground with a tree on it) and so Queensland keeper Chris Hartley was called up from league cricket in England to stand in. Despite 8 Shield tons to his name (to Tim Paine’s 1 for comparison) this is the closest he has come to international honours.

6. Tim Paine

And then there were 4. TD Paine was the 4th keeper called upon in the 2009 tour –  for the marathon 7 game ODI series post the Tests  so Haddin could get his broken finger fixed. Paine opened the batting and even scored a one day century.

7. Darren Berry

Probably the best gloveman in the squad. He got his opportunity as a back up after Adam Gilchrist (who was backing up Ian Healy) injured his knee on the 1997 tour. Chuck played 4 tour matches and got a baggy green of sorts for his troubles.

8. Wade Secombe

The Queensland keeper made it onto the 2001 tour as back up to Adam Gilchrist and played 4 first class games on tour but as all good back ups should, he didn’t get near an international match. I consulted Steve Waugh’s 2001 Ashes Dairy to discover more. His profile offered a nickname of Chuck  (what is it with keepers called Chuck?) and “Can match it with Ian Healy in the appealing stakes” Oh well that was more information than Ashley Noffke: “No one knows him”

9. Matthew Wade

Booted to back up by the recall of Brad Haddin as Vice Captan of the test team for this year’s tour. Will open the bowling for this line up after he showed good hussle through the crease and a disposition to bowl a heavy ball in his one over in a test match in Hobart last year.

10. Tim Zheorer

Made it onto 2 tours (1989 & 1993) as back up to Ian Healy. As all good back-ups should, he did not play a test however he did top the first class bowling averages on the 1993 tour with his leg spin – yes, he even outdid Shane Warne. For this reason he is the team’s spinner.

11. Warren Hegg

A throwback to when you picked you best gloveman no matter where he could bat I guess. Hegg played the 4th & 5th tests on the 1998/99 Ashes tour after Alec Stewart decided to ditch the gloves and focus on his batting for the final two tests. These were Hegg’s only 2 international matches and he averaged 7.5 with the bat in 4 innings. Did I mention the Ashes had already been retained by Australia at that stage?

 

Coach: Alec Stewart. He toured Australia 4 times: 1990/91, 1994/95, 1998/99 & 2002/03 yet not once did he keep wicket at the MCG but he did keep at each of the other Test venues in Australia.

90/91 – Jack Russel kept while Stewart batted at 6. Then Russel was dropped for Adelaide & Perth and Stewart kept.

94/95 – Steve Rhodes (who?) kept in all 5 Tests. Stewart played as a batsman.

98/99 – Warren Hegg got the gloves in Melbourne & Sydney and Stewart played as a batsmen

02/03 – Stewart missed the Boxing Day test through injury.

Remarkable or just too much time spent digging up useless information?

 

Now to put together that phantom race call of Pharlap v Black Caviar v Seabiscuit v Might & Power v More Joyous v Tom Waterhouse v John Singleton. The smart money is on Tom Waterhouse.

Then I’m on to making a team of AFL footballers dudded by the Match Review Panel…..

Ashes series – past, present and future

The little urn - what it's all about
The little urn – what it’s all about

Back in the day an Ashes tour started in May after a herculean effort on the flight over and finished with the 6th test at The Oval  in August. It consisted of four months of tour matches against Invitational XI’s at exotic locations like the traditional tour opener against the Duke of Norfolk’s XI at Arundle Castle (England’s answer to Perth’s Lilac Hill festival match so I’m lead to believe), tour matches against the lions share if not all of the 18 English county teams plus the MCC and one day games against Scotland and Ireland, even the Netherlands and Denmark, 3 day time ODI’s (played in whites of course) followed by 6 Tests against the Mother Country. Forgotten touring party members were a must (Brendon Julian made 2 Ashes tours!), obscure back up wicket keepers (Wade Secombe, 2001, Graham Manou, 2009),  and even more obscure call up’s when injury hit the squad and any available Australian cricketer plying their trade in the Old Dart was a chance of a Test cap. Witness the bowl off between Shane Lee and Shaun Young in the tour match prior to the sixth test in 1997 which lead to Shaun Young becoming a member of the one test wonder club.

Coincidentally 1997 was the last ‘proper’ Ashes tour and yes they were playing ODI’s in England in whites in 1997!

In 2013 the Ashes tour will look as follows:

June 6 – June 23:  Champions Trophy

June 7 – June 23:  Australia A tour (consisting of 3 x 3/4 day tour matches  for the test ‘specialists’)

June 26 – July 5: Two x 4 day  tour matches

July 10 – August25 : 5 Tests

August 29 & 31: 2 T20I’s

September 3 – 16:  6 ODI’s (including one against Scotland)

And if you can still muster enthusiasm for more Ashes then England come to Australia the very next month – yes their tour of Australia kicks off just 6 weeks after the last ODI in England when they face WA on October 31. ( No traditional tour opener at Lilac Hill unfortunately)

Why are we having these back to back Ashes series I hear you ask? 10 tests, 11 ODIs and 5 T2o’s against the same opponent in just 6 months. The answer is the World Cup in Australia in March 2015 – this would be the same summer as an Ashes series if the current four year cycle was retained – and Australian can’t host an Ashes series and a World Cup in the same summer. [I’m still convinced this is the reason what should have been the 1991 World Cup ended up in 1992 so as not to clash with the 90/91 Ashes]

Not enough Ashes? Never fear we get to tour England again for another 5 tests in 2015! Yep stuff the usual 4 year cycle of Ashes in each country  – an Ashes series every 2 years so to speak  – let’s have 3 Ashes series in 2 years! Then the following Ashes in England will be in 2019 – the same summer that England hosts the World Cup! How the hell will that work?!? It’s the whole reason the Ashes cycle was changed in Australia!

Confused? I sure am. Is any of this necessary? The answer is of course no. The 2014/15 Ashes could simply have been moved to 2015/16 to avoid the Word Cup and the Ashes in England could have stayed on their current four year cycle ie 2009, 2013, 2017, etc. avoiding a clash with the 2019 World Cup. The reason for this surfeit of Ashes series, of course, is money. The result, of course, will be overkill.

Roll on the continuous Ashes!