The 20 Strangest AFL Pre-Season Jumpers: 20-16

The AFL pre-season is a time to experiment with new jumper designs. Some are good, some are bad and some are downright ugly – here are the 20 strangest.

20. Footscray – Year of the Dogs

Scott Wynd with the 'Giant Dogs head in a Daimond'
Scott Wynd with the ‘Giant Dogs head in a Daimond’

The Doggies wheeled out this number for the 1995 and 1996 pre-season and then adopted it as thier away jumper during the AFL centenary season in 1996 – a nice traditional jumper to wear in the 100th season of VFL/AFL football. This jumper featured in the documentary about Footscray’s tumultous season in 1996, ‘Year of the Dogs’. By the end of 1996 a new broom swept through the Whitten Oval, a new president, David Smorgon, was installed bringing a raft of changes – the club name was changed to the Western Bulldogs, home games were moved to Carlton’s Princes Park and a new jumper was unvieled,  consigning this one to history.

Scott West listens to Alan Joyce during the Year of the Dogs
Scott West and others listen to Alan Joyce during the Year of the Dogs

19. St Kilda white & black

St Kilda in white
St Kilda in white

St Kilda produced this simple but bold pre-season number that proved two things. It was better than most of it’s efforts at clash jumpers that they’ve used in the season proper – think the apron jumper with its peeling logo – and it was versatile. With a light version and a dark version easily made and the Saints got to use both of them in the one night in 2011 when they played Essendon and Brisbane in a triple header game.

And inverted in black
And inverted in black

18. Sydney to South Melbourne

682503-giants-v-swans

Sydney don’t muck around with their jumper but when they do make changes  it’s classy. In a throw back to the old South Melbourne jumper of white with a red V, the Swans produced a similar jumper with a bit of Sydney styling – cutting the sails of the opera house into the red V and an alternative jumper was created if required. Plenty of white in the jumper and when was the last time red numbers were seen on an AFL jumper?

IMG_1078[1]

17. North Melbourne kangaroo

Roo boy with a roo on his jumper
Roo boy with a roo on his jumper

Back in the mid 1990s North Melbourne were puting kangaroos on their jumpers in the pre-season which was soon taken up as an away jumper for the season proper. Compared to the stylised Kangaroo shield and swirly lines, the blue roo in profile is elegant in its simplicity.

Brent Harvey models the modern roo with swirls not stripes
Brent Harvey models the modern roo with swirls not stripes

16. Brisbane Queensland flood appeal

The Lions model the Queensland flood appeal jumpers
The Lions model the Queensland flood appeal jumpers

Brisbane wore this jumper in the pre-season of 2011 just months after the terrible floods in Brisbane and South East Queensland of January of that year. A very worthwhile cause and it is unusual for an AFL club jumper to be changed for a charitable cause. With the map of Queensland it was a bit of a throwback to the old Brisbane Bears jumper with its stylised map of Queensland. What was odd about the jumper is the usual royal blue yoke was removed from the front of the jumper but not the back meaning there was a bar of blue across the top of the back of the jumper above the number.

Advertisements

Sheffield Shield Round Up 8

The results

Queensland traveled to Bellerive Oval to face the Tigers and lost outright. Tasmania batted first and managed 350 thanks to a patient 93 to opener Ed Cowan, In reply Queensland opener Joe Burns carried his bat for 91 not out of a team total of just 183 with Ben Hilfenhaus blowing away the lower order with a hatrick. He claimed the last two wickets of the hatrick by bowling Ben Cutting and Cameron Boyce. Batting a second time Tasmania struggled to 9/165 declared with evergreen all-rounder and Bulls skipper James Hopes claiming 5 for 59 opening the bowling. Set an unlikely 333 for victory Queensland capitulated for the second time in the match bowled out for 149, which could have been a whole lot worse had it not been for a swash buckling 65 off 56 balls with 11 fours and a six from leg spinner Cameron Boyce batting at number 9. Chris Hartley, who was at the crease when Queensland chased 470 to win their last Shield match, had a change of fortune this game – he was dismissed for a pair off 34 balls. Best for the Tigers was fast bowler Sam Rainbird with 4 for 40.

Ben Hilfenhaus snared a hatrick. Th first since Scott Coyte for NSW I beleive.
Ben Hilfenhaus snared a hatrick. Th first since Scott Coyte for NSW I beleive.

New South Wales batted first against Western Australia at the WACA and led by 104 to opener Ryan Carters  and 77 to Ben Rhorer managed a respectable first innings total of 344. THe best bwoling for WA was 23 year old left arm paceman Jason Behrendorf who claimed his maiden 5 wicket haul with 5 for 65. In reply the Warriors innings was led by the impeccable form of veteran opener Marcus North who recorded yet another half century – his 5th for the Shield season, to go with 3 hundreds. Fellow veteran Adam Voges was the rock of the innings with a big hundred,  155, and 21 year old wicket keeper Sam Whiteman continued his fine form with the bat contributing 88 with 15 boundaries. Western Australia finished on 462 with Sean Abbott the only NSW bowler to return respectable figures managing 4 for 71. Facing a deficit of 118 the Blues crumbled with only Carters, Rhorer and keeper Peter Neville making it past 20. Behrendorf claimed 4 for 35 to finish with match figures of 9/100 and Marcus North with his part time off spin whipped through the tail with 3 for 9 off 6 overs. New South Wales had lost their last 6 wickets for 22, including 3 ducks, to be all out for 126 leaving WA a victory target of just 9 which they reached for the loss of two wickets. Debutant NSW off spinner Manjot Singh won’t forget his first game, after taking 2 for 163 in the first innings Singh opened the bowling in the second innings and claimed 2 wickets in his first over. WA opener Cameron Bancroft was stumped for a second ball duck in the second innings to record a pair after he was dismissed for a first ball duck in the first innings. Fitting Adam Voges hit the first ball he faced for a boundary to give the Warriors outright victory.

South Australia hosted Victoria at the Adelaide Oval and racked up a compelling 6 for 511 declared off 145 overs. Michael Klinger made a magnificent double century, just the second double hundred this Shield season, with 213 at the top of the order, Tom Cooper chimed in with 81 and wicket keeper Tim Ludeman recorded his maiden first class hundred with an even 100 off 156 balls with 10 fours and a six. John Hastings and Glen Maxwell were the only two successful bowlers for Victoria taking 3 wickets apiece. Despite a change in personal at the top of the order, with Rob Quiney and Michael Hill replacing Aaron Finch and Peter Handscombe in the openers positions the Vics slumped to 3 for 12 before the recalled David Hussey with 71 and Glen Maxwell with another century, this time 119, steadied the innings. Although some late hitting by Jon Holland got the Vics within two runs of avoiding the follow on, they were sent back in by the Redbacks and once again suffered the top order shakes to be 2 for 29. Patient half centuries to Marcus Stoinis, Cameron White and Matthew Wade secured a draw for Victoria with the Bushrangers finishing at 7 for 334. South Australia will be disappointed to only secure the two points on offer for the first innings after dominating most of the four days.

Michael Klinger acknowledges the crowd during his innings of 213
Michael Klinger acknowledges the crowd during his innings of 213

Points table

Team Points Quotient
Western Australia 26 1.185
South Australia 26 1.165
New South Wales 24 1.067
Queensland 16 1.024
Tasmania 16 0.926
Victoria 8 0.719

Should South Australia win the right to host to Shield final by finishing on top, the final will likely be played at Glenelg Oval due to a Rolling Stones concert at Adelaide Oval.

The selections

Usman Khawaja was omitted from the Queensland team after a minor hamstring strain suffered in his match winning 182 in the previous round of matches. Batsmen Chris Lynn was also not considered due to a cracked rib he received in a club game.

Victoria cleaned out half its team, making 6 changes to the team that capitulated to NSW. Both openers, Finch and Handscombe, were dropped in favour of Quiney and Hill who managed 34 runs between them in two innings each. Dave Hussey was recalled to bat at number 5 with Matthew Wade puched down the order to number 7. Under performing all -rounder Dan Christian was dropped for the second time this Shield season once again raising questions as to why he was recruited from SA. Australian ODI paceman Clint McKay was also omitted for poor form with the ball – he has now been dropped from both the Melbourne Stars and the Shield team this summer. Spinner James Muirhead was also dropped , replaced by Jon Holland with Fawad Ahmed 12th man. Holland returned the figures of 0-126 off 36 overs. Fast bowler Jake Reed made an inauspicious debut with 0-88 off 19 overs.

New South Wales were without this season’s leading wicket taker, left arm orthodox spinner, Steve O’Keefe. O’Keefe suffered a dislocated right shoulder during the Big Bash but was back in action in the last round of the Shield. However O’Keefe who has been batting at number 8 this summer batted at number 11 behind Doug Bollinger due to shoulder soreness. New South Wales took a cautious approach and O’Keefe was rested from the trip to WA.

Run scorers

Player State Matches Innings Runs Average 100 50
MJ North WA 7 12 832 92.44 3 5
TLW Cooper SA 8 14 769 59.15 2 4
AC Voges WA 6 11 685 76.11 2 3
CL White Vic 8 16 675 45 1 5
RGL Carters NSW 6 11 611 61.1 3 1
SM Whiteman WA 8 13 591 59.1 0 6
EJM Cowan Tas 7 14 583 41.64 1 5
PJ Hughes SA 5 9 549 61 3 1
GJ Maxwell Vic 6 12 544 45.33 2 2
PJ Forrest Qld 8 13 523 47.54 1 2

Spinners

It is intersting to note the return of Ashotn Agar to the Western Australian line up and his impact as compared to part time off spinner Marcus North.

In the first innings both bowled 14 overs Agar managed 14-0-70-0 ( 5 runs per over) and North 14-1-32-0. In the second innings Agar bowled 10-5-12-0 and North 6- 2- 9-3.

No doubt Agar is stil learning his craft after his surprise Test debut in mid-2013 at just 19 years old. Agar’s second season in the Shield has been a lot tougher than his debut season last year where he made the Shield team of the year despite only playing in the last 5 games of the season.

Despite being recruited from NSW to SA in the off season, young leg spinner Adam Zampa has been in and out of the Redbacks side due to the presence of off spinner and skipper Johan Botha. Both claimed 2 wickets in the game against Victoria.

Victoria can’t decide who is their number 1 spinner, preferring leg spinner Fawad Ahmed played 5 of 6 games before the Big Bash, Jon Holland has played 2 and James Muirhead one game.

Xavier Doherty has returned to his familiar role as Tasmania’s sole spinner and leg spinner Cameron Boyce is the prefferd spin option at Queensland.

The XI

Michael Klinger (South Australia)

Despite a fairly lean season Klinger still knows how to make the runs with 213 against his old state, Victoria.

Ryan Carters (New South Wales)

The former back up Victorian wicket keeper has found a new calling as an opening batsmen making his second hundred of the season.

Ed Cowan (Tasmania)

Guided Tasmanias first innings with a patient 93. Joe burns carrying his bat for 91 out of 183 in Queenslands first innings is unlucky to miss out

Adam Voges (Western Australia)

Made a matchwinning 155 against New South Wales

Dave Hussey (Victoria)

The recalled veteran showed the value of experience batting at number 5 making 71 and 47.

Glen Maxwell (Victoria)

Made 119 in Victoria’s first innings to put some respectability into the Bushrangers scorebook. Also took three wickets with his off spin

Tim Ludeman (South Australia)

The wicket keeper made his maiden first class hundred off 154 balls

James Hopes (Queensland)

The veteran keeps getting the job done, this time managing a 5 wicket haul opening the bowling.

Ben Hilfenhaus (Tasmania)

The former test paceman claimed a hatrick to rock Queenslands lower order.

Jason Behrendorf (Western Australia)

Claimed his first 5-fer in the first innings against NSW then took another 4 in the second innings to finish with match figure of 9/100

Sam Rainbird (Tasmania)

As well as having the best surname in first class cricket (Steve Cazzulino is a little unlucky) fast bowler Rainbird also produced the goods in this match taking 3 for 55 and 4 for 40.

The round ahead

A round of day-night matches are scheduled for mid week, starting on Monday March 3 at 2.00pm and using pink balls

Victoria v Tasmania, MCG

Queensland v Western Australia, Gabba

South Australia v New South Wales, Adelaide Oval

Sheffield Shield Round Up 7

The Sheffield Shield returned after a two month hiatus for the Big Bash with four rounds to go before the Shield final.

The results

Queensland rebounded from conceding first innings points to pull off the second largest fourth innings run chase in Shield history and defeat South Australia at the Gabba. The Redbacks batted first and, lead by a brilliant 175 by Tom Cooper and 95 to skipper Johan Botha, managed 403. In reply Queensland were shot out for 135 in 50 overs but South Australia didn’t enforce the folwo on in stead batting again for 6/202 declared and set the Bulls a final innings target of 470 to win. By stumps on Day 3 Queensland were 2/170 thanks to 72 to opener Joe Burns. Day 4 began slowly for Queensland with just 45 runs scored in the first session as Peter Forrest crawled to 35 off 155 balls, however the mainstay of the innings was Usman Khawaja who increased his scoring rate through out the day to perfectly time the run chase. He finished on 182 not out and was ably assisted by rapid runs from James Hopes (58 off 63) and wicket keeper Chirs Hartley (48 off 59) as Queensland reached their target with 8 overs to spare.

15uzzy

Victoria capitulated to New South Wales within 3 days. Batting first Victoria were rolled for 218 thanks mainly to 94 off 95 balls to Glen Maxwell. In reply New South Wales ran up 9 for 452 declared with wicket keeper Peter Neville contributing an even 100 and Scott Henry and Kurtis Patterson both contributing 90s. Victoria replied with the worst start to their Shield innings, needing to face a handful of over prior to stumps on Day 2 the Vics managed to be 3 out for 0 runs at the close of play with two nightwatchmen at the crease. The next day it got little better with the Vics sliding to 6 out for 9 before Glen Maxwell fired up with 127 off 102 balls. Maxwell was on 69 when number 11 Clint McKay came to the crease and they shared a 59 run stand of which McKay contributed just 1. The Vics were bowled out for 186 to lose by an innings and 48 runs. Maxwell scored 221 out of Victoria’s 404 runs in the game – 54.7% of the teams total. No other Victorian scored more than 30 in either innings and the Vics recorded 5 ducks in their second innings.

Tasmania batted first against Western Australia at the WACA but could only manage a mediocre 248 built around 71 to Mark Cosgrove and 56 to Luke Butterworth . The Warriors batting effort was lead by 87 to opener Marcus North but first innings points were in the balance with WA at 7/208. Nathan Coulter Nile (34 off 18 balls) and keeper Sam Whiteman (55 off 50 balls) made sure first innings points were secured in quick time and secured a first innings lead of 31. Tasmania’s best bowler was Ben Hilfenhaus with 6 for 82. In their second innings the Tigers managed 286, built around 83 from skipper George Bailey, leaving WA needing 259 for victory. The Warriors, led by a pair of 70s to veterans North and Voges, reached the target with four wickets in hand.

Points table

Teams Points
New South Wales 24
South Australia 24
Western Australia 20
Queensland 16
Tasmania 10
Victoria 8

 

Selections

Ashton Agar was out of the Western Australian team after being suspended for dissent in a Future’s League game in late January. His spot was taken by forgotten spinner, Michael Beer, playing his first Sheffield Shield game since December 2012.

Dave Hussey was once again not in the Victorian team. Instead the Vics prefered to play another allrounder in Marcus Stoinis who was thrown into the number 3 position. The Bushrangers also had a change of plans with their spinners, sending Fawad Ahmed and Jon Holland to the Futures league replaced by recent T20 international leg spinner ,James Muirhead.

Victoria’s team selection has raised questions all year and looks to have taken another turn. After the poor showing and early finish to the Shield match, all Victorian players except John Hastings were sent back to play Premier cricket in Melbourne on Saturday.Young batsmen Peter Handscombe scored a double century for St Kilda and today was named captain of the Victoria 2nd XI team to play a match that overlaps with the next Shield game. Two names that perhaps should have been in the 2nd XI line up but weren’t are Dan Christian and Clint McKay given their bowling figures this season.

Matches Wickets Average Strike rate
Clint McKay 5 9 49.22 91.3
Dan Christian 6 9 50.33 97.3

Batsmen Chris Lynn was not selected in the Queensland team, despite his recent good T20 form for the Brisbane Heat and the Australian T20 team. In a major milestone, wicket keeper Chris Hartley played his 100th match Sheffield Shield match for Queensland.

939230-chris-hartley

Despite playing for Perth Scorchers in the second half of the Big Bash, Pat Cummins looks unlikely to play Shield cricket this season as he continues his recovery from injury.

The XI

1. Marcus North (Western Australia)

Scored a pair of half centuries that held together both WA innings. His experience has been invaluable at eh top of the order for the Warriors and he has been in fine form.

2. Joe Burns (Queensland)

In a quiet round for openers Burns laid the platform for Queensland’s successful fourth innings chase with 72.

3. Usman Khawaja (Queensland)

Guided the Bulls home in their huge fourth innings chase with a match winning hand of 182

4. Tom Cooper (South Australia)

Scored 175 in the first innings for South Australia. When Cooper makes hundreds he makes them big – his other century this season was 171 also against Queensland.

5. Kurtis Patterson (New South Wales)

The young up and coming batsmen made 94 in New South Wales crushing victory.

6. Glen Maxwell (Victoria)

Made rapid fire contributions in both innings for Victoria: 94 off 95 balls and 127 off 102 balls as the rest of his teammates struggled.

7. Peter Neville (New South Wales)

Made 100 off 134 balls to lead NSW to a crushing victory over Victoria

8. James Hopes (Queensland)

No spinner put in any performance of note so James Hopes are sloted in as an allrounder. Hopes took 4 wickets for 71 in South Australia’s first innings and contributed a quick fire half century in the Bulls big run chase.

9. Trent Copeland (New South Wales)

The medium fast bowler helped take apart Victoria with 3/50 and 3/24.

10. Ben Hilfenhaus (Tasmania)

The Tasmanian fast bowler took 6 for 82 at the WACA to keep the Warriors in check.

11. Michael Hogan (Western Australia)

Hogan took 4/55 in Tasmania’s first innings.

 

Coming up…

Tasmania v Queensland, Hobart

Western Australia v New South Wales, Perth

South Australia v Victoria, Adelaide

The AFL Off Season Top 10

The top 10 things you may have missed in the AFL off season.

With the first game of the AFL pre-season just hours away, take a look at some of the things you may have missed over the last 4.5 months since Hawthorn won the 2013 premiership.

10. Simon Katich

Yes, former Test cricketer Simon Katich has been recruited by GWS to be their runner and a leadership coach. I’m sure Katich will show the young Giants how to grab a teammate by the throat in the dressingroom when they don’t buy into team culture and put back into the club. Now that’s leadership. Katich has apparently been doing extra fitness work in preparation to be an AFL runner, perhaps a little odd given he is currently a professional cricketer.

Simon Katich: familiar with wearing orange and cool sunnies
Simon Katich: familiar with wearing orange and cool sunnies

9. Jake King

In December Richmond’s Jake “The Push Up” King was seen socialising with some bikie gang member hardcase at the Legends Football League, formerly known as the Lingere Football League. I know what you are thinking, what incredibly bad taste to attend an event like the exploitive and sexist Lingere Football League. King really needs to lift his standards. Worse was to come in January when King was spotted with another bikie hard man having a coffee. And it cost $4.50! Outrageous. Apparently it was a latte and the barista did a little fern in the foam but it cost $4.50. King really needs to have a look at the types of entertainment and coffee venues he is frequenting.

Jake King with his mates
Jake King with his mates

8. Wayne Campbell

Former Richmond player Wayne Campbell has been appointed the head of umpiring at the AFL taking over from his former Richmond coach Jeff Geishen who had spent 14 years at the helm. No one is quite sure whether Campbell will be able to fill the incredibly large shoes that Geishen has left behind. It’s not under every umpires boss watch that post it notes get used on the interchange bench, goal posts heights get increased, the term ‘white maggot’ is eradicated and the term ‘bumper bar’ is added to AFL speak. The feeling in most AFL circles is that Campbell can’t help but do a better job than Geicshen even if he does nothing. The full story on how The Geisch was unleashed is here.

7. International Rules

The word disaster springs to mind. The concept of having a team of indigenous players represent the AFL against Ireland was going to need a strong and competitive showing by that team if it were to be a success. Instead the team was humbled in the first match so coach Michael O’Loughlin decided to prepare for the second match by having a team bonding session piss up. As a match preparation it was poor with the team losing the second match, as a bonding session the value is hard to quantify but as a piss up it was an outrageous success with several noise complaints made. Thumbs up!

For some reason Chanel 7 didn’t even show the International Rules Series live, they reverted to their favoured format of delayed coverage.

6. NAB Challenge

The NAB Cup has been scrapped, replaced with the NAB Challenge – 18 games in 18 days with a game every day from February 12th.

This was meant to be followed by the return of representative football. Some sort of fan choice, captains pick, pointless mish mash nonsense that surprisingly no-one, not even the players who are apparently dead keen on rep footy, wanted to be part of. The idea was shelved as quickly as it was announced and replaced with a round of NAB Practice Matches as opposed to the NAB Challenge – two very different things even though the practice matches start the day after the challenge matches end. Clear?

5. Unholy Saints

When to sack a coach? Mid- season? End of season? Before the trade period? No let’s sack our coach two months after our last game. Such is the way of the St Kilda football club, bringing the axe down on Scott Watters, with a year left on his contract mind you, on November 1, All Saints Day. Oh, the irony. Hard to fathom from the Saints, if they didn’t want the coach why not sack him and install the new man before you traded away an All Australian midfielder, Nick Dal Santo, and your number one ruckmen, Ben McEvoy. It even seemed at times that the man pulling the most strings at the Saints was actually their recruiting manager Chris Pelchan. Odd.

 

4. Tanya Hird

“Leave my husband alone”

In the final act of the stage play ‘James Hird, the perfect family man,’ the Hird media team wheeled out his wife to defend him. As an Essendon supporter my first thoughts were ‘Fuck off, your husband has brought the club I support to its knees through his own stupidity and vanity.’

Leave my husband alone
Leave my husband alone

Why Tanya Hird fronted the media is marginally more interesting. Word had leaked out that Hird was still getting paid his million dollar salary by Essendon even though he was serving a 12 month ban from coaching. The AFL said this wasn’t right but then had to back track and say that yes that was the agreement the two parties had reached. Come on Andy D lift your game.

The Essendon drugs scandal rolls on without an infraction notice being served and with an ASADA investigation team of one continuing to search without luck for the injection database that Dean Wallis was meant to have set up.

In the last week Essendon have advertised for the position of an integrity officer. Wow, talk about shutting the gate after the horse has bolted.

3. Jumpers

On January 11 the AFL website breathlessly announced a mayday to locate a missing premiership jumper…. from 2004. Gavin Wanganeen’s premiership jumper had been snatched out of the rooms nigh on 10 years ago but only now was the call for public help to locate it being raised. Wow.

In slightly more interesting news the Brisbane Lions members voted to get rid of the ‘Paddle Pop Lion’ off the front of the Brisbane jumpers and revert to the ‘Fitzroy Lion’ of their 2001-03 premiership jumpers. Unfortunately this won’t take effect until the 2015 season.

The AFL announced that player’s names will appear on their jumpers for the first time in Round 5 of the AFL season. Why hasn’t this happened before? And why not trial this in the pre-season competition when names on jumpers would help out commentators, fans, coaches, opposition and even teammates identify new recruits.

Ah Cameron of course!
Ah Cameron of course!

There was also some minor kerfuffle over in Adelaide when the Crows revealed their jumper for the first game at Adelaide Oval would be the South Australian State of Origin jumper presumably because they were pissed at being the away team to Port Adelaide for the first game at the redeveloped ground. The AFL and SANFL had approved of the jumper but when the backlash from Port Adelaide hit the fan, quickly rescinded their approval. One wonders if this was just a marketing ploy…

 

2. Campbell Brown

The Gold Coast Suns were on a pre-season fitness camp in the US when a few days R&R in LA lead to Campbell Brown breaking his teammate, Steven May’s jaw either over splitting a restaurant bill or because May was trying to get Rhianna’s autograph. Apparently Josh Gibson was also involved in the altercation but only in a ‘3rd man up’ spoiling scenario – he had no direct opponent.

Really what’s next? Ryan Crowley and Hayden Ballantyne having a dust up trying to get Miley Cyrus’ autograph – it just makes no sense. If Steven May had better taste in music then none of this would have happened.

Brown was subsequently sacked by the Gold Coast Suns but couldn’t help but go out with a bang from the party strip by attending the Magic Millions horse race on the Gold Coast and getting arrested for being drunk after his horse won. Campbell really needs to find a more sedate hobby, something like chess or bird watching perhaps.

The cup runeth over for Campbell Brown
The cup runeth over for Campbell Brown

1. Lance Franklin

The Sydney Swans trumped GWS and Hawthorn by signing Lance Franklin to a $10 million deal over 9 years. Franklin will be 36 when the deal expires and he has about as much chance of playing the full 9 years of his contract as Mick Malthouse does of coaching a flag at Carlton.

Regardless any mention of Lance Franklin moving to Sydney has to be accompanied by this photo and the tag line, ‘Buddy Franklin has moved to Sydney to spend more time with his better mates.’

Lance Franklin has moved to Sydney so he can hang out with his better mates
Lance Franklin has moved to Sydney so he can hang out with his better mates

7 Things we learnt from BBL|03

 

1. It’s too long

 

Seven weeks including a weeks break for the T20 internationals was too long. Five weeks would have been plenty, finishing on the Australia Day weekend and nicely fitting within the school holidays.  This truncated season could be achieved by better use of the summer time zones in Australia to play more double headers and by scheduling games on Monday nights after the Christmas/New Year period which for some reason didn’t happen this season. The Melbourne Stars had an 10 day break during the tournament  – teams should be playing twice a week at least, it’s only T20.

 

According to Paul Marsh of the Australian Cricketers Association the ideal time to hold the Big Bash is for 4-5 weeks in October, because it allows Australian players to participate as it doesn’t coincide with the Tests and international fixtures. Wait and see on that but for the next 4 seasons the BBL is locked into the  December-January time slot due to the TV contract with Channel 10.

 

2. Finals could be rethought

 

For the second consecutive season the team that has finished on top of the BBL table has been knocked out by the team who finished who just scraped into fourth position. With Champions Leagues spots on the line for the winning semi finalists it doesn’t quite seem the right balance to play 8 regular season games only to have the right for a lucrative champions league berth come down to one game.

 

Some alternatives are:

 

Award the two Champions League spots to the premiers and the minor premiers, that is the team that finishes on top and the team that wins the Big Final.

 

Go to the McIntyre Final 4 where 1st and 2nd get a double chance and there are four games in total.
Game 1: 1 v 2
Game 2: 3 v 4
Game 3: Winner of 3 v 4 plays the loser of 1 v 2
Game 4: Winner of 1 v 2 plays the winner of Game 3

 

Or try this 3 game finals series
Game 1: 3 v 4
Game 2: 2 v winner game 1
Game 3: 1 v winner game 2

 

3. Channel 10 coverage was refreshing

 

Gilchrist, Ponting, Fleming and Mark Waugh were informative and polished, had the the right balance between entertaining and giving cricket insights and were a welcome change to the Channel 9 commentary team. Viv Richards was a great choice as a guest commentator, Mark Howard was ok but we could have done without Andy Maher – he added nothing to the coverage, in fact he detracted from it with his frequent mistakes. Mel McLaughlin was a good choice in the hosting role even if it was hard to understand why Channel 10 flew someone around the country to host for 10 minutes pre-match, 10 minutes in the innings break, 15 minutes post match and nothing else. Mel was under utilised, kick Andy Maher out of the commentary box and bring in Mel.
 

The Channel 10 BBL commentary team in their pastel shirts and different coloured pants and jackets combos
The Channel 10 BBL commentary team in their pastel shirts and different coloured pants and jackets combos

 
Not so great was the KFC Million Dollar Six competition complete with (D Grade) celebrity catcher and a home viewer usually wearing a KFC bucket on their head. Not surprisingly the money didn’t go off, as the celebrity catcher was positioned on a 5m x 5m platform so would have to be incredibly lucky to have a six hit to them let alone catch it.
 

4. Dwayne Bravo is smooth.

 

Mel McLaughlin has gained plenty of fans over the BBL but none more so than Dwayne Bravo who propositioned her on live TV after receiving his man of the match award. He’s line was something like ‘I’d just like to say hello to Mel, I met her once in Sydney and she is still very beautiful.’ Smooth., Mr Bravo, very smooth.

 

Hey Mel, what about me?
Hey Mel, what about me?

 

5. Teams are forging traditions

 

Sydney Thunder lived up to their tradition of collecting the wooden spoon but did mange to win a game this season. It was their first win in 753 days.

 

Despite allegedly paying the big bucks to bankroll their ‘galaxy’ of  Melbourne Stars, the team continues to choke at the business end of the season, this time losing their only game of the season in the knockout semi and missing out on the cash cow Champions League. Apparently the promise of Champions League dollars has been one of the key factors convincing this stellar constellation to remain together on less money and fit under the salary cap. So after missing out on the CLT20 it remains to be seen if this group will remain together. Another way the Stars have worked around the salary cap is making Brad Hodge the batting coach. But this is strictly above board as all the coaching he gives has to be diarised and his speeches to the players even videotaped. If his tweets are anything to go by there’d be some interesting speeches.

 

Perth Scorchers hosted the Big Final at The Furnace for the 3rd consecutive time but got the right result for the first time.

 

6. The XI

 

1. Ben Dunk (Hobart Hurricanes)
Player of the torunament opening the batting for Hobart
2. Craig Simmons (Perth Scorchers)
Hit two centuries including the fastest in BBL history – just 39 balls. Simmons rose from the obscurity of a Western Power apprenticeship and club cricket to become the story of BBL|03.
977207-8a12f8ea-8ef7-11e3-836d-02ea2adb9f0a
3. Mike Hussey (Sydney Thunder)
Took on the crucial No 3 position and captaincy at Sydney Thunder and lead his team admirably almost single handedly dragging them over the line on several occasions.
4. Chris Lynn (Brisbane Heat)
Displayed such powerful hitting and qucik scoring batting in the middle order that he received his first national call up.
5. Brad Hodge (Melbourne Stars)
Took on a new role in the Melbourne Stars as the finisher coming in lower down the order to provide plenty of runs and a surpirse Australian recall
6. Tim Paine (Hobart Hurricanes)
The best gloveman in the competition and chipped in with runs as well, including a match winning knock in the Big Semi.
7. Ben Cutting (Brisbane Heat)
His destructive batting was underutilised by Brisbane Heat but Cutting is a genuine allrounder in the T20 format
8. Yasir Arafat (Perth Scorchers)
Great death bowling by Arafat producing the lost art of yorkers whenever required. Unlucky to miss the Big Final due to injury.
9. John Hastings (Melbourne Stars)
The Duke took 13 wickets and only conceded 6.15 runs per over. A fine display of variety in his medium fast bowling repertoire.
10. Cameron Boyce (Hobart Hurricanes)
Despite the hysteria around Brad Hogg in the BBL final and James Muirhead getting picked for Australia, legspinner Boyce was actually the best performed spinner in the BBL with 10 wickets.
11. Chris Gannon (Brisbane Heat)
The right arm paceman was the leading wicket take in BBL|03 with 18 wickets
 

And finally….
7. The Jade Dernbach Award
 

Jade Dernbach
Jade Dernbach batting
Before South African Englishmen Jade Dernbach bowled pathetically in the T20s v Australia this year he bowled just as badly for the Melbourne Stars in BBL01, was promptly dropped after two games and hasn’t had a BBL contract since ( England take note). Hence the award for worst international signing of the Big Bash season is named after him.

 

The nominees are:
Dwayne Smith (Perth Scorchers) for not showing up.

 

Alfonso Thomas (Perth Scorchers) managed just four  wickets in 8 matches and at 8 an over – at 36 time might be up for Justin Langer’s mate.

 

Chris Tremlett (Sydney Sixers) played only one game before being omitted, leaving the team playing just one international. He’d gone home before the finals started.

 

Owais Shah (Hobart Hurricanes) was one of the most destructive batsmen in  BBL01 but was sadly out of touch this time around, managing 52 runs in 6 games before he was dropped. He’d also left the country before the finals began.

 

And the winner is…
Shaoib Malik (Hobart Hurricanes) he might have gained 8 wickets but in his main role as a top order batsmen he managed just 75 runs in 9 hits and was pretty much a liability in the field shelling catches at will. He was recalled by the Pakistan Cricket Board and couldn’t particiapte in the BBL Final which was probably a good thing for Hobart.
 
Proud recipient of the Jade Dernbach Award, Shaoib Malik, in familiar pose dropping a catch during BBL|03
Proud recipient of the Jade Dernbach Award, Shaoib Malik, in familiar pose dropping a catch during BBL|03

The 35 Strangest AFL jumpers: 5 I can’t believe I missed

5. Collingwood black IMG_0887 In 2001 Collingwood threw out over 100 years of tradition and changed their jumper from being a white jumper with black stripes to a black jumper with white strips. Whats the difference you might think? Well not a great deal really, so why did they bother? One reason offered is that the sponsors logos looked better on black background. I don’t know about this but it’s as good as any explanation I’ve heard. The Magpies change to a predominantly black jumper seems to have thrown up additional clashing issues with clubs with mainly dark strips such as Port Adelaide. The age old doosie jumper clash of North Melbourne v Collingwood has had many different, needless and ludicrous ‘solutions’ one of which was this ‘black with a pair of white braces’ number the Pies ran out with in 2011 and 2012.

4. Melbourne silver Dunn_Rd1808_246_a When in doubt – add silver. Melbourne’s forays into clash jumpers have been fraught with danger but even the Demon’s plumbed new depths when they produced this clash jumper in 2008. Perhaps not enough silver was the issue. One of the Dee’s  following efforts at a clash jumper, as modeled below in 2010,  was a slight improvement but made the Demon look like a Phantom of the Opera mask.

I am the Phantom of the Opera! No I am the Phantom of the Opera
I am the Phantom of the Opera! No I am the Phantom of the Opera

2. St Kilda fading away

Xav and Raph Clarke model the 'candy stripe' jumper. Particularly pleasing on the eye in a long sleeve variety
Xav and Raph Clarke model the ‘candy stripe’ jumper. Particularly pleasing on the eye in a long sleeve variety

St Kilda ditched their failry well liked clash jumper known as the candy stripe jumper in favor of a jumper dubbed “The Apron.” The Saints went for an all white look with the red and black ribbons looking like the draw strings of an apron. The club shield on the front was a welcome addition except that the saints had decided top make it look like the logo was peeling off. Why? Were they fading away? Hardly the strong bold image a football club would want to project I wouldn’t have thought.

Woah this logo is slippin away from me.
Woah this logo is slippin away from me.

3. Hall of Fame white

Nothing says All Star like Neon Leon Davis and his great Grand Final record.
Nothing says All Star like Neon Leon Davis and his great Grand Final record.

This one really challenges for the blandest football jumper ever created and I don’t know how I missed it. The reason  was vague – 150 years since Tom Wills wrote a letter in a pub and thus Australian Football was born  [according to Chanel 10] or something like that. The concept was vague –  ‘The Hall of Fame Tribute Match’ played as Victoria against The Rest known as the All Stars. And the outfit was beige – decked out all in white in the sort of outfit never before seen on any football ground in the 150 year history of Australian Rules football except on umpires. To top it all off the bottom half of the jumper was afflicted by that modern day scourge of football jumpers – a list of names (the names of every football club in Australia apparently). The affect was to make the white jumper look beige. IMG_0907   IMG_0911 1. Western Bulldogs sell out

State of Origin? No, Origin Energy.
State of Origin? No, Origin Energy. Sam Power, left, made the promo photo shoot of course.

Give me strength, quite possibly the shittest AFL jumper ever. Nonsense sponsor jumpers are barley tolerable if they are confined to the pre-season competition. But over the past decade or more a disturbing trend has emerged where eye-sore mish mash jumpers that shouldn’t have been given the tick of approval even for pre-season experimentation have appeared as away jumpers or clash jumper in the AFL season proper. This is right up their as one of the worst pre-season jumper ever conceived and unfortunately it saw time on AFL field in the 2005 home and away season. Disgusting, I hope the Doggies made plenty of cash out of it.

The Life of Brad Hodge viaTwitter

It seems to be a recent trend of news websites publishing articles mentioning what people are saying on twitter. It smacks of laziness and an inability to form your own opinions.

Lately a new phenomenon has appeared – an entire article based around a series of tweets from one person.  Exhibit A  – an article written about Shane Warne coaching the England cricket team based entirely on tweets. 

If I wanted to know what someone was tweeting I’d follow them on Twitter!

Having said that I present “The Life of Brad Hodge via Twitter”

Brad Hodge joined Twitter in mid December 2013, but he’s supplied plenty of interesting and questionable contributions since then including debuting with this:

IMG_0948

His third tweet shows that Hodge is on the ball

IMG_0949

And he showed his ability to read his own mind by following up with this

IMG_0952

Hodge and his wife like different wines. Hodge prefers to drop a brand name

IMG_0947

Where as his wife prefers champagne

IMG_0920

Hodge cares about the city he lives in, Melbourne, and isn’t afraid to comment on issues, big and small.

IMG_0950

IMG_0942

IMG_0918

Hodge is a proud Australian and doesn’t want to be anywhere else.

IMG_0945

IMG_0941

He likes a bit, ok a lot, of Slim Shady, providing plenty of references in many different contexts.

IMG_0926

IMG_0937

IMG_0936

Even when talking about one of his best mates on twitter, former Victorian all rounder, Andrew McDonald.

IMG_0946

IMG_0927

Hodge’s other twitter best mate is former Victorian fast bowler, Dirk Nannes. Modesty is a strong suit,

IMG_0919

as is honesty.

IMG_0935

Hodge also seems to have an interesting friendship with South African cricketer Herschelle Gibbs

IMG_0922

IMG_0951

Some of Hodge’s comments raise more questions than they answer

IMG_0933

IMG_0932

IMG_0931

Hodge doesn’t just like cricket

IMG_0938

But he did toy with other careers: politics

IMG_0917

IMG_0929

and labouring

IMG_0916

before the national selectors came calling. Six years after his last game for Australia, Hodge was back in the Australian T20 team.

IMG_0923

photo