Kurtley Beale shouldn’t pull on the Wallabies jumper again

bealeThere comes a time when even the most talented of players need to be cast adrift when their behaviour continually creates problems off the field. Kurtley Beale certainly falls into that category given his indiscretions of the last eighteen months culminating with a $45,000.00 fine for sending an offensive text message to a female staffer.

Beale has had a ‘colourful’ career with a number of brushes with the law since 2010. I don’t intend to look back at earlier incidents, but if we simply look at the recent past since early 2013, there is plenty to be troubled about. Starting with a fight with teammates in March 2013, when Beale was part of the Melbourne Rebels squad playing in South Africa, he was sent home in disgrace, put on an alcohol ban, fined and suspended indefinitely by Rebels management. Regrettably, the Rebel’s indefinite suspension did not last all that long.

After returning to the Rebels side, within two months, Beale admitted to breaking the alcohol ban and was stood down for breaching behavioural guidelines. Less than a month after, in June 2013, Beale was photographed at a fast food outlet at 3.50am several days before the second test against the British and Irish Lions. The Rebels found that Beale had not been drinking. I don’t see that as the point though. No player, who is serious about representing his country, would (or should) be out at that hour of the morning before a very important game.

Fast forward to the most recent indiscretion. Beale still has not learned anything as far as I am concerned. His statement that he has been ‘vindicated’ misses the point completely. The reason for vindication? Beale was found guilty of only sending one offensive text to a female staffer….and not two.

Along with the fine, there should have been a lengthy suspension. Nowhere in Beale’s history do I see genuine contrition or remorse. His apology to the staffer seems to have been motivated purely on the grounds of self preservation evidenced by the request to ‘not tell anyone’ that accompanied the apology.

The Wallabies will never be a power in world rugby while they tolerate any player behaving in this manner. What example are the ARU setting to young players? Do they realise off field behaviour and on field performance are very much related? With the World Cup looming, I doubt Australia’s performance will improve very much from where we are at the moment…..maybe fourth in the World.

Gelding’s tips for WS Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley

MarkThe Gelding is still away enjoying the oriental breezes and misses another Group One race day, this time Cox Plate day at Moonee Valley.  I wonder how Mrs Gelding convinced him to be out of Australia at this time of the racing season. Fortunately, he has managed to spend some time at the computer in his luxury hotel suite and emailed his tips in.

Moonee Valley

Tonight

Race 7 Horse 2 – Lankan Rupee (for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Saturday

Race 5 Horse 1 - Precedence
Race 6 Horse 5 – Trust in a Gust
Race 8 Horse 8 – Criterion (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 9 Horse 4 – Sauvito

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Friday musing – Cox Plate, Cage Fighting, Gough Whitlam…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell the Spring Carnival is in full swing and this week sees the running of the WS Cox Plate. It doesn’t look to be a classic field, but it is probably the best that can be assembled. However, I do question the inclusion of Wandjina who has been placed in only two of nine starts, but obviously got a start based on his third placing in the Caulfield Guineas. Unfortunately last years winner was a maiden who had similar lead up form so the precedent had been sent, but I don’t think it sends a good message when you tout yourself as the Weight For Age Championship of Australasia. My tip in the race is Fawkner, but they all have to get past The Cleaner.

There was a lot of grandstanding in the corridors of power this week about cage fighting/mixed martial arts. To allow the mixed martial arts fights without the cage, is like boxing without the ropes. The fighters can still hit their opponent the same way, they just do it in different surrounds. What real difference does it make. I have watched a bit of the UFC on Channel 1, but not for some time. It seems to be well adjudicated and from what I understand there have been no catastrophic injuries. If these guys want to fight each other in a controlled environment then I cannot see what the problem is with the use of the cage. I also find the Police Commissioner’s comments about violence a little hard to fathom as well given the acceptance of all types of fighting sports in the community. I have a nephew who is doing mixed martial arts training and I am sure my brother would much rather he practised his sport in a controlled environment, with or without a cage. The proper control is the key, not the cage. Will I go along and watch, no.

Now my last comment this week only has a loose connection with sport because his wife swum in the 1938 Empire Games for Australia. E G Whitlam must surely be one of the most interesting politicians ever produced in this country and I always considered that having spent so long in opposition, once he got into power, he tried to implement too many programmes too quickly. Like a good marathon runner, if he had paced himself his legacy could have been greater. Anyway I can thank him for my tertiary education, a national health system and Blue Poles that I saw in Canberra recently. Vale Gough.

Enough of my own political grandstanding, have a great weekend!

Pelchen out at St Kilda is troubling

pelchyI have said many times before, that if I was in a position to influence an AFL club, the first person I would hire would be Chris Pelchen.

Why? He has a very good pedigree having had stints at Hawthorn (x2) Port Adelaide and St Kilda, he wants to be successful and he has a blue print for putting together a list of players that can take the ultimate step.

I have read quite a few comments on social media from St Kilda supporters saying they are glad he is gone. I would imagine that those supporters felt badly about players that were traded over the last few seasons and about the performance of their Club during that time.

I would suggest that those supporters consider that when Chris took over he was presented with an aging list that, through lack of vision had not been rejuvenated. He also had to deal with a diabolical total player payments problem and ensure that the up and coming young guns were re-contracted before they slipped into free agency. Needless to say he accomplished that and also had time to foster a new market in New Zealand and establish the Saints player academy.  By the way, I have relied on the St Kilda CEO’s summary of what Chris had done for St Kilda in putting that list together.

But, clearly that was not enough and to quote Matt Finnis, the Saints wanted to ‘drive further development in their high performance programs’.

Good luck is all I can say as rebuilding properly is all about timing and careful planning. Areas I think the Saints aren’t good at. I say this as parting company with the Head of Football who has control over the player list several weeks before the AFL draft seems a very strange decision indeed.

Geldings hot selections for Caulfield Cup day

MarkThe Gelding is off grazing in sunny Hong Kong at the moment and all we are left with at the Sportzfan Radio desk are his scribblings on the back of a used tote ticket with respect to his selections for the Caulfield Cup.

Punters may well query how the Gelding could possibly be out of the country at such an interesting time in horse racing!

Take as each way bets, a quinella and trifecta!

Caulfield

Race 9

Horse 14 - Lidari – Gelding says Simon O’Donnell wouldn’t be in it if he didn’t think it could win this one! (for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Horse 15 – Lucia Valentina – The current race favourite and has run over this distance before but beaten home third after getting too far back in the field. Drawn nicely in barrier 12.

Horse 1 – Admire Rakti – The top weight and one of the Japanese raiders will be in it at the finish!

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Friday musing – AFL trade period, Ryan Griffen, Caulfield Cup….

Chris Barwin HillsThe AFL trade period is over and all the trades that had to be done were done including the Dane Beams & Paddy Ryder deals. As a Bomber supporter I think Collingwood did better than Essendon with their respective “forced” trades, but it helped that they were dealing with Brisbane who had more to offer. It was always going to be hard to prise a decent player out of Port Adelaide at the moment to come to Essendon

I have gathered a bit of information regarding the Ryan Griffen & Allan Christensen trades.

With Griffen, it appears there was a bust up between some of the players and Griffen and his leadership group wanted the coach to sort it out and the coach, quite rightly told them it was a leadership group issue and they should sort it out. They didn’t like it and it caused a lot of division within the club. The Bulldogs now have the key forward they have been after, but it may take a while for Tom Boyd to produce on a regular basis. At least it will take the pressure of Stuart Crameri, who was never more than the third tall in the forward line anyway.

With Christensen it is alleged that he had an affair with a team mate’s partner and she became pregnant. If this rumour is true, then it explains why Geelong traded him without much of a fight. For Geelong to then use the pick they got for him on Rhys Stanley is somewhat of a surprise. Stanley has shown some promise, but a second round draft pick, I don’t think so.

For me the overall winner in the trade period was Hawthorn. They have won the last two premierships, played in the last three Grand Finals and they picked up an All Australian defender in James Frawley. To that throw in a very promising youngster in Jono O’Rourke and the fact that they lost no required players.

Moving on to the races it occurred to me that Lloyd Williams spends a lot of money on importing horses from overseas, but somewhat ironically his best horse at the moment and indeed his best horse for some time in Fawkner in not only locally bred, but bred from a stallion, Reset, that Lloyd used to own. Perhaps he should concentrate on the local market instead of spending so much on overseas horses!

Well Rich Enuff came unstuck last week, but on that run I don’t think he will lose too many admirers. He beat everything else in the race quite easily and he rallied once the other horse went past him and pushed him right to the line. Perhaps the 1600 metres was a bit too far, but not by much. The colts ran about a second faster than the fillies in the corresponding race and they were just shaded by the time recorded by Trust in a Gust in the Toorak Handicap. There is a Group 1 race out there for Rich Enuff and he is now being set for a sprint at the Flemington carnival.

My place tip for this weeks main race the Caulfield Cup is Big Memory. In the Herbert Power last week over the same track & distance of the cup he recorded a time of 2.26.68 which is good enough to win just about any Caulfield Cup and he drops a kilo on that run. Not only that, he also did a lot wrong in that race and held the race despite a protest.

Have a great weekend!

Gelding’s hotties for Caulfield on 11 October 2014

42The Gelding’s attention returns to his home track at Caulfield tomorrow for the running of the Caulfield Guineas. After a ripper start last week with a winner and two seconds, there were a few s-hit rides by jockeys who should have known better. Gelding described their rides as follows….’…lost this way…’ ‘….lost his compass….’ etc, etc.

Hopefully this week all the riders know which way to go.

As usual the bets are on an each way and all up basis.

Caulfield

Race 4 Horse 4 – Overreach
Race 6 Horse 10 – Dissident (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 7 Horse 4 – Trust In A Gust
Race 9 Horse 3 – Rich Enuff (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 10 Horse 1 – Girl Guide

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Friday musing – AFL trade period, NRL, Caulfield Guineas…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell what a week in AFL trading! We already knew about Paddy Ryder and Dayne Beams, but this week Allen Christensen and Ryan Griffen emerge wanting to be traded. Who will pop up next? These trades will be difficult, but if a player has publicly flagged that he wants to go, he has to be traded in my opinion. There are exceptions, like Ryan O’Keefe who flagged a few years ago that he wanted to go to Hawthorn, the Swans kept him and he went on to win the Norm Smith medal in their 2012 premiership side. Supporters from the four clubs involved will all be very disappointed as the players are popular players at their clubs, but for different reasons they want to go and the clubs have to try and get the best deal available.

On a related topic, I was not surprised the AFL knocked back the proposed de-listing of Paddy Ryder to give Essendon an additional draft pick. It would have been a good result for the club, but tantamount to draft manipulation.

Now that it is inevitable that Paddy is going, my son will have to remove the badge from his jumper and send it over to Port Adelaide. The situation at Essendon seems to be lurching from bad to worse. What player would want to come to that club the way things are at the moment? Even Jason Winderlich, who grew up an Essendon supporter and was not involved in the supplements saga wants to go! I cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel at the moment and this is a club that played finals this year!

I watched the NRL Grand Final last week and it was a lot more competitive than the AFL equivalent. Although South Sydney did eventually blow Canterbury out of the water, the game was in the balance until about half way through the second half. The game apparently rated higher than the AFL Grand Final and there has been a renewed push for the AFL to play its Grand Final at night. As much as the ratings would be better, I hope the AFL retain the afternoon time slot, but money does dictate the terms in sport these days and it is probably inevitable that the AFL Grand Final will be played at night or the early evening before too long. The first AFL night final was in 1993 so we are probably lucky that it has lasted in the afternoon for so long.

The Spring Racing Carnival is really starting to pick up with Caulfield Guineas Day this Saturday. This is one of the best days on the racing calendar and should Rich Enuff emerge as the winner of the Guineas this weekend, we may have found the star of the carnival. To date no horse has stamped their authority on the Spring and racing really does need stars to bring people to the races. Weight For Age racing looks a bit thin this year and if Rich Enuff can get through he would be highly fancied in the Cox Plate. He looks the logical winner with Looks Like the Cat the one that could knock him off without being a big upset.

Have a great weekend!

10 years on, Michael Phelps has learned nothing

phelpsIn 2004, the same year as the Athens Olympic Games, Michael Phelps was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and he was placed on probation without a conviction being recorded. Wind forward ten years and once again Phelps is in hot water having been charged with a second DUI (he allegedly blew 0.14, well over the 0.08 limit in Maryland).

As if that wasn’t bad enough, he was also charged with excessive speed (allegedly recorded at 84mph in a 45mph zone) and crossing double lane lines meaning he was a big danger to other road users at the time.

Like most high profile athletes, Phelps has followed the usual route after tangling with the law. He is taking time out from his chosen field of sports endeavour to attend a course (or two). In Phelps case, so he can (reportedly) ‘better understand himself’.

There’s only one thing Phelps needs to understand here and that is drinking and driving is illegal. End of discussion.

In swimming, if you change lanes during a race, you are disqualified. It is disturbing that USA swimming don’t see this set of circumstances as disqualifiable as they are allegedly taking no action, notwithstanding this is Phelps’ second offence.

What message is that sending to the rest of society?

Friday musing – AFL, Robert Flower, Essendon FC & more…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell my first comment has to be about the shock regarding the passing of Robert Flower. He is one of my most admired players from other clubs and I always felt he was stiff to miss out on a Brownlow. He had all the attributes to win the codes greatest individual honour, however, playing for a side that was nearly always in the bottom half of the ladder probably worked against him. I think he came third twice which was probably a significant achievement in itself. The Melbourne Football Club has suffered more than its fair share of tragedies have the last couple of years and for another icon of the club to pass away too early is just not fair. Vale Robert Flower.

Secondly the Essendon situation has taken a further turn this week. I did not hold out high hopes for the Federal Court application on the basis that the club had self reported and had submitted to the process, but was encouraged in the running by some reported poor performances by witnesses for ASADA and the AFL. Justice Middleton was not so persuaded and I can understand the club now wanting to move to the next stage and not appeal. Why James Hird now wants to take this on does really not make much sense to me and if he persists I would not blame the club for terminating his contract. I have really swung around to the need for Bomber Thompson to stay at the club with or without Hird. James is the clubs greatest living player and carries a lot of sentiment for everyone associated with the club, but you do not put the individual before the club. Despite it not being right, I am getting to the stage where I think the players should take the ASADA deal just to bring it to a conclusion.

Thirdly, how boring was the Grand Final! When you are a non-aligned supporter you want to see a good game and I kept watching thinking that the momentum would swing to the Swans at some stage and it never did. I thought Jordan Lewis would have been a worthy Norm Smith Medalist, but you could have raffled it between him, Mitchell and Hodge. It was interesting that Sydney’s best two players were Franklin and Kennedy and they used to play for Hawthorn! The Box Hill Hawks also played off in the VFL Grand Final, so it says something about their depth and now they look like getting James Frawley. I know they lost Franklin which freed up a lot of their salary gap, but how can they keep getting good players from other clubs and paying them accordingly?

Hopefully the NRL Grand Final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs is a better spectacle this weekend.

Have a great weekend!