Gelding’s red hot tips for Rosehill on 28 March 2015

Feb 20 2011 015The Gelding’s attention is on Rosehill tomorrow as the Melbourne metropolitan meeting is at Moonee Valley tonight with a major provincial meeting at Mornington tomorrow.

The Gelding is in top form as he tipped three winners and a third for the Professor at the first meeting at the new Pakenham racecourse yesterday.

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

Rosehill

Race 4 Horse 1 – Catkins (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 5 Horse 1 – Decision Time (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 6 Horse 2 – Set Square
Race 7 Horse 8 – Hartnell
Race 8 Horse 3 – Hauraki

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Friday musing – ICC World Cup, Sheffield Shield, EPL, Golden Slipper….

Chris Barwin HillsWell after six long drawn out weeks we are down to the last two teams in the ICC World Cup and it involves the two co-hosts. The only host team to win on their home turf was India in the previous World Cup. Sri Lanka won as a co-host in 1996, but the final was played in Pakistan. I think Australia should start favourite entering their 7th final, whereas New Zealand are playing their first game outside New Zealand in this tournament, in their first final.

Australia are also playing on the MCG and the Kiwis have not played there for quite some time, so the visitors will be out of their comfort zone. If it is a close game, I think New Zealand could come out on top as they have found a way to win the close ones, but if one side wins comfortably that is more likely to be Australia. I will be at the game on Sunday, so I would like to see a close game with Australia winning!

Turning to domestic cricket it was great to see the Vics get up in the Sheffield Shield during the week, but you have to question the tactics adopted by Western Australia. The WA team had to win the game, however, not only did they not declare towards the end of the fourth day and have thirty minutes at Victoria, they also continued to bat and knock up a further forty to fifty runs on the last day. They had the upper hand and didn’t push their advantage. They had to bowl Victoria out to win the Shield, but did not give themselves every chance to do so. All in all the Bushrangers were a worthy winner.

alexis-sanchez-arsenal-burnley_3223813Looking at the EPL, with Manchester United beating Liverpool during the week, the top four is almost set with eight games remaining. In the next round Arsenal play Liverpool at home and should Liverpool lose that would put them almost out of contention despite their very good form since the new year. Go the Gunners!

On the international stage, I didn’t see the game, but it was great to see Australia draw 2-2 with Germany in the friendly the other night. Maybe they are starting to turn the corner and be in a position to replicate their 2006 results at the next World Cup. Fingers crossed.

Finally, I watched the Golden Slipper last week and without any luck in the running and an average ride from the jockey, Vancouver proved that he was the best 2yo in Australia being able to draw away from the field in the final 50-100m. It was not an easy run and if I 6338076-3x2-700x467was one of the connections I would not be in a hurry to risk him in the Sires Produce Stakes next week. He is a magnificent looking animal and would have breeders licking their lips, so I would be putting him away until the spring.

Have a great weekend!

AFL shorter season will never happen

meSeveral AFL captains have called for a shorter seventeen game competition on the basis of ‘less is more’.

That reduction will never happen for a number of reasons.

The supremos at the AFL, led by Gillon McLachlan would ever willingly agree to reducing the amount of time the sporting community is focussed on Aussie Rules, especially with the soccer and NRL juggernauts willing to step into any vacant space.

In addition, less playing time would hardly be the position to take into the coming broadcast negotiations. I don’t see the media barons agreeing with the team captains that less is more, unless it is for a significantly reduced fee. Let’s face it, with so many AFL clubs struggling financially and reliant on AFL assistance to keep running, the AFL needs as much money from its broadcast rights as possible. The cost of the broadcast rights is currently predicated on eighteen teams playing nine games each weekend over a 23 round regular season and a four week final series.

The final nail in the coffin of this discussion is the AFLPA’s recent call for increased payments for players.  I didn’t detect anything in the words of the AFL captains that indicated any intent for their salaries to be reduced on the basis that less is more. If the broadcast rights reduce, the players wages would also need to be tightened.

Only one question remains to be answered….did the AFL captains really think this concept through? I think not!

Socceroos prove Asian Cup was no fluke

Feb 20 2011 006A scoreline to make all Australians sit up and take notice – Germany 2 Australia 2. The same German team that defeated Brazil 7-1 in a 2014 World Cup semi final.

Sure it was a friendly, but, in 2013 the Socceroos played ‘friendlies’ against Brazil and France and suffered 6-0 defeats in both games – that was enough to get then coach, Pim Verbeek his marching orders. Wind forward eighteen months under the tutelage of Akrusenge Postecoglou and we now see a different more attacking and exciting football team.

The result was even better considering the Socceroos main
attacking weapon, Tim Cahill, missed the game due to injury. In times gone by, Australia would have struggled to put together attacking moves without Cahill in the team. Now, not only are there attacking moves, but we have also put two past the German keeper and led for a period of the game.

A lot to like about where this Socceroos team is going. The other football codes in Australia should be sitting up and taking notice given the much improved fortunes of the national team.

NRL video referrals a joke!

meWith the 2015 NRL season only three rounds old, there have already been too many instances of poor decisions being made by the video referee. One wonders why the NRL has the system if the referees continue to get it wrong.

The NRL Laws and Interpretations regarding video refereeing are straight forward and indicate that, when called upon, the video referee will assess if there is ‘sufficient evidence’ to confirm or overturn the decision made on the field. If there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that the on field ruling is correct, the decision is to be confirmed. Conversely if there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that the decision is incorrect, the decision is to be reversed. If there is ‘insufficient evidence’ the on field decision should be confirmed.

Just looking at the last round, there were three referrals that bear1426851722530 scrutiny. In the first game of the round Manly were awarded a try to Steve Matai after video review. The ruling on the field was ‘no try’. The video evidence did not show anything conclusive and certainly did not provide ‘sufficient evidence’ of a try. When viewed in the light of the NRL Laws, the on field decision should clearly have been maintained. But it wasn’t. Fortunately, the decision did not affect the outcome of the match.

CAsOoOaUgAAguqR.jpg-largeIn the second instance, both the on field referee and the video ref both missed a knock on prior to a Newcastle try, that just about everyone else in the stadium and viewing on television saw. It looked very clear on the video replay. The Knights wen on to defeat the Gold Coast Titans 20-18. The botched call cost the Titans the match and two precious points.

Finally, a try to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was disallowed notwithstanding the video evidence showed the ball was grounded in the corner. Video ref Shayne Hayne agreed with the on field official’s no try decision even though the video showed there were four of Watene-Zelezniak’s fingers on the ball.

NRL referee’s boss Tony Archer, after looking at these decisions conceded the Newcastle decision was incorrect but said there won’tNRL RAIDERS RABBITOHS be a change to the system. I would agree! The Rules relating to video referral are quite sufficient if they are adhered to.  Further education on the Rules needs to be provided to the people who are reviewing the decisions. If that doesn’t lead to improvement, then the NRL needs some new video refs.

Players, coaches and fans all deserve to have consistent interpretations so that they can have confidence in the system. Anything less is not good enough.

Friday musing…young athletes, Grand Prix, ICC World Cup & Ryan Crowley

Chris Barwin HillsI think we all get excited when a young up and coming sportsman or woman comes onto the scene and shows some real potential. Reading about the young sprinter from Tasmania, Jack Hale and the young high jumper from Victoria, Eleanor Patterson does get me a bit excited about two athletes who may establish themselves on the world stage. Hale has a best time for the 100m of 10.13 which was wind assisted and Patterson has a best leap of 1.96m which is only 2cm shy of the national record and, better still, both are still eligible for the world junior championships. These two will be worth keeping an eye on and I understand that Hale will be competing at the Stawell Gift so we will see him competing with open age sprinters sooner rather than later.

I am not a big motor racing fan, but I did sit down and watch a bit of the Grand Prix last weekend. What a procession! If the next few races go in a similar fashion I think even people who are into motor sport will start to drop off Grand Prix racing. The Mercedes car is that much better than everyone else it makes the sport quite boring. The two Mercedes drivers beat the third placed driver by over thirty seconds and lapped Daniel Ricciardo who actually got points for finishing 6th! It has always been a bug bear of mine that a sport is dictated by the equipment and not the sportsman. Put most of Sunday’s drivers in the Mercedes and the positions would have been no different. Where is the sport in that?

Well Sri Lanka are now out of the ICC World Cup, but we may not have seen the last Sri Lankan at the World Cup as I think the now retired Kumar Sangakkara will be named the player of the tournament for his four centuries in a row. What a player and even in his country’s paltry score against Sth Africa he top scored with 45. With form like that I wonder if he will be talked out of retirement.

Ryan Crowley was the big story in AFL circles this week. With the amount of scrutiny now placed on medication and supplements spiked by the ongoing Essendon saga, there really is no excuse. At 31 this could be the end of his career which could put a fair hole in Freemantle’s finals aspirations this year.

Have a great weekend!

Tebow or Hayne….who’ll get closer to making an NFL list?

Feb 27 2011 016With the news that the Philadelphia Eagles have brought former quarterback, Tim Tebow in for a workout, it prompted me to ask whether Tebow or Jarryd Hayne would be more likely to still be around when NFL teams make their final cuts to lists at the end of the pre-season.

You may remember that Tebow, the 2007 Heisman trophy winner, was drafted in the first round of the 2010 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos and started 14 games. In 2011 he took over at quarterback from Kyle Orton and transformed the Broncos from a 1-4 record to Unknownfinish 8-8, a Division title and an unlikely overtime playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. However, when Peyton Manning game to town, Tebow was shipped off to the New York Jets for a fourth round draft selection. Things didn’t work out in New York and Tim soon found himself out of the game.

Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly is currently in the process of reshaping the player list so there is every possibility that Tebow could be signed for the pre-season so that he can show his wares. I doubt Kelly, a former College coach with the Oregon Ducks, is bringing Tebow in for his pocket passing skills but rather for his running and improvisational abilities. If Tebow can make it anywhere, he can make it under a Chip Kelly offence and I rate him as a real chance.

Contrast that with the position of Hayne at the San Francisco 49ers.image A person who has not played in the NFL or, for that matter,  a competitive game of ‘grid iron’ at all. Although his position on the extended list is apparently guaranteed until the last week of training camp, unlike Tebow, he has no body of work to fall back on or reference point for the 49er coaches. Clearly he will need to come up with performances that have a ‘wow’ factor in order to survive through to the season proper.

Las Vegas doesn’t offer odds on whether players will make a list on the basis that some team officials already know the answer to that question.  However, if I could bet, I’d be on Tebow.

Soccer and basketball making inroads on Aussie footy at junior level

100_4274Tucked quietly away on page 19 of the Herald Sun today is a small story that could quite easily be overlooked but its ramifications should resonate very loudly in the halls of power at the AFL.

Eastern Lions Junior Football Club, a club in excess of forty years old, has had to resort to offering fee free football in order to attract young players. In addition, should a player sign up prior to the start of the season, they will be entered in a draw for an iPad or sports voucher.

The Club has needed to take these steps due to the ‘intense’ (their word not mine) competition from soccer and basketball.

Several weeks ago, this column looked at Western Bulldogs President, Peter Gordon’s plea for the AFL to spend more money on grass roots football. As the person leading an AFL working group on junior participation rates, he reasoned that this investment was necessary due to inroads being made by soccer at the junior level.

It would seem that the plight of the Eastern Lions, and no doubt other junior Clubs, bears out exactly what Mr Gordon was saying.

One wonders how long it will take the AFL to react…….hopefully not as long as the NBL!

Gelding’s red hot tips for Super Saturday at Flemington

Mar 6 2011 010The Gelding’s attention is at Flemington this week for the race meeting that is termed ‘Super Saturday’ with featured Group One races, the Newmarket Handicap and the Australian Cup.

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

Flemington

Race 2 Horse 9 – Sistonic
Race 5 Horse 11 – Bottle of Smoke
Race 6 Horse 2 – Terravista (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 7 Horse 3 – Happy Trails
Race 8 Horse 8 – Noble Protector (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Aussie men’s tennis gets much needed shot in arm with Davis Cup win

Coors lightHaving languished in the doldrums for more than enough years (for that read since the mid 1970’s), Australian men’s tennis seems to be on the long road back. That recovery is evidenced not only in the better results during the recent Australian Open, but by the weekend’s 3-2 away win against the Czech Republic in the Davis Cup. Remember the Davis Cup? That trophy Australia has won on 28 prior occasions since it was first competed for in 1900. Recently we have not featured at the top level and even when we have, have usually come away empty handed. This is reflected in the fact that this was Australia’s first win in a Davis Cup tie in the Championship division since 2006.

We at Sportzfan Radio have been rather critical of Bernard Tomic’s seeming inability to keep his mind on the job and play at a level expected with a person of his talent. In Ostrava, Tomic certainly led by example and won both his matches giving him an impressive 14-2 win/loss singles record in Davis Cup play. The tie also saw the emergence of Thanasi Kokkinakis who won his first match and confirmed Australia can now call on a number of talented young players to champion the cause. Although Lleyton Hewitt was used in the doubles match with Sam Groth, Australia’s fortunes no longer solely rest on the ageing Hewitt’s shoulders.

Sure, it can be argued that the Czech Republic were weakened by injuries to Tomas Berdych and Radek Stepanek but Australia also was unable to select talented Nick Kyrgios due to a back injury.

A review of the men’s ATP rankings sees Australia with five men in the top 100 being Kyrgios at #36, Tomic at #38, Groth at #69, Marinko Matosevic at #72 and Hewitt at #98. Contrast this with the fact that several years ago, we did not have one player in the top 100 and it is easy to see why results have improved.

Australia now hosts Kazakhstan in a mouth watering quarter final and given the team’s form look set for a long run in the 2015 tournament.