Gelding’s red hot tips for Caulfield on 28 February 2015

gelding teeThe Gelding’s attention is firmly at Caulfield tomorrow and the running of the Blue Diamond Stakes.

After some near misses last week (a winner and three placings) he is looking to make some slight adjustments so as to have a big winning day.

Caulfield

Race 2 Horse 1 – Bonaria
Race 5 Horse 1 – Dissident (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 6 Horse 2 – Happy Trails
Race 7 Horse 16 – Earthquake
Race 8 Horse 8 – Fontiton (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Friday musing – NAB Challenge, AFL, cricket, ICC World Cup….

Chris Barwin HillsThis week the NAB Challenge commenced and the AFL has decided to trial four field umpires. I have no particular problem with the trial of four field umpires, however, why not trial using the boundary umpires and/or goal umpires assisting with the decision making. Often times the boundary/goal umpires are in the best position to see infringements, particularly those behind play and to me it makes more sense to use what you have got instead of adding more ingredients to the pudding.

The ICC World Cup continues to roll on and I must say with most of the games being covered by Foxtel, there is very little discussion and very little vibe around the place regarding the tournament. I think the organisers have made a mistake by not showing games, other than those involving Australia on free-to-air television. Imagine the free-to-air audience for the India v Pakistan and the India v South Africa games and the number of people that would have tuned in once news about Chris Gayle’s innings during the week got out. The Big Bash did it very well having a game on most nights and the World Cup could have tapped into that interest.  A chance lost in my opinion.

Have a great weekend!

3 things to contemplate on a Friday – Arsenal, NRL, Tiger Woods

Feb 20 2011 0061. Being an Arsenal fan is a tough gig. Having risen to third place in the Premier League, the Gunners had the ‘user friendly’ Monaco as their last sixteen opponent in the Champions League yesterday and a home ground advantage. The unexpected 1-3 result now leaves Arsene Wenger’s team the task of winning by at least 3-0 away to make the final eight.

Coach Wenger described the team’s play as ‘It looks like we lost our nerve and rationality’.

Arsenal are the true Jekyll and Hyde team if you compare this performance with the stunning win away against title contenders Manchester City several weeks ago.

Life is certainly a roller coaster for the fans.

2. NRL boss Dave Smith is kidding himself if he believes his recent mantra ‘Let’s keep it in perspective’, regarding the drug woes of five of the Gold Coast Titan’s players, is how we should see the issue. Five players make up 16% of the list and two of those players in Greg Bird and David Taylor are State of Origin representatives. In addition, the issue precipitated the NRL taking over the Club.

With the press indicating that there may be further names revealed by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission including implications for League players across the border in NSW, I think we have enough of the perspective to know this is not a small matter!

3. Tiger Woods has completed his first golf course design – that is good news for the former World number one. With his golf game struggling (he hit a career high 82 two weeks ago) and his physical health in question (a back injury prevented him finishing a recent tournament at Torrey Pines), it seems like time for Tiger to take on less onerous pursuits that don’t require swinging a club to make a living.

As predicted on Sportsman Radio several years ago, Jack Nicklaus’ career majors win total is in no danger at all!

A lot of talk but not much substance to Hayne’s move to the NFL

meI have said before that there is a lot of smoke and mirrors to Jarryd Hayne’s attempted move from the NRL to the NFL.

Over the last few days the Hayne PR machine has ramped up again this time telling us that he is soon to select a team and sign with possibly the Detroit Lions or the San Francisco 49ers. There is also news that up to eight NFL teams including the Green Bay Packers and the current Champion New England Patriots have requested a tape of his pro day work out.

One needs to understand that NFL clubs spend a great deal of time researching players and have hundreds and hundreds of tapes so the fact that a club has asked for the tape is little indication of anything except Hayne is being considered along with hundreds of other players.

Should Hayne be signed by an NFL club it is a risk free look for any club. I say that as there won’t be any guaranteed money, it will be for the minimum contract amount and, unlike in Australia, the day you get cut is the day the Club no longer pays you. That’s the end of the contract.

Following the NFL draft in April 2015, each NFL team will have over 100 players on their roster made up of players already on contract, players drafted in April, free agents made up of undrafted players and those who have been cut from club lists at the end of the 2014 season and people like Hayne who sign a ‘futures deal’.

Importantly for any contracted player, there are two roster cuts that must be made by each team. One in mid August 2015 when lists are pared down to 75 and then another a week later when the roster is further reduced to just 53 players. Meaning a team must reduce its list by just under 50%.

Some reports from NFL scouts indicate that Hayne is too slow, doesn’t know the game and at best could make a practice squad. He will need to overcome a lot to make a final list!

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to see Hayne make it in the NFL. It would be refreshing though if the rose coloured glasses were taken off for a while and the size of the task is acknowledged.

My advice to Jarryd is to select a team very, very carefully!

Titans in major state of disrepair…can NRL intervention fix that?

Feb 20 2011 006The Gold Coast hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Rugby League. There have been three prior attempts at life on the Gold Coast in the form of the Giants, Seagulls & Chargers between 1988 & 1998. It is fair to say that not one of those teams covered themselves in glory and each one ended in failure.

As a comparator, Brisbane Broncos and Newcastle Knights were also admitted in the same year of 1988 and they have won eight premierships between them.

The NRL sought to revive the Gold Coast push and introduced the Titans in 2007. It is arguable that they are an upgrade on the three prior teams, having made the finals in 2009 and 2010. However, they have struggled to retain stability in their playing list and flashy signings haven’t worked out for them ie. Jamal Idris leaving after two years of a five year contract. That combination has led to the inevitable decline in crowd numbers over the last three seasons.

Since late 2014, the Club has made headlines for all the wrong reasons starting off with the Club being unable to afford to remain at their ‘Centre of Excellence’ base at Robina due to an inability to afford the rent. They are currently in temporary accommodation and still looking for an administration and training home just a week away from the start of the NRL season. If that was not enough, the Titans are without a major sponsor for the 2015 season and given recent media attention, are unlikely to find one thereby exacerbating financial pressures.

With two strikes on the scoresheet, the third strike came in the form of a number of players being charged by the Queensland Crime Commission with drug charges. Some of those charged, Greg Bird, David Taylor, Kalifa Faifai Loa and Beau Falloon would have formed an important part of the team in 2015 and have all been stood down until further notice. They could well miss the entire season.

Checking Nick Tedeschi’s NRL Punter’s Guide, he says as follows of those players:

Bird – Blue chip player – one of the strongest runners in the game, a staple of the Australian and NSW teams, a big game player.
Taylor – was at times devastating in 2014. His freakish combination of size and skill only countered by an equal lack of football intelligence.
Falloon – Club’s top hooker. Had best season in 2014 winning the Club’s player of the year gong.
Loa – Probably third in line for a wing spot but is a better player than Gordon and Mead and should get a look in at some point.

Earlier today, the NRL in the form of CEO Dave Smith indicated that the NRL will be taking over the troubled franchise. He says there are no thoughts of relocation or of winding the team up. Positive sentiments indeed, but the club is a basket case!

One wonders, given what has transpired since the end of the 2014 season, why it took so long for NRL HQ to step in. There were certainly enough indicators for much earlier intervention.

If as expected the Titans have a poor season on field (Tom Waterhouse had them at $6.00 for the wooden spoon – he probably has stopped taking bets on them with recent developments!), sponsors and crowds will stay away and make saving the franchise that much harder. Perhaps the Titans are that badly broken that even the NRL can’t save them.

Professor’s Monday rant – AFL and International Rules…

meThe hybrid game of ‘International Rules’ football (the rules somewhere between Gaelic football and Australian Rules football) played between teams representing the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Australian Football League hasn’t been able to hold the attention of supporters in Australia or Ireland.

The contests date back to 1967 with the first three game series taking place between the teams in 1984. Since then it has had more downs than ups. In 1990 the series was suspended due to crowd ‘lack of interest’ but was resumed in 1998 in a different format with the matches reduced to two. This also failed to interest crowds as did the selecting of an all Indigenous team to represent Australia in 2013. In 2014 the two game format was reduced to one game with the Australian team featuring players selected as All Australians in that year.

That format seemed a first step back from the abyss with the game played at Subiaco where a 30,000+ crowd was attracted. The sensible next step would be to build on the format that had met with approval by the population.

It comes as a surprise then that, notwithstanding the relative success of last year’s format, it is rumoured the next game is set to be played in November in the USA, possibly in New York. The venue mentioned – Central Park…..really? There is no stadium in Central Park…..does the AFL really intend a team of All Australians play an international in a park? As for a stadium to play in, clearly the AFL has forgotten the problems in staging exhibition games there in the past due to the relatively small playing fields in US stadia.

The AFL’s treatment of the concept with such a suggestion indicates to me they don’t really care about international football. One thing for sure, there will be fewer people interested in a hybrid one off game in New York, especially as it will be played at the peak of the NFL season. In addition, I doubt anyone from Australia will pay any attention to it. The only beneficiaries here will be the players and coaches who get a junket to the USA.

The observations made by the GAA’s Paul Earley are close to the mark when he says “I don’t see the logic in playing it in the US to be perfectly honest. I think it has got to establish a foothold again in Ireland and Australia first of all before you take it internationally.”

Now there is a person who should be listened to, if anyone cares!

Gelding’s red hot tips for Flemington on 21 February 2015

Mar 13 2011 021The Gelding’s attention is on Flemington today and after last week’s return of three winners and a second, he is in great form and looking to have another big day on the punt today.

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

Flemington

Race 3 Horse 2 – Wawail (for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 4 Horse 3 – Tawteen
Race 6 Horse 2 – Stratum Star (also for the ladies at the Tennis club)
Race 7 Horse 1 – Lankan Rupee
Race 9 Horse 6 – Inishowen

Good luck and good punting!

The Gelding

Friday musing – Soccer & penalties

Chris Barwin HillsThis week there has been a bit of controversy around penalties in soccer. First there was the Seb Ryall penalty in the Melbourne Victory v Sydney game on the weekend and then the Wayne Rooney penalty in the FA Cup match between Manchester United and Preston during the week.

There have been calls for a video review of penalties and I must say that I support this call. Penalties are often the difference between winning and losing and seem to usually favour the home side.

When a penalty is given there should be absolutely no doubt that it was justified. I know I have been against the DRS in cricket because it often creates as many questions as it answers, but in soccer the video review is usually pretty clear and when in doubt it would simply revert to the referee’s decision.  

Some pundits suggest it may hold up the game, but there are plenty of stoppages in the game anyway so shy not spend a little extra time and get it right.

What are your thoughts?

Have a great weekend!

The Professor’s Thursday rant – AFL player wages & the grass roots

meWestern Bulldog’s President, Peter Gordon has it right when he suggests that more money should be invested in ‘grass roots’ football by the AFL. He said he feared (his word not mine) for the game’s future if significant (again his word) investment is not made at the grass roots level. He cited pressure on developing the next era of players due to inroads being made at junior level by soccer. He should know as he has recently chaired an AFL working group looking at junior participation rates in the west and north west of Melbourne.

Without those junior players and consequent supporters, the slice of the consumer market for the AFL will shrink and its ability to attract big dollars in media rights will be hampered.

Compare Gordon’s thoughts with those of AFLPA CEO Paul Marsh. Marsh thinks it is amazing that only one AFL player, Gary Ablett, made the top 50 of Business Review Weekly top sports earners. He has called for urgent attention to AFL player remuneration to remedy that situation.

Of course, an increase to player wages will reduce any ability for the AFL to invest in grass roots football.

Sportzfan Radio has long argued that professional sports people are well remunerated and gain an equitable portion of the pie already. Consider that the average AFL player receives at least $250,000 per year. In 2014, the average wage in Australia was almost $79,000.00 meaning AFL players, as a rule, are very well remunerated compared to the average Australian. That average wage increased by 2.3% from 2013. I have no argument in sporting people achieving parity with the rest of the Australian full time workforce and receiving the agreed Australian Bureau of Statistics annual increase. However, I perceive that Paul Marsh has a much higher increase in mind.

From where I sit, grass roots football is considerably under resourced and this state of affairs doesn’t look like it will be addressed anytime in the near future. The AFL and the AFLPA would do well to heed the words of Peter Gordon. Failure to do so will invariably lead to a reduction in participation (and supporter) rates and a consequent inability to demand the big figures in future media rights deals. One only needs to look at the NBL as a shining example of a sport that failed to invest at grass roots level and suffered a huge fall from grace with the media.

Perhaps Paul Marsh should should add his voice to those calling for greater investment in the grass roots. That would seem to be the best way for him to ensure he achieves his goal of increased wages for AFL players.

2015 NRL Punter’s Guide

tedeschiSportzfan Radio contributor, Nick Tedeschi has once again put pen to paper to provide an anthology of facts and figures for all Rugby League aficionados with his 2015 Punter’s Guide to the NRL Season.

It has been a described as a must for all NRL fans, and, after a sample read, I must agree!

Not only a no holds barred analysis of each team but also a statistical evaluation and betting appraisal. If you can’t win a fantasy competition using the Guide, I give up! It is also recommended for anyone who is going to wager on the NRL this season.

At $9.95, its value should soon return more than the cost of purchase. To obtain a copy of the Guide go to www.makingthenut.com and follow the easy steps. You won’t regret it!