All posts by sportzfan

Weekend musing – AFL, sledging, EPL final week……

There have been instances of good sportsmanship and bad sportsmanship in the AFL last weekend.

On the good side it was pleasing to see Dyson Heppell and Joel Selwood chair James Kelly off after last weeks game to celebrate Kelly’s 300th game.

On the flip side, you had the sledging allegations levelled at St Kilda players for targetting Marc Murphy in the game against Carlton targeting. This is a difficult issue and hard to assess and monitor. By drawing attention to the sledging and the content of the sledging, it brought to light rumours that I and a lot of other footy fans who aren’t on social media sites were not aware of. Where do you draw the line when it does not involve issues that are currently in the code of conduct?

Another good story in the AFL this week is the appointment of the female umpire, Eleni Glouftsis for the Essendon v West Coast game this Sunday. By all reports she has got there on her merits and deserves the chance. Another way of getting females involved in the game of Australia Rules Football.

The EPL concludes this week with Chelsea and Tottenham wrapping up the top two spots before the weekend and Manchester City almost safe in third spot. That leaves Liverpool and Arsenal in the fight for fourth position and the all important Champions League qualification. Liverpool have the easier game, but the Gunners have come with a rush in the last month and are not without some chance of finishing fourth. With Manchester United playing off for the Europa Cup and possible qualification for the Champions League, more may need to play out before the final positions are known. I have had a look at the qualification criteria and it is by no means clear. My personal view is that it would not be a bad thing for the Gunners to miss out on Europe and only concentrate on the League next season. Chelsea and Leicester have won the League in the last two years without having to worry about the Champions League.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Test series wrap, Victoria wins the Sheffield Shield……

Sfan OB6A disappointing end to a very interesting test series in India with Australia capitulating in the second innings of the fourth test. Up until that stage, the series had been evenly poised and was one of the most talked about series in India that I can remember. Steve Smith clearly the star for Australia with the bat and Pat Cummins making a successful comeback to test cricket augurs well for the future. A lot has been made about friendships between the teams being sacrificed in an all out attempt to win. All I’ll say about that is the friendships cannot have been too solid in the first place if a bit of name calling and sledging has brought them undone.

Sticking with cricket, it was great to see the Vics salute again in the Sheffield Shield for a record third straight win. It also must be 81946500remembered that none of the wins have been on home soil. The first win was in Hobart, the second an away win against South Australia and the third was in Alice Springs. It cannot be underestimated how valuable Cameron White has been as Captain of the Bushrangers. His experience and tactical ability has come to the fore once again.

There was an article in the Herald Sun this week discussing the success of the Victorian horses in Sydney this year. It has been put down to the heavy tracks in Sydney which has meant the Victorian horses are going up there fitter than their northern counterparts. I think there could be a parallel with the two Sydney football teams based on their performances last week. Both Sydney teams played teams from Adelaide where the weather has meant that full training outside has been undertaken, whereas, perhaps the weather in Sydney has meant that a lot of their training has been indoors. Certainly something to keep an eye on in coming weeks.

I am also amazed that various pundits are prepared to write teams off after one round of football. It is a bit like making too many predictions on a pre-season series which doesn’t mean much.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – fourth test in India, Seltun, Sheffield Shield final….

Sfan OB6Great to see the Australian cricket team hang on in the third test in India. Peter Handscombe obviously took my previous musing to heart and produced his best innings of the tour and in the context of the series, perhaps the best innings of his fledgling career. I think thishanscomb is probably the first time since the third test of the 2005 Ashes series when the Australian team has batted out a day to save a test. On that occasion Ricky Ponting batted nearly the whole day and we escaped with a draw with one wicket in hand. The Indians really took the game away from Australia on Sunday and to hang on as we did was a great effort and keeps a very interesting series alive going into this weekend for the fourth and final test of the series.

I was tickled on last weekend to see the horse Gingernuts salute in Sydney. Being a chestnut gelding this is quite a creative name by the owners and I am surprised it got through the authorities. It reminds me of the horse Seltun which is Nutles(s) backwards.

It is interesting that this weekend we have two sporting finals where the host team is playing away from home. The Victorian Bushrangers have made a habit of it recently and are hosting South 81946500Australia in Alice Springs in the Sheffield Shield final and in the AFLW we have Brisbane Lions hosting Adelaide Crows on the Gold Coast. As Victoria has won the last two Shield’s perhaps it is a winning formula, but clearly not ideal for local cricket fans. This scenario was apparent at the start of the season, however, the AFLW grand final is a bit more embarrassing for all concerned. The groundsmen in control of the Gabba apparently see their primary job to prepare the ground for the first test match of the year and AFL football takes a back seat. Leigh Matthews has said that this situation has existed since the Brisbane Lions started playing there and perhaps now with the Queensland state government getting involved, football might be treated a bit better.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Test cricket, twilight Grand Final, Nick Kyrgios, Golden Slipper…..

Sfan OB6Well it is lucky the Australian cricket selectors do not pay any attention to my musings, with Glenn Maxwell bringing up a century batting at number six in the third test in India. I had thought that Ashton Agar was the better option as a spinner/batsman, but http---prod.static9.net.au-_-media-2017-03-17-16-12-maxwell3_1703a_1000Maxwell has now grabbed his chance. Steve Smith has again been impressive and continues to push his case for the best batsman in the world at the moment. Peter Handscomb has been a little disappointing. After his four tests in Australia where he excelled he has now returned scores of 22, 19, 16, 24 & 19 so he has a got a start in each innings and failed to go on. I am not suggesting he should be dropped, but he needs to convert a start into something more substantial. Fingers crossed the Aussies can get the job done in this test and put the acid back on the Indians.

In the AFL a twilight grand final appears to be an inevitability. Now that Mike Fitzpatrick has stood down as AFL Chairman, I think Gillon McLachlan will be ensuring this goes through. I like mclachlan-change-620x370xxthe day grand final, but I am certainly not against a twilight match. I would not be in favour of a night grand final as I think it would detract from the functions and BBQs that people have based around the current fixture but that could transfer to a twilight time slot, but a later start would not be as conducive.

Australia’s richest race for 2yo, the Golden Slipper is on this Horse-Catchy-103462-636x424weekend and it is a shame that a heavy track is likely. My tip is the Blue Diamond winner, Catchy, as long as she handles the track conditions.

Nick Kyrgios beat Novak Djokovic for the second time in a row and I think most Australians would like to see him turn around his “on court” behaviour and focus his attentions on playing as he obviously has a special talent. He just needs to harness it!

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Test cricket, JLT Community Series……

Sfan OB6The Australian test team did us proud in India last week after I had speculated that they registered an below par score in the first innings. As it turned out, Australia’s score in the first innings surpassed India’s match total. Clearly India prepared a pitch to suit externaltheir bowlers and were hoist on their own petard. Steve O’Keefe did an amazing job to take 12/70, but the real test comes in backing it up. Most cricket followers will recollect Jason Krejza took 12 wickets in his first test in India and then played only one further test match and finished with an average of 43.23. Everyone also knows the Bob Massie story. After taking 16 wickets in his first test against Englad he only played 5 more test matches for another 15 wickets. I hope O’Keefe can back it up as, if he does, it will go a long way towards winning the series.

With the JLT Community pre-season competition now in full swing I am always amazed that people are prepared to bet on the Unknownpremiership and brownlow medal on the back of pre-season form. These are practice matches where clubs are experimenting, building up players fitness and trying out rookies. There is no real pressure and winning and losing have the same end result. Last year a lot of Collingwood supporters got excited on the back of three convincing pre-season wins and they were considered certainties to play finals. By the end of the season they had only nine wins and finished twelveth. Yes they had some injuries to key players during the year, but did not live up to their pre-season form.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – T20 v Sri Lanka, first Test in India, more supplement scandal….

Chris Barwin HillsLast Sunday Geelong hosted an international sporting event being the T20 game between Australia and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately the day was less than ideal for cricket with a lot of rain falling. This obviously deterred some of the crowd, but not the Sri Lankan supporters. There was approximately 13,500 people in attendance and I would roughly estimate that two thirds of the crowd were Sri Lankan fans. The game was good, with Australia failing to australia-v-sri-lanka-2nd-t20_1aa318fa-f6a0-11e6-800c-c780129a337acapitalise on a good start and probably fell 15-20 runs short of what I thought was a par score. The last 4 wickets fell cheaply and they could not get Moises Henriques back on strike. The Sri Lankan innings started poorly with the loss of early wickets, then they consolidated. With three overs to go they still needed 2-3 runs a ball but then Gunaratne cut loose. Moises Henriques came on to bowl the 18th over having been Australia’s most economical bowler to that time. His first ball was a dot, the next three went for sixes and he conceded 21 runs for the over and Sri Lanka went on to win on the last ball of the night which also went for six. Gunaratne was the architect behind the win and he did so playing proper cricket shots. It was a good night and there were no rain delays so those that stayed away missed a very good match.

Meanwhile, in India, the main Australian team started the Test series on Thursday. Australia won the toss and the top order all got starts with only Matt Renshaw going on to post a half century. Mitchell externalStarc later added some respectability with a half century of his own. I have always thought that if you bat first in a test match, that a score of 350+ is par. Australia fell short of that total but made up for it on the second day with an excellent spell with the ball. Steve O’Keefe’s six wickets in 24 balls has put Australia in the box seat to take this first Test and now they must rely on their batsmen to set India a big total to catch.

On Friday morning the sporting world was again burdened with further instalment in the Essendon supplements saga with news of aPaul-Little recording of a meeting that, the then president Paul Little says he
didn’t know was being recorded. Surely this now becomes a police matter if people are being recorded without their knowledge and consent. It is unfortunate that this saga continues to generate ‘news’ as I am heartily sick of it all. How about we concentrate on what is now happeneing on the football field.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL captaincy issues, Grant Hackett……

Chris Barwin HillsI was a little surprised by a couple of the AFL captaincy announcements during the week. Interesting that Nat Fyffe has taken over from David Mundy after he had only one year in the role at Fremantle. The other was Jack Viney joining Nathan Jones as a fyffe
co-captain at Melbourne. By all reports at Fremantle, Fyffe is not the most popular of players, but in a year when he comes off contract he is made captain. I know Freo had a bad year last year, however, nothing filtered through about Mundy’s captaincy, so to be replaced after a year is a big surprise to me. A slightly different story at Melbourne where Nathan Jones was not replaced, but was joined by Viney, which also comes as some shock. For some time before being made captain, Jones was considered the leader at the club and having skippered Melbourne to a promising season last year, he has been effectively demoted. Seems like a bit of a slap in the face for Nathan Jones.

Very sad to read about the continued spiral out of control by Grant Hackett. I remember an interview with him when he was on the way up, but still had not won anything of note and he was a very hackettimpressive individual who seemed to have his head screwed on right. He went on to have a stellar career and looked to have the world at his feet. Tim Watson spoke of his initial meeting with him at Channel 7 and said he had not met anyone as impressive as Hackett. It goes to show that sportsmen without the sport are vulnerable, even those that appear to do all the right things. It also shows that substance abuse doesn’t play favourites and can ruin anyone’s life. I hope for his sake and that of his family that he gets through it.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Dawn of the AFWL!

Sfan OB6I watched a bit of the womens football last weekend and I was impressed with the degree of physicality exhibited. The standard of skill varied and it reminded me of watching a boys underage match where a third of the team were pretty good, the next third were okay and the final third were making up the numbers.

This is to be expected when the teams have sourced players from a variety of different sports and it will take time to raise the overall skill level to an acceptable standard. Some of the players were absolute stand outs like Carlton’s Darcy Vescio and the Bulldogs Katie Brennan.

It will be interesting to see how they go for crowds once the patrons have to pay, but in the meantime the concept helps fill the void between football seasons and I for one will continue to watch it.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Australian Open, Garry Lyon on radio, Darren Gauci retires…..

Chris Barwin HillsLast weekend we had the women’s and men’s finals in the Australian Open tennis tournament and each participant was aged over 30. The
272647-roger-federer-wins-australian-open average age across both finals was 34. This surely must be some sort of record. Open officials probably couldn’t believe their luck after the early exit of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with the Williams’ sisters, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal making it through to the final days of the tournament.

We had the much heralded return to the spotlight of Garry Lyon this e1f12fd5f6f40a0470b3f704d5f66570week on the re-vamped SEN breakfast show and I must say, to date, I am significantly under whelmed. It would want to improve significantly to stay on the air!

Darren Gauci retires from the saddle this weekend and what a great career he has had. He was a boom apprentice in his early days and darrengauciayersrockucistakes_630x368dmacunfortunately, a number of falls impacted on him later in his career. He was always regarded as one of the best riders of front runners and still got rides even though he was past his best due to his ability to rate a horse out the front. The statistics show that he won 10% of his rides and was placed in nearly 30%. That is a pretty good strike rate.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Test Cricket, Big Bash, Chris Lynn……

Sfan OB6Continuing on my theme from last week, the Australian test team performed a miracle by winning the Second Test bowling the Pakistanis out for less than 200 in the second innings. Given the red flags from Steve Smith comments at the end of day 4 and the Pakistani capitulation on the final day I was surprised that nobody in the media raised an eyebrow over the result. More so when you consider the time lost to rain and the docile nature of the pitch. It was a big surprise to see Australia win.

I watched Chris Lynn playing for the Brisbane Heat last night and his hitting has to be seen to be believed. He equalled the record for the number of 6’s in a T20 innings at 11 and with Brendon McCallumunknown reached the Perth Scorchers score with ease. The Big Bash has again attracted the public’s attention and the batting of Lynn has set the tournament alight. Hopefully he remains fit for the international T20 game against Sri Lanka in Geelong on 19 February 2017 and I will be able to see him in person.

Have a great weekend!