Tag Archives: a-league

Friday musing – Adam Voges, flares at A League games…..

Chris Barwin HillsI was interested to see that after Adam Voges had a lucky reprieve last week after being bowled on an incorrect call of “no ball”, that some of the commentators were calling for him to be given out in these circumstances.  This was based on the circumstances where the batsman is given “not out’ when it is later discovered that the vogesbowler has over stepped. I must say as much as I am usually more in the bowler’s camp than the batsman’s camp, this does not make sense and should not even be considered. When the batsman gets the call of “no ball”, his reaction is to have a go at the delivery with impunity and the level of application and concentration changes. It may be that the batsman does not even pick up the call and they don’t change their shot, but that would be impossible to adjudicate on. Leave things be for goodness sake!

We had the second instance of flares at an A-League game in the last two weeks and I must say I just don’t get it. Flares seem to be part of flaresthe unwanted fabric of soccer but make no appearance at any other sporting contest in this country. I don’t understand the rationale for flares at the soccer. That is not the issue I am looking at today though. Today’s issue is that now both Melbourne Victory and the West Sydney Wanderers could be subject to sabotage by opposition supporters. If it was a question of making the finals or finishing on top, what is going to stop someone dressing up as a Victory or Wanderers’ supporter and setting off a flare? Aside from the responsibility needing to rest with the crowd to retain offenders until security can apprehend them, how about people just generally showing some commonsense and

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Chris Gayle, Big Bash League, A League…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell we are back in the swing of things for the new year and the biggest story in sport this week had nothing to do with the actual sport, but the comments by Chris Gayle to Mel McLaughlin in an interview after his innings in the Big Bash. I did not see the interview live, but heard it replayed the following day. My initial thought was chris gaylethat it could have been a set up given Gayle’s playboy image, but was assured that McLaughlin was not comfortable with it. There is no excuse for Gayle, what he did was wrong and it warranted a fine and he won’t be asked back so he has cooked his own goose, but did it warrant the analysis that it got? The ABC ran a story on the 7.30 Report and it was the hot topic on talk back radio. No one died and no one was physically hurt or threatened and whilst I am sure Mel McLaughlin didn’t appreciate the comments or the attention the incident created, let’s keep it in perspective. Obviously a slow news day.

This was not unlike the Dustin Martin, chopstick incident where the martinmedia pushed the story, whilst the woman who was threatened, did not want to make too big a deal of it. Having said that, the Martin incident would appear to be a lot worse than what Chris Gayle said. On the scale of transgressions, I think being physically threatened is worse than inappropriate language.

In the meantime, the Big Bash has gone from strength to strength and I doubt that Cricket Australia will get better crowds for the ODI series against India. 80,000 at the MCG for a domestic 20/20 game is amazing and the scheduling is perfect for night time viewing. I don’t have a team, I like both the Melbourne teams with a leaning towards the Renegades, but that could be a reaction against the Eddie Maguire aligned Stars.

I went to the soccer at Skilled Stadium last night and there was another good crowd in attendance. I think there is a bit of a push to have an A-League or a Big Bash team based in Geelong. I believe marinersthere is enough interest down here, but I am not sure if there would be enough corporate support. That being said there seems to be enough crowd support to warrant more A-League fixtures and Big Bash games once Skilled Stadium has been upgraded.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Jose Mourinho, Louis Van Gaal, A League, West Indies….

Chris Barwin HillsWell the Chelsea manager’s job continues to be a poisoned chalice with Jose Mourinho being moved on by the same Club for a second josetime the year after he took the title. It is pretty clear his team is not playing for him and being on the brink of the relegation zone, it did look to be inevitable and a case of when, not if.

Sticking with the EPL, Louis Van Gaal has also come in for some stick louisas well. While Manchester United have not been winning, they certainly haven’t been conceding many goals with the least “goals against” in the League so I don’t think it is all doom and gloom or as bad as the situation at Chelsea.

On the local scene we have the big local A League derby this weekend with Melbourne City coming off three very impressive wins as Unknown-4opposed to Melbourne Victory coming off three disappointing losses. The form guide couldn’t be more opposite. Personally I would like to see City continue their winning ways as they have been quite entertaining slotting the goals away at a consistent rate.

The Hobart test match finished, as predicted by most of the pundits, smithwith an easy victory to the Australians. I think it is time the ICC stepped into the West Indies situation to provide more finance and support. Cricket needs a strong West Indian team as they are the only test playing “nation” in that part of the world and like the AFL commission fostering football in the northern states, the ICC have the same responsibility to world cricket.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Golf, Cricket, Soccer……..

Chris Barwin HillsWell not only is Jordan Spieth the number one golfer in the world, he is also the number one tipster in the world having tipped Matt Jones to win the Australian Open title last weekend. Knowing that Jones is a jonesfriend of his and that he had tipped him to win, it got me thinking if Spieth had allowed Jones to win, not necessarily consciously, but maybe unconsciously. Watching the final hole with an eagle chance to put him into a play off, Spieth’s putt looked a little unconvincing. Putting aside my conspiracy theory, a great effort by Jones holding off the world number 1 in Spieth and a former world number 1 in Adam Scott.

The final test against the Kiwi’s in Adelaide last weekend nevillbreathed some life into the cricket despite it only going for three days. Finally the ball carried sway with the top score of only 66 being made by Peter Nevill the Australian keeper. The day/night concept was an undoubted success, but common sense should dictate that not every Test should be played in that format.

The Kiwi’s continued to fair badly with the DRS with Nathan Lyon getting a reprieve. The ICC has since come out and advised that the decision was wrong, however, the third umpire has to be absolutely sure if he is going to overturn the officiating umpires decision and 1440188864611there was certainly some doubt in my mind. The other decision which I think requires some review was the decision to send Mitchell Starc out to bat in the dying stages of the game. I had no problem with Starc going out there and trying to belt a few boundaries, but why not send him in before Peter Siddle and not when there was one ball to go in the over. Fortunately it didn’t matter and Australia got home.

Melbourne City have strung together two 5-1 results in a row in the mooyA-League and they should make hay before the January transfer window, because if Aaron Mooy is not picked up by a European side I would be very surprised. He appears to be a class above his opponents and deserves a chance for higher honours.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – A-League final, AFL, Mick Malthouse, NBA Playoffs, Andrew Bogut…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe biggest thing in local sport in the last week was the A-League grand final and what a comprehensive result for the Melbourne Victory. They were aggressive and positive from the start and played almost the complete game. Sydney FC only had two real shots on goal and both went straight to the keeper. Speaking of the keeper, Lawrence Thomas, in my far from expert opinion, he is better than
the injured Nathan Coe so they didn’t lose anything there. I think in Unknown-4the previous week Melbourne City put more pressure on the Victory defence for the same score line. This is perhaps the most complete side to take out the title and while they lost and drew a few games during the year that they should have won, it was evident that if they clicked no other side in the competition could beat them. Mark Milligan was a deserved winner of the Joe Marston Medal and it is surprising that he has not find greater success overseas.

In the AFL it is interesting to see the issue about the head high tackles and the tactics employed by the likes of Lindsay Thomas in drawing free kicks. I raised this issue earlier in the year and players Unknown-3that drop their knees and dip/raise their shoulders are almost impossible for the umpires to detect even though it is the equivalent of ducking the head. I think it is unfair to be critical of the likes of Thomas, the Selwoods, Shoey and Puopolo when coaches from all teams should be teaching the players the same tricks. Every supporter hates when these frees are paid against them, but delight when they go in their favour.

The heat on Mick Malthouse continues and it reminded me of when Ron Barassi went back to Melbourne. He had been successful at two clubs, but could not work his magic a third time. I think the main issue at Carlton is their atrocious disposal. They win the ball in Unknown-2contested situations and then give it straight back to the opposition. I think they could be a sneaky chance tonight against Geelong, but I am still not prepared to pick them. My upset for the round is the Saints to topple West Coast.

The NBA finals are entering the final phases and wouldn’t it be great Unknownif the Golden State Warriors played off against the Cleveland Cavaliers so we could be guaranteed an Australian was on the winning side. Andrew Bogut v Matthew Dellavadova. From a personal point of view I Unknown-1would like to see the Golden State Warriors win the title for Andrew Bogut given his constant battles with injury he deserves the reward.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – WADA wades in with an appeal in the Essendon supplements saga, A League final…

Chris Barwin HillsWell Tuesday morning I awoke from my slumbers to the news that I had not anticipated. WADA had lodged an appeal against the AFL Tribunal’s decision in the Essendon supplements saga. I had not considered that WADA would have much interest in a domestic sport where the team under investigation had not actually won anything, as opposed to the Lance Armstrong/Marion Jones cases.

This seems to be very much driven by ASADA’s Ben McDevitt as it is hard to see why WADA would instigate an appeal without a strong push from him. I must say his comments after the original decision 1427929273480was handed down smacked of sour grapes. In addition, if the case is as flimsy as was reported, it is hard to see why an international body would want to touch it. The big concern is still the very low standard of proof required.

Another confounding issue here is the innocence of the players. I don’t think any one thinks the players knowingly took a banned substance. I am sure the club didn’t sanction banned substances, so if banned substances were administered (and I understand there is no direct evidence that they were) why continue to pursue this matter?

There is no doubt the club should have taken more care to ensure that the records and the substances were all properly approved and documented, but the club has been dealt with by the AFL. What has Unknowncome out this week was that there was a spreadsheet as to what the club believes was administered. This should put to one side the comments that the club didn’t even know what was administered to the players, because clearly they knew what they believed was administered and anything else would have been administered without their knowledge and consent.

It is quite ironic that revelations regarding the use of stem cell injections to aid recovery from injury came out in the same week that WADA decided to appeal. I resolve not to make any further comments on this sorry issue until CAS decide on the appeal.

Moving away from this blight on the local sporting landscape to the A-League grand final, it would have been interesting to see what sort of crowd they may have got if the game was to be played at the graham-arnoldMCG. I have heard suggestions of 70,000 and that would not be out of the realms of possibility and would match the expected crowd for the Richmond -v- Collingwood game at the same venue. Either way you would think that the game would still attract a greater audience than the Western Bulldogs -v- Freemantle game at Etihad Stadium.

I am hoping for a Melbourne Victory win and while a lot of the focus has been on their strike power up forward, I think the key to this game will be the captain, Mark Milligan. Should the Victory win, I think he is every chance to be named the Joe Marston medalist.

Have a great weekend!

3 thoughts on Thursday

Coors lightWith the Easter weekend looming, sport is definitely in the headlines!

Sitting in fourth spot on the A League table, Perth Heat are facing allegations that they have ‘significantly’ exceeded the salary cap due to the Club paying $150,000.00 into a bank account held by a family Unknownmember for striker Andy Keogh. The payment was found after a forensic examination of the Heat’s accounts by Football Federation Australia. At present the Club is one point off the lead and if it loses points because of this that will be the end of thoughts of playing in the finals.

There is nothing to gain and everything to lose by not complying with the rules.

ASADA indicate there is a possibility it will appeal the decision by the AFL Anti-Doping Tribunal in the Essendon supplements scandal. They have twenty-one days to make that decision and until it is 1427929273480decided, one way or the other, the whole of the football world will continue to be fixated on the topic. Regrettably, it has shifted the spotlight off the AFL’s opening round.

If ASADA proceed with an appeal, I hope Ben McDevitt has more evidence than was produced to the Tribunal.

The incoming Chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board is looking at reducing the number of days in a Test match from five to four with play starting at 10.30am on each day and the bowling side Unknown-1being required to bowl 105 overs per day. The rationale is to save on costs. What is left unsaid is that today’s society doesn’t have the concentration span to grapple with a five day event. Reducing the time of play by only one day won’t cure that.

Another example of less is more this week (see also AFL players looking at a 17 game season). Where can I get a job where I get paid the same or more for less work?

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!

Friday musing – Socceroos, Asian Cup……

Chris Barwin HillsLike a lot of other people around Australia I watched the Asian Cup Final from Sydney on Saturday night.

What a great game!

I think we can now say that this team has created it’s own history and we can start to move on from the achievements of the 2006 World Cup squad. I am not suggesting they are as good as that team, but they have definitely established themselves as a team on the rise. Perhaps on Saturday night they were not as technically good as a the South Koreans, but they defended as well as I have seen an Australian team defend and created enough chances to win the game. It was also good to see a number of A League players playing key roles in the win.

Ange Postecoglou has consistently requested that the team be judged on their performance in the Asian Cup on home soil and not on their lead up form overseas. As most of the pundits have tim cahillobserved, he has been vindicated.

The Asian Federation is not strong compared to other federations around the world so the friendly coming up in Germany later this year may well give an indication of how far the team has progressed.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Socceroos, Tim Cahill, Asian Cup……..

Chris Barwin HillsI was watching the friendly between the Socceroos and Japan during the week and I considered that Australia created the best of the chances in the first half, but didn’t have sufficient strike power or effectiveness to take advantage of those chances.

It would seem that if Tim Cahill is not on the park, we can’t score. I did hear one “expert” suggest that reason was related to the Dutch system of total football which does not produce strikers. I felt like ringing up and offering the names of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben. I think that as a the A League tim cahillimproves and it is improving, more strikers will come to the fore. I raised the name of Tommy Juric last year and I still think he has the most potential of the younger brigade. Watching the game also got to me to thinking about how many of the current national squad would make it into the 2006 World Cup squad. Putting aside Tim Cahill, I think perhaps only Mile Jedinak could justify inclusion.

The next big test is the Asian Cup and it is on home soil so there will be no excuses.

Have a great weekend!