In this first of a series of Sportzfan Interviews, the Professor talks with former College and NBL player, Axel Dench about his career in basketball and as Merumeru in Star Wars 3, Revenge of the Sith. In a career that included a March Madness trip to the Elite Eight with
Gonzaga, a Championship in his first year with Wollongong Hawks plus the 2001 NBL Rookie of the Year award, he believes he peaked early. A shoulder injury hampered his development and he eventually bounced around Europe until returning to Australia to play with the Melbourne Tigers in 2007.
Whilst he enjoyed playing at elite level in basketball, it wasn’t until his taste of Hollywood in Revenge of the Sith that he discovered he had a love for acting and movies. His one regret is that he declined another movie role to accept a three year contract with the Melbourne Tigers only to be released after one year to free up player points.
You can hear the full interview at https://soundcloud.com/sportzprofessor/the-sportzfan-interviews-axel-dench
07 October 2012 266.2 – Daniel continues with his preview of the NBL season. He thinks Sydney Kings will finish on the bottom and Perth Wildcats will win the title with the Adelaide 36ers being the big improvers. Mark Fiorenti previews the A League season. He sees a wide open season with Brisbane Roar winning the minor premiership and Western Sydney Wanderers being wooden spooners. He also briefly looks at the Premier League with WBA being the surprise packets so far. The Panel have no real interest in the Bathurst 1000. Paul Dalligan wraps up the NRL season with some comments on last week’s Grand Final between Melbourne Storm and Canterbury-Bankstown. Gelding queries the biting incident involving James Graham and Billy Slater.
19 August 2012 260.1 – An outside broadcast from the Great Western Hotel with the Professor, the Gelding, Paul Gamble and Daniel Eade talking SEABL basketball finals with special guest, Nunawading Spectres guard J Shep. Daniel discusses Olympic basketball and looks at the performances of the Boomers and the Opals. He also wonders about the Adelaide 36ers and their home court lease. The Gelding looks at Caulfield races and gives a few tips for the punters at the hotel. Paul Dalligan, David Coutts and John O’Callaghan join the panel to discuss the Olympics and Nathan Tinkler’s problems with his horse racing/breeding venture
26 February 2012 236.2 -Wayne Holdsworth , CEO of the Southern Football League explained the reasons behind the expulsion of the Doveton Eagles from the League stemming from racial slurs and intimidation of umpires in a 2011 elimination final. This was not the first time the Club had been expelled as in 2010, their coach had been found guilty of coaching whilst his accreditation had been suspended. Wayne also discussed that due to lack of resources, community leagues don’t conduct drug testing. On a positive note, Wayne firmly believed that within three years there will be a professional Australian Rules national competition for women. The Panel discussed the Sydney Kings choice of Shane Heal as their head coach position for the remainder of this NBL season. Daniel believes that in order to increase interest and attendance at NBL games, something needs to be done to boost scoring to make it more entertaining for spectators who want to watch a more fast-paced game. Paul Dalligan provided his NRL 2012 season preview and weighed in with his picks for the first game of the NRL season picking Newcastle to win the first game of the season at home against the Dragons. He also thought the Bulldogs would beat the Panthers and the Rabbitohs would get over the Roosters. Paul gave his final 2012 ladder predictions including his top eight. He said it was difficult as the competition is one of the best in years. Surprisingly, not in the top eight were the reigning premiers, Manly, after losing their coach to the Bulldogs and the Brisbane Bronco’s who he saw finishing in the basement due to the loss of several top players.
20 November 2011 227.2 – Mark Fiorenti also is critical of Socceroo’s coach, Holger Osieck with tactics and team selection. He thinks the tie against Saudi Arabia in February 2012 will be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Mark also reviews the current A League round and provides an update on the English Premier League. The Dr Leslie CSA is on later than usual in today’s show. The Panel discuss an email on the passing of the late Peter Roebuck and Sportzfan Stan agrees that he was a very good cricket writer. They then discuss 20/20 Big Bash cricket with the Melbourne Stars signing Shane Warne and playing atthe MCG. World Champion Hot Dog eater, Joey Chestnut is appearing at an eating contest in Melbourne although Sportzfan Stan has difficulty believing that eating can be a sport. Paul Dalligan is also on a day off (at a Russian wedding if you don’t mind) so it is left to the Professor to review the Kangaroos win in the Four Nations Tournament over England. The show then crosses to Mordiboy for a live update from the President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course and he says the coverage by the media on the event has been amazing. Finally the Panel looks at the current NBL round and they try to make sense of the Melbourne Tigers beating the top side then losing to the bottom side the next night.
20 February 2011 190.2 – Mark Fiorenti talks about the headlines during the week ‘Soccer crowds worst of any code in Australia’ and wonders why these headlines have appeared at the start of the A League finals – he queries whether it is a conspiracy. He then looks at the finals already played and previews the Gold Coast United/Melbourne Victory game. On Kevin Muscat’s retirement he feels that Kevin’s passion sometimes led to some unfortunate consequences on the pitch. He did not expect Arsenal to beat Barcelona in the Champions League tie. Sportzfan Stan thinks Chelsea’s coach should be sacked as they have only won 6 of 19 games recently. The Panel discuss the NBA All Star game and the voting that sees Yao Ming in the starting five even though he is injured and won’t play in the game. Daniel says that the voting in the celebrity game was suspect as Scottie Pippen was clearly the MVP but Justin Bieber, who did nothing, got the nod as all the teenage girls voted for him. He says if he had been Justin Bieber he would have handed the award to Pippen. Daniel believes Blake Griffin will try to dunk over a car in the NBA dunk contest. He still thinks Carmelo Anthony will end up with the New York Knicks even though Nets have improved their offer. Paul Dalligan calls in from the golf course and talks rugby league and says Nathan Tinkler couldn’t offer any more to the Newcastle Knights. There are also whispers that Kade Snowden and Wayne Bennett could be heading to the Knights. Daniel picks up on a tweet from an Adelaide 36ers player who alleges that the accommodation arranged by the Perth Wildcats for visiting teams is sub standard. The Gelding talks World Cup cricket and the selection of the one day team. The Panel then talk with Sean Callanan on sports social media in particular the ICC banning any social media use by players and officials. Sean says it is the case of another large sporting organisation not understanding the benefits of social media. He believes that as long as there is a policy and guidelines, that should take care of any problems.
12 December 2010 183.2 – Mark Fiorenti continues his discussion of the A League looking at Sydney Rovers dropping their bid to join and also reviews at Premier League and Champions League. John O’Callaghan and Nicole Chvastek return to discuss a number of sporting topics including the World Cup bid fiasco which highlighted the lack of leadership by those running the bid process for Australia and the secrecy of surrounding money spent on the bid. Daniel says that it was OK for Elle MacPherson to be involved with the bid….he wouldn’t complain about that. Nicole queries the cost benefit analysis of spending so much money for one vote. The Professor eblieves the money paid to consultants was an absolute waste.
John also looks at the ‘rivalry’ round in the ABL and he believes after four weeks that is an absolute nonsense idea. Sean says Brendan Fevola smashing a car windscreen in a baseball promotion gave the ABL some main stream press during the week but for all the wrong reasons. Daniel talks about the stupidity of one match last week being called a tie becaue of the time curfew restrictions at the stadium.
Nicole starts off a discussion with the Panel about Shane Warne – his suntan, his eyebrows and his teeth, the mediocrity that is Australia cricket and whether or not Warne will make a comeback. She also believes that Geelong officials should be deemed to be ‘negligent’ for allowing Bomber Thompson and Garry Ablett to not talk to each other for about eight months. She says whoever oversaw such a debacle should be kicked out of the Club.
Daniel and the Professor discuss the NBL, particularly the new imports with both the Adelaide 36ers and the Sydney Kings. They also talk NBA and the improvement of the New York Knicks this season after recruiting Amare Stoudemire. Daniel wonders if Carmelo Anthony will sign soon with the Knicks. He talks about Julius Hodge who says he has finished with Australia and won’t be back to play in the NBL.
Paul Dalligan also wants to talk ABL and he was impressed with his first game watching the Melbourne Aces. He also has NRL mail that Wayne Bennett will coach the Rabbitohs in 2012.
5 December 2010 182.1 – ‘Hostilities’ start early with Daniel noting that Stan is growing a beard and is dressing like a metrosexual. Guest panelist Axel Dench is welcomed by the Panel and the Professor comments that he thought the Melbourne Tigers, given their recruiting of seven footers, may have called on Axel to fill out the roster. Daniel is on NBL “import” watch and indicates he thinks Eric Devendorf will survive but Craig Winder from the 36ers was wound up. He also confirms LeBron James did the ‘powder clap’ and that the game between the Cavaliers and the Heat was like an NBA finals game.
Mark Fiorenti comes on to talk about the failed Australian bid for the 2022 World Cup. He is shocked that Qatar won and that the Aussies only received one vote in the first round and therefore was eliminated. Mark believes we may have been too honest and not cunning enought to get the required votes. Axel wants to know how Australia could have been so blind sided by how countries would vote. Mark believes we could have been naive and other countries thought getting Australia out early inproved their chamces in latter rounds. The Professor asks just what we could have gotten for our $45 million spent on the failed bid. Australia’s bid video gets unanimously panned by the Panel and Mark says it looked more like a tourism advertisement whilst Daniel says the sports stars we used may be big here but not to the rest of the world. Mark thinks our next bid won’t be until the 2040 World Cup.
The Panel look at a tweet from Lisa Hayes regarding Tom Brady becoming a spokesperson for UGG clothing. We find out that Daniel is a New England Patriots fan. The Professor has Daniel speechless twice in a few minutes saying Tom is the elder brother the Brady Bunch never spoke about. Daniel says the only thing he likes better than basketball is Star Wars and Axel says he gave out more Star Wars autographs than for basketball.
A tweet from Craig Eyles is also discussed regarding the Australian cricket team and the Ashes. Stan says there aren’t enough players playing cricket and not enough care about whether we win the Ashes or not. He says we should sack the selectors and Daniel actually agrees. Axel believes the Aussie fans are front runners and tend to fall off when Australia is not doing well.