Tag Archives: afl

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 – records fall at Racing.com Park and possible strike by AFL players……

Sfan OB6pakenhamIt was interesting reviewing the results from the stand alone meeting at Racing.com Park last Saturday afternoon. I know the complex has not been open for all that long, but six track records were broken on the day, with the 1400m record broken twice. It does reflect the calibre of horses that were in attendance for a stand alone Saturday meeting, but six records in one day must be some sort of a record in itself!

The dialogue between the AFL and the Players’ Association seems aflplayersto be ramping up at the moment and while no one wants to see a strike, I must say I would not blame the players if they took industrial action. In most sporting competitions in the world the players get a percentage of the revenue so why should the AFL be any different?

I also think the AFL has to be careful with figures coming out advising that soccer is the biggest participation sport in Australia, some of our brightest stars may choose to stick with the world game.

A quiet week this week but a good one.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – 3rd test wrap up, AFL rookie draft, Melbourne City take the FFA Cup……

Sfan OB6The 3rd test against South Africa was a dead rubber, but it was good to see the revitalised Australian team turn around their fortunes and get a win on the board. There were three debutantes playing in the game and I was impressed with Renshaw & Hanscombe. Unfortunately, Maddinson got a very good ball early in his only hanscombinnings, so it was impossible to say if he will be any good. Renshaw resisted very well on the first night and while he only made 10 in the first innings, he showed similar application in the second innings. In the second innings the commentators were criticising his slow play which was somewhat in contrast with their lamenting in the first and second tests the lack of players that could stick around. He was in his first test, they had plenty of time, so I could not see the issue. He did seem to play and miss a lot, but I think on some of those “misses” he actually deliberately played inside the line. Hanscombe got a 50 in his first dig and then hit the winning run so a very promising debut.

The cricket now moves to a one day series against New Zealand, which seems to be a puzzling piece of scheduling .

Sticking with cricket it was great to see the Bushrangers get up against South Australia after conceding a first innings lead. Just reminding the Australian selectors that there is some quality south of the border.

Monday saw the AFL Rookie Draft and there seemed to be a clear pattern of recruiters getting in ruckmen and taller players. There filipovicwas 27 players (ound half of the draft) over 190cm and ten of those were ruckmen. It does seem clear that clubs are not willing to waste a pick on a ruckman who may take 3-5 years to develop. This is a wise strategy, but does it jeopardise the future of ruckmen picking the AFL over basketball? I really think this is something which could cause long term problems with participation and needs to be monitored by the AFL.

Great to see Melbourne City win the FFA Cup on Wednesday night in a clash of the current top two teams in the A-League. I have been a little concerned about the City defence, but holding Sydney FC to atim cahill clean sheet perhaps indicates that my concerns were misplaced. On present form these two teams will be in contention at the end of the season and a win to City does provide some psychological advantage. Also great to see Tim Cahill amongst the goals….an inspired signing for Melbourne City.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Spring Carnival, Kieran McEvoy, Chicago Cubs, First Test…….

Sfan OB6While I did not back the winner of the Victoria Derby, Prized Ikon, it was a great story for the Cummings family. Four generations of the one family training a winner of such a prestigious race would beprized-icon unparalleled not only in racing, but probably in sport generally. There has been a number of father/son combinations and even grandfather/father/son’s in various sports, but I cannot think of any to equal this effort. Three generations of the Aitken family played for Carlton and three generations of the Hird family played for Essendon. Perhaps one of James Hird’s sons could make it a fourth generation for the Bombers.

Keeping with the family theme Kieran McEvoy won the Melbourne Cup on Almandin and he is the brother-in-law of last years winning almandinjockey, Michelle Payne. Almandin is the third son of Monson to win the Cup in the last four years. The other two being Fiorente and Protectionist. When you think about it, racing produces probably just as many family associations as AFL football. A lot of jockeys had fathers that were jockeys and a lot of trainers had fathers that were trainers.

The biggest story in sport this week was the Chicago Cubs breaking a 108 year drought in the World Series. Even if the Cleveland cubsIndians had of won they would have broken a 68 year drought. This continues a wonderful year for drought breaking title wins. The Cubs also did it by winning the last three games, with the last two away to Cleveland. This was somewhat reminiscent of the NBA when the Cleveland Cavaliers took the title in an away game to Golden State.

A good start in the Test cricket yesterday and it further proves the testvalue of good bowlers. Australia struggled in the recent one-day series in South Africa with a second string attack, now with more like their front line attack in place they were a lot more effective. If we can get James Pattinson and Pat Cummins back playing consistent cricket with Mitchell Starc, the Australian attack will be formidable. Bowlers win matches.

Have a great weekend

Weekend musing – Winx, the Derby day selection, the Bye revisited, Good Friday AFL game…..

Sfan OB6The WS Cox Plate run of Winx last Saturday was amazing. She was the only one that seemed to handle the track and put a space in the field very quickly. If she manages to stay fit and sound it is hard to unknown-2see anything beating her next year unless something from the latest crop of three year olds prove to be exceptional. I thought the run of Hartnell was good from a Melbourne Cup point of view. He looked to be gone on the turn put plugged on an held second comfortably in the end.

The connections of Winx have confirmed that she will not run in the re-vamped Mackinnon Stakes on the last day of the VRC Spring Carnival. While this is disappointing on one level as the best horse in the land will not contest the race, it does mean that we won’t have a repeat of the Caulfield Stakes where she only competed against two other horses. The problem is the dearth of decent middle distance weight for age horses in Australia at the moment and what was designed to be a showcase event on the last day has the potential to be a bit of a farce.

There has been some discussion this week about the bye before the haw v northAFL finals. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like it. It allows the AFL flexibility with scheduling in the last round and to an extent with the first week of the finals. Perhaps it does detract from finishing in the top four and winning the first week, but if we witness something like the Bulldogs this year then count me in.

Sticking with the AFL, the first Good Friday game will be held next season with the game kicking off at 4.20pm. I would have to question the timing of the game given that Good Friday church tarrantservices are at 3.00pm. If the churchgoing Christian supporters from North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs want to attend the game they will need to find a church proximate to Etihad stadium. Probably not a big deal, but a night game like the other sporting codes who play on Good Friday should have been considered.

By the way, my tip for the Derby is Morvada each way.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL trade period, Phil Hughes’ enquiry, controversy at the end of the Bathurst 1000…….

Sfan OB6Well it has taken quite some time, but Hawthorn has finally shown to have issues with the salary cap. It has always astounded me how the Hawks could keep adding good players from other clubs and not
unknown let anyone go (save for Lance Franklin of course, who left for the money). Wanting to recruit both Jaeger O’Meara and Tom Mitchell, someone needed to go so they approached the two players that were first and second in their best & fairest, Sam Mitchell & Jordan Lewis. It now looks like Lewis will stay and Mitchell will go, but the cracks are finally showing. It was obviously a mistake for them to re-sign Hodge, Burgoyne & Gibson late last year having already re-signed Sam Mitchell earlier in the year.

I must say I have been a bit surprised with the line of questioning in the Phil Hughes enquiry. It is almost like some Coroner’s enquiries unknown-1where interested parties are trying to establish negligence so they can sue. I cannot see the point of questioning the NSW tactics and what may have been said or not said on the day. It was a tragic outcome that no one saw coming and what went beforehand is irrelevant in my view. Fast bowlers use intimidating tactics against batsmen and that has always been the case. It was the basis of the bodyline tactics employed by the English to curb Bradman. Phil Hughes had many good friends in the NSW team and no one wanted to see him get hurt.

I had nothing much to do last Sunday afternoon so I watched some of the Bathurst race. I am no expert and do not know the finer points of the sport, but I thought that Jamie Whincup was entitled to try unknown-3and pass when he did and Scott McLaughlin took the corner wide and then moved back into Whincup. Either way from what I understand, McLaughlin had to do at least one more pit stop and all Whincup had to do was wait for him to move out of his way so there was no imperative to pass anyway. It is a bit strange when the winner of a race has not led at any stage of the race. The outcome of the appeal should be quite interesting.

I watched the Winx race last week with interest and I would not unknown-2have been disappointed if I was the connections of Black Heart Bart. BHB took up the running and while they may have dawdled in the early stages of the race, he increased the tempo and in the end it was run at a pretty good clip. Winx won comfortably, but it may have been interesting if Winx was forced to establish the tempo of the race. Bring on the Cox Plate!

Have a great weekend!