After watching the first couple of rounds of football I must say I think the umpiring has been okay. However, I have a couple of observations regarding interpretations. Firstly, there are high tackles, usually umpires won’t pay a free kick for a high tackle if the offended player has ducked his head. What is the difference when the player drops his knees to influence the high tackle. Luke Shuey, the Sellwoods and Paul Puopolo seem to be masters of this tactic and it seems the umpires fall for it all the time. It is certainly more difficult to adjudicate than a player dropping his head, but to my mind no different. The other issue is the sling tackle. I thought the sling tackle had been banned and yet two weeks in a row we have Hawthorn players execute the sling tackle. Firstly we had Duryea on Bartel, which resulted in a concussion and then last week McEvoy on Melksham and Baguley in separate incidents. Has this rule been shelved?
Last week I raised the issue of the Scott brothers both losing by big margins in round one. Well North bounced back for Brad, but Geelong suffered their worst defeat for sometime at home and they are still in last position. Geelong have played Hawthorn and Freo, so it is no disgrace to lose to those sides, but the way they have lost would worry the hierarchy at Geelong. I am certainly not ruling Geelong out for the season based on two bad loses, but I doubt they will be good enough to make the top 4-6 this year. Having said that, they will win this week and could easily win the following three.
I must also give myself a pat on the back picking Jordan Speith to win the Masters. Very rarely does a player lead the first round of a major and take out the title, but with a chasing pack of major winners he maintained a four stroke buffer over the last two days and don’t forget he is only 21. Two starts at the Masters have delivered a second and a first. This guy is clearly a special talent who now sits at number two in the world and with the way he has played you wonder how long it will take before he displaces Rory McIlroy as number one. What world golf does have at the moment is a number of quality golfers who can put pressure on each other, rather than a Tiger Woods or a Greg Norman being number 1 for an extended period of time. It has to be good for golf.
In the Champions League I was extremely surprised to see Bayern Munich lose to FC Porto. Bayern are a team absolutely chock full of stars although a few of these were missing and I would expect them to bounce back in the return leg, however, they do have a two goal deficit to overcome.
Have a great weekend!