Tag Archives: essendonfc

Weekend musing – Drew Morphett, Nathan Buckley, All Australian team, Chris Scott, Ange Postecoglou

One of things I want to discuss is the tragic passing of Drew Morphett. Drew was one of those classic ABC commentators who was comfortable commentating on anything from football to athletics to tiddlywinks. He was always interested in presenting the picture to the audience and not pumping up his own tyres. In a pretty cut-throat industry I think he was universally liked by his peers. He will be missed.

I was also pleased that Nathan Buckley was reappointed as Collingwood coach for another two years as this will consign Collingwood to another two years out of the finals. It has to be good for the competition.

It was interesting to see that three of the banned Essendon players made the All Australian team with Hurley the only player to have made the team previously. Unfortunately for Essendon, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) and Michael Hibberd (Melbourne) no longer play for the club. What it does show is that a year out of the game is not fatal for a player in his 20’s, but perhaps once you get to thirty it is not a positive experience.

Chris Scott took Geelong into another finals series last night and his fellow coaches recently voted him as the hardest coach to coach against. He certainly has had a lot of success since taking over from Bomber Thompson, however, his finals record needs some scrutiny. Since the 2011 finals series where Geelong won three games, including the premiership, but with the loss to Richmond, he has now contested a further nine finals for only two wins and one of those wins was over Hawthorn last year when Isaac Smith had a shot after the siren that could have taken the game away from Geelong. I think a few questions need to be posed as to Scott’s finals coaching record.

Speaking of coaches I cannot believe that Ange Postecoglou has come under so much pressure recently. He got the Socceroos an Asian Cup and in the current qualifiers the Socceroos have only lost one game. They do have an issue with scoring, but I put that down to personnel, not system. His system creates scoring chances, but we don’t seem to have the quality of strikers to put the goals away and this was no more evident that the recent game against Thailand. I think Tommy Juric is a good developing striker in the Mark Viduka mould, but we need a Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill at his best to compliment Juric. This is not Postecoglou’s fault, he has tried to develop players, but Australia just does not have genuine strikers playing at the highest level. Let the World Cup campaign pan out and reassess at the end.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing covers the AFL’s final round and the Dustin Martin saga

This weeks final round of football is an absolute cracker with every game having some influence on the final standings. In the Herald Sun they have equated this round to the final round of 1987 where several games impacted the make up of the finals. As an Essendon supporter I am happy that my team has control of its own destiny. The Bombers should account for Fremantle at home, but having seen my side cough up a 27 point lead against Brisbane at home you never can be sure. It also may be Jobe Watson’s last game in the red and black. He certianly got the most out of himself and it still riles me that he returned his Brownlow medal.

The Dustin Martin saga seems to be dragging on and it seems more likely that he will leave the Tigers. I know he is an important player and this year’s likely Brownlow medalist, however, if the reported offer from North Melbourne is $1.5m a year for 7 years the Tigers should not attempt to match it as it would jeopardise future contracts and their payment structure. I do not think he is worth anything like that sort of money as he doesn’t provide any sort of marketing clout save for his position as a star player. I also do not think that most Richmond supporters would want their club to go too far to keep him. Martin needs the money and I have no doubt he will go to the highest bidder. He is not a media performer and he is not coaching material, so he has to make hay while he is playing. If North Melbourne do get him there is no guarantee that he will be the panacea for their woes in any case. Paying a player that amount of money will no doubt cause a ripple affect amongst the other players as Tom Boyd’s contract apparently did at the Bulldogs. This guy is no Paddy Dangerfield.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Arsenal’s FA Cup, Wenger re-appointed, AFL, Dreamtime game controversy, Huddersfield Town promoted to Premier League

I was pleased to see that Arsene Wenger re-signed with Arsenal for another two years. While I understand there is a lot of discussion about him being moved on by Arsenal supporters, in the end he has still had a good year. The Gunners accumulated 75 points this year finishing fifth in the EPL. That would have got them into the top four on eight of the previous ten years and in two of those years they would have finished second. Arsenal also won the FA Cup last weekend with a great win over Premier League Champion’s, Chelsea. So the year, while frustrating, has not been a disaster. The key now is to ensure Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez remain at the Club on a long term basis. That is the biggest challenge facing Arsenal and Wenger at the moment.

The Dreamtime game between Essendon and Richmond produced a couple of controversial issues. Firstly the rushed behind resulting in an easy goal to Essendon and then Dustin Martin being named the best player on the ground. I thought the rushed behind decision was technically correct, but I certainly would not have been happy if my team was on the receiving end. A good question was raised during the week on the issue – would the Richmond player have rushed the ball through if the scores were level with little time left on the clock? I think the answer would be “no”, he would have tried to tap it to his team mate who was nearby at the time. As regards Martin being best on the ground, last year he clearly was the best on the ground, but this year I didn’t think there was a clear stand out player. In my opinion Brandon Ellis was Richmond’s best and Brendan Goddard was Essendon’s best. Martin got close to 30 touches, but his disposal efficiency was similar to the major Essendon ball winners. I was a bit surprised when Martin also got both coaches votes. I must be a poor judge!

Also great to see Aaron Mooy’s Huddersfield get into the EPL with him scoring in the penalty shoot out.

Have a great weekend!

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 – A- League Final, Collingwood’s good recovery after playing Anzac Day game…

The A-League grand final is on this Sunday with Sydney FC the clear favourite going up against Melbourne Victory. Sydney have only lost one game this season and has beaten Victory on three occasions, but the pressure is on Sydney as they are expected to win. The Victory have nothing to lose and an early goal could cause panic in the Sydney ranks. The Victory certainly have the talent to win the game and as with most cases involving the world game, they just need to take their chances. I am going to go out on a limb and pick the Victory to win 2-0.

Whatever the Collingwood fitness staff have at their disposal the other teams should be trying to emulate it. Back in 2010 they backed up for the grand final replay in a lot better shape than St Kilda and last Sunday they did it again with a five day break after the Anzac Day game. Essendon were clearly off their game on Sunday against Melbourne who had a similar break, whereas Collingwood faced Geelong who had two clear days break on them and yet Collingwood finished strongly and won the game easily in the end.

Just on the Melbourne/Essendon game, the Bombers finally got to play the Demons at Etihad instead of the MCG, however, the Demons had already played twice at the venue this year and it was the Bombers first appearance there so any perceived advantage was lost. he first half was one of the worst halves of football I have seen from both teams. Melbourne were a lot cleaner in the second half and deserved the win.

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 – 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 – AFL, All Australian team, 2017 improvers…….

Sfan OB6It must be a first for any form of football in Australia with AFL finals to take place in four different states next week. This shows it is truly tarranta national competition and the four finals spread over three days should be a great spectacle. While the bye may be frustrating for some it did allow flexibility with the scheduling of the last round and the finals so from a broadcasters point of view it is likely to be a success even if the coaches don’t like it.

The All-Australian team was announced last night and I thought there were a few surprises with Robbie Tarrant missing out andenright Corey Enright making the team, but the biggest surprise was eight teams missing out on a representative in the team. This must be a record and it is hard to believe that North Melbourne and St Kilda both winning twelve games did not have a player worthy of being a representative.

Next year it is anticipated that St Kilda, Melbourne, Collingwood and Essendon are the likely teams to improve, but at this stage only North Melbourne looks like sliding, so perhaps we are in for a very even season, just as it has been for the top seven teams this year. It makes for an exciting competition.

Now that the Bombers season is over I can say that having approached their season with very low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. While the results were heavily skewed in tipungwutifavour of the losses, most games seemed to reveal some positives for the team. For an example you don’t need to look further than Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. Other players have progressed, like Zach Merrett who I think was unlucky to miss out on the All Australian squad. I doubt the Bombers are under any illusions about next year. It will take time to integrate the banned players back in to the team and a season of 10-11 wins would be a huge step forward.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Rio no go, the Nevill stumping and Michael Hurley re-signs with the Bombers…..

Sfan OB6The Olympics are coming to a conclusion and I must say that my interest levels have been as low as I can remember for an Olympic Games. I don’t know if it is the timing of the events or all of the negative stories before the games started, but I have been boltsignificantly underwhelmed. Perhaps my level of enthusiasm is matched by the Australian results where very few of our competitors have performed at their best. It would appear from the vision I have seen that the crowds have stayed away too. If the athletics didn’t have Usain Bolt these could be the dullest games of all time where the side stories have far more interest than the performances.

I was interested in the Peter Nevill stumping during the third test in stumpingSri Lanka when he waited for the batsman to lift his foot after playing the ball. The batsman was clearly out, but was it in the spirit of the game? I must admit some bias here, I was dismissed in a similar fashion playing school cricket and while I too was clearly out, I had avoided a bouncer and moved out of my crease before the keeper had passed the ball onto the fieldsman. I always thought it was unfair as it wasn’t the skill of the bowler that got me out of my crease. The same applied to the Nevill stumping.

Great news for Essendon supporters with Michael Hurley re-signing. When the players were suspended at the start of the year I hurleythought Essendon would lose one of Hurley, Hooker or Heppell and they have all re-committed to the club. Essendon now need Jobe Watson to play another year so he doesn’t conclude his career as a banned player. He deserves to finish on a high note even if he does lose the Brownlow medal.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Boomer Harvey, Sheahan v Jacko, Bomber – the book……..

Chris Barwin HillsThis week in the AFL we have a number of milestone games. The most prominent is Brent Harvey who breaks Michael Tuck’s games record of 426. Not trying to take anything away from Harvey, but it has to be remembered that Tuck also played around 100 reservesboomer games and was ultimately forced into retirement by Hawthorn. Based on his on-field persona, I didn’t have much time for him in the past but having heard him on the radio this year I have moderated my views and he seems like a thoroughly decent human being. The second in line is pavMatthew Pavlich bringing up his 350th game for Fremantle which in some ways may be a more significant milestone than Harvey’s. Putting Pavlich’s longevity into perspective, he has played 60 mores games than Dean Cox (290), the nearest Western Australian based player since the start of the national competition. In reality, that is at least three more seasons of football. Remarkable! Then we have the Geelong pair of Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel, with the Geelong games record and 300 games respectively. I think it is not only a testament to the dedication of these players, but also a testament to the advancement in sports science that allows players to play for much longer at the highest level.

I didn’t watch the Mike Sheahan interview with Mark Jackson the other night, but I did read and hear exerpts from it and I must agreesheahan with Tim Watson who described it as a bit of self promotion for Jackson. Jackson makes his money on the speaking circuit in Australia and perhaps his engagements had been dwindling and he needed to ramp up his exposure, but what a performance! I have been critical of a number of football journalists this year who have conducted their own level of self promotion, but I do not jackothink that Mike Sheahan falls into that category and he did not deserve the tirade directed at him. Mike Sheahan was an old fashioned journalist who checked his facts and didn’t go off on flights of fancy visited by the likes of Caroline Wilson, Mark Robinson and Damien Barrett.

I went to the book launch by Mark “Bomber” Thompson last night in Geelong and he had some interesting things to say. He didn’t want bomberto make it all about Essendon and the supplements saga, but he did appear to place a lot of the blame with the Paul Hamilton who was the football manager at the time. He wouldn’t come out and say who his favourite Geelong player was, but it was pretty clear that Matthew Scarlett was right up there. Maybe that is linked to Scarlett growing up an Essendon supporter! However, he did have a few disparaging things to say about Essendon as has been reported in the media. I don’t know if I am all that happy with that as those things should be kept in house. Maybe I’ll read the book.

Have a great weekend!