Tag Archives: essendonfc

Weekend musing – Essendon FC and the #1 draft pick, US Open, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsThere has been heated discussion over recent weeks as to whether Essendon should get the number one draft pick should they finish on the bottom of the ladder. Speaking from a purely one eyed position, surely if they finish last they get the number one pick. Hasn’t the Unknownteam been punished enough? three years of investigations combined with the most severe penalties ever dished out to a club….and all this when the Tribunal could not establish clearly that banned substances had been administered. Personally, I would prefer they didn’t justify the number one pick as the club has not won the wooden spoon since 1933 which is well before I was born, so in my life time I have not experienced the ignominy of finishing last. In 1933 there was only twelve teams, so they would be finishing six places lower this time!

I also noted with interest the comments from Mark Thompson during the week regarding the Essendon style of play. Bomber is watsonpart of the media and certainly entitled to his opinion, but I must say apart from the last two weeks I think their progress has been quite good. Even in the big loss to Fremantle, the Bombers won the last quarter. The loss to Hawthorn was certainly on the cards and I picked the Hawks to win by 100pts so I was not far off. One thing I will say about Mark Thompson’s comments is that they weren’t vindictive like Mick Malthouse’s continued comments about Collingwood. I think Bomber’s comments at least showed that he still cared.

OK, Essendon rant over for now.

The US Open is on at the fearsome Oakmont course. I was surprised to hear that Jason Day is feeling weighed down by the number one 1363998228672tag. That is unfortunate as surely that is what every sportsman strives for. His form has certainly dropped off since getting to the number one spot. I can’t get excited about the Aussie contingent this time around. Adam Scott is talking a good talk but his confidence seems to be lacking. I think the most likely winner is the home grown Jordan Spieth.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Muhammad Ali, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Tom Hawkins…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe biggest sports story this week was the passing of Muhammad Ali. Ali was a sporting icon and was voted in one publication as the athlete of the 20th century. He had not fought for 35 years and yet alimy 14 and 22 year old sons knew who he was, I think everyone knew who he was because he was not only a sporting icon, but also a champion of human rights. Ali was a wonderful promoter of the sport of boxing, but also with his 30 year battle with Parkinson’s Disease was also a testament to the dangers of boxing. When I was growing up boxing was a prominent global sport, however, the sport has now lost its way and unfortunately now lost its reatest son.

I read with interest during the week about the likely transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Manchester United and Jamie Vardy to Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates scoring for Paris Saint Germain against St Etienne.Arsenal. My feelings here were quite mixed. I thought it would be great to see Ibrahimovic in the EPL even if it is in the twilight of his career as he is still one of the best strikers in the world. However, going to Manchester United gives me no joy at all. With Vardy, I am happy he is considering a move to Arsenal, but equally I would like to see him stick with Leicester City to continue that Cinderella story.

Like most AFL fans I was a little shocked to see Tom Hawkins cop a suspension for his hit on Phil Davis. Yes he hit him in the head, but the degree of force was so minor that Davis threw his head back  tommore in surprise than due to the impact of the strike. If this is the standard of impact that is required for a report why wasn’t Matthew Pavlich reported for slapping Patrick Ambrose in the face on Saturday night! My guess is that Hawkins was carrying an injury and probably needed a week off otherwise they would have challenged the report.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – NRL, State of Origin, Laurie Daley, AFL, Lindsay Thomas…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe first of the NRL State of Origin matches on Wednesday night ended up being a pretty dour affair if you were wanting a lot of scoring action or fireworks between the teams. Each side completed most of their sets of tackles, but there was very few exciting runs to get the crowd on its feet. There were mistakes from both sides, but it seemed they daley played conservatively waiting for the other side to make an error on which they could capitalise. NSW had a try disallowed late in the game and, given the video replay, it is hard to see how the linesman awarded the try in the first place. There was a flurry of bodies and the ball was not clear even on slow motion replay. I think the linesman had a guess based on the momentum of the NSW player (Morris).

Laurie Daly came out after the game and complained about the referees, but based on my untrained eye, the mistakes went both ways so his comments can probably be put down to the protestations of a losing coach.

It is amazing how the Friday night AFL game can set the conversation for the weekend and the following week with the thomasLindsay Thomas  free kicks sparking a tsunami of comment and analysis. I have spoken about those free kicks before and how difficult it is for the umpires to adjudicate. Most teams know who the principal perpetrators are and when confronted with those players the tackler should concentrate on going in as low as possible and forget about pinning the arms because these players seem loathe to release the ball. The result should be a holding the ball decision against the perpetrator.

I must say I have to agree with the over analyser, Dermott Brereton, that Thomas took it to a new level last Friday night when he backeddermott into the Swans defender and then dragged his arm down over his shoulder as well. In discussions on Saturday, Brereton did go through the main protagonists and did not just single out Thomas. The comment was made that we are happy when it is our team that is the recipient of the free kick, but livid when it is the other side.  I am upset because no one at Essendon has developed the skill and we need a few gifts in our forward line!

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – NAB Rising Star, Christian Petracca, AFL’s ‘rule of the week’, van Gaal out at United……

Chris Barwin HillsThis week sees Melbourne’s Christian Petracca get the Club’s third Rising Star nomination in the first nine rounds which is a great achievement. However, they still have a long way to go to emulate the Greater Western Sydney Giants who had eight nominations during the 2012 season. Putting aside the Giants who were given a leg up by the AFL in this regard with Draft concessions, the next best was five by Essendon in 1993 (a premiership year) and Fremantle in 1996. Then there are eight teams who have had four nominations. petraccaOf those, only Port Adelaide in 1997 and West Coast in 2004 converted their advantage into a premiership and in Port Adelaide’s case it took a further years! Fitzroy had four nominations in 1994 and were out of the competition two years later and Brisbane had four in 2005, the year after their last Grand Final appearance. So having good young talent is not the guaranteed formula for success, but it certainly doesn’t hurt and the Dees had two nominations and the winner last year so they are assembling a good batch of youngsters. It will be interesting to see if they can get any more nominees. I have heard there are some wraps on Sam Weideman so there is a chance they can get to four or maybe more. That being said, the GWS record looks safe for now.

There has been a lot of discussion in AFL circles this week about “rule of the week”. Last week the discussion centred around the deliberate behind with two examples being Lee Spurr from Fremantle and Pierce Hanley from Brisbane. Quite frankly I think both of those should have been penalised even without a “rule of the behindweek” crackdown. Both players had alternatives to rushing a behind and chose to go with the behind and copped the penalty. Neither infringement cost their side the game. If I was to nominate a rule which I think should be tightened up it is incorrect disposal. Once you take possession there are only two ways of disposing of the ball, that is by way of a kick or a handball. Watching the game between Hawthorn and Sydney last week, I noticed that Hawthorn have added a third means of disposing of the ball. Just about every time a Hawthorn player was tackled the ball spilled from the tackle and there was no penalty and no reward for the tackle. Come on AFL tidy this one up please.

As predicted in this column several weeks ago, winning the FA Cup wasn’t enough to save  Manchester United’s coach Louis van Gaal.louis Just a few days after the FA Cup triumph, van Gaal was dumped in favour of Jose Mourinho. There is no doubt the Club has struggled since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson. He managed United from 1986 until 2013 bringing plenty of trophies and stability. Since then Mourinho is the third manager in three years. The Club seems to have lost its way and I don’t know that Mourinho is the one to get it back on track. We will see.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – EPL, St Totteringham’s Day, AFL, Essendon faithful, Shot Clock, Jack Gunston

Chris Barwin HillsThe EPL season has now concluded and Leicester City won the crown by a whopping ten points. Arsenal, who by many measures had a disappointing season, sneaked into second spot. The Foxes arsenallost only three games for the season and two of those games were to Arsenal. It just shows that with Arsenal finishing second on the back of a disappointing season, how disappointing the seasons of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United were. Man U has the chance to at least secure some silverware this season in the FA Cup which may also save the job of Louis Van Gaal. One final comment on the EPL and that is Arsenal couldn’t have waited much longer to celebrate St Totteringham’s Day!

It was interesting to see the Bombers get cheered off after an honourable loss last week and a lot of people have suggested that this may have never happened before, however, I was at a game at Windy Hill in the late 1980s or early 1990s when they applauded the team from the ground. Essendon was playing West Coast and watsonsustained about five or more injuries during the game and I remember Michael Long having to go back on the field with a shoulder injury and he may have even had his arm inside his jumper to protect it. West Coast won by a couple of goals and the Bomber faithful were so impressed with the effort in the face of adversity that they were clapped from the ground. I still remember a couple of West Coast supporters jumping up and down when the siren went and then going quiet when the Essendon crowd started clapping their team. After this game Kevin Sheedy embarked on one of his quests to expand the interchange bench which was ultimately successful.

There has been a lot of discussion about the shot clock in the AFL and what they can do to avoid the situation that was faced a couple of weeks ago when Mason Wood iced the clock to ensure North’sfevola victory. The thirty seconds allowed to shoot for goal was introduced to try and force the likes of Brendan Fevola and Matthew Lloyd to not take up too much time preparing to have a shot for goal. I always thought this was a massive over reaction as the umpires have the right to call play on at their discretion anyway. My suggestion would be to do away with the thirty second rule and hand the discretion back to the umpire.

Football players are sought after commodities to promote products gunstonin the media, particularly at this time of the year. Some are cut out for it and some are completely hopeless. Jack Gunston from Hawthorn does a number of radio advertisements and I would suggest he falls into the latter category. His ads are that lame I often turn the radio off so I don’t have to listen to him. Stick to what you are good at Jack.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Sheffield Shield, Peter Moody, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsWell Easter must be one of the most diverse periods for sport in Australia, we had the start of the AFL season, the Stawell Gift, the bellsBells Beach Surfing Classic, the Sheffield Shield Final and some big horse races from Sydney. We also had soccer World Cup qualifiers either side of Easter.

It was great to have the football back despite Essendon not having much to look forward to. The debut of Patrick Dangerfield for Geelong was clearly the difference that got them over Hawthorn and Dangerfieldif he had of kicked straight they would have won by more. Collingwood and Fremantle were very disappointing, but I think both sides will perform a lot better this week. The Bombers first half was probably as expected, but their second half was a bit better. Given the number of new players due to the supplement scandal outcome it might take a while for the team to gel, but the wooden spoon still is theirs for the taking!

Also great to see Victoria win the Sheffield Shield away from home. A couple of weeks ago I was going to comment about the demise of Cameron White as a cricketer and while he has not put himself backsheffield in the frame for Australian selection, he has redeemed himself. When he lead Victoria to the Shield win just after David Hookes died I thought he was a future Australian Test Captain and while he did play a couple of test matches, he was mainly a ODI and 20/20 player, but his star had dimmed in recent times to the point where he missed selection for Victoria.

I was sad to see Peter Moody retire from racing and he has now sold moodyoff all his gear to resist the temptation to return to the sport, but I think, once his suspension is over, he will come back and establish a smaller boutique stable just to keep his hand in. It is very hard for real horsemen to simply walk away from the sport it is too ingrained in their DNA.

Also good to see Jason Day back to the world number 1 position in golf and I just hope he maintains his form going into the Masters.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Justice for Jared Tallent

Coors lightRobbed of a chance to have the gold medal around his neck after the 2012 London Olympic Games, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (‘CAS’) has upheld an appeal by the world governing body for tallentathletics, IAAF against the winner of the 50 kilometre walk, Russian Sergey Kirdyapkin. Kirdyapkin failed a drug test and his results for the period 2009-2012 were annulled except for the Olympics title.

In a decision earlier this week, CAS ruled that Kirdyapkin could not retain the tile and the event was awarded to the Australian who was second over the line. Tallent said he felt ‘vindicated’ and AOC President, John Coates has said that a ‘meaningful’ presentation will be arranged for Tallent.

Seems that we are quite prepared to take the decision from CAS on watsonthis one when it benefits an Australian, but, CAS have got it totally wrong when it comes to the Essendon Football Club players – hard to fathom.

Friday musing – reappointment of Buckley and Hardwick

Chris Barwin HillsI was interested to see both Richmond & Collingwood extended Damian Hardwick & Nathan Buckley’s coaching tenure during the Unknown-3week. Damian Hardwick has reached the finals on three occasions for no wins and Nathan Buckley has coached in four finals for one win. Neither are premiership coaches and I seriously doubt that they would be on the radar of any other team at the moment….so why the rush?

I am not saying they cannot coach, I just cannot see the urgency. Essendon extended the coaching tenure of Matthew Knights in the martinmiddle of the second year of a three year contract and he was sacked at the end of the third year meaning a big pay out for the club. I am not comparing either Hardwick or Buckley to Matthew Knights as coaches, but what happens if both Collingwood & Richmond miss the finals this year? I would have thought consideration in the middle of this year would have been more prudent.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing…..Lleyton Hewitt, more on the supplements scandal….

Chris Barwin HillsWell Thursday night we saw Lleyton Hewitt bow out of the Australian Open for the last time. I have never been a particular fan,hewitt but you have to admire the guy. He made it to Number 1 in the world at 20, he won two Grand Slam titles and the most singles matches ever for Australia in the Davis Cup. You also have to admire that he has kept playing despite the many injuries he has endured and his falling ranking. A pretty good career and I think he will be good in his role with the Davis Cup.

Let us hope he can harness the potential of the likes of Tomic, Kyrgios and Kokkinakis.

I didn’t want to comment further on the Essendon Supplements Saga, however, some of the comments I have heard from some pundits suggesting that the case is similar to the Lance Armstrong and 1384012800000Marion Jones cases has angered me somewhat. In those cases there was a lot of people who provided sworn testimony that both had used banned substances, that is a significant difference to the Essendon case. I am also constantly angered with people saying they did not know what they took. The club has a spreadsheet on all the supplements that the players signed up to and the comment has always been if they were administered anything else, they were not aware of it and it was not sanctioned. This is a very important distinction.

What I would like to know is who advised the players not to complete the ASADA forms correctly. Clearly they were obligated to completeUnknown
those forms honestly and whoever told them not to cite the supplements they were being administered has a lot to answer for as this omission seems to have played a significant part in the penalty that has been applied.

I now pledge not to make any further comment on this sorry tale.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Essendon supplement scandal, Jobe Watson, David Bowie….

Chris Barwin HillsWell it has been a hell of a week for an Essendon supporting David Bowie fan.

Firstly on the Essendon situation, I was not surprised they were found guilty as the news filtering through from the CAS hearing was that it did not go as well as the AFL/ASADA hearing, but I was surprised that the players got twelve months as this was not predicted even with a guilty verdict. Discussion on the topic has beencas hard to avoid, but I have purposely not read anything as what has been done cannot be undone. What has annoyed me is the people that have come out and said that the players should have taken the suspension which was offered to them by ASADA. Well that is all very well, but do you admit to something when you truly believe you are innocent? I wouldn’t and I think that the players felt the same way. The initial AFL/ASADA hearing also vindicated that view. ‘Comfortable Satisfaction’ was always going to be the problem as it is a very low test and so it played out.

There has been a lot of discussion about Jobe Watson’s Brownlow medal and while it pains me that such a low standard of proof should cost him the games highest individual honour, he has been found watsonguilty and the medal has to be relinquished. However, I do not agree that the medal should then be awarded to the runners up, Trent Cotchin and Sam Mitchell. The Brownlow medal is not like an Olympic race or event, it is awarded over twenty-two weeks played in different venues all over Australia. Also do you go back and award higher votes to players who finished behind Jobe when he polled 3 & 2 votes? I don’t think you can, so the fairest result would be to not award the medal for 2012 similar to how Melbourne Storm was treated when the NRL removed their premiership wins.

And what has David Bowie got to do with sport, well he played in Melbourne on four occasions and the venues were, the MCG, Kooyong, Waverley Park and Rod Laver Arena. The first show atbowie the MCG was one of my very best experiences at that venue and the final show at Rod Laver Arena was probably the best of the four concerts that I saw him play in Melbourne. In addition, he also wrote a song called Bombers which did not appear on any of his albums, but did appear as an additional track on a reissued CD. May he rest in peace.

Have a great weekend!