Tag Archives: football

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 – Dawn of the AFWL!

Sfan OB6I watched a bit of the womens football last weekend and I was impressed with the degree of physicality exhibited. The standard of skill varied and it reminded me of watching a boys underage match where a third of the team were pretty good, the next third were okay and the final third were making up the numbers.

This is to be expected when the teams have sourced players from a variety of different sports and it will take time to raise the overall skill level to an acceptable standard. Some of the players were absolute stand outs like Carlton’s Darcy Vescio and the Bulldogs Katie Brennan.

It will be interesting to see how they go for crowds once the patrons have to pay, but in the meantime the concept helps fill the void between football seasons and I for one will continue to watch it.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Australian Open, Garry Lyon on radio, Darren Gauci retires…..

Chris Barwin HillsLast weekend we had the women’s and men’s finals in the Australian Open tennis tournament and each participant was aged over 30. The
272647-roger-federer-wins-australian-open average age across both finals was 34. This surely must be some sort of record. Open officials probably couldn’t believe their luck after the early exit of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray with the Williams’ sisters, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal making it through to the final days of the tournament.

We had the much heralded return to the spotlight of Garry Lyon this e1f12fd5f6f40a0470b3f704d5f66570week on the re-vamped SEN breakfast show and I must say, to date, I am significantly under whelmed. It would want to improve significantly to stay on the air!

Darren Gauci retires from the saddle this weekend and what a great career he has had. He was a boom apprentice in his early days and darrengauciayersrockucistakes_630x368dmacunfortunately, a number of falls impacted on him later in his career. He was always regarded as one of the best riders of front runners and still got rides even though he was past his best due to his ability to rate a horse out the front. The statistics show that he won 10% of his rides and was placed in nearly 30%. That is a pretty good strike rate.

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!

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!