Well 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 been 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 guilty 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 at 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!
Well the Chelsea manager’s job continues to be a poisoned chalice with Jose Mourinho being moved on by the same Club for a second time the year after he took the title. It is pretty clear his team is not playing for him and being on the brink of the relegation zone, it did look to be inevitable and a case of when, not if.
Sticking with the EPL, Louis Van Gaal has also come in for some stick as well. While Manchester United have not been winning, they certainly haven’t been conceding many goals with the least “goals against” in the League so I don’t think it is all doom and gloom or as bad as the situation at Chelsea.
On the local scene we have the big local A League derby this weekend with Melbourne City coming off three very impressive wins as opposed to Melbourne Victory coming off three disappointing losses. The form guide couldn’t be more opposite. Personally I would like to see City continue their winning ways as they have been quite entertaining slotting the goals away at a consistent rate.
The Hobart test match finished, as predicted by most of the pundits, with an easy victory to the Australians. I think it is time the ICC stepped into the West Indies situation to provide more finance and support. Cricket needs a strong West Indian team as they are the only test playing “nation” in that part of the world and like the AFL commission fostering football in the northern states, the ICC have the same responsibility to world cricket.
Have a great weekend!
Well the 2nd Test in Perth petered out to a draw with some monumental batting displays from both teams. Steve Smith was criticized for the timing of his declaration not dangling enough of a carrot for the Kiwi’s to chase. I thought the timing of the declaration was based on the fact that his bowlers had toiled in the stifling heat for two days and could not be expected to front up again “full of beans” unless they got a decent break. In the end, the Australians held the whip hand and I would be more critical of the defensive fields set by Brendan McCallum instead of Steve Smith’s declaration. In his defence, it also should be remembered that Steve Smith has declared in each of Australia’s innings so far this series.
The second Test also saw the last match for Mitchell Johnson and while he has been a great servant for Australia I don’t think we ever saw the best of him for long enough. A lethal unplayable bowler one series and cannon fodder the next. I am a fan, but not with blind faith and I think he chose the right time to go. James Pattinson has been chosen to replace him and I am a fan of his, but I do feel a bit sorry for Peter Siddle. Siddle was Australia’s best bowler in the last Test in England and has not bowled badly in the Sheffield Shield so far this season and can count himself as unlucky. I can’t wait to see Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson in full flight bowling for Australia.
Good to see the Socceroos go to the top of their group in the World Cup qualifier during the week. Tim Cahill was on fire with a hat trick before half time. With Jordan losing and Australia still with two games at home, the Aussies should finish on top of this group and progress to the next stage quite comfortably.
Finally, good to see Adam Scott away to a good start at the AustralianMasters. He has had a poor year to date by his standards and needs a win to build his confidence going into 2016. Given the field, it would be a big disappointment if he couldn’t end up leading at the end of day four.
Have a great weekend!
Great to see young Victorian batsman Travis Dean make two unbeaten centuries on his first class debut last week. He joins four other batsman to have done the same thing, but he is the only one to remain unbeaten in each innings and he also scored the most runs. My only concern would be that the other four are hardly household names. Arthur Morris also achieved the feat, but the game was not an official first class game. Hopefully Travis goes on to emulate Arthur Morris who was a very good opening batsman for Australia.
Tarzino was a very impressive winner of the Derby as he hit the front very early in the straight and nothing could run him down. However, two things stand out regarding the race, firstly no horses were able to make ground out wide on Saturday (or Tuesday for that matter) and secondly, the horses that finished behind Tarzino really looked to lack a little class. He beat second by a length and a half with a further four and a half lengths to third. Hardly a vintage year, whereas the Oaks looked to have three or four genuine chances and I think we might see a few of them go onto bigger and better things.
The Melbourne Cup provided a bit of the “romance of the track” with Michelle Payne saluting with a 100/1 shot with her disabled brother the strapper, I don’t think anyone begrudged them the success. What a great story. A lot of traditionalists have decried the internationalisation of the Cup in recent years and it was great to see the race won by local owners, with a local trainer and a local jockey.
Enjoy the weekend!
I must say I was very impressed with the win of Winx in the Cox Plate last weekend. I discounted her chances as she had not been around the Valley before, but she went around that home turn like a greyhound lure while Criterion went around it like a Mack truck. Clearly Criterion will be better suited by the open spaces of Flemington and is worth some serious thought for the Melbourne Cup. I also like Preferment and Amralah for the Cup.
While we are on the races, the attack on Terry Bailey was very disturbing. From all reports Bailey would not be concerned, but in cases like this it is always the family that is vulnerable. When officials who are trying to uphold the integrity of their sport or the law are attacked in this way and to have this type of threatening behaviour makes you wonder about the fabric of our society.
I remained silent on the Jake Carlisle trade last week, but was bemused by the scrutiny his manager has come under this week given he knew of the video before the trade went through. As Carlisle’s manager he is charged with getting the best deal for his client, it is
really up to the suitor to do their due diligence. The video was supposedly doing the rounds of various media outlets for a week before it came to light and the jungle drums suggest there was other material out there which may have betrayed his proclivities. The suggestion is that the Western Bulldogs & North Melbourne had done their due diligence and dropped out of the chase early as a result.
Good luck to the Wallabies this weekend in the fight for the Webb Ellis trophy. Against the Kiwis they will have their work cut out, but they have shown that they can beat the All Blacks if everything clicks, so fingers crossed.
Have a great weekend!
Well I must say that not much has grabbed my attention this week save for the AFL Trade period, but even that drags on like unwanted guests. It was good to see the Patrick Dangerfield deal go through early and both clubs should be commended on how it was all done. I cannot believe that Dangerfield has copped grief from Adelaide supporters when he gave them 100% throughout his time there and didn’t go for the money, because he could have got just as much from Adelaide and more from other clubs. I do feel some sympathy for Adelaide, over recent years they have lost Kurt Tippett, Phil Davis and to a lesser extent Nathan Bock, with Dangerfield now leaving there is some pretty fair talent out their doors in recent times.
I must say that my club, Essendon has always had the reputation for over valuing their players and as a consequence being difficult to deal with at the trade table and I have to say that from a distance that looks like a fair assessment. I don’t think that Jake Carlisle is worth St Kilda’s pick 5, but I do think that he is worth more than their 2nd round pick and it is interesting to see that the best team in the competition, Hawthorn, has now come out and put two late first round picks on the table for him so they must rate him higher than I do. On my estimation he would be worth around the 15-18 mark, but should Carlisle agree to go to Hawthorn, the Bombers could snare both of those selections.
There has also been a lot of discussion regarding the compensation picks for free agents moving clubs and it does seem incongruous that Melbourne got pick five for James Frawley and West Coast get pick 35 for Scott Selwood. I know Selwood didn’t make the grand final
side, but he has had an injury interrupted year and he is former best & fairest so pick 35 seems a little on the light side. Having said that, Hawthorn getting pick 19 for Buddy Franklin seems ludicrous and perhaps Hawthorn should have adopted the same tactic that Adelaide adopted for Dangerfield to secure a better draft pick for one of the better players in the competition.
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the trade period pans out.
Have a great weekend!
Well the AFL Grand Final is over and the competition has seen it’s second three-peat in the space of 15 years and this is in the context of a competition which has a salary cap and draft which is supposed to even out the competition. You factor in that Geelong has also won three in five years in that same period and the Swans have played in four Grand Finals and won two as well and it seems to be an indicator that once clubs get to the top it is hard to topple them despite the draft and salary cap. It has meant that Brisbane who completed the initial three-peat struggled after competing in the last of their grand finals in 2004 and Geelong are starting to struggle now having finished out of the finals for the first time in nine years. It seems though that teams are having long sustained runs at or near the top. Free agency and trading also favours teams up the top as good players only want to go to ‘destination’ clubs.
The NRL provided a lot more interesting grand final than the AFL with the high drama of the golden point result. While it might be sour grapes on the part of Wayne Bennett, I must say I think to lose a game in that circumstance would be pretty hard to take. If they are going to have extra time, it should be ten minutes each way as the golden point comes down to luck or bad luck as Brisbane’s Hunt would attest.
It was good to see last years VRC Derby winner, Preferment win the Turnbull Stakes and last years VRC Oaks winner, Set Square run third in the same race. Too often these days the winners of those races disappear the following year to be never seen again. I hope they both go on and have a successful spring carnival as it adds to the value of those races.
It was also great to see the Gunners fight back after a very disappointing display at home against Olypiakos during the week to come out and trounce Manchester United by 3-0. The three goals came in the first 20 minutes and Man U did not look like scoring. I think this year Arsenal have a side which could be good enough to win the title, they just need to be consistent through the entire season.
Have a great weekend!
I think everyone was impressed with the interview/acceptance speech from Nathan Fyffe on Monday night when he won the Brownlow medal. In my opinion it was the most impressive, natural post Brownlow performance I have seen. Not only is the guy a natural footballer but he is a natural in front of the camera so you can imagine the media outlets will be lining up for his services and advertisers lining up for him to endorse their products. He is my favourite footballer that doesn’t play for my team and it was great to see him win.
The Brownlow voting seems to have changed over the last ten years. If you think back to 1990, Tony Liberatore and Gavin Wanganeen tied with 18 votes. Going back even further to 1986 Dipper and Greg Williams tied on 17 votes. In the last ten years only Ben Cousins in 2005 scored less than 24 votes (he scored 20) with five players scoring 30 or more. In 2000 Essendon scored the most team votes ever in the Brownlow (116 votes), but James Hird was the highest with only 16 votes so the votes were more evenly spread amongst the players. Today we get star players dominating the voting. The best example of that is Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery from the Swans scoring 49 of the Swans 94 votes. That is more than fifty percent of the Swans votes between two players. It seems to me there is a bit of a “cult of personality” which has impacted upon the umpires and their voting.
I am hoping that the West Coast Eagles salute on Saturday, however, it is hard to see Hawthorn getting beaten.
The Dally M for the NRL was decided on the same night as the Brownlow and Jonathon Thurston won the award for a record fourth time. I am not a big rugby league aficionado, but that is a remarkable performance and now that the Storm has been knocked out of the finals it would be good to see his Cowboys salute in the grand final. Up against him is the Wayne Bennett coached Brisbane Broncos, who I understand has a perfect seven from seven record in Grand Finals. That is a remarkable statistic in its own right.
Have a great long weekend!
I was amused to read about Luke Hodge being picked up for drink driving. I was amused because I understand he was the Hawthorn player who blew Steven Motlop’s cover about drinking at a local
football game which cost Motlop a club imposed suspension. The karma bus collected Mr Hodge and if it wasn’t for the fact that it is finals time you would think that Hodge would also face a club suspension.
It was disappointing that Dustin Fletcher was not able to get up for the final game of the season which meant his 400th was indeed his last game. Even with Brent Harvey still going around and likely to break Michael Tuck’s record for games played, it is unlikely he will break Fletch’s record of playing 23 years. Fletch is an absolute champion who was best & fairest in a premiership year which is unusual for a full back. It is also no coincidence that Essendon’s fortunes this year went backwards after he stopped playing.
Have a great weekend!
Last weekend we heard about the passing of J B Cummings and with his passing we say goodbye to the trainer who trained more Melbourne Cup winners than any other trainer by a fair margin. He may not have trained as many winners or Group 1 winners as Tommy Smith or Colin Hayes or won as many trainers premierships, but in the race that every trainer sees as the pinnacle in Australia he trained more winners of the Cup than those two trainers put together. His record of 12 Melbourne Cup winners will not be broken in my lifetime and with the internationalisation of the race I doubt it will be broken at all. Vale James Bartholomew Cummings an absolute legend of the Australian turf.
I was at the MCG last weekend to see the Bombers take on the Tigers and I witnessed Courtney Dempsey’s tackle on Brett Deledio and I must say that it was extremely dangerous and Deledio was lucky he escaped with only a sore neck and a slight concussion. That type of tackle is probably worse than the sling tackle and Dempsey fully deserved his 4 weeks. The stupid thing about it was than it was also unnecessary, the game was gone and a standard tackle would have seen Deledio penalised for holding the ball as he had already broken one tackle.
Continuing the AFL theme it was with some interest I listened to Wayne Carey suggest that this weeks Geelong v Adelaide game should be for double Brownlow votes given that the earlier game between the two teams was abandoned due to the tragic death of Phil Walsh. I initially thought the idea had some merit, but the more I thought about it the less appealing it became. In the end it would mean that someone would play one game and get double the votes. I dare say that if someone lost out in that scenario then there may be a legal challenge. It was also proposed that all games in that round have voting suspended and that doesn’t make sense either as it penalises those players that performed well that weekend and again could open up a legal challenge. The original game was abandoned and the points were split and all the participants knew that there would be no Brownlow votes awarded and that is the way it should stay. It will be bad luck if Patrick Dangerfield misses out on the medal by less than three votes, but would it be worse than Chris Grant missing out on the medal from what was really only a clumsy attempt to spoil, I don’t think so.
There has also been a lot of discussion around Fremantle and North Melbourne resting players for the finals this weekend. While the Fremantle decision has no bearing on the finals, the North Melbourne decision is not as clear and the AFL are rightly copping a whack as a result, but this has happened before. Kevin Sheedy rested players at the end of 1990 to allow the four Daniher brothers to play together in the last round against St Kilda. They won the game, but due to the draw between Collingwood and West Coast in the Qualifying final it back fired on the Dons and some of the players had three weeks off and the rest is history. Sheedy did it again in 2001 when Essendon played Richmond in the final round, a few players were rested, but the team clearly didn’t have a winning mind set and went down by about four goals. This result kept Richmond in 4th place and meant that Carlton could not get above 5th. The following week in the Qualifying final Essendon belted Richmond by about ten goals.
Have a great weekend!