Tag Archives: greater-western-sydneyfc

Weekend musing – Test series wrap, Victoria wins the Sheffield Shield……

Sfan OB6A disappointing end to a very interesting test series in India with Australia capitulating in the second innings of the fourth test. Up until that stage, the series had been evenly poised and was one of the most talked about series in India that I can remember. Steve Smith clearly the star for Australia with the bat and Pat Cummins making a successful comeback to test cricket augurs well for the future. A lot has been made about friendships between the teams being sacrificed in an all out attempt to win. All I’ll say about that is the friendships cannot have been too solid in the first place if a bit of name calling and sledging has brought them undone.

Sticking with cricket, it was great to see the Vics salute again in the Sheffield Shield for a record third straight win. It also must be 81946500remembered that none of the wins have been on home soil. The first win was in Hobart, the second an away win against South Australia and the third was in Alice Springs. It cannot be underestimated how valuable Cameron White has been as Captain of the Bushrangers. His experience and tactical ability has come to the fore once again.

There was an article in the Herald Sun this week discussing the success of the Victorian horses in Sydney this year. It has been put down to the heavy tracks in Sydney which has meant the Victorian horses are going up there fitter than their northern counterparts. I think there could be a parallel with the two Sydney football teams based on their performances last week. Both Sydney teams played teams from Adelaide where the weather has meant that full training outside has been undertaken, whereas, perhaps the weather in Sydney has meant that a lot of their training has been indoors. Certainly something to keep an eye on in coming weeks.

I am also amazed that various pundits are prepared to write teams off after one round of football. It is a bit like making too many predictions on a pre-season series which doesn’t mean much.

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 – 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!

Friday musing – Australian Swimming Championships, Malcolm Turnbull and Port Adelaide FC’s China push

Chris Barwin HillsI have been watching a bit of the Australian Swimming Championships this week and have been amazed at the performance of Cameron McEvoy. Not only is he the first swimmer to win the men’s 50 metres, 100 metres and 200 metres freestyle, he is also mcevoyconsiderably smaller than the other swimmers. Most swimmers these days seem to be built like Centre Half Forwards whereas McEvoy is built like a Forward Flanker/Rover. He must have a very good technique to beat his more imposing rivals. I was also impressed that James Magnussen was happy to face the cameras after his defeat in the 100 metres final, he was clearly disappointed, but still put himself out there.

I was also bemused to hear during the week that Port Adelaide FC had secured a substantial sponsorship from China and they intended port adelaideto play an “away” game in China. That is quite magnanimous of them offering someone’s home game for their sponsorship! It reminded me of Carlton offering to play all their away games in Sydney some time back when it looked like the Swans were struggling and may fold. I cannot see any team wanting to take up Port’s generous offer, but the AFL may pressure the Gold Coast or Greater Western Sydney to take up the game as the AFL is still propping them up.

One thing I did laugh at was our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull telling the world that Aussie Rules was the best game going turnbullaround….this from a private school educated person who has no doubt played a fair bit of ‘rugger’ in his time. I thought at one stage Turnbull was going to gag on his words.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Adam Goodes, cricket, Mitchell Johnson……

Chris Barwin HillsI ventured along to the MCG last Friday night to see the Real Madrid v Manchester City game and it was mazing to be part of a crowd of 99,000+ people. I enjoyed the game for the first 60-65 minutes, but with Real controlling the game each side took off their best players and it petered out towards the end. Having said that it was great to see the skill of Cristiano Ronaldo and to see him get a goal on the MCG. It also is a reminder of what a great sporting stadium the MCG is. I have witnessed the World Cup cricket final, game 2 of the NRL UnknownState of Origin series and now the soccer in front of 90,000+ crowds. I missed the Anzac day game this year in front of 88,000+ and the biggest AFL game I have witnessed this year was the Dreamtime game before 83,000+. This year the ground has hosted four different sporting codes with crowds exceeding 88,000 and when you factor in the AFL Grand Final it will means the average will be lifted over 90,000+. We are truly blessed to have this magnificent stadium to showcase all these different sports.

Last night at that great ground we had the Richmond v Hawthorn game and I was expecting a good game. I wasn’t disappointed! Richmond displayed an ability to retain the ball which put pressure on Hawthorn and this was instrumental in the Tigers’ win.

This brings me to something I have been mulling over the last couple of weeks. When St Kilda belted Essendon a month ago I thought it may be detrimental to St Kilda as it may have given them an unrealistic appreciation of their ability. The next week they lost a winnable game against GWS and the following week only just lost to Richmond after the Tigers led by 9 goals at 3/4 time. I think for sides on the way up like St Kilda, it would have been better to have beaten mcgEssendon by 5-6 goals than to win by 18 goals because the youngsters understand they need to work hard every week to get the result. Conversely, you get a top side like Hawthorn give a fellow top eight side in Sydney a belting, then they come out the following week against Carlton and win by even more. The theory is, a big win by a good side against another good side franks their form, a big win by a lower side against another lower side is not a great guide to form. St Kilda’s grittier win last week against Melbourne will be better for them going in as underdogs this week against Port in Adelaide.

The Adam Goodes story just won’t go away and I won’t go over the Adam-Coodesissues that I raised earlier in the season, but I thought two articles in the Herald Sun on Thursday were worth some thought. The paper printed a poll of 50,000 people where 80% said the booing wasn’t
racist. There is no doubt a percentage of the booing is racially motivated and the rest is part of a mob element where people follow on like sheep. What we do know is Adam feels it is racially motivated and so it doesn’t really matter what the poll finds or what other people think.

The other article wasn’t even about Goodes, but about Mitchell Johnson and how the Barmy Army got stuck into him in 2009 and Unknownjust about destroyed his career. It is an indication on how barracking can destroy the confidence of some players where race is not even an issue. Crowds now know that Goodes is affected by the booing so it is hard to see it being totally eradicated unless both captains agree to stop the game until the booing ceases. I have expressed my views previously about Adam Goodes on field persona, but it would be a real shame if he was forced into retirement because of the booing, just as it would have been if Mitchell Johnson pulled the pin after the 2009 Ashes series.

Have a great weekend!

AFL theory of equalisation a myth after free agency!

footballAfter writing yesterday’s piece on AFL broadcast rights, I gave some thought to free agency, the trade period and whether the current AFL system is equitable to all clubs. Most stories that have been in the media recently talk of lower ranked clubs like Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and GWS losing players to the top dogs of the competition in Hawthorn, North Melbourne, Sydney or Geelong.

It seems most players want to go to a club that can challenge for a flag immediately or in the not too distant future. Take for example Mitch Clarke – he wants out of the Demons to go to Geelong (a usual top four finisher) and James Frawley appears certain to also leave the Demons to go to…..well you take your pick of the top clubs. His name has been mentioned in the same sentence as Hawthorn (this year’s premiers in case you missed it), Geelong and Fremantle. Haven’t heard any rumors that he was considering St Kilda, Western Bulldogs, GWS or staying at Melbourne.

What this means is that the stronger clubs get stronger as they pick off the good talent from the weaker clubs….and we know what that means. The weaker clubs get weaker and so the cycle continues. How is this different to the pre-draft days of the 1970’s and 1980’s when the size of the cheque book dictated the strength of the team and where you finished on the ladder. Seems to me we have replaced one bad system with another and it will only get worse as the years go by.crowd

Speaking of broadcast rights…..if the AFL becomes too much of a lop sided competition, I don’t know that it will foster interest in the game, get bums on seats and people watching on TV, all of which affects the amount of money the broadcasters are willing to pay for the content.

I’d suggest this should be a priority issue for the AFL to address.

AFL, broadcast rights, innovation!

mcgEven though the current AFL $1.25 billion broadcast rights deal does not expire until 2016, what better time to pump up the rights discussion than after an AFL Grand Final? With two years left on the deal, the subject appears in the media today with ‘talks on a new deal to open within weeks’.

That may be the case, but with the hammering the AFL got from diminishing crowds this season, I for one would be wary of how much money I’d invest in a product that is on the nose with a lot of fans. Add to that a schedule that throws up less than interesting contests ie. GWS v Gold Coast, GWS v Melbourne, Melbourne v anyone, 7.00pm matches on a Sunday, 7.00pm matches on Monday and I’d suggest that the dollars may not be there for a deal as big as the AFL expects (at least $3 billion over 10 years).

The AFL says that they have listened to the fans complaints about scheduling and the cost to families of attending games. I’ll am keen to see just what changes are actually made.

If the AFL want an increase then they should consider ‘innovation’ to help things along. As a suggestion, why not introduce conference style play similar to the NFL. Not only would this spice things up but would also solve some of the inequities of the current fixture. This could be accomplished by placing one team from each of SA, WA, NSW and Qld in separate conferences and then splitting the ten from Victoria between the two so that each conference has nine teams. A team would play each team in its own conference twice (16 matches) and each team in the other conference once making a season total of 25 matches.

The top four teams in each conference would progress to the final series with 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 playing in each conference, the winners of those games each playing in a preliminary final and then the winning team from each conference plays in the grand final.

The extra ‘productivity’ by the players (3 extra matches in a season) would justify the ever increasing salaries the players are receiving.

Friday musing – Essendon FC, James Hird, Father/Son rule……

Chris Barwin HillsThere have been a few Essendon issues popping up this week and I thought I would provide the perspective of a footy fan:

1) Should Dustin Fletcher play on? The question came up after a poor game against the Bulldogs and being left out of the team that beat Port Adelaide. I think he should play on next year, his form generally this year has been good, his game against Collingwood the previous week could not be faulted and I think you will find at the end of the year, in the previous game against the Bulldogs he will probably be in the umpire’s votes. If he plays on next year he will get to 400 games which is a significant milestone and even worth putting him on the list as a mature age rookie to try and get him over the line next year.

2) Should James Hird return to the coaches box once his suspension has been served? I think he should be able to return to the club, but he should stay away from the coaches box until the club has completed the 2014 campaign. Leave the match day coaching to Bomber and his assistants, but get involved behind closed doors as he will need to be across the list as soon as the season has been completed to prepare for the draft etc.

There has also been discussions about the Father/Son rule and the northern states academies. With regard to the Father/Son rule I think it should remain as it is as it is a great part of our game that a player has the option to play for his father’s ex-team in certain circumstances. I actually think there should be a brother/brother rule, particularly with regard to twins. I thought it was harsh when the Selwood twins ended up in Brisbane and Perth respectively, not only for them, but their parents as well. Then Joel ends up at Geelong! There is also the Brown twins, where Nathan ended up at Collingwood and Mitchell at West Coast, again harsh for them and their parents. Who do you barrack for?

With the northern states academies, I think if they have put the time and energy into preparing the players and that was the basis on which the academies were set up, then I don’t think there should be an issue. Having said that, perhaps the academies should be run by both clubs in that state, ie. Sydney and GWS and whichever team has first choice in the draft has the right of first refusal for that player.

Anyhow we have an interesting season panning out with five or six clubs vying for three or four spots in the final eight which should maintain the interest for those positions right until the end of the season.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – AFL, Tania Hird, Andrew Demetriou…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell it is not very often I am angry on a Friday morning, after all it is the end of the week, however this week is different.

On the day before the Bombers first game of the year Tania Hird decides to give an interview to the ABC about some of the events of last year with regard to Andrew Demetriou and the so called “tip off”.  Why bother?  I can understand her wanting to support her husband, but save it for a book once he has retired.  It does not help the club one iota and certainly doesn’t help her husband who is already suspended, it just rekindles a story that all Essendon supporters and I am sure most football supporters are heartily sick of.

While I am back onto the Supplement Scandal I must say that Demetriou’s comment that he or anyone at the AFL didn’t inject anyone is quite childish.  He has said it on a number of occasions and it is not funny, it is not clever and it is not the point.

I am also puzzled about the ASADA findings.  A couple of weeks ago we were advised that the final report had been referred to a retired judge to consider if there was enough evidence to issue notices against any players.  Subsequent to that we now hear that ASADA are to interview Stephen Dank.  Should that not have happened before they finalised their report and sent it to the judge?

Let us not forget that the games have started and what an interesting first weekend of football.  The GWS must be one of the longest price winners in AFL history and they didn’t just win, they romped it in.  I think they were paying $11.00-$13.00 for the win and the Swans were $1.04- $1.05.  I don’t know what it says about either side for the coming season because you would not write off the Swans to still finish in the top four and equally the GWS finishing in the bottom four.  Maybe it is a portent for the future of both clubs beyond this year.

The Gold Coast beating Richmond was not a great surprise, although I am sure the Tiger supporters were very buoyant before the game.  Freo winning was expected, but the way they disposed of Collingwood after quarter time was very clinical and Ross Lyon could afford to rest Nathan Fyffe before 3/4 time.  It never ceases to amaze me how often Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dayne Beams get around 90 possessions between them, win lose or draw.  Port beating Carlton was also not a great surprise, Port play Etihad well and Carlton don’t.  The Cats have also saluted at home, which was also not a great surprise given that it is over ten years since Adelaide have won at Kardinia Park.

Roll on the rest of round 1 and may the discussion be around the games and not all of the outside rubbish.

Have a great weekend!

Sportzfan Radio 7 August 2011 #213.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!7 August 2011 213.2 – John O’Callaghan joins the Panel and says the AFL are becoming like the AOC with their skullduggery and non accountability to stakeholders. He says Andrew Demetriou should not be running the AFL.  John cites tanking as an example and refers to Dean Bailey’s press conference during the week.  He also talks about the clear breach of the AFL rules in the signing of Phil Davis by Greater Western Sydney. Nicole Chvastek joins the Panel to talk about Dean Bailey’s revelations on tanking and the way the AFL has dealt with it. They also discuss Jeff Kennett’s comments about Garry Lyon taking on the Football Director’s role at Melbourne for only a short period of time. Paul Dalligan talks about what is happening in the world of rugby league and this week’s round of NRL matches. In addition, he discusses the article written about him by Fred Sherman that appeared on Yahoo Sports following his recent trip to see the LA Dodgers.