Tag Archives: mcg

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!

Weekend musing – Chris Gayle, Big Bash League, A League…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell we are back in the swing of things for the new year and the biggest story in sport this week had nothing to do with the actual sport, but the comments by Chris Gayle to Mel McLaughlin in an interview after his innings in the Big Bash. I did not see the interview live, but heard it replayed the following day. My initial thought was chris gaylethat it could have been a set up given Gayle’s playboy image, but was assured that McLaughlin was not comfortable with it. There is no excuse for Gayle, what he did was wrong and it warranted a fine and he won’t be asked back so he has cooked his own goose, but did it warrant the analysis that it got? The ABC ran a story on the 7.30 Report and it was the hot topic on talk back radio. No one died and no one was physically hurt or threatened and whilst I am sure Mel McLaughlin didn’t appreciate the comments or the attention the incident created, let’s keep it in perspective. Obviously a slow news day.

This was not unlike the Dustin Martin, chopstick incident where the martinmedia pushed the story, whilst the woman who was threatened, did not want to make too big a deal of it. Having said that, the Martin incident would appear to be a lot worse than what Chris Gayle said. On the scale of transgressions, I think being physically threatened is worse than inappropriate language.

In the meantime, the Big Bash has gone from strength to strength and I doubt that Cricket Australia will get better crowds for the ODI series against India. 80,000 at the MCG for a domestic 20/20 game is amazing and the scheduling is perfect for night time viewing. I don’t have a team, I like both the Melbourne teams with a leaning towards the Renegades, but that could be a reaction against the Eddie Maguire aligned Stars.

I went to the soccer at Skilled Stadium last night and there was another good crowd in attendance. I think there is a bit of a push to have an A-League or a Big Bash team based in Geelong. I believe marinersthere is enough interest down here, but I am not sure if there would be enough corporate support. That being said there seems to be enough crowd support to warrant more A-League fixtures and Big Bash games once Skilled Stadium has been upgraded.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Bart Cummings, AFL, sling tackles, player management……

Chris Barwin HillsLast 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 imagestrained 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 Unknownlucky 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. IUnknown-1 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 Unknown-2to 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!

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!

Friday musing – WADA wades in with an appeal in the Essendon supplements saga, A League final…

Chris Barwin HillsWell Tuesday morning I awoke from my slumbers to the news that I had not anticipated. WADA had lodged an appeal against the AFL Tribunal’s decision in the Essendon supplements saga. I had not considered that WADA would have much interest in a domestic sport where the team under investigation had not actually won anything, as opposed to the Lance Armstrong/Marion Jones cases.

This seems to be very much driven by ASADA’s Ben McDevitt as it is hard to see why WADA would instigate an appeal without a strong push from him. I must say his comments after the original decision 1427929273480was handed down smacked of sour grapes. In addition, if the case is as flimsy as was reported, it is hard to see why an international body would want to touch it. The big concern is still the very low standard of proof required.

Another confounding issue here is the innocence of the players. I don’t think any one thinks the players knowingly took a banned substance. I am sure the club didn’t sanction banned substances, so if banned substances were administered (and I understand there is no direct evidence that they were) why continue to pursue this matter?

There is no doubt the club should have taken more care to ensure that the records and the substances were all properly approved and documented, but the club has been dealt with by the AFL. What has Unknowncome out this week was that there was a spreadsheet as to what the club believes was administered. This should put to one side the comments that the club didn’t even know what was administered to the players, because clearly they knew what they believed was administered and anything else would have been administered without their knowledge and consent.

It is quite ironic that revelations regarding the use of stem cell injections to aid recovery from injury came out in the same week that WADA decided to appeal. I resolve not to make any further comments on this sorry issue until CAS decide on the appeal.

Moving away from this blight on the local sporting landscape to the A-League grand final, it would have been interesting to see what sort of crowd they may have got if the game was to be played at the graham-arnoldMCG. I have heard suggestions of 70,000 and that would not be out of the realms of possibility and would match the expected crowd for the Richmond -v- Collingwood game at the same venue. Either way you would think that the game would still attract a greater audience than the Western Bulldogs -v- Freemantle game at Etihad Stadium.

I am hoping for a Melbourne Victory win and while a lot of the focus has been on their strike power up forward, I think the key to this game will be the captain, Mark Milligan. Should the Victory win, I think he is every chance to be named the Joe Marston medalist.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Golf, Cricket, Spring Carnival…….

Chris Barwin HillsThe thing that really piqued my interest in the sporting arena this week was the story about Phil Mickelson calling 16 year old US born Australian Ryan Rufflels (the son of former tennis player Ray Ruffels) to try and get him to Arizona State University on a golfing scholarship. Apparently Ryan plays off plus 6 and in a recent monthly medal at the Victoria Club shot rounds of 10, 9, 7 & 9 under. Wow! Golf seems to be producing some real prodigies at the moment and hopefully Ryan can go on and create a name for himself. Which country would have the bragging rights? I think that while he was born in the US, he grew up in Australia and took up golf in Australia, I consider that to be enough to claim him as an Aussie.

It was interesting to see that less than 25,000 people for the International T20 match against South Africa last Friday at the MCG. That is a disappointing crowd and casts a bit of doubt about the overall interest in the cricket coming into a summer where Australia will be hosting the One Day World Cup. Apart from the Ashes that is always well patronised, the cricket does seem to be losing its mojo. I have mentioned this in the past and in my opinion, it has a lot to do with the year round coverage of cricket throughout the world. The football is played over a period of six-seven months and then there is the build up and anticipation for the following season which is all very well staged managed by the AFL. The international cricket season has started with very little sense of anticipation and not helped by the recent test flogging at the hands of the Pakistanis. Time will tell if they can build some momentum into the World Cup.

The major races of the spring have now been completed and there was a number of notable performances, however, I do not think that any horse stamped its authority on the spring. There was not a dominant sprinter, there was not a dominant weight for age performer and there was not a dominant stayer. Having said that the “one off” performances of Terravista, Adelaide and Protectionist (you could also add in Admire Rakti in the Caulfield Cup) where truly great performances.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – World Cup soccer & hockey, AFL…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell what a big week in sport!

Starting with the soccer World Cup, I must say my prognostication from about a month ago concerning Australia’s chances have come to fruition. I did suggest that while the Socceroos were unlikely to win a game, they would acquit themselves a lot better than most of the pundits and the public were expecting. As it stands after two games we have been highly competitive and very unlucky not to have secured a point from either game. The table for Group B at the moment has the 59th ranked Australian team ahead of the 1st ranked Spanish team. Not a bad result in that group. Save for Tim Cahill, who is not really a striker, we have lacked a world class finisher with several chances not being put in the back of the net. It is a bit of a shame that Robbie Kruse has been injured, while not being top shelf, he is still probably Australia’s best man up front. Hopefully he will be fit for the Asian Cup. It would be great to secure a draw or better against Spain.

Great to see Patty Mills and Aaron Baynes being a part of the NBA championship winning San Antonio Spurs. Mills really made a contribution and is now on the radar for several big NBA franchises. I read during the week that he only secured an AIS scholarship when Scott Pendelbury knocked it back. Who knows what might have 954743-patty-millshappened if he did not get that opportunity. He could be playing for the Sydney Swans!

Other Australians to be successful at the highest level this week were the Kookaburras, who beat the Netherlands easily in the World Cup of hockey. I am not a big hockey fan, but those that love the sport, really love it. It always good to see Aussies successful even if it is an area that you don’t have a great deal of interest.

The Essendon supplements saga is dominating the airwaves again and while I do not want to spend too much time on it, there was one comment that I could not resist responding to. On Saturday night Sam Lane confirmed that she had seen one of the show cause notices served on the Essendon players. Luke Darcy then asked her if she would take the six months that was offered. She responded in the affirmative. How can she possibly put herself in the shoes of the Essendon players and make judgement based on a “show cause” notice! It beggars belief. When asked the same question by Bryan Taylor later in the show she was a bit more circumspect, but if this type of dribble continues how are the Essendon players and the club going to get a decent hearing in the court of public opinion. Don’t forget that last year Jobe Watson was persecuted for his revelation that he may have been administered AOD9604. ASADA have now confirmed that this preparation only became banned after April 2013. Have any of his persecutors like Tim Lane (Sam’s father) apologised to him? I think not.

I was also bemused that Collingwood played the Western Bulldogs at Etihad as a home game and conversely, Essendon played Melbourne at the MCG as their home game. As fate would have it, both “home” sides lost. I am not suggesting that this issue cost Essendon the game on Sunday evening, the Dees did very well and how the Bombers let the last goal through means that their lapse against Hawthorn earlier in the year has not improved their capacity to think under pressure.

Have a great weekend.

Friday musing – Essendon FC, the Hangar, Big Bash League……

Chris Barwin HillsWell my sporting highlight for the week had nothing to do with any particular sporting event, but rather a sporting ‘occasion’.

Last September, I entered a fund raising raffle for the Essendon Football Club. The ticket cost me $200 and it was to raise funds for their new high performance centre. I thought I had missed out on any prizes, but in mid November I found out that I had won a tour of the new facility out at Tullamarine, a meeting with the coach, Mark Thompson, a photograph with the player of my choice which was David Zaharakis and a jumper signed by the whole team.

Well on Wednesday I took two of my children and received my prize. The facility is quite amazing with an oval the size of the MCG and another the size of Etihad stadium, but the indoor training area, The Hangar is quite amazing. It has artificial turf and is about 50 x 60 metres so they could undertake drills indoors if required. The place is not complete as they didn’t get all the funding they hoped from the federal government, so no doubt there will be further fund raisers! They also have about eighty administrative staff out there so football clubs these days are big businesses. One of the things that was obvious that they need for the Hangar is air conditioning, it was probably warmer in there than it was outside!

The meeting with ‘Bomber’ and David Zaharakis went well and they were happy to have a chat for 5-10 minutes. Bomber seemed pretty comfortable with the coaches role which was good given his earlier reluctance. The jumper is worth more than the price of the ticket and once I get the photos I will think about getting it mounted and framed.

The entire thing took just over an hour and was over very quickly, but it was a memorable experience and we were certainly made to feel very welcome.

Before I head off to Hawaii next week, I will make one comment about the tennis, thank goodness for the Big Bash League!

Have a great weekend and I’ll be back on 14 Feb!

Sportzfan Radio show #227.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!20 November 2011 227.2 – Mark Fiorenti also is critical of Socceroo’s coach, Holger Osieck with tactics and team selection. He thinks the tie against Saudi Arabia in February 2012 will be played at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Mark also reviews the current A League round and provides an update on the English Premier League. The Dr Leslie CSA is on later than usual in today’s show. The Panel discuss an email on the passing of the late Peter Roebuck and Sportzfan Stan agrees that he was a very good cricket writer. They then discuss 20/20 Big Bash cricket with the Melbourne Stars signing Shane Warne and playing atthe MCG. World Champion Hot Dog eater, Joey Chestnut is appearing at an eating contest in Melbourne although Sportzfan Stan has difficulty believing that eating can be a sport. Paul Dalligan is also on a day off (at a Russian wedding if you don’t mind) so it is left to the Professor to review the Kangaroos win in the Four Nations Tournament over England. The show then crosses to Mordiboy for a live update from the President’s Cup at Royal Melbourne Golf Course and he says the coverage by the media on the event has been amazing. Finally the Panel looks at the current NBL round and they try to make sense of the Melbourne Tigers beating the top side then losing to the bottom side the next night.

Sportzfan Radio #169.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!5 September 2010 169.2 – The Panel talk NRL with Paul Dalligan.  He says Rabbitohs supporters are never on the knife edge as they aren’t usually even in the kitchen.  He says the Melbourne Storm have really played well and given everything since the salary cap problems.  The Gelding  likes Typhoon Tracey to win the Horse of the Year award.  Sean Callanan discusses the poor crowds at the MCG for both finals matches played so far.  Sean believes a lot of it has to do with the way tickets are released to the public and an inability for the public to choose where they would like to sit.  He says that “single ticket” sales aren’t handled by the AFL very well.  He also discusses the Boomers progress at the FIBA World Championships and wasn’t surprised that they beat Germany.  For the tournament to be a success they need to win the next game at least.  The Professor and the Gelding discuss Matthew Knights shabby treatment by the Essendon Board and the Professor wonders what ever happened to the review that was to be undertaken.