Tag Archives: melbourne-storm

Weekend musing – the Brownlow medal, Grand Finals in AFL & NRL……

I was pleasantly surprised to listen to Dustin Martin at his Brownlow presentation on Monday night. He came over a lot better than I had envisioned and he seemed like a reasonable bloke who loves his footy. Bruce McAvaney was a little sickening, but he did a good job getting Martin to talk so it worked.

With 36 votes Martin scored exactly the same amount as the entire All Australian back line of Rory Laird (9) votes, Alex Rance (8), Michael Hibberd (7), Sam Docherty (5), Michael Hurley (4) and Jeremy McGovern (3). While I am not suggesting that Martin did not deserve his votes, it is a little hard to accept that these six champion players could only amass 36 votes between them as most of them are big ball winners as well. The forward line did significantly better with a total of 75 votes, but the forward line included Dane Zorko (14) and Robbie Gray (12) who are essentially mid-fielders and Lance Franklin (22) who seems to capture the umpires eye. With five votes it did endorse my view that Eddie Betts was lucky to make the team.

It was also interesting to see that nine of the 18 clubs had two players that secured half or more of their teams votes and at Richmond, Martin almost did that himself with 36 votes out of a team total of 80. As much as it is great to have a Brownlow medalist from your team, from a team perspective it is better to have a spread of vote getters. The two top teams were Adelaide and Sydney who both had 88 votes, but the contrast was that Adelaide’s top four Sloane, M.Crouch, Jacobs & Atkins contributed 51 votes and Sydney’s top four of Kennedy, Franklin, Parker & Hannebery contributed 67 votes with Hannebery only contributing 6 votes. I think the upshot from this was Adelaide had more to handle in trying to control Martin it will than Richmond had trying to control Rory Sloane…and that is how it turned out yesterday. One thing that the Brownlow coverage brought home was how disappointing it is that Jobe Watson is no longer a Brownlow medalist. To see Cotchin & Mitchell lauded as medalists was disappointing whereas I had not thought about it much beforehand.

The Grand Final was a reasonable game and even though I thought Adelaide were the better side going into the game, the Grand Final was played on Richmond’s home ground which, in my view evened out the contest. Richmond were worthy premiers and it says something for a Club that decided to hold fast in the face of great criticism of their 2016 performance. If the Tigers had buckled at the end of last season and sacked Damian Hardwick, I doubt they would have climbed to the heights of premiership glory.

The Melbourne Storm are my fancies in the NRL decider today. They
have had a great season led by Dally M medallist Cameron Smith. North Queensland Cowboys have had a remarkable run to the Grand Final but I believe they will fall short especially as they are without their champion play maker Jonathan Thurston.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend Musing – droughts broken in AFL and NRL, Winx steps out…..

Sfan OB6Well what a great AFL Grand Final and a result that is good for football. With the Doggies breaking their 62 year premiership drought, it brings to 4 the number of significant droughts broken in the last 15 years. First you had Brisbane/Fitzroy breaking a 47 year drought in 2001, then Sydney/Sth Melbourne breaking a 72 year drought in 2005 and Geelong breaking a 44 year drought in 2007. This now leaves Melbourne (1964) & St Kilda (1966) as the two established clubs with the longest droughts and with both sides having encouraging years this year, who knows we may see another drought broken shortly.

I must say that Luke Beveridge handing over his medal to Bob Murphy was a wonderful gesture, but equally Murphy giving it back was the right thing to do. Without trying to kill Bambi, I am getting a bit tired of the love for Bob Murphy. Yes he is the captain and spiritual leader of the Doggies, but he is not the only player that has missed out on a premiership due to injury or suspension. I have always felt sorry for the recently deceased Neville Crowe who was captain of Richmond in 1967 when John Nicholls feigned being struck and Crowe missed the 1967 premiership as a result. That was also a drought breaking premiership win for the Tigers (24 years).

In the NRL we also saw the Cronulla Sharks win their first premiership since they entered the competition 50 years ago. I obviously wanted the Storm to win, but again it is hard to begrudge a club a drought breaking premiership.

The attention of the sporting public now turns to horse racing and the Spring Carnival. The Melbourne public see Winx for the first time since the Cox Plate last year. She is in a three horse field and sometimes these races can provide an upset because they can become a “sit and sprint”. If that is the case it may favour Black Heart Bart who is clearly the best sprinter of the three acceptors.

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!

Friday musing – AFL, Brownlow Medal, Nat Fyffe, Dally M, Jonathan Thurston, Wayne Bennett

Chris Barwin HillsI 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 naturalfyffe 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 HANNEBERYscoring 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 johnathan-thurstonfinals 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!

Weekend musing – NRL and AFL finals time

Chris Barwin HillsThe Melbourne Storm’s slogan is “No Ordinary Team” and last Friday night proved that to be totally on the money. A couple of weeks after losing to the bottom side for the 4th or 5th time this year they go up to Sydney and knock off the top side and go straight through to a Preliminary final at home. That is certainly not the form of an ordinary team, but it is also the form that would frustrate a coach as well. Fingers crossed the Storm continue the current form and get into another Grand Final.

Speaking of finals, if results go the way I think they could this week, not only will we not have an AFL preliminary final in Melbourne, we Unknown-3will only have one Victorian team in a preliminary final which I think would be the first time this has happened. I am tipping Sydney to overcome the Kangaroos tonight.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Serena Slam v Grand Slam, Test match cricket, Cameron Smith plays 300

Chris Barwin HillsI first turn my attention to the Serena Slam. Apart from Serena Williams essentially referring to herself in the third person, I cannot understand why she is not considered a Grand Slam winner. I know it is considered to be holding all the championships in the one calendarUnknown-2 year, but I cannot see the difference. If any player holds all four championships at the same time they should be considered winners of the Grand Slam. Forget the Serena Slam it is a Grand Slam.

It is amazing the difference a week can make in cricket. I went to bed last Saturday night thinking that Australia had a good chance to bat through the day and consider launching an attack on the last day to try and win the test match in Cardiff. I was disappointed to wake up Unknownand hear they were all out and the top scoring batsman was Mitch Johnson. Surely if Johnson can make 77 runs, the other specialist batsmen should have been able to cobble together a decent score! The disappointment of last week was put aside this morning when I woke up to hear that Australia had amassed a score of 337 for the loss of one wicket.

This brings me to one of my hobby horses – test pitches. Too often these days pitches are prepared to favour the team that wins the toss and bats first. A traditional test match pitch should offer some hope to the bowlers in the first session, last night there was nothing in that pitch at all and the only wicket to fall was to a somewhat profligate shot. I think it might be time for the ICC to step in and have the match referee involved in the pitch preparation.

Congratulations to Cameron Smith for his 300th NRL game this weekend. I am not a huge NRL fan, but I must say that Cam Smith is one of the more impressive people in Australian sport. Not only is he a great player and a great leader, but he handles himself well in Unknown-1
public no better than the recent controversy that he was somehow landed in. He has chosen not to comment on the matter in public and wants to meet with Alex McKinnon and sort it out behind closed doors. How refreshing!

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Melbourne Cup, Cricket, West Sydney Wanderers…

Chris Barwin HillsWell the big three races of the Melbourne spring have been run and won by international horses. The Japanese took out the Caulfield Cup, the Irish the Cox Plate and now the Germans have the Melbourne Cup. If Adelaide had been owned by Italian interests you may have questioned who won the war! There has been a lot of discussion about the influx of international horses and whether there should be a quota placed on them, particularly for the Melbourne Cup. Bunkum I say. If the locals want to win these races they should adjust their breeding and training regimes and start to focus on middle distance and staying races and not just breeding and training for sprinter/milers. For too long getting a horse to produce early in it’s career has been the focus instead of looking to the future. I think we should keep bringing in the international horses as not only are they better than the locals, they add plenty to the discussions at this time of the year. With Slade Power running in the Darley Classic tomorrow, the pain for the locals may not be over and we may be beaten at our own game.

I remarked last week about the pitches that had been produced in the recent test series against Pakistan and that may have been disrespectful to the Pakistanis’ as each of their second innings were better than our first in each test. The Australian’s were completed outplayed and any pretensions they had for being number one in the world has taken a severe blow. To be number one you have to be able to win in all conditions, not just those that suit your best players. Some of the selections have to be questioned as well. Bringing Glenn Maxwell in and playing him as a number three seemed as strange as the puzzling decisions in dropping Alex Doolan and Steve O’Keefe after one test. I can understand the theory of playing to your strength, but clearly the pitch blunted even the best fast bowlers, let alone the likes of Mitchell Starc. The batsmen need to learn how to play spin and the spinners need to learn how to bowl in those conditions.

What an amazing performance by the West Sydney Wanderers in the Asian Champions League final. For a club that has only been in existence for just over two years, they have played in two grand finals and won the premier club competition in Asia. Admittedly the A-League has only been going for a short time, but for a start up club to have achieved that much in such a short space of time is unprecedented. I think it even out-strips the Melbourne Storm’s win in the 1999 NRL grand final. It must say something about Tony Popovic’s coaching and he must be high on the radar for the national team or something substantial overseas.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Alex McKinnon, NRL, Nathan Berry, T-20……

Chris Barwin HillsI guess there has been a bit of bad news in the world of sport this week with the confirmation that Alex McKinnon may be a partial quadriplegic and the death of jockey, Nathan Berry.

I don’t profess to be an expert on rugby league and I have no view on the tackle being illegal or not, but it does seem that similar instances occur every week and this looks to be a tragic accident. The NRL had to be seen to be doing something and while the Melbourne Storm may be aggrieved with the penalty, in deference to the injured player I think they should simply accept the penalty. I did think it was interesting that the Newcastle Knights came out and suggested that all three tacklers should have been cited, but if that was the case it may have been more difficult to sustain a charge. Either way it is a true sporting tragedy.

The death of Nathan Berry was also a tragedy, but it does not seem it was in any way linked to his sport, just a diabolical condition that struck him down in his prime. He was due to ride Unencumbered in the Golden Slipper this Saturday and I might just have a small wager on it for sentimental reasons.

Talking about the Golden Slipper, Earthquake looks hard to beat, but it does have a difficult barrier. Perhaps it will have to go into a quinella with Unencumbered.

I note that the T20 World Cup is coming to a conclusion. I don’t know about you, but since the football season started there has been no interest in the cricket or this tournament in particular. This may be linked to the poor performance of Australia and the fact that it is on pay TV, but it is also not getting much coverage in the newspapers either. Does this bode well for the World One Cup in Australia/New Zealand next year? I would have to answer in the negative, but I have already purchased my ticket for the final.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Higgins, Bailey, Smith, AFL…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell it was quite a sad week with the passing of Roy Higgins and Dean Bailey.

Roy Higgins was a jockey everyone knew and it didn’t matter if they followed racing or not. He was one of the first, if not the first jockey to have a media profile. Roy clearly knew his stuff and had a good sense of humour. I heard a recent interview with him replayed last weekend and he indicated that his favourite horse was Light Fingers. This was also reflected in a very good article about him in the Herald Sun written by the doyen of racing writers, Les Carlyon. He said that the only photos of horses in Higgin’s house were of Light Fingers. His post riding aim was to be a little fat man and he was also successful in that regard! He won 108 Group 1 races in a time when
there were less Group 1 races and with a heavy weight jockey, he also had a smaller pool to choose from.  One of the greats!

Dean Bailey’s death was probably more tragic given that he was only recently diagnosed with cancer and 47 at the time of his death. I saw him play his first game for the Bombers down at Geelong and he kicked goals with his first two kicks in league football. He wasn’t a great player, but probably got the best out of himself and often these types of players make good coaches. He certainly had a good CV as an assistant coach and his time at Melbourne as a senior coach came to an unfortunate end. I also think he was harshly dealt with in the tanking saga. To his credit he never tried to push the blame onto anyone else and took his lumps. Universally liked and his sacking at Melbourne was not something that came from losing the players.

Taken too soon!

On a brighter note it was great to see Cameron Smith re-sign with the Melbourne Storm. He is not only the club captain, but also the captain of Queensland and Australia, so it would be hard to have a better CV. With him staying with the Storm it will be easier to attract and retain players. A coup of some proportions given the obvious interest from the Brisbane Broncos. He capped it all off last weekend by leading the Storm to a stirring victory with his first drop goal in the NRL.

The AFL starts back tonight and I am looking forward to sitting back with a few cold ones watching Fre(dis)mantle Collingwood. Fremantle are my tip for the premiership and if they are to fulfil my prediction, they have to win tonight.

Have a great weekend.

Sportzfan Radio show #266.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!07 October 2012 266.2 – Daniel continues with his preview of the NBL season. He thinks Sydney Kings will finish on the bottom and Perth Wildcats will win the title with the Adelaide 36ers being the big improvers. Mark Fiorenti previews the A League season. He sees a wide open season with Brisbane Roar winning the minor premiership and Western Sydney Wanderers being wooden spooners. He also briefly looks at the Premier League with WBA being the surprise packets so far. The Panel have no real interest in the Bathurst 1000. Paul Dalligan wraps up the NRL season with some comments on last week’s Grand Final between Melbourne Storm and Canterbury-Bankstown. Gelding queries the biting incident involving James Graham and Billy Slater.