In this first of a series of Sportzfan Interviews, the Professor talks with former College and NBL player, Axel Dench about his career in basketball and as Merumeru in Star Wars 3, Revenge of the Sith. In a career that included a March Madness trip to the Elite Eight with
Gonzaga, a Championship in his first year with Wollongong Hawks plus the 2001 NBL Rookie of the Year award, he believes he peaked early. A shoulder injury hampered his development and he eventually bounced around Europe until returning to Australia to play with the Melbourne Tigers in 2007.
Whilst he enjoyed playing at elite level in basketball, it wasn’t until his taste of Hollywood in Revenge of the Sith that he discovered he had a love for acting and movies. His one regret is that he declined another movie role to accept a three year contract with the Melbourne Tigers only to be released after one year to free up player points.
You can hear the full interview at https://soundcloud.com/sportzprofessor/the-sportzfan-interviews-axel-dench
14 October 2012 267.2 – The Professor and Daniel talk about their production meeting at the Great Western Hotel on Friday. Daniel assesses the opening round of the NBL season. He thinks Melbourne Tigers could finish last on the ladder. Mark Fiorenti looks at the Socceroos upcoming World Cup tie against Iraq. He says if the Socceroos lose this game, qualification for the World Cup will be very hard. Whilst he is worried about the result, he thinks Australia can squeeze out a one goal victory. He also reviews the A-League and says Melbourne Victory and coach Ange Postecolglou are in trouble after a record loss to Brisbane Roar. Paul Dalligan comes on the show to talk NRL and last night’s test win by Australia over New Zealand. He also says the race is on for getting Craig Bellamy’s signature on a contract for the 2014 season with three clubs in the running.
29 April 2012 244.2 – Featuring the Professor, Daniel Eade, the Gelding, Sportzfan Stan and Paul Dalligan discussing rugby league, NRL, AFL, Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast Suns, AIHL, ice-hockey, Melbourne Ice & Melbourne Mustangs. The Panel also talks to Hamilton Wildcats player Charles Thompson who discusses Ontario Aussie Rules.
26 February 2012 236.2 -Wayne Holdsworth , CEO of the Southern Football League explained the reasons behind the expulsion of the Doveton Eagles from the League stemming from racial slurs and intimidation of umpires in a 2011 elimination final. This was not the first time the Club had been expelled as in 2010, their coach had been found guilty of coaching whilst his accreditation had been suspended. Wayne also discussed that due to lack of resources, community leagues don’t conduct drug testing. On a positive note, Wayne firmly believed that within three years there will be a professional Australian Rules national competition for women. The Panel discussed the Sydney Kings choice of Shane Heal as their head coach position for the remainder of this NBL season. Daniel believes that in order to increase interest and attendance at NBL games, something needs to be done to boost scoring to make it more entertaining for spectators who want to watch a more fast-paced game. Paul Dalligan provided his NRL 2012 season preview and weighed in with his picks for the first game of the NRL season picking Newcastle to win the first game of the season at home against the Dragons. He also thought the Bulldogs would beat the Panthers and the Rabbitohs would get over the Roosters. Paul gave his final 2012 ladder predictions including his top eight. He said it was difficult as the competition is one of the best in years. Surprisingly, not in the top eight were the reigning premiers, Manly, after losing their coach to the Bulldogs and the Brisbane Bronco’s who he saw finishing in the basement due to the loss of several top players.
22 January 2012 233.1 – With Dan Butterly’s first appearance of 2012, he recapped the end of the U.S. college football season with the deluge of bowl games involved and discussed the pros and cons of underclass men leaving college in the hopes of being drafted to the NFL. Dan expressed surprise at teams in the NFL Championship game after the Green Bay Packers lost to the Giants and the San Francisco 49’ers defeated the New Orleans Saints. He thought the match up would have been between the Saints and Packers. Dan says the Ravens will fall to the Patriots this week and the home advantage going to the 49’ers over the Giants for the Superbowl. The NBA strike has been the cause of numerous early injuries to players and predicts that the accelerated schedule will increase that number. Also, aging players might fall prey to being traded as teams will have to weigh whether or not they can keep up with the season’s gruelling schedule. Less than a month until pitchers and catchers report for spring training in the MLB! The Gelding was back in form this weekend selecting three winerss and two placings from his five choices. It took Sportzfan Stan thirty-eight minutes into the show before he called for the first sacking this week. He also observed that “some horses are faster than others”. Daniel talks NBL and felt that Ayinde Ubaka’s sacking with eight games left in the season was the worst timing by the Melbourne Tigers.
15 January 2012 232.2 Mark Fiorenti goes on to talk about the sacking of Melbourne Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic and the appointment of Jim Magilton. He thinks the Victory could still slip into the top four. Mark also talks about the Melbourne Heart and says they are clearly the best side in Melbourne. He discusses the A League initiatives of Big Wednesday concept with five games being played on the one day and the coach of Gold Coast being miked up during the game. Daniel says if he owned the team he wouldn’t have allowed it. Mark finally looks at Arsenal signing Thierry Henry for the next few months and Eric Cantona vying for the French presidency. The Panel talk cricket and the test series against India. The Gelding says that Craig McDermott is doing a great job as bowling coach. Paul Dalligan comes on to talk both NRL and NFL especially his beloved Denver Broncos. He thinks Billy Slater will be fit to start the NRL season and that Canterbury Bankstown are a special for the coming season. Tennis is the next topic of discussion and the Professor quizes the Panel about how many Australian men and women are in the Australian Open draw. The Professor also queries whether Ian Thorpe should have come back after a fifth place in the Victorian championships. Daniel likens it to the embarassing comeback of Tony Lockett. Daniel also talks both NBL and NBA looking at the LA Clippers, Melbourne Tigers and Patty Mills.
11 December 2011 230.2 – Mark continues talking soccer and Melbourne Heart’s recent good form. He doesn’t think Brisbane Roar are in crisis after two losses in a row but they may have peaked too early. In the Premier League he has had to re-evaluate Arsenal’s form and thinks he’ll have to eat humble pie about his early season prediction. He doesn’t think they’ll beat Manchester City this week though. Mark was up early to watch the Real Madrid/Barcelona match and says it sets the stage for an interesting finish to the La Liga season. Dr Leslie’s CSA on before the Gelding this week. The Gelding talks horse racing and before he looks at how his selections and the Sydney Colt’s fared, Sportzfan Stan wants to discuss the arsenic doping case with him. Sportzfan Stan is pleased when the Professor advises the Ladies from the Tennis Club have also invited him to their Christmas function. The Gelding tells the Panel that Danish Rock is in pre-training for a February 2012 campaign. Daniel talks MLB and the Milwaukee Brewers’ Ryan Braun testing positive for a performance enhancing drug and facing a 50 game suspension. Paul Dalligan has a brief look at tennis and says Aussie youth tennis stocks seem to be improving. The Professor and Paul discuss what is happening in rugby league and Manly have their first five games away from home. They also talk about Will Hopoate leaving on a two year mission for the Mormons and Paul Gallen winning back to back Harry Sunderland medals. Daniel finishes with a look at the NBL and the Age publishing the Melbourne Tigers beat the Cairns Taipans but in fact, the Taipans won. He thinks the Tigers may struggle to make the playoffs now with five teams fighting for two spots.
4 December 2011 229.1 – The Panel start with a look at the first test against New Zealand. Daniel also reviews the Melbourne Tigers recent performances and says with the game on the line in the last four matches, they couldn’t get it done. The Gelding queries whether they are missing Patty Mills already. Dan Butterly comes on to discuss US sport talking College football including who will qualify for the National championship and the other BCS bowls. Once again Dan argues that there should be a playoff in College football. He also looks at the coaching carousel with a number of Colleges firing their football coaches and says it’s not good to be a coach at this time of year. Dan says Tim Tebow is a winner and Tebowmania has overtaken Denver. He thinks the Packers can run the table and sees the Colts going 0-16. The Professor and Dan discuss the bid by Jerry Kramer’s daughter to have him admitted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Professor learned about it on Twitter. Dan says it is an amazing story and he encourages the fans to learn more about the cause and Kramer’s career. Dan thinks Bobby Valentine’s hiring to coach the Red Sox is a great one. The Gelding talks racing and reviews both his selections and the Sydney Colts. Unfortunately for the Gelding his tips were just off the mark with four seconds. He awards an s-hit ride to Danny Nikolic for his ride on Starchine. Sportzfan Stan is upset that the Gelding has been invited to the Ladies at the Tennis club’s Christmas party but he hasn’t. Mark Fiorenti talks A-League soccer and says the Melbourne Victory are a ‘little bit’ back in crisis. The Professor reviews Mark’s pre-season ladder predictions, especially Adelaide on top and the Newcastle Jets on the bottom.
27 November 2011 228.2 – Sportzfan Stan predicts Australia will lose the first test against New Zealand. Paul Dalligan comes on to talk rugby league and quips that Mark Fiorenti is ‘suddenly’ in love, that he went to a Russian wedding that went longer than the last Aussie cricket innings and he turned into Boris Yeltsin after a lot of vodka. He discusses the final of the Four Nations Championship and said Australia were good flat track bullies and once they got in front they weren’t going to be beaten. Darren Lockyer’s last game and he got a standing ovation. He gave Tim Sheens an 8 or 9 for his coaching of the Australian team. Paul also talks Wests Tigers with Robbie Farrer and Tim Sheens having problems. He predicts Cameron Smith will be the next captain of the Kangaroos. Melbourne Storm have recruited Jason Ryles and Ryan Hoffman during the break. Mark Fiorenti makes it albeit a bit late to talk soccer and reviews the happenings in the A League and thinks the Melbourne Victory are in crisis. He also looks at the English Premier League and Champions League. A pleasant surprise that Daniel Eade calls in to talk NBA with the lockout apparently being over and dependant on a vote by players and owners. He also looks at Patty Mills taking a large contract in China and leaving the Melbourne Tigers. Daniel says the Tigers still might make the final four in the NBL.
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.