Tag Archives: north-melbournefc

Weekend musing covers the AFL’s final round and the Dustin Martin saga

This weeks final round of football is an absolute cracker with every game having some influence on the final standings. In the Herald Sun they have equated this round to the final round of 1987 where several games impacted the make up of the finals. As an Essendon supporter I am happy that my team has control of its own destiny. The Bombers should account for Fremantle at home, but having seen my side cough up a 27 point lead against Brisbane at home you never can be sure. It also may be Jobe Watson’s last game in the red and black. He certianly got the most out of himself and it still riles me that he returned his Brownlow medal.

The Dustin Martin saga seems to be dragging on and it seems more likely that he will leave the Tigers. I know he is an important player and this year’s likely Brownlow medalist, however, if the reported offer from North Melbourne is $1.5m a year for 7 years the Tigers should not attempt to match it as it would jeopardise future contracts and their payment structure. I do not think he is worth anything like that sort of money as he doesn’t provide any sort of marketing clout save for his position as a star player. I also do not think that most Richmond supporters would want their club to go too far to keep him. Martin needs the money and I have no doubt he will go to the highest bidder. He is not a media performer and he is not coaching material, so he has to make hay while he is playing. If North Melbourne do get him there is no guarantee that he will be the panacea for their woes in any case. Paying a player that amount of money will no doubt cause a ripple affect amongst the other players as Tom Boyd’s contract apparently did at the Bulldogs. This guy is no Paddy Dangerfield.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Jumper punches, World Cup qualifiers…..

Whilst there was not all that much to tweak my interest this week, I did think Tom Hawkins was dead set stiff for copping a suspension when his hit was quite minor compared to the Cotchin, Cunnington & Jones hits of the previous few weeks. Having said that, you would think with all the publicity attached to those recent hits, he wasn’t using his brains to grab a jumper and then punch someone. The AFL were going to make a stand at some stage and Hawkins was the first one to be subject to the Match Review Panel’s crack down.

I was pleased to see that Josh Schache re-signed with Brisbane. Brisbane have coughed up a lot of players over the last couple of years and it is good to see one of their top draft picks choosing to stay. It’s about time things started to run their way.

It was also good to see the Socceroos succeed against Saudi Arabia on Friday night. Despite an indifferent performance they got the win and evened up the points with the Saudis and now only trail by goal difference. The pressure is on this team to make the World Cup finals and, if they make it, it will be a testament to the coaching of Ange Postecoglou. From what I see this current Australian team is a bit short on talent compared to more recent World Cup campaigns and while they have not yet confirmed qualification for the World Cup, they are still the only team in the group to be undefeated. Clearly, the match against the Blue Samurai in Japan in August will be crucial to qualification for both teams. Japan has the harder draw as they then play Saudi Arabia away in their last game while the Socceroos play bottom of the table Thailand in Australia.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Winx, the Derby day selection, the Bye revisited, Good Friday AFL game…..

Sfan OB6The WS Cox Plate run of Winx last Saturday was amazing. She was the only one that seemed to handle the track and put a space in the field very quickly. If she manages to stay fit and sound it is hard to unknown-2see anything beating her next year unless something from the latest crop of three year olds prove to be exceptional. I thought the run of Hartnell was good from a Melbourne Cup point of view. He looked to be gone on the turn put plugged on an held second comfortably in the end.

The connections of Winx have confirmed that she will not run in the re-vamped Mackinnon Stakes on the last day of the VRC Spring Carnival. While this is disappointing on one level as the best horse in the land will not contest the race, it does mean that we won’t have a repeat of the Caulfield Stakes where she only competed against two other horses. The problem is the dearth of decent middle distance weight for age horses in Australia at the moment and what was designed to be a showcase event on the last day has the potential to be a bit of a farce.

There has been some discussion this week about the bye before the haw v northAFL finals. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like it. It allows the AFL flexibility with scheduling in the last round and to an extent with the first week of the finals. Perhaps it does detract from finishing in the top four and winning the first week, but if we witness something like the Bulldogs this year then count me in.

Sticking with the AFL, the first Good Friday game will be held next season with the game kicking off at 4.20pm. I would have to question the timing of the game given that Good Friday church tarrantservices are at 3.00pm. If the churchgoing Christian supporters from North Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs want to attend the game they will need to find a church proximate to Etihad stadium. Probably not a big deal, but a night game like the other sporting codes who play on Good Friday should have been considered.

By the way, my tip for the Derby is Morvada each way.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, All Australian team, 2017 improvers…….

Sfan OB6It must be a first for any form of football in Australia with AFL finals to take place in four different states next week. This shows it is truly tarranta national competition and the four finals spread over three days should be a great spectacle. While the bye may be frustrating for some it did allow flexibility with the scheduling of the last round and the finals so from a broadcasters point of view it is likely to be a success even if the coaches don’t like it.

The All-Australian team was announced last night and I thought there were a few surprises with Robbie Tarrant missing out andenright Corey Enright making the team, but the biggest surprise was eight teams missing out on a representative in the team. This must be a record and it is hard to believe that North Melbourne and St Kilda both winning twelve games did not have a player worthy of being a representative.

Next year it is anticipated that St Kilda, Melbourne, Collingwood and Essendon are the likely teams to improve, but at this stage only North Melbourne looks like sliding, so perhaps we are in for a very even season, just as it has been for the top seven teams this year. It makes for an exciting competition.

Now that the Bombers season is over I can say that having approached their season with very low expectations, I was pleasantly surprised. While the results were heavily skewed in tipungwutifavour of the losses, most games seemed to reveal some positives for the team. For an example you don’t need to look further than Anthony McDonald-Tipungwuti. Other players have progressed, like Zach Merrett who I think was unlucky to miss out on the All Australian squad. I doubt the Bombers are under any illusions about next year. It will take time to integrate the banned players back in to the team and a season of 10-11 wins would be a huge step forward.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Boomer Harvey, Sheahan v Jacko, Bomber – the book……..

Chris Barwin HillsThis week in the AFL we have a number of milestone games. The most prominent is Brent Harvey who breaks Michael Tuck’s games record of 426. Not trying to take anything away from Harvey, but it has to be remembered that Tuck also played around 100 reservesboomer games and was ultimately forced into retirement by Hawthorn. Based on his on-field persona, I didn’t have much time for him in the past but having heard him on the radio this year I have moderated my views and he seems like a thoroughly decent human being. The second in line is pavMatthew Pavlich bringing up his 350th game for Fremantle which in some ways may be a more significant milestone than Harvey’s. Putting Pavlich’s longevity into perspective, he has played 60 mores games than Dean Cox (290), the nearest Western Australian based player since the start of the national competition. In reality, that is at least three more seasons of football. Remarkable! Then we have the Geelong pair of Corey Enright and Jimmy Bartel, with the Geelong games record and 300 games respectively. I think it is not only a testament to the dedication of these players, but also a testament to the advancement in sports science that allows players to play for much longer at the highest level.

I didn’t watch the Mike Sheahan interview with Mark Jackson the other night, but I did read and hear exerpts from it and I must agreesheahan with Tim Watson who described it as a bit of self promotion for Jackson. Jackson makes his money on the speaking circuit in Australia and perhaps his engagements had been dwindling and he needed to ramp up his exposure, but what a performance! I have been critical of a number of football journalists this year who have conducted their own level of self promotion, but I do not jackothink that Mike Sheahan falls into that category and he did not deserve the tirade directed at him. Mike Sheahan was an old fashioned journalist who checked his facts and didn’t go off on flights of fancy visited by the likes of Caroline Wilson, Mark Robinson and Damien Barrett.

I went to the book launch by Mark “Bomber” Thompson last night in Geelong and he had some interesting things to say. He didn’t want bomberto make it all about Essendon and the supplements saga, but he did appear to place a lot of the blame with the Paul Hamilton who was the football manager at the time. He wouldn’t come out and say who his favourite Geelong player was, but it was pretty clear that Matthew Scarlett was right up there. Maybe that is linked to Scarlett growing up an Essendon supporter! However, he did have a few disparaging things to say about Essendon as has been reported in the media. I don’t know if I am all that happy with that as those things should be kept in house. Maybe I’ll read the book.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Moto GP, Jack Miller, AFL local derbies….

Chris Barwin HillsWith Leicester City being the surprise winner of the EPL this year it seems to have started a bit of a trend with some surprising results in sport of the last week. First you had Jack Miller winningjack miller the Dutch Moto Grand Prix at 500/1 and then Iceland beat England in the Euro Cup. Iceland was not as big a surprise as the team is currently ranked 34 in the world, but what an amazing effort for a country with a population similar to the City of Greater Geelong!

In the AFL the local derbies seem to have a lot of traction with the local supporters. The AFL is trying to push the Queensland haw v northand NSW derbies, but what about Tasmania? Both Hawthorn and North Melbourne play in Tassie and yet there is no local derby. The rivalry between Hobart (North) and Launceston (Hawks) is as big a rivalry as any in Australia, but both games this year are in Melbourne. To me this short changes the Tasmanian connection for those two clubs and I think at least one game a year should be held in Tasmania with the venue alternating each year. Good for football and good for Tasmania!

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Journalists, Lindsay Thomas, LeBron James….

Chris Barwin HillsThe biggest story this week in sport again had nothing really to do with sport and those that play it. I passed comment a few weeks ago about journalists creating stories around themselves and this week maguireit has gone to a whole new level. I am not going to give a view on the rights and wrongs of the whole debate, but it is time we moved on and concentrated on the sport. Richmond’s decision to ban Triple M seems somewhat hypocritical given the Dustin Martin situation earlier this year. Their response would be that the allegations were unfounded but let’s have some consistency in the way these matters are treated.

It was not really a surprise to see Lindsay Thomas not paid free kicks in last Friday nights game against Hawthorn. While Brad Scott’s thomascomments about the umpires was proved to be factually incorrect and he and North paid a hefty price, I have no doubt that the umpires saw the vision and heard the ongoing commentary of and about Thomas in the game against Sydney and were always going to react. No one likes being made a fool of. I harken back to 1999/2000 when Matthew Lloyd was highlighted for diving in a game against Richmond where he received three free kicks. Lloyd got a reputation for diving on the back of that game and while he did take it out of his repertoire, he very rarely received a free kick for being pushed in the back in a marking contest after that game. James Sicily could be next on the list!

An amazing performance by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA and I think it does emphasise that LeBron James is one of the greatest Unknown-1players of all time and probably the best since Michael Jordan. What has been missed in this is that in culminates in a hat trick of NBA wins by Australian players. Mills & Baynes in 2014, Bogut in 2015 and Dellavedova this year. It is great to see Australians playing on the big stage and hopefully they can all be fit for the Olympics because they have a genuine medal chance.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – NRL, State of Origin, Laurie Daley, AFL, Lindsay Thomas…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe first of the NRL State of Origin matches on Wednesday night ended up being a pretty dour affair if you were wanting a lot of scoring action or fireworks between the teams. Each side completed most of their sets of tackles, but there was very few exciting runs to get the crowd on its feet. There were mistakes from both sides, but it seemed they daley played conservatively waiting for the other side to make an error on which they could capitalise. NSW had a try disallowed late in the game and, given the video replay, it is hard to see how the linesman awarded the try in the first place. There was a flurry of bodies and the ball was not clear even on slow motion replay. I think the linesman had a guess based on the momentum of the NSW player (Morris).

Laurie Daly came out after the game and complained about the referees, but based on my untrained eye, the mistakes went both ways so his comments can probably be put down to the protestations of a losing coach.

It is amazing how the Friday night AFL game can set the conversation for the weekend and the following week with the thomasLindsay Thomas  free kicks sparking a tsunami of comment and analysis. I have spoken about those free kicks before and how difficult it is for the umpires to adjudicate. Most teams know who the principal perpetrators are and when confronted with those players the tackler should concentrate on going in as low as possible and forget about pinning the arms because these players seem loathe to release the ball. The result should be a holding the ball decision against the perpetrator.

I must say I have to agree with the over analyser, Dermott Brereton, that Thomas took it to a new level last Friday night when he backeddermott into the Swans defender and then dragged his arm down over his shoulder as well. In discussions on Saturday, Brereton did go through the main protagonists and did not just single out Thomas. The comment was made that we are happy when it is our team that is the recipient of the free kick, but livid when it is the other side.  I am upset because no one at Essendon has developed the skill and we need a few gifts in our forward line!

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Melbourne Cup selection, Terry Bailey, Jake Carlisle and the Wallabies

Chris Barwin HillsI 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 winxgreyhound 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 baileydisturbing. 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 carlisle
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 wallabiesEllis 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!

Friday musing this week looking at Luke Hodge and Dustin Fletcher

Chris Barwin HillsI was amused to read about Luke Hodge being picked up for drink driving. I was amused because I understand he was the Hawthorn Unknownplayer 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. imagesEven 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!