Tag Archives: nrl

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!

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 – Premier League, NAB challenge, NRL

Chris Barwin HillsWith the EPL results this week it would appear that the title race and the race for the top four positions are still up for grabs with seemingly no side in contention performing to expectations. Leicester are still inspurs front and have stretched their lead by a point with a draw and Tottenham and Arsenal wasted great opportunities to make up the ground. We now see Manchester United and West Ham United with a real chance to get the coveted fourth position with Manchester City losing again. The title is there is be taken by the side that gets into a bit of form. The result of this week’s London derby between Tottenham and Arsenal could be crucial in the end result. From a purely unbiased perspective….’Go Gunners’.

I have heard a lot of AFL commentators criticise the teams that have been selected for the NAB Challenge and the standard of the games. What must be remembered is that nothing really hinges on these GCSgames. They are purely practice matches and sides will play how they wish and who they wish. I can appreciate that the media wants more and the AFL always likes to promote the games as being serious, but when it all boils down, it is the pre-season and the expectation that teams will treat them as any more than ‘practice’ is misguided.

The NRL season kicked off last night and it is great to see action on eelsthe field replace all the off field insanity.  For the record books, the Brisbane Broncos knocked off the Parramatta Eels. The Broncos seem like they have picked up where they left off in 2015 and the Eels look like they are in for a long season.

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!

AFL & NRL Grand Finals, Arsenal…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell the AFL Grand Final is over and the competition has seen it’s second three-peat in the space of 15 years and this is in the context of a competition which has a salary cap and draft which is supposed to even out the competition. You factor in that Geelong has also won three in five years in that same period and the Swans have played in four Grand Finals and won two as well and it seems to be an indicator that once clubs get to the top it is hard to topple them despite the imagesdraft and salary cap. It has meant that Brisbane who completed the initial three-peat struggled after competing in the last of their grand finals in 2004 and Geelong are starting to struggle now having finished out of the finals for the first time in nine years. It seems though that teams are having long sustained runs at or near the top. Free agency and trading also favours teams up the top as good players only want to go to ‘destination’ clubs.

The NRL provided a lot more interesting grand final than the AFL with the high drama of the golden point result. While it might be sour bennettgrapes on the part of Wayne Bennett, I must say I think to lose a game in that circumstance would be pretty hard to take. If they are going to have extra time, it should be ten minutes each way as the golden point comes down to luck or bad luck as Brisbane’s Hunt would attest.

It was good to see last years VRC Derby winner, Preferment win the Turnbull Stakes and last years VRC Oaks winner, Set Square run third in the same race. Too often these days the winners of those races Unknown-6disappear the following year to be never seen again. I hope they both go on and have a successful spring carnival as it adds to the value of those races.

It was also great to see the Gunners fight back after a very disappointing display at home against Olypiakos during the week to alexis-sanchez-arsenal-burnley_3223813come out and trounce Manchester United by 3-0. The three goals came in the first 20 minutes and Man U did not look like scoring. I think this year Arsenal have a side which could be good enough to win the title, they just need to be consistent through the entire season.

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!

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 – 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 – State of Origin, NBA, Women’s World Cup, AFL

Chris Barwin HillsOn Wednesday night I ventured along to the MCG with 91,500 others to watch Game 2 of the State of Origin series between NSW & Queensland. It was certainly a much better game than Game 1 with an early try to both teams. However, the most exhilarating part of the night, the Greg Inglis near length of the field try, was disallowed by the video referee. I don’t claim to be an expert on Rugby League, but to the letter of the law it would seem the decisionUnknown was correct, but what an anti-climax! In the end the game was essentially decided on two very marginal video referee calls. The Josh Morris try where he appeared to only get a thumbnail worth of downward pressure on the ball and Myles knock-on which cost Inglis his try. Both decisions looked correct on review. I enjoyed the game, but I think rugby league is probably a better game to watch on television, particularly for the uninitiated. That observation may also explain why their club games do not draw big crowds.

The NBA final series came to a close earlier in the week and it was good to see Andrew Bogut celebrate his win with the Golden State Warriors, however, given he had no game time in the last two games and only a couple of minutes in game 4, it may be a slightly hollow feeling for him. He obviously deserved the accolades but it would have been good to see the coach put him on for the last couple of Unknownminutes given they had a reasonable lead at that stage. I hark back to the old days with football when you had the 19th & 20th men and the coach would bring them on for the last couple of minutes of a grand final just so they felt part of it. Continuing with the NBA it is hard to see how LeBron James could not be considered the MVP for the final series given his herculean performance, however, I understand that in American sport that the MVP would never go to a player in the losing team.

Great to see the Australian women’s soccer team, the Matildas, get through to the round of 16. I know the team from the United States is always strong in women’s soccer, but Australia was in the ‘GroupUnknown of Death’ together with the Nigerian and Swedish teams. To get through that group was a very good effort. They now come up against Brazil who are one of the tournament favourites so fingers crossed for the Matildas.

The “3rd man up” in ruck contests in the AFL is generating a bit of discussion at the moment and I think the way Geelong are using it with Mark Blicavs & Rhys Stanley has probably narrowed the discussion. It seemed to me that last week against Port Adelaide, imagesone of them was blocking Matthew Lobbe while the other one took the hit out. That would appear to be contrary to the rules, but not only that, what happens if each side sends another man up, then you have 4 players competing for the throw in and it begins to get farcical. I am starting to agree with Leigh Matthews that the “3rd man up” should be banned.

Have a great weekend!