Tag Archives: nrl

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!

Friday musing – AFL, Malthouse, NRL, State of Origin, FIFA, Sepp Blatter & more

Chris Barwin HillsWell the Carlton/Malthouse issue was finally brought to a close this week with Mick challenging the board to make a decision which they duly did. While I have not been a supporter of Malthouse, it is sad that the coaching games record holder should go out in such an inglorious fashion. I also have an antipathy towards Carlton built up over many years, but watching them play Geelong last Friday nightUnknown was quite painful and I must say I felt sorry for them (a first). I didn’t think Geelong played all that well, but Carlton did not punish them for their plentiful mistakes. Something had to give and it is always the coach in that situation, but not usually so early in the season. With Carlton playing again tonight I think I might watch a movie as you would anticipate that the Swans will show no mercy.

I also watched the rugby league State of Origin game during the Dalligan & Gordieweek and while the game was close, I must say I found it rather boring. It did not have any real highlights and Queensland’s
experience in the end got them over line.

The FIFA situation with a number of delegates being arrested was probably the biggest issue in world sport and if every country was honest, Sepp Blatter should not be re-elected president. The problem will be that the delegates, who have been involved in the untoward activities, will probably feel safer with the existing regime that has propagated the issues that are under scrutiny now.

Well we have the dream final in the NBA with Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers, so we should have an Australian on the Unknownwinning team again. As stated last week I would like to see Andrew Bogut salute. He has been around for a long time and suffered a number of injuries, and not only that, he is an Essendon supporter!

Speaking of Essendon I cannot let the week go by without congratulating Dustin Fletcher on his 400th game. In his 23rd season at the age of 40 he has missed over 100 games through injury and suspension which makes his milestone all the more remarkable.

Have a great weekend!

AFL shorter season will never happen

meSeveral AFL captains have called for a shorter seventeen game competition on the basis of ‘less is more’.

That reduction will never happen for a number of reasons.

The supremos at the AFL, led by Gillon McLachlan would ever willingly agree to reducing the amount of time the sporting community is focussed on Aussie Rules, especially with the soccer and NRL juggernauts willing to step into any vacant space.

In addition, less playing time would hardly be the position to take into the coming broadcast negotiations. I don’t see the media barons agreeing with the team captains that less is more, unless it is for a significantly reduced fee. Let’s face it, with so many AFL clubs struggling financially and reliant on AFL assistance to keep running, the AFL needs as much money from its broadcast rights as possible. The cost of the broadcast rights is currently predicated on eighteen teams playing nine games each weekend over a 23 round regular season and a four week final series.

The final nail in the coffin of this discussion is the AFLPA’s recent call for increased payments for players.  I didn’t detect anything in the words of the AFL captains that indicated any intent for their salaries to be reduced on the basis that less is more. If the broadcast rights reduce, the players wages would also need to be tightened.

Only one question remains to be answered….did the AFL captains really think this concept through? I think not!

NRL video referrals a joke!

meWith the 2015 NRL season only three rounds old, there have already been too many instances of poor decisions being made by the video referee. One wonders why the NRL has the system if the referees continue to get it wrong.

The NRL Laws and Interpretations regarding video refereeing are straight forward and indicate that, when called upon, the video referee will assess if there is ‘sufficient evidence’ to confirm or overturn the decision made on the field. If there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that the on field ruling is correct, the decision is to be confirmed. Conversely if there is ‘sufficient evidence’ that the decision is incorrect, the decision is to be reversed. If there is ‘insufficient evidence’ the on field decision should be confirmed.

Just looking at the last round, there were three referrals that bear1426851722530 scrutiny. In the first game of the round Manly were awarded a try to Steve Matai after video review. The ruling on the field was ‘no try’. The video evidence did not show anything conclusive and certainly did not provide ‘sufficient evidence’ of a try. When viewed in the light of the NRL Laws, the on field decision should clearly have been maintained. But it wasn’t. Fortunately, the decision did not affect the outcome of the match.

CAsOoOaUgAAguqR.jpg-largeIn the second instance, both the on field referee and the video ref both missed a knock on prior to a Newcastle try, that just about everyone else in the stadium and viewing on television saw. It looked very clear on the video replay. The Knights wen on to defeat the Gold Coast Titans 20-18. The botched call cost the Titans the match and two precious points.

Finally, a try to Dallin Watene-Zelezniak was disallowed notwithstanding the video evidence showed the ball was grounded in the corner. Video ref Shayne Hayne agreed with the on field official’s no try decision even though the video showed there were four of Watene-Zelezniak’s fingers on the ball.

NRL referee’s boss Tony Archer, after looking at these decisions conceded the Newcastle decision was incorrect but said there won’tNRL RAIDERS RABBITOHS be a change to the system. I would agree! The Rules relating to video referral are quite sufficient if they are adhered to.  Further education on the Rules needs to be provided to the people who are reviewing the decisions. If that doesn’t lead to improvement, then the NRL needs some new video refs.

Players, coaches and fans all deserve to have consistent interpretations so that they can have confidence in the system. Anything less is not good enough.