Tag Archives: state-of-origin

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!

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 – 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!

3 things to contemplate on a Friday – Arsenal, NRL, Tiger Woods

Feb 20 2011 0061. Being an Arsenal fan is a tough gig. Having risen to third place in the Premier League, the Gunners had the ‘user friendly’ Monaco as their last sixteen opponent in the Champions League yesterday and a home ground advantage. The unexpected 1-3 result now leaves Arsene Wenger’s team the task of winning by at least 3-0 away to make the final eight.

Coach Wenger described the team’s play as ‘It looks like we lost our nerve and rationality’.

Arsenal are the true Jekyll and Hyde team if you compare this performance with the stunning win away against title contenders Manchester City several weeks ago.

Life is certainly a roller coaster for the fans.

2. NRL boss Dave Smith is kidding himself if he believes his recent mantra ‘Let’s keep it in perspective’, regarding the drug woes of five of the Gold Coast Titan’s players, is how we should see the issue. Five players make up 16% of the list and two of those players in Greg Bird and David Taylor are State of Origin representatives. In addition, the issue precipitated the NRL taking over the Club.

With the press indicating that there may be further names revealed by the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission including implications for League players across the border in NSW, I think we have enough of the perspective to know this is not a small matter!

3. Tiger Woods has completed his first golf course design – that is good news for the former World number one. With his golf game struggling (he hit a career high 82 two weeks ago) and his physical health in question (a back injury prevented him finishing a recent tournament at Torrey Pines), it seems like time for Tiger to take on less onerous pursuits that don’t require swinging a club to make a living.

As predicted on Sportsman Radio several years ago, Jack Nicklaus’ career majors win total is in no danger at all!

Friday musing – World Cup, Suarez, AFL & more

Chris Barwin HillsWell the biggest sporting event in the world continues to throw up great games, great drama and now teeth grating! Well we all like a little Italian, being one of the world’s great cuisines, but Luis Suarez clearly likes his Italian fresh. What is it that makes him want to bite opponents? In a sporting sense the only comparisons I can remember are Peter Filandia biting an opponent in the nether regions and My Brown Jug biting Manikato when he realised he was going to get beaten by the champ one day at Sandown. The Suarez suspension has now been handed down and in some ways given he is a repeat offender, is quite lenient.

Continuing the World Cup theme it is interesting to note that England, Spain and Italy who represent three of the four biggest leagues in the world have all been eliminated. Is this just bad luck or is it a symptom of the leagues not promoting local talent in deference to established players from other countries? I would certainly think that is the case with the EPL, but I am not familiar enough with the Italian and Spanish leagues to know if the same problem exists. Germany has made it through and my feeling is that the Bundesliga retains a high German content, but again that is speculation not based on facts. English cricket suffered a similar fate to the EPL and County Cricket reduced the number of overseas players eligible for each team to improve their national team. Is it time for the EPL to place a restriction on the number of eligible overseas players?

I was a little disappointed with the Aussies last game against Spain. It probably went to script and the Socceroos without Cahill and Bresciano were undermanned, but a 1-0 or a 2-0 result would have been a little more satisfying given the performances earlier in the tournament.

The Bombers face the Cats tonight and the Cats are coming off their fourth loss of the season from their fourth interstate trip. Not only have they been beaten interstate, they have been comfortably beaten. That being said, they have not lost a game in Victoria and as a result I will be going against my team and picking the Cats, but barracking hard for the Bombers.

On the never ending supplements saga, it was interesting to hear Tim Watson make a comment on Talking Footy on Monday night. Given his position he has been very circumspect with his comments regarding the whole affair. In a obvious support for his son he finally made a comment about the use of AOD9604 and the lack of retraction or apology from the accusers, which was obviously directed at the time to Jobe.

I was interested to see Daniel Giansiracusa get 2 weeks for his late bump on Polec over the weekend and I ask the question, what was the difference between that bump and Adam Goodes bump on Joel Selwood? Not much, the ball had just left the area, he jumped in the air and hit him high and dazed him. I am not saying that Giansiracusa should have got off, but why wasn’t Goodes charged?

I omitted to make a comment last week about the State of Origin game. What a contrast with the first game which was one of the best rugby league games I have seen. Last Wednesday’s game was probably one of the most boring I have ever watched. The only constant was Queensland’s handling errors which again cost them the game.

Speaking of boring games, what about the Tigers and the Swans last Friday night! I think that is the stye of game that Mick Malthouse was referring to when he commented on the state of the game yesterday. That was the modern game at its worst and contrast that with the Bombers and Crows on Saturday night which was one of the best games I have watched all year.

Have a great weekend!

Sportzfan Radio show #291 highlights

dan-butterlyThe Professor talks to Dan Butterly on US sport including Palace Malice winning the Belmont Stakes result 130609_121408 the NBA playoffs – he still thinks Miami will prevail 130609_121550 – in Major League Baseball he looks at the Mets and Yankees series and thinks the Mets just got hot for four games 130609_mets but he didn’t name Serena Williams as the best African American athlete representing the US 130609_serena

With Mark Fiorenti out of State the Professor and the Panel talk soccerferguson2 including Melbourne Heart’s signing of Harry Kewell 130609_kewell and whether Sir Alex Ferguson should be approached to head up Australian soccer 130609_ferguson.

The Professor also talks to Paul Dalligan about State of Origin 1 130609_origin1 and round 13 action in the NRL 130609_NRL round 13.

 

 

Sportzfan Radio – the Gorden James Tallis interview

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!1 July 2012 253.1 – Regular NRL commentator, Paul Dalligan interviews NRL, Australian, Queensland, St George and Brisbane player Gorden Tallis about the deciding State of Origin match between Queensland and New South Wales and his rugby league career. As a bonus you can hear the Gelding discuss his investments at the track and the hard luck stories that all punters can relate too.

NOT EVEN ONCE IN A BLUE MOON…

The last time that NSW won a State of Origin series against Queensland I was a single man living in Sydney.  That night, buoyed by the jubilance of the result, and perhaps fuelled by more than a few pints, I marched up to the woman who would later become my wife.  Given my wife will readily tell you that I didn’t exactly show Usain Bolt type speed in proposing the fact that I am now married with a family and long settled in Melbourne shows how long ago it was the last Blue Moon shone down over the rugby league landscape. 

Being a rugby league fanatic and living in Melbourne is like being Sting’s Englishmen in New York.  But come State of Origin time it is always easier to sell the greatest game of all to those in this AFL obsessed city as there isn’t much else in the way of quality live sport on a Wednesday night at prime time.  And quality it is as even the most hardened AFL fanatic will usually tune in to watch teams from Queensland and NSW belt the living suitcase out of each other on the sport’s greatest stage. 

I am always explaining to the locals, well those who will listen anyway, that there really is nothing like this event in AFL where the best of the best are on show, putting the Poms and Kiwis to one side for present purposes.  Sure the AFL has their Grand Final, but Judd, Bartell, Swan, Franklin and Goodes wont all be on the field at once like they would be in their rugby league equivalent. 

The NRL in their wisdom decided to play Game One of the State of Origin series of 2012 in Melbourne, much to the annoyance of the Sydney press which had been abuzz with a chorus of disapproval, led primarily by the NSW coach Ricky Stuart. Sticky queried why NSW would sell themselves up the river (or down the Yarra in this case) and discard the treasured home ground advantage when it was so intent on stopping 6 years of Queensland dominance.  The rumour that the Victorian Government is in discussions with the NSW and Queensland government to obtain the neutral game each and every year at the MCG, thus ensuring an even series each year, did nothing to calm the baying masses in blue. 

It was with a heady mixture of excitement, nervousness and anticipation that I ventured to Etihad Stadium on 23 May 2012, hoping that the maroon fortress built from 6 years of domination would finally start to crumble. 

There may be no bigger gamblers in Australia than seen in nearby Crown Casino, but surely on this night Ricky Stuart would take the mantle of Australia’s biggest punter. His main gamble was the selection of Todd Carney, a man who at times in his life would make Brendan Fevola look more on the rails than a Swiss train. It was hoped that Carney would provide the spark that was needed to stop the brilliance of Inglis, Thurston, Smith and Slater but it was the equivalent of trying to win Crown’s Magic Millions with a pair of sevens. 

It had always been hard to watch Greg Inglis star for Queensland, given that he was born and raised in Bowraville, a town that wont appear on any map of Queensland given it is several hours drive south of the border.  NSW fans were however now hamstrung from any cries of unfairness given that our best forward on the night, James Tamou, is about as true blue Aussie as Jake the Muss. 

NSW came out firing in the first half with their set plays looked more structured than a German kindergarten.  It was a welcome change from previous Origin series, where any structure went out the window as soon as Queensland applied the inevitable blowtorch but tonight it seemed that finally we were ready to roar.

When the Fijian Flyer (ahem again to the Inglis from NSW argument) crashed over it looked like NSW may be in for a magical night.  But as sure as bad news stories follow every Mad Monday, Queensland took the lead after a wild brawl which resulted in Michael Jennings from NSW being sent from the field.

The final cruel nail was delivered when Greg Inglis (I won’t start) crossed for the most controversial scoring play since Wayne Carey was found in the toilets with a teammate’s wife. Even those in Maroon in my vicinity declared that the video referee should have been wearing a balaclava as “you was robbed” (I quote). But to the victors go the spoils, and as I stated on the night I know of no other sporting team in Australia who have more tenacity, spirit and courage under fire than the Queensland Origin team that has developed into the greatest in the history of rugby league. 

But onwards and upwards we go to Game 2 in Sydney, where somehow NSW is the bookie’s favourite. Sticky Stuart is still gambling with Todd Carney and I more than any man am hoping his ace in the pack will somehow trump the Royal Flush that has been the past six years of Queensland dominance.

Even if tonight ends with me seeing red, or Maroon in this case, I can take plenty more of that pain. I am also a Rabbitohs fanatic after all…. 
23 May 2012
Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Queensland 18
Tries:                           Boyd (2), Inglis           
Goals:                          Thurston 3/3
New South Wales 10
Tries:                           Uate, Jennings
Goals:                          Carney 1/3
Crowd: 56,021 
Best:                           Myles, Inglis, Tamou

Sportzfan Radio meets Gordie & Daley

At a recent State of Origin luncheon at the RACV Club, Sportzfan Radio’s own Paul Dalligan was on hand to ask a difficult question of former Bronco, Gordon Tallis. Here we see Paul making amends to Gordon for asking such a difficult question!

Paul was also on hand to get the lowdown from former Raiders star, Laurie Daley as to how NSW would perform in this year’s State of Origin #1 to be played at Etihad Stadium the next day.