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!
The Australian cricket team sank to a new level this week with another comprehensive defeat at the hands of the touring team from South Africa. This is an absolute embarrassment to go down so meekly on home soil. I don’t think I have seen two consecutive implosions like this in Australia since the rampant West Indian teams toured here in the 1980s. It has got a lot to do about the quality of our batsman. The South African bowlers have been good, but not that good.
We now have the chairman of selectors, Rod Marsh step away from his position and I think scrutiny needs to go onto the coach as well. Darren Lehman was brought in at a time when the team needed to relax a little after the regimented approach of Mickey Arthur’s, but it seems to have gone too far and batsmen don’t seem to know how to work through difficult periods of play. To me this is a coaching issue.
The bowlers have been okay, but I could not see how Joe Mennie deserved a spot ahead of Jackson Bird, with Bird being on his home track. I am also a bit surprised by the lack of success by Nathan Lyon. Lyon usually picks up his 2-3 wickets an innings, but he has had a poor run recently and will probably be dropped for the next test as long as someone else puts their hand up in this weekends Shield games. It also is a bit strange that Victoria has won the last two Sheffield Shields and yet cannot get anyone in the test team. Admittedly Peter Siddle was injured and may have been picked and the same could be said for James Pattinson, but surely someone is doing something right to win twice in a row. Peter Hanscomb with a century in the current Shield game is surely staking a claim.
There was more bad news for Australian sporting teams with the Socceroos only getting a draw in Thailand. This puts Australia back in equal third position behind Japan & Saudi Arabia and in danger of missing out on the next World Cup. Thailand were on the bottom of the table with only one goal and no points before the debacle the other night. There is still a bit to play out and Australia is the only team in the group without a loss, but they really can’t afford to drop any more points if they want the direct pathway into the World Cup.
Have a great weekend!
20 November 2011 227.1 – An almost empty studio today with only the Professor and Sportzfan Stan behind the microphone with the Gelding playing golf and Daniel Eade at a wedding (his own?). Sportzfan Stan is convinced cricket is doomed to failure because tests matches take too long and no young people are taking up cricket. He then gives the Professor his views on cricket and in particular the poor performance of wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and says he should retire gracefully. He also believes Ricky Ponting is a ‘has been’ and hands out a few sackings to the Test team. In the absence of the Gelding, the Professor talks racing and the results of the selections from Moonee Valley and the Sydney Colt’s tips for Warwick Farm. It wasn’t a good day for the Gelding or the ladies at the Tennis club but the Sydney Colt was a hit with one from one. Mark Fiorenti comes on to talk soccer with the Panel especially Sepp Blatter’s unfortunate comments about racism in sport and soccer. The Professor says it is particularly poor given the reach soccer has across the world. Mark then discusses the Socceroos performance against Thailand and thinks we should be worried about the form being displayed by the National team. He only rates the current chances of qualifying for the World Cup at 60-70%.
13 November 2011 226.2 – Mark Fiorenti comes on to talk soccer and has to deal with questions over the Socceroos defeat by Oman overnight. He thinks it was a subdued performance and one of the worst in recent history. He is looking for a much better outing against Thailand on Tuesday and predicts a one all draw. The Panel also discusses Internationl friendlies between England/Spain, France/USA and ‘traditional’ rivals Gabon/Brazil. Mark also quickly reviews the fortunes of Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory in the A League. The Panel discuss the proposition that cultural diversity is the reason Australia is not performing as well in sport and believe this is not a true reflection of how things are. Paul Dalligan is enthusiastic about the rugby league Four Nations Tournament with the stirring win by England over New Zealand making way for the final next week between Australia and England. He says England will be fired up at home. He also discusses Des Hasler’s sacking at Manly and the implosion there. This will free Hasler up to coach Canterbury Bulldogs next season. The Panel look at golf and the Australian Open with many Aussies doing well and Tiger Woods form improving with the President’s Cup a week away. John Daly’s antics are discussed as well and it looks like his most recent walk off will be the last straw. Daniel Eade has a bit of hayfever and the Gelding comments he was worried that as Daniel had not been in the studio for a few weeks, he thought Sportzfan Stan had sacked him. Daniel talks NBA lockout and thinks there could still be a season. He also discusses NBL television ratings with the 1.15am game netting a very poor 15,000 viewers Australia wide.
28 August 2011 216.1 – The Professor is back behind the microphone with Daniel Eade and Brett. Dan Butterly comes on to talk US sport with the College football season about to start next week. He is keen to see how the Mountain West Conference teams go. He also talks NBA, NFL and MLB. The Gelding is away on holidays in Hawaii so the Gambler calls in to talk horse racing and defend his selections for yesterday’s race meeting at Caulfield. Mark Fiorenti talks soccer and previews the Socceroos World Cup tie against Thailand on Friday.