Tag Archives: tim-cahill

Weekend musing – Drew Morphett, Nathan Buckley, All Australian team, Chris Scott, Ange Postecoglou

One of things I want to discuss is the tragic passing of Drew Morphett. Drew was one of those classic ABC commentators who was comfortable commentating on anything from football to athletics to tiddlywinks. He was always interested in presenting the picture to the audience and not pumping up his own tyres. In a pretty cut-throat industry I think he was universally liked by his peers. He will be missed.

I was also pleased that Nathan Buckley was reappointed as Collingwood coach for another two years as this will consign Collingwood to another two years out of the finals. It has to be good for the competition.

It was interesting to see that three of the banned Essendon players made the All Australian team with Hurley the only player to have made the team previously. Unfortunately for Essendon, Paddy Ryder (Port Adelaide) and Michael Hibberd (Melbourne) no longer play for the club. What it does show is that a year out of the game is not fatal for a player in his 20’s, but perhaps once you get to thirty it is not a positive experience.

Chris Scott took Geelong into another finals series last night and his fellow coaches recently voted him as the hardest coach to coach against. He certainly has had a lot of success since taking over from Bomber Thompson, however, his finals record needs some scrutiny. Since the 2011 finals series where Geelong won three games, including the premiership, but with the loss to Richmond, he has now contested a further nine finals for only two wins and one of those wins was over Hawthorn last year when Isaac Smith had a shot after the siren that could have taken the game away from Geelong. I think a few questions need to be posed as to Scott’s finals coaching record.

Speaking of coaches I cannot believe that Ange Postecoglou has come under so much pressure recently. He got the Socceroos an Asian Cup and in the current qualifiers the Socceroos have only lost one game. They do have an issue with scoring, but I put that down to personnel, not system. His system creates scoring chances, but we don’t seem to have the quality of strikers to put the goals away and this was no more evident that the recent game against Thailand. I think Tommy Juric is a good developing striker in the Mark Viduka mould, but we need a Harry Kewell or Tim Cahill at his best to compliment Juric. This is not Postecoglou’s fault, he has tried to develop players, but Australia just does not have genuine strikers playing at the highest level. Let the World Cup campaign pan out and reassess at the end.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – 3rd test wrap up, AFL rookie draft, Melbourne City take the FFA Cup……

Sfan OB6The 3rd test against South Africa was a dead rubber, but it was good to see the revitalised Australian team turn around their fortunes and get a win on the board. There were three debutantes playing in the game and I was impressed with Renshaw & Hanscombe. Unfortunately, Maddinson got a very good ball early in his only hanscombinnings, so it was impossible to say if he will be any good. Renshaw resisted very well on the first night and while he only made 10 in the first innings, he showed similar application in the second innings. In the second innings the commentators were criticising his slow play which was somewhat in contrast with their lamenting in the first and second tests the lack of players that could stick around. He was in his first test, they had plenty of time, so I could not see the issue. He did seem to play and miss a lot, but I think on some of those “misses” he actually deliberately played inside the line. Hanscombe got a 50 in his first dig and then hit the winning run so a very promising debut.

The cricket now moves to a one day series against New Zealand, which seems to be a puzzling piece of scheduling .

Sticking with cricket it was great to see the Bushrangers get up against South Australia after conceding a first innings lead. Just reminding the Australian selectors that there is some quality south of the border.

Monday saw the AFL Rookie Draft and there seemed to be a clear pattern of recruiters getting in ruckmen and taller players. There filipovicwas 27 players (ound half of the draft) over 190cm and ten of those were ruckmen. It does seem clear that clubs are not willing to waste a pick on a ruckman who may take 3-5 years to develop. This is a wise strategy, but does it jeopardise the future of ruckmen picking the AFL over basketball? I really think this is something which could cause long term problems with participation and needs to be monitored by the AFL.

Great to see Melbourne City win the FFA Cup on Wednesday night in a clash of the current top two teams in the A-League. I have been a little concerned about the City defence, but holding Sydney FC to atim cahill clean sheet perhaps indicates that my concerns were misplaced. On present form these two teams will be in contention at the end of the season and a win to City does provide some psychological advantage. Also great to see Tim Cahill amongst the goals….an inspired signing for Melbourne City.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Second Test, Socceroos & Aussie Masters

Chris Barwin HillsWell the 2nd Test in Perth petered out to a draw with some monumental batting displays from both teams. Steve Smith was criticized for the timing of his declaration not dangling enough of a smithcarrot for the Kiwi’s to chase. I thought the timing of the declaration was based on the fact that his bowlers had toiled in the stifling heat for two days and could not be expected to front up again “full of beans” unless they got a decent break. In the end, the Australians held the whip hand and I would be more critical of the defensive fields set by Brendan McCallum instead of Steve Smith’s declaration. In his defence, it also should be remembered that Steve Smith has declared in each of Australia’s innings so far this series.

The second Test also saw the last match for Mitchell Johnson and while he has been a great servant for Australia I don’t think we ever Unknownsaw the best of him for long enough. A lethal unplayable bowler one series and cannon fodder the next. I am a fan, but not with blind faith and I think he chose the right time to go. James Pattinson has been chosen to replace him and I am a fan of his, but I do feel a bit sorry for Peter Siddle. Siddle was Australia’s best bowler in the last Test in England and has not bowled badly in the Sheffield Shield so far this season and can count himself as unlucky. I can’t wait to see Mitchell Starc, Patrick Cummins and James Pattinson in full flight bowling for Australia.

Good to see the Socceroos go to the top of their group in the World Cup qualifier during the week. Tim Cahill was on fire with a hat trick cahillbefore half time. With Jordan losing and Australia still with two games at home, the Aussies should finish on top of this group and progress to the next stage quite comfortably.

Finally, good to see Adam Scott away to a good start at the AustralianMasters. He has had a poor year to date by his standards and needs a scottwin to build his confidence going into 2016. Given the field, it would be a big disappointment if he couldn’t end up leading at the end of day four.

Have a great weekend!

Socceroos prove Asian Cup was no fluke

Feb 20 2011 006A scoreline to make all Australians sit up and take notice – Germany 2 Australia 2. The same German team that defeated Brazil 7-1 in a 2014 World Cup semi final.

Sure it was a friendly, but, in 2013 the Socceroos played ‘friendlies’ against Brazil and France and suffered 6-0 defeats in both games – that was enough to get then coach, Pim Verbeek his marching orders. Wind forward eighteen months under the tutelage of Akrusenge Postecoglou and we now see a different more attacking and exciting football team.

The result was even better considering the Socceroos main
attacking weapon, Tim Cahill, missed the game due to injury. In times gone by, Australia would have struggled to put together attacking moves without Cahill in the team. Now, not only are there attacking moves, but we have also put two past the German keeper and led for a period of the game.

A lot to like about where this Socceroos team is going. The other football codes in Australia should be sitting up and taking notice given the much improved fortunes of the national team.

Friday musing – Socceroos, Tim Cahill, Asian Cup……..

Chris Barwin HillsI was watching the friendly between the Socceroos and Japan during the week and I considered that Australia created the best of the chances in the first half, but didn’t have sufficient strike power or effectiveness to take advantage of those chances.

It would seem that if Tim Cahill is not on the park, we can’t score. I did hear one “expert” suggest that reason was related to the Dutch system of total football which does not produce strikers. I felt like ringing up and offering the names of Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben. I think that as a the A League tim cahillimproves and it is improving, more strikers will come to the fore. I raised the name of Tommy Juric last year and I still think he has the most potential of the younger brigade. Watching the game also got to me to thinking about how many of the current national squad would make it into the 2006 World Cup squad. Putting aside Tim Cahill, I think perhaps only Mile Jedinak could justify inclusion.

The next big test is the Asian Cup and it is on home soil so there will be no excuses.

Have a great weekend!

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!

Friday musing – World Cup soccer & hockey, AFL…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell what a big week in sport!

Starting with the soccer World Cup, I must say my prognostication from about a month ago concerning Australia’s chances have come to fruition. I did suggest that while the Socceroos were unlikely to win a game, they would acquit themselves a lot better than most of the pundits and the public were expecting. As it stands after two games we have been highly competitive and very unlucky not to have secured a point from either game. The table for Group B at the moment has the 59th ranked Australian team ahead of the 1st ranked Spanish team. Not a bad result in that group. Save for Tim Cahill, who is not really a striker, we have lacked a world class finisher with several chances not being put in the back of the net. It is a bit of a shame that Robbie Kruse has been injured, while not being top shelf, he is still probably Australia’s best man up front. Hopefully he will be fit for the Asian Cup. It would be great to secure a draw or better against Spain.

Great to see Patty Mills and Aaron Baynes being a part of the NBA championship winning San Antonio Spurs. Mills really made a contribution and is now on the radar for several big NBA franchises. I read during the week that he only secured an AIS scholarship when Scott Pendelbury knocked it back. Who knows what might have 954743-patty-millshappened if he did not get that opportunity. He could be playing for the Sydney Swans!

Other Australians to be successful at the highest level this week were the Kookaburras, who beat the Netherlands easily in the World Cup of hockey. I am not a big hockey fan, but those that love the sport, really love it. It always good to see Aussies successful even if it is an area that you don’t have a great deal of interest.

The Essendon supplements saga is dominating the airwaves again and while I do not want to spend too much time on it, there was one comment that I could not resist responding to. On Saturday night Sam Lane confirmed that she had seen one of the show cause notices served on the Essendon players. Luke Darcy then asked her if she would take the six months that was offered. She responded in the affirmative. How can she possibly put herself in the shoes of the Essendon players and make judgement based on a “show cause” notice! It beggars belief. When asked the same question by Bryan Taylor later in the show she was a bit more circumspect, but if this type of dribble continues how are the Essendon players and the club going to get a decent hearing in the court of public opinion. Don’t forget that last year Jobe Watson was persecuted for his revelation that he may have been administered AOD9604. ASADA have now confirmed that this preparation only became banned after April 2013. Have any of his persecutors like Tim Lane (Sam’s father) apologised to him? I think not.

I was also bemused that Collingwood played the Western Bulldogs at Etihad as a home game and conversely, Essendon played Melbourne at the MCG as their home game. As fate would have it, both “home” sides lost. I am not suggesting that this issue cost Essendon the game on Sunday evening, the Dees did very well and how the Bombers let the last goal through means that their lapse against Hawthorn earlier in the year has not improved their capacity to think under pressure.

Have a great weekend.

Asian Cup – Australia vs Korea Republic…..All square, but oh, how it hurt!

Mile Jedinak’s first international goal for Australia could not have come at a better time when the Socceroos got a valuable and deserving 1-1 with fellow Asian Cup heavyweight, Korea Republic in their Group C clash on Saturday morning.  But Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck could have some selection nightmares ahead of the Bahrain clash and beyond…..

The good:

1.        A unique and “un-Asian” style.  Whilst the Socceroos lack the pace, fluency and technique of many of the other teams at the Asian Cup, the team’s never say die attitude, discipline and physical strengths may well give opposing teams headaches when attempting to break down this Australian side.  Jedinak’s equalising goal epitomised the Australian style – Lucas Neill was quick to float a ball across the face of goal from a Luke Wilkshire cross and Jedinak had no right to challenge Korean goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong for a high ball but did and impressively beat him to it. 

2.        Mark Schwarzer.  Australia possesses the tournament’s best goalkeeper and Schwarzer played a fitting part in the match, saving superbly late on. 

The bad:

1.        Too predictable, too slow and an inept passing game.  Like the India game, the Socceroos, unlike the Koreans, played a long ball game in preference to a short and quick passing one.  The Aussie tactic of crossing towards Tim Cahill and Harry Kewell at every opportunity was clear once again and one wonders whether such a tactic will reap rewards against a more organised and disciplined defence.  Further, the Koreans’ pass and move groove clearly rattled the Aussies, as evidenced by the number of fouls, particularly Jedinak and Ognenovski, committed.  Finally, the Aussies’ passing and cheap turnovers left a lot to be desired at times. 

2.        Poor defending.  Football is one of those rare games where one defensive lapse can be the difference between success and failure.   Whilst the Socceroos’ defending was excellent for a majority of the game, just how five Socceroos’ defenders let Ji Dong-Wong gain possession and cut back to an unmarked Koo Ja-Cheol for Korea’s goal still baffles and frustrates me.  This was the second defensive lapse in two games.  Whilst the Indians failed to capitalise last week, the Koreans didn’t.  Nor will the likes of Iran and/or Uzbekistan (future potential opponents for the Aussies in the Asian Cup).

The ugly:

1.        Injuries to three first team regulars – Jason Culina, David Carney and Luke Wilksire. I have regularly been vocal about the Aussies’ lack of squad depth….the three aforementioned players will be hard to replace if the diagnosis isn’t favourable.  Whilst Valeri is a straight swap for Culina, he lacks his experience. Of greater concern are the full back positions – Carney (a left winger by trade) has become custodian of the left back position by virtue of a lack of competition and options for that berth, whilst Wilkshire, is in my opinion, Australia’s second best and most consistent outfield player.  Second only to Tim Cahill…..Osieck may be forced to re-shuffle and moreover, test the mettle of his pack.

2.        Harry Kewell’s (constant) whingeing.  Once again, it was refreshing to see a fully fit Kewell get the better of his opposing defenders.  His whingeing with fellow teammates, opposing players and officials was however, disappointing. This was not the first time Kewell has brought this ugly side into his game (read: harassing and “touching up” the match officials after Australia’s group game against Brazil at the 2006 World Cup and his verbal tirade against the referee after being controversially, but correctly sent off against Ghana at last year’s World Cup).  Kewell is a professional footballer first, an underwear model second.  He should start acting more like the former and stop dicking around.

All in all, Australia will now fancy its chances to progress to the knockout rounds of the Asian Cup, knowing all but a loss against Bahrain tomorrow morning will be enough to see them through.

But the Asian Cup is to Australia, what the World Cup is to heavyweights Brazil, Germany and Italy.  Qualifying for the knockout rounds should be viewed as a mere formality.  Not reaching the semi finals would be deemed a failure. 

This is when the real tournament starts.

Mark “The F word” Fiorenti

Sportzfan Radio #185.2

@SportzfanRadio now available on iTunes!16 January 2011 185.2 – Daniel believes that skill goes out the window in 20/20 cricket and therefore this is not a good thing for cricketers who are wanting to be successful in test matches. He says 20/20 should be scrapped.  The Professor says there are too many players over thirty in Australia’s cricket sides and the Gambler suggests that perhaps there should be a compulsory retirement age.  Daniel thinks it could be a case of mates scratching mate’s backs and even he gets into the groove suggesting sackings.  Mark Fiorenti talks soccer in particular the Asian Cup and reviews the Socceroos matches against India and South Korea.  He thinks Holger Osieck is demanding a more attacking game from the Socceroos.  He thinks the squad is getting older and a few players are at the end of the road.  Mark also talks about the A League, in particular the form of Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory and the poor crowds attending A League matches.  There is also a discussion with the Panel on the happenings in Premier League with Man Utd, Man City & Arsenal going well at the top.  Paul Dalligan chats about the ABL and the recent poor form of the Melbourne Aces having lost 6 in a row.  He also talks with the Professor about Sportzfan Radio’s broadcast of the Aces match against Perth Heat.  Paul even manages to sneak a discussion of rugby league in even though it is not in season.  Daniel exclusively announces a charity baskets game to aid the Flood relief appeal.  Sean Callanan comes on to talk social media and a Liverpool soccer player being charged by the Football Association over what he had written in his twitter account.  The Gambler talks about Essendon FC’s high numbers on their Facebook account.  The Panel conclude with their thoughts on which Australian tennis players will do well in the Australian Open.

Asian Cup – Australia vs India….An upsize without the Big “Mac”

Australia commenced its Asian Cup campaign with a 4-0 romp against a technically inept India in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  Nevertheless, the Socceroos’ passing game and strike rate needs to improve if we are to progress to the semi finals and beyond of this tournament. 

Socceroos’ coach, Holger Osieck employed an expansive 4-4-2 formation opting for Cahill and Kewell up front (the latter surprisingly in favour of Scott McDonald) and Brett Emerton and Holman pushing high down the flanks and Mile Jedinak partnering Jason Culina in the centre of the park in front of a defensive back four. 

The positives included:

  1. Two goals from Mr Consistency, Tim Cahill, who is surely Australia’s most important player and is now on par to becoming Australia’s highest goal scorer.  The ‘F Word’s man of the match.

2.   A lively performance from Brett Emerton in both defence and attack on the right hand side of the  park.  Cahill’s first goal came from an Emerton delivery, as did Holman’s headed goal.

3.   A fully fit and firing Harry Kewell who scored with a beautifully struck shot.

There were, as alluded to earlier, some concerns though….:

  1. A sloppy and wasteful second half.  Yes, the game was arguably in the bag by then, but the passing left a lot to be desired at times and the crosses did not always find their intended target.  Further, Australia may rue the goalscoring chances it missed if Group C comes down to goal difference.
  2. An inept passing game.  For much of the 90 minutes the Socceroos preferred a long ball game to take advantage of the small Indian players, rather than employ an intimidating, short and quick passing game.  This tactic will not be successful against the pacy and technically sound South Koreans.
  3. Scott McDonald.  “The Mac” lacks bite in attack and yet again, failed to open his goalscoring account for the Socceroos after 22 games.  Against a country ranked 142nd in the world, no less.  Scotty appears incapable of scoring even in the “House of the Rising Sun”.  One must now wonder if he will be given another chance.  Burns, and even Kruse must surely be given a look in….

In short, Australia’s performance was sound and solid but it is hard to imagine the Asian Cup’s other heavyweights “quaking in their boots” after this performance. 

But at least there were clear signs from the players and coaching staff that this team is determined on making up for the disappointing failure of 2007. 

Tougher tests await in the shape of the South Koreans who put in an excellent performance against Bahrain, comprehensively beating them 2-1 and playing the last part of the game with ten men.

I wait with bated breath….