Tag Archives: weekend-musing

Weekend musing – Soccer, Leicester City, Arsenal……

Chris Barwin HillsThe English Premier League ladder has an unfamiliar name on the top at the moment in Leicester City. They have obviously surprised everyone and are this year’s Southampton and the next month may indicate if they drop out of the top four as Southampton eventually did last year. Their next four games are Chelsea (h), Everton (a), Liverpool (a) & Manchester City (h). If they can split the points in those fixtures they may hang onto their spot in the top four, but as Southampton found out last year it is hard to maintain that consistency over the course of the season.

Staying with that theme it was great to see Arsenal again move alexis-sanchez-arsenal-burnley_3223813through the group stage of the Champions League after an extremely shaky start to the campaign. The home win against Bayern Munich was obviously the key with the return wins against Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb sealing the continuation of their run which I think is 15-16 times in a row they have progressed past the group stage.

There was also some good news for the Australian fans of the Gunners with the team coming to Australia in 2017. The bad news for Victorian supporters is that the two games they are scheduled to play will be in Sydney.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Golf, Cricket, Soccer……..

Chris Barwin HillsWell not only is Jordan Spieth the number one golfer in the world, he is also the number one tipster in the world having tipped Matt Jones to win the Australian Open title last weekend. Knowing that Jones is a jonesfriend of his and that he had tipped him to win, it got me thinking if Spieth had allowed Jones to win, not necessarily consciously, but maybe unconsciously. Watching the final hole with an eagle chance to put him into a play off, Spieth’s putt looked a little unconvincing. Putting aside my conspiracy theory, a great effort by Jones holding off the world number 1 in Spieth and a former world number 1 in Adam Scott.

The final test against the Kiwi’s in Adelaide last weekend nevillbreathed some life into the cricket despite it only going for three days. Finally the ball carried sway with the top score of only 66 being made by Peter Nevill the Australian keeper. The day/night concept was an undoubted success, but common sense should dictate that not every Test should be played in that format.

The Kiwi’s continued to fair badly with the DRS with Nathan Lyon getting a reprieve. The ICC has since come out and advised that the decision was wrong, however, the third umpire has to be absolutely sure if he is going to overturn the officiating umpires decision and 1440188864611there was certainly some doubt in my mind. The other decision which I think requires some review was the decision to send Mitchell Starc out to bat in the dying stages of the game. I had no problem with Starc going out there and trying to belt a few boundaries, but why not send him in before Peter Siddle and not when there was one ball to go in the over. Fortunately it didn’t matter and Australia got home.

Melbourne City have strung together two 5-1 results in a row in the mooyA-League and they should make hay before the January transfer window, because if Aaron Mooy is not picked up by a European side I would be very surprised. He appears to be a class above his opponents and deserves a chance for higher honours.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – UFC & Ronda Rousey hit Melbourne

Chris Barwin HillsNot much has grabbed my imagination this week.  It’s been business as usual on the Aussie sports scene

The Australian cricket team won as expected and the Socceroos also won as expected. Melbourne United in the NBL had been winning unitedbefore last night with one of their wins with a bit of help from the match officials. Melbourne Victory won the FFA cup as expected. Nothing in horse racing was as near as interesting as the Melbourne Cup, save for the racing being a bit more interesting due to a less biased track.

One thing which has created a bit of discussion around the traps is the UFC event featuring Ronda Rousey at Etihad Stadium this weekend. I am not a big fan of UFC, but I don’t mind it and it is certainly more interesting than main stream boxing these days. I rouseydo not subscribe to the view that it is too brutal as I think the sport is well governed and there are probably less injuries in the UFC than there are in boxing. I think one of the reasons why the UFC has somewhat supplanted boxing as the preferred “blood sport” is that it does not appear to be controlled by the likes of Don King and other entrepreneurs and it doesn’t have the multiple factions and associations that have split world boxing. If boxing wants to reclaim lost ground they need to win back the public and have one unified governing body to control the sport world wide.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Moto GP, AFL Trade period

Chris Barwin HillsI am not a big motor sport fan, however, I started listening to last weeks MotoGP from Phillip Island when I was walking the dog and when I got home I sat down and watched the final six laps of the race. What a fascinating race with many exciting overtaking manoeuvres grand prix
with the top four riders duelling throughout and Marc Marquez taking over in the last lap to win. At one stage with a couple of laps to go he had been shuffled back to fourth. I don’t think I will suddenly become a motor sport fan on the back of that race, but it was certainly very exciting. Maybe if Formula 1 could replicate the same excitement it would improve in popularity, particularly at the moment Mercedes dominating.

Well the AFL trade period is finally over with plenty of trades going through, even players like James Aish who Brisbane said they wouldn’t trade getting where he wanted to go. One trade that didn’t go through was Cam McCarthy from GWS to Fremantle. One thing I mccarthydidn’t realise until last night was that McCarthy was only one year into a four year deal. I can understand players wanting a trade with a year to run on a contract, but three years? Why sign a long term contract and then ask for a trade in the first year, it doesn’t make sense. I think in reality, he hadn’t done much until this year so his manager got him a long term deal, he then has a good year and he suddenly has some currency. I certainly don’t blame the Giants for not doing the trade.

Have a great 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 – Jason Day, Fifth Test, James Hird……

Chris Barwin HillsWe should start with the good news – it was great to see Jason Day salute in the US PGA early on Monday morning. I had predicted that he would win a major in 2014, but unfortunately he had a hand/wrist injury that upset his season and then when in contention for this
year’s US Open he had an attack of vertigo. A most deserved win and it was also refreshing to see the good sportsmanship displayed by Jordan Spieth. Spieth suggested that it was the best loss that h1363998228672e had ever had and I suppose if second place takes you to number one in the world, you cannot really complain. After his amazing win in the Australian Open I understand he has had the lowest total for all 4 majors ever. With Day, Spieth and Rory McIlroy at the top of the world rankings the golf should be pretty interesting over the next 5 to 10 years.

Continuing the good news theme it was great to see some application from the Australian batsmen in this test. I went to bed with the score at 0-82 on the first day and was pleased to wake and find they had moved to 3-287 which put them in a good position to 1440188864611push for a victory in Michael Clarke’s final test match. After the second day’s play, the Aussies have strengthened their hold on this test by having the English 8 for 107 at stumps. With Peter Siddle’s excellent bowling performance one can only ask the selectors why he wasn’t in the team before now!

I had previously stated that I would not discuss the Essendon supplements saga again until the WADA case outcome was known, however, the events of the week with James Hird’s departure from the club does change the situation somewhat. I read an article written by Tracey Holmes titled “The siren has sounded on Hird and 1384012800000all that is left is sadness” and I think it about sums up my views on the events of this week. As an Essendon supporter a lot of people asked me my for my views on Tuesday and my immediate response was sadness. It was also clear from the players that flanked Hird on Tuesday that most of the players were emotionally struck by what had happened as well. There are a lot of James Hird haters out there and I am sure they will get around Caroline Wilson and congratulate themselves on a job well done, they finally got their man.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Michael Clarke, Nick Kyrgios……

Chris Barwin HillsIt was with mixed emotions I received the news that Michael Clarke had decided to pull the pin and retire. In my time following cricket I don’t think there has been a better tactician, Mark Taylor and him may have been on a par, but I rate him better than the Chappells, Waugh or Ponting. You also have to remember that those other well regarded Australian captains had some formidable bowlers at their disposal. Waugh & Ponting essentially had the two best Australian bowlers in Warne & McGrath at their disposal through most of their stewardships. Clarke has had some good bowlers, but injury and form has meant that he has not had a consistent strike force while he has been in charge. Is it the right decision to retire? Yes, I think it is. His batting is clearly on the wane and even he said that he has become a passenger. Having said that, I do hope that the Australian team can do him proud at the Oval and send him out a winner which he thoroughly deserves.

The Nick Kyrgios sledge to Stan Wawrinka has attracted a lot of attention which to my mind seems to be somewhat of an over reaction. Yes what he said was wrong, but was it front page news? Unknown-2Would anyone have known if not for the very sensitive court side microphones? This type of sledging happens all the time in other sports and one of the best sledges of all time was of a similar theme. Glenn McGrath bowling to Zimbabwe’s Eddo Brandes asked him why he was so fat. Brandes’ response was along the lines of “because every time I make love to your wife she gives me a biscuit”. I certainly don’t condone what Kyrgios said, but lets not get carried away and lets not get too far up on that high horse.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Cricket, the Ashes, AFL, the vernacular……

Chris Barwin HillsI sat down over the last two nights hoping to enjoy an Australian revival in the 4th test at Trent Bridge only to witness the abject failure of any of our recognised batsman to get in behind the line of the ball. Yes, there was a bit in the pitch, but not that much. I am sure the batsmen were spooked by Alistair Cook winning the toss and bowling which would have to be just about a first in England. I lyonthought the worst offender in the first innings was Michael Clarke. As captain of the team and coming in with the team in diabolical trouble he first tries a pull shot and was lucky it dropped into no mans land and then he has a swing at a wide ball. Surely the captain has to show more than application when the chips are down. Even when Ricky Ponting lost the Ashes in 2005 he battled his guts out to try and turn things around. We are now hoping for a miracle. Perhaps three days of rain.

I thought the crowd figures for the Richmond v Hawthorn clash last Friday night were interesting. There was 66,000 people there which was apparently a record between the two clubs. This is quite surprising when both teams have memberships of 70,000+. I understand that not all members turn up to watch their team play, but given the size of both memberships and both teams vying for the top 4, 66,000 could be considered quite disappointing.

There is one term that has entered the AFL vernacular which I am getting quite sick of very quickly and it is the “competitive beast”. I think if I hear one more commentator or one more player describe someone as a competitive beast I may just throw up.

Have a good weekend and let us hope the Gelding has a speedy recovery!

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!

Weekend musing – AFL, Davis Cup revival, British Open

Chris Barwin HillsWell everyone seems to be touting Hawthorn as unbeatable in this years premiership on the back of the thumpings they have delivered to the Swans and Fremantle in recent weeks. I would be urging everyone to take a deep breath and consider the hype about Hawthorn when they trounced Geelong in Round 1. It was suggested at the time that they could go through the season undefeated, they lost the next week and lost a further three games out of the next seven. I would agree that there form since then has been extra good, but should both WA teams end up in the top two positions, they potentially may have to travel twice just to get to the grand final. They deserve to be favourites at the moment, but it is not a done deal.

Great effort by Australia in the Davis Cup last weekend. After losing the first two singles rubbers they won the doubles and the reverse singles to take out the tie 3/2. I don’t watch a lot of tennis, but I remember how much the Davis Cup was revered when I was younger and it is always good to see Australia get through to the semi-final stage.

The British Open Golf also threw up an interesting result with a three way play off, but I must say I was disappointed as I was hoping that Jordan Speith or Jason Day would get up and they both finished one shot out of the play off group. I have been pushing Jordan Speith’s barrow since he took out the Australian Open last year and had hoped that he would secure the third Major in a row to try and Unknown-5do the grand slam. It was a brave effort, but one bad hole cost him. I have also been pushing Jason Day as well, given that he continues to put himself in prominent positions in majors, but he cannot seem to get over the line. Marc Leishmann who featured in the play off is also starting to build up a list of prominent finishes in majors without saluting.

Have a great weekend!