Tag Archives: weekend-musing

Weekend musing – Chautauqua best sprinter in the world, Leicester City champions and more

Chris Barwin HillsGreat to see Chautauqua salute in Hong Kong last weekend. The horse relies on a powerful finishing burst which can leave him chautauquavulnerable as we found out in the Newmarket Handicap, but there is no doubt that he is the best sprinter in the world at the moment. It is a bit of a shame that he didn’t pull up well enough to go to England to race at Ascot, but I fully appreciate the reasoning behind the decision not to race there.

With Leicester City being crowned the champions of the EPL I was trying to think of similar sporting success stories, but it is hard to come up with anything that comes close to this. Collingwood won the foxeswooden spoon in 1976 and then lost the Grand Final the following year in the replay, but even a win such as that may not have been as monumental. Leicester City faced relegation last year and overcame the odds to win this year and the EPL very much favours the wealthy clubs. What has been lost a bit in the celebrations is that Tottenham were the only side left to put pressure on the Foxes and they are certainly not fixtures in the top four of the EPL. If Leicester City was 5,000-1 to win the League, what price was the quinella?

I have noticed that a number of print journalists are now featured in barrettdifferent AFL football shows, both radio and television and at times I
think that they believe they are the story! One who I think takes himself a bit too seriously and produces a lot of non-stories is Damien Barrett, but he is not alone by any means.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Fremantle Dockers demise, A-League finals fixturing & Alex Rance

Chris Barwin HillsThis time last year the Fremantle Football Club were the only undefeated team in the AFL, this year they are the only team not to win a game. What has happened? One of the reasons is personnel, they are an aging list and some of their key players are injured, but thefyffe main issue looks to be a change of game plan. It would seem they are trying to play more in the Hawthorn style, but unfortunately they don’t have the skill to execute that type of play. Their negative, lock down style of play got them to a Grand Final and save for a bout of stage fright and poor umpiring, they could easily have won that game, why change? I think they should revert to the style of football that made them successful. It may not be pretty, but it worked.

I have also got to have a say about the scheduling in the A-League. Melbourne City were scheduled to play after a five day break and while the best team on the night won the match, the fatigue factor Melb citycertainly influenced the margin. Then you had Brisbane who had played on the previous Friday playing on the Sunday. Why didn’t Brisbane play on the Friday and Melbourne on the Sunday which would have been the fairest outcome. To compound the issue, the grand finalists have also been mismatched by the schedule with Adelaide playing at home on an eight day break playing the Wanderers on a six day break. At least in the AFL each side gets a seven day break leading into the final match of the season. How do you take a competition seriously with scheduling like that for a marquee game? By the way, I don’t care who wins this final.

I know that a lot of other people have commented on Mick Malthouse’s comment that Alex Rance should have been let off by the AFL Match Review Panel on the basis of his good character, but IUnknown-2 could not let it pass without comment. What Rance did may have been out of character, however, he still did it and it was intentional. To excuse someone in that situation would be a total miscarriage of justice. Did it deserve 2 weeks? Maybe one would have been sufficient on the basis of impact/injury, but a suspension was definitely required. Good character may lead to a reduced sentence, but guilt is guilt.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Sportsmen and alcohol, drawn AFL Grand Finals

Chris Barwin HillsI was thinking about Grant Hackett this week and how he now joins a burgeoning list of sportsmen who should refrain from drinking. I understand the incident itself may have been blown out of hackettproportion and has been sensationalised as seems to happen these days to sell papers. Hackett is in good company with the likes of Brendan Fevola, Robert Allenby, David Warner, Mitchell Pearce and any number of rugby league and union players. Most of these people are reasonable types who just don’t seem to be able to handle their grog. There is no doubt they should find other ways to relax!

I must say I think the move to drop the AFL Grand Final replay in the event of a draw was the correct decision. It may have been OK in the old VFL days when teams were all situated in Victoria but now with the national competition, imagine if Brisbane were playing Fremantle drawin the Grand Final and they had to come back the following week. It would be just too difficult. In addition, it would be unfair if a Melbourne based team were playing an interstate team.

What I do not agree with is the pundits who suggest the same should apply to a draw in the regular season games. A draw is an unusual outcome and I agree it does leave everyone a bit flat, but it is a arsenallegitimate result and history does not need to be changed just because some want a winner and a loser at the end of each game. Soccer is the most popular football game in the world and a draw is a common occurrence. Imagine if the same ‘sensibility’ applied to that game?

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – AFL, Sheffield Shield, Peter Moody, Jason Day

Chris Barwin HillsWell Easter must be one of the most diverse periods for sport in Australia, we had the start of the AFL season, the Stawell Gift, the bellsBells Beach Surfing Classic, the Sheffield Shield Final and some big horse races from Sydney. We also had soccer World Cup qualifiers either side of Easter.

It was great to have the football back despite Essendon not having much to look forward to. The debut of Patrick Dangerfield for Geelong was clearly the difference that got them over Hawthorn and Dangerfieldif he had of kicked straight they would have won by more. Collingwood and Fremantle were very disappointing, but I think both sides will perform a lot better this week. The Bombers first half was probably as expected, but their second half was a bit better. Given the number of new players due to the supplement scandal outcome it might take a while for the team to gel, but the wooden spoon still is theirs for the taking!

Also great to see Victoria win the Sheffield Shield away from home. A couple of weeks ago I was going to comment about the demise of Cameron White as a cricketer and while he has not put himself backsheffield in the frame for Australian selection, he has redeemed himself. When he lead Victoria to the Shield win just after David Hookes died I thought he was a future Australian Test Captain and while he did play a couple of test matches, he was mainly a ODI and 20/20 player, but his star had dimmed in recent times to the point where he missed selection for Victoria.

I was sad to see Peter Moody retire from racing and he has now sold moodyoff all his gear to resist the temptation to return to the sport, but I think, once his suspension is over, he will come back and establish a smaller boutique stable just to keep his hand in. It is very hard for real horsemen to simply walk away from the sport it is too ingrained in their DNA.

Also good to see Jason Day back to the world number 1 position in golf and I just hope he maintains his form going into the Masters.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Brownless/Lyon, Etihad Stadium….

Chris Barwin HillsWell we saw the Footy Show kick off for the season on Thursday night and they tackled the Brownless/Lyon issue right at the start and while I am prepared to criticise the show, I thought it was lyonhandled pretty well. Billy Brownless was quite candid and presented his side of the story quite well. I don’t think that Sam Newman’s contribution added anything and he seemed more interested in Billy making up with Garry Lyon than anything else. Congratulations to James Brayshaw, a good start on a tough topic, but I still think he is a bit of a lightweight so my position on him taking over the reins of the show remains reserved.

I was interested to note the proposal for a new football stadium in etihadMelbourne. I agree that Melbourne could cope with a new stadium in the sporting precinct, but not at the expense of Etihad Stadium. Speaking selfishly, coming up from Geelong to Etihad you don’t need to change trains and it takes you right to the ground. I think Etihad has it purpose for the west of Melbourne and perhaps any new stadium should cater for smaller crowds in the 25-30,000 range.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – Chris Gayle, Big Bash League, A League…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell we are back in the swing of things for the new year and the biggest story in sport this week had nothing to do with the actual sport, but the comments by Chris Gayle to Mel McLaughlin in an interview after his innings in the Big Bash. I did not see the interview live, but heard it replayed the following day. My initial thought was chris gaylethat it could have been a set up given Gayle’s playboy image, but was assured that McLaughlin was not comfortable with it. There is no excuse for Gayle, what he did was wrong and it warranted a fine and he won’t be asked back so he has cooked his own goose, but did it warrant the analysis that it got? The ABC ran a story on the 7.30 Report and it was the hot topic on talk back radio. No one died and no one was physically hurt or threatened and whilst I am sure Mel McLaughlin didn’t appreciate the comments or the attention the incident created, let’s keep it in perspective. Obviously a slow news day.

This was not unlike the Dustin Martin, chopstick incident where the martinmedia pushed the story, whilst the woman who was threatened, did not want to make too big a deal of it. Having said that, the Martin incident would appear to be a lot worse than what Chris Gayle said. On the scale of transgressions, I think being physically threatened is worse than inappropriate language.

In the meantime, the Big Bash has gone from strength to strength and I doubt that Cricket Australia will get better crowds for the ODI series against India. 80,000 at the MCG for a domestic 20/20 game is amazing and the scheduling is perfect for night time viewing. I don’t have a team, I like both the Melbourne teams with a leaning towards the Renegades, but that could be a reaction against the Eddie Maguire aligned Stars.

I went to the soccer at Skilled Stadium last night and there was another good crowd in attendance. I think there is a bit of a push to have an A-League or a Big Bash team based in Geelong. I believe marinersthere is enough interest down here, but I am not sure if there would be enough corporate support. That being said there seems to be enough crowd support to warrant more A-League fixtures and Big Bash games once Skilled Stadium has been upgraded.

Have a great weekend!

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!