Tag Archives: west-coast-eagles

Weekend musing – AFL, sledging, EPL final week……

There have been instances of good sportsmanship and bad sportsmanship in the AFL last weekend.

On the good side it was pleasing to see Dyson Heppell and Joel Selwood chair James Kelly off after last weeks game to celebrate Kelly’s 300th game.

On the flip side, you had the sledging allegations levelled at St Kilda players for targetting Marc Murphy in the game against Carlton targeting. This is a difficult issue and hard to assess and monitor. By drawing attention to the sledging and the content of the sledging, it brought to light rumours that I and a lot of other footy fans who aren’t on social media sites were not aware of. Where do you draw the line when it does not involve issues that are currently in the code of conduct?

Another good story in the AFL this week is the appointment of the female umpire, Eleni Glouftsis for the Essendon v West Coast game this Sunday. By all reports she has got there on her merits and deserves the chance. Another way of getting females involved in the game of Australia Rules Football.

The EPL concludes this week with Chelsea and Tottenham wrapping up the top two spots before the weekend and Manchester City almost safe in third spot. That leaves Liverpool and Arsenal in the fight for fourth position and the all important Champions League qualification. Liverpool have the easier game, but the Gunners have come with a rush in the last month and are not without some chance of finishing fourth. With Manchester United playing off for the Europa Cup and possible qualification for the Champions League, more may need to play out before the final positions are known. I have had a look at the qualification criteria and it is by no means clear. My personal view is that it would not be a bad thing for the Gunners to miss out on Europe and only concentrate on the League next season. Chelsea and Leicester have won the League in the last two years without having to worry about the Champions League.

Have a great weekend!

Weekend musing – EPL, St Totteringham’s Day, AFL, Essendon faithful, Shot Clock, Jack Gunston

Chris Barwin HillsThe EPL season has now concluded and Leicester City won the crown by a whopping ten points. Arsenal, who by many measures had a disappointing season, sneaked into second spot. The Foxes arsenallost only three games for the season and two of those games were to Arsenal. It just shows that with Arsenal finishing second on the back of a disappointing season, how disappointing the seasons of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United were. Man U has the chance to at least secure some silverware this season in the FA Cup which may also save the job of Louis Van Gaal. One final comment on the EPL and that is Arsenal couldn’t have waited much longer to celebrate St Totteringham’s Day!

It was interesting to see the Bombers get cheered off after an honourable loss last week and a lot of people have suggested that this may have never happened before, however, I was at a game at Windy Hill in the late 1980s or early 1990s when they applauded the team from the ground. Essendon was playing West Coast and watsonsustained about five or more injuries during the game and I remember Michael Long having to go back on the field with a shoulder injury and he may have even had his arm inside his jumper to protect it. West Coast won by a couple of goals and the Bomber faithful were so impressed with the effort in the face of adversity that they were clapped from the ground. I still remember a couple of West Coast supporters jumping up and down when the siren went and then going quiet when the Essendon crowd started clapping their team. After this game Kevin Sheedy embarked on one of his quests to expand the interchange bench which was ultimately successful.

There has been a lot of discussion about the shot clock in the AFL and what they can do to avoid the situation that was faced a couple of weeks ago when Mason Wood iced the clock to ensure North’sfevola victory. The thirty seconds allowed to shoot for goal was introduced to try and force the likes of Brendan Fevola and Matthew Lloyd to not take up too much time preparing to have a shot for goal. I always thought this was a massive over reaction as the umpires have the right to call play on at their discretion anyway. My suggestion would be to do away with the thirty second rule and hand the discretion back to the umpire.

Football players are sought after commodities to promote products gunstonin the media, particularly at this time of the year. Some are cut out for it and some are completely hopeless. Jack Gunston from Hawthorn does a number of radio advertisements and I would suggest he falls into the latter category. His ads are that lame I often turn the radio off so I don’t have to listen to him. Stick to what you are good at Jack.

Have a great weekend!

AFL Trade Period – Dangerfield, Carlisle, Selwood, Hawthorn…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell I must say that not much has grabbed my attention this week save for the AFL Trade period, but even that drags on like unwanted guests. It was good to see the Patrick Dangerfield deal go through early and both clubs should be commended on how it was all done. I cannot Dangerfieldbelieve that Dangerfield has copped grief from Adelaide supporters when he gave them 100% throughout his time there and didn’t go for the money, because he could have got just as much from Adelaide and more from other clubs. I do feel some sympathy for Adelaide, over recent years they have lost Kurt Tippett, Phil Davis and to a lesser extent Nathan Bock, with Dangerfield now leaving there is some pretty fair talent out their doors in recent times.

I must say that my club, Essendon has always had the reputation for over valuing their players and as a consequence being difficult to deal with at the trade table and I have to say that from a distance carlislethat looks like a fair assessment. I don’t think that Jake Carlisle is worth St Kilda’s pick 5, but I do think that he is worth more than their 2nd round pick and it is interesting to see that the best team in the competition, Hawthorn, has now come out and put two late first round picks on the table for him so they must rate him higher than I do. On my estimation he would be worth around the 15-18 mark, but should Carlisle agree to go to Hawthorn, the Bombers could snare both of those selections.

There has also been a lot of discussion regarding the compensation picks for free agents moving clubs and it does seem incongruous that Melbourne got pick five for James Frawley and West Coast get pick 35 for Scott Selwood. I know Selwood didn’t make the grand final frawley
side, but he has had an injury interrupted year and he is former best & fairest so pick 35 seems a little on the light side. Having said that, Hawthorn getting pick 19 for Buddy Franklin seems ludicrous and perhaps Hawthorn should have adopted the same tactic that Adelaide adopted for Dangerfield to secure a better draft pick for one of the better players in the competition.

It will be interesting to see how the rest of the trade period pans out.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – AFL, Brownlow Medal, Nat Fyffe, Dally M, Jonathan Thurston, Wayne Bennett

Chris Barwin HillsI think everyone was impressed with the interview/acceptance speech from Nathan Fyffe on Monday night when he won the Brownlow medal. In my opinion it was the most impressive, natural post Brownlow performance I have seen. Not only is the guy a naturalfyffe footballer but he is a natural in front of the camera so you can imagine the media outlets will be lining up for his services and advertisers lining up for him to endorse their products. He is my favourite footballer that doesn’t play for my team and it was great to see him win.

The Brownlow voting seems to have changed over the last ten years. If you think back to 1990, Tony Liberatore and Gavin Wanganeen tied with 18 votes. Going back even further to 1986 Dipper and Greg Williams tied on 17 votes. In the last ten years only Ben Cousins in 2005 scored less than 24 votes (he scored 20) with five players HANNEBERYscoring 30 or more. In 2000 Essendon scored the most team votes ever in the Brownlow (116 votes), but James Hird was the highest with only 16 votes so the votes were more evenly spread amongst the players. Today we get star players dominating the voting. The best example of that is Josh Kennedy and Dan Hannebery from the Swans scoring 49 of the Swans 94 votes. That is more than fifty percent of the Swans votes between two players. It seems to me there is a bit of a “cult of personality” which has impacted upon the umpires and their voting.

I am hoping that the West Coast Eagles salute on Saturday, however, it is hard to see Hawthorn getting beaten.

The Dally M for the NRL was decided on the same night as the Brownlow and Jonathon Thurston won the award for a record fourth time. I am not a big rugby league aficionado, but that is a remarkable performance and now that the Storm has been knocked out of the johnathan-thurstonfinals it would be good to see his Cowboys salute in the grand final. Up against him is the Wayne Bennett coached Brisbane Broncos, who I understand has a perfect seven from seven record in Grand Finals. That is a remarkable statistic in its own right.

Have a great long weekend!

Friday musing – Bart Cummings, AFL, sling tackles, player management……

Chris Barwin HillsLast weekend we heard about the passing of J B Cummings and with his passing we say goodbye to the trainer who trained more Melbourne Cup winners than any other trainer by a fair margin. He may not have trained as many winners or Group 1 winners as Tommy Smith or Colin Hayes or won as many trainers premierships, but in the race that every trainer sees as the pinnacle in Australia he imagestrained more winners of the Cup than those two trainers put together. His record of 12 Melbourne Cup winners will not be broken in my lifetime and with the internationalisation of the race I doubt it will be broken at all. Vale James Bartholomew Cummings an absolute legend of the Australian turf.

I was at the MCG last weekend to see the Bombers take on the Tigers and I witnessed Courtney Dempsey’s tackle on Brett Deledio and I must say that it was extremely dangerous and Deledio was Unknownlucky he escaped with only a sore neck and a slight concussion. That type of tackle is probably worse than the sling tackle and Dempsey fully deserved his 4 weeks. The stupid thing about it was than it was also unnecessary, the game was gone and a standard tackle would have seen Deledio penalised for holding the ball as he had already broken one tackle.

Continuing the AFL theme it was with some interest I listened to Wayne Carey suggest that this weeks Geelong v Adelaide game should be for double Brownlow votes given that the earlier game between the two teams was abandoned due to the tragic death of Phil Walsh. I initially thought the idea had some merit, but the more I thought about it the less appealing it became. In the end it would mean that someone would play one game and get double the votes. IUnknown-1 dare say that if someone lost out in that scenario then there may be a legal challenge. It was also proposed that all games in that round have voting suspended and that doesn’t make sense either as it penalises those players that performed well that weekend and again could open up a legal challenge. The original game was abandoned and the points were split and all the participants knew that there would be no Brownlow votes awarded and that is the way it should stay. It will be bad luck if Patrick Dangerfield misses out on the medal by less than three votes, but would it be worse than Chris Grant missing out on the medal from what was really only a clumsy attempt to spoil, I don’t think so.

There has also been a lot of discussion around Fremantle and North Melbourne resting players for the finals this weekend. While the Fremantle decision has no bearing on the finals, the North Melbourne decision is not as clear and the AFL are rightly copping a whack as a result, but this has happened before. Kevin Sheedy rested players at the end of 1990 to allow the four Daniher brothers Unknown-2to play together in the last round against St Kilda. They won the game, but due to the draw between Collingwood and West Coast in the Qualifying final it back fired on the Dons and some of the players had three weeks off and the rest is history. Sheedy did it again in 2001 when Essendon played Richmond in the final round, a few players were rested, but the team clearly didn’t have a winning mind set and went down by about four goals. This result kept Richmond in 4th place and meant that Carlton could not get above 5th. The following week in the Qualifying final Essendon belted Richmond by about ten goals.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Chris Judd, Neale Daniher, French Open, Stan Wawrinka

Chris Barwin HillsIt was sad to see a champion of the game in Chris Judd end his career as he did last weekend. He is most certainly one of the modern day champions and for a period of 5-8 years was the undisputed best player in the competition. In my opinion his best form was at West Coast which took in a Brownlow medal, a Norm Smith medal in a losing team and he captained their 2006 premiership team. In this team he stood out in a team of good Unknownplayers like Kerr, Cousins & Cox. While there was no doubt he was still an exceptional player at Carlton where he won three consecutive best & fairest awards and another Brownlow medal, he stood out because he was so much better than the rest of the team. I think champions deserve to go out on their own terms and maybe going out the way he did took emotion and the fanfare away from his retirement which probably, in some strange way, suited him.

Sticking with football, it was great to see the football world rally around Neale Daniher and his cause last weekend. Neale was one of the most sublimely skilled players I have seen much in the mould of a Unknown-1James Hird, but unfortunately his body let him down before he really established his greatness. Having said that, I remember Leigh Matthews rated him ahead of Bruce Doull as a half back flanker, even though he had only played 60-70 games before he did his knee. Unfortunately for Neale his body has also let him down in life, but not dulled his spirit.

Moving away from football it was refreshing to hear Novak Djokevic acknowledge that he was beaten by a better player on the day in his post match interview after the French Open tennis final against Stan Warwinka. Too many times you have the sour grapes post matchUnknown-2 interviews where the skill of the opposition is not respected. In tennis I doubt I have ever heard Serena Williams acknowledge she was beaten by a better player on the day and certainly, in soccer, Sir Alex Ferguson never did!

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – A-League final, AFL, Mick Malthouse, NBA Playoffs, Andrew Bogut…..

Chris Barwin HillsThe biggest thing in local sport in the last week was the A-League grand final and what a comprehensive result for the Melbourne Victory. They were aggressive and positive from the start and played almost the complete game. Sydney FC only had two real shots on goal and both went straight to the keeper. Speaking of the keeper, Lawrence Thomas, in my far from expert opinion, he is better than
the injured Nathan Coe so they didn’t lose anything there. I think in Unknown-4the previous week Melbourne City put more pressure on the Victory defence for the same score line. This is perhaps the most complete side to take out the title and while they lost and drew a few games during the year that they should have won, it was evident that if they clicked no other side in the competition could beat them. Mark Milligan was a deserved winner of the Joe Marston Medal and it is surprising that he has not find greater success overseas.

In the AFL it is interesting to see the issue about the head high tackles and the tactics employed by the likes of Lindsay Thomas in drawing free kicks. I raised this issue earlier in the year and players Unknown-3that drop their knees and dip/raise their shoulders are almost impossible for the umpires to detect even though it is the equivalent of ducking the head. I think it is unfair to be critical of the likes of Thomas, the Selwoods, Shoey and Puopolo when coaches from all teams should be teaching the players the same tricks. Every supporter hates when these frees are paid against them, but delight when they go in their favour.

The heat on Mick Malthouse continues and it reminded me of when Ron Barassi went back to Melbourne. He had been successful at two clubs, but could not work his magic a third time. I think the main issue at Carlton is their atrocious disposal. They win the ball in Unknown-2contested situations and then give it straight back to the opposition. I think they could be a sneaky chance tonight against Geelong, but I am still not prepared to pick them. My upset for the round is the Saints to topple West Coast.

The NBA finals are entering the final phases and wouldn’t it be great Unknownif the Golden State Warriors played off against the Cleveland Cavaliers so we could be guaranteed an Australian was on the winning side. Andrew Bogut v Matthew Dellavadova. From a personal point of view I Unknown-1would like to see the Golden State Warriors win the title for Andrew Bogut given his constant battles with injury he deserves the reward.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – AFL, final eight, Arsenal, Champions League…..

Chris Barwin HillsWell with one round of the AFL season to go there is still a great deal of interest in the final positions in the final eight.

Should the results go as expected it will be a battle between Adelaide and West Coast on percentage for the final position, but Richmond have their fate in their own hands so it is the position you want to be in from a Richmond point of view. If the game was in Melbourne I would give them a genuine chance, but being in Sydney I think I will have to favour the home team. That being said, the Swans will know the equation necessary to hold top spot as Hawthorn play Collingwood tonight and a big win by Hawthorn and a loss to Sydney could see the Swans lose top spot.

Looking to the other games, Geelong should beat Brisbane at home, but if you cast your mind back to the corresponding game last year Brisbane lost by a kick in controversial circumstances. Geelong have won a lot of games this year by small margins and have not played out four quarters many times and if they lose and Fremantle win, Geelong could drop to fourth. Fremantle need to win to at least hold fourth spot as a loss to Port Adelaide will see Port take fourth spot.

North Melbourne looks to be the only team that cannot go up or down, they are a game and 16% below Port and a game and 10% ahead of Essendon, so they look like retaining sixth position with a home final. Essendon need to beat Carlton to retain seventh position to play North in Melbourne, or run the risk that a loss to Carlton and a win by Richmond could see them head interstate to play Freo or Port.

It is a great last round as so many positions could change, but I am predicting the status quo and games going with the favourites, so that will leave Adelaide and West Coast to fight out eighth position on percentage. My tip is Adelaide to just get there and play a home final against Port in the first week of the finals.

Also great to see the Gunners make it through to the Champions League again. They have drawn a reasonable group and should at least get through to the next round.

Have a great weekend!

Friday musing – Essendon FC, James Hird, Father/Son rule……

Chris Barwin HillsThere have been a few Essendon issues popping up this week and I thought I would provide the perspective of a footy fan:

1) Should Dustin Fletcher play on? The question came up after a poor game against the Bulldogs and being left out of the team that beat Port Adelaide. I think he should play on next year, his form generally this year has been good, his game against Collingwood the previous week could not be faulted and I think you will find at the end of the year, in the previous game against the Bulldogs he will probably be in the umpire’s votes. If he plays on next year he will get to 400 games which is a significant milestone and even worth putting him on the list as a mature age rookie to try and get him over the line next year.

2) Should James Hird return to the coaches box once his suspension has been served? I think he should be able to return to the club, but he should stay away from the coaches box until the club has completed the 2014 campaign. Leave the match day coaching to Bomber and his assistants, but get involved behind closed doors as he will need to be across the list as soon as the season has been completed to prepare for the draft etc.

There has also been discussions about the Father/Son rule and the northern states academies. With regard to the Father/Son rule I think it should remain as it is as it is a great part of our game that a player has the option to play for his father’s ex-team in certain circumstances. I actually think there should be a brother/brother rule, particularly with regard to twins. I thought it was harsh when the Selwood twins ended up in Brisbane and Perth respectively, not only for them, but their parents as well. Then Joel ends up at Geelong! There is also the Brown twins, where Nathan ended up at Collingwood and Mitchell at West Coast, again harsh for them and their parents. Who do you barrack for?

With the northern states academies, I think if they have put the time and energy into preparing the players and that was the basis on which the academies were set up, then I don’t think there should be an issue. Having said that, perhaps the academies should be run by both clubs in that state, ie. Sydney and GWS and whichever team has first choice in the draft has the right of first refusal for that player.

Anyhow we have an interesting season panning out with five or six clubs vying for three or four spots in the final eight which should maintain the interest for those positions right until the end of the season.

Have a great weekend!