The Professor and the panel of the Judge, the Gelding, Coutta and Paul Dalligan talk with special guest Professor Allan Pearce about the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia’s (RCPA) position statement on CTE and repeated traumatic brain injuries and their 5 point call to action points. Paul Dalligan comments on Australia’s loss to New Zealand in the Pacific Cup and the influx of players to the Canterbury Bulldogs. The Gelding reviews the One Day cricket World Cup and previews the finals between Australia and South Africa and India playing New Zealand. The Professor and Coutta discuss the AFLW finals matches being played this weekend and the Gelding gives his tips for Benalla and Ararat races.
A disappointing end to a very interesting test series in India with Australia capitulating in the second innings of the fourth test. Up until that stage, the series had been evenly poised and was one of the most talked about series in India that I can remember. Steve Smith clearly the star for Australia with the bat and Pat Cummins making a successful comeback to test cricket augurs well for the future. A lot has been made about friendships between the teams being sacrificed in an all out attempt to win. All I’ll say about that is the friendships cannot have been too solid in the first place if a bit of name calling and sledging has brought them undone.
Sticking with cricket, it was great to see the Vics salute again in the Sheffield Shield for a record third straight win. It also must be remembered that none of the wins have been on home soil. The first win was in Hobart, the second an away win against South Australia and the third was in Alice Springs. It cannot be underestimated how valuable Cameron White has been as Captain of the Bushrangers. His experience and tactical ability has come to the fore once again.
There was an article in the Herald Sun this week discussing the success of the Victorian horses in Sydney this year. It has been put down to the heavy tracks in Sydney which has meant the Victorian horses are going up there fitter than their northern counterparts. I think there could be a parallel with the two Sydney football teams based on their performances last week. Both Sydney teams played teams from Adelaide where the weather has meant that full training outside has been undertaken, whereas, perhaps the weather in Sydney has meant that a lot of their training has been indoors. Certainly something to keep an eye on in coming weeks.
I am also amazed that various pundits are prepared to write teams off after one round of football. It is a bit like making too many predictions on a pre-season series which doesn’t mean much.
Have a great weekend!
Great to see the Australian cricket team hang on in the third test in India. Peter Handscombe obviously took my previous musing to heart and produced his best innings of the tour and in the context of the series, perhaps the best innings of his fledgling career. I think this is probably the first time since the third test of the 2005 Ashes series when the Australian team has batted out a day to save a test. On that occasion Ricky Ponting batted nearly the whole day and we escaped with a draw with one wicket in hand. The Indians really took the game away from Australia on Sunday and to hang on as we did was a great effort and keeps a very interesting series alive going into this weekend for the fourth and final test of the series.
I was tickled on last weekend to see the horse Gingernuts salute in Sydney. Being a chestnut gelding this is quite a creative name by the owners and I am surprised it got through the authorities. It reminds me of the horse Seltun which is Nutles(s) backwards.
It is interesting that this weekend we have two sporting finals where the host team is playing away from home. The Victorian Bushrangers have made a habit of it recently and are hosting South Australia in Alice Springs in the Sheffield Shield final and in the AFLW we have Brisbane Lions hosting Adelaide Crows on the Gold Coast. As Victoria has won the last two Shield’s perhaps it is a winning formula, but clearly not ideal for local cricket fans. This scenario was apparent at the start of the season, however, the AFLW grand final is a bit more embarrassing for all concerned. The groundsmen in control of the Gabba apparently see their primary job to prepare the ground for the first test match of the year and AFL football takes a back seat. Leigh Matthews has said that this situation has existed since the Brisbane Lions started playing there and perhaps now with the Queensland state government getting involved, football might be treated a bit better.
Have a great weekend!
Well it is lucky the Australian cricket selectors do not pay any attention to my musings, with Glenn Maxwell bringing up a century batting at number six in the third test in India. I had thought that Ashton Agar was the better option as a spinner/batsman, but Maxwell has now grabbed his chance. Steve Smith has again been impressive and continues to push his case for the best batsman in the world at the moment. Peter Handscomb has been a little disappointing. After his four tests in Australia where he excelled he has now returned scores of 22, 19, 16, 24 & 19 so he has a got a start in each innings and failed to go on. I am not suggesting he should be dropped, but he needs to convert a start into something more substantial. Fingers crossed the Aussies can get the job done in this test and put the acid back on the Indians.
In the AFL a twilight grand final appears to be an inevitability. Now that Mike Fitzpatrick has stood down as AFL Chairman, I think Gillon McLachlan will be ensuring this goes through. I like the day grand final, but I am certainly not against a twilight match. I would not be in favour of a night grand final as I think it would detract from the functions and BBQs that people have based around the current fixture but that could transfer to a twilight time slot, but a later start would not be as conducive.
Australia’s richest race for 2yo, the Golden Slipper is on this weekend and it is a shame that a heavy track is likely. My tip is the Blue Diamond winner, Catchy, as long as she handles the track conditions.
Nick Kyrgios beat Novak Djokovic for the second time in a row and I think most Australians would like to see him turn around his “on court” behaviour and focus his attentions on playing as he obviously has a special talent. He just needs to harness it!
Have a great weekend!
The Australian test team did us proud in India last week after I had speculated that they registered an below par score in the first innings. As it turned out, Australia’s score in the first innings surpassed India’s match total. Clearly India prepared a pitch to suit their bowlers and were hoist on their own petard. Steve O’Keefe did an amazing job to take 12/70, but the real test comes in backing it up. Most cricket followers will recollect Jason Krejza took 12 wickets in his first test in India and then played only one further test match and finished with an average of 43.23. Everyone also knows the Bob Massie story. After taking 16 wickets in his first test against Englad he only played 5 more test matches for another 15 wickets. I hope O’Keefe can back it up as, if he does, it will go a long way towards winning the series.
With the JLT Community pre-season competition now in full swing I am always amazed that people are prepared to bet on the premiership and brownlow medal on the back of pre-season form. These are practice matches where clubs are experimenting, building up players fitness and trying out rookies. There is no real pressure and winning and losing have the same end result. Last year a lot of Collingwood supporters got excited on the back of three convincing pre-season wins and they were considered certainties to play finals. By the end of the season they had only nine wins and finished twelveth. Yes they had some injuries to key players during the year, but did not live up to their pre-season form.
Have a great weekend!
Last Sunday Geelong hosted an international sporting event being the T20 game between Australia and Sri Lanka. Unfortunately the day was less than ideal for cricket with a lot of rain falling. This obviously deterred some of the crowd, but not the Sri Lankan supporters. There was approximately 13,500 people in attendance and I would roughly estimate that two thirds of the crowd were Sri Lankan fans. The game was good, with Australia failing to capitalise on a good start and probably fell 15-20 runs short of what I thought was a par score. The last 4 wickets fell cheaply and they could not get Moises Henriques back on strike. The Sri Lankan innings started poorly with the loss of early wickets, then they consolidated. With three overs to go they still needed 2-3 runs a ball but then Gunaratne cut loose. Moises Henriques came on to bowl the 18th over having been Australia’s most economical bowler to that time. His first ball was a dot, the next three went for sixes and he conceded 21 runs for the over and Sri Lanka went on to win on the last ball of the night which also went for six. Gunaratne was the architect behind the win and he did so playing proper cricket shots. It was a good night and there were no rain delays so those that stayed away missed a very good match.
Meanwhile, in India, the main Australian team started the Test series on Thursday. Australia won the toss and the top order all got starts with only Matt Renshaw going on to post a half century. Mitchell Starc later added some respectability with a half century of his own. I have always thought that if you bat first in a test match, that a score of 350+ is par. Australia fell short of that total but made up for it on the second day with an excellent spell with the ball. Steve O’Keefe’s six wickets in 24 balls has put Australia in the box seat to take this first Test and now they must rely on their batsmen to set India a big total to catch.
On Friday morning the sporting world was again burdened with further instalment in the Essendon supplements saga with news of a recording of a meeting that, the then president Paul Little says he
didn’t know was being recorded. Surely this now becomes a police matter if people are being recorded without their knowledge and consent. It is unfortunate that this saga continues to generate ‘news’ as I am heartily sick of it all. How about we concentrate on what is now happeneing on the football field.
Have a great weekend!
The Pakistan team gave Australia a real fright in the first test in Brisbane falling just 39 runs short of what would have been the highest 4th innings score and the highest to win. The previous highest score in the 4th innings to win was the West Indies who amassed 7-418 against Australia in 2002/03 in the West Indies. The highest score in the 4th innings and not win was 451 by New Zealand versus England in 2001/02 and it rivalled the 7-450 by South Africa versus India in 2013/14. The way the Pakistanis fought it out augurs well for the Boxing Day test in Melbourne and may mean in the future that test captains will be even more conservative with their declarations. I wonder if the move to “drop in” pitches mean they don’t deteriorate as much allowing teams to bat longer? The jury is out on that one and only time will give us the answer to that query. While Australia won the test, I think Pakistan still came out of the game with momentum after their gallant second innings chase.
Sticking with cricket, the Big Bash started again this week and the nightly format on Channel 10 is a winner for cricket fans. If you have nothing else better to do you can sit down and watch some entertaining cricket almost nightly for a month. I reckon that Channel 9 are livid they didn’t get the rights to the BBL and when the rights come up again they will be hot property.
Have a great Christmas and New Year!
Well 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 that 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 media 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 there 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!
Well the Cricket World Cup is about to begin and I note that Australia is drawn play a game against New Zealand in New Zealand, so much for the home World Cup. With 2 pools the Australians and the New Zealanders should have been placed into different pools so that there was no away game for either team. In the previous World Cup in 1992 the same thing happened with Australia drawn to play New Zealand in New Zealand (and we lost!). With the 2 pools it is unlikely that either side would miss the next stage, however, I do have an issue with that type of fixturing.
It will be interesting to see how the World Cup goes. It would appear that some games will be very popular, like the opening game of the tournament tomorrow with Australia v England and the India v Pakistan game in Adelaide which was apparently sold out some months ago. However, many of the others could be television games only. The tournament is scheduled to go over seven weeks which to me is way too long and there is a big risk that the interest in the game will wain over that length of time. I think a compressed format of 4-5 weeks would have been more appealing. The Big Bash was played over a period of a month and I think they got that right.
I was bemused to hear Mick Malthouse and Nathan Buckley’s comments about the Essendon players and their stance regarding the NAB Challenge series. I think the club should field a team for the series, however, I also agree with the approach that the entire list from 2012 should not play to at least try and preserve the anonymity of the players to which they are entitled. There should be enough players that have come onto the list since 2012 and I wonder what Malthouse & Buckley’s views would be if the boot was on the other foot and it was their players that had to bear the brunt of this continued saga.
Have a great weekend!
Well it is all about the cricket at this time of the year and my first observation relates to the standard of pitches that have been produced for the series against India. For as well as Virat Kohli and Steve Smith have played, there has been a lot of runs and not many wickets.
A lot of the Australian wickets have gone in the chase for quick runs. I wonder if the Indian authorities warned their Australian counterparts about preparing wickets to suit Mitchell Johnson. Johnson has struggled on these pitches with only one session in Brisbane where has been truly dangerous. It is hard to be too critical when there has been two results from the first three tests, with Australia batting India out of the Melbourne test to ensure they won the series.
However, I am sure if these pitches had been presented to the English last year there is no way we could have won 5-0. Nathan Lyon will be the number one bowler for the series and who would have predicted that at the start? I think in many ways for as well as the Indians have played, their fielding and catching has been sub-standard and you can’t keep dropping catches and win matches.
I hark back to one of those ill fated series in the 1980s against the West Indies when the Aussies dropped at least 30 catches. When you are playing one of the best teams in the world you have to limit their scoring not let them off the hook.
Continuing the cricket theme I have a comment about the Phil Hughes tributes. When does it all get too much? I understand the test team has been truly rocked by what happened and it is quite unparalleled in cricket, however, I think we are getting very close to putting a lid on the tributes. His family have been decidedly absent from the public eye and I now think it is time for the players pay their respects in private.
Finally on the cricket, I have watched a little of the Big Bash and it is great to sit down and watch a bit of sport at night time and see a result. I am sure Channel 10 are rapt they have the rights. My accolade goes out to Brad Hogg playing for the Perth Scorchers. At 43 years of age he came on the other night and landed his spinners perfectly and essentially set up the win for Perth. Amazing!
The Asian Cup starts tonight and I must say my enthusiasm has yet to be piqued. Perhaps once it gets going I will be more interested, but at this stage the jury is out.
Continuing the World Game theme, I went to the Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory game last week in Geelong and while the result was not so good and it was still very hot, the crowd and the atmosphere were very good. I think of the AFL venues, Kardinia Park lends itself to soccer because it has narrow wings. The Victory have two more games at the venue in the next two years and my guess is the experiment will be continued or even expanded.
Have a great weekend!