Tag Archives: ireland

Weekend musing – Australia’s Test woes, Ireland defeats the All Blacks…amazing!

Sfan OB6Last week I wrote that Australia had got off to a great start in the first test match in Perth, but that was about it as far as Australia was concerned as South Africa dominated the rest of the game even without their best bowler. The Australian batsmen did not show the resilience required to win a test match, although they did do better in the second innings lasting nearly 120 overs. In fact if they had made 360 in the first innings, the result may well have been different.

This is the first time in 28 seasons that Australia has lost the first test match on home soil, but it also must be one of the only times testthat there has only been one round of Sheffield Shield matches before the first test. By contrast the South Africans had a warm up match in Australia after two first class games in South Africa. International sides have often been criticised for only having one lead up game before the first test and yet the home side falls to the same lack of preparation here!

Well we thought the Chicago Cubs 108 year drought breaking effort
the-amazed-international-media-reaction-to-ireland-beating-the-all-blacksin the World Series was a significant milestone and then, coincidentally in Chicago, Ireland beats the New Zealand All Blacks in the rugby union for the first time in 111 years. What am amazing year we are having in sport around the world.

Have a great weekend!

Professor’s Monday rant – AFL and International Rules…

meThe hybrid game of ‘International Rules’ football (the rules somewhere between Gaelic football and Australian Rules football) played between teams representing the Gaelic Athletic Association and the Australian Football League hasn’t been able to hold the attention of supporters in Australia or Ireland.

The contests date back to 1967 with the first three game series taking place between the teams in 1984. Since then it has had more downs than ups. In 1990 the series was suspended due to crowd ‘lack of interest’ but was resumed in 1998 in a different format with the matches reduced to two. This also failed to interest crowds as did the selecting of an all Indigenous team to represent Australia in 2013. In 2014 the two game format was reduced to one game with the Australian team featuring players selected as All Australians in that year.

That format seemed a first step back from the abyss with the game played at Subiaco where a 30,000+ crowd was attracted. The sensible next step would be to build on the format that had met with approval by the population.

It comes as a surprise then that, notwithstanding the relative success of last year’s format, it is rumoured the next game is set to be played in November in the USA, possibly in New York. The venue mentioned – Central Park…..really? There is no stadium in Central Park…..does the AFL really intend a team of All Australians play an international in a park? As for a stadium to play in, clearly the AFL has forgotten the problems in staging exhibition games there in the past due to the relatively small playing fields in US stadia.

The AFL’s treatment of the concept with such a suggestion indicates to me they don’t really care about international football. One thing for sure, there will be fewer people interested in a hybrid one off game in New York, especially as it will be played at the peak of the NFL season. In addition, I doubt anyone from Australia will pay any attention to it. The only beneficiaries here will be the players and coaches who get a junket to the USA.

The observations made by the GAA’s Paul Earley are close to the mark when he says “I don’t see the logic in playing it in the US to be perfectly honest. I think it has got to establish a foothold again in Ireland and Australia first of all before you take it internationally.”

Now there is a person who should be listened to, if anyone cares!

Friday musing – International Rules, Captain’s Pick, Derby Day…

Chris Barwin HillsMy first thought this week was with the International Rules series recently completed in Ireland. Initially I thought it was a good idea to have an indigenous team representing Australia because when Kevin Sheedy loaded up the team with indigenous players previously they had performed very well. A lot of the indigenous players are very quick and very skilful and matched the Irish in this regard. Where they are not so good is their defensive game and while I didn’t see either game, by the scores, we clearly were not good defensively. It was also telling that the second game was a worse result than the first, whereas it is usually the other way around as once the players are more used to the round ball, the result improves. I think this latest series spells the end for the concept.

Talking of concepts the AFLs proposed “captains pick” game was knocked on the head very quickly and probably understandably so. However, I have raised the issue of representative football before and I do think the game needs it. I think most people would like to see the best against the best as we see in the Rugby League State of Origin series or the various sporting World Cups. The AFL doesn’t have anything since the game went truly national. Concepts need to be explored and maybe it is East (Victoria, Tassie, NSW & Qld) versus West(WA, SA & NT) and then it becomes a scheduling issue. I do not have the answers, but the AFL definitely needs something as the players were the driving force this time behind a representative game.

Derby Day this weekend which is probably the best days racing in Australia. There has often been calls to reduce the distance of the Derby, but the Derby is an older race than the Melbourne Cup and while it doesn’t always get the best fields I would not mess with history. My tip this week is Savvy Nature.

Booze + late night out = bonding

MarkNot an equation that I learnt in maths class at High School, but one that the touring Indigenous All Stars thought was the solution to a lack lustre first up performance in the first International Rules Test against Ireland.

All Stars coach, Michael O’Loughlin said “It’s about that bonding stuff…….have a few beers and tell stories and you get to know each other”.

O’Loughlin must have missed the large number of articles and studies on the adverse effects of drinking a lot of alcohol. He must have also forgotten that elite athletes specifically avoid alcohol during competition.

If it was all about the bonding…….why did they need alcohol or a late night to seal the deal?