The Professor and the panel of the Judge, Coutta, the Gelding and Paul Dalligan discuss James Hird’s interview for the head coaching role at Essendon FC, Paul Dalligan reviews the NRL semi-finals and NRLW round 5, the panel talk about whether the Davis Cup has any relevance after the change in format and the Gelding gives his best bets for Flemington races.
I 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 natural 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 scoring 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 finals 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!
We 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 he 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 push 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 all 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!
It 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 players 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 James 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 match 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!
Ever noticed how people and organisations in difficulty seem to continually make decisions that leave the rest of society baffled. Take two cases in point…..the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott and his Liberal Party and James Hird and the Essendon Football Club.
Just when you think Abbott and Hird are about to see the light and start making some ‘clever’ decisions, they come up trumps and provide further cause for negative comment.
I keep hearing from Tony Abbott that ‘he has learned’. Believe me, he hasn’t! Looking down the barrel at poor polls, for him to then give a knighthood to a foreigner on Australia Day indicates the man has no capacity to understand or learn. I predict it will end in tears for Tony and the Libs! The Libs had a chance to put it all behind them but fell at the first hurdle (for that read spill motion). All the vote in favour of Abbott has done is draw the matter out even longer and affect the polls even further.
Example two – enter James Hird. He has taken a stance that alienates any AFL supporters save for the diehard Essendon faithful. ie. Chris from Barwon Heads. His latest indication of testing the High Court appeal process is a further indication that he hasn’t learned either. James, four out of four Federal Court judges have said you are wrong. Why not leave it there and let the whole matter rest. Essendon FC don’t seem to be able to convince Hird of the folly of proceeding further. They had the chance to put it all behind them, but decided to also prolong the agony. I can’t see this union ending happily either.
Well my first comment has to be about the shock regarding the passing of Robert Flower. He is one of my most admired players from other clubs and I always felt he was stiff to miss out on a Brownlow. He had all the attributes to win the codes greatest individual honour, however, playing for a side that was nearly always in the bottom half of the ladder probably worked against him. I think he came third twice which was probably a significant achievement in itself. The Melbourne Football Club has suffered more than its fair share of tragedies have the last couple of years and for another icon of the club to pass away too early is just not fair. Vale Robert Flower.
Secondly the Essendon situation has taken a further turn this week. I did not hold out high hopes for the Federal Court application on the basis that the club had self reported and had submitted to the process, but was encouraged in the running by some reported poor performances by witnesses for ASADA and the AFL. Justice Middleton was not so persuaded and I can understand the club now wanting to move to the next stage and not appeal. Why James Hird now wants to take this on does really not make much sense to me and if he persists I would not blame the club for terminating his contract. I have really swung around to the need for Bomber Thompson to stay at the club with or without Hird. James is the clubs greatest living player and carries a lot of sentiment for everyone associated with the club, but you do not put the individual before the club. Despite it not being right, I am getting to the stage where I think the players should take the ASADA deal just to bring it to a conclusion.
Thirdly, how boring was the Grand Final! When you are a non-aligned supporter you want to see a good game and I kept watching thinking that the momentum would swing to the Swans at some stage and it never did. I thought Jordan Lewis would have been a worthy Norm Smith Medalist, but you could have raffled it between him, Mitchell and Hodge. It was interesting that Sydney’s best two players were Franklin and Kennedy and they used to play for Hawthorn! The Box Hill Hawks also played off in the VFL Grand Final, so it says something about their depth and now they look like getting James Frawley. I know they lost Franklin which freed up a lot of their salary gap, but how can they keep getting good players from other clubs and paying them accordingly?
Hopefully the NRL Grand Final between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs is a better spectacle this weekend.
Have a great weekend!
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!
On the day before the Bombers first game of the year Tania Hird decides to give an interview to the ABC about some of the events of last year with regard to Andrew Demetriou and the so called “tip off”. Why bother? I can understand her wanting to support her husband, but save it for a book once he has retired. It does not help the club one iota and certainly doesn’t help her husband who is already suspended, it just rekindles a story that all Essendon supporters and I am sure most football supporters are heartily sick of.
While I am back onto the Supplement Scandal I must say that Demetriou’s comment that he or anyone at the AFL didn’t inject anyone is quite childish. He has said it on a number of occasions and it is not funny, it is not clever and it is not the point.
I am also puzzled about the ASADA findings. A couple of weeks ago we were advised that the final report had been referred to a retired judge to consider if there was enough evidence to issue notices against any players. Subsequent to that we now hear that ASADA are to interview Stephen Dank. Should that not have happened before they finalised their report and sent it to the judge?
Let us not forget that the games have started and what an interesting first weekend of football. The GWS must be one of the longest price winners in AFL history and they didn’t just win, they romped it in. I think they were paying $11.00-$13.00 for the win and the Swans were $1.04- $1.05. I don’t know what it says about either side for the coming season because you would not write off the Swans to still finish in the top four and equally the GWS finishing in the bottom four. Maybe it is a portent for the future of both clubs beyond this year.
The Gold Coast beating Richmond was not a great surprise, although I am sure the Tiger supporters were very buoyant before the game. Freo winning was expected, but the way they disposed of Collingwood after quarter time was very clinical and Ross Lyon could afford to rest Nathan Fyffe before 3/4 time. It never ceases to amaze me how often Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan and Dayne Beams get around 90 possessions between them, win lose or draw. Port beating Carlton was also not a great surprise, Port play Etihad well and Carlton don’t. The Cats have also saluted at home, which was also not a great surprise given that it is over ten years since Adelaide have won at Kardinia Park.
Roll on the rest of round 1 and may the discussion be around the games and not all of the outside rubbish.
Have a great weekend!
I was disappointed to see the Essendon saga rear its head again this week, although it would seem that the major spotlight is on the AFL and not my club. There is still a bit more to play out on this matter obviously and if the Herald-Sun sees fit to put it on the front page and then devote 4 pages at the front of the paper instead of the sports pages, then it still must sell papers. I just want to put it all behind me and concentrate on football.
One of the issues seems to be James Hird getting paid. From what I understand him not being paid was part of the original sanctions, but not part of the final deal. Certainly not a Hird/Essendon problem, but certainly a problem for the AFL. I know it is quite a different set of circumstances, but police that have been charged with serious criminal charges are suspended on full pay. Hird has not been found guilty of any criminal charges and it is only governance issues so good luck to him. Given that it appears the AFL fed most of the leaks to the papers perhaps they have been hoist by their own petard.
With regard to the cricket what a good toss for Australia to win, but the first day produced 4 players getting a start and not going on and getting a century. At the time of writing Michael Clarke has made his second century of the series and Brad Haddin has just got his 3rd half century of the series and Australia look like batting their way into a position where they really could not lose the test. It is amazing when you on the back foot in a series that the catches don’t stick with the Poms dropping three on day one.
Great to see the Gunners season rolling on, their defence seems to be holding up pretty well this year and they haven’t forgotten how to score.
12 December 2010 183.1 – Sean makes a rare appearance in studio and Daniel starts with an apology as it took him five days to read Mark Fiorenti’s blog so he knows nothing about what happened in the sports world for the week. He also adds his favourite Qatar player after some research is Eric Clapton and Sean adds that FIFA’s new game Qatar hero. Stan gets into Daniel again about basketball asking him how he thinks the Melbourne Tigers will go against Perth. Sean thinks as it is Al Westover’s 200th game it may get the Tigers across the line. Their is also a discussion about the the test cricket side and Stan is for sacking all the player sand the selectors. Dan Butterly talks US sport and commences with his view on the Heisman trophy and who will win it. He thinks Cam Newton from Auburn will win it, even with all the cloud of suspicion over him regarding the behaviour of his father. Dan also talks about the Bowl matches coming up with 35 being played over three weeks. He likes Oregon to beat Auburn in the Championship game and TCU to beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. There are moves afoot within the Conferences and Hawaii has now decided to leave the WAC and join the MWC in 2012. The Professor asks whether the MWC will play a game in Australia given Hawaii is halfway here. Dan agrees that it would raise the MWC profile. Sean says AAMI stadium would be perfect to host such a game. Dan feels Brett Favre’s streak will end at 297 as he will not recover in time to play in tomorrow’s game.
The Professor thinks there may have been a first last week when the Gelding was not on the show at all. The Gelding talks cricket first discussing the problems with Victorians trying to get into the Test side. He then moves on to racing and reviews his selections for the Flemington meeting. Although he got off to a great start tipping Aloha to win, it was all downhill from there with his other three selections failing to even be placed. The Gelding’s favourite Qatar player is Jimmy Page from Led Zepplin.
The Panel discusses Gary Ablett’s revelations during the week where he hadn’t spoken to his coach, Bomber Thompson since March this year. Sean talks about a rumor that James Hird and Thompson had been talking about getting together for 2012 but because Essendon’s coterie groups wanted Matthew Knights out, everything got moved forward twelve months. Daniel starts talking about Bob Costas (NBC sportscaster) but he really means the Geelong president, Frank Costa. Stan is swinging the axe again and Sean observes he is going to put Centrelink out of business as everyone is getting the knife.
Mark Fiorenti talks up the local Melbourne derby between the Heart and the Victory with over 23,000 at AAMi stadium. Sean went to his first game during the week to see Heart play but they went down in front of around 2,000 people. Mark says it was the lowest ever at an A League game in Melbourne. He says the FFA must address this as mid week games don’t work.