Aussie football – the basics…

20 07 2008

Fast approaching the end of the Australian football season (the league is the ‘Australian Football League’), so it’s appropriate to have the basics of the rules explained…


Aussie Football SMACK-down!

14 04 2008

During the game between the West Coast Eagles and the Sydney Swans, Barry Hall of the Sydney Swans laid one right in the kisser of Brent Staker.

During a tussle between Hall and Staker, Hall quickly span and smacked Staker, dropping him like the proverbial bag of potatoes.

Even Hall himself was shocked at how bad it looked like when he saw replays of the incident, and he’s stated he’ll not contest whatever penalty the tribunal lays down.

“It’s pretty hard to defend my actions, it’s there in black and white and there’s no more I can say about it. I made a mistake, there is no doubt about that. It was just a mind explosion and it looked really ordinary on the replay and I certainly regret what I did. I’ve already phoned Brent and left a message with him. I haven’t heard back.”

Many people – including Staker’s parents – have called for Hall to be suspended for the season.
Whatever the length of the suspension (and there will be a suspension), during the game Hall also broke his wrist, and is expected to be out for 4-6 weeks with the injury, regardless of what the tribunal hands down.

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Chum in the water

8 11 2007

There seems to be a very large gap with the expectations we set for our professional athletes in Australia, and the reality that inevitably follows.

Ben Cousins - disgraced drug user or a victim of preciptious action?With the relevations at the end of last season painting the Hawthorn FC in a not-too-favourable light, earlier in the season the Alan Didak mess (a Collingwood footballer who found himself associated with an alleged murderer) and then at the end of the season the issues clouding both the Chris Mainwarring & Ben Cousins situations, surely you’d think that it would have resulted in the dawn of a new realization in Australia: Athletes aren’t necessarily role models.

The ensuing storm has subsided somewhat, and sure, some athletes are deserving of being held in high esteem… but as far as foibles go, the vast majority of sports people aren’t a lot different from the rest of the general populace.

There’s probably nothing new in this: it’s most likely been a reality for as long as pro-sports have been around. However, the private lives of our sports heroes are less sacrosanct than they were 40 years ago. And within those lives, the media are more likely to report on the lawlessness than the largesse. Simply a fact of operating.

Sex sells? So does schadenfreude (satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else’s misfortune), and it’s never greater than when the fall is from the highest point.
Add to the mix: sports are a far more financially lucrative undertaking than they were even ten years ago. It’s inevitable that some young men with lots of time & money on their hands will find themselves doing things that those with better judgment might avoid.

So… back to Australia and the AFL footballers who were outed. The story got quashed fairly quickly – legal action from the AFL meant that the names remained in the public domain for only a very short time. But whilst there seemed to be a race amongst politiciansIs the system working? and game executives as to who could create the best sound-bite on ‘personal liberties’, there was a large section of the populace who wanted nothing more than to have those in question punished, and punished now – regardless of the legalities involved. Civil liberties be damned.

In Australia, there’s a real gap in the expectations the general public have on their sports-heroes, and the reality of what’s actually going on. This is something the world at large has experienced over the last few decades, and it’s something that is only just being begun to be realized, at least by the public in general, in Australia. The fury that was expressed over this… well, it was rather surprising. This anger seems to be more a somewhat-naïve reaction over the ruination of childhood dreams and fantasies, rather than truly at 3 young men who made errors in life, and are trying to move on.

What does this mean for sport in general? Well, on a global level it’s interesting to see that all sports are headed down the same path, and the world’s media enthusiastically trots along behind, gleefully pointing at the messes made along the way.

In Australia we witnessed drug scandals in both the AFL & the NRL (Australia’s leading rugby league).
In England we have the jewel of Premier League soccer – Manchester United embroiled in scandal post Christiano Ronaldo’s orgy.
Japan’s leading Sumo wrestler is suffering from depression, and the sport is struggling to deal with anything remotely resembling sensitivity. Same country – soccer star Naoya Kikuchi is sacked by his team for having sex with a minor. Daiki Kameda & the entire Kameda family are suspended from participating in boxing, after the 18 year old Kameda made a total farce of his title-shot bout against Daisuke Naito – turning it into a veritable WWE event.Scumbag?
The US is eagerly awaiting the sentencing of Michael Vick. We all enthusiastically watched the New York Knicks/Isiah Thomas scandal with voyeuristic abandon. We all watch earnestly to see if OJ Simpson may finally go to jail.
Chum in the water.

If nothing else, that’s something that these people can give to society: athletes are people, just like you & I – all capable of the same poor judgment… and actions should have consequences, regardless of who you are.

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41’s way too young to die

3 10 2007

This piece was originally written by me for Epic Carnival. I’m betting we have a heap more Australian readers here… so reproduced…

Chris Mainwaring - dead at 41Chris Mainwaring was an Australian football player of almost cult status. Playing for Perth’s West Coast Eagles, he was a damn good footballer. Post his playing days, he developed a career in Sports Media. At age 41, he was considered to be a ‘great bloke’. He had a very good job, a moderate level of fame, a beautiful wife, and two gorgeous kids. Life’s good.
And on October 1st, he died. Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking Balls: Cats shred Port Adelaide!

1 10 2007

Geelong 24.19 (163) – Port Adelaide 6.8 (44)Kicking Balls

Geelong handed Port Adelaide an absolute thrashing… the biggest winning margin in the history of the game, 119 points. From beginning to end, I cannot think of a winner the Power had, so complete was the Cat’s victory.
At the first change, Port were down by 23 points, and a bud of mine stated that if the Port coach – Mark Williams – didn’t change something, then Geelong would run away with this one. ‘Choco’ Williams didn’t, and Geelong did indeed run away with the game.

Gary Ablett Jr does dad proud…It made a complete joke of both the preliminary final that Geelong won over Collingwood by 5 points, and of the last meeting these two teams had – in round 21 where Port beat the Cats by 5 points.

Geelong had plenty of winners, and you could’ve raffled the Norm Smith medallion for best afield. Steve Johnson took it, but it could just as easily gone to Matthew Scarlett, Gary Ablett, Paul Chapman, Cam Mooney… the list could go on and on. Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking Balls: That one day in September

28 09 2007

Kicking BallsAFL Grand Final: Geelong vs Port Adelaide

One day in September… and it’s here.
And who will win?

It’s hard to look beyond Geelong. They’ve been the benchmark all year, and their destruction of the Kangaroos was phenomenal. But that was nothing new – they’ve won matches like that all year… and they are yet to lose a game by more than 20 points thus far this year – they are always in the contest.

The ever-dangerous Shaun BurgoynePort are a different kettle of fish. They too destroyed the Roo-boys: to the tune of 87 points last week. They started the year slowly, but built up a damn good record by the end of the year, finishing very strongly. Their forwards have been the goods during this period, but their backline has been fragile. The Power have put up big scores, but have also have big scores put up against them. This may well suit Nathan Ablett, who has struggled somewhat this finals series. Read the rest of this entry »

Kicking Balls: Grand Final to be Cats vs Port!

24 09 2007

Kicking BallsSo the Grand Final’s decided post the weekend’s matches… two very different games with the Cats just getting (clawing?) home against the Pies, and the Roos getting drummed out of a game again.

Geelong 13.14.92
Collingwood 13.9.87
And what a game this was. The lead changed hands so many times, I sat & watched the game with a Collingwood supporter, so my ears are still ringing! Ye gods, but the Pies certainly have been entertaining this finals series, and they can hold their heads high as they exit stage left. They matched well with the Cats, chasing hard, defending well. Alan Didak was in particular very good, as was Travis Cloke. Read the rest of this entry »