THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #114 – CommGames

Look, there’s not a huge amount of results, but there’s a lot of news and, boy!, do I rant a lot in this one! Oh, and I let you know where to holiday whilst Down Under.

Australian Rules Football
News:
It’s trade week, meaning the teams are changing as players are swapped like commodities, lives are put on hold, futures are placed in the balance. Clubs have no qualms about dumping players, and yet get all uppity when players want to move on. It is the reason why rugby players defect to the super league in Europe. Loyalty is a two-way street and clubs just do not show any. Why? Because the AFL only cares about money and not about people. I’ve said it before and I’ll keep on saying it, but the AFL does not care about the sport or the players. And draft week makes it obvious. And what’s worse is this draft means not a real lot because of the insane amount of concessions given to a team that has not even a culture of the sport being played in its area of operation. Well done, AFL. Morons.
            Next uproar – following the news that a few Collingwood players (who have since been named and shamed by a Melbourne radio station, despite not having been charged yet) were alleged to have sexually assaulted a young female, former AFL star ‘Spida’ Everitt tweeted: “Yet another alleged girl, making alleged allegations, after she awoke with an alleged hangover and I take it an alleged guilty conscience” and followed up with: “Girls!! When will you learn! At 3am when you are blind drunk & you decide to go home with a guy ITS NOT FOR A CUP OF MILO! Allegedly……” Then morning TV hostess Kerri-Anne Kennerley waded in, sort of saying that Spida made some good points.
            Both are being blasted as if they condone sexual assault. What a joke. I am not going to put my personal opinion on it here because some one is bound to misinterpret what I say as well. And yet the man who outs these as yet uncharged players is not condemned at all. Mob justice is to justice what a lynching is to appropriate punishment.

Rugby League
News:
Parramatta player Timana Tahu walked out of the New South Wales State of Origin team because of racist remarks aimed at another player. A man of conscience and morals. A man who has now been accused of using a derogatory racial term against a sixteen year old Aboriginal player at a tournament. The complaint has been formalised and is now being investigated.
            And speaking of investigations, several Cowboys players are also being interviewed regarding a suspicious betting plunge.
            It never ends, does it?

Cricket
First Test – India v Australia
Australia 428; India 405; Australia 192; India 9/216 – India won by 1 wicket
            Australia just cannot seem to win in India. This was a close match. Maybe one or two dodgy decisions, but Australia really only had themselves to blame for that second innings collapse.
            Quick note: Last year I put in all the scores from the domestic season here, but it seemed that no one actually cared too much except at the business end of the season. So I shan’t be doing that this year unless there is such an outpouring of dismay that I have no other option.
News
Still all quiet on the scandal front.

Soccer
A-League Round 9 (finished)
Melbourne Heart 2 def Melbourne Victory 1
News:
Why bother?

Motorsport
V-8 Supercars – Bathurst 1000
This is the single biggest race on the Australian racing calendar. It is seen as the pinnacle of closed wheel racing in this country. The all-day broadcast attracts viewers who would normally avoid car racing like the plague. To win this race more than once automatically makes you a legend in this country.
            Which is why the Seven Network in Australia broadcast it on 20 minute delay and peppered it with too many ads and generally did one of the worst jobs of covering the car race in its illustrious history.
But:
Crash from Youtube
            Raced at Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW, over 1000km.
1st TeamVodafone: Craig Lowndes / Mark Skaife (Commodore VE)
2nd TeamVodafone: Jamie Whincup / Steve Owen (Commodore VE)
3rd Toll Holden Racing Team: Cameron McConville / Garth Tander (Commodore VE)
4th Trading Post Racing: Jason Bright / Matthew Halliday (Commodore VE)
5th Jim Beam Racing: James Courtney / Warren Luff (Falcon FG)
Formula One – Japanese Grand Prix
1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3rd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

Commonwealth Games
As of 6pm, Central Australian Summer Time, the medal tally (top 10) sits thusly:
Australia – 61 gold, 39 silver, 37 bronze, 137 in Total
India – 29g, 22s, 23b, 74T
England – 26g, 46s, 33b, 105T
Canada – 22g, 12s, 25b, 59T
South Africa – 11g, 11s, 9b, 31T
Nigeria – 8g, 7s, 11b, 26T
Malaysia – 6g, 7s, 7b, 20T
Kenya – 6g, 4s, 4b, 14T
Singapore – 5g, 5s, 6b, 16T
Scotland – 4g, 8s, 6b, 18T
News:
Australia has suddenly gained for itself a reputation as sore losers. We are dominating everything, but people not winning are acting pathetically. It is what we have seen from Americans in the past (and by seen, I mean I have seen it – protests, threats of lawsuits, sit-down strikes, the works… at least ours weren’t that bad). Sally Pearson was spectacularly disqualified from the 100m sprint after thinking she had won gold… 3 hours later! But she accepted it. She was teary and confused, but she accepted it. However, the same cannot be said for Shane Perkins who was sent to the back of the pack for causing an accident in the kieran (a cycling event) and gave a two-fingered salute to the judges, or Hassene Fkiri in the wrestling who refused to shake hands with his opponent or the judge and gave another two-fingered salute when he finished second; he was subsequently stripped of his silver medal. Morons.
            All right, now the Games themselves. Watching on TV there seem to be two things wrong with this edition of the CommGames. First, there are no crowds. Fear and the fact Indians only care about sports they do well in are mainly to blame. And those crowds that do turn up think nothing of trying to distract divers, swimmers, gymnasts, whoever, with no recourse to normal sporting etiquette. Second, it is really everyone battling for second with Australia being so dominant. And this does not augur well for England in their bid for hometown glory at the 2012 London Olympics.
            Oh, and TV viewing figures are down so much it is believed free advertising slots after the games are being offered to keep the sponsors on board. Eek.
            Enough negativity. It has been a stunningly beautiful Games so far. India comes across as picturesque and calm and placid (even if people do wander across roads without looking at anything). And the joy of this entire event is that smaller countries and more athletes get a chance to compete in a large scale international event.
            And now the highlight of the first week of the Games from an Australian perspective. Geoff Huegill has marked an amazing comeback to the sport with a gold medal. He quit swimming after the 2004 Athens Olympics, but decided to aim for a comeback, starting in 2008. He hit the pool at 138kg. By the time these Games came around he had dropped 43kg and, at the age of 31, captured an individual gold and silver, and medley relay gold. Wow. The guy is a true champion.

Australia!
 “Hey! Love the column. Were coming 2 Australia in feb. Where should we go”
            That’s an email from one Peter S of Sacramento. Well, why not indulge him?
            So let me list my 5 favourite holiday spots in Australia. Before then, first, you just have to see Uluru (Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. Just given. I find the Sydney Opera House odd, the Harbour Bridge just a bridge and Sydney Harbour not the world’s best, not by a long way. So, anyway, my top 5:
            (Highly commended goes to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania for hiking, Barossa Valley, South Australia for wine, and Fraser Island, Queensland, for camping. Add Uluru and the Reef, this makes ten spots in total…)
5) Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound (South Australia). If you want a camping trip with lots of glorious hiking, native wildlife and wonderful views, this is for you. Climb St Mary’s Peak, explore the fossil sites, just have a long look around.
4) Perth (Western Australia). If you want a holiday in a larger city, Perth is for you. It is my favourite big city in Australia. Beautiful beaches, great shopping and a national park within walking distance of the CBD. Catch a ferry down to Fremantle, look at the history, it’s a great city.
3) Bendigo and surrounds (Victoria). Smaller country town in the middle of a state, surrounded by natural beauty. Take a drive down to Hanging Rock, walk around the city and the marvellously preserved historic buildings, some of the very best second hand book shops, great climate, this place has it all.
2) Port Arthur (Tasmania). If it’s history you’re after, you can’t go past the site of Australia’s most infamous penal settlement. Do the ghost tour at night and be caught up in the atmosphere, catch the boat out the Isle of the Dead, spend a few days wandering and taking too many photos. It is also poignant for being the site of Australia’s worst mass killing. Take the guided tours; you will not be disappointed.
1) Kangaroo Island (South Australia). My favourite holiday spot. Wonderful beaches (including Vivonne Bay, voted best beach in Australia), the seal colony, Flinders Chase National Park, great fishing, historical sites. You can stay in accommodation from tents through to the luxury of Southern Ocean Lodge. Relaxing or hiking or fishing or sand surfing or boating, the spot to go.
            So, I hope this gives you some ideas if you’re planning on coming to Australia!

And that’s the View through to October 11, 2010.

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