Inside Pulse » Steven Gepp A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Sat, 18 Oct 2014 00:00:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » Steven Gepp 2012 Australian Football League Grand Final [Sept 29] Sydney Swans v Hawthorn Hawks. Mon, 01 Oct 2012 04:00:04 +0000 2012 Australian Football League Grand Final [Sept 29] Sydney Swans v Hawthorn Hawks.


The AFL grand final is probably the largest sporting event in the Australian calendar, which is already full of large sporting events. The National Rugby League Grand Final tries hard to be big, but outside of Queensland, New South Wales and some areas of Victoria (specifically Melbourne, and then only if the Melbourne team is in it) it barely raises a blip. Yes, rugby league’s new media deal makes it technically worth more money than the AFL, but, really, apart from the State of Origin series, who watches outside of those areas? The NRL claim it is more powerful than the AFL, but there’s more than money to power. [/rant]


To continue: The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is just there, growing less and less interesting to anyone outside of Melbourne as each year passes. While the Melbourne Cup is said to stop a nation, the interest in it occurs really only on the day, and two days later most Australians don’t remember the name of the winner. And the big V8 race at Bathurst is just too long for the majority of Australians to really take a great deal of notice.


And so that leaves the AFL Grand Final, the closest thing Australia has to a Superbowl. They have tried over and over again to create a down under Superbowl, but fail each time they go for it, including last year’s debacle where Meat Loaf fought a losing battle with a strained throat and really poor sound equipment to deliver an underwhelming performance that was actually not that visually interesting. However, the importance of the match to the Australian psyche rivals that of the Superbowl, for sure. And so we have game on.


The coverage is, as always, long, and, as usual, dull. Experts giving expert opinions about things that they always get wrong. Having said that, most of them chose Hawthorn to be in the grand final, but most also chose Adelaide to finish in the bottom half of the ladder (they finished 3rd), Greater Western Sydney (the new team this year) to win no matches (they won 2), and a whole heap of other things. And they insist on letting Brian Taylor talk when the guy hasn’t said anything worth listening to in at least 15 years.


They start with running races and kicking contests involving footballers – which still looks so amateur league-ish – and then comes the car parade that goes around the ground. First up this year were gold medal Olympians (not Paralympians, please note – they were obviously too successful and would make the over-hyped, whining Olympians feel inadequate) who came out to a decidedly lukewarm response, except Sally Pearson who got a warm round of applause. And then the standard retiring footballers, who got some sort of response for the most part.


We start only a few minutes late, after the 100th advertisement for Australia’s Got Talent, featuring a bunch of screaming women and generic, by-the-numbers boys attempting to “sing”. Already this feels like the Olympics coverage we had in Australia where the cross-promotional adverts made most thinking Australians want to punch every Channel 9 executive in the face. Twice. You’d think Channel 7 would have learnt from the public backlash about repeating ads ad nauseam, but they are the only ones with the broadcast rights, so they know they have the public by the short and curlies.


First, how the two clubs got there: At the end of the regular season Hawthorn were on top of the table and Sydney finished third. Both teams won in the first week of the finals, giving them the next week off, and then the preliminary finals came:

Sydney 13.18 (96) def Collingwood 10.10 (70)

Hawthorn 13.19 (97) def Adelaide 14.8 (92)

Thus was set up the grand final.



First score to Franklin, a behind, quickly. The opening quarter starts scrappy. Both teams look nervous. Good defence by both teams. Hawthorn also get the first goal, but Sydney responds with an amazing goal from an impossible angle by Malceski. Back and forth again. Wow. Intense start. Getting scrappy again as things get desperate early. Commentator Denis Cometti is in full-on wrestling allusion mode again today. “Like a cage match” indeed. Hawthorn slowly getting the upper hand, but inaccuracy in front of goal is haunting them. Franklin finally gets their second goal. Now Sydney also have the yips in front of goal. Some vicious tackling from both sides. Hawthorn with another goal. Sydney are looking a step behind them. And literally 30 seconds later Hawthorn score again. Sydney need to re-group fast. The siren stops another Hawthorn goal a minute or so later, end of the quarter. Sydney need to get their head back in the game over the break.

Hawthorn 4.5 (29)

Sydney 1.4 (10)



First goal of the quarter to Kennedy of Sydney. Maybe we have a scoring end, but with Melbourne’s notoriously fickle weather that could change any second now. Sydney’s changed tactics, adopting a man-on-man match-up, and they look more settled, but the intensity from both sides has not let up. Sydney with another goal, the Swans have steadied. Another goal to Sydney, one point separates them. Wow. Swans again, and they have the lead! Hawthorn have slowed a bit – maybe last week’s match against Adelaide took more out of them than they let on. Hawthorn chip around but it results in a behind. Sydney’s defence is solid. Rebound from defence and Sydney gets another goal. Excellent team-work sees another Sydney goal. Hawthorn have fallen asleep here. They just can’t keep up with the Swans. Again Sydney stops a Hawthorn attack. Back to Hawthorn and the wind must be playing havoc at that end of the ground as Franklin kicks out on the full from a set shot. Sydney win a series of contested marks until Hawthorn cuts off the attack. Hawthorn are trying hard to stop Sydney’s run. But the siren does the job just as well, and now it’s half time.

Hawthorn 4.6 (30)

Sydney 7.4 (46)



A tale of two quarters, for sure. The weather is clearly having an impact at one end of the ground, but Hawthorn did start to look slower in that second quarter. As I said, Hawthorn’s preliminary final against Adelaide may be having an effect. That and the fact Sydney got an extra day off (because Collingwood was supposed to win that one, and the AFL does everything in its power to give Collingwood every advantage; don’t believe me? try looking at how many games Collingwood plays ‘away’ compared to every other team in the league…) is playing to the Swans. The Temper Trap are our half-time entertainment, and this is a band I had not even heard of until 2 days ago, where a brief look at them on YouTube told me they were yet another in a long line of generic looking and sounding Australian rock bands. At least they play good music and have a singer who can actually sing, but they are not a stand-out. And considering they’ve been around for a few years, I thought I would have at least heard of them before now. Australia has a habit of churning out these bands and only a few are actually unique enough to be seen as any good. At least they’re not generic boy bands or screaming divas, and at least they write their own songs. Cool multiple-percussion sound. They have a New Romantic vibe with better guitars and no synthesizers going here. Okay, yes, I’m enjoying them but why are they half-time at a football grand final? That wind is blowing them around a bit. Nice guitar work. I like that the lead singer is back-up percussionist. Geez, I really am enjoying this band! Not a flashy half-time show, just good music. That’s it? The teams are coming back? Wow, short, sharp and shiny, for sure. And thank goodness. They’ve toned down the Superbowl-wannabe and just given the audience something entertaining to listen to while they get a beer and a pie, go to the toilet, or even just stretch their legs.


Channel 7 seemed to have backed off on the self-promoting adverts. Thank goodness! Just the sponsors (most of the time).



Hawthorn with the first chance to score (again, that weather thing), and they only get a behind. That’s gotta be demoralising. Second half is starting scrappy, and not in a good way, with the weather clearly favouring one end. And then, as if to prove me wrong, Sydney go and score the first goal of the quarter. Ball goes into Hawthorn’s forward line a few times, but Sydney’s tackling just stops them before they can score. And sure enough, the Swans rebound out of defence to score another goal. That’s 8 goals to 2 behinds (Sydney’s way) since quarter time. And Sydney hit the post for a behind, breaking the run even as I type it. An apparently technical free kick gives Hawthorn their first goal in too long. Swans back in attack, leading to a nice Reid mark, but Hawthorn rebounds to a Franklin goal at the other end. Hawthorn have found their legs again and now Swans are playing the defensive role. A few behinds to Hawthorn, and now another goal, and Hawthorn are closing the gap again. Sydney’s playing a little undisciplined and Hawthorn are trying to take advantage. Time’s ticking down, and Sydney are playing like they just have to hold on. Franklin goals again and Hawthorn are 2 points down. Less than a minute later Hawthorn goals again, and now they have the lead back! Silly 50 metre penalty by Hawthorn puts Sydney into attack, and the momentum is broken a little with a Sydney goal to get the lead back. A free kick to Hawthorn slows everything down, especially when the ball is taken back, no advantage paid. A behind to Hawthorn, one point in it. What a game! Good defence from Sydney stops another score. Back and forth into and out of the Hawthorn forward line, sirens sounds… Whew. We need a breather.

Hawthorn 9.10 (64)

Sydney 10.5 (65)



And the quarter starts with Hawthorn scoring the first goal quickly. Sydney now look tired. And a minute later Hale gets another as Hawthorn look like they’ve got all the legs in this last quarter early. Some more scrappy football until Franklin is tackled high. The skill level has degenerated quite a bit in this last part of the game. And as if to prove the point, Franklin misses, scoring a behind for 3.4 for the day so far. Another questionable decision goes Hawthorn’s way, back and forth again. Silly 50 metre penalty again, this time by Sydney, sets up Hawthorn. (Free kicks in Hawthorn’s favour by a huge margin.) Another behind. Sydney now 2 goals behind. And, sure enough as I type that, Sydney score a goal to bring it back to one goal difference. Long period of back and forth as the intensity manages go up a notch until Sydney scores and the scores are level with 8 minutes to go. Oh dear God, not another tied grand final?! A Sydney behind puts them one point up. And Goodes bounces a goal through for Sydney, giving them a seven point buffer. Wow! Great game! Gunston has a chance to draw Hawthorn up, but he hits the post! A minor score. Sydney still by a goal. Mistake on the kick in, but Sydney marks on the last line of defence. Desperate scrappy football in Hawthorn’s forward line. Another point to Hawthorn, less than a goal in it. And another. Sydney need to clear the ball. Crowd for the game is announced at officially 99,683. That’s huge, almost 100,000 people at the ground. And as I type that Sydney somehow score another goal through Malceski with 30 seconds left! And there’s the siren! SYDNEY WINS!!

Hawthorn 11.15 (81)

Sydney 14.7 (91)



The Norm Smith Medal for best on ground goes to Ryan O’Keefe from Sydney, everyone gets their awards, we have another concert and that’s it. One of the most intense, back-and-forth grand finals I’ve watched. Maybe not the most technically perfect match, but catch it on replay if you can – well worth your effort.

]]> 0
News: Sam Stosur defeats Serena Williams, US Open Final Mon, 12 Sep 2011 19:54:43 +0000 US Open Women’s Final


Samantha Stosur (Aus) def Serena Williams (USA)

6-2, 6-3


Australia’s Sam Stosur has won her first grand slam title in a final marred by poor behaviour and sportsmanship from Williams. Her tirades against the umpire were uncalled for and seemed more designed to unsettle the opposition than actually make a point. And it did rattle Sam… for all of a minute. Of course, the crowd took Williams’ side, also trying to faze the Australian, but to no avail.


The incident came when Williams thought she had hit a winner and yelled “Come on!” before Stosur had even had a chance to hit the ball. Because the umpire regarded that as a hindrance to Stosur, she awarded the point to Stosur. Which, by the way, is in the rules. But then Williams and a crowd that really does send those stereotypes of Americans all around the world lost it.


What I want to know is where the match referee was in all of this? The Umpire (Eva Asderaki) did an amazing job, holding firm against the abuse, awarding a deserved code violation, but surely the match referee should have come out at some point to try and calm things down. Williams was just trying to be a bully and intimidate her way through, but she was outplayed and outgunned completely by a totally dominant Stosur.


As much as Williams played like crap (especially in that first set), Stosur barely put a foot wrong. Her power and touch were superb, her timing was spot on, her serving was stunning. Post-match, Williams praised Stosur and did not blame the umpiring for the loss, but she still looked upset.

]]> 0
From the Inside – Bad Movie Night Tue, 09 Aug 2011 12:00:15 +0000 It’s hard to commit to writing a regular column for many writers who love (and write about) cinema. But occasionally members of the Inside Pulse Movies Staff have long form thoughts on film they want to share with you, our valued readers. Thus comes a new project from Inside Pulse Movies, “From the Inside,” where members of the movies staff sporadically share their thoughts on anything and everything related to film.

This week Pulse Wrestling Writer Steven Grepp contributes some Bad Film goodness straight from the heart of Australia.

I was given a bunch of new release direct-to-DVD movies the other week.  All five were bare bones collections, with no extras to speak of: just the movies. Made for the SyFy channel in the United States, here in Australia they went straight to DVD and that is about all they deserve.

Mega Python Vs Gatoroid (2011).

Director: Mary Lambert
Writer: Naomi L. Selfman
Stars: Deborah (Debbie) Gibson, Tiffany and A. Martinez

Now, to start, strange confession – I quite liked Tiffany back in the 1980s when I was a teenager, and Debbie Gibson was okay to look at despite her music leaving me cold.  Now I have a film with both of them in it! Twenty years later, though.  And that leads to my favourite lines of the film for those who remember Tiffany’s biggest hit:

Tiffany: “I think we’re alone now.” Debbie Gibson: “There doesn’t seem to be anyone around.”

Yeah, it doesn’t take much to impress me and that was the best bit of the whole film. Tiffany plays a Florida ranger who allows hunting while Gibson is an eco-terrorist who releases contaminated snakes into the everglades. The snakes grow impossibly large, the alligators follow suit, and the animals battle it out while killing anything in its path a shower of gore of a finale.

That’s it. Add to that acting so wooden trees were laughing at them, special effects that looked like they were plastered on in a an hour of post-production, and scenery that makes it look like the whole thing was filmed on a Florida gold course, and you have a truly notable film. I actually think this was not meant to be taken seriously, by the way. Maybe it’s a bad comedy as well.  This is a bad film, make no mistakes about it, but it is actually a harmless way to spend an hour and a half of your time.

Dinoshark (2010)

Director: Kevin O’Neill
Writers: Frances Doel, Guy Prevost
Stars: Eric Balfour, Iva Hasperger and Aarón Díaz

This one has the added bonus of being a Roger Corman film! It was a struggle to sit through. Not only did we have non-acting, poor dialogue, and nonsensical situations, but a bizarre subplot involving a women’s water polo team. The shark itself looked suitably impressive, but kept on changing size and there were many times when it looked, again, like it had just been plonked on top of the action by a bored high school student in his parents’ basement.

Eric Balfour sees a shark kill someone and looks it up on the internet.  Finding a picture that actually doesn’t look a lot like the one he saw, but deciding that’s good enough, he goes after it. There’s another subplot involving an old childhood friend who’s now a cop, and there’s plenty of blood and poor explosions.  In the end our hero’s erstwhile female gets an epic line out of it:   “Welcome to the endangered species list, you bastard.”

This was a bad film but it was also boring bad, and the worst of the five by a lot.

Mega Shark Vs Crocosaurus (2010)

Director: Christopher Ray
Writers: Naomi L. Selfman
Stars: Gary Stretch, Jaleel White and Sarah Lieving

Yes, that is correct – Steve Urkel of Family Matters “fame” is in this movie. First, I have yet to see Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus, of which this is the sequel. So, Mega Shark has already been established as existing, and time it’s facing a huge crocodile from the Congo. Urkel is a Sonics expert and there’s a drunken hunter and a woman who is more masculine than the two men. Special effects were marginally better than the last film, the dialogue also, but the acting is about on par with most grade school productions.

There is a sort of story in all of this.  Everyone’s trying to stop the large creatures but the shark likes eating croc eggs.  The croc isn’t happy with it so they fight, Urkel uses his Sonics to lure them to their death and they sink to the bottom biting each other by the tail. The special effects aren’t all that special, to be perfectly honest.  Stay tuned for the post-credit tease, as the two male heroes decide to go to Japan where there are reports of a giant lizard… Mega Shark vs Godzilla!

Very mindless and a little dull, perhaps, but still mostly harmless and undoubtedly bad.

Mega Piranha (2010)

Director: Eric Forsberg
Writer: Eric Forsberg
Stars: Paul Logan, Tiffany and Barry Williams

Yes, my second Tiffany film… and she’s with Greg Brady this time! To make it even more strange, this one is done in a sort of mockumentary style, but only part of the time. Bizarre. Okay, let me say from the outset that I enjoyed this more than Piranha 3-D, which I am guessing this was designed to capitalise on. And also let me say that this is the second Paul Logan film I’ve seen recently (the other being 2006’s Komodo vs Cobra), and his acting is clearly from the Steve Reeves school. Rocks tell this guy to show some emotion.

So what happens? Tiffany releases some genetically modified piranha into the Orinoco and then they attack, multiplying in numbers while all sorts of shenanigans happen.

This film is also notable for the most awkward love interest ever. It’s like Tiffany and Logan are reciting their lines while waiting to go to the toilet. But not as laughable as the special effects, though, as Mega Piranha gives us split-screens and scene changes accompanied by special effects that are truly awful.  Throw in a reporter being eaten live, and people running away in fear while others in the background just watch with mild interest and you have a truly awful film.

Sharktopus (2010)

Director: Declan O’Brien
Writer: Mike MacLean
Stars: Eric Roberts, Kerem Bursin and Sara Malakul Lane
In Australia Eric Roberts is probably best known for The Coca-Cola Kid, though I reckon I first saw him in Star 80. This film is my favourite of the 5. The acting is probably the worst of the lot, and the special effects are truly bad, but the creature was at least original. It’s another Roger Corman film so you know it can’t be all bad, right?


We see the monster right at the start – a shark’s front with an octopus’ tentacles coming from its midsection instead of a tail. But we also see that it is being controlled by scientists, as this genetically modified creature (affectionately called S-11) is actually a Navy weapon. But, of course, something goes wrong!  Now it’s up to a scientist (Roberts) and his daughter (amongst others) to kill it.

The one thing about it, though, is that this film doesn’t take itself seriously. I almost had the impression it was supposed to be a comedy. The monster’s frequent excursions onto land were bizarre.  It walks like a spider, making it a basic physics question.  How can tentacles support it like that?  The whole concept made no sense. But maybe that is part of the fun of a movie like this.

Scene of the film: Two painters are discussing ways they want to die, and when they are taken by the monster one of them yells, “Not like this!” as blood hits the camera lens. And the final line of the film: “That only happens in the movies.”

This was a bad film, with one of the most bizarre monsters ever, and acting that was at soap opera levels. But, damn, if I didn’t enjoy it! Truly awful, but this was another fun film.

Five movies of somewhat dubious quality. I wouldn’t say I actually recommend them but I can’t recommend to actively avoid them either. With the right crowd, some liquid encourage coupled with the right food stuffs and you can have fun for 7 and a half hours.  Just don’t take them seriously.×120.jpg

]]> 0
THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – AFL 2011 Round 4 Thu, 21 Apr 2011 21:33:08 +0000 Results:

Richmond 13.12 (90) def by Collingwood 24.17 (161)
            Another day, another Collingwood win.

Hawthorn 10.12 (72) def West Coast 9.11 (65)
            Not a good game.

Carlton 11.13 (79) drew with Essendon 11.13 (79)
            Another draw! In an era where one draw a season is amazing, we’ve had three in four rounds! An even season, to be sure.

Sydney 7.12 (54) def by Geelong 11.15 (81)
            Writing the Cats off this season may be a mistake after an impressive away win.

Port Adelaide 14.14 (98) def Adelaide 9.12 (66)
            A come from way behind win, Port’s first for the year, in what was a pretty good match. Neither team, however, is looking particularly strong this year.

Gold Coast 9.15 (69) def by Melbourne 23.21 (159)
            Despite the absolute hammering, Gold Coast won their first quarter for the year. It’s a learning process for the new club.

Fremantle 18.19 (127) def North Melbourne 14.14 (98)
            And the team that had the bye the week before loses again. Mind you, Fremantle look like being a dark horse this year.

Bye: St Kilda, Brisbane, Western Bulldogs


* In ‘football fans are also morons’ news, Hawthorn’s Lance Franklin was racially abused on the weekend. We might not have the thug mentality of soccer hooligans the world over, but there is something low about the group IQ when it comes to football and men.

* Gary Ablett Jr has been pillories by the Melbourne media for not going back to the Gold Coast with his team mates because of media commitments, and then missing a match with a sore ankle. They want, want, want from these blokes, and then, when something happens they don’t like, they just jump on them. There are times when the media can get stuffed.

SANFL Round 3

Woodville-West Torrens 5.7 (37) def by Sturt 13.17 (95)

Norwood 8.7 (55) def by Glenelg 10.16 (76)
            Good game this one.

Central District 25.10 (160) def South Adelaide 13.5 (83)
            Well, last week’s triumph didn’t last long for South… and last week’s loss looks to have been just a wake-up call for Centrals. Life returns to normal.

North Adelaide 15.9 (99) def Port Adelaide 10.11 (71)
            North did make it look easy.

Bye: West Adelaide

]]> 0
THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – AFL 2011 Round 3 Wed, 13 Apr 2011 19:42:57 +0000  Results:

Collingwood 15.12 (102) def Carlton 11.8 (74)
            And the Collingwood juggernaut continues unabated. The AFL must be laughing with glee, after everything they’ve done for them and all the concessions they’ve given them.

Western Bulldogs 18.14 (122) def Gold Coast 7.9 (51)
            I know they’re the new kids on the block, but I honestly thought Gold Coast would be better than this.

Adelaide 7.12 (54) def by Fremantle 11.13 (79)
            A bad loss for Adelaide at home, but a strong showing from Freo. But the size of Adelaide’s home crowd was really bad. With Port Adelaide also struggling to attract crowds, is this an indication that the South Australian public finally sees the AFL for what it is – a business where sport is an inconvenience and the public do not matter?

Richmond 6.16 (52) def by Hawthorn 17.13 (115)
            Good, strong win by the Hawks.

West Coast 13.10 (88) def by Sydney 15.11 (101)
            A hard fought win by the Swans over in the west. I wouldn’t be writing either of these teams off this year.

Melbourne 12.10 (82) def Brisbane 11.5 (71)
            Yeah, not a good game.

Geelong 17.20 (122) def Port Adelaide 6.7 (43)
            Another flogging for Port. New coach Matthew Primus has his work cut out pulling this rabble together.

St Kilda 12.12 (84) def by Essendon 21.10 (136)
            The Saints could well be forced to write this season off if they cannot get over last year’s grand final and the off-season debacles which the media insists on perpetrating ad nauseam.

Bye: North Melbourne


* The new team on the block gets a break, as Gold Coast’s Campbell Brown only got a minor penalty for a blatantly stupid piece of on-field thuggery.

* And that’s it. A Port player broke the club’s drinking rules, but he wasn’t found sprawling drunk in the home of an alleged hitman, he just drank too much somewhere. Good – a week where the focus was on the football, and not the players.

SANFL Round 2

Sturt 6.12 (48) def by Norwood 19.12 (126)
            Sturt should be better than this, but Norwood are showing early signs of being a contender this year.

West Adelaide 14.12 (96) def Central District 4.6 (30)
            It’s only one loss, but it was a bad one for Centrals, and their aura of invincibility was well and truly snapped in this game. Maybe that will help the other teams overcome their own mental blocks with regards to the most successful SANFL team of the past 20 years.

Port Adelaide 9.9 (63) def Glenelg 9.7 (61)
            Again, it’s early in the season, but both of these teams showed some good fight, particularly Port after last week’s loss.

South Adelaide 8.21 (69) def North Adelaide 8.9 (57)
            South won! Against North! Imagine the score if they could have kicked straight…

Bye: Woodville-West Torrens

]]> 0
THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – AFL 2011 Round 2 Thu, 07 Apr 2011 19:40:01 +0000 Results:

St Kilda 13.17 (95) drew with Richmond 14.11 (95)
            Another draw? It’s been a hundred years since we had a draw in rounds one and two.

North Melbourne 7.14 (56) hammered by Collingwood 21.17 (143)
            Collingwood are playing well, and with their completely favoured draw and the fact the AFL gives them whatever they want and ALLEGEDLY lets them rort all sorts of things, they are favourites for the flag.

Port Adelaide 15.8 (98) def by West Coast 16.20 (116)
            To celebrate the re-amalgamation of the two Port Adelaide clubs this year, this was the ‘One Club’ celebration. Well done, Port! Way to show your fans what you’ve got. Oh, and for such a big celebration, pathetic crowd.

Gold Coast 7.10 (52) embarrassed by Carlton 26.15 (171)
            Welcome to the AFL, Gold Coast! Their first match, a home game… I would have expected more from them. Carlton looked good, though.

Fremantle 10.18 (78) def by Geelong 13.11 (89)
            Good showing from Freo and Geelong are showing that even without Ablett they might still have the goods to go far in 2011.

Western Bulldogs 19.9 (123) def Brisbane 6.9 (45)
            One-sided as the score suggests.

Sydney 14.14 (98) def Essendon 13.15 (93)
            Good game. These two sides will give their fans heart attacks all year, I am sure.

Hawthorn 16.26 (122) def Melbourne 12.5 (77)
            Not a good game, I’m afraid.

Bye: Adelaide


* The girl at the centre of all the St Kilda controversy continues to make waves, having to be escorted from the MCG on the weekend. It appears she is making a documentary or the subject of one, according to reports. She then complained about the behaviour of AFL fans on her twitter feed. What I want to know is – this 17 year old must have parents. She is a minor. Where are they? Oh, that’s right, the Australian social worker system has taken the rights of parents away. But this girl needs one thing above all else – to be ignored so she can actually get a real life, and not continue to live on the glory of bonking or trying to bonk footballers. There is a word for women who sleep with as many famous people as possible, especially young women who have no real skills or job prospects. And it ain’t a good word, either…

* For the Gold Coast Suns Carmichael Hunt made his debut. So what? Well, he is a big-time rugby league player who has made the jump. He and Israel Folau in Greater Western Sydney (playing in the reserves competition this year before becoming a fully fledged team in 2012) were stars in league, and followed some big money and huge media to jump to the AFL. They are a litmus test. If they succeed, then watch more and more make the jump for better money and better conditions, especially if they do not want to move away from Australia and go to Europe to play SuperLeague. So how did they go? Hunt had 5 touches and looked like a fish out of water. Not a good debut. Folau, in the reserves, got no touches.
            Now, this isn’t to say that they will both be failures. It just shows that the jump from one code of football top another is  not an easy process. We have a few Australians go to America from the AFL to become punters. A few have made it. Many have not. Football codes share one thing – the name ‘football’. Apart from that, it is never going to be an easy task. As to Hunt and Folau, it is still way too early to tell. Let’s look again halfway through the season. And then we’ll see if league has anything further to worry about on top of all its other issues.

SANFL Round 1

Port Adelaide Magpies 7.10 (52) def by Norwood 8.7 (55)
            That ‘One Port’ thing really didn’t work out. This was the curtain raiser to the AFL game, by the way.

North Adelaide 15.12 (102) def by West Adelaide 17.9 (111)
            Strong win by Westies. They are looking good early.

Glenelg 14.19 (103) def Sturt 12.12 (84)
            Glenelg are also already looking strong.

Woodville-West Torrens 11.12 (78) def South Adelaide 10.3 (63)

Bye: Central District

]]> 0
THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – AFL 2011 Round 1 Wed, 30 Mar 2011 23:02:08 +0000  Instead of doing all sports, I’m going to focus this year on the Australian Football League, with detours into the South Australian National Football League.


Carlton 14.20 (104) def Richmond 13.6 (84)
            Not a good match, I’m afraid.

Geelong 6.12 (48) def St Kilda 6.11 (47)
            Something of an upset, but there is a good chance St Kilda’s mind is not yet on the job after all the off-season happenings.

Collingwood 24.11 (155) def Port Adelaide 12.8 (80)
            While it was a thrashing, Collingwood did not play a complete four quarters and there is something in the young Port team to be excited about.

Brisbane 14.8 (92) def by Fremantle 13.16 (94)
            Upset! Brisbane lost at home to a team from the other side of the country? Not a good start. Well done, Freo!

Adelaide 16.9 (105) def Hawthorn 12.13 (85)
            20 years ago, round 1 1991, Adelaide played their first game in the AFL, and defeated Hawthorn. 20 years later, they win by 20 points. Emotion may have had a lot to do with this.

Essendon 16.17 (113) def Western Bulldogs 8.10 (58)
            Strong win for new coach Hird.

Melbourne 11.18 (84) drew with Sydney 11.18 (84)
            A draw already? This year is going to be frustrating as all hell.

West Coast 13.14 (92) def North Melbourne 13.10 (88)
            A win at home for the Eagles. That’s about all that can be said.

Bye: Gold Coast


* Brendan Fevola was caught in another gambling venue this week after returning from the USA. Sigh.

* Ricky Nixon has been banned from representing AFL players for two years. But he can still represent coaches. Huh? He is fighting this, by the way.

* The big news out of the weekend – apart from what seemed a strangely large amount of serious injuries for this early in the year – was the crowds. Badly down. Live broadcasts against gate and the fact that the build up has been rather muted after a different (not saying bad, just different) pre-season.
            There is also the rumour coming out of Melbourne media that the low crowds might just be because the reigning premiers Collingwood – who are also pre-season winners, and hot favourites for 2011 – are so unloved that people just do not want to see people against them or playing to be second to them. Collingwood have the most favoured draw of any team, are given more leeway than any team (see away jumpers for an example), and are even only going interstate twice this year; the favouritism is obvious except to Collingwood supporters. Has the AFL’s favouritism now come back to haunt them?
            But there is no doubt the crowds were down. TV ratings are yet to come in, but this could well affect the AFL’s new TV deal negotiations come the end of the year. I can tell you now, Adelaide ratings were apparently down, but matches being broadcast up to an hour after they happened will do that when radio is immediate.
            Oh, AFL, you are starting the year so well!

]]> 0
The View From Down Here – Some Aussie Comics With Zombies, Simians, A Doom Bunny & More Tue, 29 Mar 2011 13:00:34 +0000 As a kid, there were 4 comics I bought whenever I had the money – Mad, the Silver Surfer, Conan and the horror titles. Mad was number one, but I loved the horror titles most of all. Every time I could I would buy one and read the myriad of short stories in graphic form.

As I grew older the comics faded (except for Mad magazine) until I discovered an Australian comic called Issue One. That faded into obscurity after a few years, but my interest was once more there. I got into the early Elseworlds comics, the Death of Superman and, as always, my Mad magazines, only I once more started to get the US ones as well as the Australian versions.

But Silver Surfer and Conan did not seem to exist in Australia any more. And to find a horror comic that was not borderline pornography was virtually impossible. So I bought older ones at exorbitant prices and continued to search.

Last year some one recommended Eeek to me (it’s another Australian work, by the guy who did the Hairbutt The Hippo comic I own), but finding it proved difficult and the one issue I did get hold of ended up being not even Eeek! (Long story…)

And then I went to the Armageddon Comic Convention. Between listening to Karen Allen and David Anders (for a guy whose shows I tended to miss, he was one funny speaker), meeting Robert Rankin (huge highlight, by the way – the man is a legend) and Gail Simone, watching some unfortunately dull wrestling, and spending an insane amount of money, I discovered Decay.

Decay is an Australian take on the traditional horror comic from Dark Oz Productions. I procured the first six issues (up to and including the current one) and lost myself in their pages. And I think I’ve found my new comic.

First thing is the cover art. Each issue has some strong art, but the best so far is on #4 with the zombie Ned Kelly.

Each issue has its share of stories which I’ll get to in a bit, but there is also what they are calling their flagship feature – ‘Oz Zombies’. Some are parts of an ongoing serial, some are stand alone stories, but all are zombie tales set in an Australia over-run by them. They are standard zombie stories, full of the standard clichés, but made cool to me by seeing my own home city – Adelaide – as the setting for the first few, rendered so well. Different artists work on different chapters, and it is an engrossing series, limitation so the zombie genre notwithstanding.

There are also some great photo essays, including comic conventions and other events of interest to readers. One minor quibble – the best zombies from the Adelaide Zombie Walk 2010 were not featured! (That would be the smurf zombies, by the way.) There are also some short stories, which are okay, but some tighter editing – especially in regards to grammar and punctuation – would not go astray with these.

Then there are some of the best bits – where artists explain how they came up with various panels, progressing from rough sketches through to finished art. Fascinating stuff.

One last thing: one thing I have found does not work well are the introduction panels to each story, each featuring a different horrific character type, not even related to the story that follows. Too many do not work. Maybe what they could do instead is have one ‘guest narrator’ for a whole issue and use the one voice, like an EC-style crypt-keeper or similar. Not sure, but what they currently do feels forced more often than not. And the less said about Splatt the Zombie Cat the better.

Now, onto the issues!

Decay #1

This is a comic finding itself. It is trying to get its feet on the floor and running in what is a new, potentially risky venture.

As such, some of the stories are not strong, and some of the art work is really not too good.

However, the opening salvo in the ‘Oz Zombie’ saga is a good one, while the pick of the bunch is ‘Carnivore’ with a slightly off the wall story and some very fine art work to boot.

Decay #2

The main improvement here is the art work. In all but one of the stories, the art work is much improved over issue one.

The stories were still a little clichéd, but improving. ‘Deresolution Day’ was the pick of the bunch, while ‘Amazulu’ was also intriguing.

Still finding its feet, but growing in confidence.

Decay #3

This one was let down by the art work. The improvements of issue 2 dropped off here with the introductory panels the best art of the issue.

The stories were also a little off. ‘The Memory Remains’ was genuinely eerie, however, and the highlight of the issue, while the first of the Circus Infinitus tales, ‘Crime and Corruption’, was a strange tale of retributive justice that had a particularly satisfying ending.

Deacy #4

Now the title has hit its straps! Good art work throughout, two good chapters in the ‘Oz Zombie’ saga and some genuinely strange and eerie stories.

Opening story ‘Blood Red Rose Coloured Glasses’ was probably a little long, but an interesting story of psychosis. ‘Abel’ was just downright odd with an ending I did not see coming. And then there were the ‘Oz Zombie’ tales.

Good issue, and I’m glad that I actually got all of them so that I could see how they developed to this point.

Decay #5

Great art work throughout, and with the best of the ‘How To Draw Comics’ articles.

The stories were all strong again, with one exception – a tale that just seemed to be an excuse to come up with the most bizarre creatures possible and involving an Alien ripoff ending. However, this issue has my favourite ‘Oz Zombie’ episode, focusing more on the character development than just blatting zombies.

‘Summit’ is a strong story with awesome artwork (this is also the subject of the drawing comics section later on in the issue). And the Circus Infinitus story ‘Maximum Terror’ was macabrely funny.

Two good issues in a row.

Decay #6

Another issue where the art work was really strong. A diversion in the ‘Oz Zombie’ saga with a different character, and the art here was also really well done, even if the story was another cliché.

‘Sink Or Swim’ is just one of those genuinely disturbing horror tales and even though the art is not fantastic, it suits the story well.

The drawing section is not about comics, but an utterly fascinating look at how the cover for Pegazus’ album In Metal We Trust was done.

‘Animus’ was just weird, but looked wonderful. Maybe the best artwork so far.

‘Skin Deep’ is really well drawn and one of those bizarre horror tales that only exists in comics.

A strong latest issue. Teething issues seem to have been gotten over and only 6 issues in; let’s hope that Decay can continue to put out the horror for the fans.

Now, two bonus comics!

From Fistfull Of Comics, I got the complete ‘Simian Soldiers’ in one edition.

This was an odd book.

The story was strong. It told a good tale of bizarre experimentation and apes in World War 2. Kurt Murray, the writer, did a good job with this.

But the art work let it down too often. The panels were some times hard to work out, and the action was represented by a lot of blurs. But those that could be deciphered were strong and really helped the story along. I guess I’m not a fan of this style of art work, and that hindered my overall enjoyment of the work.

However, still not a bad piece.

And then there is Doom Bunny And The Monster Catchers, by Loren Morris, published by Scholastic Books.

Possibly aimed at a slightly younger market, this was actually quite an enjoyable tale of monsters and condiments, featuring emos and tentacles and the hand puppet from hell. The art is simplistic in form, but effective, and the characters remain consistent throughout. The story line is bizarre, but also quite engrossing. Maybe it did start to get repetitive, but then they couldn’t find mustard and, well, things got strange.

Look, it’s not a taxing read, and it’s pretty harmless, but it is well done and the whole thing has been well thought out and put together. It’s more graphic novel than comic, but that’s by the by.

Not too bad at all, and recommended.

So there you have it – 8 Australian comics. I’m not sure of their availability in other parts of the world (Dark Oz’s website is here, or you can contact them on, or look for Decay comics on FaceBook), but at the least they can be sent out (though shipping from here is huge, so get ready to pay). The Decay line is coming out with other titles hopefully this year, and Fistfull Of Comics also has other titles available. Never know, if I’m feeling inspired I could well grab an armful and see what happens.

 That’s the view.

]]> 0
THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE – BRENDAN FEVOLA Tue, 15 Mar 2011 21:31:03 +0000 Long-time readers will know the name of Brendan Fevola from my reports of certain stupid behaviours various footballers have done. He is an Australian rules footballer with a penchant for being a moron.

He got so drunk at the Brownlow Medal presentation in 2009 that he could barely talk, and that while he was reporting on the event for a TV show. He had nude pictures of his so-called girlfriend (extra-marital affair), model Lara Bingle, which were taken without her permission and which found themselves broadcast around Australia. He left Carlton and went to Brisbane under a cloud. And even there he only lasted a year.

Anyway, this past week, he appeared on the year’s first episode of The Footy Show and spilled his guts. This after media reports of him being asked to leave a casino, of him being given his marching orders from Brisbane, and of him being unable to find a football club willing to take him on, of his career being over. It was a brave move by the man, and the interview was very revealing. It should be pointed out that the Crown Casino asked him to leave their premises after the interview was taped, only hours before the interview went to air.

It should also be pointed out that he was paid for this interview, with amounts reported ranging from $20,000 AUS all the way through to $80,000 (including $40,000 in cash) plus two $16,000 air tickets to the USA. Not sure if that makes a difference or not, but I thought I should point it out. I should also point out that it was the highest rated thing on TV that night.

He revealed that he had lost over a million dollars gambling. He claimed it was on the horses. He then said that he was in the casino as a problem gambler because some one had told him that that would be a good way to get over his addiction, because he was addicted to gambling on horses, see, not poker, which is what he was playing at the casino.


And here I should say good on Sam Newman of The Footy Show who said it was obvious Fevola was not committed to his rehabilitation, and lacking any remorse for what he had done.

Fevola claims to have suffered from depression and ADD. That is something that we should not make light of. But then he said he was over it and that he was also on medication for it. It does sound like he is in denial, as though he’s paying lip service to the diagnosis, but not really believing it.

He went on to say that he was on the run from gambling “heavies” in Brisbane.

He detailed how after his medically induced inattention almost hurt one of his daughters he ran away from home and tried to kill himself (or do self-harm).

He spent a year living on his wife’s earnings from the TV show Dancing With The Stars (apparently being married to an idiot footballer makes you a star in Australia; go figure), and has now apparently put his $1.2 million payout from Brisbane into the care of his wife and children. This is the same wife he dumped on by having the affair with Bingle 14 months into his marriage, by the way.

Now he’s looking at resuming his football career at VFL club the Casey Scorpions. Even then, it was touch and go, as the club’s hierarchy had to debate whether he was a good fit, especially after these latest revelations. However, their affiliated AFL club – Melbourne – are not happy with this signing. It has also emerged that the AFL big bosses knew something about his troubles. What did they do? No one seems to know.

And then, after the interview aired, he went missing. Again. Didn’t turn up the next morning for a radio interview. His manager did not even know where he was. Rumours spoke of him being seen in a casino, flying out to America or just going fishing. It turns out he and his brother have gone to Los Angeles because Las Vegas was too tempting. This despite the fact that he claimed he did not have a problem with any gambling except the horses.

Now, the reason I am waffling on about this is because it has been the only sports news of the past week in Australia. Not the World Cup campaign in which Australia are doing surprisingly well. Not the grand finals of the A-League soccer or WNBL. Not the Brumbies and their woes in the rugby union comp. Not even Collingwood winning the pre-season AFL competition. Just Fevola.

We’ve seen it before, of course, with Ben Cousins… although his issue was drugs. Giving these people so much publicity (even as I do so right here and now…) is not good. And paying them to talk about it? Dear God. What about true heroes in Australia – those who have helped above and beyond the call of duty in the recent floods and bushfires, those who have gone to Christchurch and helped out after the earthquake – who cannot even get a brass farthing to help them help others. What about sports people who don’t do anything wrong, just play the game well. No; the media just wants these human headlines. In the USA it’s currently Charlie Sheen; in Australia we’ve got the Fev.

So, Brendan. Listen up:

Just go away. Now. Leave us alone and ruin your own life without demanding the public feel sorry for you. You made the choice; live with it. Your wife made the choice to stay with you, after Bingle, after all of this – her choice. It’s your kids I feel sorry for. Fancy having you as a father. On second thoughts, no – don’t keep ruining your life. Do the right thing. Get out of the limelight and pull yourself together. Not in front of the spotlights and tape recorders and cameras. Get help. Professional help, not some reporter whose boss paid you a ridiculous sum of money to (ah-hem) unburden your soul. Do it with and for your kids. Because – heaven help them – you’re the only father they’ve got. Do the right thing for them and by them. Be there for them. Watch them grow up. And doing all of this soul-baring and gambling and drinking and having sex with women who aren’t your wife in public does not come close to being there for your kids.


]]> 0
The View From Down Here – Ricky Nixon [book and news and scandal] Thu, 10 Mar 2011 00:45:02 +0000  There has been some quite amazing news over the summer here in Australia concerning Australian rules football. It started at the end of last year when some teenaged girl claimed she had nude photos of a St Kilda FC star. And she did, but it turned out she stole them from the computer of another St Kilda player, a player who had promised the first player these photos had been deleted as they had been taken without permission. How she got access to them is anybody’s guess.

Wait! It gets messier! This same girl – 17 years old, I believe – then went and spruiked herself on FaceBook, on commercial radio, and on tabloid so-called current affairs programming. She told blatant untruths in these circumstances, and her story kept changing. She turned up at St Kilda training with a TV crew in tow. She made all sorts of allegations on air, but the police were left confused by her official statements (have to have some sympathy for them in all fo this, with everyone calling for everyone else’s head and nothing helping their investigation). She demanded all sorts of things, and St Kilda eventually paid for a flat for her. She has come across out of all of this (and her name, while suppressed, is well-known as she has made no attempt to hide herself, yet I shan’t name her) as a media-whore, a controversy courting, power-hungry, little turd of a person. St Kilda have come out of this looking scared, especially after a few years of footballer indiscretions.

The public have no idea what is really going on or why.

She is being portrayed as the sort of person who will say and do anything to get publicity. The way things are looking, give her three years and she’ll be our very own Lindsay Lohan (but without even a modicum of acting talent, or talent anywhere), give her seven years and she’ll be on Where Are They Now?, give her ten years and the headlines will be screaming that her drug-fuelled, self-induced death was a tragedy, one which they will neglect to mention was her own fault and at least in part their own doing as well. Too negative? Sorry. The media may well have done this kid a disservice, but it is the only image we have of her, apart from her own self-aggrandisement.

And then in comes Ricky Nixon.

Nixon is one of the most powerful of the player managers and sports managers (and lately media managers) in Australia. These are people who not only help the players with their money, but also manage their media promotions, their public appearances, media statements, police incidents, paying bills, buying houses, shopping, IP rights, everything. They are professional babysitters in this time of sports ‘stars’ having no idea of how to act in the real world. The over-paid, over-pampered, molly-coddled sports ‘stars’ are made even worse by these player-managers who help them realise they can do no wrong. Player managers are a big part of the problem we have sports ‘stars’ the world over going off the rails so publicly so often.

Nixon represents a large number of high profile AFL players, including several St Kilda players, including the one photographed naked. So his face has been everywhere throughout all of this, maybe more than the footballers themselves or even their club. And then Nixon was seen coming out of this young girl’s apartment early one morning, She claims she has photos of him in bed with her. He said what he did was, basically, stupid, but that nothing happened. His career is hanging by a thread because of this strange indiscretion.

I won’t go into anything more because the matter has not even gone before the courts; this is just what has been reported in all media outlets in Australia.

Which brings me to a small coincidence. I finished reading Ricky Nixon’s so-called autobiography the day all of this stuff involving him blew up.

It’s A Jungle Out There [2010] by Ricky Nixon and James Weston is the story of Nixon’s life and, in a wider viewpoint, the story of the rise of the player manager in Australia, the rise of the professional athlete and the rise of money’s power in sport.

First, the negative. It clearly states everywhere that this book is by Ricky Nixon. His name is on the front cover, he is given as the author inside, everything. And yet he is not the author. He is the subject. He appears in interview snippets – as well as many of his clients, family and friends – and then he wrote the last chapter. That’s it. And, it must be said, it is hard to take this book seriously as a tome about its subject with that sort of blatant misadvertising on the cover.

The book details his life and playing career – as injury-plagued as it was – reasonably well, considering he didn’t write the damn thing. People praise him and everything seems cool, then he starts doing some publicity, some promoting and, bang!, before you know it his career’s over and he’s managing players.

He is to blame for the rise of ridiculous salaries and all the crap we put up with in AFL because of those money demands. The fact that footballers no longer work for a living and then go off and do stupid things with women, with gambling, with drugs, with alcohol because they have too much money, too much time and no sense of responsibility, social or otherwise, it’s his fault.

That’s maybe unfair, but he certainly takes the credit for it. He defends the actions of players like Wayne Carey and Ben Cousins. He thinks money negotiations are more important than anything, and seems stunned by those who choose loyalty over cash. This book was weird.

Okay, now something positive. The detailing of how football became a professional sport is fascinating. How a handful of players changed the way sports people were recognised is stunning. And the way clubs treated their players – demanding loyalty whilst showing none (which still happens to this day) and treating them like cattle in a meat market – shows why these things happened in the first place. It’s a captivating look at a time when Australian rules football changed completely, when the skill level went up… and when players lost themselves to their rampant egos.

There was one thing that amazed me, though – I found that I felt very little sympathy for Nixon in reading this. Or, indeed, his high-profile player clients. I need something when reading an autobiography on which to hang my hat and think, ‘Ah, yes, I can see that.’ Being a fan of Bret Hart and the Dynamite Kid I just wanted to know about them. Adam Gilchrist was some one else I was a fan of and I really wanted to know what made him tick. Joe Cornelius was funny. David Niven and Errol Flynn has lives the rest of us can only dream about. But I had none of that in this book. It’s a good book, well-written and well-polished (though not an autobiography), but it left me cold.

Recommended only if you are interested in the business side of Australian sport. Otherwise, sorry, not worth it.

]]> 0