Inside Pulse » WNBL 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. Mon, 22 Dec 2014 19:04:08 +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 » WNBL THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #123 – Brief and to the point… plus AFI Awards Mon, 13 Dec 2010 11:23:48 +0000  Not much of note happened this week. The regular sports got on with life, no real news beyond Brendan Fevola once again getting into trouble (allegedly he owes $200k and the people concerned want it yesterday, and I emphasise allegedly because it is just a Rupert Murdoch owned newspaper starting this tale). Cricket has a brief international respite. That’s it. Short, sharp and shiny.
            Enjoy the abbreviated View.

What? Oprah’s in Australia and I’m supposed to talk about it? Really? Well, really, according to an email that asked me my thoughts on it. Okay, here goes. She’s giving the country a much needed tourism boost, a campaign that money really can’t buy. She thinks McCafes mean something in this country (they do, but only for expat Americans and wannabe Americans who live in Sydney), she thinks the people of this country should know how many indigenous species of beetle there are, and she screams a lot for no apparent reason. Australian media and politicians are treating her like a head of state; 95% of Australians think that she’s just another loud tourist who brought along a whole bunch of other loud tourists with her. We’ll be polite and helpful if we meet any of them, but they’re just people here on holiday.
            There, Oprah Winfrey in Australia. Can I get on with the important stuff now, like sport? Thank-you.
            The view:

Australia have made the changes for the third test in Perth. At least one smacks of desperation. And that’s all I’m saying until the match. So let’s see if it’s too little or too late.

A-League Round 17 (cont)
Melbourne Heart 0 def by Newcastle Jets 2
A-League Round 18
Adelaide United 2 def North Queensland Fury 0
Melbourne Heart 1 def by Melbourne Victory 3
Gold Coast United 2 def Wellington Phoenix 0
Sydney 0 def by Brisbane Roar 1
Perth Glory 1 drew with Central Coast Mariners 1
W-League Round 6
Adelaide United 1 def by Brisbane Roar 3
Newcastle Jets 0 def by Canberra United 1
Sydney 2 def Perth Glory 0

NBL – Round 9
New Zealand 93 def Cairns 79
Wollongong 81 def Adelaide 79
Townsville 91 def Gold Coast 86
Perth 87 def Melbourne 76
Sydney 80 def by Wollongong 95
WNBL – Round 10
Canberra 96 def AIS 56
Bendigo 69 def  West Coast 62
Logan 57 def by Bulleen 73
Sydney 83 def AIS 61
Dandenong 72 def by West Coast 77
Townsville 62 def by Bulleen 86
Adelaide 69 def by Bendigo 76

Adelaide 8 def Brisbane 4
Canberra 0 def by Perth 7
Sydney 4 def by Melbourne 6 (15 innings!)
Adelaide 1 def by Brisbane 3
Canberra 0 slaughtered by Perth 10
Sydney 6 def by Melbourne 7
Canberra 1 def by Perth 2
Sydney 4 def Melbourne 1
Canberra 2 def by Perth 8
Melbourne 12 hammered Sydney 5
Sydney 3 hammered by Melbourne 18 (completed early)

Garth Wood, winner of Australia’s version of ‘The Contender’ television series, shocked Australia’s IBO Middleweight champion Anthony Mundine with a fifth round knockout this week.
            ‘The Man’ was beaten cleanly and it is being speculated that his boxing career may be on the wane. But while this is certainly not a good result, to say he is finished is most likely premature.

2010 AFI Awards
The Australian Film Institute awards for this year were held this week. They recognise the best in film and television, and in my opinion they rarely make too many mistakes (not like the Oscars… O’Rourke not winning best actor! Hmph!). So here is the full list of winners and some commentary from me on it all.
Best film – ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best direction - David Michod, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best original screenplay - David Michod, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best adapted screenplay - Stuart Beattie, ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’
            Great book, not too bad film. But considering the structure and POV of the book, this was as well done as it was possible to do.
Best lead actor - Ben Mendelsohn, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best lead actress - Jacki Weaver, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best supporting actor - Joel Edgerton, ‘Animal Kingdom’
            Yeah, ‘Animal Kingdom’ is a good film. A crime drama – something which Australians tend to do moderately well only on TV or as comedies – but this is good I think because it looks more at the lives of those involved and not the heists themselves.
Best supporting actress - Deborah Mailman, ‘Bran Nue Dae’
            One of the better films about indigenous Australians because it is upbeat and not depressing. A musical as well.
Best feature length documentary – ‘Contact’, Martin Butler and Bentley Dean (ABC)
            Haven’t seen this, but want to. About the last group of Aborigines to meet white men in Australia, in 1964. Sounds really good.
International award for best actor - Sam Worthington, ‘Avatar’
            Why? That film was only about the special effects, and not the so-called acting of the humans. I think Russell Crowe in the Robin Hood film was better. The best was probably Geoffrey Rush in ‘The King’s Speech’ but I think that was released too late to qualify for this year.
International award for best actress - Mia Wasikowska, ‘Alice in Wonderland’
            Again, why? She was overshadowed by every single actor that appeared on screen with her. The special effects and Johnny Depp were the stars of this film, maybe even director Tim Burton, and she was there to give the titular character some body and to look nice. What about Cate Blanchett in ‘Robin Hood’? (Yes, I liked ‘Robin Hood’, deal with it!)
Young actor award - Harrison Gilbertson, ‘Beneath Hill 60′
            Stunning film, based on a true story, with a very claustrophobic feel, and all the actors in it were very good.
Members’ choice award – ‘Animal Kingdom’
Readers’ choice award – ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best cinematography - Greig Fraser, ‘Bright Star’
            Missed it. Sorry.
Best editing - Luke Doolan, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best sound - Andrew Plain, David Lee, Gethin Creagh and Robert Sullivan, ‘Tomorrow When The War Began’
Best original music score - Antony Partos and Sam Petty, ‘Animal Kingdom’
Best production design - Janet Patterson, ‘Bright Star’
Best costume design - Janet Patterson, ‘Bright Star’
Visual effects award - Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig, Rangi Sutton, James Rogers and Randy Vellacott, ‘Daybreakers’
            Missed this one as well.
Best television drama series – ‘Rush’, Season 3 (Ten)
Best telefeature, mini series or short run series – ‘Hawke’ (Ten)
Best direction in television - Emma Freeman, ‘Hawke’ (Ten)
            This was a superb miniseries that gave an honest look at our former Prime Minister and union leader. Great in all aspects.
Best screenplay in television - Jason Gann, Adam Zwar, ‘Wilfred II’ – Episode 7, Dog Star (SBS)
            Never got the appeal of this series, despite numerous attempts. (It’s about a dog who’s actually a man in a suit and only one person realises this. I think.)
Best lead actor in a television drama - Richard Roxburgh, ‘Hawke’ (Ten)
            Well deserved.
Best lead actress in a television drama - Catherine McClements, ‘Tangle’, Season 2 (showcase)
            Never seen it; it’s on PayTV and why pay for TV?
Best guest or supporting actor in a television drama - Damien Garvey, ‘Underbelly: The Golden Mile’ – Episode 10, Hurt on Duty (Nine)
            Probably the least of the Underbelly franchise, but still riveting television.
Best guest or supporting actress in a television drama - Deborah Mailman, ‘Offspring’ (Ten)
            Never saw it, but this is Deborah Mailman’s second acting award in this AFI Awards. She is a very good actress and why she isn’t a bigger star around the world makes me… Hang on. That’s right. She doesn’t fit in with the standard anorexic bimbo – all teeth, botox and plastic. She only has talent and natural good looks. Poor woman.
Best children’s television drama – ‘My Place’ (ABC)
            Missed it.
Best children’s television animation – ‘dirtgirlworld’ (ABC)
            My kids like this, so I’d say it’s well deserved.
Best television comedy series – ‘Review With Myles Barlow’, Season 2 (ABC)
            One of the most original comedies in Australia in years. Barlow is a critic, but he doesn’t just critique film and music and arts – he critiques aspects of life and to do so he indulges in them. Like stalking a celebrity, going to prison, backpacking Europe, starting a cult… funny stuff.
Best light entertainment television series – ‘The Gruen Transfer’, Series 3 (ABC)
            One of the few shows my wife and I watch together. It’s a critical and funny look at the world of advertising. I even own series 1 and 2 on DVD already. More funny stuff.
Best performance in a television comedy - Phil Lloyd, ‘Review With Myles Barlow’, Season 2 (ABC)
            Not only does he play Miles, he is one of the two writers. It’s about time he got some credit.
Outstanding achievement in television screen craft - Shaun Micallef, ‘Talkin’ ’bout Your Generation’ (Ten)
            While I find the show not to my tastes, Micallef is one of the funniest men in Australia, and if you can get a hold of his book – ‘Smithereens’ – it has some of the best modern Australian comedy writing out there.
Best documentary under one hour – ‘You Only Live Twice, The Incredibly True Story Of The Hughes Family’ (ABC1)
            Didn’t see it.
Best documentary series – ‘Liberal Rule, The Politics That Changed Australia’ (SBS)
            Only lasted one episode; this sort of politics depresses me.
Best direction in a documentary - Jacob Hickey, ‘Inside The Firestorm’ (ABC)
            Missed this as well.
Best cinematography in a documentary – ‘Miracles’ – Episode 1, Miracle in the Storm (ABC)
Best editing in a documentary - Steven Robinson, ‘Inside The Firestorm’ (ABC)
Best sound in a documentary - Jock Healy, Tristan Meredith and AJ Bradford, ‘Inside The Firestorm’ (ABC)
Best short animation – ‘The Lost Thing’ – Sophie Byrne, Andrew Ruhemann and Shaun Tan.
Best short fiction film – ‘The Kiss’ – Sonya Humphrey and Ashlee Page.
            I feel bad now…
Best screenplay in a short film – ‘Deeper Than Yesterday’ – Ariel Kleiman.
            And worse.
Outstanding achievement in short film screen craft - Nick Matthews – ‘The Kiss’, Cinematography.
Raymond Longford award (“given to a person who has shown an unwavering commitment over many years to excellence in the film and television industries and has, through their body of work to date, contributed substantially to the enrichment of Australian screen culture”; this is the AFI’s highest honour) – Reg Grundy
Byron Kennedy award ( for “outstanding creative enterprise within the film and television industries”) – Animal Logic – presented to Zareh Nalbandian
            So there you have it.

And that’s the View through to December 13, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #122 – We didn’t get the World Cup issue. Wed, 08 Dec 2010 01:29:22 +0000 Australia didn’t get to host the World Cup Soccer. Apparently this is the end of the world. But it’s only soccer. I’m surprised the competing nations didn’t all get given a nil-all draw, and then be forced to shoot at a goal protected by a skinny man with gloves until some one finally managed to score enough to win the event. Oh, they did. But the goals were measured in dollars and the skinny man with gloves was just the intermediary between FIFA and everyone else.
            I’m not actually bitter. While it’s a blow for the tourist money and means many of our nation’s stadia won’t get upgraded, I think having the McDonalds of world sports here and giving them everything they want despite the fact that (judging by audiences) 80% of Australians don’t even care about the sport is just ludicrous.
            Of course, that’s just me and the soccer lovers (a nasty habit which can be broken by aversion therapy) will say having the WC is the best thing ever, letting me know via nasty emails and responses… although their comments will lack grammar, proper syntax, punctuation and anything even approaching decent spelling, making them as hard to understand as Glen Beck’s logic. Oh, I do continue this rant further down, if you want more vitriol.
            Now: The view!

Australia v England – 2nd Ashes Test
Australia 1st innings 245; England 1st innings 5(dec)/620; Australia 2nd innings 304
            England won by an innings and 71 runs.
Ten Thoughts on the Second Ashes Test:
1) The new Adelaide Oval grandstand looks so underwhelming on TV. All the charm and character of the Adelaide Oval of the past has been replaced by a generic small-ish stadium. And apparently this is “progress”.
2) 3 wickets for 2 runs! Australia were 3 for 2!? What in the holy hell was that shit? They dropped Mitchell, how about some goddammed batsmen while they were at it?
3) England should have gloated so much more in that first innings of Australia. They should have laughed at them and made them feel like they were pathetic. Because Australia deserved it. Hussey (93), Watson (51) and Haddin (56) scored some runs. Ponting got a duck. Clarke got 2. The 8 extras were the fifth highest score of the total! Gloat, England! You’ve earned it!
4) Early English wicket on day 2… then they decide to bat for a while… Australia better be ready for a lo-o-o-ong day. Dropped catches, missed run-outs… an even longer day.
5) Day 3 was stopped short due to a sudden thunderstorm with pelting rain. (Don’t I know it! Frantic dash outside to rescue the washing…) England were 4/551, with Pieterson 212 not out. You’d have to say England’s day again, and the rain may be the only thing saving Australia’s bacon at the moment.
6) Early on Day 4 and England declare at the mammoth total of 5/620. Australia will have to rely on the weather and dour batting to save this one.
7) Australia looked to be saved by the rain again after tea, but the skies cleared and then Australia lost a vital wicket in the last over, with Clarke gone for 80-odd, leaving Australia 4/238 at the end of the day with one day left and only rain there to save Australia.
8) Surely Ponting’s position must be up for review. Another double failure with the bat and, really, his captaincy is not inspiring. And North as well… and he was being touted as captain material not that long ago.
9) And doesn’t day 5 with Australia defending the meagre total start well for the Aussies with wickets falling regularly (Harris got a king pair… that’s two golden ducks… that’s no runs at all, dismissed on the first ball…). Australia clearly wants to beat the rain as much as the English! Hey, Australia, trying IS an option!!
10) England won and they thoroughly deserved it. Australia were outplayed, outcaptained and outclassed across the board.

A-League Round 16 (cont)
Sydney 3 def Wellington Phoenix 1
Gold Coast United 1 def by North Queensland Fury 2
            1714 people bothered to turn up. So the so-called passionate supporters who so desperately wanted the World Cup in Australia couldn’t even go out and support the local league. “But it’s the World Cup!” they cry. And, sure, if Brazil, Argentina, Australia, Germany, England, etc play, the crowds will be there. But think about the final pool game between, say, Nicaragua and Nigeria, where neither team has won yet and won’t make it through to the next round… how many supporters are going to bother to turn up? Really? You say you would? Liar.
            And. Let’s be serious, you think FIFA didn’t look at this, only two days before the vote was taken, and take it into account? “They say the Australian people will support the World Cup, but they can’t even support the A-League!” Yes, sure, there’s corruption – there always is at this level of sport – but Australia got only ONE vote. That’s not corruption at work. That’s the rest of the world telling Australia that if you want a sport, you have to take it seriously. Crowds are down, TV ratings are down, interest is down, Soccer is the number 3 or 4 rated football code in the country.
            But, the apologists cry, 200,000 Australians play soccer! Yes, including children and juniors and indoor comps. And why? Because it’s seen as safe. But it’s not even the most popular sport (and no, it isn’t; the stats used are not comprehensive – soccer lovers use all forms of soccer in their stats, but ignore all forms for others) in Australia – cricket and netball vie for that honour. More kids ‘do’ swimming, even though they may not compete, than soccer. Counting kindergym (under-5’s gymnastics), more people do a gymsport than soccer as well. Of course, soccer apologists will say I am lying. They always do. Neglecting to mention they lie and that I have some decent stats on my side.
            The World Cup, they claim, is the biggest sporting event in the world. And yes, it is the biggest single sport event in the world. But the Olympics and Asian Games are both larger. Soccer claims the preliminary matches count towards its size; so why don’t Olympic preliminaries count?
            It’s soccer. They aren’t going to listen to criticisms. Their McDonalds sport is like a cancer on the world and they don’t care. It has led to wars, inherent corruption, cheating (ask Ireland about that one) and ridiculous amounts of crowd violence across the world. They think none of that matters. Why should the rest of us care?
A-League Round 17
Brisbane Roar 3 def Perth Glory 2
Melbourne Victory 3 drew with Brisbane Roar 3
Central Coast Mariners 4 hammered Sydney 0
North Queensland Fury 0 def by Newcastle Jets 2
Gold Coast United 3 easily def Melbourne Heart 0
Wellington Phoenix 2 def Adelaide United 1
W-League Round 5
Melbourne Victory o hammered by Brisbane Roar 4
Canberra United 4 hammered Adelaide United 0
Perth Glory 1 def Newcastle Jets  o

NBL – Round 8
Gold Coast 85 def Sydney 68
Adelaide 92 def Townsville 79
Cairns 80 def Wollongong 62
Melbourne 82 def Gold Coast 78
Perth 90 def Townsville 64
Sydney 80 def by New Zealand 94
WNBL – Round 9
Townsville 61 def AIS 46
Bulleen 87 def Dandenong 75
West Coast 65 def by Canberra 92
Sydney 59 def Townsville 57
Bendigo 70 def by Bulleen 83
Logan 80 def AIS 45
Adelaide 66 def by Canberra  97

V-8 Supercars
Sydney 500
Race 25
1st Jonathon Webb (Falcon FG)
2nd Jason Bright (Commodore VE2)
3rd Rick Kelly (Commodore VE2)
            Only one of the five drivers – James Courtney – fighting out for the championship even finished the race! And there are complaints that his car, which was badly damaged, was actually not roadworthy enough to be allowed out of the pits after it was very quickly repaired. This is really going down to the wire…
Race 26
1st Lee Holdsworth (Commodore VE2)
2nd Steve Richards (Falcon FG)
3rd Shane van Gisbergen (Falcon FG)
Final Standings:
1st James Courtney
2nd Jamie Whincup
3rd Mark Winterbottom
4th Craig Lowndes
5th Garth Tander

Brisbane 8 def Perth 1
Adelaide 1 def by Canberra 3
Adelaide 6 def by Canberra 11
Melbourne 1 def by Sydney 3
Brisbane 2 def by Perth 7
Adelaide 1 def by Canberra 6
Brisbane 3 def Perth 1
Brisbane 2 def by Perth 3
Melbourne 1 def by Sydney 2
Melbourne 1 drew with Sydney 1 (curfew closed game)

After last week, here’s my top 10 favourite non-Australian International cricketers. Again, this comes from a little over 30 years of watching cricket, and these are my favourites, not necessarily the best.
=(10) Richard Hadlee (New Zealand). I didn’t see much of him, really, and I think I probably missed out here.
= (10) Clive Lloyd (West Indies). Ditto for this master batsman.
(9) Chris Cairns (New Zealand). First New Zealander to make me care about them.
(8) John Davison (Canada). Yes, a Canadian. And, no, he didn’t play tests.
(7) Malcolm Marshall (West Indies). Deadliest fast bowler ever.
(6) Larry Gomes (West Indies). Steady, reliable batsman.
(5) Kepler Wessels (South Africa). Okay, I know he also played for Australia, but I think he really came into his own with the South African team after all the years of world exclusion.
(4) Daniel Vettori (New Zealand). Efficient bowler and a damn fine captain.
(3) Ian Botham (England). Would have been the best all-rounder, were it not for…
(2) Imran Khan (Pakistan). Best all-rounder.
(1) Sachin Tendulkar (India). Greatest batsman I ever saw. Full stop.
            Agree? Disagree? Want to rip me a new one? Remember, these are my favourites, not necessarily the best. Feel free to leave a comment.

And that’s the View through to December 6, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #121 – The Ashes Are Here! Tue, 30 Nov 2010 23:24:40 +0000 Who cares what else is happening? England and Australia are playing one another in the Ashes! That’s all that matters! Sitting in front of the TV, an eskie full of beer and a couple of meat pies. Come on Aussie!

Australia v England – 1st Ashes Test
England 1st innings 260; Australia 1st innings 481; England 2nd innings 1(dec)/517; Australia 2nd innings 1/107
            Match drawn.
Ten Thoughts on the First Ashes Test
1) Siddle’s hat-trick was a thing of beauty. He had them bewildered and was bowling brilliantly.
2) England came into the game with such promise and hope. Their preliminary matches were dominant. But that first innings was out of character. So why did they bat like they were scared? And why did they drop so many catches?
3) Hussey saved his career with his solid 195. And Haddin has shown with his 136 that he is a worthy heir to Adam Gilchrist’s batting wicket-keeper throne.
4) Clarke should not have played – his back was clearly troubling him. That’s the only reason I can see for his poor batting and ludicrously simple dropped catch. North’s career must be at a crossroads. And Ponting could also be worried. They underperformed, all of them.
5) Bowler Steven Finn was a revelation for the English team. He could prove to be a game breaker already, and he’s barely into his 20s.
6) The second innings was a completely different English team. Where were they on the first 3 days?!
7) Cook and Strauss batted with great poise and control. Nothing silly, nothing too fancy. They had a ship to steady and they did it well.
8) Australia bowled in the second innings like a different team. Wayward and not tight at all. What happened? Did the two teams do some sort of swap during the innings break?
9) So something has happened to the ‘Gabba ground. Three partnerships in a row broke the record for highest partnerships on the ground in Ashes tests. Good to see that changes are being made so the grounds are not predictable.
10) The last day was just England so clearly playing for a draw. A drawn series means England retain the Ashes. Is this final day an indication of the sort of cricket we could be faced with for the rest of this summer – dull?

A-League Round 15 (cont)
Wellington Phoenix 2 def Melbourne Heart 0
Central Coast Mariners 1 absolutely humiliated by Brisbane Roar 5
A-League Round 16
Newcastle Jets 1 drew with Central Coast Mariners 1
Adelaide United 2 def Gold Coast 1
Wellington Phoenix 2 drew with Melbourne Victory 2
Melbourne Heart 0 drew with Sydney 0
North Queensland Fury 1 drew with Perth Glory 1
W-League Round 4
Adelaide United 0 hammered by Melbourne Victory 4
Sydney 1 def by Newcastle Jets 2
Brisbane Roar 1 def Perth Glory 0
            A goal in the 93rd minute of 94 minutes! What an ending! (There – something positive.)

NBL – Round 7
New Zealand 100 def Gold Coast 79
Townsville 94 def Melbourne 66
Wollongong 89 def Sydney 72
Perth 64 def by Cairns 72
WNBL – Round 8
AIS 53 def by Canberra 76
Dandenong 74 def Sydney 59
West Coast 66 def Townsville 64
Bendigo 72 def AIS 57
Bulleen 69 def Sydney 62
Adelaide 82 def Townsville 60

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
England 11 def by South Africa 21
France 16 destroyed by Australia 59
Wales 25 def by New Zealand 37
Ireland 29 def Argentina 9
Scotland 19 def Samoa 16

Perth 9 def Adelaide 7
Brisbane 6 def Sydney 1
Perth 9 def Adelaide 3
Perth 2 def by Adelaide 4
Brisbane 1 def by Sydney 3
Brisbane 12 def Sydney 3
            A 9-run 11th inning did it for Brisbane.
Perth 4 def by Adelaide 11
Canberra 2 def by Melbourne 6
Brisbane 0 def by Sydney 1 (finished early)
Canberra 2 def by Melbourne 10

Just thought I’d put out there my top 10 favourite Australian cricketers. I’ve been watching cricket for a little over 30 years, and with the Ashes almost completely dominating my sporting mind, here’s my favourite players. They may not be the best cricketers ever, but that does not matter.
(10) John Dyson. This batsman is on my list for many reasons – unassuming, hard working, dependable. But there is one over-riding reason why he became a favourite – he took what I consider the best ever catch in all of test cricket ever.
(9) Michael Clarke. In my opinion, best of the current crop. If he can just keep his personal life separate from his cricketing life, and not get too injured, he’ll likely become recognised as one of the greats.
(8) David Boon. A hero to all of us who are slightly, shall we say, barrel-shaped. Strong and dependable. And insane enough to enjoy fielding at silly mid-on.
(7) Darren Lehmann. Career was too short, and stop-start, mainly because of eastern state politics. Still, one of the most exciting batsmen I have ever seen.
(6) Jason Gillespie. Underrated bowler, dropped stupidly from the team after he scored a double century! Always put in full effort, no matter what.
(5) Adam Gilchrist. The greatest ever wicket-keeper batsman. And his autobiography is actually entertaining. None could score like him before Twenty20 was developed.
(4) Dennis Lillee. Maybe not as fast as others, but he still looked like he could kill you with a ball if he wanted. And he had the best moustache ever in professional sport (sorry Newk, Boonie, Merv…).
(3) Rod Marsh. Still, in my mind, Australia’s best ever wicket keeper. Could hit the ball when at bat and I even remember watching him bowl once in a ODI! Seemed to always enjoy his cricket (underarm bowling incidents notwithstanding).
(2) David Hookes. As South Australian captain I watched him with Wayne Phillips score at the time a world record partnership at Adelaide Oval. Snubbed by the Australian selectors too often, killed by some thug in Melbourne. Bad things sometimes do happen to good people.
(1) Steve Waugh. My favourite Australian captain, the highest run scorer in Australian test cricket, an underrated bowler (especially by himself). And he came across as a genuinely nice guy away from the arena.
            Agree? Disagree? Want to rip me a new one? Remember, these are my favourites, not necessarily the best. Feel free to leave a comment.

And that’s the View through to November 29, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #120 – Drafty Mon, 22 Nov 2010 11:17:32 +0000 Drafting, ashing, sporting, resulting. It’s the latest view!

Australian Rules Football
AFL – Draft
The AFL had the most compromised draft ever this week, to put the youngest players in the nation on the cattle market, not knowing what state they’ll be forced to travel to, away from family and friends. Yes, I know they put themselves up for it. But without those positive influences and support, is it any wonder we see such pathetic behaviour from our footballers?
            Ah-hem. Sorry.
            The draft top 20:
1 Gold Coast – David Swallow (East Fremantle/Gold Coast)
2 Gold Coast – Harley Bennell (Peel Thunder)
3 Gold Coast – Sam Day (Sturt)
4 West Coast – Andrew Gaff (Oakleigh Chargers)
5 Brisbane Lions – Jared Polec (Woodville-West Torrens)
6 Richmond – Reece Conca (Perth)
7 Gold Coast – Josh Candy (Northern Knights)
8 Essendon – Dyson Heppell (Gippsland Power)
9 Gold Coast – Dion Prestia (Calder Cannons)
10 Gold Coast – Daniel Gorringe (Norwood)
11 Gold Coast – Tom Lynch (Dandenong Stingrays)
12 Melbourne – Lucas Cook (North Ballarat Rebels)
13 Gold Coast – Seb Tape (Glenelg)
14 Adelaide – Brodie Smith (Woodville-West Torrens)
15 Geelong – Billie Smedts (Geelong Falcons)
16 Port Adelaide – Ben Jacobs (Sandringham Dragons)
17 North Melbourne – Shaun Atley (Murray Bushrangers)
18 Carlton – Matthew Watson (Calder Cannons)
19 Hawthorn – Isaac Smith (North Ballarat VFL)
20 Fremantle – Jayden Pitt (Geelong Falcons)
(Collingwood, Sydney, Western Bulldogs, St Kilda had their first picks after the top 20)
            In all, a safe draft, with Gold Coast getting the pick of the crop. Talk is the AFL is extremely dissatisfied with Fremantle having such poor returns, and so is determined to make Gold Coast successful. To give you an idea of how much they are determined – when Adelaide entered the AFL in the early 1990s, they were not allowed to participate in the draft until their second year. Gold Coast on the other hand are getting more priority picks and concessions than all other interstate teams combined have ever had. And Greater Western Sydney will do the same. Why? Because the AFL does not care about its heartland but wants to waste money trying to take the sport into places where it will struggle to even be accepted, let alone adopted, by the people. They see money. And to the AFL that is all that matters: $$$.

Australia A v England
Australia A 1st innings 230; England 1st innings 523; Australia A 2nd innings 301; England 2nd innings 0/11
            England won very easily by 10 wickets
All the cricket news in Australia is focused, unsurprisingly, on the upcoming Ashes battle (and see down below for a brief overview of what that series is…). And this year has seen a return to an old format that I think is great – the visiting English team playing various state teams and an Australia A team. While other national teams may be ranked higher than the English, there is something special about the Ashes campaign that means it should be treated as different. I like this way of going about things after a few years of it not happening, and I hope it continues.
            The only other bit of news concerns the South African team. Now, the South Africans are a little bit annoyed that Australia insists that any tour of Australia by South Africa include the Christmas period for the Boxing Day and New Years tests in Melbourne and Sydney respectively. The Australians know these are their two biggest cash cows and are reluctant to see them go at all. The South Africans, on the other hand, quite rightly point out that this is also a time for celebration of cricket in their home country, being in the Southern Hemisphere and all, and they want the South Africa/Australia tours to be shared across this time. Australia have refused, meaning the tours of these countries by these countries are going to be cut cruelly short. Yes, it would be a shame to have the Boxing Day test at the MCG gone for a year… but South Africa do deserve something at a time when they would also like to celebrate and reap in some rewards. The day does not belong to Australia exclusively.
            Oh how I love it when the almighty dollar speaks louder than what’s the best for the sport, especially in a nation like South Africa that everyone pays lip service to helping… so long as it doesn’t hinder themselves.

Egypt 3 def Australia 0
A-League Round 14 (cont)
Newcastle Jets 1 drew with Brisbane Roar 1
Melbourne Victory 2 drew with Central Coast Mariners 2
A-League Round 15
Melbourne Heart 0 def by Adelaide United 2
Newcastle Jets 1 def Wellington Phoenix 0
Brisbane Roar 1 drew with North Queensland Fury 1
Sydney 2 def Perth Glory 0
Central Coast Mariners 2 def by Gold Coast United 3
W-League Round 3
Canberra United 1 drew with Melbourne Victory 1
Newcastle Jets 0 hammered by Brisbane Roar 4
Sydney 4 hammered Adelaide United 1

NBL – Round 6
New Zealand 57 def by Wollongong 73
Melbourne 84 def by Perth 93
Cairns 87 def Adelaide 71
Gold Coast 82 def by Melbourne 85
Townsville 77 def Adelaide 73
WNBL – Round 7
Dandenong 74 def by Bendigo 77
AIS 61 def by Sydney 71
West Coast 72 def Adelaide 59
Bulleen 74 def Logan 67
Bendigo 72 def Logan 67

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
Ireland 18 def by New Zealand 38
Scotland 21 def South Africa 17
England 26 def Samoa 13
Italy 14 def by Australia 32
Wales 16 drew with Fiji 16

V-8 Supercars
Sandown Challenge
Race 23
1st Paul Dumbrell (Falcon FG)
2nd Jamie Whincup (Commodore VE)
3rd Mark Winterbottom (Falcon FG)
Race 24
1st James Courtney (Falcon FG)
2nd Mark Winterbottom (Falcon FG)
3rd Jamie Whincip (Commodore VE)

Adelaide 2 def by Perth 4
Adelaide 7 def Perth 3
Melbourne 2 def by Canberra 5
Sydney 5 def by Brisbane 9
Sydney 3 def by Brisbane 4
Melbourne 4 def Canberra 0
Sydney 4 def Brisbane 0
Adelaide 4 def by Perth 6
Melbourne 3 def Canberra 1
Melbourne 8 def Canberra 9 (extra innings)
Adelaide 4 def Perth 3
Sydney 2 def Brisbane 0

The Ashes
            I promised this last year and never actually did it. So here is a brief history of the Ashes, the cricketing world’s longest rivalry and longest lived fought over “trophy”.
            The first tour of England by an Australian team appears to have been in 1868, when a team of Aboriginal Australians were sent to England. More a curiosity than anything at the time, it was still the first.
            The first officially recognised Test match was held in March of 1877 between England and Australia, in Australia, which Australia won by 45 runs (quirk of history – the centenary cricket match between England and Australia in 1977 was won by Australia by, you guessed it, 45 runs). I should point out now that the first international cricket match ever was played between Canada and the United States in 1844.
            The Ashes themselves dates back to 1882 when Australia defeated England for the first time ever on English soil. The name comes from an ‘obituary’ in the UK newspaper The Sporting Times: “In Affectionate Remembrance of ENGLISH CRICKET, which died at the Oval on 29th AUGUST 1882, Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances R.I.P. N.B.—The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.”
            At the start of the next series English captain Ivo Bligh promised to “bring back the ashes.” He was presented with a gift of an urn, which contained the ashes of some object (variously believed to be a bail, a ball, a stump or a woman’s veil – and the last is the most widely believed now) by some Melbourne women after England won the deciding test in this subsequent 1883 series. This was presented to the MCC upon Bligh’s death and is now the symbol of the contest (though not, as is widely believed, the actual trophy; until the 1990s there was not a real, actual trophy).
            The media latched onto this and the name at the time, but it soon faded from public usage. The term remained used by only the cricketers themselves until the early 1900s when the term was once more used by an English captain in public and this time the media did not let go of it and the name stuck. So we have the Ashes.
            The series is held in alternating 18 and 30 month gaps in the alternating nations. It is one of the few test series remaining where the teams play five games instead of the now standard 3 (or less in some cases).
            It should also be pointed out that England currently holds The Ashes, after defeating Australia 2–1 to regain them in 2009 in Great Britain. Australia, though, leads overall with 31 series wins to England’s 29, with 5 drawn (4 of those leading to Australia retaining and one for England).

And that’s the View through to November 22, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #119 – Arias and not as much dog sex Tue, 16 Nov 2010 11:33:48 +0000  More results than you could shake a stick at! If, of course, stick shaking is your thing. It’s not mine. I prefer girls. Call it a weakness.

Pakistan wicket-keeper Zulqarnain Haider didn’t report in Dubai for Pakistan’s match against South Africa (held, as is usual nowadays for a Pakistani team, in a neutral country). Grave fears were held for him, until he rocked up at London’s Heathrow Airport. There he has claimed asylum, claiming that he received death threats because he refused to be involved in match fixing.
            The International Cricket Council, in their own special way, have said they cannot help him unless he helps them. They also say they are in constant contact with the Pakistan Cricket Board over all of this. After all, they feel this is a “team matter’.
            Yes, let’s make the terrified cricketer who feels he has to flee for his life feel even more vulnerable and threatened.

A-League Round 13 (cont)
Adelaide United 2 def Perth Glory 0
North Queensland Fury 2 def by Melbourne Heart 3
A-League Round 14
Gold Coast United 3 def Sydney 1
Wellington Phoenix 0 def by Central Coast Mariners 3
Newcastle Jets 3 def Adelaide United 1
Perth Glory 3 def Melbourne Victory 1
Melbourne Heart 1 def by Brisbane Roar 2
W-League Round 1
Brisbane Roar 2 def by Sydney 4
Adelaide United 0 def by Newcastle Jets 2
Perth Glory 1 def by Canberra United 4
W-League Round 2
Perth Glory 4 hammered Adelaide United 0
Canberra United 1 drew with Brisbane Roar 1
Melbourne Victory 1 def by Sydney 4
Why bother?

NBL – Round 5
Adelaide 78 def by New Zealand 82
Cairns 96 def Gold Coast 76
Sydney 59 def by Townsville 64
Perth 114 def New Zealand 74
Wollongong 93 def Melbourne 82
WNBL – Round 6
Sydney 78 def by West Coast 81
Townsville 95 def AIS 55
Canberra 87 def Bendigo 59
Dandenong 98 def Adelaide 64
Logan 68 def Sydney 64
Bulleen 104 def West Coast 81
Another quiet week. Things are settling in nicely so far with the new Australian league. Now if they can only attract some crowds.

Rugby League
Four Nations
Australia 12 def by New Zealand 16
Last week I talked about Joel Monaghan’s indiscretion with a member of the animal kingdom. Well, of course, a story like this just ain’t going to go away!
            This week Monaghan quite the Canberra Raiders to , he said, save the team further embarrassment over his utterly ridiculous behaviour. Sad, yeah, but that’s the way it goes. What he did was just not acceptable.
            And in that vein, Canberra’s executive Don Furner expressed his hope that one day Monaghan would be able to return and play for the Raiders. Of course, that would be good… Hang on! What the…? They want him back? And he already has a Super League club ready to take him on in Europe?
            Okay, he didn’t kill anyone, he didn’t take drugs, he didn’t abuse a woman. But the guy got so drunk he thought it was funny to think about having sex with a dog! It does not matter that it was ‘simulated’, the fact is that thought actually crossed that man’s mind! But he did so much good for Canberra, the apologists cry. Sure, and even more to make man’s best friend feel loved and wanted.
            Now this does not mean he should never ever play rugby again. Far from it. But at least, please, let the furore die down before trying to rehabilitate a guy. Forgiveness is wonderful; but we need to forget exactly what it was he did first. There needs to be a time frame. There needs to be some sort of punishment seen at least to be served. At least a little one.

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
Wales 25 def by South Africa 29
Scotland 3 hammered by New Zealand 49
Ireland 20 def Samoa 10
Italy 16 def by Argentina 22
England 35 def Australia 18
            Equal highest winning margin by England against Australia, and the highest point total they have ever scored against Australia. Things look shaky for Australia in the upcoming World Cup.

Formula One
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
3rd Jenson Button (McLaren)
Driver’s Championship:
1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
            The youngest driver ever to be world F1 champ.
2nd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
3rd Mark Webber (Red Bull)
            Shame he didn’t win but when even his team was pulling for the other guy, he really didn’t have much hope. However, excellent season from a man who 3 years ago was seen as all talk. This is the way to come back at your critics – with results. Oh that more sports people understood that!
V-8 Supercars
Falken Tasmania Challenge
Race 21
1st Craig Lowndes (Commodore VE)
2nd Garth Tander (Commodore VE)
3rd Greg Murphy (Commodore VE)
Race 22
1st Mark Winterbottom (Falcon FG)
2nd Paul Dumbrell  (Falcon FG)
3rd Jason Bright (Commodore VE)

For the first time in 10 years we have a professional baseball league in this country! 6 teams at this stage, lots of games.
            (Any suggestions as to how you want this, just the scores, or RHE stats, let me know below…)
Canberra 0 def by Sydney 1
Melbourne 1 def by Adelaide 9
Perth 3 def by Brisbane 8
Canberra 2 def by Sydney 4
Melbourne 4 def by Adelaide 7
Perth 2 def Brisbane 0
Melbourne 2 def by Adelaide 13
Perth 4 def Brisbane 2
Canberra 3 def by Sydney 13 (called early)
Melbourne 3 def by Adelaide 8
Perth 4 def Brisbane 1
Canberra 5 def by Sydney 7

ARIA Awards 2010.
            The ARIA Awards (Australian Recording Industry Association) are the Australian Grammy Awards. Given to music acts, this year it was done in a manner that can only be described as… strange. The acts seemed to be all over the place when accepting their awards, it looked like a chaotic mess, Carmen Electra was there talking about sex videos and it was, quite simply, strange.
Album of the Year: Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way
Single of the Year: Angus & Julia Stone – Big Jet Plane
Best Female Artist: Washington – I Believe You Liar
Best Male Artist: Dan Sultan – Get Out While You Can
Best Group: The Temper Trap – Conditions
Best Independent Release: Sia – We Are Born
Best Adult Alternative Album: Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way
Best Adult Contemporary Album: Crowded House – Intriguer
Best Blues & Roots Album: Dan Sultan – Get Out While You Can
Best Children’s Album: The Wiggles – Let’s Eat!
Best Comedy Release: Andrew Hanson, Chris Taylor & Craig Shuftan – The Blow Parade
Best Country Album: The McClymonts – Wrapped Up Good
Best Dance Release: Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP – We No Speak Americano
Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album: Parkway Drive – Deep Blue
Best Music DVD: Various Artists – Sound Relief
Best Pop Release: Sia – We Are Born
Best Rock Album: Birds of Tokyo – Birds of Tokyo
Best Urban Album: M-Phazes – Good Gracious
Breakthrough Artist: Washington – I Believe You Liar
Best Classical Album: Australian Brandenburg Orchestra & Paul Dyer Tapas – Tastes of the Baroque
Best Jazz Album: James Morrison & The Idea of North – Feels Like Spring
Best Original Soundtrack/Cast/Show Album: Before Too Long Triple J’s Tribute to Paul Kelly
Best World Music Album: Mamadou Diabate, Bobby Singh & Jeff Lang – Djan Djan
Best Cover Art: Angus & Julia Stone for Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way
Best Video: Kris Moyes (dir.) for Sia – Clap Your Hands
Engineer of the Year: Wayne Connolly, Paul Dempsey, Fast Friends for Little Birdy – Confetti
Producer of the Year: Angus & Julia Stone for Angus & Julia Stone – Down the Way
            Public voted awards
Most Popular Australian Album: Powderfinger – Golden Rule
Most Popular Australian Single: The Temper Trap – Sweet Disposition
Most Popular International Artist – Mumford & Sons
Most Popular Australian Artist: Powderfinger
            ARIA Hall of Fame Inductees
The Church
The Loved Ones
John Williamson
Johnny Young

And that’s the View through to November 15, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #118 – I Hear Motion Mon, 08 Nov 2010 23:53:37 +0000  Sport, horses, marijuana, dogs, crashes, a musician dies. It’s been just another week here in Australia. No, really, it has. Intrigued? I hope so. Please, do read on…

One Day International
1st ODI: Australia v Sri Lanka
Australia 8/239; Sri Lanka 9/243 (44.2 overs) – Sri Lanka defeated Australia by 1 wicket.
            Sri Lanka were 8/107… and still won! One of the greatest comebacks ever in the history of cricket. This means two things – Australia is not ready for England, and Sri Lanka are still a genuine power of world cricket, not to be taken lightly.
2nd ODI: Australia v Sri Lanka
Rain-affected match with the Duckworth-Lewis so-called system to sort things out making it even worse for all those involved.
Sri Lanka 3/213 (41.1 overs); Australia 210 (37.4 overs) – Sri Lanka won by 29 runs.
            Yes, despite being 3 runs ahead, they won by 29. You work it out.
3rd ODI: Australia v Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka 115 (32 overs); Australia 2/119 (21.4 overs) – Australia won by 8 wickets
            Hang on… what happened? Did these two teams have a transplant or something? The only interest in the end was whether Clarke would get his half century, which he did when he scored the winning runs with a four. Wow. This makes no sense.
One moment Clarke should be taking over from Ponting in all forms of the game in Australia. Next, Clarke should be dumped for North. The media in this country is running rampant with rumours that are being put forward as fact. You’d think they all worked at FoxNews or something. The team is in trouble with their performances, yes. There is no denying that. But it is most likely not in trouble internally. Not to this extent. Yes, some players are under pressure to retain their positions. But that is as it should be. Keeps them on their toes and means if they continually fail to perform they can be replaced. (Not always, of course. There are too many examples of Cricket Australia ignoring young talent to prop up a failing career in its twilight just because the player in question is from NSW or Vic… but generally, this rule works.) But to have such ridiculous statements putting extra, unneeded pressure on the team is just going to be detrimental to the whole immediate future of Australian cricket.
            FoxNews belongs to the former Australian Rupert Murdoch, the Republican Party and certain Arab Oil Sheiks. Its obscene practices of putting forth badly thought out opinion and works of fiction as news should not be influencing Australia that much.

A-League Round 12 (cont)
Wellington Phoenix 1 def by Brisbane Roar 4
Perth Glory 0 drew with Melbourne Heart 0
A-League Round 13
North Queensland Fury 0 def by Central Coast Mariners 1
Melbourne Victory 0 def by Gold Coast United 1
Brisbane Roar 4 def Adelaide United 0
Sydney 1 def Newcastle Jets 0
            An obvious refereeing mistake gave Sydney this one, not their own skill.
Perth Glory 0 def by Wellington Phoenix 1
Why bother?

NBL – Round 4
Townsville 85 def by Perth 91
Cairns 86 def Perth 69
Gold Coast 81 def by New Zealand 96
Adelaide 87 def Sydney 75
Melbourne 82 def by Wollongong 86
WNBL – Round 5
Canberra 74 def  Townsville 61
West Coast 64 def by Bendigo 67
Dandenong 99 def Logan 63
AIS 59 def by Townsville 82
Sydney 75 def by Bulleen 95
Adelaide 79 def by Bendigo 91
Wow! A week’s gone by without some international competition being beset by issues!

Rugby League
Four Nations
Papua New Guinea 10 def by England 36
New Zealand 20 def by Australia 34
            And the New Zealand crowd lost it, pelting the ground with rubbish after their team’s loss, including a full bottle of beer which hit one of the Australian players in the head. Last week I said Australia were the best on the day; now it seems they are better. Period.
            At the moment.
Back in June Roosters hooker Jake Friend was arrested. It was found he had drugs on his person. Well, on Tuesday in court it came out they were Valium taken from an 89 year old patient of a nursing home with mental degeneration issues who had no connection to rugby in any way, shape or form. How Friend got them is anyone’s guess.
            But that’s not the big news. Oh no, no, no!
            This one is to be listed in the ‘What the hell were they thinking?’ file. Canberra Raiders star player Joel Monaghan is being investigated for something that allegedly happened during the club’s ‘Mad Monday’ debauchery. Nothing unusual there – rugby players go off the rails all the time during Mad Monday. So what did he do to get such instant notoriety?
            He was photographed by a team-mate while having a simulated sex act with a dog.
            He was allegedly photographed by an alleged team-mate while allegedly having an allegedly simulated sex act with an alleged dog.
            The anonymous man who posted it online has been threatened (of course – shoot the messenger is always the cry of rugby league). He said he only did it after asking the Raiders for a comment and he was rebuked. The radio station that brought wide attention to it by posting it online somewhere took it down very quickly.
            It seems that yet again rugby league sprang to the defence of the indefensible. Now, after the public outing, they are having inquiries and such. Stuff that would not have happened had it remained an in-house joke amongst mates. It may well have become part of league folklore. But it became public so now everyone involved is saying it’s bad, tut-tut. Hypocrites.
            But, anyway, Monaghan’s manager is reported to have said, “It was a moment of abject stupidity brought about by too much drink and a complete lack of any thought process.”
            Can’t add anything more to that.

Rugby Union
Spring Tour
Wales 16 def by Australia 25
Ireland 21 def by South Africa 23
England 16 def by New Zealand 26

Formula One
Brazilian Grand Prix
1st Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
2nd Mark Webber (Red Bull)
3rd Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
4th Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
Any of these four can win the drivers’ championship come the last race of the year in Abu Dhabi, while the 1-2 secures Red Bull the construction title, their first. I can’t remember a championship this close in F-1. Maybe 2 drivers fighting it out, but 4? And down to the wire? At least it’s making things interesting for a change.

Horse Racing
Melbourne Cup
The richest race is Australia. It is called the race that stops a nation because, well, it seems most people are watching it. It’s a public holiday in Victoria. Every other state has office sweeps in their local papers. And because for some reason abusing animals is considered sport, I shall put the results here.
            But: The RSPCA estimates that 70% of thoroughbreds born in Victoria do not race and that of those that do race a third are lost to “wastage”. What happens to these animals? Are they onsold to become children’s pets? Put out to stud? Exported to be eaten? Who knows?
1st Americain (a French horse)
2nd Malucky Day
3rd So You Think (the favourite)
A veteran Australian jockey has been suspended for 3 months for being caught out with a positive test for marijuana. Stupid? Yep. Overkill? For sure. Does a jockey taking dope mean anything? Nope. These guys are not the role models of other sports people. And the photo of him after copping the ban showed him with a cigarette and can of beer. To quote/paraphrase the late, great Bill Hicks (because I can never remember these things exactly): The government wants its drugs taxable.” Especially after recent studies [] done on the subject show some rather interesting indicators.

Dale Parker, 18 year old Australian cyclist who recently won a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in India, is suddenly finding his career at the cross-roads. Allegedly, while or after doing burnouts in his car, he crashed his car into a stobey pole after dropping a mate off somewhere, causing the pole to fall on said mate, injuring him quite severely. Parker was tested and found to be over the blood alcohol limit.
            So he lost his licence and will have to face the courts. Then Cycling South Australia have asked him step down from all racing commitments for the time being. And now he appears to be in danger of losing his spot on Lance Armstrong’s Trek-Livestrong development squad as well, meaning his ProTour dreams may also be dashed.
            No other comments. Just putting this out there.

Musician James Freud found dead.
            At the age of 51, front man of the Australian band The Models, James Freud apparently took his own life after a long on-again, off-again battle with alcohol abuse.
            I just wanted to pout this out there because the Models were one of my favourite Australians bands in the 1980s. I first came across James Freud in 1980 with his single ‘Modern Girl’ (performed by James Freud and the Radio Stars). This band tried to record with Gary Numan, the results apparently were not seen by either party as any good and it was shelved, then the band broke up.
            He then joined the Models in 1982 and stayed with them until they broke up. ‘I Hear Motion’, ‘Barbados’ and their mammoth hit ‘Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight’ were part of the sound track to my teenaged years. The pounding drum beats of OOM,OOS would generate a line of air drummers at nearly every Blue Light Disco.
            They were inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in October, but he was not present with his former band mates, though veiled references to his issues were made at that time.
            A sad bit of news, to be sure, but he has left a body of work that resonates at least with this one old, jaded music fan. Vale.

And that’s the View through to November 8, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #117 – Oi Oi Oi! Mon, 01 Nov 2010 22:21:21 +0000  In which we this week look at various sports featuring various Australians and discuss the chant that has made drunken Australian sports lovers as well-loved the world over as a fart in an elevator.

Australian Rules Football
International Rules
Ireland 1.11.13 (52) def by Australia 0.14.13 (55)
The draw for the 2011 AFL competition has been released. Whereas the AFL rigged the draw for the past 5 years to gift Collingwood a grand final, now that that has paid off it looks like Carlton is the next Melbourne team to be given a grand final win. Their draw is so heavily biased it is almost unbelievable. I did say ‘almost unbelievable’, because the two big Melbourne clubs winning flags means more money for the AFL from Melbourne and that is all Demetriou cares about – money.

Twenty20 International
Australia v Sri Lanka
Australia 8/133; Sri Lanka 3/135 (16.3 overs) – Sri Lanka hammered Australia by 7 wickets.
            Considering the team is made up primarily of players from Victoria and New South Wales (what a shocker!), and it was South Australia who did the best in the recent T20 world club champion ship, is this result a surprise to anyone?
Two bits of news.
            First, Cricket Australia is in hot water over a publicity stunt for the upcoming Ashes, where a holographic image was broadcast onto the House of Parliament. They did not get planning permission and face legal action and a hefty fine. This brings two things to mind. First, the English clearly have no sense of humour. Second, Cricket Australia think that this is more important than getting our team right for the series. Mind you, I thought it was funny.
            Second, the English team has been told their WaGs (Wives and Girlfriends) are not welcome on the tour this time, apart from a brief Christmas window. It’s about time. While I can see the side of the story that says they miss their families, this sort of distraction can be detrimental to a team. And, as was shown in a recent Australian team, when the WaGs don’t get along, the whole team suffers. Well done, England; this might be the little thing to tip the scales in your balance.

A-League Round 12
Melbourne Victory 2 def Adelaide United 1
            Adelaide’s first loss for the year. And it was against Melbourne. They just cannot beat the Victory, can they?
Sydney 1 drew with Brisbane Roar 1
Central Coast Mariners 5 completely embarrassed Perth Glory 0
Newcastle Jets 0 def by Melbourne Heart 2
North Queensland Fury 1 def by Gold Coast United 2
Why bother?

NBL – Round 3
New Zealand 84 def Melbourne 79
Perth 87 def Wollongong 84
Gold Coast 92 def Cairns 81
Townsville 80 def Sydney 79
Adelaide 82 def by Wollongong 96
WNBL – Round 4
Canberra 93 def Adelaide 76
Logan 80 def Dandenong 68
AIS 86 def Adelaide 79
Sydney 83 def by Canberra 87
Bulleen 85 def Bendigo 55
Townsville 73 def Dandenong 66
Apparently the players in the Greek League are striking at the moment. The first round started this weekend with a few strike breakers and a lot of foreigners. Riot police attended all the games. Sit-ins occurred. In one game all the spectators were ejected.
            Australian basketball really is boring. Thank God.

Rugby League
I had this as union last week. My bad. It’s actually league, so I’ll start again…
Four Nations
New Zealand 24 def England 10
Australia 42 def Papua New Guinea 0
New Zealand 76 def Papua New Guinea 12
Australia 34 def England 14

Rugby Union
Tri-Nations / Bledisloe Cup
Australia 26 def New Zealand 24
            In Hong Kong! No home ground advantage. Does this mean that Australia is actually better than New Zealand? Only in this one case. The two countries are both very good and either could have come out on top on any given day. And the closeness of the score says just that. Great game. (And thank God for the Internet or else I never would have seen it.)

During the course of the past week Australia managed to get its first saint in Mary MacKillop, giving more fire to the outdated religion that is Catholicism to stake a claim as Australia’s premier religion. But that is by the by – worshipping dead people before God is something Catholics do very well.
            The issue was with a group of Australians in the Vatican when the proclamation was made. What did they do? Yes, they chanted. And not ‘Nearer my God to Thee.’ No no no. It was “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!” Yes, that boofhand bogan cry was used at what is considered a solemn, religious ceremony.
            Mind you, all it takes is 3 Australians and three cans of beer in the middle of a crowd of any size, throw in something vaguely patriotic and the cry rings out like a car alarm at 3am. Sporting events the world over have rung out to a sound that is second in the annoyance stakes only to the vuvuzela. Well, now there is serious discussion that it needs to be replaced in the Australian psyche.
            Several prominent people have called for it to be replaced and a majority of Australians (according to a NewsPoll) are embarrassed by it. The problem with it is twofold. First, it is not used exclusively at sporting events. It was there at Mary’s canonisation. It’s at Gallipoli each year. It rang out at Fromelles during the interment of the bodies in a new cemetery. It was even shouted out at more than one political rally during the recent Federal election. Second, it’s not Australian. It was stolen from some British groups.
            Yes, it is harmless. And I sort of don’t mind it at sporting events (though hearing it when Australia came 53rd out of 52 competitors in the Olympics was a little bit sad), but its constant use is nothing short of stupid. Sure, it’s bad enough for our reputation in the world when Schutzenfest in Germany has special tents for Australians only because they cannot control themselves, but to compound it with an inane, imbecilic cry just makes us look more like yobs than we already are.
            The next problem is what do we replace it with? And considering the literacy levels of the FaceBook / mobile phone generation all about us, it’s going to be one hell of a lot worse.

And that’s the View through to November 1, 2010.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #116 – Rainy Day Women Mon, 25 Oct 2010 21:15:46 +0000 Lots of sport results and then there’s the latest drugs in sport scandal. Just another week in the heady world of elite physical endeavour, I guess.

Australian Rules Football
Exhibition Match
Melbourne 12.12 (84) def Brisbane 11.13 (79)
            The match was played at Jiang Wan Stadium, Shanghai, China. Accounts say 7000 or so were in the crowd and that it was a fine game, with Melbourne’s Liam Jurrah supplying some awesome highlights. Just wish we got to see it.
International Rules
Ireland 1.8.10 (40) def by Australia 0.14.5 (47)
            International Rules is a strange hybrid of Australian Rules and Gaelic football. It is more confusing that either game, is played with a round ball, has 3 scoring potentials and is fast and entertaining. It appears to me to be more Gaelic than Aussie in the structure of the game, etc, but what is disappointing is that true Australian Rules cannot be played with an international team, maybe made up of the best in the rest of the world. Of course, that would be unfair, like the USA fielding a best of the best gridiron team against the rest of the world. Maybe the AFL champ could take on the best of the world, or the SANFL champ could take on the best of the USA or Canada or something. Or anything because International Rules means absolutely nothing to either code.

2nd ODI: India v Australia at ACA-VDCA Stadium
            Australia 3/289; India 5/292 (48.5 overs) – India won by 5 wickets
3rd ODI: India v Australia at Nehru Stadium
            Match abandoned due to a lake forming where the outfield used to be.
India won the three match series 1-0.
The Pakistan illegal betting disaster terror thing has taken an interesting turn this week with Pakistani fast bowler Mohammad Asif withdrawing his appeal against the charges laid against him. Apparently, he is now waiting to see just what the charges actually are before he appeals. Fair enough. But this brings up another issue – why haven’t the charges been finalised? Is the fact that this was set up by a newspaper and not the IOC embarrassed the IOC so much they are going to say it was just that – a set up and therefore not to be taken seriously? Another big sporting organisation doing something to cover its own arse? Really? Who woulda thunked it? Of course, that is conjecture on my part and there may be a legitimate reason for the delay. But this is clearly not going to end any time soon.

A-League Round 10 (cont)
Brisbane Roar 2 def Central Coast Mariners 0
A-League Round 11
Adelaide United 3 def Wellington Phoenix 0
Melbourne Heart 0 drew with Gold Coast United 0
Brisbane Roar 2 def Melbourne Victory 1
Perth Glory 0 def by Sydney 3
Why bother?

NBL – Round 2
New Zealand 96 def Perth 94
Wollongong 71 def Townsville 70
Cairns 85 def Adelaide 74
Gold Coast 94 def Townsville 90
Melbourne 66 hammered by Perth 91
Apologies for forgetting the ladies! Here’s the catch-up.
Round 1
AIS 64 def by Logan 87
Townsville 69 def by Sydney 75
Adelaide 80 def by Dandenong 94
Bulleen 71 def by Canberra 79
West Coast 48 def by Dandenong 77
Bendigo 43 def by Canberra 64
Logan 72 def by Sydney 76
Round 2
Canberra 73 def Sydney 60
Bendigo 74 def by Dandenong 76
Townsville 73 def by Logan 82
West Coast 86 def Bulleen 75
Canberra 80 def AIS 46
Adelaide 83 def West Coast 74
Round 3
Dandenong 87 def AIS 52
Logan 64 def Canberra 63
West Coast 66 def by Sydney 79
Townsville 67 def by Canberra 81
AIS 53 def by Bendigo 77
As I said last week, I don’t expect a lot of basketball news. In fact, the biggest story was a brawl between China and Brazil during a “friendly” international, resulting in five Chinese players and officials being suspended.
            You know, that might be just the thing to bring back the big crowds to Australian basketball. And how hard would it be to instigate a brawl between Melbourne and Adelaide or anyone and Sydney? Worth thinking about, maybe?

V-8 Supercars – Gold Coast 600
Race 19
1st Cameron McConville / Garth Tander (Commodore VE)
2nd Craig Lowndes / Andy Priaulx (Commodore VE)
3ed Shane van Gisbergen / John McIntyre (Falcon FG)
            A controversial black flag penalty marred the outcome of this race. It makes you think the Gold Coast is cursed. The Indy Car race there fell through (no one really knows why) while the A1GP race was cancelled with a week to go following this. And now controversy in the V8s. Cursed, I tells ya!
Race 20
1st Jamie Whincup / Steve Owen (Commodore VE)
2nd Shane van Gisbergen / John McIntyre (Falcon FG)
3rd Mark Winterbottom / Luke Youlden (Falcon FG)
Formula One – Korean Grand Prix
1st Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
2nd Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
3rd Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
            Neither Webber nor Vettel finished the race, dropping Webber to second and Vettel to fourth on the drivers’ championship list. This means literally any of as many as 5 drivers can win the title this year. One of the closest seasons in years.
And news out of Formula One this week, where Red Bull boss still thinks Vettel is better than Webber, despite Webber being ahead of Vettel in driver’s leader board, even after Vettel has apparently been favoured by the team. Webber was called paranoid for claiming they were favouring Vettel; these comments make it seem as though his paranoia is justified. A European who is relatively young is going to be a better marketer for their Red Bull energy drinks than the better driver. I hope Webber finds a team who treats him fairly because he has proven this year he is a damn fine driver, despite everyone in Australia feeling he was over-rated for far too long. Glad to eat my words on that one!

Rugby Union
Four Nations
New Zealand 24 def England 10
Australia 42 thoroughly embarrassed Papua New Guinea 0

For those unaware, I was a gymnast, and still occasionally dabble in performance acrobatics (as seen here). As such, I tend to follow Australia’s mostly disappointing gymnastics results.
            But this week Australian Lauren Mitchell won Australia’s first ever artistic gold medal at a World Championships level, defeating all-around champion Aliya Mustafina on the floor. Well done! After the Commonwealth Games where our results were better than expected against Britain and Canada this has topped off a great year for Australian gymnastics.

Yep, let’s keep this column firmly entrenched in the world of sport for a change. I know, sport in a sports column. So shoot me.
            One of the big local news stories this weekend is the allegation that at least 9 elite sports people have tested positive for a banned substance. It appears to be the same drug – methylhexaneamine, or dimethylamylamine (DMAA) – in each case. This is an ingredient in some nasal decongestants, and has gained notoriety as a common component in party drugs in Australia and New Zealand. It is also on the banned substances list of WADA as of 2009.
            Because of this sudden increase (or spike) in its apparent detection (and hence alleged use), the Australian Sports Ant-Doping Authority have urged athletes to be careful of what they may inadvertently consume.
            The athletes involved are believed to include AFL, NRL and other sporting people. It was pointed out that this may include some members of the Commonwealth Games squad. Just so the media can make it seem like it is the hugest thing ever, I guess. If found guilty, the athletes in question could face a two-year ban. Of course, names have not been released in any official channels (though at least one dirt site did name a NRL player, but that is to be taken with the hugest grain of salt imaginable and I only mention it to show what sort of scum-suckers we have in our media here, just like Britain and the USA). The NRL said is it aware of this happening at lower grades not the higher levels, while the AFL says it could never happen to their sport because Ben Cousins did not ever play their sport and their heads are too far up their arses to see anything anyway.
            Now, I am NOT saying that AFL and NRL players ARE involved. In fact, everyone is denying their players are involved because they have not heard anything. I am just pointing out the attitudes of the sports based on past experiences.
            Okay. There are two issues here. The first, and most serious, is the fact that some of our athletes are clearly taking drugs. Not for sports enhancement, but most likely as a party drug. (That is a guess on my part, but the nature of the drug and its timing seems to indicate that is the case.) While what people do in their own homes is none of my business, the fact is that they know in Australia, for better or worse, sports people are held up as amongst our greatest rôle models. The fact is that I know of some children who so look up to their favourite AFL stars that they already talk about the tattoos they are going to get, the alcohol they want to drink and the way they think they can act like an arrogant arsehole in public because the player does the same. These are 12-15 year olds, by the way, not 8 year olds. And so you throw a party drug into the mix and these kids without the physical conditioning and huge support mechanisms these players have are going to crash and burn.
            The second issue is more insidious. These are allegations. It comes from a preliminary report. And yet it is splashed on the newspapers, online and everything (yes, I’m doing it here as well) as a fait accompli that it is 100% accurate. So the media is once again playing judge, jury and executioner. They already dominate sport to a ridiculous degree, and now they are going to be deciding the fate of players? Because to read the articles, that is what it seems like.
            While I do not mind the globalisation of the media – especially when you have a country like Australia that has a government determined to censor what we read, see and hear – the power this gives the media is now out of proportion. And it frightens me. I don’t want to see trial by media become the norm. I don’t want to see populist public opinion become legislation. And I don’t want to see special interest groups being loud and noisy and dominating what should otherwise be a decent, serious debate about real issues affecting real people.
            I fear, however, that I am too late.

Bizarre fact: There are only 46 States of the USA. Four are actually Commonwealths (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia).

And that’s the View through to October 25, 2010.

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The View From Down Here #85 Mon, 08 Mar 2010 11:38:42 +0000 THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #85

 With cricket winding up on the domestic front, basketball coming to a close, union just starting, league almost just starting, the AFL in their pre-season cup days, this week (and especially weekend) was dominated by 3 nights of wrestling as Riot Coty Wrestling presented their annual Strength Tournament as part of the Adelaide Fringe Festival! The review for that is still to come, so what a weekend I had! Here’s the rest of the sport!

1st One-Day International
New Zealand v Australia
Australia 8/275; New Zealand 8/281 (49.2 ov) – New Zealand won by 2 wickets
            A good, tense, tight game between these two teams, showing just how much the Kiwis have improved over the past 5 years. It may also be an indication that Australia are tired after a long season, but I feel new Zealand just wanted it that little bit more. However, it is interesting to note that the Australians are not handling the pressure well. Some of the histrionics were a little over the top.
2nd One-Day International
New Zealand v Australia
Australia 7/273; New Zealand 253 (43.2 overs) – Australia won by 12 runs (D/L method)
Rain, so Duckworth-Lewis rears its ugly head again, and we have New Zealand needing 266 runs from 45 overs…
            And what a match! It came down to Daniel Vettori (70 from 49 balls) being the key as his New Zealand team-mates crumbled around him. They still had a chance with 14 runs to get from 15 balls… but with one wicket left. Close match again! This series is everything the two series in Australia should have been.
1st One-Day International
New Zealand Women v Australia Women
New Zealand 6/228; Australia 8/229 – Australia won by 2 wickets
            Off the last ball! What a game! After the one-sidedness of the Australian tour by NZ, this series between the two teams has suddenly blossomed into some damn entertaining cricket. It is said that Australia brings the best out of New Zealand, and on their home soil both the men and women have shown just that.
2nd One-Day International
New Zealand Women v Australia Women
New Zealand 8/255; Australia 4/256 (47.3 overs) – Australia won by 6 wickets
            Another close game! New Zealand’s ladies have found a new lease of life, and even in defeat they are looking strong. But Australia seems to be up for the challenge, making this suddenly an intriguing series.
Sheffield Shield
We’re down to the pointy end, with just a few matches remaining and only Victoria booked in for the final. Any of three other teams could conceivably get there with them, and this makes for some damn fine cricket with everyone going all out for maximum points.
            Australian domestic cricket is the best!
Tasmania v New South Wales
New South Wales 6(dec)/468 & 4(dec)/265; Tasmania 303 & 214 – New South Wales won by 216 runs
            Tasmania had the chance to win, but blew it. New South Wales looked strong again, but it is too late in the season, and they won’t make the Shield final.
Queensland v South Australia
Queensland 160 & 6(dec)/237; South Australia 72 & 231 – Queensland won by 94 runs
            While the scores may look improbably low, the weather in Queensland where flooding has become the unfortunate norm of late had a lot to do with this.
            But that does not excuse South Australia’s poor showing in this match where they had everything to play for. Instead Queensland are now into the final against Victoria.
Western Australia v Victoria
Victoria 199 & 378; Western Australia 274 & 249 – Victoria won by 54 runs
            Another close match, but there is a reason why Victoria have already booked a place in the final. They have been the form team this season, and the final against Queensland looks set to be a little one sided unfortunately.

Australian Rules Football
AFL Pre Season Cup
Round Three – Semi-Finals

            Closing in on the end of this series…
Western Bulldogs 1.11.17 (92) def Port Adelaide 1.12.8 (89)
            Tight game with both sides giving their all. And again Barry Hall was the difference with four goals and a mark with a minute remaining that he then fed a pass out so the winning goal could be scored. But the Power were far from disgraced.
St Kilda 2.15.7 (115) def Fremantle 2.3.9 (45)
            Fremantle tried hard to get to this point, but were so thoroughly outclassed by St Kilda that it was almost embarrassing. The gap still exists between those who try hard and those who have already been there for the past few years.

Rugby League
World Club Challenge
Melbourne 18 def Leeds 10
            The win was a good one for Melbourne leading into the domestic season, but there were a few errors on their behalf, and Leeds looked tired. Not a great game, but it does augur well for the Storm here in Australia.

Rugby Union
Super 14 Round 4
Chiefs 18 def by Reds 23
            The Chiefs’ first loss.
Brumbies 24 def Lions 13
Crusaders 33 def Blues 20
Waratahs 25 def Sharks 21
            This was a close game and it came right down to the wire. The Waratahs just managed to scrape home with the win.
Stormers 33 thrashed Highlanders 0
Cheetahs 28 def Hurricanes 12

Asian Cup Qualifier
Australia 1 def Indonesia 0
            This sort of makes up for the loss to Kuwait and means Australia may yet make it through.
Minor Semi Final
– Match E: Winner Match B v Winner Match C
Wellington Phoenix 3 def Newcastle Jets 1
Major Semi Final – (2nd Leg)
Sydney 2 drew with Melbourne Victory 2
            Melbourne go through to host the grand final on aggregate, dispute the draw. Controversial finish to the match with a free that maybe wasn’t warranted leading to Melbourne’s second goal.

NBL Grand Final
Best Of 3 series
Grand Final
Game One: Perth 75 def Wollongong 64
            Pretty dominant performance by Perth to start the series off.
WNBL Finals Week Three
Grand Final
Bulleen 70 def by Canberra 75
            Canberra’s record breaking seventh title and Bulleen just can’t crack it for the big one. Still, a fast paced match and very intense. Congrats to Canberra!

That’s this view – Feb 15 through 28.

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THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #84 – Winter Olympics and too much cricket! Mon, 01 Mar 2010 11:51:23 +0000 Opening banter: Nope, got nothing. Lots of scores, and we got another gold at the Olympics, but…. nope. Nothing.

Winter Olympics
            Another Winter Olympics piece! Because Australia has won another gold medal! Seriously! Although, it must be said this one was not a huge surprise, with Lydia Lassila taking gold in the women’s aerials. Australia has actually had a good tradition in this sport for a long time, but to beat the Chinese was still quite an accomplishment.
            Special mention should also be made of young Cheltzie Lee who qualified in the finals of the women’s figure skating, which is a huge achievement not only for any Australian, but especially for one so young, and who received a late call-up to the Games. Watch for her in 4 or 8 years to actually make an impact, barring injury or lack of funds.
            I should also point out that I saw my first ever game of women’s ice hockey, as Canada beat the USA 2-0. Man, those girls hit hard! And Crosby’s golden goal in the men’s! Wow! What a game! I could get to love this sport.
            Okay, so this is short… mainly because the Australians and their results were not the most awesome things out there. But it has still been a fun 2 weeks of seeing sports that normally we only get small highlights packages of if we’re lucky in some international sports recap shows.
            And here’s the medal standings:
1 Canada 13G, 7S, 5B
2 Germany 10, 12, 7
3 United States 9, 14, 13
4 Norway 8, 8, 6
5 South Korea 6, 6, 2
6 Switzerland 6, 0, 3
7 China 5, 2, 4
8 Sweden 5, 2, 3
9 Austria 4, 6, 6
10 Netherlands 4, 1, 3
11 Russia 3, 5, 7
12 France 2, 3, 6
13 Australia 2, 1, 0
14 Czech Republic 2, 0, 4
15 Poland 1, 3, 2
16 Italy 1, 1, 3
=17 Belarus 1, 1, 1
=17 Slovakia 1, 1, 1
19 Great Britain 1, 0, 0
20 Japan 0, 3, 2
=21 Croatia 0, 2, 1
=21 Slovenia 0, 2, 1
23 Latvia 0, 2, 0
24 Finland 0, 1, 4
=25 Estonia 0, 1, 0
=25 Kazakhstan 0, 1, 0

2nd Twenty20 International
Australia Women v New Zealand Women
Australia 7/115; New Zealand 5/116 (16.5 overs) – New Zealand won by 5 wickets
            What a difference a change in game format makes! New Zealand were so completely outclassed in the 50-over form of the game that this was threatening to be a complete blow-out, and yet they’ve won the first two Twenty20 games!
2nd Twenty20 International
Australia v West Indies
West Indies 7/138; Australia 2/142 (11.4 overs) – Australia won by 8 wickets
            And Australia have gone through their home summer undefeated by anyone. But this game they really deserved to win. Their fielding was spectacular with some catches that verged on the “holy cow! how did they do that?” variety, while young Warner blasted 50 runs in 18 balls – the second fastest half century ever – on his way to 69. A great display from Australia, but with the current form of their opponents this season, it can only be hoped they have not grown complacent over such an undemanding summer.
3rd Twenty20 International
Australia Women v New Zealand Women
New Zealand 7/141; Australia 7/134 – New Zealand won by 7 runs
            And so New Zealand do a complete form reversal and clean sweep the Twenty20 series in Australia.
1st Twenty20 International
New Zealand v Australia
New Zealand 118 (20 overs); Australia 4/119 (16 overs) – Australia won by 6 wickets
            And Australia continued their form with a win in New Zealand over their Trans-Tasman counterparts. This match, however, was a much closer affair, and was highlighted by more amazing catches and fielding.
4th Twenty20 International
New Zealand Women v Australia Women
New Zealand 7/132; Australia 73 (15.3 overs) – New Zealand won by 59 runs
            On home soil New Zealand’s Twenty20 form continues unabated, with the embarrassment tables being well and truly turned around. Yowch!
2nd Twenty20 International
New Zealand v Australia
New Zealand 6/214; Australia 4/214 – Match drawn
            …but wait! There’s more!
            A one-over eliminator to determine a winner!
            The way this works – the chasing side goes first. They face one over with the batsmen. If they lose two wickets, it’s over, otherwise they score as much as they can. Then the other teams tries to outscore them with their 3 batsmen without losing 2 wickets…
            Got that? Good!
            Australia – 6 runs, New Zealand – 9 runs (4 balls)
            New Zealand win!
            Well, that was certainly exciting! I think I like the sudden death concept. And Australia’s first loss in many months. Are they being exposed, or is it just the fact that they have not had a break for –  what? – six months now? Or is it a little from column A, a little from column B… Let’s wait and see.
Second One-Day International
India v South Africa
India 3/401; South Africa 248 (42.5 overs) – India won by 153 runs
            Hang on, you’re probably asking – why in the Sam Hill are you putting in a score that does not involve Australia? Because of one very simple reason – Sachin Tendulkar. The Indian maestro has become the first person in the history of one day cricket to score a double century. That’s right – he scored an unbeaten 200. This is huge. I cannot think of an equivalent in another sport. He is known as ‘the little master’, and at age 36, on this evidence, it is not a misnomer. And he could keep going for a few more years yet. I think he will be remembered as the finest batsman of his generation, and probably second only to Australian Sir Donald Bradman as the greatest batsmen ever.
Sheffield Shield
Queensland v Victoria
Victoria 316 & 104; Queensland 170 & 9/252 – Queensland won by 1 wicket
            Another really close 4-day match in Australia! Victoria looked to have it all sewn up when they dismissed Queensland for 170 in their first innings, but then they collapsed in their own second innings and then Queensland almost lost it as they made their way to victory. This has been a great year for the Shield!
Ford Ranger Cup
South Australia v New South Wales
South Australia 7/243; New South Wales 5/246 (46 overs) – New South Wales won by 5 wickets
            This was the battle for the wooden spoon… and South Australia got it! Finishing last on the table, just missing out on the Twenty20 final and finishing in the middle of the Shield table, it has not been a hugely successful year for South Australia.
Victoria v Tasmania
Tasmania 6/304; Victoria 194 (42.1 overs) – Tasmania won by 110 runs
            After such a close season with teams pushing each other all year, the final comes down to a completely dominant performance by Tasmania that embarrassed the Victorians exceedingly. Full credit to the Apple Islanders, as they deserved the title, but Victoria – what happened?

Australian Rules Football
AFL Pre Season Cup
Round Two
            It should also be pointed out that other games also occur – the losers face one another for extra match practice. These are not official matches, and so no, I won’t be covering them here.
Hawthorn 7.12 (54) def by Western Bulldogs 15.12 (111)
            Barry Hall’s six goals were all the difference here. He gave the Bulldogs some-one up forward to aim at, and was such a dominant player that he intimidated by his mere presence. While I rue the fact he left Sydney, his new surroundings seem to have given him a new lease on life, and he could be the difference in the Western Bulldogs’ season this year.
West Coast Eagles 2.8.14 (80) def by Port Adelaide 4.19.8 (158)
            Port are on a roll this early in the season, defeating one of their bogey sides of recent years. Mind you, it is pre-season, but still, good indications.
St Kilda 2.9.7 (79) def Sydney 0.12.6 (78)
            A mistake from one Swans player is being blamed for the loss… but how did they let themselves get into that situation? Still, no surprise that the Saints won. However, using regular season scoring rules, Sydney would have won.
North Melbourne 0.13.12 (90) def by Fremantle 1.12.13 (94)
            Well done to Fremantle, but let’s hope this is not one of their typical seasons – promising so much and yet failing to ultimately deliver.

International Series
Test Four
England v Australia
            England 48 def by Australia 53
Australia responded in the best way possible to their shock loss – by winning. And winning comfortably. They went into the match with much more aggression and determination, and the final test between the two countries should be an absolute humdinger!
Test Five
England v Australia
            England 43 def by Australia 45
And it was! Tight game. Australia backed it up with a hard fought win in the fifth test match. England are once more going to put pressure on the top teams come the next world titles (or Commonwealth Games – I should really find out if netball is still in the old Empires), if this is any indication.

Rugby Union
Super 14 Round 3
Crusaders 35 hammered Sharks 6
Stormers 17 just def by Brumbies 19
Hurricanes 33 def Lions 18
Reds 18 def by Blues 27
Force 19 def by Chiefs 37
Cheetahs 24 def by Highlanders 31
Bulls 48 def Waratahs 38

            A break in the finals series because of:
Asian Champions League
Adelaide United 1 def Pohang Steelers (Korea) 0
            After such a rubbish domestic season, how can Adelaide have this sort of result in the ACL?
Beijing Guoan 1 def Melbourne Victory 0
            Melbourne by all accounts looked tired.

NBL Semi-finals
First Semi-Final

Gold Coast 78 def by Perth 82
            And Perth are through in straights sets.
Second Semi-Final
Townsville 82 def Wollongong 53
Second Semi-Final
Wollongong 88 def Townsville 76
            Down to the third game for these two teams! And ultimately Wollongong are through.
WNBL Finals Week Two
Preliminary Final

Sydney 56 def by Canberra 61

V-8 Supercars
Sticking to the Middle East, the second round is coming from Bahrain and the Gulf Air Desert Circuit. Again, a good response from this part of the world will only help the sport. I still say, though – expand the manufacturers!
Race 3
1st Jamie Whincup – TeamVodafone (Commodore VE)
2nd Mark Winterbottom – Orrcon Steel and Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon (FG Falcon)
3rd Craig Lowndes – TeamVodafone (Commodore VE)
Race 4
1st Jamie Whincup – TeamVodafone (Commodore VE)
2nd Mark Winterbottom – Orrcon Steel and Dunlop Super Dealer FPR Falcon (FG Falcon)
3rd Shane van Gisbergen – Stone Brothers Racing / Irwin Racing and SP Tools Racing (FG Falcon)
            Whincup very impressive, with wins in the first four races of the season. If this continues, the season will be all over by May.
            Oh, and I don’t think I’m going to bother with team sponsors after this. I only did it because of some-one complaining last year, but with some teams having eight or nine sponsors, it’s getting ridiculous. So driver and car will be it, I think.

That’s this view – Feb 15 through 28.

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