The View From Down Here #3

Sorry this is a little late; I’ve been holidaying on glorious Kangaroo Island. If you ever manage to make your way down here to Australia, you could do far worse than this 100 mile piece of real estate off the South Australian coast. So I am in a good mood…

The US Open has started, and Australia is gearing itself for its worst results in more than 40 years. Guccuione made the second round! He’s as good as won the tournament! God, I hate sports media in this rather parochial country. But, come on, the men’s is a foregone conclusion: Nadal and Federer will meet in the final, and Nadal will win. In the women it could be one of any of the current crop of Eastern European bimbos, or the she-males from the USA, but they will do around 70% of the work of the men, attract around 65% of the sponsorship money and yet get equal pay. Tell me again how this is fair?

Rugby League
Okay, I got Sonny Bill Williamson’s name wrong last time. Who cares? The guy’s shown all the loyalty of luncheon meat in signing a contract then knicking off to bigger money after pledging himself to the club that nurtured him. Players who go for the money even after they are treated very well b y their original clubs are the mercenaries, and treat their fans with the same contempt. They should be ignored, and then the money from sponsors won’t roll in and they become a liability. But that won’t happen. The mainstream media sucks. What else in rugby league? Another player breaking the law, this time when Gary Bird, a Cronulla Sharks player, approached a woman in violation of his bail conditions, with the apparent okay of his club. But he’ll get away with it because footballers have been known to rape women and get away with it in Australia. And all this at a time when rugby league’s crowds are struggling, and parents are reluctant to put their children into a game where the evidence of brain injury is seen in the behaviour of these neckless morons.
Scores Round 24
Penrith 6 def by Melbourne 40
South Sydney 25 def by Canberra 40
St George Illawarra 34 def Warriors 6
Wests Tigers 16 lost to Manly 48
Bulldogs 12 lost to Parramatta 26
Newcastle 38 def North Queensland 24
Brisbane 25 def Gold Coast 21
Cronulla 20 def Sydney Roosters 0 (!)

Rugby Union
Trying hard to make the Tri-Nations relevant to world rugby, the game has become a lot faster and more violent in the southern hemisphere. And that is a good thing. But more countries in the northern hemisphere play union, and so the referees and judges and rule-makers tend to be based in European countries, thereby eliminating by stupid refereeing any chance of exciting Rugby Union World Cup tournaments. But, oh well, while we have the tri-nations we can always dream about what could be…
TriNations scores so far:
South Africa 15 def by Australia 27
South Africa 0 lost to New Zealand 19
New Zealand 39 hammered Australia 10
Australia 34 beat New Zealand 19
Australia 16 squeaked past South Africa 9
New Zealand 28 just lost to South Africa 30
New Zealand 19 def South Africa 8

Australian Rules Football

The big news is that Australian Football League chief thinks their policy of hiding the identity of players who fail drug tests from not only the media but also their own clubs is apparently “working.” In other news, Chamberlain’s agreement with Hitler worked in preventing World War II. Basically, the way it works is this: If a player is caught once with illegal drugs (a crime, by the way) in their system, then they are told top get help and not do it again. That’s it. No fine, no police involvement, their club does not even find out. A second offence results in them being ratted out to their club. Only on the third offence does the public become aware that their heroes are dopeheads. And we’re not talking marijuana here – we’re talking cocaine, ecstasy, heroin, speed. It is unconfirmed whether this also applies to anabolic steroids; the response was, “What a stupid question,” which is really not an answer. In the SANFL, South Adelaide continues to make me an unhappy supporter.
AFL Round 21 scores
Western Bulldogs 23.13 (151) d Essendon 15.15 (105)
Richmond 15.15 (105) d Fremantle 15.8 (98)
Port Adelaide 18.21 (129) d Melbourne 7.9 (51)
Brisbane Lions 16.13 (109) lost to Carlton 18.7 (115)
Collingwood 18.10 (118) d Sydney 10.13 (73)
Geelong 17.13 (115) d Kangaroos 13.4 (82)
St. Kilda 13.7 (95) d Adelaide 6.11 (47)
West Coast 9.8 (62) def by Hawthorn 19.19 (133)
SANFL Round 21 scores
Woodville-West Torrens 11.12 (78) d Glenelg 9.12 (66)
South Adelaide 9.9 (63) def by Central Districts 14.13 (97)
Norwood 9.22 (76) d West Adelaide 9.10 (64)
North Adelaide 11.7 (73) killed by Port Adelaide 21.7 (133)
[Yes, there are two Port Adelaides. One day I will explain what happened in the cut-throat, petty, pathetic world of South Australian football…]

This week saw the celebration of Sir Donald Bradman’s 100th birthday. Wow! Of course, he’s been dead for a long time, but he is regarded as a great cricketer because of his average of 99.94 runs in tests – the highest ever – scored against an English side decimated by World War II and substandard sides only just getting into test cricket. But, he was Australian, goddamn it! And if we want to hero-worship a xenophobic, racist religious bigot, then we will! Who cares if his attitude towards professionalism created the breakaway World Series cricket? Who cares if he held down players and rightful remuneration for these players? He was The Don!

The A-League has decided to increase to 10 teams next season by adding two new Queensland teams. Are there enough people in Queensland to make this viable? I mean, they’ve got a basketball team, soon they’ll have two AFL teams, they’ve got a few rugby teams. But, hey, there’s money to be made, so let’s dilute an already diluted competition to make it seem like it means something to average Australians.
Scores Round 2
Perth Glory FC 3 drew Newcastle Jets FC 3
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 def by Sydney FC 3
Wellington Phoenix FC 2 lost to Melbourne Victory FC 4
Queensland Roar FC 1 drew with Adelaide United FC 1

What? They’re over! Australia finished 6th. It’s all okay… No. You see, to explain first, Australia has an obesity rate which now places us second only to the USA in the fatness of our population. The funding to schools has been cut over the past twenty years to such a degree that in some schools teachers are buying the supplies for the students, and PE exists only as a figment of the imagination, as curriculum documents also dictate that teachers should fit in around 32 hours of teaching every subject possible into a 27.5 hour week. And that is not an exaggeration. So, in order to get kids active, what is the federal government doing? Giving money to already over-exposed athletes. Because nothing gets kids out on the fifty year old training track with no volunteers willing (or able to) train them like watching self-congratulatory media hogs waste money half a world away. No money into schools or grass roots sports, no. Just money to Olympians. Morons… And we have no excuse because voting is compulsory here, so it is all our fault these idiots are in power…

And that’s the view from down here!

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