The View From Down Here #6

A weekend parked in front of the television when I wasn’t out training. More sport than I needed, with AFL finals, final rounds of the NRL and SANFL, some other sporting bits and pieces… Sometimes it’s good to be in a sport obsessed country… especially if you’re sport obsessed yourself…

The US Open has been and gone. A Williams won the women’s, and Australia could not care less. If I wrote here what many members of our public say about them, I’d be done by the USA’s seemingly never-ending legal system. A Brit made the US Open men’s final… What the…? A Pom? First they do well in the Olympics, and now have a tennis player from their own country who can do well? That’s it, Armageddon will surely be here tomorrow… Oh, and Australia are desperate to get out of the world group in the Davis Cup, and yet we can only scrounge together a team whose combined ranking is 12,346 (compared to the USA’s combined ranking of 43, Spain’s 22 and Botswana’s 3,878). Rumour has it that 47 yr old non-playing captain John Fitzgerald will pull out the old wooden racquet from mothballs and have a hit in his Dunlop volleys.

Rugby League
Round 26 Results
Gold Coast 12 lost to Wests Tigers 28
Canberra 52 d Bulldogs 34
Melbourne 42 slaughytered South Sydney 4
Cronulla 28 over North Queensland 22
Parramatta 6 humbled by Warriors 28
Penrith 16 def by Manly 34
Brisbane 24 hammered Newcastle 2
Sydney Roosters 10 beat St George Illawarra 0
At the end of the home and away season, we have the top 8 looking like this:
1st Melbourne 17 wins, 7 losses
2nd Manly 17 wins, 7 losses
3rd Cronulla 17 wins, 7 losses
4th Sydney Roosters 15 wins, 9 losses
5th Brisbane 14 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw
6th Canberra 13 wins, 11 losses
7th St George Illawarra 13 wins, 11 losses
8th Warriors 13 wins, 11 losses
At the other end, the Bulldogs managed to get the wooden spoon, breaking South Sydney’s run. But it looks tight at the top, with Melbourne scoring their third successive minor premiership on percentage. It would be foolhardy to bet against Melbourne at this stage, but any of the top 8 could win it. However, I would look at any of the top 3 to take the whole thing this year. And hopefully the on-field excitement will overshadow any off-field dramas… Ha!

Australian Rules Football
Round one of the finals saw only one surprising result, with Adelaide humbled by Collingwood at home, thus being eliminated. But everything else went according to plan. Who can beat Geelong this year is anybody’s guess. But the big news was that Leigh Matthews resigned as coach of Brisbane (and it appears he was not pushed) only to be replaced a few hours later by Michael Voss, a former captain under him. But everything seems amicable, and Matthews is even going to be honoured by the Lions for his amazing services. Mad Monday (for those teams that have already been eliminated) was pretty muted this year, leaving the critics of the AFL with only crap coaching to whinge about.
Elimination Finals

Adelaide 14.10 (94) lost to Collingwood 19.11 (125)
People are blaming Adelaide coach Neil Craig for this and his rather bizarre ‘run them until they vomit’ training techniques, but the simple fact of the matter is that Collingwood wanted it more and Adelaide’s famous home crowd stayed away in droves, leaving a half-empty stadium…
Sydney 17.8 (110) beat Kangaroos 11.9 (75)
And speaking of empty stadia, consider this match. A tight first half gave way to a Sydney romp in a dull, dreary affair.
Qualifying Finals
Hawthorn 18.19 (127) beat Western Bulldogs 11.10 (76)
The Buddy Franklin show (another 8 goals) continues at Hawthorn, and while he was not the only difference between the sides, the Franklin effect cannot be underestimated. And should he be shut down, the Hawks will struggle. Big time.
Geelong 17.17 (119) hammered St. Kilda 8.13 (61)
If the Cats had kicked straight, the Saints would have been so humiliated they may well have given up their double chance and just gone into hiding for the next 4 months. They are looking even better for the back-to-back premierships.
Final round is over and the surprise is that Glenelg has finished minor premiers! Not that long ago they were languishing with South Adelaide at the bottom of the table, but now they are a very real chance of making the grand final… where their inexperience will see them humiliated by most likely Central Districts. And then next year, with confidence completely shattered, they will once more accompany my beloved Panthers at the bottom again…
Results Round 23
Central Districts 14.5 (89) def Sturt 11.7 (73)
West Adelaide 4.11 (35) killed by North Adelaide 15.11 (101)
Port Adelaide 16.13 (109) def Woodville-West Torrens 8.12 (60)
Glenelg 11.14 (80) def Norwood 9.7 (61)
South Adelaide – bye
1st Glenelg 16 wins, 4 losses
2nd Sturt 15 wins, 5 losses
3rd Central Districts 14 wins, 6 losses
4th Port Magpies 10 wins, 10 losses
5th Norwood 9 wins, 10 losses, 1 draw
6th Woodville-West Torrens 9 wins, 11 losses
7th North Adelaide 9 wins, 11 losses
8th South Adelaide 5 wins, 14 losses, 1 draw
9th West Adelaide 2 wins, 18 losses

Australia beat Bangladesh 3-0 in a limited overs series in Darwin. Whoopee. And some of our best players were ‘rested’ or ‘injured’ or ‘fishing’. No, I’m serious. Andrew Symonds has been dropped from the Australian team because he went fishing instead of attending meetings before such a vital series as that against Bangladesh. Talk is that he might well just play in the extremely lucrative Indian 20-20 league for multi-millions instead of his country, but that’s where the sport is headed under the guidance of money-hungry, greedy, unthinking, moronic powers from the subcontinent. Soon people won’t even be playing for their country, just for whoever can afford them, or their corporate sponsors. Just like the film Rollerball (the James Caan original, not the excrement-filled remake). But Symonds will be looked after by Cricket Australia because he is a champion; if he was a middle-of-the-road player, or came from South Australia, then he would be treated without mercy. But Cricket Australia’s known hatred of South Australians, of course, has been around since Ian Chappell moved to Queensland and his brother stayed in SA. Because we all know it is far important to consider where some-one lives rather than how good a player they are…
Hang on, this is either too early for London or too late for Beijing. No, let me explain. Some data has been released, very quietly, to the public. Our gold medals cost $17 million. Each. We spend that sort of money when we have a population of only 20 million people on a fleeting moment of glory. Our public health system is in crisis, our schools are looking more and more like those we see in Rwanda after the bombing, we can’t get police or fire-fighters with what we pay them, our roads are a disaster area… and we’re spending obscene amounts of money on supra-elite sport. But, the critics cry, the Olympics encourages children to do sport! Yes, in the short term. But the first time they are beaten, they quit. Or if they are not as good as their heroes in a few weeks, they quit. Or if their parents stand there on the sidelines and scream at them, they quit. I have been coaching kids’ sport for more than 20 years; I’ve seen it. Every 4 years we get a huge influx of kids. 2 months later, if 10% are left it’s a brilliant return. And I run a highly non-competitive programme. And so the kids are therefore discouraged to participate and our obesity ‘epidemic’ gets worse. But, those same critics counter, aren’t Olympians great role models? Sure, but if you want vacuous females giggling at every question with no life outside of what they know intimately, how are the Olympians different to Paris Hilton or Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan? And, of course they are excellent role models. How many finish school? And how many of the kids who look up to them are going to get highly paid jobs in the media when they ‘retire’ from whatever it is they do? Australia is turning into a mini-USA without the huge population in which to actually find legitimate talent… And I think I may have gone too far.

Oh well…

That’s the view from down here!

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