The View From Down Here #42

Yep, another week.
            And it’s been a big one.
            Matthew Johns, the family-friendly “face” of rugby league, has been outed as having indulged in group sex with a number of men and one woman. It now appears that this is quite the norm for footballer. A study by Dr Jack White (not the White Stripes guy), Jeffrey Bond and Sandy Gordon has just been released in the journal of the Australian Psychological Society which indicates that personality tests conducted on AFL footballers which shows that they are comparable to convicted sex offenders, and have higher than average alcohol problems, anxiety, verbal aggression, sexual promiscuity and anti-social behaviour.
            So, yet again, footballers and moronity go hand in hand. And the sad thing is that the football codes will ignore the findings of the study by saying the lip service they pay to help footballers cope with their so-called lifestyles is stopping this. Well, the study is recent, so clearly not. And Johns – who publically apologised on TV, but only because he was outed by another TV show – will remain the face of rugby just because he will, and because rugby denies there’s even the hint of a problem. No-one takes responsibility for their own actions; they think they are above the law because they can throw or kick a bit of pig-skin or leather around better than most others. Now, I know other football codes have problems – steroids, dog-fighting, illegal drugs, etc – but why is that Australian sportsmen seem to have a higher than average per capita amount of dickheads on our sporting fields?
            The programme – from excellent show Four Corners – painted the whole rugby league culture in the worst possible light. And, unfortunately, an accurate one. Rape victims speaking up, coaches saying that group sex created team bonding, mobile phone videos of rapes to use against the victims in courts of law… And all of it gone unpunished. Because football players are seen by the courts as sacrosanct, and the victims do not want to fight the whole NRL. I hope this will change things, I really do. But I know that it won’t.
            And they will continue to get away with anything they want…
            I’m not going to go any further with this at the moment; it just pisses me off no end that these overpaid, molly-coddled, whingeing, whining, alcoholic, abusive, monosyllabic, misogynistic sooks are so hero-worshipped by young people who should really be taught better, and by the drunken boofheads who follow their examples and get hammered every night, beat their wives and girlfriends, and don’t take any responsibility for their actions. Piss off the lot of you.
            Arseholes.

Cricket
International Cricket
Twenty-20 International
Australia 108 (19.5 overs); Pakistan 3/109 (16.2 overs) – Pakistan won by seven wickets.
            With the Twenty-20 World Cup coming up, Australia have struggled recently in the shortest form of the game. This match emphasised how, when under a bit of pressure, Australia’s batsmen in this situation have a tendency to crumble. The blame for this is hard to pin down, but I think it lies with the fact that Australian players just do not take this form of cricket that seriously. And, to my mind, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just that it could be a lucrative thing.
            For the uninitiated, by the way, Twenty-20 cricket is played with two teams batting for 20 overs each. There are field restrictions and restrictions on the number of overs that a bowler can bowl. It is designed for television and for markets such as the USA which struggle with the concept of a game that lasts all day (as in one-day cricket) or, worse, five days (test cricket). I consider it a good introduction to the sport, but I find it hard to call it “real” or “proper” cricket. Mind you, give it five years and I’ll accept it like anything else in this game.

Australian Rules Football
I’ve already said enough.
            They’re still morons.
AFL Round Seven
Essendon 17.14 (116) def Hawthorn 10.12 (72)
            Hawthorn are looking far from lat year’s premiers. I know there is talk of the premiership hangover, but this is ridiculous. They are playing like they have no idea what to do out there.
Geelong 17.14 (116) def Sydney 10.5 (65)
            And the Geelong juggernaut rolls on relentlessly. And even without arguably the best player in the league at the moment – Gary Ablett Jr, who is injured – they just cannot be beaten.
Richmond 10.11 (71) lost to Brisbane 15.7 (97)
            A result that surprised no-one, and the game did not reach any great heights.
North Melbourne 20.5 (125) def Port Adelaide 18.12 (120)
            Port’s late run and inaccuracy in front of goal cost them in a game that was not a bad one from either team.
Carlton 11.15 (81) lost to Fremantle 13.10 (88)
            A shock defeat for Carlton, and a good away win for Fremantle. The game itself was not brilliant, but the upset result was surprising.
Adelaide 12.14 (86) lost to Western Bulldogs 17.16 (118)
            Adelaide were called ‘soft’ after last week’s loss to Port. And a home loss to the Bulldogs and the way they capitulated, does nothing to alter that perception. The Doggies, on the other hand, broke a three-game losing streak in convincing style.
West Coast 12.18 (90) def Melbourne 13.4 (82)
            Melbourne fought well and could easily have pulled off another major upset this round. But the Eagles did just enough to hold them off. Still, against better opposition and not with a home ground advantage, this game exposed some serious problems with the Eagles.
Collingwood 5.10 (40) slaughtered by St. Kilda 20.8 (128)
            Second quarter – Collingwood scored 2 points to St Kilda’s 6 goals 4. That tells the tale of the game. Collingwood were dominated completely. St Kilda at this stage look to be the only team capable of challenging Geelong. And to think, a few seasons ago, they were in Richmond’s position – the butt of all the jokes and struggling to keep a lid on internal turmoil.
SANFL Round Seven
Central Districts 16.17 (113) def West Adelaide 8.3 (51)
            Centrals are just rolling over everyone, much like Geelong, although without the same complete domination.
Woodville-West Torrens 11.5 (71) lost to Sturt 21.12 (138)
            A good win for Sturt, and a terrible result for the Eagles. Losing by such a huge margin does their finals hopes real harm.
Glenelg 11.13 (79) def North Adelaide 11.8 (74)
            A close match, though not a particularly good one.
South Adelaide 10/8 (68) lost to Port Adelaide 19.13 (127)
            Port’s first win for the season, and it was a comprehensive one, smashing South at home. Neither team is travelling well. Neither team deserves to be there in September. They both need a complete overhaul and revamp of their structure – coaching, administration and skills. But, again, it won’t happen. Because no-one likes to admit they are ever wrong, especially anyone involved in sport in Australia.
Bye: Norwood
Local Football
Something to add to the sum total of human trivia. The highest ever winning margin recorded in senior South Australian football was recorded last weekend. Here’s the result:
            Kersbrook 80.22 (502) def Callington 1.1 (7)
It is only the third time a 500+ score has been posted in senior football anywhere in Australia. R. James kicked 23 goals. As one joke going around asked: Who let that goal through? They should be dropped from the team!
            However, Callington did improve this past weekend:
Macclesfield 51.26 (333) d Callington 4.3 (27)

Basketball
You knew it had been too long since I last dished dirt on basketball in this country, didn’t you? Well, it looks like Australia is not even going to have a national men’s league now. Last Friday Souths pulled out of the new league and today (Monday) Melbourne Tigers said they could not go ahead, while Adelaide is also struggling with some of the finer points. The league has already lost Sydney and Brisbane. So what next? Proposals are out there for an interim league next summer involving a bunch of regional leagues, but, realistically, this looks like the end of a national basketball league in the foreseeable future. Private ownership has failed big time. At least in soccer’s case, Adelaide United has gone back to being owned by the association in order to maintain the status quo and keep the sport alive in an important market. However Basketball Australia can’t do anything because they would need money for that. It’s popular at grassroots level, with kids playing it all over the place; a professional league which cannot draw even close to the numbers of a decade ago is a waste of everyone’s time. Andrew Gaze, a champion player for Australia, feels the league should become semi-professional, but the issue with that is that would make it more difficult for our top players to remain in this country, and for us to be any sort of threat in world basketball. Like we are anyway, but I digress. We’ll find out later this week (in theory) just what is going to happen, if anything.

Motor Sport
V-8 Supercars
            Tasmania in a little under 3 weeks.
            The current controversy is the limiting of the use of soft compound tyres. Several drivers are calling for relaxation of these rules.
            Yes, I know, boring, isn’t it? But that’s all the news to come out of car racing worth noting this week. It just does not have the same pizzazz as sexual indiscretions, breaking the law or alcohol-fuelled stupidity.
            And that’s a good thing.
Formula One
            Mark Webber got a third! Two podium placings in a row? Wow!
Spanish Grand Prix
1st – Jenson Button
2nd – Rubens Barrichello
3rd – Mark Webber

Netball
Round Six
Magic 59 hammered Pulse 36
            The Pulse are really struggling, yet to record their first win, and this score was an embarrassment for them, although the Magic gain a firmer grip on second spot on the ladder with such a strong win.
Swifts 40 lost to Thunderbirds 51
            Second loss to the T-Birds in a row for the Swifts, representing Adelaide’s best series score-line over them in quite a long time. They withstood a third quarter comeback and their coach being stuck back in Adelaide with an illness, yet still pulled it off. The away win also confirms Adelaide’s standing as one of the teams to beat this year.
Mystics 52 def by Steel 61
            Mystics tried hard, but just could not overcome the Steel and Donna Wilkins, their goal attack who scored 35 from 37 attempts.
Firebirds 56 def Fever 53
            A close game, with Fever coming from behind to be 2 goals up at three quarter time, only to see the Firebirds manage to get over them. Good game!
Bye: Vixens & Tactix

Rugby Union
Super 14 – Round 13
Crusaders 32 def Reds 12
Lions 27 just def Highlanders 22
Chiefs 16 def Hurricanes 8
Brumbies 37 def Blues 15
Sharks 12 lost to Waratahs 16
            Only away team win for the round…
Bulls 29 def Cheetahs 20
Stormers 25 by the barest of margins over Force 24

Horse Racing
            Jumps racing has been suspended in Victoria.
            This comes from the weekend’s Warrnambool carnival, where three horses had to be put down, bringing to five horses killed so far this jumps season in that state.
            I just put this bit of information in there. I don’t feel any “sport” that involves an animal is a real sport any longer, where it is man against man. Riding animals to death, the training methods, and everything else makes me think even less of this archaic pastime. Add greyhound racing, “hunting” as a sport (“Let’s kill ducks with a semi-automatic rifle!” Doesn’t give the ducks a lot of a sporting chance, does it?), fishing as a sport (although I notice a lot of them replace the traumatised animals).
            But five horses dead in the pursuit of the gambling dollar?
            That’s not sport. That’s a disgrace.

Rugby League
Round Nine
Due to representative duties, a shortened round this week.
North Queensland 24 def St George Illawarra 20
Newcastle 23 def Gold Coast 18
            A disallowed try to the Gold Coast Titans was the basis for the controversial finish to this match. Should it have been disallowed? In my opinion – no. But Newcastle are a powerhouse team from Sydney; they aren’t about to lose like that now, are they? I’m not saying the referees are corrupt, but that there may be some pressure from the upper echelon… allegedly. Anyway, to some-one sitting over here in Adelaide, that’s certainly how it looks.
Brisbane 20 lost to Manly 22
            Manly won? Damn… Although it has been claimed this was also a controversial result.
Sydney Roosters 12 def by Melbourne 28
Test Match
Australia 38 embarrassed New Zealand 10
            New Zealand are the defending world champions, but Australia made them look second rate. It was not a good exhibition for the game, either.
Representative Match
NSW City 40 hammered NSW Country 18
            I do not see the point of this game, except as a means of picking the NSW State Of Origin team. And, like the test match, it was not a good spectacle. Just a bit of glorified self-congratulation from a sporting code that you would think would need to be a bit more humble in light of all the recent controversies, especially this week.

Professional Wrestling
Yep, that time of the month again when I venture forth to the local wrestling scene. Just a quick word, though. A few people have actually purchased DVDs from RCW in the States, and a few are a little more wary because of the perception involved in anything Australian. I find all wrestling from South Australia better than anything dished out by TNA in the past 12 months, and better than most of Raw and Smackdown and ECW each week. If you like technical wrestling, watch EPW. If you like Sports Entertainment, watch Snakepit. And if you like pre-Hogan WCW or NWA (minus the ridiculous gimmicks and stupid match stipulations – chamber of horros anyone?), watch RCW. And if you like TNA, get a life. Something for everyone in just our state alone. They are all good in their own way. Do yourself a favour and catch all three. Check out RCW and Snakepit on YouTube. Buy an EPW or RCW DVD. You will not be disappointed.
            On to the show.
RCW Transgression 2009
            Another good show this month. Still not the “holy cow!” sort of show we came to expect in 2008, but a solid show. None of the matches were real duds, and it was a fun night. The crowd (which filled the hall) however were a concern; they really did not get into anything. They needed gee-ing up from the wrestlers and those of us who knew the product. They just wanted to sit on their hands. But talking to bands and comedians who have passed through Adelaide, that is a failing with Adelaide crowds in general. Still, for something like this, maybe some excitement was warranted…
Match 1: Luke Santamaria vs Marvel.
            And Luke’s issues with the masked wrestlers continues… It was a good opener, not a hot one. Very back and forth match as Marvel – who is quickly gaining a reputation as a submissions and technical expert – matched Luke’s high impact moves. Again, there was some outside interference from Del Taurino and Plasma, but Plasma went down apparently injured. Still, the interference worked and Marvel got the win with a dragon sleeper submission hold.
Match 2: GD Grimm vs Danny Psycho.
            Psycho’s first appearance for RCW, and to show the heat Grimm’s got, the crowd cheered for a Victorian! Grimm overpowers Psycho, but he gets in some good, quick moves, including a nice hurricanrana on the outside. It started slow, but built up well enough until a low blow turned the tide in favour of Grimm, who then hit a nice looking back senton off the top rope for the 3 count. In a weird touch, Grimm then literally chased two kids who had been mouthing off outside, and was confronted by their father who was quite serious…
Match 3: Fuzion vs TJ Rush.
            First thought – Fuzion looks like some sort of deranged Amish … A good high flying match, with lots of power moves. The full twisting moonsault, the high cross body to the outside… and the awesome over the top rope bump TJ took were just some of the highlights. The end came with Fuzion being disqualified after a blatant low blow in front of the ref, making the referee the first in recorded history to see that move and call the bell for it…
Match 4: Vixsin & Charmaine vs Miami and Savannah Summers.
            This is the first tag team women’s match I’ve seen live, and I’ve been watching wrestling live in SA for a long time. Always good to see something new! Another first thought – I really like Miami’s new look. She looks more intimidating, even though it’s actually shinier. Makes her look even bigger. Charmaine started nervously, and from all women the kicks especially needed to connect much harder. There were some awkward moments as well. But all four women soon got into it, and Vixsin looked the best I’ve seen her, hitting her vicious looking moves much crisper. There were also some nice tag team moves, including a leg drop variation of the demolition decapitation by the South Australians. The ending was also a little confusing, with Vixsin being pinned, but she was not the legal person because of a blind tag and so Charmaine got the pin on Miami after hitting a sort of superkick.
            Then things get nasty. Last month commissioner Andy Cruze said Grimm and Mimic could not touch each other until their match in June. So Grimm comes down and as Fuzion takes out Miami, he grabs Summers, Mimic’s partner. Mimic rushes out, but before he can really break the rules, Brad Smyth clobbers him with a chair a few times HARD, taking him out, then Miami and Mimic are forced to watch Grimm curb stomp Summers. They go to help her, but she brushes them off, demanding to know where they were, and storms to the back. This means the curb stomp had less effect on her than most of the men who have taken it. A small point of irritation. And, yes, I am a pedantic old man.
Match 5: Del Taurino vs Voodoo.
            Plasma does not come out, but Marvel does. And another thought – Taurino is improving hugely with each outing. Marvel interferes a lot, but the biggest problem I had was the inconsistency with selling a leg that was worked on a lot. It needs that continual selling to make the psychology of the match work, not suddenly getting better then worse again (the Shawn Michaels school of selling). The end came when Marvel managed to drag the ref into the way of a Voodoo attack, knocking him out and allowing the masked men to double team Voodoo into oblivion, then Marvel woke the ref, who gave Taurino the three. Then Plasma joined us, and took out Del Taurino and Marvel. He unmasked… to reveal Luke Santamaria to a huge pop. The masked men then challenge Luke and Voodoo to a tag match next show. Should be good.
Match 6: Main event: Non-Title: Mimic vs Brad Smyth.
            Brad comes out to speak, while Fuzion goes to commentary. Then Mimic charges and it’s on. Thankfully, the comedy elements of the Brad character are toned down for this main event slot, making him a slightly more sadistic and very cocky character, which fits his billing here much better. There were some sloppy transitions to start, but it did improve and the pace remained fast throughout. Fuzion tried to interfere, but failed, and when Smyth’s finisher did not keep Mimic down, he complained to Fuzion that he did not know what to do because what else could he do? This was a nice touch. Mimic eventually got the win with his Sega Mega Driver. And then Grimm came out to stare at him…
            A good night. Not a blow-away show, and match of the night was Fuzion v Rush. I am looking forward to June, though, and Grimm v Mimic, as well as the tag match.

2009 Logie Awards
What the?
            Yeah, most would have no idea what this even means, but thanks to a few emails from a few ex-pat Aussies living in the USA, I have decided to include the results of the recent Logie Awards.
            The Logies are Australia’s version of the Emmys, with half the awards voted by the industry, and half voted by the public (at least, those who read TV Week magazine… so that means lonely little old ladies and star-besotted teenaged girls), and with added alcohol. Yes, the stars get drunk and it wouldn’t be a good year without at least one star making a complete arse of themselves in front of everyone at the awards ceremony or the after party…
            Or in the case of one morning television presenter, on his own show without any sleep. Allegedly.
            The awards mean very little in the long run, and as a popularity contest, certainly leave a lot to be desired. But they appear to be popular. I also won’t mention the minutiae of the controversy surrounding the job of first-time host Gretel Killeen as she did no worse a job than any host of any US show I’ve seen recently (except the Oscars, where Hugh Jackman was awesome… just saying), and she was far better than Wendy Harmer, although I am not a fan of her new look.
            Here’s the Logies:
Public Voted Awards:
TV Week Gold Logie – Most Popular Personality on TV: Rebecca Gibney
            Deserved, but I think either Adam Hills or Andrew Denton would have been more deserving. However, see what I already said about who votes for the reasons for this choice.
TV Week Silver Logie – Most Popular Actress: Rebecca Gibney (Packed To The Rafters, Channel Seven)
TV Week Silver Logie – Most Popular Actor: Todd Lasance (Home And Away, Channel Seven)
TV Week Silver Logie – Most Popular Presenter: Rove McManus (Rove/Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?, Network Ten)
            This is like being the most popular steak in Ethiopia. No matter how bad it is, there’s just not that much else to compare it to.
Most Popular New Female Talent: Jessica Marais (Packed To The Rafters, Channel Seven)
Most Popular New Male Talent: Hugh Sheridan (Packed To The Rafters, Channel Seven)
Most Popular Australian Drama: Packed To The Rafters (Channel Seven)
Most Popular Lifestyle Program: Better Homes And Gardens (Channel Seven)
Most Popular Sports Program: The Footy Show NRL (Nine Network)
            And after my comments already about sports stars, this is just indicative of the level of hero-worship that I consider offensive. Matthew Johns is one of the co-hosts of this show.
Most Popular Reality Program: So You Think You Can Dance Australia (Network Ten)
            This whole section should be scrapped. “Reality programs” are to reality what bicycles are to Hegelian philosophy.
Most Popular Factual Program: Bondi Rescue (Network Ten)
Most Popular Light Entertainment Program: Rove (Network Ten)
Note, Packed To the Rafters was considered very popular this year.
Outstanding Awards (Voted by the Industry):
TV Week Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Drama Series, Miniseries or Telemovie: Underbelly (Nine Network)
            If you can, catch this series, and its prequel. Awesome drama, based on real events, where the names have not even been changed. In fact, this could not be shown in Victoria for a while because of ongoing legal actions.
TV Week Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Actor: Gyton Grantley (Underbelly, Nine Network)
TV Week Silver Logie – Most Outstanding Actress: Kat Stewart (Underbelly, Nine Network)
Most Outstanding News Coverage: “China Earthquake” (ABC News)
Most Outstanding Public Affairs Report: “Afghanistan: A Survivor’s Tale” (Foreign Correspondent, ABC1)
Most Outstanding Documentary: First Australians (SBS)
Most Outstanding Factual Program: Border Security (Channel Seven)
Most Outstanding Comedy Program: The Hollowmen (ABC1)
            Australia’s version of Yes Minister, without the politicians being involved, and using actual names of real pollies. Funny show, and if you can get it, watch it.
Most Outstanding Sports Coverage: Beijing Olympics (Channel Seven)
            Completely undeserved, as their coverage was merely long. It was not good, it was not insightful, it was not entertaining. It was crap. But Olympics will always win because people just can’t look past the glitz and glam, even in the industry which, I suppose, was built on glitz and glam).
Most Outstanding Children’s Program: H2O: Just Add Water (Network Ten)
            Good choice, and beats the pre-school shows that seem to have had a stranglehold on this division.
Graham Kennedy Award For Most Outstanding New Talent: Jessica Marais (Packed To The Rafters, Channel Seven)
            Graham Kennedy was the first home-grown television star Australia ever had, and his popularity lasted from the first days of TV to the 1990s. His name is synonymous with television in this country, and this award is quite prestigious (as much as any television award can be). So congratulations to the winner.
            And note: Underbelly garnered more industry votes.

And that’s this very long view!

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