The View From Down Here #48

This is a rant-filled column. So be prepared for self-righteous pontification from yours truly, all under the guise of a sports report. Let’s get on with it!

Cricket ICC World Twenty20 Down towards the pointy end of the tournament. But what’s really interesting from our point of view (and by “our” I mean Australia) is that we were knocked out of the tournament. Out with two straight losses. All right, here’s the rant (you knew it was coming)… I have not been an advocate of Ricky Ponting as Australian captain. But this latest debacle (Australia should have made it to the final eight, if not final four at least) is not his fault. It all comes down to the Australian selectors. The best Twenty20 batsman in the world at the moment is Brad Hodge from Victoria. He was on Australia. In fact, of the top seven Twenty20 batsmen in Australia, 6 were not in this tournament – the Twenty20 World Cup. Why? Because the selectors have let everyone down by not thinking and just going through the motions. They reward longevity not performance. And they have now given Ricky Ponting the rather dubious honour of being the least successful international Twenty20 captain ever. Australia have lost 5 in a row – unheard of in Australia’s recent cricketing history. The selectors have let Australia down and they do not care. They are blaming the players who were unsuited for this competition, yet who they themselves selected. They are fools, and should be replaced.

Now. All right, on with the results: 7th Match, Group A Bangladesh 8/137; Ireland 4/138 (18.2 overs) Ireland won by 6 wickets 8th Match, Group C Australia 9/159; Sri Lanka 4/160 (19 overs) Sri Lanka won by 6 wickets (with 6 balls remaining) And thus endeth Australia’s campaign. 9th Match, Group B Pakistan 5/175; Netherlands 93 (17.3 overs) Pakistan won by 82 runs 10th Match, Group D South Africa 7/128; New Zealand 5/127

South Africa won by 1 run This was a good match, by the way. 11th Match, Group C Sri Lanka 5/192; West Indies 5/177 Sri Lanka won by 15 runs 12th Match, Group A This match was reduced to 18 overs) Ireland 8/112; India 2/113 (15.3 overs) India won by 8 wickets Now we enter the round of 8, the first of the finals series. And with surprise round qualifiers Ireland in the mix, it’s going to be interesting. 13th Match, Group F New Zealand 5/198; Ireland 115 (16.4 overs) New Zealand won by 83 runs 14th Match, Group E England 111 (19.5 overs); South Africa 3/114 (18.2 overs) South Africa won by 7 wickets 15th Match, Group F Sri Lanka 7/150; Pakistan 9/131 Sri Lanka won by 19 runs 16th Match, Group E India 7/153; West Indies 3/156 (18.4 overs) West Indies won by 7 wickets 17th Match, Group E South Africa 7/183; West Indies 9/163 South Africa won by 20 runs

18th Match, Group F New Zealand 99 (18.3 overs); Pakistan 4/100 (13.1 overs) Pakistan won by 6 wickets 19th Match, Group F Sri Lanka 9/144; Ireland 7/135 Sri Lanka won by 9 runs 20th Match, Group E England 7/153; India 5/150 England won by 3 runs

And England were lucky here!

Australian Rules Football We have reached the split round in the AFL, designed to give clubs a rest over a two week period, with five matches this weekend, and three the next. AFL – Round 12 (week 1) Carlton 14.11 (95) def by St. Kilda 16.8 (104) Carlton pushed the Saints, but they still managed to pull out the win. Western Bulldogs 21.11 (137) slaughtered mercilessly Port Adelaide 7.2 (44) Holy crap! In Darwin, which is almost Port’s second home, they turned in the most insipid performance of any team this year, including all the cellar dwellers. Pert do not deserve to be in the eight this year after that performance, and, unfortunately, while it gave the Bulldogs a much needed win with a healthy percentage, it did not help their cause in what was basically a glorified training run. The Bulldogs are the third best team in the comp; just a pity the Power did not make them prove that. Richmond 13.14 (92) def West Coast 11.11 (77) Richmond won it! Get rid of the old coach, new coach comes in and makes a difference to the mental attitude, winning the first game. Well, that’s happened so often in the past, I’m not really surprised it happened here as well. The team claim they not only “did it” for Jade Rawlings (the caretaker coach), though, but also for Ben Cousins (the ‘alleged’ druggie) against his old side. No matter, they won and they now face the opportunity to shape the final eight this year. Hawthorn 7.9 (51) def by Brisbane 13.15 (93) And that’s it. Game over for last year’s premiers. They lost at home to a young, rebuilding Lions side. Brisbane on the other hand, are starting to look like a genuine finals contender under coach Michael Voss and do not be surprised if in the next few years they are the powerhouse they were at the start of the decade once more. Oh, and to rub salt into Hawthorn’s wounds, their president former Victoria Premier Jeff Kennett apologised to fans for the team’s recent showings… Ouch. Adelaide 9.14 (68) def North Melbourne 3.6 (24) The score line flatters the Crows somewhat, as they won what was quite an insipid and dull, dreary affair. SANFL – Round Eleven Glenelg 16.12 (108) def West Adelaide 9.8 (62) Westies are in the process of rebuilding, as their several good results this year attest to. But this performance – albeit against one of the three genuine flag
contenders – was not brilliant. Oh well, give them a few years and they’ll be up there. Glenelg, though, have one of their best chances in years. North Adelaide 18.11 (119) def Sturt 4.6 (30) On the other hand, Sturt, another of the three contenders, looked pathetic in this game. Granted, the conditions were awful, but North Adelaide outplayed them in every way. Let’s hope for the Sturt faithful that this is just a one week aberration or else their whole finals campaign will disappear faster than a soap star’s underwear at a Logies after party… South Adelaide 13.6 (84) def by Norwood 11.19 (85) This was probably South’s best game in seven weeks. A one point loss to Norwood is not a bad thing and shows there is still something there, but a loss is still a loss and South are now firmly entrenched in Wooden Spoon territory. Bye: Port Adelaide, Central Districts, Woodville-West Torrens

Netball Round Eleven Tactix 53 def Firebirds 46 Bad loss for the Firebirds, keeping them further out of touch with the top teams. Thunderbirds 58 hammered Fever 39 The T-Birds, however, are still looking to be one of the teams to beat this year. Pulse 35 slaughtered by Magic 67 And it’s games like this which show why Magic now sit at the top of the table. Steel 52 def Mystics 50 Not a surprising result. Swifts 52 def by Vixens 63 This was a damn close game for the first three quarters only one or two points in it for most of the game. And then the Vixens found their next gear and ran away with it in the last. They are going to be hard to beat this year, while last year’s champs are looking out of it.

Rugby Union Rugby Test Australia 31 def Italy 8 This was really no more than just a training run for Australia and while the kicking game was done well, it looked like they were just trying it out. Unfortunately, not a good spectacle.

Soccer World Cup Qualifier Australia 2 def Bahrain 0 Just confirming Australia’s World Cup qualification. Next up – Japan.

Rugby League State Of Origin Game 2 is this week. And the mind games are going great guns, as well as calls to violence. Should be awesome!! However, there is a huge question mark over New South Wales’ decision to call into the side Trent Barrett, four years after his last call-up and 12 years after his debut. I think they should have let Terry Campese have another chance, and I think this will backfire, giving Queensland a 2-0 lead in the best of 3 and an unprecedented 4 straight origin series wins… But we’ll see. Round Fourteen Warriors 13 def Newcastle 0 Dull game. Next… Brisbane 22 def by Bulldogs 44 Sydney Roosters 20 def by Gold Coast 24 Penrith 6 def by Manly 20 South Sydney 22 def by Melbourne 28 This was an entertaining game. Canberra 22 def by Cronulla 24 Despite all their off-field dramas, Cronulla are hanging in there now on the field. It was a good game; not brilliant, but good enough for government work. St George Illawarra 32 def North Queensland 18 Parramatta 6 def by Wests Tigers 23 Wests won it in the second half.

Sporting Morons We’ll start with one of last week’s morons. Tony Zappia is now under investigation for money going missing which had been donated to the club by a terminally ill man in order to set up some sort of foundation. The board knew nothing about it; the man received emails allegedly from Zappia. No more comment; it’s yet to be proven, and this is looking even nastier as it goes on. Now for this week’s dolts. Joel Clinton: Brisbane league player who was caught with his pants down in the team hotel room. Fined by the club for breaching their code of conduct, but still a moron. Reni Maitua: He has accepted a two year ban for taking the banned substance Clenbuterol, to which he tested positive. He claims he never knowingly took it, but accepted the ban. Sports in sport = moron. Tim Cahill: This man is a genuine Australian soccer star (and we don’t have that many of them really). And yet he is being investigated for an alleged incident at a Kings Cross night-club. Now, look, I don’t know much about the rest of the world’s night spots, but from what I can gather Kings Cross is equal to London’s Soho or New York’s Times Square. I think. Anyway, to be kicked out of a nightclub there is pretty low. And Mr Cahill allegedly was. [Look, I hate the word ‘allegedly’, but in Australia we have no freedom of speech. Even recording what a newspaper says is true as truth could get some-one in hot water. And, to make it worse, our government is censoring the Internet in this country and we have more books banned than any other Western country. In fact, we have more censorship here than Burma; only China and North Korea top us. And we are, in theory, a democracy. Politicians suck, no matter which side they sit on… Morons, the lot of them… Sorry… My bad. And I’ll probably get a knock on the door because of this, or a ‘please explain’ letter. And, yes, I am serious.] Tally: 24

And to finish with I urge you all to go to YouTube and watch this video of the Gymwits from Para Hills. We need the hits; we want the publicity. For those interested, I am the fat one with the knee braces and beard. We are available for hire in Australia (primarily South Australia). And, at the very least, I hope everyone enjoys our show. It was taken at the Cirque de Gymnastique at this year’s Adelaide Fringe Festival, at which we were the closing act.

And that’s the view!

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