THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #102 – The New and Improved View.

All right! I’m back, and the holiday was very nice, thank you very much. This is the first try at a revamp of my format. It is only a little different, but enough to make it feel fresh to me. Hope you all enjoy and, as usual, leave comments to let me know.

Australian Rules Football
Yes, I missed two rounds… Live with it.
AFL Round 16
Adelaide 11.8 (74) def Geelong 9.9 (63)
Collingwood 15.10 (100) def St Kilda 6.16 (52)
Hawthorn 17.16 (18) hammered Brisbane 7.1 (43)
Essendon 14.16 (100) def by West Coast 20.12 (132)
Western Bulldogs 12.11 (83) def Port Adelaide 7.5 (47)
Carlton 10.8 (68) def by Sydney 16.11 (107)
Richmond 7.11 (53) def by North Melbourne 15.13 (103)
Fremantle 11.16 982) def Melbourne 10.11 (71)
News:
One major news story from the past week – Port Adelaide coach Mark Williams fell on his sword, quitting with rounds left of the season. His 2IC and heir apparent Dean Laidley decided not to go for the top job, leaving untried and untested Matthew Primus as caretaker coach. My take (for what it’s worth) –
            Port would not have fired him due to the financial situation of the club and having to pay him out and him most likely making it hard for them. However, he was ‘convinced’ to quit and will take the money when they find it.
            And I think he would have quit anyway, when his contract was up.
            Look, Williams was a good coach, but only when he had absolute control and power and the players did as he said without question. He is an old-style, autonomous autocrat of a coach and today’s player do not respond to that over the long term.
            For Port it was a good decision, either done 2 years too late OR 4 months too early. An already ruined season has been completely disrupted, especially with Laidley’s decision to not go for the top job. Is Primus the right candidate? I guess we’ll find out over the next 8 rounds, won’t we?
            As for Williams’ next move – he’ll go to Melbourne, away from Adelaide. I can see him taking a VFL coaching position, maybe with the Collingwood-associated team (whatever one that is), especially with Nathan Buckley the new senior coach at the Maggies. Maybe even at Essendon, with Knights under the pump as well. Or taking on an Indigenous coaching / ambassador / development officer role within the AFL itself.
            Oh, and in other news, it appears caffeine tablets and hyping up on them before a game is completely legal in the AFL.
SANFL Round 17
Central Districts 9.10 (64) def Norwood 8.8 (56)
Sturt 12.14 (86) def North Adelaide 8.6 (54)
Port Adelaide 110.10 (70) def by Glenelg 15.15 (105)
Woodville-West Torrens 17.14 (116) def South Adelaide 9.9 (63)
News:
None of note. No, really. Okay, something might have happened, but this is the South Australian football league, so our newspapers are filled with stories about the Victorian version of the game. Go figure.

Cricket
Test Cricket
Australia v Pakistan
            Due to the apparent violence in a friendly nation, Australia (and some other nations) have spat the dummy and refused to play cricket in Pakistan. So they’re playing at Lord’s in England, a neutral venue (and let’s be serious, there’s almost as many Pakistanis and Australians in England as in their own countries anyway). But it’s still like saying to your son he can’t play with the Johnston’s kid at their own home because his brothers might beat him up, but at the playground it’s okay, where they can beat him up away from interested authorities, and where others can beat him up as well.
Australia 1st innings 253; Pakistan 1st innings 148; Australia 2nd innings 334; Pakistan 2nd innings 289
Australia won by 150 runs
News:
Muttiah Muralitharan has announced that he is planning to retire sooner rather than later. The Sri Lankan spin bowler – famously accused and no-balled for chucking with his dodgy bowling action – has been a scourge of cricket nations for a long time and this news was greeted with relief. But then he said he might wait until he’s taken 800 wickets. Damn!
            Now, this is somewhat controversial, but his action is suspect. Every time he was tested it was in a laboratory situation, not on a match day. A group of sports scientists here in Adelaide actually found that he does throw and not bowl, but their findings were dismissed.
            For those unsure, in cricket a ball is bowled if the arm does not bend more than a certain amount. I think it’s 15 degrees, but could be wrong and couldn’t be arsed finding out. Anyway, it’s not much. Muralitharan bends his arm; he claims it’s from a badly healed injury, but science indicates it’s a dodgy action. However, the ICC is run buy the subcontinent and so science is ignored if it goes against what they want.
            Sport and politics – just say, “Piss off!”

Netball
ANZ Championships – Grand Final
Before I go to it, in case you missed it, the Sydney Swifts, undefeated all year in the regular season, went out in straight sets in the finals. The pressure got to them, obviously. Or maybe they were just losers. Who knows?
Adelaide Thunderbirds 52 def WBOP Magic 42
            Yes, Adelaide, the South Australian team made up of players from every state other than South Australia won the grand final.
News:
This is sort of news, but here goes – the grand final was held in Adelaide. Not the normal venue – it was deemed too small. So they moved to the much much larger Entertainment Centre. Where rock concerts are held.
            It sold out in 12 minutes! That’s faster than Bon Jovi… oh no, that’s right. They’re not coming to Adelaide because they don’t think Australia exists past Melbourne. Buy a freaking atlas, morons! How about Springsteen? No, that’s right, he didn’t come here either. And… nope, they didn’t come. There was… nope, then either. But the largest netball crowd in Australia turned up in Adelaide and they did it so fast even members struggled to get good tickets.
            Impressive. And it just goes to show that in this country netball is not only one of the highest participation sports (the last stats I saw indicated it was second only to cricket), but also a popular spectator sport.
            I still don’t get why it’s not more popular elsewhere in the world.

Soccer
World Cup Final
Spain One, Germany Lost
            There has been some debate here on Pulse as to why soccer is not more popular in the States. Ditto for Australia.
            Here’s why I think it’s not up there. Yes, our kids play. Because it’s easy. They also watch Sesame Street. Doesn’t mean as an adult I have to. Look, it’s simple. The game is boring. Some one actually said that the lack of scoring or scoring opportunities makes you relish them all the more when they come, unlike the sports popular in the USA and Australia. Yeah, but sometimes they NEVER freakin’ come!
            It’s dull!
            It’s boring!
            Ahh, forget it. I stick by my assertion that soccer is the McDonald’s of world sport. It’s everywhere, it’s insidious, it tells lies about itself (the World Cup, for example, is NOT the biggest sporting event in the world), and too much of it can be bad for you. What? Tell me soccer riots have never existed, then come back to me. When was the last time we had an Australian Rules riot? Or a gridiron riot? What? You can’t? Why? Because things actually happen on the field of play! Our sports have cathartic release! Soccer has long stretches of tedium punctuated by masturbatory moments of near-hysteria!
            Who cares? It’s soccer. A bunch of kids and a round ball. The game they play when there’s no basketball rings available.

Rugby League
State Of Origin – Game 3
New South Wales 18 def by Queensland 23
            And Queensland have won five series in a row, clean-sweeping this one.
NRL – Round 19
Gold Coast 10 def by Brisbane 24
South Sydney 13 def by St George Illawarra 16
Warriors 13 def Melbourne 6
Penrith 28 def by Parramatta 34
Cronulla 18 crushed by Manly 48
Canberra 52 hammered Newcastle 18
Sydney Roosters 36 def Canterbury-Bankstown 32
Wests Tigers 26 def North Queensland 16
News:
The Melbourne Storm salary cap breach now appears to be twice as bad as first thought. Yes, more than 3 MILLION DOLLARS over the cap! What the f? How in the HELL could this happen and (a) News limited, the owners, not know about it, (b) the NRL, the body running the game, not know about, and (c) the players, those who see each other with seventy-six cars and twelves houses scattered throughout the world not have an inking something’s not quite right? I don’t think this is head in the sand time, it’s more like head up the goddammed arse time! They were paying enough to field two teams! They cheated really badly! Their sanctions may have seemed harsh; now they seem grossly underdone. They say the players should not be punished for the deeds of the higher ups. Well, they must have known something was up when every car in their private car park was the latest Mercedes, BMW or Lamborghini. No, the people who have been shafted are the supporters, who have paid money for tickets, for memberships, for everything else, and have a team that cheats and cheats them out of having success legitimately…

Motorsport
V-8 Supercars – Townsville
Race 15
1st: Jamie Whincup
2nd: Garth Tander
3rd: Mark Winterbottom
Race 16
1st: Mark Winterbottom
2nd: James Courtney
3rd: Garth Tander
Formula One – British Grand Prix
1st: Mark Webber
2nd: Lewis Hamilton
3rd: Nico Rosberg
News:
Tensions are boiling over in the Red Bull camp. Webber and Vettel hate each other and it’s being stirred up by the team itself. Marketing wants Vettel to be the champ and number one driver because he is German and we all knows Germans are such great marketing tools. And Webber wants to be champ and number one driver because he, you know, drives well.

Other Sport
Wheelchair Basketball Men’s World Championships
Australia 79 def France 69

Professional Wrestling
Riot City Wrestling – Dark Days 2010
Holy Crap. Yet another brilliant show. What can I say? This group is putting on consistently high standard wrestling shows. The skill level is amazing, the wrestlers are looking more and more like wrestlers as we know them and the story-telling is consistent and logical.
            Huge, packed crowd of around three hundred (as near to capacity as dammit) got to see:
Match 1 – The Rude Ones (Del Taurino & Marvel with El Presidente) v Only The Strong (Mimic & Voodoo)
            This looked like they decided to do a twenty minute match, but then only had ten minutes, so they did it anyway at double speed. Fast, hot opener. There was no feeling out process – these teams have now fought three times and it was as though they just wanted to kill one another. The ending came when Mimic had Del Taurino up for a DVD, and Voodoo double stomped him off the top rope as it was delivered, then picked up the 3-count.
Match 2 – Blue Blood v TJ Rush, Aerial Assault match
            The goal is to hit your opponent with a top rope move. No pinfalls, submissions or anything. Lots of high impact action, and Blue Blood is really getting into the RCW style. A few top rope moves missing before TJ hit a corkscrew 450 splash (phoenix splash) for the win.
Match 3 – Fuzion v Warship
            The newly face turned Fuzion surprised everyone with a freshly shaved down look all over. But he still fights the same, which was a relief. How many guys turn heel and suddenly lose all their aggression and aggressive moves? Warship’s best RCW match, as he has also adapted to the RCW style. Fuzion won with the cold fusion followed by a chokeslam. Post-match Warship cut another anti-SA promo and promised one of the RCW wrestlers was secretly supporting Victoria.
Match 4 – Savannah Summers v Miami, Table match
            First time for a females table match in South Australia, maybe Australia (though we have heard of maybe one other). Holy cow, these girls went at each other. Brad Smyth got involved for Summers, but Sway came out to tackle him. Summers bled, a metal rubbish bin got involved, tables were broken and the end came when Sway distracted Summers enabling Miami to spinebuster her through a table in a corner for the win. Wow. What a match – match of the night in a night of great matches.
Match 5 – Rockey Menero v Tim Burgundy
            Hard hitting match which Rocky won. But the fun came afterwards when Elliott Sexton attacked him from the crowd. Who? Well, he has appeared from EPW/NWA-A out of nowhere here and gone after one of the most popular wrestlers. He cut a brilliant intro promo and then Rocky attacked him back and they brawled until security took Sexton out of the building. Welcome to RCW!
Match 6 – Luke Santamaria v Brad Smyth v Jacko Lantern v GD Grimm
            4-way elimination match for the number one contendership, 25 minute time limit. Anyone left after twenty five minutes will face the champion next month.
            So much happened. Apart from one tower of doom spot, it was essentially two brawls going back and forth around the place. So hard to follow both. Into the crowd, through the crowd. Then they all managed to get near the stage and Jacko climbed onto the commentators’ table and hit a somersault plancha onto the other three over the heads of the crowd! Holy crap! Luke was pinned by Smyth after a shot to the head with a set of scales at about 16 minutes, Smyth was pinned by Jacko after a Fuzion distraction at 22 minutes, and Jacko’s pin on Grimm was stopped at 2 when the time ran out! Grimm and Jacko both face Rush next show!
            Go to www.riotcitywrestling.com to buy the DVDs because you will not be disappointed.

Australia!
This is the newest section. It seems that so many people have no idea what our country is about. Canada see us as a Little Britain, China sees us as a mini-USA, Britain sees us as a prison, the USA sees us as place where if the serial killers don’t kill you the wildlife will, and New Zealand sees us as a pain in the arse.
            So the idea here is that any big news stories will be put forward, otherwise I’ll steal sections of other sites around the Pulse and put an Australian spin on it. The reason is that, apart from the wrestling section (where I am an occasional contributor to roundtables and other things) and comics section, where Australia does not really figure, but they did answer my questions when they had a Q&A section, the other zones do not give a shit about anything not American. Yes, shout outs to IP Sports, Pulse Wrestling and Comics Nexus. And so here I am.
            First, big news is that Australians get to vote on August 21. Federal election time. It’s not like America – when we vote, we vote just for a local candidate. The side with the most candidates wins and the leader of that party becomes prime minister. We do not directly vote for our nation’s leader. That aside, we have a choice of the Liberals, led by a religious bigot who wants to filter our internet to a point where it as bad as China and take away our rights at work. Or we have Labor, led by a woman who was deputy but not involved in the previous PM’s silliness no way uh-uh, who want to filter our internet to a point where it is as bad as North Korea and spend our money on so-called nation building which achieves nothing of substance. Either way, we lose. There are minor parties – the Greens want to give animals (and some plants) the same rights as humans, the Family First Party wants the Bible to be the only thing read by anyone anywhere and make Christianity compulsory in Australia, the Christian Democrats makes Family First look like a gay lib meeting, the Democrats don’t really exist any more, and most independents are only in it for the pension fund. Only Nick Xenophon, South Australian senator, does things for the people of this country. But his is a lone voice in the wilderness of stupidity that is Australian politics. It’s worse than the USA only without the budget or entertainment value.
            Now, next. I’ll start small, and give a shout out to a book. Shades Of Sentience is an anthology of short horror stories by Australian authors. Some are weird, some are scary, but the vast majority are really good. The tales look at traditional themes in some cases but with a new spin, or take other concepts and make them eerie. The first story in the book takes a look at art that is just plain unsettling, for example. A good book. Thoroughly recommended.
            That was brief, but I hope to look at music, films, TV and beer. Not celebrities, though. They suck no matter which country they’re from.

And that’s the View – through to July 19.

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