THE VIEW FROM DOWN HERE #113 – FINALS!! (Again)

So we had the second version of the AFL grand final, two other grand finals and the Commonwealth Games started. Also, head on over to the wrestling section for my review of the latest Riot City Wrestling show. And then go online and order some of their DVDs.
            Meanwhile, let’s get this view under way!

Australian Rules Football
AFL GRAND FINAL #2
Collingwood 16.12 (108) hammered Kilda 7.10 (52) (10 thoughts here)
News:
The Gold Coast Suns have not even set foot on an AFL field of play yet. They do not have a complete squad. But they have a coach in Guy McKenna and they have a club song (because, let’s face it, that’s the most important thing for a new team!) and a logo. And now they have the highest paid Aussie Rules footballer in history. For an estimated $9.5 million over 5 years (salary plus other moneys not exactly covered by the salary cap, like media and promotions and stuff like that), Gary Ablett Jr has made the jump from Geelong to head north.
            He said in his press conference that he had made the decision only 24 hours beforehand, but rumours have been circulating for months. And he is now a very well off young man. Brownlow medallist, premiership player… and now rich footballer.
            This is not to pillory Ablett. He made the only decision he could. Say no to that sort of money, setting himself up for life? Yeah, right. He could not have said no. The money is obscene. This is not an international sport – this is a sport played in one country and in various little spots around the rest of the world. But Ablett made the only choice he could.
            He made the choice the AFL wanted him to make.
            They want the Gold Coast to be a success right out of the gate. They are throwing money and players and easy conditions and draft concessions at them left, right and centre. Does it matter that other clubs are struggling? Nope. Does it matter that the Gold Coast does not have an Australian rules football culture, being in rugby country? Nope. But there’s money to be made and that is all – all – Demetriou and the bigwigs at AFL House care about. Geelong had no chance to even come close to matching this without a huge investigation into salary cap rorts; the Gold Coast won’t even be sniffed at in that regard.
            The current people in charge of the AFL have reduced loyalty to a commodity. It was already teetering. But through the two new franchises, the AFL had destroyed it. Loyalty does not matter. The father-son rule is now a joke. And the AFL only wants money and power.
            Good luck, Gary. And the slippery slope to sport being merely a business and no longer about athletic achievement continues unabated.
            Grand Final stuff – 2 bits of news out of the GF. An unnamed Collingwood player is being investigated for sexual assault following the win. Let’s wait and see the investigation, as details are not forthcoming. But it’s getting a lot of media coverage. Second, there are reports of a rift between Collingwood president Eddie McGuire and coach Mick Malthouse. McGuire has denied it. Sour grapes by others not in Collingwood maybe? However:
            Bonus rant: IN MY OPINION the AFL have been trying for 5 years to give Collingwood a premiership without actually just handing it over to them. An incredibly favourable draw, no different uniforms for players to get used to, some (to my mind) questionable dealings in the draft, dictating to other clubs and getting away with it, their wayward players not being sanctioned by the AFL – they have been a law unto themselves for too long. I’ll bet the umpires have all been chastised for not giving the Brownlow to Dane Swan as well. Well, they’ve got it now. The AFL has what it wants – Collingwood as premiers.
SANFL GRAND FINAL
Central Districts 10.11 (71) def Norwood 9.11 (65)
            So close. So close. Each team dominated for two quarters (all kicking to the same end), but Centrals’ dominance was one goal better. One of the best SANFL grand finals I’ve seen.
News:
None worth worrying about. Not after Central won ANOTHER one… 9 in 11 years. Crap.

Rugby League
NRL GRAND FINAL 3
St George Illawarra 32 def Sydney Roosters 8
            The Dragons’ first win as a joint entity. While not a great game, still a feel-good one and an okay grand final.
News:
Now that the season is over, all eyes fall on Melbourne and what will happen to this team in order to bring it under the salary cap. Already several players have jumped ship before they could be pushed, but more need to be shed. And now the coach has also decided he needs to get out, and has gone to Parramatta. This team’s enforced destruction could well shape the entire league as other clubs vie for the available players now on the market, and so dump their own players to fit these new ones in under the salary cap. It looks like most clubs are going to be very different entities come the 2011 season.
            Oh, and it would be remiss of me not to mention the death of a man at the hands of the police after an after-party at the St Georges’ Leagues Club got a little out of hand. While I can almost excuse the high spirits of the fans after such a long time of no grand final glory, tasers, batons and capsicum spray were used to subdue a whole three people. Brave move, cops, and now a fan is dead. Okay, I understand they have to do something to quell bad behaviour, but it seems that they’re going overboard against the fans and letting the players run rampant. All the best to the man’s family.

Cricket
There is a test match going on, but it’s not due to finish until 2 days after this is posted. So at this stage I’ll hold off on the results for a week. If there’s too much of an issue with that, then I might try and post an update for the next test the day after it’s over.
News
Not a real lot to report. Things have gone quiet on the Pakistan front, the Commonwealth Games are dominating India, and Australia and England are preparing in their own way for this summer’s Ashes series. Calm and quiet reigns. And after everything that’s gone in cricket recently, that’s probably a good thing.

Soccer
A-League Round 8 (finished)
Sydney 1 drew with North Queensland Fury 1
A-League Round 9
Gold Coast United 3 def Wellington Phoenix 1
Central Coast Mariners 3 def North Queensland Fury 2
Perth Glory 1 def by Brisbane Roar 2
Sydney FC 1 def by Adelaide United 2
Melbourne Heart v Melbourne Victory has been delayed because of the AFL grand final replay.
News:
Why bother?

Commonwealth Games
No results yet.
News:
Apparently the problems India is having is all the fault of Western countries. Always some one else, always the West.
            But the games are now under way. I’m not sure how I’m going to report the results as there are so many and, even with many athletes deciding not to risk going, the amount of medals coming Australia’s way will most likely be large. I might just report the medal tally and maybe the gold medals. But that could be being facetious as Australia might only win bronzes. Not sure. I shall have to think on this.
            For what it’s worth, the opening ceremony was spectacular with hundreds of performers and awesome choreography. However it is now emerging that many spectators had to walk kilometres to the arena because of a traffic lockdown and they did not open all the gates. This is not the fault of the Indian authorities. This is the fault of those who have threatened the Games. Yes, the Games are going ahead, but the terrorists are winning when they can cause this sort of chaos with just veiled threats. And no, I don’t care about the ideologies involved.
            But the Games proper have started in a blaze of glory. Nick D’Arcy, infamously banned from the 2008 Olympics after allegedly punching another swimmer, missed the final in his only event. Apparently incorrectly calibrated scales were used at the boxing weigh in. Poor crowds marked some of the events (it has been widely reported that Australia scored more goals than there spectators in their opening netball match).
            I think there might be some good news stories as well, but I could not find them. The media has been completely obsessed with the negatives. They are not giving these Games a go. And the coverage has been a lot of talking heads, a lot of swimming heats and very little else. There may have been twenty different sports going on, but the TV coverage does not really show that. So I can’t even tell you what happened.
            Australian media sucks.

Australia!
I only recently discovered a section on Inside Pulse called Those Beer Snobs. They seem to recommend beers. Well, in Australia we are rather proud of our beers. From the mass produced to the boutiques, we have a lot. I believe Australia is the fourth largest beer drinking nation per capita, after the Czech Republic, Ireland and Germany (2009 statistics). Yes, we make fine wines, but beer is our lifeblood.
            So here are my favourite five Australian beers. I think I should point out here that I am yet to meet any Australian who considers Fosters Lager their favourite beer. In fact, I think I have met one person who even considers it a decent beer. It is sort of like the beer we dump on the rest of the world in order to keep the good stuff for ourselves. In my opinion, it is truly awful. I also can’t stand Castlemaine XXXX. Just for the record.
5. Cascade Light. (Tasmania) My favourite light beer. A clean taste and very drinkable.
4. Toohey’s Extra Dry. (New South Wales) A beer that has grown on me over the past few years. Gaining in popularity and it is easy to see why – a taste that is not overpowering.
3. West End Draught. (South Australia) Now, this will get me shunned by my friends, but I still like the beer I grew up on. Good BBQ beer, watching sport beer, and just getting pissed beer.
2. James Boag’s Premium Lager. (Tasmania) A more upper market beer, better with a nice meal instead of wine. The taste is superb.
1. Cooper’s Pale Ale. (South Australia) Given my choice, this is the beer I pick above all others. I like the taste. It’s not too heavy. It can be drunk anywhere. Out of the bottle or out of a glass, either is fine. A great beer.
            Australians drink their beer cold and they drink at any time of the day in any social situation. It is not unknown for executives to share a few beers, just as it is the norm for students at the uni bar. The great Australian leveller. Try and find these five and I hope you will not be disappointed.
            Cheers!

And that’s the View through to October 4, 2010.

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