Archive for the ‘Ball Sports’ Category

Gould’s ‘Gifted’ Comments Disrespectful to Maroons

Phil Gould image:

According to Channel 9 commentator Phil Gould the New South Wales Blues lost last nights Origin opener, the Queenslanders didn’t win it.

If Gould’s commentary was to be believed the Maroons didn’t actually do anything to win the game 11-10, they were “gifted” the match by their rivals through on-field mistakes and poor performances.

Gould was his usual unashamedly parochial self, saying ‘complimentary’ things about the Queenslanders while making sure these compliments were contingent upon Blues errors.

“There’s only one team playing out there! Only one team is playing. Only one team is playing,” he said.

If that was true, and the Blues were just standing around not playing, then an under-8 girl’s side could have won against them.

Things that passed unnoticed (or at least uncommented by the vocal New South Wales supporters in the 9 commentary box):

  • The disallowed try by Slater may actually have been a bad call.
  • In the second half Slater was impeded in a chase for the ball into the in-goal area (replayed twice but commented on not at all).
  • Greg Inglis had his worst Origin game (maybe worst first grade game) ever.
  • Will Chambers tore the Cockroach defenders apart and has emerged as the heir apparent for Hodge’s centre spot.
  • Queensland played a canny game to maintain possession (55% – 45%), if anything should have won by a lot more than one point.

For Phil Gould to argue that the Queensland Maroons were ‘gifted’ the game is insulting and disrespectful to players and fans alike. Such childish whinging should never be a part of professional sports commentary.

Gould needs to remember there are two sides in an Origin match and not just call for one of them.


Don’t Let Divers Decide Origin!

Worst diver in the game, Greg Bird. Image:

Maroons great Trevor Gillmeister has aired his fears about fakers deciding the State of Origin.

In the lead up to the first game in the three game series Gillmeister has urged players not to stay down in hopes of drawing a penalty.

“The only thing that concerns me, that they’re (the referees) trying to keep out of the game, is if someone gets a bloody love tap on the nose and stays down and gets a penalty,” said the Maroons hard man.

“I just hope that someone from either side doesn’t lose an Origin series for that.

“Nine times out of ten blokes get to their feet (after being awarded a penalty) and they’re fine anyway …”

“I think we have to try and make sure that the ownership is back on the players not to take dives.

“We have a crack at the soccer blokes who do it, so we have to take a bit of responsibility ourselves.”

Origin rival and NSW great Paul Harragon agreed.

“For me we all hope that there is not a penalty that is wrong that decides Origin or one of those dubious (diving) things,” said Harragon.

“I hope it doesn’t come down to that, but it doesn’t worry me too much.”

The teams are:

New South Wales Blues team for State of Origin Game 1:
1. Josh Dugan, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Michael Jennings, 5. Will Hopoate, 6. Mitchell Pearce, 7. Trent Hodkinson, 8. James Tamou, 9. Robbie Farah (c), 10. Aaron Woods, 11. Beau Scott, 12. Ryan Hoffman, 13. Josh Jackson

Interchange: 14. Trent Merrin, 15. Boyd Cordner 16. David Klemmer, 17. Andrew Fifita

Queensland Maroons team for State of Origin Game 1:
1. Billy Slater, 2. Darius Boyd, 3. Greg Inglis, 4. Justin Hodges, 5. Will Chambers, 6. Johnathan Thurston, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Matt Scott, 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Nate Myles, 11. Aidan Guerra, 12. Sam Thaiday, 13. Corey Parker

Interchange: 14. Michael Morgan, 15. Josh McGuire, 16. Matt Gillett, 17. Jacob Lillyman 18. Dylan Napa

Successful NRL Clubs Demand Larger Slice of the Revenue Pie

Phil Gould image:

On Thursday 10 NRL club leaders met with NRL boss Dave Smith to fight for a larger slice of the revenue pie.

Clubs like the Gold Coast Titans, St George Illawarra, Wests Tigers, and Newcastle were not invited to the meeting – being already financially supported by the NRL and having independent directors.

The 10 clubs being represented showed how their own profits were being eroded from declining poker machine revenues, dwindling memberships and poor game-day attendances.

In an article first revealed by The Daily Telegraph the clubs demanded they get a say on Independent Commission appointments, they wanted a larger share of the NRL revenue to bring them into line with other major sporting codes around the world. And they demanded to know where the revenue raised by the NRL was being spent.

Clubs are getting bck $7.5 million a year frm the NRL – $120 million out of a total $330 million raised by the governing body.

The clubs have said they wish to work though their grievances. Should they not be able to The Daily Telegraph was led to understand the clubs may consider blocking any TV deals beyond the current 2017 license.

If this were to happen the NRL would effectively lose its $2 billion deal with TV stations.

The clubs will have another meeting at the next Chairman’s Conference on June 18 – the day after the second Origin game.

Channel 9 NRL Commentators Still the Worst

Ray Hadley image:

Channel 9 Rugby League commentators appear to have bowed to social media outrage.

The talking-heads seem to have thought footy fans tuned in to hear about them and not the game. For years they have steadily gotten worse – waffling about any triviality and ignoring the athletic spectacle unfolding before them.

As commentators they were (and still are) an embarrassment. No other sporting coverage so flagrantly ignores the event it is meant to broadcast. Any worker, in any occupation, who exhibited such dereliction would be fired instantly – and deserve it.

Until now Channel 9 had chosen to ignore the mounting criticism.

But one or two comments in media-watch articles and radio talkback programs found responsive ears. Footy fans tired of hearing about Ray Hadley’s hair cream or Ray Warren’s lunch decided to make their frustrations known.

And what began as a trickle has become an avalanche.

Prior to Sunday the commentators only talked about the game when play was within 20 meters of a try line. On Sunday, they made an effort to do their jobs and call the game.

By the standards of broadcasts of other codes it was still a piss-poor effort. I counted 38 diversions from the game at hand; each of which averaged about a minute (almost half the game); none of it of any interest or relevance to the match being played.

Sadly for NRL fans this is a meteoric improvement on the weekly game-commentary up to this point.

Channel 9 needs to sack their NRL commentary team – all of them. They are doing a disservice to the game, its players, and the fans.

Moreover, Channel 9 needs to make their broadcasts about the football, not the advertising. There isn’t a square inch of space at the grounds, on the players’ jerseys, or on the TV screens that isn’t used to advertise something.

The entire broadcast is insulting.

Greg Bird Gets 8 Weeks for Throwing Tackle

Image of Greg Bird diving:

Greg Bird is fast becoming (if he isn’t already) the most shamed man in the NRL. Bird was banned yesterday for eight weeks after a lifting tackle on New Zealand winger Jason Nightingale, in Sunday’s ANZAC.

This means Bird will be ineligible to play for the entire Origin series.

Bird pleaded guilty to the charge of a dangerous throw; but chose to contest its grade two severity. The judiciary of Chris McKenna, Bronson Harrison and Mal Cochrane, however, disagreed and upheld the initial grading.

Bird now becomes the fourth most suspended player in NRL history, having been sidelined for 29 matches.

The NRL hall so shame is as follows:

  1. John Hopoate – 45 weeks of suspensions.
  2. Luke O’Donnell and Craig Smith – 32 weeks each.
  3. Greg Bird – 29 weeks.
  4. Danny Williams – 28 weeks.

Manly player Steve Matai is nipping at Williams’ heels with 23 weeks-worth of suspensions to his discredit.

Bird refused to speak to the waiting media. But Coach Neil Henry had this to say: “Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome.

“We thought we made a strong case for a downgrade – grade two to grade one – and we thought we had evidence to prove that.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t the case with the judiciary.

“As a club we are very disappointed to lose the services of Greg for an extended period of time.”

Bird will be able to re-join his Titans in round 19 of the regular season this year; against Newcastle at Hunter Stadium.

Greg Bird’s rap sheet is as follows:

2004: 10 match suspension for striking (welcome to the NRL).

2004: 3 matches for a dangerous throw

2005: 2 matches for another dangerous throw

2011: 1 match suspension for striking

2014: 2 matches for a dangerous throw

2014: 2 matches for another dangerous throw

2014: Another match suspension for a dangerous throw

2015: 8 match suspension for a dangerous throw

Bird also faced the judiciary in 2003 and 2013; however he received no suspensions in either case.

And let’s not forget he is currently rated in the top three divers in the game.

And he is currently preparing to face drug charges in the Southport Magistrates court.

Kangaroos Crushed by Kiwi Juggernauts


Perhaps the term ‘national disgrace’ is a bit strong? But that’s what some passionate rugby league fans are calling the Kangaroos performance last night against a vastly superior Kiwis team.

With the exception of Sam Thaiday Australia was out-muscled, out-strategised, and out-played by each of their opposite numbers. Thaiday played with his usual determination and bravery, but it wasn’t enough to lift his side.

Channel Nine commentators remarked on the lackadaisical, almost bewildered, body language exhibited by the Australians.

The New Zealand side, by comparison, knew what they needed to do and knew how to do it.

Australian coach Tim Sheens should never have been at the helm. His lamentable winning record (Sheens wins with good players in their favourite positions – but who wouldn’t?) should have excluded him from the top job.

Having players assume roles out of position (like Josh Dugan and Greg Inglis), no matter how good they are, is insane. You can be the best full back in the world – that doesn’t mean you’ll be a good winger.

The New Zealand team did a remarkable job of shutting down Jonathon Thurston and disrupting the plays between him Cronk and Smith. The Australian spine of players was never given a chance to develop any fluency. Defenders rushed and bustled them all night, cutting down their reaction time, forcing mistakes and poor choices.

The aura of Australian rugby league invincibility is well and truly gone. If the Australians are to climb back to the pinnacle of world league they’re going to have to plan, prepare, and perform better.

‘Divers’ Ruining Rugby League

Image of Greg Bird diving:

NRL players are attracting increasing amounts of criticism for taking dives.

What was once a hard-man’s game is increasingly looking more like South American soccer.

Players who inadvertently take a tacklers arm above the chest now flop onto the ground like they’ve been pole axed. Maybe they roll around a bit clutching at their head, the trainer runs on and everybody waits for the video referee to ascertain whether the tackle crept a bit high. Finally, when the penalty is awarded, the player leaps to their feet and continues none the worse for the experience.

It makes a mockery of the game, the rules, and the players.

But what makes this an insult is that it happened over the ANZAC weekend; a time when the NRL were loudly celebrating the toughness, camaraderie, and spirit of diggers who have served their country.

Yes, contact with the head is against the rules of the game.

But that rule is only there to protect players from being injured.

If a player isn’t injured then they shouldn’t be awarded a penalty.

Injured players don’t just jump back to their feet when a penalty is awarded; only divers do that. Anyone caught diving should be penalised – heavily.

Divers are doing far more damage to the game of rugby league than someone whose tackle slips a bit high. They are ruining the game for current and prospective fans alike.

NRL fans have taken to social media to single out the game’s biggest divers. Among them are Greg Bird and Michael Ennis; though the hall of shame is far from limited to these two.

Chief executive of the NRL, Dave Smith, has said the onus on eradicating diving is squarely on the coaches. He has called a meeting of coaches at Rugby league Central today to thrash out a plan.

Dank Takes Rap for Essendon Drugs Scandal

Stephen Dank Image:

Biochemist Stephen Dank has been found guilty of 10 violations of the AFL anti-doping code. Among the offences for which he was found guilty were: trafficking, attempting to traffic and the somewhat vaguely worded – ‘complicity in matters related to a range of prohibited substances’.

However, Dank escaped a guilty verdict on more than 20 other charges. Curiously the charges for which Dank was found not-guilty included all those relating to administering banned drugs to AFL players – to the enormous relief of the Essendon AFL club.

Dank was linked, in some capacity, to the prohibited substances Hexarelin, Humanofort, Thymosin beta-4, CJC-1295, GHRP6, and SARMS.

The tribunal’s decision says Dank is to blame for everything and the Essendon players were unwitting victims.

Dank is already beginning proceedings for a legal challenge to the rulings. The guilty verdicts may ban him from working in competitive sporting codes for life.

A decision on the severity and length of Dank’s penalties will be decided at a hearing on May 5.

“My legal team is reviewing the judgment with a view to taking appropriate legal action,” said Dank.

 A spokesperson for ASADA said to the herald Sun: “ASADA is disappointed in the tribunal’s decision to clear Mr Dank of a number of serious alleged violations.” They have promised to review the verdicts carefully.

Dank Left to Carry the Can

Stephen Dank Image:

Stephen Dank is being left to carry the can on the glacially slow and ineffective ASADA investigation into AFL doping.

‘The Essendon 34’ (as they have come to be known) have been cleared of taking the performance-enhancing peptide Thymosin Beta-4. This leaves only the sports scientist Dank to carry the blame.

ASADA is hoping for a decision from the tribunal before the appeal period expires on April 21.

Dank is facing more than a dozen charges under the AFL Anti-Doping Code, but has not yet received notification about judgement from the Tribunal.

Even when he does, said the correspondence to Dank, his charges may not be read out that day.

ASADA chief executive Ben McDevitt said, ‘”We eagerly await that component from the Tribunal because Stephen Dank was the alleged architect here, and so it will be very interesting to see what the findings are; and what the reasons behind those findings are from the tribunal.

‘It will certainly enable us to make a more informed decision.”

Among the charges are: Dank is alleged to have administered Thymosin Bta-4 to Essendon players; Hexarelin to players; was in possession of Thymosin Beta-4, Hexarelin and Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators.

Dank denies all allegations of wrongdoing. He has not appeared before the tribunal and refuses to co-operate with the ASADA investigation.

Meanwhile, josh Thomas and Lachlan Keeffe will face another round of tests from ASADA after initially testing positive to the outlawed drug Clenbuteroll.

The pair is scheduled to meet with representatives from ASADA on Monday to discuss their situation.

Russian Soccer Star Gets Made an Offer He Can Hardly Refuse


Russian porn star Alina Yeremenko – a.k.a. Alina Henessy has raised more than eyebrows during a Q&A with a Russian sports reporter.

She began by rating national soccer players on a scale of 1 to 10.

And she pulled no punches.

Poor Sergei Ignashevich scored a very modest 3!

But this was leading somewhere …



The very popular Aleksandr Kokorin came in with a perfect 10. To add to the kudos Yeremenko promised the 24 year-old soccer stud a 16 hour-long sex session if he scores five moree goals before the season comes to a close, – “as a thankyou.”

Reporters are eagerly awaiting a response from Kokorin. But fans seem to think the liason would tarnish the striker’s image.

“I’m not sure having sex with her is going to be the incentive he needs,” said Dynamo fan Leon Golubev to the Mirror. “I don’t thnk he is that basic.

“If he only scores three [goals] does that mean she’ll just have an eight hour session with him?” asked Oleg Andreeff, a Moscow supporter.