Archive for the ‘Rugby League’ Category

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.

‘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.

The Dangers of Too Much Sparring

Jamie Varner wiki: and image:

Jamie Varner, former UFC fighter and WEC lightweight champion has spoken out on the dangers of excessive sparring.

Verner had an impressive 11 year, 35 professional fight career. During this time he has fought some of the biggest names in MMA. These include former UFC champion Ben Henderson and contender Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone.

But Varner believes his career was cut short because of the high volume of sparring done during training.

In preparation for his fight against Drew Dober last December, Varner took a series of blows to the head, giving him concussion.

After taking scans, doctors estimated Varner had suffered more than 30 concussions throughout his fighting career.

More concussions, they were quick to point out, will have serious and long-term consequences. They strongly recommended Varner retire after his fight against Dober.

Varner lost the bout via first round submission.

But he followed the medical advice and retired soon after.

“I don’t think I was really ready for retirement or prepared for it,” Varner said to Cage Fanatic.

“If  I wasn’t so concerned with my brain I would still be competing; but I want to have kids some day and I don’t want to have early onset Alzheimr’s or dementia when I am 40 or 50 years-old.”

Varner was completely unaware he’d suffered so much head trauma through training.

“I felt like I was in a perpetual state of just constant migraines,” he said (referring to training) to MMA Hour.

“I thought it was nomal and that’s what we have to do as fighters. Part of the cross that we bear is having headaches and being beaten up.

“My career got cut shot because I was aparrng three days a wek, with bigg3er opponents,” said Varner to Cage Fanatic.

“I had Ryan Bader, Aaron Simpson and Carlos Condit. Those were my sparring partners from like 2006 to 2010. So I had a lot of head trauma just sparring with those big guys.”

Varner believes most fighters are doing the same thing – cutting short their careers with too much heavy sparring.

“Sparring is a tool that is used to work on game plans and to see where you are, condition-wise, caridovascularly. You don’t need to spar three days a week to prove you’re tough.

You don’t need to spar in off-season. You don’t need to spar 12 weeks out from a fight. Sapr maybe four to six weeks out from a fight.

“You don’t need to get hit in the head to become a better fighter.”

Varner believed the protective head gear worn by fighters was enough to protect them from cuts, but not enough from concussion: “It’s still blunt force trauma.

“You can still gt a concussion and not get knocked out. So headgear or no headgear, I just think spar once a week.”

Varner now works with a cognitive therapist several times a month. They are trying to arrest and reverse the damage already done to his brain through the concussion he suffered throughout his career.

Varner says he has some occasional short term memory loss about small things – like whether he brushed his teeth.

Titans’ Woes Continue

The woes of the Gold Coast Titans just continue.

It has now come to light that Titans management were only  hours away from moving their Friday night game against the Broncos to another stadium. Despite absorbing millions of dollars in sponsorships, donations, and now buy-outs by the NRL, the club continues to haemorrhage money. The threat to move the game from its home at Robina Cbus Super Stadium was yet another attempt at penny-pinching.

Negotiations between the titans and Stadiums Queensland hit a stalemate on the Tuesday before the game. Any agreements need to be finalised by this time as transport, police, catering, and a slew of other support services need to be notified in order to ready their staff.

In frantic last-minute discussions the two parties reached a short-term agreement allowing the game to proceed. But the Titans’ home ground is far from secure.

Prior to the club going into voluntary receivership in February, it was paying $2 million a year toplay 1its 12 home-games at the Robina stadium.

That, Titans management argue, is too much.

The cost of hiring the stadium is the club’s second largest cost behind the salaries of players and staff. According to management it contributed significantly to the financial struggles that saw the club into voluntary administration.

Graham Annesley, head of the Titans and Head of Club Services, Tony Carwford, are expected to thrash out a longer-term agreement with stadiums Queensland in the coming week. Upon this agreement hang the jobs of hundreds of support staff and loyalty of fans.

A spokesperson for Stadiums Queensland told reporters that one method of reducing stadium cost was to limit seating.

This was tried by Clive Palmer when he owned the now defunct Gold Coast United A-League football team. It was meant with a huge supporter backlash as fans were unable to see their team play.

Moving the team to another stadium will likewise present many loyal fans with problems of attending their match.

Considering the sponsorship, donations, and buy-out they have received, one has to wonder: What the Titans are doing with their money?

What Some Women Do to Sleep with Football Stars

Helen McCabe Image:

Jesinta Campbell, 23 year-old model and fiancée of Buddy Franklin, recently gave some surprising answers when she was quizzed about domestic violence and sportsmen.

Ms Campbell was taking part in a Let’s Talk discussion with Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and editor of the Australian Women’s Weekly Helen McCabe when she dropped her bombshell.

“With my experience of Lance,” she said, “obviously he’s such a gentleman, he’s the man that’s going to be my husband. I haven’t seen anything with him.

“But with other men I’ve definitely seen it – and the most shocking thing for me is the way you see some women, or women in general, act around these sports stars.

“I’ve seen things in clubs that would make their mothers’ skin crawl. I’ve seen girls lift skirts up and put men’s hands under their skirts.

“You see a lot,” she said, referring to the Melbourne nightclub seen. “It’s almost like they will do.

anything to have the glory of being with a footballer. How do we change that?” she asked

No one had an answer.

It’s heresy to even consider a woman’s actions (any actions) as provocative. Women’s groups have hitherto focused 100 per cent of their, and the nation’s, attention on changing the attitudes of men.

Campbell’s comments echoed sentiments espoused in the 2006 documentary Footy Chicks. The film followed a small group of women who pursued footballers as sexual conquests. It showed the extraordinary lengths, guile, and cunning used by the women for their own gratification, regardless of the often dire consequences for their prey.

Men, it seems, are the only ones held accountable for their actions.

Australians Rumoured to be Seeing a Lot More of the UFC Soon

Tara Rushton Image:

Fox Sports is rumoured to be in the closing stages of negotiations to launch a dedicated UFC Tonight program.

Mixed Martial Arts events have taken the Australian sporting public by storm. UFC events around the nation have attracted huge crowds. The Victorian government is currently removing the final legal obstacles preventing the UFC hosting event within its borders. It all adds up to lucrative broadcasting rights and an eager audience.

Rumours abound ahead of the incipient announcement. But some believe Sydney flyweight Richie Vaculik has been considered to co-host along with TV presenter and model Tara Rushton.

The UFC Tonight show is unlikely to be on the same scale as current footy talk shows, but it may possibly follow\ the same format – with various gusts being interviewed, showcasing fighteters in the same way football shows showcase NRL players.

In the wake of Victoria’s legalisation of the combat sport the UFC is hosting a blockbuster UFC 193 at Etihad Stadium in November. 50,000 fight fans are tipped to be in attendance, fighters themselves are lining up to be on the card, and the event will be broadcast around the world.  The night is considered to possibly be one of the biggest combat sports events in Australia’s history.

The UFC itself is expecting a bumper year. UFC 189 is gathering more coverage than just about all its predecessors. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo is set to defend his title against polarising megastar Conor McGregor.

The two are winding up a world tour promoting the fight. They then enter their final training camps before the July 11 showdown in Las Vegas.

Titans Post First 2015 Win – But Still a Long Way to Go

The struggling Gold Coast Titans have posted their first win of the 2015 season. On the weekend they overcame a hapless Cronulla Sharks to move to 1-3 for the season.

Saved from certain extinction by the NRL, plagued by drug charges against five of its senior players, and wracked with systemic failures and a dwindling support base the Titans are playing for their survival this year.

Captain Nate Myles said, “We need to create more of a winning feeling through the team.” This as the Titans admitted their reluctance to renew Myles’ contract for 2016.

Coach Neil Henry is fighting to keep his Captain at the club. But it seems the recruiting department have other ideas.

In-form centre James Roberts has been whispered to be high on the Titans’ re-signing wish list.

The 22 year-old is attracting attention from other clubs, but says he is happy playing for the Coast.

Once considered the fastest man in the NRL, Roberts spent most of last season on the sidelines with a broken ankle. He has now played 16 consecutive matches for the sky blues and has scored a creditable 20 tries in 32 matches. Roberts says he is finding form again and is keen to put more points on the board.

Roberts was sensational against Cronulla on the weekend. He blew past defenders to score two tries – one of which involved a heart-stopping intercept in the last five minutes of the game. He also wrestled the ball away from a Cronulla attacker to put big Dave Taylor over for another.

Roberts was yet another reject picked up by the Titans for a song. Penrith cut him loose early last year and Roberts says he is keen to repay the club.

Randwick Rugby Club Trials Concussion Patch

randwick concussion patch

Randwick Rugby Club is the first Australian team to trial a new concussion patch that monitors data from head impacts and allows medical staff to make better decisions around head injury treatment and prevention.

The first grade team wore the small patches behind their ears at the opening round of the Shute Shield competition last weekend, and will continue to use it in every game from now on.

The X-patch measures G-force and rotational acceleration to monitor the force, length and location of every blow to the head. The small digital device was created in 2007 by Seattle-based X2 Biosystems for American football and was used for research by the Auckland University of Technology. This study involved examining every hit sustained by a single amateur rugby union team in New Zealand throughout the 2013 season, and was published by the American Journal of Medicine.

The research found that across a 19-match season, the premier-level team experienced 20,687 impacts to the head greater than 10g, which is approximately the impact of a light punch. That equates to a massive average of 77 impacts to the head per player-position per match.

4,452 of these impacts were “above the injury-risk limit” – and this was in the amateur rugby union league.

Wearing the X-patch, according to Dr Matt Matava of the NFL Physician Society, “has allowed us to accurately diagnose concussions immediately following an injury [6 minutes after a hit]. The software also allows up to compare the players’ injury date to their baseline in order to asses changes in mental status.”

The X-patch was adopted by London rugby union team, Saracens, in January. It has also already appeared in NFL, NHL, US Lacrosse and in the coming season will be used by all 20 major league soccer teams in the United States.

The technology is currently focused on simply monitoring head impacts and acquiring data. However, Dr Adrian Cohen of NeckSafe, said at the Randwick club season launch on Thursday: “one of the things that interested me was the role of technology and actually getting some objectivity into what is going on.”

“We can see what is going on and get a firm understanding of the things that lead to injury and what we can do,” said Dr Cohen.

Eventually, when adopted more widely, this technology could revolutionise our understanding of and ability to prevent head injuries in contact sports. It will help in particular to monitor the smaller, repetitive hits, which can do even more damage than the obvious knock out hits.