Archive for the ‘School Sport’ Category

Manly Needs to Stem the Flow

Willie Mason. Image:

The Parramatta Eels have posted their ultimate revenge on the Manly Sea Eagles. After nearly a decade of the Eagles poaching their best players the Eels have turned the tables.

It started with players like Will Hopoate Darcy Lussick and David Gower. More recently the Eels have been removing the spine of the club with Brad Arthur and Anthony Watmough being poached by the Silvertails’ arch rival. Now, if rumours are to be believed, the coup de grace is about to be administered to a club already on its knees.

Kieran Foran has been linked with a move to the Eels, though his signing is yet to be officially confirmed by either club.

After the recent defection of Daley Cherry-Evans to the Gold Coast Titans this news sounds the death knell to the hopes of the Manly club.

Manly fans are irate at the club for allowing the splitting up the halves pairing Cherry-Evans and Foran. The two cut a swathe through opposition teams in their years playing together.

Bu the consequences of the recent exodus are dire: If losing Cherry-Evans to the virtually imploding Titans set off warning bells, then losing Foran to arch-rivals the Eels must be a clear sign of the apocalypse.

Manly players, it seems, are willing to do anything and go anywhere to leave. Rumours of discontent with coaching staff and salaries have bubbled to the surface on occasion. But it seems the club’s woes are not limited to such personal or financial disagreements.

For all intents and purposes the once proud and strong Manly club is being treated as a sinking ship – and it is each man for himself.

Titans Set to fight Cocaine Charges


Gold Coast Titans’ Greg Bird and Dave Taylor entered pleas of not guilty yesterday in Southport’s Magistrates Court.

They are two of five Titans’ players caught up in the Crime and Corruption Commission’s investigation into cocaine distribution on the Gold Coast.

Karmichael Hunt (Reds rugby player) has already entered a guilty plea and been fined $4000 for possession of a banned substance.

Kalifa Faifai Loa will face charges of supplying cocaine on Tuesday.

Former Titans’ players Ashley Harrison and Joe Vickery will soon face their own charges of possession. While alleged kingpins, and ex-Rooster players, John Touma and John Tobin, are expected to face court on Wednesday.

The CCC is alleging the five Titans players had purchased the cocaine for personal use only.

Both Bird and Taylor were represented by hulking lawyer Campbell MacCallum.

MacCallum represents all five Titans players. He said Hunt’s guilty plea on Thursday would have no bearing on his client’s cases. Rather he suggested there were external factors influencing Hunt’s decision to plead guilty.

MacCallum told reporters he was meeting with the NRL integrity unit in an effort to have his clients readmitted to the player roster.

DCE Signs with Beleaguered Titans

Image: "Daly Cherry-Evans" by paddynapper - Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Manly playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans has done the unthinkable and signed with the moribund Gold Coast Titans. Whether or not the Titans will even be in the NRL next year is a pressing question. But for Manly the news has an immediate and dire impact.

But first things first:

Evans announced his departure in the locker room only minutes after Friday’s drubbing by the Eels. He will be joining the troubled Titans on a four-year deal beginning in 2016.

How the Titans – with a rollcall of players in trouble with the law, five players currently suspended pending drug charges, a litany of financial mismanagement, ever dwindling supporter base, and debts so monumental they had to be bailed out by the NRL – ever landed a marquee player like Cherry-Evans will be a mystery up there with the Mary Celeste.

In fact, for a club teetering on the brink of bankruptcy you have to wonder where the money is coming from.

For the Manly fans, players and club this is yet another blow to morale and their hopes of returning from the premiership wilderness.

Anthony Watmough, one of the more recently Manly departures, describes the club’s culture as “toxic”. Watmough, Glenn Stewart, and super-coach Des Hasler have recently left the club after ver public, very bitter disagreements.

Playmaker Kieran Foran was injured in Friday night’s game and is unlikely to return any time soon.

Furthermore, the signing of Willie Mason to the club doesn’t bode well. Mason (long regarded as the laziest man in the NRL) has underwhelmed virtually every club he has belonged to. It’s not that he lacks ability, he just seems to lack drive. Something the Sea Eagles are going to need in spades if they want to dig themselves out of the toxicity and bad news that has dogged them through the off-season.

Now, it seems, Cherry-Evans is likely to play a half-hearted season (and possibly be viewed with suspicion by his team mates – He has already been given the nickname ‘Yoko Ono’). Coach Toovey (who has never quite reached his predecessor’s ability) is going to continue to alienate his players with his abrupt and insensitive manner. And what was once the most envied playing roster in the league will continue to leak superstars.

For many it appears Manly’s season is over before it even began.

More Named in Titan’s Cocaine-Syndicate


The drug scandal engulfing the Gold Coat Titans just gets worse.

Two more players have been charged and ordered to appear in court.

This brings the number of Titans’ players facing legal action for possessing or supplying cocaine to four.

Outside back Kalifa Faifai Loa and former squad member Joe Vickery were served with court notices over the weekend.

They have refused to comment on the charges against them.

The Titans already have players Beau Falloon and Jamie Dowling on charges of allegedly supplying cocaine to friends and colleagues.

This latest announcement has plunged the club into yet more crisis meetings.

Coach Neil Henry stepped into the vacant spot after his predecessor, John Cartwright, was unceremoniously sacked late last year. Over the summer Henry has tried to drill last year’s whipping boys into something approaching a competitive side.

But the Titans have been hamstrung by stupendous debts, long-running allegations of financial impropriety, an endless list of off-field run-ins with the law, mediocre on-field results, loss of training facilities, and ever dwindling game-day attendances.

As such, attracting and keeping fans and sponsors has been, and will continue to be, a real challenge for the club.



BREAKING NEWS: Titans and Australian Test players Greg Bird and Dave Taylor have been named person’s of interest by investigators. Police are now concentrating their probe on six Titans and Karmichael Hunt, from the Reds.


Novice to Expert in 10,000 Hours Put to the Test


Table tennis coach Ben Larcombe has challenged the ‘expert = 10,000 hours practise’ rule.

Authors such as Malcolm Gladwell (Outliers), Matthew Syed (Bounce), and Daniel Coyle (The Talent Code( have demonstrated that throughout history all ‘experts’ have performed 10,000 hours of practice in their respective fields before their expertise was eventually recognised.

It means that geniuses are made not born. It also means there are no shortcuts. Anyone wanting to become pre-eminent in their field just has to do the work.

Larcombe disagrees. He believes that in some fields shortcuts can be found. In table tennis, for instance, the perfecting of winning shots over volley returns yields higher pay-offs when it comes to winning games.

To put his idea to the test he set out to take his friend, table tennis novice Sam Priestley, from novice to champion in a year.

England’s table tennis governing body, ETTA, said there were 25,000 people currently playing the game competitively. To become an ‘expert’ meant Sam would have to be ranked in the top 1% (250 or higher).

Sam, a 25 year-old from London, described himself as ‘un-sporty’ and well behind the average adult when it came to balance, agility, and fitness. Nonetheless the two friends decided to give it a fair go and see what happened.

Coach Ben soon realised that not all competitive sports were the same, however. A closed game, like golf, is very different to an open one like table tennis. In the latter when your opponent notices a weakness they will exploit it. While in golf there is nothing an opponent can do.

In response to this Sam had to become reasonably proficient in all areas of the sport rather than just concentrating on perfecting winning shots. This meant he had less time to practice his game-ending shots.

Nonetheless Sam improved week by week. He said the one-on-one coaching was a real luxury enabling him to correct mistakes before they became habits.

After one year and roughly 500 hours practice Sam became a very good player, though not quite in the top 250.

But Ben hasn’t given up. He still believes it is possible to go from novice to expert in one year. He’s looking to try again with another table tennis novice. This time, he says, he’ll double the practice hours and start with someone who has some degree of natural talent (a mandatory prerequisite according to the above-mentioned books).

Mayweather Demands the Royal Treatment


Details have been leaked about the demands by Floyd Mayweather ahead of an aborted trip to Australia. And they do him no favours.

Mayweather’s management suggested he make his decision public while on tour in Australia. The idea has since been shelved. A domestic violence conviction against the star boxer makes him ineligible for a visa.

However, leaked details may further distance him from a public already leery of his prima donna status.

Mayweather, one of the wold’s wealthiest athletes demanded his hotel rooms in Melbourne and Sydney be stocked with limitless gummy bears, M&Ms, fresh fruit and juices (according to a report in The Age) along with ice cold bottles of Cristal champagne.

The boxer expected a barber ‘skilled in cutting African-American hair’ to be available at all times. He also expected to have a butler, chef, makeup artist and women’s hairdresser at hand, 24 hours a day.

The fight between the two great boxers of this generation – Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather – is something the whole world wants to see. The two broadcasters squabbling over the rights to televise the great fight (HBO and Showtime) have resolved two of the four sticking points between them. Curiously, the televising rights need to be agreed upon before the boxers make their decision to fight.

Floyd Mayweather has not, as yet, signalled his intention to accept Manny Pacquiao’s challenge to meet him in the ring. Though one would expect with HBO and Showtime in agreement the pressure on Mayweather would be too great to back out.

Match-Fixers Likened to Paedophiles


Outspoken chairman of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, Sir Ronnie Flanagan, has launched an incredible tirade against match-fixers. He has likened their selfishness and manipulation to those of paedophiles – saying, doing, and promising anything to attain their evil ends.

Flanagan was in Sydney to address the media about measures the Anti-Corruption and Security Unit have created to eradicate match-fixing from cricket.

“In our line of work,” he told reporters, “we too often meet and know that there are rotten people out there, criminal people out there who will do all in their power to get at players and others of influence within the game.

“They’ll trick them, they’ll coerce them, they’ll try and attract them – they’re almost like paedophiles in how they attempt to groom people into ultimately attempting to do what suits their nefarious intentions in terms of illegal betting.

“This (series) will be true competition between teams fought out on the basis of ability and sometimes a little bit of luck. A tournament that is free from corruption, or the threat of corruption.

“We will be delivering education programs to all the teams involved reminding them of their responsibilities and the commitment they must strictly adhere to right throughout the tournament.”

When asked about the early return of Pakistani quick Mohammad Aamer Flanagan was effusive: “I am absolutely comfortable that it’s (allowing Aamer to return to domestic cricket) the right thing to do. He delivers messages to others that they shouldn’t ever put themselves in a position that he put himself in.”

Aamer was found guilty of spot-fixing in 2010. He was subsequently banned from all competitive cricket until 22 September this year. However, after demonstrating sincere remorse and a commitment to protecting his peers from similar temptations he has been allowed to return.

Basketball Coach Suspended for Team Winning by too Much!


The San Bernardino Arroyo Valley Hawks are a girls high school basketball team in inland southern California. On the 5th of January they crushed the Bloomington High school team by a staggering 161-2!

Because of it the Hawks coach, Michael Anderson, has received a two-game suspension.

“It wasn’t a good feeling,” said Anderson about the lopsided match. “It’s not something I’m proud of. It’s not something I would put on a mantel.’

The Bloomington girls’ coach, Dale Chung, told the Inland Valley daily Bulletin, People shouldn’t feel sorry for my team. They should feel sorry for (Anderson’s) team who aren’t learning the game the right way.”

Losses like this can have a profound impact on self-esteem – especially in the teenage years. No one yet knows if any of the Bloomington girls have decided to walk away from the game, but coach Chung is going to have his work cut out retaining his full squad.

Not only does he have to retain his squad, but he has to convince them that playing for the love of the game is still more important than winning. After having the disgrace of losing by 159 points broadcast around the world!

To be fair, however, both sides have form: Bloomington has previously lost a game this season by 91 points. While Arroyo Valley has won by 98.

Coach Anderson admitted he wanted to run his best team at full throttle. He and Dale Chung met before the game.

“This was our last game before we started league, and we were going to come out playing hard,” said Anderson. “I wanted to let him know there was no harm intended, and that if he had any ideas or concerns to let me know … And he seemed fine with that.”

Anderson admitted to the daily Bulletin that “the game just got away from me.

“I didn’t expect them (Bloomington) to be that bad. I’m not trying to embarrass anybody. And I didn’t expect my bench to play that well. I had one player make 8 of 9 3s!”

Chung questioned Anderson’s honour when it came to winning: “He knows what he did was wrong.”

High School Student at Center of Football World

Wang dalei. Image:

A year 7 high school student from the Gap has become the most sought after person on the internet and idol to billions of Chinese soccer fans.

12 year-old Stephen White was a ball boy at the tense, hard fought Asian Cup match between China and Saudi Arabia at Suncorp on Saturday night. With the scores locked at nil all the Saudi team were given penalty. Just prior to the penalty kick being taken by Neif Hazazi the Chinese goal keeper, Wang Dalei, turned to Stephen, who was standing behind the goal. Dalei and asked the Stephen (himself a budding goalkeeper) which way he should dive to save the goal.

“I was very surprised,” said Stephen to reporters after the game.

“He asked if he should go left or right. I told him left because that’s the way I always go in trying to predict where the ball will go.

“I was really excited when he saved it”

And so was Dalei.

And so were Chinese football fans half a world away.

Dalei warmed the hearts of sports fans all over the world by giving Stephen a thankyou hug after the final whistle. Furthermore Stephen was invited to attend China’s Monday night training session at the Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre. It is rumoured Dalei may present Stephen with his jersey.

China held on to win the game 1-0 and take a very big step towards securing overall honours.

“I love goalkeeping,” said Stephen, “it runs in my family. Stephen’s brothers Samuel, David and Dominic are also goalkeepers for their respective teams.

Their mother, Suzie, says her boys watch as much football as they can. “They focus on the keepers and everything they do.”

Tug-Of-War Making a Resurgence


You might think tug-of-war is a past time suited to country fairs and youth programs, but you’d be wrong.

Tug-of-war, once an Olympic sport, is seeing a resurgence in popularity around the nation.

With eight team members on each end of the rope you might think this is the ultimate test in brute strength, but again you’d be wrong.

Graham Egan, coach of the Brisbane Bulldogs admitted there was a lot of gamesmanship in each contest: Signs of failing strength, a slight slack in the rope, the height of the rope and timing all play crucial parts in determining the outcome. And the coach is part of the team.

“The coach is watching not only his team, but also the opposition as well; he is trying to see if the other team is getting tired, to put in a good heave,” said Egan to Weekend Warrior Chris McMahon.

“When that happens, he is concentrating on making sure the team isn’t lifting the rope up, the rope needs to stay at a low height and keep body weight on the rope.

“Once you start raising the rope it will stop and you will start going the other way.

“If we think they are getting tired what we will do is give in the knees a little bit and the might take a couple of inches.



“They will start moving their feet and then we will answer with a big heave and hopefully take a meter or so.

“You just need to take little increments all the time.”

In the health conscious and socially fragmented society of today tug-of-war offers a great deal: Exercise, camaraderie, and the development of skills both as an individual and within a team.