Archive for the ‘Winter Sports’ Category

Don’t Let Divers Decide Origin!

Worst diver in the game, Greg Bird. Image: http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/state-of-origin-2015-trevor-gillmeister-fears-fakers-might-decide-match/story-fndv2twz-1227369174577

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: en.wikipedia.org

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.

Athletes Think Better Under Stress

Amy Williams Bobsled: en.wikipedia.org

As if we needed another reason to envy gifted athletes – here is another:

A recent study commissioned by Dunlop Tyres in association with University College London (UCL) has found extreme athletes performed significantly better than average members of the public when subjected to physical and mental duress.

The parietal coretex (an area of the brain responsible for determining reaction speed) remained unimpaired when elite athletes were forced to complete tasks while under extreme stress. Not so for the rest of us.

UCL professor Vincent Walsh took five athletes – multiple Isle of Man TT winner John McGuiness, leading free climber Leo Houlding, racing car driver Sam Bird, wing-suit diver Alexander Polli, and Olympic bobsled gold medallist Amy Williams – and subjected them to a series of mental and physical pressures before engaging in timed visual tasks.

The athletes were worked to exhaustion before being challenged to identify a series of shapes and patterns.

Elite sportspeople, it was found, performed 82 per cent faster than average.

Motorcyclist McGuinness performed better under pressure than in the stress-free control study. While overall the athletes performed 10 per cnt better when under pressure.

In contrast, non-elite athletes saw their scores go down by 60 per cent.

The results are tunning.

John McGuiness: commons.wikimedia.org

John McGuiness: commons.wikimedia.org

They show that athletes can perform under intense distractions three times better than average members of the public.

Professor Walsh was still uncertain as to whether this ability was because of inborn neurological advantage or something developed through exposure to physical and mental stress through sport training.

Prof Walsh is adamant the skills can definitely be improved: “We might to be able to become a John or a Leo, but all these areas of the brain can make connections in later life, so we can enhance ourselves.”

Channel 9 NRL Commentators Still the Worst

Ray Hadley image: www.smh.com.au

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.

Kangaroos Crushed by Kiwi Juggernauts

Image: http://www.news.com.au/sport/nrl/tim-sheens-has-coached-his-last-test-josh-dugan-struggles-on-wing-five-things-we-learned-from-australia-v-new-zealand/story-fndujljl-1227333185346

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.

GO! St. Louis Marathon Winner to Get Special Award Presentation

http://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2015/04/18/25980499/

GO! St Louis marathon winner Andrea Karl has told SL Today she was “just as surprised as anyone else” to find Kendall Schler had crossed the finish line before her.

“They said someone had crossed before me.

“I don’t know. People were telling me on the course as I was going that I was the first female. I thought I was (the lead runner) most of the way.”

The 23 year-old marathoner crossed the line to a bewildered reception, as Schler was already in the recovery area claiming she’d won.

But Schler, it was later discovered had removed the time strip from her bib and eased quietly into the course without running the full distance.

When speaking to USA Today Ms Karl was gracious: “There’s too much to celebrate to be disappointed in something like that.

“Winning was awesome, but it’s not the reason I was running that race.”

Nonetheless, the GO! St. Louis marathon organisers are working to recreate the awards ceremony so that the rightful winner can have her moment of glory.

CBS New was told that Ms Karl will receive her award at a local St. Louis Cardinals baseball game where she will be officially declared the event’s winner.

“Andrea is a lovely woman,” said Nancy Lieberman, president of the GO! St. Louis event, “and she’s very excited. She’ll be running with the glory of a true champion when she comes from the outfield down the third baseline to home plate. We will have a finish line tape for her to cross. We will then present her with her medal, flower, and some other gifts.”

Kendall Schler, 26, the woman found to have cheated her way to first place, has eluded reporters thus far.

Officials had concerns about her win the moment she crossed the finish line, but needed evidence before they acted.

Schler, against race regulations, had removed her bib and had the race number on her leg covered by a shirt. Upon being questioned about why she posted no early stage times Schler admitted to removing the timing strip.

On-course officials from US Track and Field do not remember seeing Schler in the early part of the race; and they certainly don’t remember her running with the lead pack.

GO! ST. Louis organisers immediately consulted their records. It soon became apparent Schler had done exactly the same thing in last year’s event, where she placed third.

Liieberman said Schler has not responded to her request for photographs of her running the 2014 race.

“It was kind of a nondescript conversation,” Lieberman told reporters. “Most people, quite frankly, would be defensive, but say, ‘Yes, I really did (run the race).’ I explained I would have to contact Boston and let them know (about the questionable qualifying time), and she wanted to know how she could find out if she can run Boston. That was pretty much the end of the conversation.”

Go! St. Louis Marathon Winner Disqualified for Cheating

Kendell Schler image: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/other/fake-go-st-louis-marathon-winner-disqualified-for-boston/article_3ccaac16-1a45-5a14-aaf1-723fa3feb5df.html

26 year-old Kendall Schler of Columbia, Missouri, has been stripped of her winner’s title in the GO! St. Louis Marathon.

Officials became suspicious when Schler failed to register several early checkpoint times. Nor could any of the race-start officials remember her toeing the line for the starter’s gun. Neither did the race cyclist (who rides with the lead runners) ever remember seeing her.

Schler had finished third in last year’s St. Louis Marathon, but had her place and time voided for doing exactly the same thing!

Nancy Lieberman, president of GO! St. Louis, said in the St. Louis Post Dispatch: “It’s a difficult situation for everybody, including the people who run a fair race and don’t get the recognition they should receive. I said to her (Schler), ‘It looks like you perpetrated a fraud.’ I have nothing legitimate that says she officially started and ran 26.2 miles in 2014 or 2015.”

Schler stood to win $1500 and an immediate entry into the prestigious Boston Marathon (being raced Monday) for a first place.

Organisers have found she removed the timing strip form her official competitor’s bib and crept quietly onto the course mid-race.

When confronted, Schler admitted to removing her race timing chip in both the 2014 and 2015 events.

She has since been banned from the GO! St. Louis event.

Ms Schler could not be contacted for a response.

Andrea Karl image: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/other/fake-go-st-louis-marathon-winner-disqualified-for-boston/article_3ccaac16-1a45-5a14-aaf1-723fa3feb5df.html

Real winner of Go! St. Louis marathon Andrea Karl image: http://www.stltoday.com/sports/other/fake-go-st-louis-marathon-winner-disqualified-for-boston/article_3ccaac16-1a45-5a14-aaf1-723fa3feb5df.html

The official winner was Andrea Karl, a doctoral candidate at Washington University. Karl ran the full course in 2 hours, 54 minutes, 28 seconds. But she crossed the finish line almost unnoticed and was told another woman had finished before her.

Dank Takes Rap for Essendon Drugs Scandal

Stephen Dank Image: www.abc.net.au

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.

ANZ Netball Championship Ad Causes a Stir

Play Like a Girl. Image: www.mews.com.au

Controversy has descended upon the ANZ Netball Championships latest ad campaign.

The ‘Play Like A Girl’ campaign features a picture of netballer Sharni Layton with a shiner and bloodshot left eye. Critics argue that the ad draws eerie comparisons with domestic violence pictures – especially the recent ‘Get Your Game Face On’ by Covergirl. This campaign was run specifically to draw attention to the recent spate of high-profile US sportsmen involved in domestic violence against their partners.

Channel Nine journalist and sportswoman Sam Squiers (operator of the blog Sportette) said the ad ‘instantly’ conjured thoughts of a domestic violence campaign.

She says she understood what the executives were trying to achieve, but that they had failed miserably

“I’m constantly campaigning for women’s sports,” said Ms Squiers, “and am the first to say the athletes are tough and their game far from slow or weak.

“I urge those unfamiliar with women’s sports to watch the rugby union and league. The hits are hard, the girls are tough. Yet straight away I have a problem when I see this image. It doesn’t sell women’s sports a tough at all.

“There are other ways of conveying that message,” she continued, “without this confronting image. The game has demonstrated inspiring scenes of toughness, heroism, strength, guts and glory thought out its years.

“A bloodshot, black eye doesn’t. Do you need a black eye to prove the players are tough?”

But not everyone agrees. Liz Ellis responded saying she ‘loved it’

Writing in The Age Newspaper she said, “To draw a line between this image and domestic violence campaign is unfair to both, and suggest sadly that we live in an age when the assumption can be made that when a woman is bruised she is a victim.”

She went on to say, “I don’t think this conversation would have happened if it were a blokes sport.”

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo: www.wjla.com

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo: www.wjla.com

Todd Carney Wins Case for Unfair Dismissal

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It seems you get the justice you pay for.

NRL tribunal chairman Ian Callinan QC has found in favour of Todd Carney, ruling his dismissal from the Cronulla sharks was unfair.

It was found Carney was not given adequate legal opportunity to plead his case before the Cronulla Sharks board.

The ruling opens a tiny window of opportunity for Carney’s re-admission to the NRL.

Should Carney wish to pursue a return his next step would be to lodge an unfair dismissal claim with the Industrial Relations commission. This would most likely be as expensive as it will be drawn-out. The kind of case every lawyer loves.

Chairman of the Cronulla Sharks, Damian Keogh, said the club accepted the decision of the NRL appeals committee. But he was quick to add that even despite the team’s recent poor performance they had no intention of reinstating their playmaker.

“The big oversight was that someone needed to check that the process being followed was correct,” he said to The Sunday Telegraph.

“What’s important to remember here is that it’s not a question of the facts. It’s a question of the process. But the reality of the situation is the decision would likely have been the same.

“I wouldn’t’ rule out Todd Carney returning to the NRL one day. But from my point of view there has been a lot of water that has flowed under the bridge since last June.”

Carney now plays for the English Premier League team the Catalan Dragons. He is currently sidelined with broken ribs.