Posts Tagged ‘winter sports’

‘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.

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?

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.

ANZ Netball Championship Ad Causes a Stir

Play Like a Girl. Image:

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:

CoverGirl Get Your Game Face On. Photo:

Todd Carney Wins Case for Unfair Dismissal


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.

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.

Titans’ Cocaine Investigation Widens

"VariousPills" by MorgueFile : see [1]. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

John Thomas, whose original name was John Touma, has sold his Mermaid Waters unit as he goes to ground in the wake of the Titans’ drug scandal.

A former Roosters player Touma sold his property between May and December of 2013. Yet a note on the door yesterday said he had sold the property because of the rain.

Thomas’ property is listed on his bail undertaking.

Touma was arrested on December 19 last year. He was charged with trafficking cocaine and possessing five mobile phones, a large sum of cash, and a Ford Territory allegedly used in the commission of a crime..

Touma was released on a $10,000 surety on the condition he reside at his Christina Court home.

Within weeks was Touma was again in court, this time charged with possession of and supplying cocaine to John Rowland Tobin, another former Roosters player.

Yesterday, however, Touma was nowhere to be found.

Nor did his solicitor, Stephen Buchanan respond to a request for his client’s whereabouts.

Falloon and his girlfriend Elise Abood, Hunt and Dowling will have their first court appearance on March 5. Touma and Tobin are due to appear before a magistrate on 11th of March.

Prosecutors believe Touma is at the centre of a drug syndicate embroiling current and former NRL players. It has been alleged that Thomas was identified as the cocaine ringleader through phone intercepts organised by the Crime and Corruption Commission.

In time the investigation widened to include Gold coast Titans players Beau Falloon, Dave Taylor, Greg Bird, Jamie Dowling, and Kalifa Faifai Loa and former Titan Joe Vickery. All of them have since been charged with supplying of cocaine.

Others to be charged in conjunction with the investigation are Queensland Reds player Karmichael Hunt and former rugby league players John Tobin, Jason Smith, and Matt Seers.


Punters can name their own odds on a Titan’s premiership this year.


In breaking news, the NRL has taken control of the beleaguered Titans in an effort to save the club from dissolution. The NRL is now the club’s sole shareholder. It has said it will not interfere with the day-to-day running of the club, but instead aims to restructure the Titans’ for longevity.

The Titans still lack a major sponsor, but the investment made by the NRL assures their existence while the root and branch changes are made.

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.


‘Pot Roast’ Fined for Being Overweight


Terrance ‘Pot Roast’ Knighton has been fined yet again for missing his team weight markers. Over the course of his playing career he has amassed a staggering $300,000 in fines for weight-related issues.

His current team, the Denver Broncos, is intent on a shake-up. And Knighton is on the list. Team management believe his weight problems are now affecting the success of the side.

“The Broncos will undergo a number of changes in the coming days and weeks. John Elway (the general manager) won’t sit back and chill. He will be aggressive in fixing the team’s problems.

“One of those issues is Knighton.”

Knighton is listed in the players’ report as weighing in at a trim-taut-and terrific 152 kg. But everyone knows that’s not true. It’s more – maybe a lot more.

But after forking out $300,000 it seems obvious that fining him isn’t working. Elway will need a new strategy.

Knighton is arguably one of the nicest and most respected players in the NFL. He laughs about his weight problem and tells how he got the nickname ‘Pot Roast’:

“It was dark on the plane and everyone was sleeping. The stewardess was walking down the aisle saying, ‘Pot roast? Pot roast?’ and I raised my hand, as if that was my name.

The guy sitting behind me, (former teammate) Clint Ingram is probably the biggest comedian I ever played with – he said, ‘I’m going to start calling you Pot Roast.

“I was like ‘Yeah, whatever.’ But it stuck with me.

“I’m just glad I ordered that instead of the shrimp Alfredo. I just thought it was going to be something to laugh about for the week. But five years later we’re still talking about ‘Pot Roast.’”