Archive for the ‘Sport’ Category

Melbourne Victory was beaten in the A-League grand final last night by Sydney. Scores were locked at 1-1 after regular time and after 30 minutes of extra time. Sydney ended up winning the penalty shoot out.

As a spectacle, it was a pretty ordinary game. Both teams generally sniped away at each other all night, but the major contributor to the poor standard was the surface at Etihad Stadium. Once again I ask, how the hell does Ian Collins get away with providing such a crap surface week after week after week? It’s bullshit! It’s interesting that Victory has lost three players this season to significant knee injuries, all of which occurred at Etihad from memory. On that subject, let’s hope Archie Thompson makes a speedy recovery – he is a significant signature player for the A-League.

With the way the game was decided, it makes me wonder why soccer doesn’t embrace the concept of “golden goal”, instead of the penalty shoot out, which seems to be the way that is commonly used to break deadlocks in major games. Golden goal basically means that, once extra time has commenced, the side that scores the first goal wins the game.

In golden goal’s defence, it would mean that all effort would be made by each side to score, knowing the next goal will be the winner. This would make it a much better spectacle for spectators. It would also remove the penalty shoot out option, which is really a lottery based on which direction the goalkeeper decides to leap and which angle the shooter decides to strike the ball. If the keeper guesses right, then sometimes he gets lucky.

Critics of golden goal would no doubt argue that there is no guarantee that a goal would be scored, which is certainly true. They would also suggest that it is unfair on coaches, who mange their substitutes with the expectation that play will go on for a set period of time. Surely the solution to this would be to allow substitutes to come back on.

Has golden goal been tried in soccer previously? I’d be interested in comments on how it went.

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I’ve had this post sitting in my drafts for a few weeks now, with just the heading and no content. For the sake of getting it out there, let me say that seeing Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin return so successfully from retirement was fantastic for the game of tennis.

The Australian Open is over and the relevance has probably dissipated now, so let’s just say it’s great to have them back, and not give the bagging to professional tennis, particularly the women’s game, that I was intending.

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Manchester United 0  Leeds United 1 – 3rd round, FA Cup

It’s easy to dislike Manchester United. They really are the Collingwood of the Premier League. Absurd amounts of financial backing while other clubs like Portsmouth are almost bankrupt. Arrogant. A manager who gets way more publicity that warranted.

So how fantastic it was to see Leeds United, a League One (effectively third division) side knock them over in the third round of the FA Cup.

It was even more satisfying for me, because I used to keep a close eye on them when they were in Premier League, given they had both Harry Kewell and Mark Viduca playing for them.

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I spent the first three days at the test this year. It was great to be there on the first day with Tom, and with friends and colleagues on the subsequent days. As I type this, I have watched bits and pieces of the fourth day on TV, including on a large outdoor screen that is still erected in Marysville. I’ve also listened to the fantastic ABC radio commentary.

One of the stand out performers this year has been Shane Watson. As much as he frustrates me with his attitude and apparent lack of sportsmanship, he’s been great. The other stand out has been Pakistan’s Mohamad Aamer. At 17 years of age, he certainly looks a superstar of the future.

I need to have my usual two rants. It makes me feel better to get them out there, even though I know there’s not a snowflake’s hope in hell that anything will change.

  1. Whatever happened to the days when it was plain courtesy that you didn’t leave or go back to your seat during an over, thus walking in front of people as play is proceeding? It’s damn rude and incredibly frustrating. It’s even more frustrating when it happens in the Members’ area – these people should know better.
  2. Why the hell do the morons in Bay 13 and the general vicinity bother? ‘Nuf said.

Rant over. Normal service restored.

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It’s so easy to forget how the Mornington Peninsula is such a great place. I played bowls at Mornington yesterday with my mate PJ. I had a fantastic day, the company was great and we managed to win a bit of money. A few beers and dinner afterwards, looking out over the bay. Fantastic!

The trip took about 40 minutes each way from home at Mordialloc. Not bad when you consider the commute into Melbourne during peak hour is about an hour. Hmmm. Me thinks I should start thinking about spending a bit more time in that part of the world.

BTW, for any bowls colleagues, PJ plays off this morning in the club championship at Mount Martha.

Update (3/1/10): PJ won.

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Go Sainters – One To Go!

It’s goint to be an incredibly difficult, but really exciting week. St Kilda beat Footscray last night in one of the most nail biting sporting events I’ve ever watched. I checked my pulse during the game and couldn’t believe how much it was racing.

So what’s on this week? I’ll need to see if I can sneak away to training for a couple of hours during the week. Can you imagine what it will be like at Moorabbin? There’s no way I’d contemplate driving and trying to find a car park – might be the train for that one.

I’ll need to find time to go and buy a Drizabone at some stage. I’ve been threatening to do it for a while, but the imperitive is stronger now. Why? All will be revealed below.

The Grand Final parade on Friday morning will be fantastic. Then it all starts to get a bit silly. I’m working out at the Royal Melbourne Show for Red Cross that afternoon – should be over and done with that by about 10:30pm. Then it will be off to the MCG with my folding chair, iPod, warm clothing and Drizabone to join the queue outside the Members, so I can get my favourite seat on Level 2.

So not a lot of sleep (probably zero) on Friday night and, if St Kilda wins, not a lot of sleep on Saturday night. It will be interesting to see what form I display at bowls practice the following day.

Oh well! It doesn’t happen every year. GO SAINTERS!!!!!!

Update: We lost.

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I’ve never tried action footy photos before, so took my camera over to Trevor Barker Oval today, to watch the Sandringham Zebras play the Frankston Dolphins. Here’s the pick of them.

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I’ve blogged previously on Muthiah Muralitharan and how the world cricketing authorities have changed the rules to support the way he delivers the ball (I won’t say “bowl”, because he doesn’t). Hence, I was delighted to read this in today’s The Age:

“Writing in the Adelaide Review, off-spinning great Ashley Mallett said: ‘‘There was unanimous agreement that the off-spinner’s ‘other-one’, the doosra, should not be coached in Australia. I have never seen anyone actually bowl the doosra. It has to be a chuck. Until such time as the ICC declares that all manner of chucking is legal in the game of cricket, I refuse to coach the doosra. All at the spin summit agreed.’’

‘‘All’’ included leg-spinners Shane Warne, Stuart MacGill, Jim Higgs, Terry Jenner and Peter Philpott, offies Gavin Robertson and Mallett, as well as Australian chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch.”

Absolutely fantastic guys, well done.

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Saints Training

For someone who’s so fanatical about the St Kilda footy club, I guess it’s surprising I haven’t done any blogging about it, particularly as it’s been such a great season so far.

Last Sunday’s game was just brilliant – so much hype beforehand and a standard of game that certainly lived up to the hype. I thought it was great how players that have developed with the club over the recent years, and given us supporters considerable frustration as they’ve developed, really stood up and had great games. I’m thinking in particular of Sam Gilbert and Brendon Goddard.

Anyway, as I’m between jobs this week, I decided to go and watch them train at Moorabbin on Wednesday. Visits to Moorabbin always bring back great memories, particularly Lockett kicking bags against sides like Sydney and Brisbane. I clearly remember the last game there against Fitzroy, before we moved to Waverley.

The ol’ ground ain’t what it used to be, as it is going through a major re-development. There was Ross Lyon holding his press conference in the rubble in the middle of us fanatics there to watch training.

Anyway, the boys looked pretty slick in preparation for the game against West Coast this weekend. And what did I find most impressive? The way they spent plenty of time with the approximately 150 supports that were there, doing autographs and having their photos taken with people when requested. Justin Koschitzke and Nick Dal Santo were particularly impressive. Nice work boys.

So here’s a few photos from training.

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Sporting Legends

Some of our sportsmen deserve, by the way they play their respective games, the way they carry themselves in public life, and what they do for their sports after they’ve finished playing, to be given legend status. Two of those people have hit the news this week, for entirely different reasons.

Ron Barassi has been made Victorian of The Year for 2009. He was a magnificent sportsman, is a great bloke and has done an enormous amount for football over time. His award is well deserved.

Another Demons legend, Jim Stynes, has announced he has started the battle against cancer and is standing aside from the Melbourne presidency. It’s proof once again that this damn cancer doesn’t discriminate. All the best with the battle, Jim!

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