Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pressures Mounting On Eels Superstars

Has the pressure of being one of the greats in the game today got to Jarryd Hayne? Or are his teammates the ones to blame for his lackluster start to the season?

The Eels head into this weekend’s clash against the in-form South Sydney Rabbitohs with a lot on the line.

Sitting on the bottom of the table with only two points from their five contests, things aren’t looking too great for the runners-up of last year’s season.

They can consider themselves lucky to even have those two points.

Their only win of the season came on the back of two forward passes, one of them was that forward it probably should have been called a penalty.

Who is to blame for such a poor start to the season? Are the Eels looking to replicate the Cinderella story they created last season?

I don’t think they can do it this year.

There are too many teams this season that on their given day can beat anyone. Teams like the Bulldogs and the Eels are going to struggle to even make the finals if they don’t pick up their act, starting from this weekend.

If you had been away for the first five weeks of the season and had seen Parramatta at the bottom of the ladder, you would straight away think Jarryd Hayne must either not be playing well or not playing at all.

It seems all the finger pointing is being hurled at the fullback who last year carried his team to the grand final.

Is this fair?

I don’t think so.

Hayne is a brilliant player, but he can’t weave his magic if his forwards aren’t doing the work upfront. At the moment the Eels are sitting back and waiting for the superstar to pull off a miracle week in, week out.

Nathan Cayless, Fuifui Moimoi, Nathan Hindmarsh and Feliti Mateo all must knuckle down and do the work upfront. At the moment opposition front rowers are running all over them. This is not allowing Parramatta’s star studded backline any room to create for each other.

There have been questions raised about Nathan Cayless, if he is still is able to compete with some of the best.

There is no doubting his passion and desire to help the Eels win a premiership, but should he be the man carrying them forward at the moment?

On the other hand, has the pressure got to last season’s Dally M Player of the Year?

Opposition teams have put together strategies to take the RLIF International Player of the Year in 2009 out of the ball game. As much as Hayne has downplayed the effect it’s having on his game, it must be eating him up inside.

I could not believe one of the excuses Daniel Anderson gave this week on why Hayne has been conservative of late. “Jarryd’s a little gun shy because he’s been called for forward passes in two games … I don’t think either have been forward.”

Mr Anderson, I think you need to go and watch the footage again.

Great players always seem to find a way out of a tough situation, and I’m thinking Jarryd Hayne will be one of them. Look for a purple patch of form from the electrifying Eel in the coming weeks.

This weekend’s contest between the Eels and the Rabbits is set to be a rip roaring affair. If the South’s forwards get the upper hand, it could get ugly for the Parramatta fans.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


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Big offseason signings, new blood in the coaching ranks and the Sydney Kings are back. Is 2010 when the NBL returns to its glory days?

One of Australia’s young stars returns to the country after having a stint in Hungary. Matthew Knight, a Tasmanian junior, showed us all two years ago that he is going to be a star. In his rookie year for the Sydney Spirit, Knight became one of the most feared competitors in the game. Last season’s NBL Champions, Perth, have snared the monster and will make them an even greater force in the season to come. It is a step in the right direction for the NBL. If they can lure the young Australians’ back from Europe, then it is saying something about the quality of the competition back home.

The free agency market has given teams across the league a chance to purchase some quality talent. With every player listed on the market this season, it has added excitement to a once dour NBL offseason.

Melbourne and Adelaide have been quick to snap up some local talent whom dominated last season. Adelaide picked up Daniel Johnson, a young kid who still has many, many years a head of him. Melbourne has picked up the signing of the year so far in Cameron ‘Trigger’ Tragardh. Trigger was outstanding last season and is becoming one of the most potent scorers in the league. With many big name players yet to be signed, fans have to wait on the edge of their seats to see if their favourite player remains at the club.

The NBL is witnessing some new blood in the coaching ranks. In only his second season of coaching in the NBL, Rob Beveridge helped the Perth Wildcats hold up the Championship Trophy. Adelaide has just signed Martin Clarke, former Australian Institute of Sport head coach and current Boomers assistant coach. This is the right time for coaches like Brian Goorjian and Lindsay Gaze, to let some of the predecessors have a chance in the big league. Goorjian and Gaze have set a platform for all of the new coaches, the NBL thanks them for that, but it’s time for the new guys to take over. I’m hoping they bring back the wow factor the game has been missing for years.

The Sydney Kings are back, and what a time for it to happen. With the NBL quickly falling off the side of the sporting world, the Kings have given it a new lease of life. The problem now is the Kings are behind the eight ball. Many of the teams have started purchasing players and filling their roster. The Kings have not yet bought one player. All the Kings have done is appoint a coach. Ian ‘Moose’ Robilliard will hopefully take the Kings back to the Glory days, when the Entertainment Centre was jam packed and the fans were bopping along to the band that played before and after the game. I have heard that new Kings Chief Executive, Bob Turner, is keeping his cards very close to his chest, which is making it very hard for the Consortium to get things off the ground and running.

Sydney fans must not be ready for fireworks from day one of the competition, let alone the season. The Kings must put their heart and soul into trying to get bums on seats and get the Entertainment Centre pumping. The Kings will win games, there is no doubting that. I just hope that the Kings spend their money on local talent, meaning NSW, not Victoria or Western Australia. Fans want to see what their state has to offer not anyone else’s. This is where I think Sydney went wrong in previous years.

Enjoy what the off-season has to offer, but when the season begins it’s SHOWTIME!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

This Takes Spear Tackle To A New Level


Imagine being  put in this position at full speed.

This is one of the ugliest tackles I've seen since Jarrod McCracken got speared in 2000. It occurred in the 22nd minute of Sunday's Toyota Cup under-20s match between Manly and the New Zealand Warriors at Mt Smart Stadium. The NRL match review committee yesterday charged two Warriors players, lock John Palavi and interchange player Sebastine Ikahihifo, with a grade five dangerous throws - the harshest penalty other than an offence being referred directly to the judiciary. Palavi and Ikahihifo each face nine-match suspensions but will get off with six-week bans if they plead guilty as expected. They were not sent off.

How on earth are these two boys not sent off? The bloke is vertical! I don't know what the referee was thinking, but I'm sure he got a stern talking to by the head referee officials. Birrigan Young was lucky to escape any type of neck injury. Young came out of the tackle with a dislocated shoulder and could miss up to eight games, or even worse the season. Young can count his lucky stars that he may once again play football.

Should Lockyer Be Going Around One More Time?


Every now and again, I get you guys and girls (the readers), to have your say on a topic that has been in the news over the last couple of days. This time around we will be looking at the representative career of Darren Lockyer. Locky announced this week that he would continue his representative career into 2010. He is now poised to skipper Queensland to a 5th straight State of Origin title over the Blues.  If Lockyer plays all three games of this years series he will move to 33 games, one behind halfback great Allan Langer who holds the record and just ahead of Mal Meninga (32) and Wally Lewis (31). 

This decision has the rugby league world talking. Is Lockyers choice a selfish one? Is he too old? Is he too slow? Is he in any type of form to be picked? These are some of the questions that are being debated on the back pages of our newspaper. 

I personally feel that he deserves another crack. I mean QLD have won four titles in a row, all with him playing in them. I'm positive Lockyer can handle Origin, he's done it his whole career. It's only going to cause NSW more problems. Queensland always lift when Origin greats retire from representative football. It should be a great series. NSW are starting to bridge the gap and with Hayne, Jennings and Creagh all stepping up, we may see a new winner. 

I'm all for Lockyer's decision but I certainly think it stops at Origin level. It's time to pass the Australian #6 over. Cameron Smith will do a great job in captaining the country. What are your thoughts, selfish or not?



I seriously can't believe OneHD are airing this rubbish. It is like watching a bunch of guys play pick up at the KGV. There is no structure, no defence and the shots that are being thrown up are outrageous. Are they paying some of these imports to come and play at this tournament? There is no one even there to watch the game. It's school holidays and they can't even get a crowd. It was great to turn on OneHD and see that I could count the amount of people in the stands with one hand.  

I am positive they didn't get enough people to register to play for this tournament. On one team they had Graeme Dann, Clint Reed and BJ Carter. No disrespect to these guys at all, all three of them I am mates with, but are they going to draw crowds? Probably not.  

Steve Carfino is one of the basketball elites, but you think in a six hour broadcast they would change the commentators around? At least then we are not listening to the same people all day, a little boring don't you think? 
Twenty20 cricket worked because Cricket were already drawing monster crowds. Fans were going to flock to cricket grounds to see something new and entertaining. Basketball at this stage are still trying to find their feet. Fans want to see more of what they saw in the finals series, not a bunch of street ballers trying to get their name out there. 

The NBL should have never put their logo on the court that this rubbish is being played on!

Monday, April 5, 2010



Young Crocs star, Cameron Tovey, has chosen to retire from the NBL to pursue his accounting career in Perth. I've played against Cam many times in my basketball career, and he is easily one of the toughest guys I've had to guard. I remember being taken to school in a semi final a few years back. It's disappointing to see him leave at such a young age, but I'm not surprised. At 24/25 years of age, Toves could be earning more in accounting than what the Crocs would be paying him. Some people must be saying, "Accounting, how boring?"I sure am. I did some accounting subjects at uni. I preferred watching the grass grow outside the classroom window then listening to a teacher talk credits and debits.  

I wish him the best of luck in his endeavors. I definitely think he had his best basketball ahead of him. It was great to see him grow from not playing much in Perth to learning a lot at the Kings, to progressing on to being a starter with the Crocs. 

The NBL must try and get these young guys some more cash, otherwise we may see more of this. The guys coming back from College all have degrees. I know sometimes it is for the love of the game, but damn, when I was a development player I got paid nothing. It's not worth it.  Up the minimum contract and pay some of these guys what they deserve.

On other Crocs news, Rolan Roberts has been let go by the club. He didn't have the greatest of years, but I'm sure he will be picked up by another club. In the right mindset, Rolan is one of the toughest imports I've seen play in the NBL.

Boguts Injury


Bogut's horrific injury could not have come at a worse time for the Milwaukee Bucks. With only 13 games remaining in the regular season, the Bucks were eyeing off a playoff spot. They would have been one very tough 1st round opponent. Now they will only make up the numbers, that's if they can keep their spot. 

I don't know if you have seen the fall, but it is sickening. I have seen it a couple of times now. On the fall Bogut discolated his right elbow, broke his right hand and sprained his right wrist. He was having one of his best seasons to date. In 69 games this season, Bogut is averaging career-highs in points (15.9) and blocked shots (2.5), while adding 10.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. He ranks second in the NBA in blocked shots, ninth in rebounds and 17th in field goal percentage (.520).

Not only is this bad for the end of his NBA season.The freak injury has sent Australia's chances to take home a much needed medal at the World Championships into tatters. The World Championships are in August, Bogut will miss all preparation time and was already struggling with a back injury. Australian Basketball needed success in the World Champs. It was a chance to grab some exposure after the Socceroos finished their World Cup campaign. Who knows what is in store now for the Boomers?