Thursday, March 29, 2012


While making sure I had the Please Marry My Boy Finale taped, I was flicking through my twitter timeline and came across Robbie Farah's tweet. "Just got ambushed on NRL on Fox. Pretty fired up ATM to be honest and pretty pissed off. Wanted to unleash more then I did". I was intrigued so I called my boss who is a mad Tigers supporter to see if he knew what on earth went down. He must have been bombarded with phone calls so i had to watch it for myself.

Just as I sat down to watch it, my lovely girlfriend told me I had to go down to the supermarket, lucky I have IQ. I quickly taped it and ran off to the shops. It just so happens I live right near the Fox Sports Studio. While walking past I was hoping to catch Robbie Farah blowing up at some executive but that wasn't to be. 

I got home just as it was finishing so I rewound it and watched the interview from the start. It was quite full on and awkward. I just don't think anyone else would have the balls to confront a captain like Matty Johns did. Was he in the right? In my mind he definitely was. The Tigers are playing woeful, out of character and with no heart. To sum that up in one word, "soft", and that's exactly what was said on air. I'm one for excuses so I can't really give it to him for that, but why was he so wound up about it when he continually said "it's only March". Johns was spot on about the Tigers play over the last couple of weeks and Farah only had to say "did you see us scramble". I mean at least come up with something good, I'm surprised the boys didn't start laughing. 

It is about time some of these players got told how it is. I can't wait for someone to tell them that they are all overpaid athletes, I'm sure we will see fireworks erupt then. 

I don't know if anyone noticed but when Matty asked if he could delve further, Robbie peers over Johns shoulder. I'm guessing it was either to his manager or maybe the production manager. You could tell he was burning up inside, his death stare after Matty had finished speaking with him was priceless. A captain under fire and not coping with it at all well is not a good image for the Tigers. I mean he even swore on air. Mark Geyer even rubbed it in further by saying "I had you guys missing the 8". 

I could see the tension growing between Robbie and Matty, I somehow don't think this is over! 

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sporting World Gone Mad

Tony Williams (T-Rex) getting seven weeks for being too strong. Willie Mason coming back to the NRL. Robert Lui finally pleading guilty. Our first, and I'm sure not the last, NRL casualty of having a big night in the Gold Coast. The New Orleans Saints defensive co-ordinator paying his team extra for big hits. These are only some of the crazy headlines the papers have seen this week. Journalists around the country must have thought they'd won the lotto.

Firstly, how on earth is T-rex getting seven weeks for his tackle on Isaac De Gois? There was no intent on spearing him into the ground at all. He didn't pick him up between the legs but just used his sheer strength to pick him up and drive him to the ground. The problem was it became awkward and De Gois fell head first. T-Rex just doesn't understand how strong he is. De Gois is tiny compared to the big guy. You think that would come under consideration when the panel looked at the footage. I really don't know what the panel are doing when viewing these incidents. A probable scenario could be that they punch a cone and then lather themselves in chocolate and lick it off each other while they place players seasons in jeopardy. In the same week Trent Merrin and Jeremy Latimore from the Dragons come in late with swinging arms and clenched fists and both make contact with the head. NOT EVEN A PENALTY. One of the incidents even went upstairs with nothing came out of it. I don't even want to know what the video ref was doing up in his box at Kogarah. The consistency of the Match Review Committee and Tribunal early in the season is disgraceful and I hope it starts to come together sooner rather than later.

Secondly, two of the NRL's favourite sons are back in the spotlight this week. Willie Mason coming back to play for the Tigers and former Tiger Robert Lui finally pleading guilty to bashing his girlfriend. Are the Tigers really at ground zero to bring back Willy? We all know he is more trouble than he is worth. If his head is screwed on he could be great for the Tigers, but how long can he keep that up, before hitting up the Sapphire at the Cross and getting into all in brawls with his brother?
Robert Lui finally came out and pleaded guilty. Good on you mate it's about time. However now you should be de-registered from the NRL and never to play in it again. How can the NRL let this sick human play in a league that has a dedicated round to Women. It will look terrible for the NRL if Lui is seen playing on the football field for the Cowboys.
It's only taken three weeks for the NRL to see their first player get in trouble on the piss in the Gold Coast. It might be a weekly occurrence as most of the teams will be celebrating after beating the GC up there. What are the NRL going to do about this type of behaviour? Whatever they have been doing just isn't working! These guys are getting paid too much money.

Lastly, I couldn't believe the news I heard regarding the New Orleans Saints NFL Team. Who in their right mind would give players extra money for hurting other players. This guy is a sicko! Why would players agree with it? I'd understand if Isaac Luke was suiting up but he isn't! The footy field is a battlefield. Players go out there to win and play with intensity and passion. I'm sure in the back of their mind they are not thinking to hurt their opposition so they can get a bit of extra cash. Are these players who accepted the challenge not getting paid enough? I find that hard to believe. How do they live with themselves? I'm sure some of the teams they would have matched up against would have been their mates. Do they not participate in games against friends? How are their mates going to react to this situation? I certainly wouldn't be happy if I knew one of my mates during the game was being payed to hurt me. Coach Payton now has to suffer the consequences of covering all this up. He was suspended a year of coaching, the first time this has happened in the NFL. If he really did know about this going on, I will have lost a lot of respect for the man as a coach.

I may have missed somethings like Thorpie missing the Olympics but we all knew that was going to happen so it's pointless writing about it!

Monday, March 12, 2012

What's Not To Love About A Sporting Rivalry

Since I became a sports fanatic all those years ago I've come across many sporting rivalries and the stories in which they produce. I've also been involved in plenty myself. The passion and excitement in which a game between two rival associations is not witnessed anywhere else in the world, unless your a carny fighting for turf at the Easter Show.

I have grown up as a Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs fan who went to High School at Marist College Kogarah. I was a Doggies fan at a school in the heart of the St George area. During my high school years I was certainly outnumbered. There were a bunch of us that flew the Blue and White flag and we did it well. The Dogs had a lot of success against the Dragons in those years which helped us get through our time at Kogarah. It was a good feeling walking through the school gates when the Dogs had a big win against the Dragons and not so good when we got rolled. Rivalries bring out so much tension and fun at the same time. The banter that goes on before and after the match is brilliant but when the match is on, friendships are put on hold.

The Dogs went through a real rough patch over the last four years against the Dragons and we have copped it. Watching the Dragons finally win a premiership was a sickening feeling, something I hope I'll never have to do again. I think I'm still listening to my mother gloat about it. The one thing that you can't say to a rival fan after a loss is that it doesn't matter. I know it matters, it's mattered the last 4 years and it burns inside until you get that revenge back!

Over every sport there are 100's of rivalries and it makes it all that more exciting. When the draw comes out at the start of the season you scan through and look out for the games in which you need to take work off for, or tell the Mrs you will be out for the night with the boys.

It starts at an early age. When I played basketball for NSW Metro at the National Titles I was subject to my first real rivalry. I heard many stories about Victoria Metro and how much it means to beat them. They were like the Manly Sea Eagles of the NRL, no-one liked them and everyone wanted to smash them. Why was that you may ask? They were the cream of the crop, Victoria was the basketball state and produced the best basketballers in our nation. I'll never forget we played them in the final of the Under 18's Nationals. They had Brad Robbins and Tom Burns, we had Steve Markovic. However we had the whole crowd on our side. There may have been 1500-2000 people there and every single one of them, apart from family and friends of the Victorians, were cheering for the NSW boys. We even had the VIC Country boys on our side. They beat us in the end. It's a rivalry that has existed for many years and continues to do so.

I was also involved in the Sydney Kings v West Sydney Razorbacks rivalry. A sold out Grand Final series showed how much this rivalry put basketball back on the map in NSW for those couple of years. The papers were filled with banter where journalists had a field day eating up Brian Goorjian's passion and Geordie McLeod's strategical prowess. It was a cinderella story for the NBL as the series went to 5 games and 10000 people filled the Sydney Entertainment Centre for Game 5. How it ended will also be remembered forever. Ebi Ere taking the game over in the final quarter after we looked dead and buried. How much it meant to beat them and keep the reigns in the Harbour region was reflected in the celebrations. Walking out to 1000's of people getting blind and celebrating was something I'll never forget.

These are some of my favourite rivalries, I'll let you tell me some of yours!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


The SportsShmuck is back! I haven't been able to post in a while and I'm sorry to anyone who enjoyed reading my posts. I will now make an effort to keep this blog up to date with the latest happenings and issues in sport. Don't forget to post your comments down the bottom. I will reply as soon as I get the chance.

The Boomers have been dealt a blow before their Olympic campaign takes full flight with the announcement Kyrie Irving, rookie sensation in the NBA, has decided to keep his talents in the USA. Irving has been by far the best rookie in the NBA this season only being overshadowed by the LIN nonsense. I personally didn't think he would do that well in the league only having played a handful of College games for Duke. I totally got that wrong! He is a superstar.

The problem is he is sitting behind 4/5 of the best point guards in the world. Standing in the way of Irving's Dreamteam aspirations are Chris Paul(CP3), Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, Rajon Rondo and Deron Williams(D-Will). Some of the PG's mentioned above will be at their prime basketball age when 2016 comes around. I struggle to see them giving their spot up to some young kid. If he thinks he will make the 2016 team he has rocks in his head! I know he is tight with Coach K, but what is to say he will be locked into the 2016 gig. If they don't win the Olympics in London I struggle to see him at the next one. Europe is slowly catching up to the Americans and we continue to see this in the amount of Europeans not only in the NBA, but doing very well.

If Irving was smart he would have played for Australia and been guaranteed a spot in every Olympics for the rest of his career. The Boomers would have been a force to be reckoned with at the London Olympics with many of the players on the roster having played at previous Olympics or World Championships. If Bogut is fit for the games, the Boomers will be a force even without Irving. I think we will definitely come out of the group phase but we desperately need to miss the Spanish or the USA when we cross over. A one off semi final could be the chance to put Australian basketball on the map.

I can tell you one thing, Irving will be cursing he didn't come and play for the Boomers in years to come. There must be people out there giving the kid false hope. I'm sure however he is keeping an eye on D-Wills 57 points, Rondo's monster triple-double, Rose's MVP numbers, Westbrook leading the Thunder to one of the best records and CP3's dominance in the clutch for the Clippers.  By 2020 or 2024 he may have a whole new class to compete with and Coach K may not be around. I think this is a huge risk knowing he may have had three Olympics under his belt with the Boomers before he gets a chance of one with the Dreamteam.

Enough of Irving as I believe Brett Brown, Boomers coach, has plenty of talent at his disposal and will have to make some big decisions at training camp. Here is the 12 men who I think could put Australian basketball on the map for good:

Adam Gibson
Patty Mills
David Barlow
Matty Nielsen
Aleks Maric
Joe Ingles
Mark Worthington
Andrew Bogut
David Andersen
Brad Newley
Nathan Jawai
Matthew Dellavedova

Stephen Markovic
Peter Crawford
AJ Ogilvy
Damian Martin

I may have missed some players but this looks like my strongest roster. Let me know if you think I've missed anyone. I'm looking forward to the camps and seeing the boys fight for their positions. I have my fingers crossed Bogut will be ready to go and lead the boys to a medal. Bogut has not yet impressed at the international level and I think it could be his time to shine.