Blue and gold organic

Nathan Hindmarsh has always been there.

Always there with an inspirational carry or to run a bullocking line.

Always there in the guts to mop up in defence like a tireless janitor.

Always there to cut through disinfected verbal bulldust with a countrified line that is soaked to the bone in honesty.

Say it ain’t so Hindy; I just imagined you would be pushing your big tractor engine to it’s threshold for eternity. That you would always be stationed out on the fringe and tackling like a programmed appliance until the day our great game died.

A rare Hindy dummy,

Gloomy eyes were the flavour of the day when we were informed that the flailing mane and bucket-arse will leave the stage permanently at the close of business in 2012, his departure continuing the steady erosion of colour in the game’s characters.

It’s hard to believe that his universal respect could rise to greater heights, but more polish was added to his brand yesterday when he threw himself on the grenade of speculation by announcing his retirement just as the murmurs of the scribes were growing louder. It was not done for the fanfare or a well-deserved backslap; he just wanted to nullify any possible distraction to the playing group by nipping it in the bud.

A more selfless and humble team man you would go a long way to find.

Hindmarsh is blue and gold organic as it gets.

He arrived at the club from Robertson at 16 and hit the top grade in 1998, immediately becoming part of the furniture and building a reputation on an industrious work ethic.

From day one, he played like a man infatuated; seemingly driven by the paranoia of guaranteeing he squeezed every possible drop out of the talent gifted to him by the higher powers.

It’s glowing praise that he was retained by Brian Smith in the years at Parramatta when the coach was habitually purging fine cattle. Brian had some screwball formula for his approach at the time, but Hindmarsh was the exception. He was just way too good to let loose.

He was a destructive ball-runner in the primary stages of his career, but his name was really elevated into the bracket of the elite when he began fulfilling the defensive obligations of up to 3 extra players per match.

Hindmarsh redefined what was required as a tackle-bag backrower. Who can forget the image of him hurling up his innards in State of Origin on the back of making a gazillion tackles in one half of football?

He was the closest thing the Blues had to a Queenslander in their side for years.

Spew in blue.

One of the larger bones I have to pick with the footy gods is the fact that Hindy will depart the game without tasting the rewarding nectar of premiership success, unless there is a divine miracle this year.

It seems almost cruel that he was a combatant in 2 of the more unusual losing grand final tales.

He was a shortly cropped participant in 2001 when the club’s name was all but engraved on the trophy after a season of record-breaking blue chip performances, only to be ambushed by the Knights. Then he returned to the big dance as the old hand in 2009 as part of a dreamy charge from the backwaters to the decider before being outmuscled by a team who were later discovered to be fudging the numbers.

For a man who holds the joint record for most tackles in a game (75 with Shaun Fensom) and who has strained for over 10,000 in total, it’s an unsympathetic and heartless deck of cards he’s been dealt by the spectres who determine the bounce of the Steeden.

But despite this, he has trucked on without respite. 310 games into an outstanding stint, he’s still playing like he’s got something to prove.

Always chasing down a winger after a line break.

Always diving on a loose ball.

Always taking responsibility for the losses.

But only until the end of 2012.

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A Braith of fresh air.

Hey Danos, how do you feel about losing your skipper for 2013 season? Myself, I’m actually glad to be getting him. Anasta has a good work ethic and is agood leader of the chooks. I must admit, however, I was one of those Rugby League pundits who really enjoyed the mid-season article listing the most overated players in the game. Seeing Anasta’s invariably on top of the list, especially when he was with those wallys from Bellmore, bought a sense of justice to the average man who declared the Chook captain a pussy and a modest talent. However, in recent years I have grown to respect the Bondi Skipper. He has proven to be a decent leader of men a and dependable bloke on the field. He’s no super star, like he was touted by many to be, but he is some one who provides reassurance and stability for both coach and punter.

We welcome with open arms you and your missus to Concord

So I welcome the new recruit to my beloved Tigers with open arms!

I think this bloke could prove to be quite a smart buy for the club. He can play multiple positions, including five eighth, which is just what Sheensy likes, versatility. He’ll be no Gareth Ellis, but the big fella will provide leadership and ball skills to what ever position he’s put in. Personally I’d like to see him at lock with Heighington moving to the second row.

As for you blokes, good luck chasing that walking headline Dunny Bill Williams, Politis better reach deep into his pockets. And if the rumour mill is true and your chasing Quade Pooper as well, I say double good luck. You may need to hire the Melbourne Storm’s former book-keeper.

Goodluck! This guy has more rocks and diamonds in his game than a BHP mine

 

Fire up Felipe Massa… Or you’ll be fired!

As I have discussed elsewhere, Formula One driver Felipe Massa is under considerable pressure to keep his seat with Ferrari. The latest race at the Malaysian Grand Prix only served to further intensify the rumours and speculation regarding his position within the team. More to the point and of particular concern for Massa, is that a clear candidate emerged as a suitable replacement… the outstanding and most unexpected performance from Sauber driver Sergio Perez.

Essentially, Massa has known for some time that he needs to improve. With two ordinary seasons in 2010 and 2011, and with his contract up for renewal, it was time for Massa to start demonstrating to Ferrari and the F1 community that he was still the capable driver that so nearly won the 2008 Drivers’ title. However, Massa’s start to the 2012 season has been anything but ideal. A very poor showing in the Australian Grand Prix saw numerous replacements linked to his seat and outcries for his immediate axing from Ferrari. Indeed he was at times 2-3 seconds off Alonso’s pace in the same car (in a sport where the gap is usually tenths of a second) and generally looked sluggish all weekend.

On to Malaysia where a very concerned Ferrari team had provided him with a new chassis to assist in his performances. The result? Another bad showing wherein Massa did improve slightly but was obliterated by the sublime skill and talent of his two-time world champion team-mate Alonso, who won the race. In relation to Massa the gulf was ridiculous, nearly lapping him and being at times 3-5 seconds quicker per lap.

To compound Massa’s woes, Sergio Perez, a driver who has been earmarked as having a possible Ferrari future (he is a Ferrari Academy Driver), drove a stunning and unexpected race. Perez managed to drag the mid-field Sauber car to a near shock victory, pressurised Alonso, set successive fastest laps, and handled both the torrential conditions and the massive speculation about his possible Ferrari drive with consummate ease. This was a career defining second place from Perez, who is only two races into his second season. Quite simply, two drivers seemingly vying for the same Ferrari race seat produced two distinctive displays – the mature, controlled execution not expected of a young driver versus the hallmarks of a no longer front-running driver fading and failing to find what it takes.

In fairness to Felipe, the Ferrari is not a stellar car and in fact is realistically a mid-field runner at best, so he can’t be expected to achieve podiums or wins. He also is not recognised as a strong wet weather driver, so the rain was never going to assist him. Moreover, he is in the inexorable position of having arguably the most complete driver on the grid as his team-mate, a talented racer who could seemingly finish in the points on a wheelie bin. Massa can only ever look second-rate beside Alonso, but for a man who is under pressure and has known of the expectations for the past few seasons, he is not stepping up. Conversely, young drivers like Perez are, and they are making a case for Massa to be ousted sooner rather than later if Ferrari wish to claim consistent points this year.

It is not new in F1 to have a driver under severe pressure to keep his seat early in the season  – we can look back to Jacques Villeneuve in 2005 with Sauber, Rubens Barrichello in 2006 with Honda, or even Michael Schumacher in 2011 with Mercedes who all underwent intense speculation. However, each of these drivers had the excuse of being in new teams (and a return to the grid for Villeneuve and Schumacher), while Massa has been ensconced in the Ferrari team since 2006…he can have no such luxuries and has always known that the coveted Ferrari race seat can also be a poisoned chalice if one fails to deliver.

With a three-week gap between races, Massa has flown to Ferrari HQ to further exam what is going wrong. Time will tell  how much longer Ferrari are prepared to let Massa attempt to rediscover his form and speed, but with an impressive and immensely talented youngster already nestled under the Ferrari parental wing, Massa surely is on borrowed time. Certainly a more polished performance could turn Massa’s season around, but the Ferrari mantra may instead be ‘three strikes and you’re out’…..that’s if Perez isn’t already having the seat fitting for the Ferrari cockpit in time for the third Grand Prix in China.

No diamonds, just Searles

An unwanted public mathematical inquisition was avoided today when Cooper Cronk announced he was steering clear of the Gold Coast Titans.

Verbal whips and a million calculators were poised by league fans at 10.30am in preparation to unleash on Michael Searle and his mystic abacus if the rumours were confirmed true that Cronk was to be shoehorned into their seemingly sardine-like salary cap.

Anyone looking for a place to rent?

The buzz earlier in the week was that he was as good as gone, but I reckon Cooper experienced an epiphany.

I’m predicting it was a realisation that he appreciates the simple things in an employer/employee relationship.

You know what I’m talking about. The little luxuries such as guaranteed remuneration for the duration of a contract and a reasonable expectation that the new work shed is still going to be open in 12 months time.

It’s an understandable concern which won out in the wash. And for now, he shall remain a Storm boy, albeit with much lighter tracksuit pockets compared to the loaded boardshort variety he would’ve had in Queensland.

But what about the big motzaball that Michael Searle has left hanging in the outer?

His club is financially punchdrunk, swaying back and forth and praying that not even the smallest summer zephyr puffs through the party strip and knocks the joint down.

In addition to this, his salary cap has to be like a bulging thigh in tights at the moment as well.

So how can he afford to dangle a $800k per year diamond-encrusted carrot to the hottest agent on the market?

It’s cash-flashing like this in the midst of a $30 million financial crisis that has us all scratching our heads and wondering why David Gallop hasn’t smashed the big red emergency button at HQ for contract-comber Ian Schubert more urgently.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a layman with bugger-all business nous. But even to me, something here economically reeks like the filter on the kiddies pool at Wet’n’Wild.

It makes Searle seem like the kind of bloke who if he owed you money, he would send his butler around to your house in his Aston Martin to ask for an extension because he’s skint.

All on first year apprentice wages.

His juggling of a basketcase budget combined with his ability to influence the finest in available talent to work for him should have us in awe at his “Rain Man” maths aptitude, but we didn’t come down in the last shower.

How does he stuff in the Princes and Jamals and Nates and shut the cap lid down without it bursting open? Is it his excellent skills of persuasion that convince players that a little cut in pay is made up for by the Gold Coast lifestyle?

Perhaps he sells the prospect of Meter-Maids, Schoolies and Warwick Capper like that buck-eyed quipster sells Slap-Chops.  

I hope none of his players up there buy a sausage roll and want something to carry it in, as I’m sure the district has run entirely out of brown paper bags.

Searle is a bottom-line genius; but as time goes on, it appears he’s got the thongs on the wrong feet.

If he could apply the same magic tricks to running the business as he does to manipulating his playing roster and it’s operating costs, then perhaps the fledgling club on the party strip wouldn’t be in such dire straits.

Show me the money Sonny!

Oh dear, Sonny Bill Williams is not exactly demonstrating humility or dissuading rugby/league/sport followers from thinking that he is not merely about the money if this report is to be believed. In a nutshell, he wants all the terms to be his way if he were to rejoin the NRL inclusive of being guaranteed the highest current player’s salary, only signing a one year deal and to be permitted to continue his boxing career. The combination of his previous antics and his associated press coverage has meant that SBW has had a long history of getting under the skin of followers for many of the wrong reasons.

His previous rugby league career is a case in point. While quickly earning a reputation as one of the best players, ‘big hitters’ and off-loaders in rugby league, he famously walked out on his long term contract with the Canterbury Bulldogs for reasons that ranged from a change of heart, disloyalty (taking offense at Willie Mason leaving for the Sydney Roosters), loss of passion, new challenges and the more obvious pull of bigger money being offered elsewhere. In fact, SBW snuck out of his contract in disgrace, flying to Europe under darkness and refusing to return or honour his contract. Not surprisingly this irked Bulldogs players, officials, sponsors and fans alike, and he was banned from returning to play for any rival NRL club before his existing contract had expired. That time has now come.

In the interim, SBW earnt big money between 2008-2010 playing rugby with Toulon in the French competition but returned to New Zealand under a polarising thread of fanfare and disdain to fulfill what he claimed to be a childhood dream of being an All Black. Williams played for the Canterbury province in 2010, made the New Zealand team at the end of the season, while going on to be a key part of the All Blacks squad that won the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Wrongly, in my opinion, many opponents claimed SBW returned to New Zealand for the money, a ridiculous accusation given the purported six million dollar contract turned down for roughly $550,000 from the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRFU).

However, what the New Zealand public has had to endure is SBW the walking commodity, being used to endorse numerous items, companies and All Black associated brands – most prominently Rebel Sport, Sky Sport Television, Adidas and Powerade amongst others. For many, Williams endorsements outweigh his on field exploits and his very recent addition to the national team, especially in relation to more prominent and long established players. He has also garnered quite a celebrity status by New Zealand standards, with an especial interest in and focus on sexualised representations of his taunt, athletic physique.

Quite rightly it would appear, many suspected that Williams flirtation with New Zealand rugby would be a short one, gaining global exposure via the World Cup, fulfilling his All Blacks aspirations and then looking to move on. The question was always what next, post-Rugby World Cup? Williams stalled negotiations around the tournament and finally agreed to renew his contract with the NZRFU, surprising many by signing on with the Chiefs franchise. However, a key condition was the continuation of his boxing career, while he is reputed to have not re-signed a long term contract as a global ambassador for Adidas as he would need to keep playing rugby in New Zealand.

Whether he is penned as a mercenary, a contemporary star athlete, a shrewd businessman or all of the above, Williams has been testing the waters for 2013 and beyond as it becomes clear that his sojourn with NZ rugby would most likely be a brief one. He was rumoured to be a likely signing for the Sydney Roosters in the NRL back in January, while the Wests Tigers have also emerged as a possibility for his signature. Now that SBW’s current negotiating skills (or more accurately, list of demands) have been made public, it will be interesting to see how the rugby league clubs and its traditionally conservative community respond to his rigid requests.

He is most certainly an exciting rugby league player but how this process plays out will be intriguing. On the one hand, Williams can not be punished for attempting to maximise his earnings, achievements and celebrity status in the short shelf life that is contemporary professional sport. On the other hand, how he goes about doing these things and how this is reported upon and/or represented in the press are areas that need to be addressed if Williams wishes to endear himself to the public as a more humble, charismatic and scrupulous figure. Not that all this may really matter to Williams if they show Sonny the money!

Panic button for Tigers?

I’m worried. I’m really worried. The Tigers have shown me nothing so far that they are going to be jostling for a top 4 spot at the end of season or, at this stage, even a top 8 finish. At the moment the Tigers look more interested in jostling for space between each other in the defensive line to allow opposition ball runners free passage.

Our defence….. woeful!

Our attack……Non-existant!

I’m a staunch Black and Gold fan and to see the Tigs put in the type of defensive efforts they have in recent weeks is causing my T.V some serious pain. We show no go forward, no ball security, no discipline and no defensive resilience. And the list of problems to make matters worse is getting longer, for example; the lack of an established full-back is hurting us big time! We are lacking someone to add that extra spark and sniff out a hole, ala, Billy Slater. Mitch Brown’s release has proven very costly.

We have a knuckle headed wet dick prop in Matt Groat! His defensive errors have been schoolboy and his laziness around the ruck has caused me to rupture several blood vessels; the Neanderthal is probably better suited to sorting screws.

Ummmm? What am I here for?

A supposedly world class back-rower, which cost us $500 big ones, in Adam Blair, whose performances have so far shown to be worth no more than a cheese sandwich. His laziness surely wouldn’t have been tolerated at Melbourne, so I don’t understand why it is here. On Monday night he had a total of 6 hit ups and was largely AWOL in defence, compare this to Gareth Ellis’s 16 hit ups and a bezillion tackles and the dickhead has a frickin large case to answer. No wonder Gareth wanted out of the Tigers early, if Blair could comand more than a player who plays his arse off every time he’s on the paddock, then why should he stay?The problems don’t end there. What the hell is going on with Ayshford? FIVE frickin missed tackles on Monday night, most of which led to some points. Last year he was one of the games leading players for line breaks, now he is the line break for opposition teams. Their steaming through him!

This is the life bro! let's get Billy and Smithy to the tigers, it's choice!

And what about that cat Moltzen? He was getting a lot of underserved kudos at the end of last season. He was, and still is, a 50/50 prospect under a high ball, a 30/70 prospect in defence and has no where near the pace that everyone thinks he has. Monday night confirmed 2 out of three; he missed 7 tackles and could not gain a blade of grass on Jarrod Croker who ran the length of the field for a meat pie. He also tried picking up a rolling ball at pace and failed spectacularly. Who the hell does he think he is? Matt Bowen!

Things have to turn around fast, but it doesn’t look like it will be this weekend. Souths have an army of huge thugs who will make our guys emulate the feats of Lachlan Coote on Greg Inglis.

Shit! is this how small blokes tackle?

Things are grim boys. Real grim.

Worried down south, but a 40 point loss ain’t so fowl

One may conclude that being on the wrong side of a 44-4 scoreline is a choice reason to toss the toys out of the cot and have a power-sook into your schooner of loser’s ale.

Be that as it may, after seeing my team cop this level of hospitality at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon, my overriding emotion at full-time was ‘crisis averted.’

Cooper lost 'truth or dare' and now he has to go to the Titans as punishment.

You may think I’ve been lighting too much incense, but it’s downright true. I was genuinely relieved.

Being a committed member of the Chook Pen, I settled in for Sunday’s game against the Storm thinking of a multitude of possible scenarios, most of them finishing with our boys going home bopped, bruised and empty-handed after being salsa-danced upon by the Mexican Big 3, but hopefully with pride intact on the back of a gallant show.

Even allowing for the blind faith of gathering any positive statistic or factor that make a case for how they could possibly defy the impossible, I knew in my common sense compartment that it was potentially going to be a protracted afternoon of discomfort, but hopefully within a reasonable margin.

Oddly enough, early on there was a glimpse of an unlikely ‘cock-a-doodle-do’ budding. Trailing by only 6-0 with 20 minutes gone and producing a series of sustained attacks on the Melbourne line, I even began to dream of the team locking into a grind that might see them on the dancefloor near closing time.

But then the chook poo began spraying from the fan at an even higher than anticipated velocity just after this, and I began to worry about finding a bomb shelter deep enough to secrete myself in at game’s end.

This was the point that the southern law firm of Messers Slater, Smith and Cronk began to take hold, and points began to rain like a… well, like a Storm.

From the point the dam wall burst, it appeared as though Melbourne were playing games amongst themselves, picking on the unfortunate feather dusters like a medication-topped school bully and rag-dolling them with aplomb.

Games of ‘truth or dare’ fast became the amusement for the bored Storm as they began to pick random spots on the field from where to cross the stripe.

“OK Cameron, truth or dare?”

Begging for the game clock to be shortened to 60 minutes.

“I pick truth…”

“Did you knowingly sign the second contract that Brian Waldron gave you?”

“Pass. I prefer dare.”

“Fair enough. You must set up a play from inside the Roosters 40 on the 3rd tackle, move it two wide, and finish it under the sticks.”

The scoreboard began to gyrate at a frightening pace. There was friction smoke rising off the LED lights on the AAMI Park scoreboard.

I heard the operator inside was fumbling around for the users manual for instructions on how to show the score ‘infinity.’

At this point, my brain began to envisage a 60 point assaulting. A chook raffle with a cricket score. Tries direct from kick-offs. Turf eroded back to soil under the Rooster goalposts. The change of direction for the roasting spotlight from Parramatta to Bondi. How high can this score get to?

Enough already ya greedy pelicans!

At 32-0 with 27 minutes to go, the poo had gone from the fan and into my pants.

But thankfully, a higher power smelt my fear and duly intervened.

The flow gradually subsided and the concern was slowly suffocated with back-to-back penalties that sand-bagged the torrent and then like a little feather-coated present from the NRL Gods, the scoreboard fizzling culminated with one of my all-time favourite consolation touchdowns to Boyd Cordner in the 72 minute.

I looked up at the scoreboard and exhaled. The 80 minutes had beaten it’s points namesake.

It was one of the most satisfying 40 point losses I’ve endured.

Sunny Saturday produces 3 course Super smorgasbord

Fans of the heavenly game from across the holy trinity of SANZAR nations were undoing their belts and letting their guts sag over the waistline on Saturday after gorging themselves on a 3 course helping of blue ribbon Super rugby.

It commenced in the brilliant sunshine of a priceless Sydney Saturday afternoon at Allianz Stadium when the lately-cheeked Waratahs packed down against South Africa’s powerhouse Sharks outfit.

Dean 'Don Burke' Mumm planting a Protea.

It was a game that had an eerily raised level of importance for so early in the season, mainly thanks to the previous round’s garbology tutorial delivered by the locals.

For pleasure-parched Waratahs fans, it turned out to be a daytime reverie of glossy cut-out passes, fierce phase-play and counterattacking razzle dazzle dotted with the occasional error from over-exuberant offense.

Despite a few clangers, this supermodel version of the game was welcomed with open arms after the lurid buck-tooth production against the Force a week earlier.

And the most appreciated aspect was the fact that the catwalk attitude didn’t compromise the sweat-shop substance.

The competition points were banked with a 34-30 pressure-relieving victory that was sealed with a late try to greenhorn flyer Tom Kingston after trailing the Sharks with 5 minutes to play.

Special tribute must also be paid to the hostile fend that Dean Mumm delivered on the run that was completed with a Shark facial soil plant that should see a small crop of South Africans sprouting from the Allianz turf within 4-6 weeks.

Fridge Fruean.

NSW fans were seen gleefully bounding out across Moore Park at full time, rubbing their eyes in disbelief after witnessing the bucking of local science that says games can only be won by playing the percentages.

The formula had been fractured, albeit in attacking-friendly conditions, and the faithful’s emotions were buoyed by the reality that the ball was given some rare oxygen, a feeling most probably accentuated by stadium chardonnay.

Following the setting sun in Sydney was the Crusaders v Cheetahs meeting from Christchurch.

It’s hardly a ‘cancel all plans’ prospect on paper, but this must be considered; this was the Crusaders finally concluding their phase of living rough by debuting at their new digs, as well as the reappearance of Kiwi rugby royalty in Daniel Carter after tearing his junk-muscle at the World Cup.

There was a spot of rust from both teams but counteracting the clog were some handsome tries from the Crusaders that were straight from the playbook of vintage backline moves that would’ve had the strictest defence junkies clapping.

The Cheetahs were enthusiastic party-goers themselves, throwing in a length of the field circus trick to contribute to the fiesta of positivity.

Jamie Mackintosh. At this size, he can swear as frequently as he pleases.

They could’ve been forgiven for being the flimsy tenpins at the Canterbury homecoming gala, but they continued the recent corrosion of their easybeat reputation with a strong and assured display that saw them parallel with the hosts right up until the death.

The Crusaders sent the faithful into rhapsody when semi-trailer centre Robbie Fruean latched on to the end of another sugary set of passes to crash over for the clincher in the 76th minute and complete another 5 try Super treasure with the final score at 28-21.

You could’ve been forgiven for getting horizontal with the hot water bottle after the madness of the first 2 games and giving the Brumbies v Highlanders game a wide berth.

But if you fronted up, you would’ve observed some more lateral ball movement that set the outer edges of the Canberra Stadium turf on fire in the challenging chill of the nation’s capital.

Christian Lealiifano was run off his feet with excitement.

The Brumbies continued their provincial rugby renaissance by torridly denying the Highlanders on the trenches of the try line in the closing stages and gallantly hanging on for a thrilling 33-26 triumph in front of their frozen-arse fans.

Some pundits were labelling this one of the games of the year so far for it’s flair and flamboyance.

And if this pro-rugby piece still isn’t enough to convert the haters, then here’s a tip: at least keep an eye out for knockabout Highlanders skipper Jamie Mackintosh and his post-match interviews. He drops cuss words like a well-oiled profanity robot and didn’t disappoint in closing the triple-header on Saturday night by describing the Brumbies breakdown work as ‘bloody top notch.’

A flamin’ fantastic way to bring down the curtain on a spectacular evening of thrilling eye-candy rugby.

Except for Waratahs supporters.

They were served a dessert of sorts with the spanking of the Reds in South Africa early on Sunday morning.

Steve and the Temple of Doom

Remember that booby-trapped room in the “Indiana Jones” movies where heavy stone walls decorated with large spears slowly close in on the victim from all angles?

Steve Kearney is now indisputably inside one of these killer relics at Parramatta.

Where's that bloody switch for this trap?

What’s worse, I’m not sighting any immediate assistance from an Asian sidekick or 1980’s blonde starlet to save him from the death squeeze.

In recent weeks, the hasta la vista Parra-trap has been perilously close to his rump with one oversized bayonet steathily poised in a position somewhere around two valuable inches from his backside.

After last night’s dark showing against Penrith, it’s in contact with flesh and may be beginning to pierce the skin’s surface.

And the unmistakable scream of a coach in an imminent crush is quickly filling the air.

Forget what the board boffins in Eel territory keep feeding the media. There’s no way that affairs can be considered rosy out at Parramatta after last night.

I don’t think the word ‘restless’ does justice to the emotions being felt by the natives at this point. 

So far in season 2012, the enthusiasts have been loyally cautious in accepting the feed of reassurances that Steve is locked in for the long term and that he’s the architect of the rebuild in the golden west.

But taking the candy from management can only be maintained for so long before you start to realise you are chewing back a brussel sprout.

You’ve got to feel for the bloke as he’s widely considered one of league’s nice guys. But sentiment can only stretch the limited patience of the employer so far, especially in the unforgiving environment of Parramatta.

I’m not going to cave in and use the tried and tested ‘club in crisis’ angle; we all know that these situations move in cycles, and besides, the Titans hold that mantle right now.

Thank God that's over.

This whole thing could be forgotten in a month if they string some wins together. But a turnaround of that fashion would be compared to some kind of religious sighting based on current returns.

In terms of pure football results, how long can you see the tolerance of these kinds of scores lasting before the trigger-happy board dusts off the firing squad that Denis Fitzgerald used to so covet?

In my eyes, I reckon they are on standby.

High expectations lagging from their golden years, bugger-all progress in 2012 and the sports culture of ‘blame boss/protect players’  has me crossing my fingers and praying to Jeebers for Steve and his position in the Parra tracksuit.

I’m not sure if my appeals for divine intervention will be enough to stop him being impaled though.

 

 

Thomas doubting Willie

Tommy Raudonikis has again confirmed that he remains the people’s champion and the voice of the everyday man.

The granite-infused former halfback is a glimmer of refreshing sullied dialect amongst acres of sterile jargon and recycled footyisms.

 

I am genuinely frightened of this man.

He’s a freight-train to the media-trained; a raw stirring spoon in a politically-correct universe and a nicotine-propelled bulldozer charging through a patch of delicate tulips.

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy the affable rogue and his complete lack of an inner monologue.

Just hearing his voice makes me want to knuckle-on with a concreter while I drink a longneck of KB through an unfiltered cigarette.

His proclamations are enchanting and inspirational. When he speaks, the public cotton-wools their fragile eardrums and settles in for assured traditional viewpoints from former times that can evoke emotion from the thickest skins.

This week, he resurfaced at a launch party for the NRL’s Heritage Round and spiked his stock price with a few preachy gems on the subject of Willie Mason’s wishes to return to the local league.

As we all know, Willie is a man who polarises opinion.

It would be fair to say that the majority of the general public probably think he’s a bit of a nob, but while he’s been on moolah collection duties offshore, it’s been a soothing case of ‘out of Oz, out of mind.’

But now that he’s back in Australia, cap in hand and humbly looking for an opportunity to work, he’s back on the dartboard.  

Willie needs work.

Tommy was invited to deploy a few missiles in his direction on Tuesday and delivered with this customary brutal recklessness that we’ve all come to adore.

Judging by his remarks, the scent of prey was already in his tobacco-laced nostrils at the lunchtime affair. The Willie-adorned red rag flailed in his direction by the journalist simply multiplied the fire in his cancer-stick.

Smoke if you’ve got ’em, and enjoy….

Tommy began with questioning the levels of stimulation at Wests for Willie’s services.

“They’re not that hard up are they? Really?”

“I never rated him, even when he played rep football. He only picked on the little blokes, the little halfbacks. He couldn’t hit anybody big. I don’t rate him at all.”

Tommy then expanded on his concerns…

“Why buy trouble? They don’t need that. They don’t need a headache and I don’t rate him anyway.”

So Tommy, your final thoughts?

“I think he is past it and I don’t think he ever had it.”

A couple of short, punchy and candid pearls of wisdom from the sincerity specialist.

There’s nothing lost in translation there.

Let’s hope that those 12mg tobacco batons don’t take away Honest Tommy anytime soon.

What have we learned?

Well, 3 busting rounds have come and gone from the Rugby League season and what have we learned?

It’s fair to say that those idiots claiming the Tigers to be premiership favourites are right now dining in the dust left by Melbourne, Canterbury and Manly. Goobers! I’m a one eyed Tigers fan, but even I didn’t dare put us into premiership favouritism. I mean, what had really changed from last year to this year? We got rid of Lui, (a hole in defence anyway); were banking on an unproven fullback in Tedesco (shot down by the sniper); and we still had Utai named in our strongest squad (a man who will walk away from Rugby League with a larger lowlights reel than Chris Walker).  But it seems the dimwits and knuckle heads from Fox and other media outlets thought differently, and for the life of me I still can’t work out how.

Pretending?

And so far I’ve been proven right. I know we’ve had some injuries, but still, our defence shatters harder than a Violet Crumble and our attack thinks the try line is located on the sides of the field and not at the ends. The only positives to come out of the first 3 rounds as far as the Tigers are concerned is the sight of Matt Utai on the sidelines scoffing hot dogs and chips and the workings of a good selection policy for the cheerleader squad seems to be still producing the goods.

We have also learned that while a team has the names Slater, Cronk and Smith on a team sheet that team will be harder to beat than a Mike Tyson forehead and should be considered premiership favourites while ever those 3 individuals are on the park. It took 3 rounds for everyone to be reminded of this? Well that’s certainly the case for some of the half-wits in the media.

And what about Parramatta? These clowns supposedly bought well, but have so far come up with diddly and squat in the win’s column and have a bigger deficit in the for and against page than a Greek balance sheet. But that’s what happens when you sign a clown for 500,000 beans, who has played no rep footy, plays for himself and tries to use a shoulder charge as his primary defensive weapon while only being 5ft high and 78kg. Honestly. Things are not so bright for the blue and golds this year, I say start making room in the top draw for another spoon.

Should we start engraving?

And lastly, what about the egg heads over at South Sydney? Theses idiots have had one of the most gifted footballers on their roster, a man who can play anywhere and flatten any would be defender. A man who can run like a rabbit and hit like a storm (I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that one). That’s right, I’m talking about G.I. Did it really take this long for the wallys at Redfern to realise that he’s seen stuff all ball in nearly 2 seasons? That he started his career as a fullback? That they are paying the price of a small island for him to be there? Obviously not! At least Macquire made the change which everyone else in the world saw as a no-brainer by moving the big unit to fullback, but it still took him 3 rounds. Christ, what have they been looking at! Souths now actually look like a genuine threat with him there. And it certainly covers for Sutton’s often lack of creativity and flair, another bug bear for Souths fans.

Oh my God, I'm running! Yeeeeehaaaah!

So, there are a few things we’ve learnt from the start of the season. What about yourself?

Having a Roy Bull

Dribblers,

I was recently browsing through a book from the 2000 Olympics and stumbled across a photo of a basketballer with the great name Fucka. It got me thinking are there any other great rude/funny sporting names. After abit of googling i was pleasently suprised….

Well we’ll start with Gregor Fucka- Italian Basketballer… dont like his mother.

There’s the ol’ faithfuls Roy Bull and Ronnie Coote whose names pop up when refering to sexual exploits.

But heres my favourites:-

Dick Trickle- who used to be a NASCAR whizz

Gaylord Silly- Long distance runner from the Seychelles who works as a tree surgeon (true) when hes not jogging. Gaylord loves a thick trunk!

Andreas Wank- German ski jumper who loves shooting off the ramp and thrives in hard and slippery conditions.

Misty Hyman- American Swimmer, Hyman broke through for gold at the 2000 Olympics.

Albert Pujols (pron. Poo-Holes) – Major League Baseballer who punches it right up deep into the stands.

Ron Tugnutt- Former goalie who invented the pinch and roll.

And finally… Stefan Kuntz- Soccer player from Germany who loves sticking it in the back of the net.

If you can think of anymore please share.

Tiger Bird’s soaring debut is like hen’s teeth

A rare event pertaining to a Bird has had fanatics of the uncommon reaching for the digest and binoculars over the course of the last few months.

What has developed has been spoken of in the same light as sightings of the rare short-billed black cockatoo.

This scant treasure has been unearthed in the southern parts of Australia over the summer months of 2011/12 and may be on the verge of entering celebrity parrot status.

The word is the Bird. Jackson Bird.

Your forgiveness is sought if I have wrongly caught the attention of any readers who were actually looking to study something about a sparse species of the sky or anything relating to chicks. The other chicks. 

The Bird: is he celebrating or asking for a referral?

The purpose of this is to draw your attention to a stupendous Sheffield Shield campaign by an unheralded kid who carries out his yakka for the Tasmania Tigers.

Jackson Bird is a 25 year old right-arm quickie who hails from the rich and prolific talent aviary in Sydney. Due to the dearth of options in his home state, he flew the coop southwards to forage and now he’s hit the seed and nectar mother load in the Apple Isle.

This Shield campaign he has crapped on opponents and records from a great height with the elegance of a peregrine falcon.

In his first year out of the nest, he has taken 48 wickets at an average of 15.75; a record haul for a debutant in Shield cricket. He took 5 wickets in an innings on 5 occasions and 10 in a match twice.  

What’s more, you can add a hen’s teeth hat-trick to this exceptional achievement just to boost the scarceness of the whole effort.  

He’s been concealed high in the bushy trees of the under-exposed Shield season up until now but his anonymity may just be about to expire.

The word on the street is that the selection panel toyed with the idea of an inflated tour party for the West Indies test series and that the last bowler’s spot may have come down to a cockfight between Mitchell Starc and the Tassie flyer.

Some would relate this to comparing an eye-catching rainbow parakeet to a common vagrant ibis, but at the end of the day, who knows how the bird-brain of a selector works?

Even though he’s been left to roost back at home for this tour, we need to get the messenger pigeons on standby with this memo; the Bird is perched and ready to swoop.

This is surely not the last time we’ll be hearing his name after his starling efforts of 11/12.

 

Pat and the Sniper’s snappy cousin

THIS PIECE COMES WITH A WARNING FROM ELD 2.0: SOME IMAGES BELOW MAY CAUSE YOU TO GRAB YOUR LEG AND DO THAT PAINFUL GRIMACE FACIAL MOVEMENT THINGY.

 

Last week’s piece entitled Footy Snipers highlighted the actions of the callous individual in the crowd who brandishes a silent pistol and paralyses with the steady hand of a surgeon.

I’m here to tell you that he’s no Robinson Crusoe when it comes to being fond of inflicting the need for the occasional x-ray and moon-boot.

On the weekend just gone, I spotted the sniper’s more unsightly and imprecise cousin who invisibly walks amongst those on the pitch and who strikes irregularly but with horrendously graphic results every time.

He’s the curious spirit who likes to test the strength and resilience of tenticles that aren’t meant to bend, snap, displace and crumple, usually by bending, snapping, displacing and/or crumpling them.

The jury is still out on what moniker the perennial season-ender operates under.

There's a present in that box. This week's dog meat.

The Clean Break Guru? The Hyper-extender? The Dislocation Overlord? Magic Green Whistles Inc’s major shareholder?

Whatever he may be labelled, just pray you aren’t tucking into dinner or fighting a hangover when he strikes.

He was spotted across the Tasman on Saturday night at the Highlanders v Waratahs clash in Dunedin.

As Pat McCutcheon charged down a kick and regathered on his way to the stripe for a Waratahs try, he was desperately tackled from the side by a Highlanders defender.

I’ll let Pat explain what happened next.

“I got tackled from the right-hand side and he came across, took my right leg, hit my left leg, my body twisted and my foot stayed still.”

For those having trouble manufacturing the image in your mind, it means that his body was facing steadfastly north and his ankle was pointing to the west on a right angle.

Going off the last time I checked a medical journal, I’m pretty sure the bone assembly of the human leg is not meant to rest in such a fashion.

The Kiwi commentator at the time was also flying blind medically, as he quipped that McCutcheon was ‘only winded.’

That's the worst mozzie bite I've ever seen!

The crafty Manipulator of Marrow was also out and about in Melbourne a few weeks back at the NAB Cup fixture between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs.

Carlton defender Jeremy Laidler launched into a marking contest with Bulldog Will Minson and guess who joined them as third man up?

It was the Bone Butcher, obviously on assignment in Mexico to sample the espresso, who stealthily levitated with the pack.

When the bodies collided he crudely repositioned Laidler’s kneecap into a fashionably skewed location on the left side of his leg which wouldn’t have looked out of place in one of Melbourne’s many trendy abstract art galleries.

That resulted in approximately 2000 hot dogs being instantly refunded by the spectators at Etihad Stadium as communal nausea kicked in.

So can you remember any other times that the Medicab Master has paid your favourite player a visit?

I just vomited on the keyboard. Seriously.

Who could forget Daryn Cresswell famously taking on the role of team doctor as he attempted to use neanderthal fundamentals to restore normality to his knee after a visit from the man in question?

What about Drew Mitchell performing one of rugby’s greatest party tricks when he tried to scratch his own back with his toes by turning his ankle in the opposite direction of forward?

Who recalls the occasion when Scott Prince watched his lower leg continue to flail in the kick follow-through after booting the footy downfield in his early days for the Brisbane Broncos?

All these of these memorable mangling moments and more are thanks to the Sniper’s cousin.

Leave your cherished memories of stomach-churning appendage annihilation below!

Oxygenating the grand old game

ELD 2.0 APPLAUDS THE RECENTLY COMPLETED TRIANGULAR SERIES AND TURNS FOCUS TO THE CARIBBEAN THROUGH GREEN AND GOLD SHADES….

 

The ODI tri-series has been run and won. Who was pleasantly tickled by its entertainment value?

In recent times, we’ve felt a couple of concerns begin to grow about the grand old version of limited overs cricket.

SL were worthy adversaries even though they tried to choke each other.

Is it becoming irrelevant? How will it be contorted to fit between the rock-solid Test format and the swelling interest of T20 cricket in the long term? How can we keep hot chicks interested?

This series has certainly gone some way to breathing some life back in to the old boiler and helping it regain some leverage on the landscape.

For the garden variety fan, this will bring a small amount of contentment.

For the pocket-stuffed CA boss James Sutherland, it will cause cartwheels of a 3.0 degree of difficulty inside his diamond encrusted office. He needs the tyres of the game pumped up until at least the 2015 pitches of Oz World Cup. This series has supplied some hankered-for O2.

Even though it seemed like a helluva long slog with the series running into March, it was chock-a-block with tension from the new ball to the death.

Of the 15 matches played, 7 were decided in the final over of the match, and there was even an extraordinarily scarce tie thrown in for good measure.

Kohli made Tasmania interesting.

And what about the absurdly outrageous set of numbers that were produced in Hobart when India chased down Sri Lanka’s 320 inside 40 overs to keep the trembling flame of their campaign alive?

For absurd fantasy cricket numerals, this was a cricketing apex.

The 3 teams finished within 4 points of each other at the end of the group games, with Australia and Sri Lanka tied with 19 each at the top.

What followed was a choice finals series that was bedecked with individual blue ribbon performances.

Broad-bats Tillakaratne Dilshan, Michael Clarke and David Warner all left their mark with the timber before Clint McKay spearheaded the Aussies to victory with a clutch bowling performance in game 3 to cap off a golden summer.

So what kind of shape are the boys in heading over to the land of sand and rum for the 5 game ODI series?

There’s no doubting that the top order needs to collectively function on a more regular basis.  

How many times were the lower order left to do the seagull yards and scrap for morsels to gain respectable totals when the boys in the middle should’ve been adding the cream in happy hour?

With routine saviour Michael Clarke on the sidelines, the contribution from all cogs will become even more critical.

Upsize your opinion of the Big Mac.

Prodigious tenderfoot Peter Forrest, whose enjoyable honeymoon period is fast receding, will need to learn to ride the burden of pressure in his absence.

As for the chuckers, the options seem plentiful; unfortunately the majority of them have consigned the art of the yorker to oblivion in recent times. A death bowling tutorial is badly craved.

Special mention must go to Xavier Doherty, who is becoming a steadfast miser, and the often maligned McKay, who must surely be one of the first picked in the attack on this tour.

Perhaps it’s time for the public to stop flinging poo at big Clint.

Any bowler who averages 19 and goes for less than 5 runs an over is a valuable commodity in any bowling unit, especially when you require a counterweight for Brett Lee’s capricious nature.

Smoking darts

There is an unrenowned spike in the weekly sporting timeline that occurs in the cold and early hours of Friday mornings.

While the majority of us workplace drones are smashing grilled bread, necking caffeine and trudging to the saltmines here in Australia, the combatants of Premier League Darts are crossing arrows in the UK.

The prize?

Big quids and the adulation of costumed drunks.

The Power: svelte and savvy.

Many would challenge it’s branding as a ‘sport’, but I implore you to load your throwing arm with tatts and give it a stab.

 

The Premier League showcases the crème de la crème of the elite dexterous rough dudes of darts in an intoxicating atmosphere comparable to the loudest arena terraces in England.

The jousters enter the arena with their theme song booming like a title fight, all the while flanked by a pair of sensational looking models as sloshed fans in crazy garb look on and strive to grope them.

That’s why they call it the sport of kings.

Without doubt, the pride of the league is 15 time world champion and 5 time Premier League winner Phil “The Power” Taylor.

This man has claims to being the most decorated sportsman on the planet. And frankly, with copious king trophies under his bulging belt, who can disagree?

The big British icon has revolutionised darts with a level of panache and charisma that has me bewildered as to why he has never been seen on a Tag Heuer billboard with other European sporting royalty.

Lewis endearing himself to the crowd again.

Taylor’s most recent rival is the loose and dangerous Adrian “Jackpot” Lewis. He’s the reigning king and he’s missing a few marbles.

Lewis is a man who makes it clear to the densely pickled audience that he doesn’t enjoy their conduct.

To the layman, this is a death wish. To “Jackpot”, it’s simply a working blueprint. He’s the man who has been pocketing the winner’s cheques of late.

The Aussie colours are represented in the league with distinction by the mighty Simon “The Wizard” Whitlock.

The man from Cessnock is a crowd-pleaser with his mechanical consistency, humble persona and downright ripper hairdo.

Has there been a better style to represent us on the international stage than Whitlock’s timeless platted ponytail complete with fluffy spike and amplified chin growth?

The Wizard: hairy.

He’s an Australian of the Year in the making. And he’s edging closer to his maiden major world title. Do you want to know what it feels like to miss something as epic?

 

So all of you footy bible-bashers who pass off the darts as nothing more than pint-pumping portly crims on parole; do yourself a favour and set the alarm.

It’s worth cutting short the Friday morning breath snore and rising for a dart.

Not happy Tim!

See ya Sheensy....Ya Prick!

Round 1 came along and I noticed one notable omission from the Tigers starting squad, Mitch Brown. I assure you he is no relation, but as an avid Tigers man I was befuddled to see his name not in the starting team. The guy is a useful utility capable of playing any back position; and he’s young.

So, please, tell me WTF has Sheensy been sorting? Instead of the reliable Brown, Sheensy, Chose that ridiculous garden stump Matt Utai! A goober who would be flat-out to see over the steering wheel of a car un-aided and who considers a step up to the urinal a task in high jump! What was he thinking! You can only not choose a bloke for so long before they get Jack of it and thus search for greener pastures. Sheensy and Co pushed him aside for too long.

Stay still ya F*/k-head, I need a boost!

With young whipper snapper James Tedesco having succumb to the Leichhardt sniper on Sunday, Brown, would have been the obvious replacement. This bought considerable comfort to many a Tiger supporter. Having someone like Brown sitting in the spares’ yard instantly took away any worry which Tedesco’s injury may have bought to our beloved team’s potency.

So, imagine how we all felt when we pick up the paper on Tuesday to find Brown had signed with that God awful mob from Bellmore. Guttered I tell you, Guttered! So now Sheens is left with 3 blokes almost at their use by dates in, Reddy, Utai and Tuqiri, and a green dick in Humble pie to fill the number 1 gernsey.

Utai should have been in NSW cup from the start. He’s useless under the high ball, a liability in defence and has the head of a busted bessa block.

Thanks Sheens, thanks!

Browny's gone?...Ooohh F*/k!

Take a sedative, it’s round one

What happened over summer that caused us all to develop impulsive Nostradamus tendencies?

Amateur clairvoyance and the love of a crystal ball has infiltrated the minds of NRL fans and crushed reasonable and rational thinking with a booming shoulder charge.

Is this right for a child in their formative years? Call DOCS.

Luckily, I’m yet to see anyone swapping their plastic cup of cold beer for tea leaves, but if the attempts at precognition reach these levels then I’ll really start to lose kip time.

 

I’ve been getting out and about in the community to talk league and I’m hearing a large chunk of the public exercising their paranormal and psychic abilities which have been incited by a mere 80 minutes of play on the weekend.

Round 1 was a rare jewel of distinction for thrills and spills; but that’s all she be. One round.

Why are we so swift to make determinations after a single game of early season rust-ball?

In my opinion, this is no time to be slapping around the ugly tar brush for those who have perished, nor for gleefully applying the rainbow glitter stick for the teams who triumphed.

Unless you support the Cowboys, who were simply horrendous and deserve the roughest of pineapple ends.

Timana setting the example for the fans. Play it cool.

As for the rest of you, take your sedatives and loosen up.

Can’t we wait until round 5, or at least the first off-field pants-down shame incident, before we set our flags on fire or rob our families for premiership betting cash?

I’ve heard some Parramatta people write off 2012 already because they could only muster 6 points- sans Hayne and Tonga- in greasy conditions on Friday.

Last night, I heard fuming voices from Redfern spewing vitriol about Souths not having any ticker. This was after controlling terms up to 3 minutes from the final siren.

No caption required.

Some of the Knights faithful are already considering the possibility of not winning the whole bloody thing because Thursday night’s pressure chamber displayed how things will play out for the next 6 months. They lost by a solitary point in extra time.  

Where’s the clarity of mind?

Conversely, these spontaneous forecasts also work in reverse.

I endured the clatter of Sea Eagles fans who claim they saw enough on the weekend to cleanly sever any lingering memory of ‘Des who?’

Amnesia has arrived for some Dragons fans also, whom were overheard trumpeting the departure of Wayne Bennett after their victory on Thursday. This was the first time in history that a ‘season defining win’ was achieved in round 1 of competition.

You all need a hot Milo with a shot of scotch and a lie-down.

The only supporters that can be safely making assertions about their fortunes for 2012 are us jokers in the Chook Pen.

There’s no doubt our season peaked after last night’s glorious footballing version of daylight robbery against the Rabbitohs.

It’s all downhill from here for us.

Footy snipers

Sitting among the slobbering enthusiasm for the NRL opening round lurks the grim notion that there’s going to be a hard luck story somewhere.

And today, you’ve got to feel some compassion for Tiger trainee James Tedesco.

One of the gut-wrencher tales of round one was delivered by a stadium sniper yesterday at Leichhardt Oval.

In my humble medical opinion, HE'S FUCKED.

This indicates that the long and stringy salivation of eager anticipation isn’t exclusively experienced by the supporters.

After a protracted pre-season polishing his rifle, the gun-toting killer of dreams promptly set up camp at the top of the Tigers rotting timber grandstand and tried his best to temper his itchy trigger finger, but to no avail.

And it was the Tigers rookie custodian who wore the raw and searing sensation of the marksman’s impatience with a pinpoint pellet to the ACL.

Returning the pill from a kick, he darted towards the line and then buckled as the knee malfunctioned without a single Shark dorsal fin within cooee.

Cue the horrible image of the youngster spending 5 minutes chewing on turf and flipping back and forth in pain like a jerky snapper out of water.

This got me thinking. Firstly about fish and chips.

Secondly, and most probably more importantly, about how prevalent these kinds of innocuous injuries are these days.

Can you remember the gladiators of league in the 80’s and 90’s spending lengthy periods off the park for an injury that didn’t involve the opposition in any capacity whatsoever?

Tommy and Les: extremely loose and violent human beings. Footy misses you both.

I’m sure there were instances of this occurring, but nothing like the number of stadia gunmen incidents we seem to see nowadays.

The flavour of yesteryear was blunt force trauma.

Blokes would be stretchered off the field in the company of the local constable as they gave a police report- usually through a mouth that looked like a sack of smashed marbles- explaining how their jaw managed to meet Les Boyd’s elbow at such high velocity.

 
Stiff arms, knees, squirrel grips and gouges left players and fans in no doubt as to why a bloke would need an extended spell.

But rupturing a ligament as you charged towards the line unfettered?

I cringe to think of Tommy Raudonikis seeing his fullback hitting the turf and clutching a hinge before tackle contact.

The 80's: when the universal language of the fist reigned supreme.

You would hope the medicine men got to the player quick enough before Tommy branded you a ‘shiela’ and then forced you to pack down in the front row for the next scrum, mainly because you had knocked-on in the middle of being decapitated.

So does anyone have an explanation for why there are a higher count of snipers traipsing the outer in modern league?

After speaking to my contact sports cronies, the general consensus seems to be that the pace and intensity of the modern game is a contributing factor over time.

"I didn't lay a hand on him sir. However, as for my boot..."

So is it wear and tear, or is science also playing a part?

Could modern training techniques and the highly-tuned nature of the player’s bodies be spawning this new trend of twitchy fragile knee sinew?

It’s possible, however I don’t remember the last time I saw a Ferrari leave the mechanics in top nick only to see it snap a fan belt a few blocks down the road.

What’s more, I also struggle to recall witnessing a couple of 1982 Cortinas bashing the daylights out of each other in a back alley before driving home with nothing more than a few dents.

My sporting brethren, do you have a medical explanation for snapping ligaments? Why are blokes knees deciding to collapse in the middle of a match after weeks of running the same line at training? Do we have anyone out there with an old medical qualification lying around that they can whip out to be the website’s resident doc? Does anyone know the sniper?

Warming the Pine

Sport for those with comfortable couches.