The Sydney Swans and their big problem

It’s just like Mother used to always say.

“No matter who you are, everybody has got their own problems.”

And it isn’t any different in the wonderful world of footy.

In the AFL, there is a spectrum of the various issues experienced in the game, with clubs dotted across the range from the trivial to the crippling.

At one end, there’s doggone organisations such as Essendon, a club who are up to their eyeballs in the controversial poop that comes with being caught out systematically puncturing your playing group like a sewing machine, or the Demons, who are cemented in the zone when it comes to simply producing good laughs, and even the unfortunate Brisbane Lions, who have recently hemorrhaged cred because of a board enjoying the sort of popularity reserved for varicose veins.

These are the footy workplaces that have tent villages of unwashed scribes occupying their front driveways 11 months of the year. They are in dire need of a dollar and a hug, or in the case of the Bombers, a magical erasing of the stubborn personality traits of Andrew Demetriou and/or a legal miracle.

Then as you journey to the other end of the scale, you’ll pass through rainbows, fairy floss and unicorns on your way to the places with your more light and breezy kinda troubles, and there you will find a squeaky clean joint like the Sydney Swans.

Their bugbears aren’t to do with off-site jabbing or novice management units, but with more pleasant, legal and non-wearing problems such as finding room for their burgeoning forest of tall timber.

John Longmire’s stocks of elite pine are overflowing like a bogan’s radiator, and someone of lofty repute will eventually miss out when the cracking whips of September come around.

Had you foretold this problem in the pre-season, you would’ve been forgiven for pointing the finger of blame in the direction of the decision to purchase Kurt Tippett.

However, while Sydney’s clandestine negotiating and parting with top cap dollars for the Adelaide power-forward seemed like the spoilt kid wanting a third Nintendo, he may not be the target for blame.

The man who has scrambled the rotation of lankies could very well be Jesse White.

After being the unwanted carrot dangled to the Crows in the off-season, he’s morphed from an easily criticised backfiller in to a powerful and industrious tall option, and in the process kick-started a red and white version of top heavy musical chairs.

White’s materialisation in to a highly serviceable AFL big man was not expected by all and surely not factored in to Longmire’s blueprint for the 2013 premiership defence, especially after only playing three games in 2012.

White: no longer on-the-nose.

White: no longer on-the-nose.

In the past, the big guy was talked-up as a future target-man for the Swans but never really grasped his opportunities, something considered a rather large sin amongst the cutthroat mentality of AFL’s community of supporters and analysts, as well as being worthy of being Longmire’s worm on the hook when it came time to ‘talk Tippo.’

But now is he not only doing an admirable job as a Mr Fix-it, he’s making it impossible to be ignored at selection time due to some sterling returns.

So where does that leave the rest of the big men?

Mike Pyke’s exponential progress, as well as his regular serves of humble pie to the Melbourne media, mean he is closed to being the top-ranked choice each week. Shane Mumford is the heartbeat of the ruck and one of the best going around the AFL when he’s up and about. Tippett is still unfurling nine weeks of pent-up energy and frankly, he’s paid too much coin to be passed over.

And what about Sam Reid and Adam Goodes, both tracking to return just in time for finals?

Reid is the raw-boned project player who was finding form just before he was struck down with injury, and there is Goodes, who put simply, is just Goodes.

And imagine if Lewis Roberts-Thomson was to resurrect his 2013 with enough time to make a belated tilt for selection?

Even allowing for the unorthodox balance of four big men in the Swans 22, that means someone such as a club captain, a premiership player or a high-profile recruit will be left standing when the music stops, headed for the anti-climax of a post-season in the magoos.

Tippett: rich.

Tippett: rich.

It’s going to be an uncomfortable conversation for Longmire and his brains trust to endure, but compared to the predicament of clubs at the other end of the issues spectrum, I’m sure he won’t be complaining.


Walsh debunks the rigmarole of kicking for goal

Wowsers. What a collector’s item of sparkling goal kicking from Luke Walsh last night!

The Penrith halfback’s spotless 11 from 11 was a magnificent showcase of accuracy from sideline to sideline, not to mention a perfect accompaniment to the razzle dazzle being served up by the Panthers on the CUA turf against a porous Warriors defence.

But it wasn’t just the results of the metronomic slipper show that knocked my socks off. In my eyes, there was something else that stood out from Walsh’s marksman masterclass.

Walsh. Not a jig in sight.

Walsh. Not a jig in sight.

The whole thing packed minimal histrionics.

With every raise of the touchies’ flags, it affirmed the fact that there is still a place in the game for a dull dime-a-dozen kicking action.

In recent times, boring and undistinguished routines have been under attack by a wave of alternative converters and their intricately detailed approaches.

So why is the ‘Goalkicking for Dummies’ manual slowly becoming eroded as a reading choice by the sharp shooters across all codes?

Up until recently, capably kicking a dead ball used to be so simple.

Settle down, wipe away some sweat, secure your mouthguard in some disgusting pocket of your body, take some right-angled steps and slot the thing through to papa.

Too easy!

But somewhere along the timeline of kicking history, theatrics and contortions became de rigeur. Just punching the footy over and/or through a set of poles is no longer enough.

Nowadays, you need an abstract statue pose followed by an audition for the Bolshoi Ballet to be in the running for kicking tee duties.

Cast your mind back.

Remember the uproar when ‘around the corner’ kicking first came in to the codes? Traditionalists of the toe poke lost their shizen at the time at what was considered a totally ludicrous newfangled method!

Then fast forward to the emergence of Ian ‘Chook’ Herron.

This wacky winger was considered a rugby league outcast with his blend of neck twisting and hot-stepping. Nobody imagined that things were going to get any weirder than him.

But no!

Cue Jonny Wilkinson in the heavenly game with the first of the stone sculptured poses, and then the nutcase workings of Mark Riddell, who seemed to be placing some kind of mid-air blessing on the Steeden just before he gave it the boot.

This lead to the current golden era we find ourselves in.

There’s one of modern footy’s most bizarre and long-winded routines with Jamie Soward’s version of a sedated soldier whose compass is playing up, which is complimented by Quade Cooper’s regular reminder that his favourite comic hero is Superman.

James O’Connor jumped on board for a while with his own zany stylings before coming to his senses when he realised the robot dance went out of fashion for a reason.

Don’t forgot those who appear to be experiencing debilitating stomach cramps while they carefully hold a fragile baby chicken in cupped hands, that being Adam Reynolds, Berrick Barnes and Jarrod Croker.

And the insanity isn’t just confined to the rugby codes either.

What about in the AFL?

There are extra trimmings on the usual stale bread and butter provided by West Coast’s Josh Kennedy and St Kilda’s Ahmed Saad.

Kennedy’s attention-seeking feet take over the whole show and regale the crowd with their version of the stutter rap, while Saad somehow incorporates a lazy Sunday arvo stroll that seemingly stretches from Coogee to East Perth.

There’s no doubt about it. The modern kicking culture has evolved in to something weirder than that slouching windmill dance your uncle does at family functions.

Does anybody have an intelligent explanation to this?

I’m sure many would say that it’s another sign that the psychological aspect of professional sport is becoming further prevalent, and fair enough. But could it be more than this?

Are managers and marketers encouraging their charges to build a brand through individuality? Is it time wasting? Or loss of bets with long-term consequences?

Or are footy players convinced that pretending to pray in a state of semi-constipation is genuinely effective when piloting a leather pillow on a beeline?

Whatever the reason, long may it continue.

I acknowledge the successes of guys like Walsh and their staple routines. Good luck to them all.

But there’s no doubt there is something entertaining about watching athletes blindly devote to their boot-scooting security blankets.

For some kickers, it seems keeping it straight relies on being slightly twisted.



Hawking for clarity at marking contests

Has anybody heard much from Stephen Hawking lately?

Nah, me neither.

I reckon that’s because he’s been spending all of his time locked away in his research laboratory applying every ounce of his significant cognitive clout to nutting out the solar system’s latest perplexing enigma.

No, I’m not talking about translating a piece of Seal’s feedback on The Voice.

Hawking: tough on 'holding the ball' calls and not afraid to use the video system.

Hawking: tough on ‘holding the ball’ calls and not afraid to use the video system.

I’m referring to the AFL’s new marking contest rules.

And unfortunately for Hawking and the people of the game, something tells me we won’t be hearing a triumphant ‘I’ve cracked it!’ from the king brainiac’s voice emulator anytime soon.

The laws of the one-on-one contest have been fidgeted from a comprehensible and unbroken function to an intricately detailed mess, a state of affairs termed by furious footyfolk as “totally stuffed beyond recognition” and by the AFL as “better than before.”

It was once an area of the game that was easily adjudicated thanks to its concise legal parameters, but now it’s an indecipherable mechanical minefield that requires disentangling from all stakeholders involved in a blink of an eye.

In comparison, fellow famous IQ bruisers of the world like additive combinatorics, multidimensional forensic psychometrics and the AFL Match Review Panel’s grading system seem like something you should find on the underside of a bottle-top.

Going off results so far, it appears that Andrew Demetriou and his umpiring overlord Jeff Gieschen are in stark need of some accomplished Harvard graduates, some highly sophisticated androids or even Hawking to be out in the middle with the whistle to successfully interpret and implement this brain-sapping rule.

Once the simplistic domain of grappling goal-hording primates in an enthralling power struggle, the marking contest is now a withered shadow of its former self due to this law fiddling that was mainly driven by two factors.

Firstly, the gross over-analysis by the gophers at the Laws of the Game committee, and secondly, the application of these guidelines to genuine OCD standards by Gieschen and his whistle men.

This was a free kick. FOR TEARING OUT THE GAME'S HEART.

This was a free kick. FOR TEARING OUT THE GAME’S HEART.

No longer can one viciously Greco-Roman their opponent as the Sherrin approaches the drop-zone like the good old days when yesteryear’s rock solid blokes spat mortar if the game offered them protection.

Under the new law, your opponent is cotton-woolled from contact by a myriad of conditions that act like a release of strategically placed funnelwebs on their torso.

Wrap your cerebral cords around this.

Bumping, blocking, pushing, holding, dabbing, probing, stroking, inspecting or impinging upon your adversary is now off-limits, lest you cough up expensive free kicks right in front of your own pegs and/or make your coach test a handset’s strength on a bench and/or spark a week of community caterwauling.

However, the trade-off is that you can use your lever ‘like a bumper bar’, provided you don’t move it wildly, extend it or straighten it, unless you are carrying a T-square and protractor so you can measure out a quarter, half or three-quarter nudge, and as long as it doesn’t look like two movements.

Piece of cake, right?

Bring 'em back!

Bring ’em back!

Yeah, maybe if you’re a savant.

Or somebody who has refereed at a breakdown in a game of rugby.

It’s fantastic that the ravenous AFL press pack is being given this rare gem of footy nannying to keep the quiet days of the week ablaze, but this is just hands-waving-in-the-air, calling-talkback-radio and letter-to-the-editor madness.

But before we go completely ape, let’s take a breath.

If we put down our pitchforks, be positive and look forward, there may be one thing we can take from all of this brouhaha.

Amongst all of that prohibited contact, I can’t see anything outlawing the use of the feet, shins and knees.

An evolution that sees the return of regular high-flying hangers, anyone?


Forget innocuous injuries by praising the panel-beaten

Modern day footy has always been an extreme high-risk venture with a reputation for inflicting severe long-term injury upon those who take part.

Recently however, the mutilating hasn’t always been caused by an overseas trip with the West Coast Eagles or one of Richie Fa’aoso’s many spear tackles.

In 2013, footballers have hit a new jittery height of fragility and the MediCabs are running hot from coast-to-coast as a result.

What we are seeing are those pesky invisible landmines and well-concealed snipers causing bewildering injuries from thin air, and nobody important with a clipboard, stethoscope or microphone can really work out why.

In a bizarre change of scenery, the part of local footy where you get ferociously bashed at high speed by a waiting pack of gorillas has now become the easy part of surviving Australia’s top flite codes. Players nowadays are nervous over dealing with a silent and intangible sweepstake of bad fortune that is a real pickle to identify.

It’s the most meagre contact with an opposition player or a deceptively flat playing surface that now possesses the ability to interrupt the harmonious strum of ligaments with a sickening twang, disconnect a shoulder from the torso like ready-to-retire Lego, and inflict eye-rolling concussion with what appears a feathery brush.

The buzzword is ‘innocuous’. The bogan word is ‘soft’. But this serves to only label the carnage. All we want to know is why the hell is this happening?

Can we blame training workloads, fatigue or poor medical advice? Is it the increasing speed of the games? Or is it Robert Lui’s cousin’s fault?

Upon contacting the major codes for an explanation, I was met with the response of ‘Stuffed if we know’ from the AFL, ‘It’s probably just a coincidence’ from the ARU and was encouraged by the NRL to ‘Start calling Todd Greenberg about this stuff from now on please.’

My neck, my back...

My neck, my back…

With a dire lack of leadership on this issue, the durability of our footballers in question and nothing showing on the arthroscope as a solution, I thought it best that we lift the spirits of the nation by celebrating those immune from these recent ills.

I’m talking about the panel-beaten hombres who resurrect before our very eyes, who appear as though they’ve won the knee-pop lottery or a well-earned snooze before springing back to life and contributing within the very match they were nearly pronounced dead.

The respective footy codes could do a lot worse than to swab this trio and inject the strain in to the current generation of glass.

Steve Matai

Rugby league isn’t rugby league without the Kiwi centre trying to decapitate his opposite before halting a game with his 78th serious neck injury. On a good night, this will spread down to the shoulder and arm region to give the impression that has he not only broken his neck, but he’s also suffering from a heart attack too.

Regardless of the ailment, Matai always seems to rejuvenate steadily from the critical ‘death’s door’ to the stable ‘heroic refusal of a stretcher’, before amazing all by rising to his feet as if been healed by an American pastor, ready to belt the next Burgess brother that comes his way.

If he wanted higher socks then he should've just asked.

If he wanted higher socks then he should’ve just asked.

Is odds-on for a contract with Nurofen should he survive his football career.

Tatafu Polotau-Nau

As the bodies peel away from a breakdown in a Waratahs game, you can guarantee that their laborious hooker will be found at the bottom in a lifeless heap faintly clutching at a cavalcade of paralysing aches from top-to-toe. He is rugby union’s ultimate mystery cocktail of body trauma.

Polotau-Nau spends more time on his back wrapped in bandages on a rugby field than Heidi Fleiss doing an Egyptian Mummy role-play. And again like Fleiss, half the time he’s sleeping through it before miraculously rallying for the next ruck after a simple sip of a drink and a decent strapping.

So seriously busted does his troublesome knee appear at regular points in a game that he has had to block Lars on Twitter due to constant harassment.

Joel Selwood

You know you're crook when your wake-up call requires four humans

You know you’re crook when your wake-up call requires four humans

Concussion rules were introduced to the AFL to prevent maniacs like this bloke from producing repeated heroics on the field amidst habitual narcolepsy.

Due to fearless and selfless attacks on the ball, Selwood can often be found dozy and/or bleeding at the bottom of packs and seemingly done for the day. However, give the man a simple pat on the scone with the magic sponge and he stunningly relaunches to continue on his ferocious merry way of high-octane physicality.

The inspirational Geelong skipper has a penchant for the fashionable head gash, and if he isn’t already a share-holding ambassador for Elastoplast, then perhaps they too suffer from regular trips to Disneyland like him.


Footy’s individualism: killed by power-hungry suits

Let’s face it. Unless you are a cold-hearted gold digger, clean-cut smarmy types clothed in Italian suits with excess cash spilling out of their pockets have never been high on the greetings card list.

With their sickening charisma, unsettling corporate smarts and immaculate hair like a young Michael Douglas, you know they’ll steal your girlfriend and sue you twice before the dessert’s even been ordered.

Unfortunately, with the advancement of sport in to an era of professionalism, these businessmen are on every corner amongst the territory of boofy footy codes that we blue-collar oafs used to claim as our own.

The gilded buggers and their Saabs are a necessary evil in the day-to-day running of sports business now we’ve all twigged that money is important for buying goalposts, so their big words, clean teeth and uncanny ability to hypnotise with long sentences have all become part of the furniture whether you like it or not.

Up until now, they’ve known their place, meaning a calm but uneasy truce has remained. They would collect their bulging cheques provided they learned basic footy vernacular, posed for an awkward photo or two, handed over the trophies when required and feigned interest in the game, while always staying the hell away from the leather and letting the players do their thaaaaang.

As for playing bad cop when the necessity arose?

The game’s history made that a cinch for them.

When the players stepped out of line, bar the odd firearm possession charge or clandestine affair with a team mate’s wife, they would respect the working class values of the game by using the ‘boys will be boys’ approach to spanking those who have breached with a ball of cotton wool.

Dugan and his ill-fated night on the tiles.

Dugan and his ill-fated night on the tiles.

It was too easy. Look cranky for the Daily Telegraph, hand out a suspended fine, a few games off and a forced public apology, which they would usually pen themselves for the kid anyway, and within a few weeks it was forgotten and everyone was happy.

It was a simple agreement that maintained the balance of power between paymaster and drone in the world of local sports.

But not anymore.

Over the last few weeks, the all-powerful defenders of the bottom line have ripped off their shirts, flexed their pipes and then pummelled any individual within their organisation that is considered even mildly rogue, confirming their dark and evil side that we’ve all suspected has lurked dormant within.

Making it worse, this recent outbreak of brutality has been caused by a handful of two-bit misdemeanours that Warney would’ve performed on his ear in a drinks break amidst the spice of the transitional 1990s.

It started at Collingwood, where Dane Swan was fined by the head honchos for the unspeakable act of engaging in unauthorised palaver, before the clamps were really tightened with Travis Cloke’s docking of pay for parking his rig in the CEO’s spot.

The office power-playing continued in Queensland, where the Reds stood down Digby Ioane after he was allegedly found lingering on the outer fringes of a messy melee of beefy blokes, which to me sounds exactly like being three passes off a scrum, the exact thing which he is paid to do.

And in Canberra, what else was a tired, injured and thirsty Josh Dugan supposed to do?

When Generation-Y has a session around a pumping Akai listening to the iconic tunes of their era, ‘the roof is on fire’ means you are obligated under the rules of popular culture to climb up there with a fizzy pre-mix and check it out, otherwise you may be at risk of letting ‘the motherf*cker burn.’

Doesn’t Don Furner understand the basics of contemporary existence?

And geeeez, what about the iron fisting that was the exploding septic tank of Homeworkgate?

Don’t go there, sisters.

It seems that suits and ties have taken it upon themselves to move the disciplinary goalposts, and it’s killing the spirit of individualism in the footy codes.

Regardless of the magnitude of the indiscretion, the level of public reaction, or if the indiscretion was actually an indiscretion, the big dogs are coming down on whoever is found at the scene in their colours. And with added tax lumped on top of the wrist-slap.

Remember the good old days when Ken Arthurson would let you keep your job, even though you were spotted outside of the Empire Hotel looking like a statue because you were plastered to the ground by the stiffness of your own dried vomit?

Well footballers, if this week is a sign of the future, then those good old days of wholesome chunder-fun in the public eye are long gone.

Top office tyranny has slowly grown to disgracefully powerful levels and it’s eroding the characters in sport.

Someone please stop the rot by making a recently retired and heavily concussed front-rower the club chairman immediately.

Or just fast track Tony Zappia or John Elias on to the board of your club.

Bellamy to poach Judd to wrestle back waning premiership tilt

It’s official: the Melbourne Storm are currently as flat as discarded party cola.

Craig Bellamy is fast becoming in need of a proverbial Mentos in the soft drink real soon, otherwise his aspirations for a coveted top 2 spot could be under threat from the chasing horde of clubs who are now crowded at a bottleneck just below.

Even Bellamy practices wrestling techniques on his own face.

With his troops battle-taxed and energy-parched after a torrid Origin campaign crammed with lactic acid, the word from AAMI Park is that the Storm boss has decided to have a geeze outside of his current player group for an injection of much-craved fizz.

The only problem is that due to the recent passing of the 30th June player swap, he can’t look among the usual recyclables of the NRL opposition fringes for inspiration, meaning unloved and neglected resources from league’s backwoods are out of the equation.

Time is also a factor with 7 rounds in the year remaining, so he’s mindful that his gun-for-hire will need to have the ability to slot effortlessly into his system as if he has been microchipped with the Melbourne playbook.

Bellamy knows it’s going to take some funky recruitment subterfuge to re-carbonate his 2012 crusade like a stern pump from a Soda-Stream.

And the word from a few gossip ferrets down south is that the biggest story in Australian footy is on the verge of breaking due to his predicament, and this is how it’s origins played out.

It was a lonely Friday night. Bellamy was pacing around his modest digs, trying to conjure an antidote.

As he tried to remedy his edginess with a few gentle ales and an aimless wander around the television stations, he stopped on the AFL match between Carlton and North Melbourne.

The clinching move for Bellamy.

In a rare moment of mental relaxation, the flow of the game and its dominant players caught his attention. As he studied the action, the unthinkable idea of a cross-code assault to revamp his stocks leapt to mind.

“Too many Melbourne Bitters” Bellamy whispered to himself as a few pie-in-the-sky options busting their guts on the MCG turf swirled around his purple brain as potential solutions to his team’s downtrend.

Then at the 10 minute mark of the second quarter, the answer emerged from a pack of tight shorts and coldly stared him in the face like a psychotic ex-spouse.

It was gripped to the end of a gnarled Kangaroo limb. It was Chris Judd.

Judd: pondering the switch.

When Bellamy witnessed the beef jerky-tough Carlton megastar yank and then separate the arm from the shoulder cuff of North Melbourne’s Leigh Adams, his former vague respect and passing interest in the man immediately transformed to thoughts of him tyrannising a play-the-ball in purple.

The adept display of a rugby league ruck-retardation that he witnessed from Judd was surgically-precise and seemingly educated. It compelled Bellamy to frantically search Google for the dossier of the former Brownlow Medallist for further intel.

What he found made his already animated eyes light up like a Griswald Christmas house.

It was nearly identical to Tuesday’s training schedule.

2005: elbow manoeuvre to the head. 2007: unnecessary contact with the face. 2009: pressure point submission hold!

“It’s a bloody Greco-Roman job application!” he ferociously yelled with a level of furious excitement that propelled the froth of his refreshment to fly from his lips.

And from there, the negotiating phone calls to the Judd stakeholders began.

The Mentos to refresh his season has been located and Bellamy will be driving a hard bargain to get the Storm defensive savant he requires to circuit-break the 2012 NRL Premiership.

Get ready for the biggest talent grab in the code war.

Pending salary cap approval.

Twitter has always harmed sports stars

Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise your glasses for the latest induction to the Coaches and Administrators Migraine Hall of Fame.

After bursting on to the scene as an unheralded rookie with minimal menace, this press conference-cajoling ubiquitous nuisance is now the market leader in inciting statement apologies, suspended fines and single week spurts of horribly alien levels of talent in the lower grades.

It has gradually developed a troublesome standing in the world of sports, yet is still somehow so indispensable to boss and employee.

The inductee’s trademark move is to strike a coach or CEO at any time, manifesting itself in a midnight phone call from a journalist, a sternly-worded talkback caller or a couple of horrifying inches in a gossip column.

Brock is the latest addition to Twitter’s list of victims.

It preys on those weakened by a craving for attention and the inability to resist retaliation, and dines out on those lacking effective understanding of the mousetraps of modern technology.

And simple-minded footy players.

Please come up to the dais and accept your key to this hallowed collection of various pains in the posterior of your payers.

You deserve it, Twitter.

Take your place amongst booze, recreational and performance-enhancing drugs, bonding sessions and Kings Cross. There’s a nice spot saved for you in the Mason/Fevola section, just up the back and to the left.

This omnipresent cannibal of reputation has electronically flexed again this week with Carlton’s Brock McLean giving an online ear-flick to a punter in response to a cheeky chide.

It added to a growing collection of 140-character communiqués delivered by sports stars that break the paymaster’s golden rule of ‘bland, sterile and definitely no pre-audited honesty.’

This got me to thinking. Surely these kinds of incidents have always plagued athletes over time and left their superiors sucking up to sponsors?

So I went back through my almanacs in search of occasions through history where sportspeople have caused a front-office brain bunion by engaging in some dim-witted verballing with the public via various means of communication.

I’ve located a few hidden gems that have been swept under the carpet.

Harvey hits the Tweet-spot

As we all know, Australia’s 1948 cricket tour of England lead by Sir Don Bradman was 4 months of superb Pom-slapping as our boys swept aside all-comers.

But it wasn’t all Bushells and damper for the Invincibles support staff after batsman Neil Harvey came in for some heavy disparagement from a local scribe when he made a thin score in a tour match.

Harvey banned himself from all PED usage after this incident.

When the knock was described in the local rag as ‘substantially non-spiffy’ and ‘moth-eaten ho hum,’ it sent Harvey into a rage and he responded with a flaming hot telegram direct to the press box.

“To the daft gent at the local periodical, I hope a rogue chimney rat relieves itself in your gentleman’s cap and establishes homestead in your butter churner.”

This spiteful rebuttal caused a wave of conjecture through the Old Dart cricket community and forced Australia’s team manager to make Harvey publicly apologise and pay a fine of thrippence to a local rodent preservation charity.

Durack trends into troubled waters

The 1912 Stockholm Olympics was a memorable meet for Aussie pool queen Fanny Durack after winning gold in the 100m freestyle, confirming her status as darling of the baths.

But the medal and her fine reputation were nearly soiled when she made her feelings know to a boorish heckler, who when obviously excited by the plunging knee-line of her togs, rudely bellowed for her to ‘show us your ankles.’

Thanks to the work of a friendly marshal poolside, Durack was able to find the name and address of the spectator and duly penned a stunning riposte that she attached to a carrier pigeon and sent to the details given.

“To the squalid vagrant in row 4: Judging by the size of your trousers, it would appear that Sweden is a lot colder than I thought. Perhaps some kind of surgical enhancement is in order, or perhaps a heater of some fashion. #shrinkage.”

Due to the sluggish pace of the carrier pigeon, the furore surrounding Durack’s message had worn off by it’s arrival, and only a slap on the wrist from the Olympic bigwigs and a week in the Sydney Amateur Swim League was required to wash away her sins.

Dally’s foul-mouthed post

There isn’t too many players held in higher regard than Dally Messenger in the rugby league world.

However, even the man who kept the pen hands of historians perpetually cramped from regularly re-writing record books wasn’t immune from the temptation of providing some zesty return fire via various methods.

In a crucial 1911 premiership match between Messenger’s Eastern Suburbs and rivals Glebe, things started deteriorating when the referee made some loose decisions.

Dally ‘Text’ Messenger

Newtown’s prop was allowed to take the field with the back of his thighs coated in Murray’s brand hair paste, and when the referee started to allow the Bluebagger’s wrestling techniques to take hold of the ruck, it left the game’s best player fuming.

Messenger took action on the back of a few stouts at the post match function when he found a ham radio behind the bar, and gave it to the referee with both barrels in the tongue of morse code.

“I question the heritage of the clodpate galah holding the pea-whistle today and wish that all of his billy teas from this day forth taste over-boiled.”

This resulted in the league superstar being hauled before a disciplinary committee where he was removed from daily news circulations as ‘the face of the game’, costing the league a ton of shillings to have the promotion re-done.

So there you go sports fans, that’s just a couple of examples from our rich history of sporting heroes stepping out of line when online.

I would love to hear of any I’ve forgotten, and I’ll even accept replies in dots and dashes.

Fox Footy an inspiration for NRL toenails

A frightening incident occurred recently when a group of footy fans were discovered trapped under an avalanche of AFL analysis.

Luckily, with the exception of a few unfortunate scarves and a thermos, there were no victims.

However, all learnt a potent lesson from this event. These tsunamis of dissection and nit-picking now hit major cities in Australia on the regular.

Six former greats for one toe. Let’s demand it for the NRL.

AFL footy has always been fine tooth-combed, but with the advent of subscription television’s Fox Footy channel, it’s gone to levels of nuttiness not before seen.

With live programming every night of the week featuring salivating journalists and eager former greats of the game, nothing is unworthy of discussion in the crusade to fill a couple of hours of telly.

Analysis is analysed. Forensic accounts are investigated and then the investigation is examined, then the examination is discussed. Thrice.

I know what you are probably thinking; it’s like the old ‘full forward stubs toe’ slow Tuesday news piece that you’ve heard in the past. But it goes much, much further below the surface than that.

Something as ceremonious as a jammed flipper is frisked and probed by Fox Footy in the way Wayne Carey would approach a wives convention.

There’s a camera crew on hand for the application of the band-aid, a devoted 2 hour broadcast to scrutinise the shard of fragmented toe-nail that has catapulted from the crime scene and a subsequent live poll on whether that offensive discolouration on the underside of the foot in question was either toe-jam or some kind of mutated bunion.

(If you are wondering, a special key-ring has been created in the shape of the nail and it plays ‘Good old Collingwood forever’ when you squeeze it. It’s on sale now for the crazy price of 15 Demetriou dollars.)

A recent example of Fox’s finicky critiquing is the vitriolic response to players who have had the gall to smile at the final siren following a loss.

Sure, I can understand that fans and pen-pushers expect you to be spewing deluxe when you’ve just been on the end of a horrid spanking. But what else are you supposed to do when you shake hands with a former teammate and he unloads the old ‘pull my finger’ joke like old times?

Then there’s the staple victim that nourishes an expert’s diet for the contentious roast, which is the head coach and his right to hold down his position and earn a livelihood.

AFL fans. Passionate peanuts.

Fox Footy channel is contractually obligated to torch at least one team boss per week by questioning his right to job security and a steady income. The frothing drum-beaters take turns every round in placing a frazzled and balding head of a clipboard-wielder into the stocks to spark an explosive talking point.

For effect, there is no middle ground. It’s employed, effective and immune or disgraceful and dole queue-bound.

In all seriousness though, this just shows the exceptional levels of devotion and admiration for the game across the land.

The importance placed on the trivial may seem odd to those who exist on the outside of the religion, but this is everyday life in the AFL. The game’s fans set the benchmark for all other codes with their ‘life or death’ ideals that keep their footy emotions on a precipice at all times, and they wouldn’t want it any other way.

So this got me thinking that us rugby league disciples deserve something similar. We want a vehicle to show the country how much we covet our game.  Preferably in television form.

With the next TV rights deal on the horizon, why doesn’t the new independent commission stamp its feet and push for a dedicated NRL channel on Fox?

Imagine it. We could have a nightly roundup of the day’s controversy, expert insight into the day’s bland comments from a second-rower and a forum for every coach to make a case about being the underdog.

A channel for Paul’s appendage is required now.

There could be a dedicated “Where’s Jennings?” program (only relevant outside of Origin matches) along with a magazine-style offering telling us yarns of cavorting ex-stars and peripheral first-graders who have transferred straight from the game into a life of crime.

As for the other 20-odd hours in the day, this could be easily filled by our love of the rewind with a billion classic games.

Why not start back at 1960 and play every season in full, all day every day, with nasal commentary, bryl-creem adverts and the like?

I can’t think of any better way for our adored contact sport to be packaged and shipped to the masses.

So I ask of you my rugby league brethren, let us be inspired by our cousins of the land’s fellow code.

Let’s follow their example and ignite the groundswell for better viewing rights right now. We want our own channel with all of our beloved stars permanently under the microscope for our entertainment.

Just think about it. Don’t you want to see what Paul Gallen’s toenail looks like?


Get off my lawn Dimo!

This morning I see the Crows’ coach gave the new GWS side an almighty spray. After being asked a question on how the Greater Western Side will go next year, Crows’ coach Brenton Sanderson left politeness on the bench and punted down what he really thought were GWS’s chances for next season, bleating they have picked a bunch of kids that will get smashed. It was a rather candid and refreshing belting from someone plonked in front of a press gallery. Usually someone in his position falls back on some well oiled cliche`s to get him out of such questions, but good old Sanderson spilled his thoughts and even placed a wager with one of the hounds in the gallery, placing a cherry of arrogance on top for good measure.

But that’s where the kudos and back slaps end in this spray.

My real reason for the verbal bashing I’m about to unleash is to finally vent my anger towards the GWS side and the AFL.

As an avid Tigers fan and Rugby league supporter, I’m mighty pissed off to see such a brazen attempt to pinch the youth out of one of rugby league’s most fertile cabbage patches. Granted the NRL set up camp in Melbourne, but the AFL were the first to bed down in enemy territory, slipping in-between the sheets of the Sydney market with Swans. But that’s fine, 1 in Melbourne, 1 in Sydney, it’s a fair trade. But, with the GWS side opening their legs to anyone in the greater west, the GayFL have crossed the line.

The way I see it is, Victoria – home of the AFL; NSW – home of the NRL; a team in each state which caters to the small pockets of supporters who follow the opposing code and all other states become fair game. It’s simple, clean and amicable. 

 If this is the way they are going to play, then I hope the GayFL drown in their arrogant vomit! When the former ARL and Super League tried rapid expansion, they did it all wrong. They allowed clubs better suited to orange peeling to play at the highest level, it ended in clubs folding and fans deserting. That debacle left us (the NRL and supporters) looking like a bunch of sporting amatures!

Having seen Rugby League burn its fingers, the AFL obviously think they can do a better job in their expansion plans….ppfff, the Gold Coast Suns are sure proof of that, right?

 Setting up a new club is no easy feat. The recently added NRL GoldCoast side had 3 highly successful years first up years, even though it did collect the spoon last year. But the NRL puts plenty of checks and balances in place to ensure a club can be as competitive as possible from the outset.

The AFL’s competition is already starting to become dominated by the haves and have-nots; the rich and the poor. For a competition to be carrying 2 sporting dead weights, the AFL may be biting off more than it can chew. The NRL has a growing T.V market and increasing crowd numbers. The AFL, on the other hand, is plateauing.

A few shocking seasons from both the Suns and the Giants and that dickhead Demetriou will start to feel the strain. Bad press generates more bad press and no one enjoys being on a losing side or part of a losing code. I’m predicting a few tough years for that ring licker, Dimo. It will be tough for him constantly defending his decision to support the Giants and defend the woeful and uneven standard of competition the GayFL will turn into.

So good luck with the grave that will be GWS Dimo, and good luck shoveling the shit you dumped all around you.

Go F*#k yourself! 


Get that up ya Dimo!

Lock it in Eddie!!!!

So sprayers I know this topic is not going to be close to many hearts out there…..

But it’s been brewing in the Dingo’s system and it needs to be released before I become a Rabid dog on a rampage….

Eddie “f^&king” McGuire…..

Seriously Eddie…Lock it in….That’s your head, in a huge industrial vice and let the Dingo tighten it until ya head pops off your stupid bloody shoulders…

What’s made the Dingo so mad I hear you ask….

Well Eddie has just pushed me over the limits….He’s come out today in the media and declared War on GWS if they make a play for Scott Pendlebury next year when he comes off contract….

Oh poor poor Collingwood who might happen to deal with losing one of their Dozen absolute stars to the new Franchise! Come on Ed, stop having a cry and wake up and smell Dencorub…

You pricks at Collingwood has been looked after by the AFL for way too long.
Piss easy draws, leniency when your players step out line, the list goes on….

And you want to  stop something every other club has to deal with….

Wake up to yourself you oxygen thieving bastard!!! Now where’s that vice?

Dane Eldridge Tries Hard

Contemporary rugby league surrealism and hot takes on Shane Warne