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    Fitz Files: It’s a big risk, but bravo to Ange for his spirit of adventure

    2019 - 03.13

    Of course TFF took a bit of flak – like I care – for asking Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou on Channel Nine last Sunday morning, if he would stand down in the event of his team not qualifying for the World Cup. Some thought it disrespectful. I thought it journalism. In the wake of the Socceroos’ underwhelming performances in recent times, of course it is legitimate to ask the Head Sherang whether he will or won’t fall on his sword in the event of failure. Against that, I fancy I get what Postecoglou is trying to do and admire the spirit with which he does it. He wants, as I understand it, the Socceroos to play in an aggressive, attacking, Australian style, on the reckoning that is both what they are best suited to, and the style that will take them furthest in the World Cup if the they make it. Bravo. Better that, than a tepid qualification for the World Cup, followed by an ignominious thrashing in the first rounds. None of which alters the reality: he is risking mightily in the hope of greater glory, but if he fails the first one to pay the piper will be him.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Syrian success

    And you can call me a soccer nutter who writes way too much about the sport if you like, but my attention was caught on Wednesday by this quote from Fayeq Shmais, a 46-year-old employee of the Syrian government, after the Socceroos’ next opponent, Syria, achieved a good result in their own match.

    “There are two victories today: the army entered Deir el-Zour and we equalised with Iran, which I consider a victory. Syria is witnessing a revival as large rallies roam the streets of Damascus. This is something we have not seen since the start of the crisis.”

    Whatever the result of the Socceroos forthcoming match against Syria, this quote puts Australia’s good fortune in perspective, yes?

    Back to the grassroots

    The President of the Sydney Rugby Union, David Begg, floated the idea this week that, next year, they might invite the Waratahs to play at North Sydney Oval, with a Shute Shield match as the curtain-raiser. Fabulous idea. The star to steer by for all rugby right now is what can break down the barriers between the amateur and professional tiers of the game? If it helps to do that, it is a good idea, and this is a prime example of a move that will help accomplish it, and help both tiers.

    Good sports

    On the subject of kids with disabilities getting a fair go, let’s hear it for the St George Warriors, who field no fewer than three teams filled with kids with special needs across their junior age groups. With two fine women in Penny Hancock and Dianne Fyfe leading the charge, and the committed support of the St George Football Association those kids successfully play every week. The opposing teams, I am advised, are always gracious and understanding, and for the most part adhere to the two key rules:

    1. Warriors always score the first goal

    2. Whatever the final score, the Warriors are the eventual winners

    In return, the opposing team gets treated to a icy-pole and a shared team photo. And all of them feel good and learn something of fine citizenship.

    Gotta love this city!

    Rabbitohs have Robbie rethink

    Back in the day, TFF used to love Get Smart. (Young’uns, ask your parents.) In one scene, Agent 86, Maxwell Smart is confronted by an enormous agent from KAOS who is standing over him. Max doesn’t back off. “Why, you big, ugly lug!” he says, before unleashing a right hook right on his chin. The KAOS agent moves no more than an Easter Island statue, and as a matter of fact has much the same expression. Instantly changing tack, Max puts his arm around him and says: “Listen, I hope I wasn’t out of line, calling you a ‘big, ugly lug’?”

    The more vociferous of Jason Taylor’s critics might like to rethink some of their own remarks, I suggest, when it comes to his part in the Robbie Farah saga at the Tigers. For, as you will recall, a good two-thirds of the heat that Taylor took at the Tigers was over the fact that he maintained that, far from being State of Origin level, Farah was not up to even first grade standard, and so dropped him to reserves. In response, much of the league commentariat went for Taylor’s throat, as the narrative became the great Robbie done down by a stupid bastard of a coach who just doesn’t get his greatness. Which would be fine, except for the fact that Farah’s new club Souths have missed the eight by the proverbial country mile and now the news has broken that the Rabbitohs are shopping the hooker around to other clubs, to take over the last year of his contract.

    “Listen, Jason? I hope they weren’t out of line saying ‘you couldn’t coach a choko vine over a shit-house wall, and the mistreatment of Robbie Farah is just the best example of that’.”

    Oar-some contest

    Incidentally, if yers care, TFF is hoping this arvo, to be installed as the NSW over 55 champion of indoor rowing, when I compete at the Drummoyne Rowing Club, by seeing how many metres I can do on a rowing machine in 60 seconds – I am hoping for above 345 metres and have done 361 at my best. If I win, I go to the Nationals, in early November and you may count on me braying endlessly! If I lose, I’ll never mention it again.

    Language of rugby

    Dear TFF,

    As a man of language I thought you may know the answer to this question. When did the following become a “thing” in rugby:

    “They were very clinical, or “We weren’t clinical enough.” (I still don’t know if this is a genuine compliment or a backhander.)

    “We need to tighten up our D.”

    “We’ve been working on our structures.”

    “We’ll go through our processes during the week “

    No wonder the players look confused. I’m sure it’s a post-millennium affectation.


    Stephen Wilson


    While golfing, I accidentally overturned my golf cart. A very attractive lady golfer, who lived in a villa on the golf course, heard the noise and called out from her porch: “Are you okay?”

    “I’m okay, thanks,” I replied as I pulled myself out of the twisted cart.

    She said: “Come up to my villa, rest a while, and I’ll help you get the cart up later.”

    I noticed she had nice svelte figure.

    “That’s mighty nice of you,” I answered. “But I don’t think my wife would like it.”

    “Oh, come on now,” she insisted.

    She was so pretty, and very, very persuasive. And I was weak.

    “Well okay,” I finally agreed. “But I’m sure my wife won’t like it.”

    After a couple of scotches, I thanked her and said: “I feel a lot better now. But I know my wife is going to be really upset. So I’d better go now.”

    “Don’t be silly!” she said with a smile. “Stay for a while. She won’t know anything ??? By the way, where is she?”

    “Still under the cart!” I replied ???


    Bangladesh man of the match in the First Test, Shakib Al Hasan, on sledging: “Australians are very good at it, we are learning from them. After this Test match they will show a lot more respect.”

    Sam Perry (@sjjperry): “Is it just me or does Shakib’s rapid-breath LBW appeals sound like urban foxes mating in London? Either way, masterful baller. #BANvAUS.” Sam? I think it might be just you.

    Mark Bosnich lets rip, in the wake of the Socceroos underwhelming win over Thailand: “[Postecoglou] apparently told people that were there [to see Australia draw 1-1 with Iraq in March] what he was doing, saying: “We’re looking forward to the World Cup. Qualify for the World Cup before you start thinking about things like that. If you’d qualified before tonight you could have gone out and experimented. Don’t be using the national team as an experimental laboratory. It’s not there for that, it’s too important for that.”

    Bosnich: “[Postecoglou’s] hanging by a thread and if we go through a play-off route there needs to be serious consideration of another voice because those players in my opinion, regardless of what they say publicly, are not responding to him like they used to.”

    Postecoglou returns serve: “I won’t waste my time responding to criticism, I’m not everyone’s cup of tea, my position is my position. I’m coach of the national team, it’s a great honour and I’ll see it through. Beyond that the judgement is on me ??? I have survived worse than this. If anything this motivates me.”

    Socceroo Milos Degenek, on the struggle against Thailand: “God wasn’t on our side.” Well, that explains it then. Like those who point to the sky and blow kisses after scoring a try this sort of stuff is what we call in the trade, weird.

    NRL CEO Todd Greenberg thinks if they build it, you will come: “Sydney deserves to have a purpose-built rectangular stadium that is probably world’s best. That’s the design that I’ve seen and that’s the outcome we are absolutely, desperately hoping for.”

    Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, on plans to mount a rebel competition that includes a resuscitated Force: “I’ve just begun to fight. Let me assure you, this is not a great day for the ARU, this is a great day for Australian rugby. Discussions have commenced across the world and within our own state and country to ensure this competition starts and starts strongly. This is the beginning of the new Force, this is the beginning of the new Indo-Pacific competition and I am delighted to be an instigator of it.” TFF gave my view on Thursday. What rugby needs is unity, not an un-civil war.

    NSW Supreme Court ruling on the Force and ARU: “They were supposed to be allies, but they were not friends.” WA Premier Mark McGowan: “I hope Andrew Forrest carries out his threat and the ARU suffers as a consequence.”

    Newcastle resident John Hudson one of many unhappy with the Supercars being up there: “My missus always says they could make a beautiful botanical gardens here. More people would come to Newcastle if we had a nice art gallery and a botanical gardens – people don’t go to Italy to see high rises and motor races. But what do we get? The Supercars.” I’m with him.

    Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk sledging Manny Pacquaio after he pulled out of a rematch with Jeff Horn: “Frankly, I think he’s a bit too scared to come and face Jeff Horn.”

    Nick Kyrgios: “There are players out there that are more dedicated, that want to get better, that strive to get better every day, the 1 per centers. I’m not that guy.” I never saw a bloke who more needed a year away, than him. If he wants to come back, great, he will be better for it. If he doesn’t, great, he will be happier for it.

    Team of the Week

    Nathan Lyon. The Australian spinner took 13 wickets to guide Australia to a much-needed win over Bangladesh in the Second Test.

    David Warner. Nailed another century, his second of the Bangladesh series, and his 20th overall.

    Kate McLoughlin. The Australian Paralympic Team’s Chef de Mission has been recognised by the International Paralympic movement as Best Official from the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.

    Kurt Kara. The beloved Newton Jet, a local legend like mother used to make, is hanging up the boots after more than 150 NSW Cup and Premiership matches for Newtown spread over seven seasons (2011 to 2017).

    Australia FIM Team Speedway Under 21 Team. Won second place in Poland.

    Australian Women’s World Trophy Team. Won fifth successive title in France

    Socceroos. After only narrowly defeating Thailand by a goal, their chances of the World Cup hang by a thread.

    Michael Maguire. After delivering their first title in half a forever, former Souths coach sees the old adage hold true once again – there are only two types of coaches, those who have been sacked, and those who will be sacked.

    Dalby Wheatmen Rugby Club and the Dalby Diehards RLFC. Both sides in their respective Darling Downs’ comps, won their Grand Finals last weekend. “The town,” I’m told, “is expected to sober up shortly before the cricket season starts in mid-October.”

    Marist College North Shore. Seeking photos of any former student who represented Australia in any sport for a Wall of Fame in their Fitness Centre. Join Ken Irvine, Matt Shirvington, Mitchell Pearce and Kieran Foran (both Australian schoolboys), and others! Please email [email protected]论坛

    Jack Gibson. The young student from Wesley College is on the road to recovery from serious illness and, in recognition of his passion and commitment, Sydney Uni Cricket Club has just made him Club Captain. He won’t ever be able to play cricket at the level he was previously but he will be back in the clubhouse where he belongs.

    Lane Cove Fun Run. It’s on again this Sunday morning in beautiful Longueville. With the sun shine continuing and over 1500 online registrations, another fantastic community event, which is 100 per cent volunteer organised to raise money for Lane Cove Public School and two local women’s and children’s shelters as well as donating $1000 in sporting goods to an education centre in the prize draw.

    Twitter: @Peter_Fitz

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    The Logies and the Gold Coast are a match made in tacky heaven

    2019 - 03.13

    If there was a Tinder for television, the Gold Coast and the Logies would most definitely have swiped right to create the most beautiful and unholy match imaginable.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Never have two things been better suited to a legal union. TV’s “night of nights” on Queensland’s “glitter strip”. You can’t make that stuff up.

    Tom Tate, the Gold Coast’s colourful Mayor probably summed it up most eloquently when he said he would embrace Australia’s “tacky industry” coming to his “tacky city”.

    Yep, TV Week is rolling up the red carpet and bumping the Logies out of Crown Casino and planting them in The Star on the Gold Coast for at least the next four years.

    I should begin with a caveat, I grew up on the superior coast (the Sunshine one north of Brisbane) with Noosa and beaches that remained in the sun unencumbered by ugly skyscrapers casting shadows and without, well, everything gross the Gold Coast has.

    Because, despite its lovely beaches and cute theme parks, the Gold Coast is a bit gross. And so are the Logies.

    The parallels one can draw between the two are endless. The Logies are long and boring, much like the Gold Coast’s famous shopping strip Cavil Avenue and you are likely to find someone such as Gina Liano strutting through both in a hideous Camilla kaftan.

    Most of the people who win a Logie will, at some point in their career, end up performing at Twin Towns.

    I don’t know if anyone outside Queensland has heard of Twin Towns. It’s an institution on the Goldy (OK, it is just over the border but no one cares) where the careers of once-remarkable performers go to die.

    It only seems right that the entire industry goes on a bus trip up the Pacific Motorway and checks out their retirement options.

    The event allows some rather vacuous people to gather in one place at one time to pat themselves, and each other, on the back. This is also a description of everyone on the sand at Surfer’s Paradise.

    While it could also be a description of Bondi, the peacocking that occurs at Surfers is a peculiar ritual that really only gets repeated in Melbourne on that one special night of the year at Crown Casino.

    Each are equally fascinating and should be studied by anthropologists.

    The Logies have traditionally been held at Crown Casino. Crown Casino is basically the Gold Coast in winter. It is absolutely appropriate to wear a maroon velour tracksuit at all times in both places and if you were to have wandered the halls of Crown at about 6am on Logies Day +1 you would have seen that I’m right.

    While it is fun and easy to jump aboard the cultural cringe train whenever the Logies or the Gold Coast are mentioned, and that is a very crowded train indeed, in all seriousness this is actually a very suitable pairing.

    The film and television industry in Queensland is going from strength to strength through hard work luring major films from studios such as Marvel and Disney to the Gold Coast and TV companies including Hoodlum and Matchbox creating local television dramas in the suburbs.

    While the Sydney-Melbourne-centric attitude of the television networks is slowly (very slowly) changing, the Queensland government’s ploy of throwing money at the awards they all have to go to is a clever one that helps chug the changing of minds along.

    Even if they only realise that Queensland in July is way nicer than Melbourne in April.

    Nathanael Cooper is Deputy Entertainment Editor

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Hooper says McMahon can have ‘massive influence’ against Springboks

    2019 - 03.13

    Wallabies captain Michael Hooper expects South Africa to be extremely potent at the breakdown on Saturday but feels that Australia’s No.8 Sean McMahon can have a “massive influence” on the match if he backs up his form from Dunedin.
    Nanjing Night Net

    McMahon had arguably his best game in a Wallaby jersey during Australia’s 35-29 loss to the All Blacks a fortnight ago.

    After a quiet match by his standards in Sydney, McMahon consciously injected himself into the game, making considerably more carries and getting through a mountain of work at the breakdown alongside Hooper.

    Coach Michael Cheika’s praise for McMahon was profound after the match and Hooper is hoping he brings the same ferocity with ball in hand at nib Stadium.

    “Seany can have a massive influence when he gets that right,” Hooper said. “Sean’s an outstanding player and we’ve seen, here last year, one of the best runs I’ve seen from a Wallaby player. [He] beat like 10 defenders on a charge, coming off the bench. Seany’s strong in the tackle, strong making his tackles and he’s good over the ball as well.”

    The Springboks have picked a back row featuring Siya Kolisi, the equal-leading try scorer of the Rugby Championship thus far, as well as Jaco Kriel at No.7 and three-gamer Uzair Cassiem at the back of the scrum.

    The Wallabies have coughed up their fair share of ball at the breakdown this year and Hooper is wary of the challenge confronting the home side.

    “We expect them to be very strong over the ball,” Hooper said. “Both of those players [Kriel and Kolisi] are really good carriers and defenders there. It’s a different jersey size at the end of the day, from some of the guys that used to be playing to what they are now, but [they are] no less effective in what they do and how they get around the field. For us as a back row, we’ve got our hands full.”

    So much has been made of the Springboks’ resurgence after winning just four matches from 12 attempts last year, their worst year on record since 1992.

    All five of South Africa’s wins in 2017 have been between 18 and 23 points, compared to last year when their biggest victory margin was eight points, against the Wallabies in Pretoria.

    They have employed inventive tactics, including lineouts with both backs and forwards together, as well as upping their skills across the board to create a side very much capable of beating the Wallabies at home.

    The Wallabies have beaten the Springboks seven of the past eight times on Australian soil and Hooper is not quite sure what the visitors will bring this time around.

    “The first 10, 20 minutes of this game, I’m sure we’ll start to learn how they’re going to play,” Hooper said. “Whether they’re going to run more, whether they’re going to put it up into the air and do it that way.

    “Every time we play these guys, it’s a tough outing. Their success throughout Super Rugby’s been solid. We know they’re going to be a hard team.”

    Asked what the Wallabies needed to improve on from Dunedin, Hooper said: “Restarts, obviously. Just being able to put points on a team and then get the pressure off your back is a big one.

    “A lot’s made of momentum within games and I think restarts are a huge factor in momentum. You can dictate the way the game goes with how you control those areas.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Did everyone forget the Wallabies are playing in Canberra

    2019 - 03.13

    Did you hear that? It was the massive sigh of relief as Australian rugby’s ugly war in the west reached some sort of conclusion earlier this week.
    Nanjing Night Net

    The embers will burn for as long as Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest is backing the Western Force, but the lessons learnt should never be forgotten. Especially in Canberra.

    The Wallabies will play in the capital next week for the first time in seven years when they host Argentina in a Rugby Championship clash.

    Word around town is … well, there’s hardly been a word because most have either forgotten the game was on or had no idea about it in the first place.

    It is hoped ticket sales will pick up in the coming days to avoid the embarrassment of empty stands in a city that would have cried injustice had the ACT Brumbies been jettisoned from Super Rugby.

    Australian rugby – now the subject of a senate inquiry – has done some irreparable damage to itself this year. Bitter wars, legal battles, axing teams and leaving the people who matter most – fans and players – hanging by a thread.

    The challenge now is trying to find out if there’s a way back from the darkest of days, searching for some sign of hope to resurrect the game.

    The Brumbies should rightly feel relieved and vindicated by a 12-page document released by the ARU this week, which detailed why the club was saved from the chopping block and merger talks were squashed.

    But the Brumbies were in serious danger for longer than most would think. And while the ARU eventually came to their sense, those in Perth and Melbourne were gunning for the Canberra side to be axed.

    The one thing the ARU got right in a drawn-out debacle was giving the Brumbies certainty about their future given the club is financially stable, has never asked for a handout and is Australia’s most successful franchise.

    But the entire saga has to be used as a trigger for change or an opportunity to restart rugby love in the capital rather than sitting back to get comfortable.

    The one thing surer than Twiggy’s bank account balance is that rugby lovers in Perth will be ready to pounce on any weak link in the coming years.

    The past two years have been tumultuous for Canberra rugby as off-field dramas – some inside the organisation and some out of its control – overshadowed on-field results.

    So while the Brumbies are safe for now, will they continue to be if crowds don’t bounce back in the coming years?

    Will the Wallabies still play in Canberra if no one turns up to the first Test in almost a decade?

    Sporting threats carry very little weight in the capital these days. The Football Federation Australian burnt those bridges long ago when they told Canberra fans to show up to Socceroos matches with the promise of an A-League club in return.

    The crowd turned up, but the A-League never came to the party. It was scorched into Canberra’s sporting memory.

    The Brumbies – and Canberra – cannot afford to be the rugby weak link and the club has cut ticket prices and membership costs in the hope of winning back fans.

    The ARU will be keeping a close eye on crowd numbers at the Wallabies’ game against Argentina to see if it will be worth coming back in future years.

    More than 15,000 watched the Wallabies play against Fiji on a chilly night in 2010. The game next week will be a perfect chance to look into a seven-year time warp.

    It might just show how far rugby has fallen and the ARU’s disconnect with Brumbies heartland. But it could also be the new beginning rugby desperately needs.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

    Short Takes

    2019 - 03.13

    A great opportunity exists for the government. Buy out the contaminated land next to the airport, compensating owners. Let AGL set up a massive solar array for electricity on outer perimeters. Use inner area for airport expansion. Three birds, one stone.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Betsy Watson,SwanseaDoes anybody out there know how many coal-firedpower stations were operating when the earth started to warm up? Plenty seem to know what one of the main causes is, so surely these creatures of high intelligence can answer this question.

    Brad Hill,SingletonIn regard to the new screen bound for McDonald Jones Stadium, you reckon this one will have a clock that works?

    Kieren Kuter, FacebookFinally, a bigger screen. Even if it is the Eels’leftovers.

    Brenton Littlewood, FacebookIn view of the High Courtdecision on the postal vote, the Prime Ministercan now go on national TV,look the Australian people in the eye and say, “Yes I wasted $136 million of your money -but I did it legally”.

    Darryl Tuckwell,EleebanaI’m hoping someone can help me. On a pocket knife we have the words … “HAPPY 21st G.B.”. I found the knife on the road at Tuncurry about six or sevenyears ago and have tried many way of putting it out there. Then Iput it back in the drawer until the next time I see it. So I’m hoping that one of youreaders may know its owner.

    John Mercer,Fern BayRegarding Williamtown (“Toxic buyout hope dashed”, Herald7/9): what a disgrace. I’m not surprised though. Maybe the pollies need to be made to live there with their families and see things change. People are dyingfor God’s sake.

    Briony Tony Field, FacebookRegarding the Knights season awards (“Barnett’s boom time at Knights”,Herald8/9): I’m not sure what this team have to celebrate. Maybe getting through the year.

    Ross Sneddon, Facebook“Leaders urge clean debate on marriage”, reports the Herald (8/9). Is this so we get to see what a “clean” debate might look like at last? Seriously, are we up for such decency? As the proposed change does not force anyone to do anything, I suppose for true blue, fair go Australiathe yes voteshould storm home.

    Graeme Tychsen,Rankin ParkReplying to Brad Hill (Short Takes,Herald8/9) about children not playing sport in any parks: apparently he is not aware of our Pit Pony Park. Most afternoons, after school and onweekends itis a hive of activity.Perhaps a robust game of soccer;a well-climbed tree and sometimes on a windy day a family flying kites. I’m sure there are other parks experiencing the same.

    Daphne Hughes,KahibahTHE POLLSWhat snack would you most like to see at polling booths on Saturday?

    Sausage sandwich 71.3%, Rocky road 13.8%, Chocolate fudge 6.4%, Other 8.5%