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.
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.
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’.”
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
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.
JOKE OF THE WEEK
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.
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