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the mighty all blacks power on!

August 18th 2008 06:48
Am I the only one out there in rugby union land mightily impressed by the blacks showing against Rugby World Cup holders the Srpingboks?

Hope not!

This is a result that cannot go unnoticed. 19 nil at the Cape will have stunned the Boks, who are reportedly taking a hammering in the local press and must be giving poor old Boks fullback Percy Montgomery nightmares in what was supposed to be a fitting celebration of his 100th test.

Much is being written in official rugby circles about All Black captain Richie McCaw's brilliance at the breakdown and reading the play better than anyone on the field, reducing the Boks to a rabble. All hail!

Fine. All the Blacks need is McCaw not to be injured.

It should be noted that while McCaw spent three weeks on the sidelines injured the Blacks lost two tests to South Africa and Australia, the former at the House of Pain in Dunedin, supposedly the feared ground for all visiting sides.

Without discounting the finality of the weekend's stirring win at Newlands (and yes a precious away win), the Blacks need to prove themselves without having their genius in the side. So far without him, they've struggled to find a matchwinner despite the heroic input from Hurricanes captain Rodney Solialo and for mine the most outstanding hooker of the season, Hurricane Andrew Hore.

what's up with the western bulldogs?

August 18th 2008 06:31
Wel here's a conundrum for all you AFL sports nuts out there. What is happening to the once much touted Western Bulldogs?

In the past month they've lost matches by rights they ought to have won. All evidence tells me they've completely misread the form of their opposition, lapsing into what can only be described as lairising.

As a totally frustrated devoted doggie fan who's reached the end of his proverbial tether it's time to set the record straight and hope someone out there in doggie land pays attention.

Fact: The third placed Western Bulldogs are in terms of the REAL ladder which adjudicates current form would be lucky to scrape into equal ninth. This is based on the performance of other teams around them.

Fact: North Melbourne on the REAL ladder is second in terms of form, a fact not understood by the Dogs who allowed the rampant Roos to thump them by more than 40 points in the opening quarter. In a word Horrible! The Kanga's game next week against top side Geelong will tell a lot about where they are at. The Roos thrashed Carlton at the weekend, an outfit we ought to have beaten but allowed them to run over the top of us by more than 30 points. Carlton sit outside the eight in eleventh spot.

Fact: The Dogs are clearly misreading the form of the opposition and are definitely misinterpreting their own skill level. This has been evident since their game against Port Adelaide and other sides thay have since defeated, who apart from one quarter have either kept pace with the Dogs scoring or have bettered it.

They need to take note of other sides that clearly play with pride and passion and rediscover this quality which has been sadly lacking.

The players need to understand they are answerable to each other for their form and their coach answerable to the fans.

For their own sake this needs to be immediately addressed if they are to prosper during finals. Otherwise they'll be out in straight sets and the season which promised so much will be completely wasted.

The working man's game

May 19th 2008 12:21
NRL Superstars Sonny Bill Williams and Mark Gasnier are unhappy about their pay packets. It was alleged in print media over the weekend that Williams expected an upgrade of his $400,000 a year contract when the Bulldogs lost Willie Mason, Brent Sherwin and Mark O’Meley. Gasnier is on a similar contract, however additional 3rd party deals that were to increase his earning capacity appear to not have come to fruition.

It is sad when success can lead us to lose touch with reality and what is going on in the world today. The average NRL fan that attends matches or subscribes to Foxtel does not earn anywhere near the money that the average Rugby League player earns today. Players such as Williams, Gasnier, Lockyer and Thurston can earn the money they earn because fans attend the games and buy flags and jerseys.

Ironically, the teams of the two players in question are struggling at the bottom of the ladder. The time spent working out how much they are not earning should be better spent trying to help their teams out of their current situation, so they can again enjoy success and bring more fans to the game.

No one can begrudge these amazing superstars for attempting to improve their situations. Rugby League players have a short life span in the game and most leave the game with no real skills and long term physical problems. However, these type of discussions should be saved for a football club office or boardroom and should not be played out in the media or speculated upon by greedy player managers trying to fill their back pockets.

For the bricky’s labourer who puts their body under similar physical strain each week day, has a family and ever increasing mortgage, it will be hard to comprehend why almost half a million dollars is not enough. It will also make any prospective fan think twice about taking their family to a NRL game this weekend.

Times are changing for NRL

May 16th 2008 14:45
As we head toward the first State of Origin match next Wednesday, with Queensland has favourites, a quick look at the NRL table confirms why Queensland's dominance may be present for many years to come.

The Titans and Broncos are firmly entrenched at the top of the table. Melbourne, although a city in Victoria, is made up of several Queensland players. The Cowboys are an exception to the theory, however have been in the mix around finals time over the last few years. As many rugby league commentators correctly pointed out, they were always going to struggle after coach Graham Murray was sacked before a ball was kicked

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Recent rugby league representative team selections have led many a rugby league supporter to wonder how selectors choose representative teams.

In the recent Centenary test between Australia and New Zealand, in-form second rower Anthony Laffranchi was the team’s 18th man, however was overlooked for Michael Crocker when injury led to his inclusion. Crocker and coach Ricky Stuart’s relationship go back to their days together at the Roosters, whilst Laffranchi, the form second-rower in the NRL, was initially overlooked for Paul Gallen, who had just returned from suspension. Stuart is Gallen’s club coach at the Sharks

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The cashed-up Bulldogs appear to be in the market for any and every player coming off contract. They have shown interest in a variety of players in varying positions, which may lead many Bulldogs supporter to question whether this scatter gun approach is going to bring them the success on the field that they have been use to in the past.

Over the last few months, the Bulldogs have had more misses than hits, missing out on high profile players such as Israel Folau, Jeff Lima and Matt Cooper. The only new recruit that recently signed is young Dragons winger/centre, Josh Morris. Not the type of key signing Bulldogs fans are expecting

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Bring back the Amco Cup

May 4th 2008 11:34
Just over 11,000 people braved the cold on Friday evening to watch the annual City-Country game that never reached any great heights. For a so-called representative game, played by the some of the top players in the NRL, the crowd was disappointing. The game would have received more attention and possibly a larger crowd if it was played in a major country centre such as Bathurst or Orange. The game was a fantastic opportunity to increase the exposure of the game to an audience currently starved of live NRL games.

The game was definitely not an opportunity for players to impress the State of Origin coach –Craig Bellamy did not even bother to attend the match. Hopefully, he stayed up to watch the late night replay available on Channel 9 in Victoria

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The Lost Handshake

May 3rd 2008 09:44
In the 80’s and 90’s, when former Bulldog legend Terry Lamb played Rugby League, he and Bulldogs CEO, Peter Moore, would seal his playing agreement with a handshake. Welcome to Rugby League in 2008 where a signed contract is not worth the paper that it is written on.

Over the last few weeks, we have had the Canberra Raiders coach, Neil Henry, walk out after 4 weeks of a two year contract. This is after he assured Raiders Half Back, Todd Carney that he would be remaining at Raiders. Carney had only just signed a long term deal with the Raiders. Cronulla Half Back Brett Kimmorley, having re-signed a new contract only last year, was told recently that if he can find a club, he will be granted a release mid-season. Bulldogs superstar Sonny Bill Williams, who is contracted to the Bulldogs until 2012, admitted on Channel 9’s Footy Show last Thursday evening, that he would listen to offers to play with the All Blacks

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