Friday, September 13, 2002

DON HANLY, Carlton's CEO, has been defending the club's handling of Wayne Brittain's sacking.

If the jungle drums are beating true, Hanly might cop a dose of the same medicine.

From what we hear, you're next, pal.

Don't be surprised to see Denis Pagan reunited with an old Arden Street comrade, former CEO Greg Miller.

THE AFL PLAYERS' Association have named their MVP award in honour of Leigh Matthews.

Not a bad choice, I reckon.

I THOUGHT while watching the Footy Show late last night (very late here in Sydney) that Wayne Brittain was just a little too nice to Carlton at their B&F presentation only a day after being unceremoniously dumped.

Now we know why.

IT MUST BE great to have your own TV show.

That way, you don’t have to brook any adverse comment about your club, no matter how salacious or controversial.

From last night’s “The Collingwood Show” (or, more accurately, from earlier this morning for us northern states viewers, where logical programming principles fly out the window and even non-ratings fillers like “The Fugitive” get a run before top-rating, award-winning AFL content):

TREVOR MARMALADE: …And a few developments at North I believe…

EDDIE McGUIRE: There are indeed, and…. ahhh, we’ll get onto that… Well, might as well get onto that… There’s two stories…

JOHN “SAM” NEWMAN: How’s it all been going, anyhow, Ed? All been going well?

McGUIRE: Very much so…

NEWMAN: On and off the field? You’re right, are you?

McGUIRE: Yes, absolutely. What are you asking?

NEWMAN: No, I’m just asking… Don’t really know what I’m asking, Ed. I was just thinking we should ask you if it’s going alright off the field and you’ve got that under control.

McGUIRE: Everything is going ok, and as far as the story that you’re referring to earlier in the week, regarding the off-field performance, or an allegation of off-field misdemeanours, the club has no comment to make regarding anything in that situation…

NEWMAN: Me, referring to that?…

That was it, done and dusted in around 30 seconds.

Teflon Eddie does it again!

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

BEN COUSINS, favoured by many to win the Brownlow Medal, has broken his arm. Yesterday, the West Australian's Craig O'Donoghue reported Cousins suffered the injury after he was pushed down the stairs at a Perth nightclub on Sunday night.

It is believed someone shoved Cousins down the stairs and he crashed into a wall during post-season celebrations at Club Bayview on Sunday.

The club said it did not know the person who pushed Cousins and was not considering laying charges.

The break is so serious it would have kept Cousins out of action for five matches if it had occurred during the season.

Today, the story has, shall we say, developed. Substantially.

WITNESSES claim West Coast Eagles captain Ben Cousins punched teammate Daniel Kerr with a powerful right hook on the night he claims he broke his arm by falling down stairs.

The incident, which comes two weeks after club veterans Phil Matera and Richard Taylor came to blows at training, happened at the Club Bayview nightclub in Claremont on Sunday night.

Two men who saw the fight told The West Australian yesterday that an angry Cousins walked up to Kerr about 11pm, pointed a finger at his face and shouted "this is not over".

Kerr once dated Cousins' sister but the relationship is now over.

It's all fun and games at West Coast. If they're not implicated in drug dealing, if they're not belting each other on the training track, if they're not being dropped for drinking, then they're belting each other at night clubs.

Perth is a wonderful place!

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

WHEN NEWS LIKE THIS breaks, there is but one appropriate course of action – re-write the club theme song.

Here goes:

Good old Collingwood forever
They know how to beat the meat
Jerking the gherkin together
Flogging off in the street

Give the monkeys a spanking
Tossing off oh so good
Oh, the chicken’s a choking
For the good old Collingwood.

Send your entries in , folks.

UPDATE. You are so dead, Woolrich.
-- Blair

AT THE RISK of being too "mind games" conscious, as predicted, Sheeds has opened up with an almighty heaped teaspoon of the stuff for Choco Williams and the Power.

My one concern is my tip that Sheeds will unload every day this week.

After his opening salvo – which seems to cover every conceivable base - does Sheeds have any dry powder left in the keg?

IN AN UNPRECEDENTED spirit of co-operation between coaches, Lethal is now playing Sheeds’ mind games against Port Adelaide on Sheeds’ behalf.

Or is it just a case of one-upmanship, with Lethal giving Sheeds a gentle reminder that he is now gaining the ascendancy in trash-talk?

I’M NOTE EXACTLY SURE WHY, but isn’t there something wrong if Ian Collins, CEO of Colonial Stadium, aka Telstra Dome, becomes Carlton president?

In the murky world of AFL conflicts of interests, this is not so much of an obvious conflict as others have been in the past.

But as Carlton owns Optus Oval, surely it is not in the interests of Carlton members to have the CEO of a competitor stadium become aware of sensitive commercial information concerning their stadium?

It would be akin to the CEO of Woolworths also putting up his hand to become the new chairman of Coles Myer, would it not?

Retailers are fiercely protective about competitors becoming aware of their margins, why shouldn’t stadium operators be similarly protective?

And surely the running of Optus Oval is such an integral part of the Carlton Football Club chairman’s job that Collins couldn’t possibly expect to disqualify himself from every board deliberation on the matter and still be an effective chairman?

LEAPING LARRY L is, as you'd expect, the only decent writer on the AFL website. Here he tackles the finals system. My $0.02? Let's go back to a final 4!
THERE'S NOTHING like a good stoush in a football club to entertain the fans- of the 15 other clubs.
Dennis Pagan is probably going to be at Optus Oval next year, if he can find out who he should be negotiating with.
"Denis Pagan's role in all of this remains significant. The Elliott camp has unofficially offered Pagan a five-year deal through an intermediary, but the Collins group has made it clear the likes of Pagan is also in its sights and he should wait for the dust to settle.
Even the true believers at North believe Pagan is lost to them. He did something quite unusual on Sunday night. He found his way to a South Melbourne bar where he and wife Cheryl joined the players for an end-of-season drink. Several senior members of the group saw this as an ominous sign.
Incredibly, both Pagan and his former CEO, Greg Miller, could find themselves at Optus Oval next season. Both have been indirectly approached and sounded out about the Blues. Although Carlton's current chief executive, Don Hanly, would certainly remain under Collins, Miller could take over the football department."

And I wonder who takes over the casualty ward?

Monday, September 09, 2002

THE WEST AUSTRALIAN, so indignant about the AFL's treatment of the Eagles, has finally caught up. On today's back page:

ADELAIDE has drawn the ultimate short straw for week two of the AFL finals.

The Crows, who finished third, must go to Melbourne to play sixth-placed Melbourne at the MCG on Saturday night after the Demons beat the Kangaroos 18.14 (122) to 11.18 (84) at the MCG yesterday.

It will be the Crows' third road trip in as many weeks. They went to Perth to play Fremantle in round 22, were thrashed by Brisbane at the Gabba in a qualifying final at the weekend and now must go to Melbourne.

ONE OF THE UNSUNG HEROES of the game retires in typical fashion, without seeking fanfare or acclaim.

“There are all different types, personalities, characters and individuals involved, and I think John Blakey goes right up there with the best of any footballer I’ve been involved with,” Denis Pagan said.

“It’s a very emotional game, but I don’t think John has ever whinged or ever moaned once. I’ve been hard on Johnny at times, and all he does is put his head up and just try to prove you wrong. And just try a little bit harder.”

“It’s a very sad day for the Kangaroos when a person of the calibre and quality of John Blakey retires.”

Blakey played in three grand finals for the Roos, two of them victorious, and until this year boasted the amazing record of having missed just one game in six seasons.

It was hard to be critical of the Fitzroy administration in its latter days, losing many a great player – Roos, Pert, Lynch and more – due to lack of funds.

But the decision to trade John Blakey for John McCarthy was one they got seriously wrong.

McCarthy might have played 71 games for the Lions, but rarely was he the “impact player” that he was touted as being.

And the reason for Blakey falling out of favour at Fitzroy? He had been given a toweling by a 17-year-old playing his first game for the Bad News Brisbane Bears, a lad by the name of Michael Voss.

From “The Encyclopedia of AFL Footballers” (no link available):

“When he made his debut as a 17 year old in 1992 he made an immediate impression on Fitzroy’s John Blakey when he grabbed nine possessions in the first quarter as Blakey dropped his guard.”


A “clumsy attempt to block the run of West Coast midfielder Chris Judd”, as The Age’s Emma Quayle reported, or “an ugly incident that left Essendon officials deeply concerned and their Eagles counterparts furious”, as Jim Main reported in the Australian.

Let’s hope that serial tripper, Dustin Fletcher, does have to face the music at the Tribunal this week.

AFTER SATURDAY NIGHT'S shocker, Adelaide will get some motivational words from Lleyton Hewitt. The tennis ace checks the Crows progress on the internet, and after seeing the news about Adelaide's dismal showing against Brisbane, promptly went out and lost his US Open semi-final. A bad weekend for South Australians all round.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

TEN'S DISMAL treatment of football fans in Sydney and Brisbane has sparked an e-mail campaign directed at Izzy Asper, whose CanWest company is majority owner of the Ten network. Click here to send Asper your own note of complaint.

Here's a copy of the e-mail currently being mailed in bulk to the Asper office:

Dear Mr Asper

I implore you to alert your minions in Sydney, Australia, to a grotesque programming outrage.

Last Friday night, followers of Australian Rules football in Sydney had to suffer a two-and-a-half hour delay to view the first match in the AFL finals series, a gripping encounter between the red-hot favourites, Port Adelaide, and the unbackable underdogs, Collingwood.

The latter prevailed in an exciting contest, but to the great frustration of many Sydney viewers, the exciting conclusion to the game did not make our screens until around 1am.

Apparently numerous callers protested to the station, but to no avail.

Incredibly, the same situation exists this week, with a 10-year-old, oft-repeated movie being shown in Sydney in preference to another AFL final.

Once again this Friday, AFL coverage in Sydney will commence at the ludicrous hour of 10:30pm.

I urge you to do whatever is in your power to redress this situation.

Kind regards

A Concerned Viewer.

FOR MY MONEY (although certain of my colleagues disagree), Mick Malthouse hasn’t been noted for his work in the Mind Games caper.

Kevin Sheedy, on the other hand, wrote the book on it.

Yet Mick gave Port Adelaide an absolute towelling in the battle above the shoulders.

So how much fun will Sheedy have toying with Port Adelaide and their oversized monkey on the back?

Expect a reminder from Sheeds every day this week of Port’s 0-4 finals record.

CHANNEL 10 this Friday night:

8:30 Movie: So I Married an Axe Murderer

10:25 News

10:30 Football. AFL Semi-final 1

AFL fans resident in Sydney, program this number into your speed dial:

9650 1010

Their office hours are 7:30am to 8:00pm – start dialing now!

HOORAY FOR the Ten Network, writes The Age's Caroline Wilson:

So, on Friday night, Ten's five-year finals campaign began. While Nine's star performer, Eddie McGuire, who has called Friday night football all season, wore only his Collingwood presidential hat in embracing his unexpected preliminary finalists, Ten's team was celebrating a ratings peak of 34 in Melbourne, 32 in Adelaide and a national audience of 1.5 million.

I wonder how much larger that audience might have been had Ten broadcast the match live in Sydney. Reader Kevin Hoey points out that the match was shown hours late in Queensland, too:

"To say I am angrily disappointed with the fact that in Brisbane we did not get the AFL final between the Power & the Magpies LIVE-LIVE-LIVE!!! would be a gross understatement.

"This is crap!"

Damn straight.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS. In the 'Tisers preview of last night's Adelaide pounding, Michaelangelo Rucci theorised:

There has to be merit in its performance, a quality missing in last year's 68-point humiliation to Carlton in an elimination final at the MCG … Ayres has repeatedly reminded players of their need to atone for that defeat.

They lost by 71 points. Way to atone, Crows.
READER Don D. writes:

I am a little concerned about Collingwood's progress because if they win the flag, I am only on the 6th floor, and there is an outside chance that when I fling myself off the balcony I could survive long enough to hear the club song being played.

WITH APOLOGIES to Mike Williamson, I tipped this.

After the first final, that grand final preview from Round 22 will not happen.

The best that perennial finals chokers Port Adelaide can hope for is to meet Brisbane - at the Gabba - in the Preliminary Final.