LAST weekend didn’t disappoint
…Unless you were Don Pyke. Or Ken Hinkley. Or the Wallabies. Or Steve Smith.
Could be worse. Could be Ross Lyon.
But then again, Ross got a million dollars and starts his off-season early, he isn’t the former Archbishop of Melbourne exhausting the appeals process.
1. Old news, sure, but when you’re the greatest ever sportsperson out of Western Australia and you’re easily top ten footballers of all time – don’t care, Polly was and will always be remembered as a star.
Graham Vivian Farmer died last Wednesday aged 84, a ruckman who changed the game. He was an Indigenous Western Australian plying his trade in Victoria in the 1960s, a situation not so straightforward. He played 356 games for East Perth, Geelong and West Perth, won five flags in the WAFL and one with the Cats, alongside ten best and fairests.
Best accolade though? He got a freeway named after him, the main road bypassing Perth CBD east to west. The man is a legend, and we often talk about who is the greatest of all time, Matthews, Carey, Ablett, but if someone said Farmer you’d respect that choice. Rest easy Polly, you’ve earnt it.
2. Hard to follow that up with earnest football comment, but let’s try, and we’ll stay in Perth with Ross Lyon. Tough call. Freo had beaten five of the top eight teams this year, so hardly super dodgy form. Sure, I understand the idea of a refresh, 2013 was a long time ago with little to rave about since, but with a fitter list, and Tim Kelly next year, who would bet against Ross getting this team above twelve wins?
3. Both losses in the Derby hurt this year, especially the second one which showed, in a proud, two-team town, that the Dockers were well off competing with the Eagles. But still, you had one of the better coaches this decade who has coached very well at times this year, so unless the Freo hierarchy uncovers the next Al Clarkson in their process, it’s hard to see them being better off by not seeing out 2020.
4. No doubt, no doubt whatsoever, that had Ross Lyon been available before North or Carlton locked in their caretaker, they would have taken Lyon instead. I thought Damien Barrett was getting cynical criticising the Roos for going too early – well there’s his justification.
5. St Kilda hasn’t locked away Ratten, and the last man to coach them to a Grand Final, three of them in fact, is now available. They need a coach, and Lyon is the best man out there. Is it too weird? Nick Riewoldt and Brendan Goddard both endorse the consideration, and whilst they are biased, it’s a good bias – they know how good a coach he is. It’s a new admin at Moorabbin than the one Lyon walked out on, so it would be more plausible than you’d think.
6. And on St Kilda whilst we’re at it, it’s a good spot to take, if they can keep Jack Steven but still get in Bradley Hill, who they are favorites for, plus get the likes of Roberton, Geary, maybe even McCartin fit next year, it looks very promising very quickly whoever is in charge.
7. We mentioned Carlton caretaker – a word of warning on the Teague train. Right now he is coaching the team like a ‘mate’, we all saw the vision of the rapturous applause from his players when he walked into his appointment press conference. He is working well because there’s no repercussions, its all flourishing on a wave of enjoyment and likeability. But when they start next year 1-4 and Teague needs to dish out a clip, that’s not going to work; the players have warmed to him like a mate, when he isn’t, he is their boss. This could go sour really easily.
8. Studs up with Jack Riewoldt on Sunday, Jesus Christ whats going on there? Now lets applaud Steve Hocking for strong leadership Monday in undoing the wrong – no, not in this column. It’s Hocking’s accountabilities that put that new interpretation in there in the first place. He had made nine rule changes this year and now at Round 22 has to adjust an interpretation. He has been awful the last 18 months our man Steve.
9. Brisbane, big win, but gee it is using all of its luck. Not only with their favourable draw this year but to then steal a game off Geelong by a solitary point, where Patrick Dangerfield had an open shot on the run to make it four goals and game done in the last? This good fortune can’t keep continuing, surely…
10. South Australian teams on Saturday night, wow, so ok, lost by a combined 152 points and lost about 12% between them in one go! That’s hard to do.
11. Meanwhile the Giants in two weeks have had consecutive goalless second halves. The last team to go back to back games without scoring a goal in either second half? University.
12. Bud plays this weekend, game 300, the big fella got there!
13. Whisper going around is we might cop Coldplay for the Grand Final entertainment this year. The Killers worked two years ago, Black Eyed Peas last year not so much. Coldplay, maybe, we’ll see.
14. Interesting Grand Final week at Channel Nine. So, Wednesday, not Thursday, we have a Grand Final Footy Show, much like the usual Rod Laver arena productions of years gone by, Eddie, Sam, Billy, that crew. Then Thursday is clean air (conceded to Front Bar) before Friday night we have the Sunday Footy Show panel doing a pre-Grand Final edition in prime time. Talk is they’ll see how that goes in that slot with a view to it moving from Sunday morning to Thursday night in 2020, to be their new competitor to Seven. Stay tuned.
15. Couple on the cricket – firstly the booing of Steve Smith. I don’t care so much to fund a documentary into it, but that was properly off. The booing of he and Warner when they come out to bat normally, or field, 100% fine. But to cop a blow so eerily similar to Phil Hughes, to retire hurt but come back on, that’s phenomenal. To boo then is seriously low.
16. So Headingley, no Smudge, mind you Laburschagne wasn’t the worst coming in – remember, already had a 1000 runs in England for Glamorgan this season so not fresh out of the Shield. Harris likely in for Bancroft, Pattinson probably comes in for Siddle.
17. Toss important. Not so much who wins it, but I think the Aussies best chance is bowling first. England bat, our bowlers hopefully keep their score low and we can then look for a first innings lead. Conversely, we bat first, fail, and without a Smith 140 to rescue us, we will be chasing the game big time. We lose this test we go to 1-1 with two tests remaining.
18. Bledisloe 2 – now that’s what I’m talking about. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like it, but the skepticism this column had for the Wallabies win in Perth, justified, the All Blacks are still streets ahead of anything we can conjure up. Mind you, number one in the world right now, and for the World Cup next month? Wales. Go you good thing!
19. Still on rugby, want to highlight the Barrett family. Beauden Barrett is probably the best player in the world right now, plays full back but is naturally a flyhalf. He has seven siblings, four brothers who play rugby, two of those who are also All Blacks. But his sister Zara is the true star of the family, and the Barrett family are doing a lot of good off the back of it. Zara has down syndrome and instead of being the hidden child in an otherwise famous family, her story and personality are being celebrated bringing a lot of positive awareness to sufferers and families alike across New Zealand. Beauden and his All Black brothers Scott and Jordie get her on the field, cherish and promote her like the proudest big brothers out there, is one of the better sporting tales you’ll come across. “People with Down syndrome need to feel loved and included,” Beauden said. Well bloody done to them I say, great stuff.
20. And lastly, some baseball. Want to highlight Bryce Harper’s work last week. His Phillies playing the Chicago Cubs, score is 5-1 Cubs going into the bottom of the ninth inning. Phillies scrounge out two runs to get it to 5-3, before losing two outs. Bryce Harper is the last batter, he is the last out. He then is on two strikes, before, with the bases loaded, launching a 95mph fast ball deep into the crowd for a walk off home run, getting the Phillies the unlikeliest comeback win 7-5. Find the vision of the homer, it’s ridiculous. Philadelphia have committed $400m+ to get the six-time All Star, and that moment was huge. Seriously, YouTube it. Do it.