State of Origin in the pre-season, who will be the best tennis player of all time, why you need to know about Cameron Green, Christian Petracca might go huge in 2020 and some awesome news about South Melbourne..

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2020 has begrudgingly got going, the summer of cricket is behind us, the Tennis was exciting for all of five minutes and we’re a good month away from Round One of the AFL.

But plenty happening, we’ve got a big off-season to play catchup on, so without further ado.

1.       Neale Daniher first and foremost. The Get Serious offices went into utter celebration when he finally got acknowledged in the public eye and was nominated for Victorian of the Year. Not only would he be a befitting recipient, but it would launch him into Australian of the Year calculations and that’s about right too. Now I don’t know if certain voting or outcome paperwork got lost by Australia Post, which is odds-on these days, but old mate Archie Roach pipped him for Victorian of the Year 2020. I’ve read up on young Archibald and look, done a lot of nice things granted, particularly in the Indigenous Affairs area, which as a white man I’ve got nothing I can really add on that. But seriously, Daniher’s body of work is outstanding, and not that he is doing it for the accolade but Lord Almighty if he shouldn’t have pipped old Roachy to the certificate here. Big miss, big, big miss.

2.       So we’ve got the selfless commentary upfront, let’s get narcissistic. Now what do we have here Friday, 28 February, down at Marvel Stadium hey? I see it’s essentially a bushfire relief fundraiser, which is terrific, let’s acknowledge the cause, for sure. But they’re not calling it that, are they? Or an ‘All-Stars’ game. They’ve gone with ‘State of Origin’ Now I swear I’ve been reading somewhere about putting State of Origin on, in the pre-season, for as long as I can remember?.. So in the spirit of acknowledging just how right this column’s pitch to get it up again has been, there’ll be a dedicated column to that here. But geez we’re pretty good…

Ben Cunnington, Shaun Higgins and Todd Goldstein ahead of the 2020 State of Origin match (photo:

3.       Sticking with footy – football in Tasmania. Specifically awarding their own team down there. Gee its got good momentum at the moment. That’s another topic we’ll dedicate a proper story to in the coming weeks but where this column thought it was always a bit logistically difficult to tick all of the boxes, seriously, its probably just some stadium infrastructure funding away from state and/or federal government to be a sure thing. The “Tassie Devils”? A ‘buy’.

4.       Can we change things up for one and defend Steve Hocking? To show that this is a balanced and fair column and we don’t play favourites or just pick on people? Hocking went on a semi-unimportant football podcast backed by the ABC, and one of the hosts posed rhetorically to Hocking when he would change the AFL to the AFLM? Firstly, not a horrid question, but asked horrendously. Anyway, his full response was actually quite good. Emphasis on ‘full response’. But some in the media, such as the ‘Marlboro king’ Robbo narrowed in on a select part of his response and had a dig. Hocking’s answer was totally kosher, as for the naysayers with their post-summer opinion puff pieces, please get serious.

5.       We’ll come back to some footy later – Nick Kyrgios. How many of those, again, naysayers, jump on super quick when it seems he is ‘reformed’ and ‘grown up’ and ‘turning a corner’. Please. He hasn’t changed, you are all just as easily pleased as you are offended. Kyrgios isn’t Roger Federer, but he also isn’t ‘Daniel’ who plays socially down Williamstown Tennis Club, who battled through an Arts degree but never liked his major, has a girlfriend but they’re not going well and works part-time delivering pizzas for Dominos. I don’t understand why Kyrgios is constantly judged next to Federer, or Greta Thunberg, or Jesus. Kyrgios had an amazing summer of tennis, judging him against himself, and I look forward to the rest of his 2020.

6.       Meanwhile, this column has long argued Nadal > Federer. Why? Reckon Nadal pips Federer for total slams when its said and done and holds a superior head to head record. But this is 2020, and not only can this column be superior and righteous, it can also now be humble and accepting when in error. Nadal won’t be the best of all time. Nor will it be Federer. It’s going to be Djokovic. As of now, its very hard to see anything but the Joker finishing up with the most slams of them all, and for head to head against either the Spainard or the Swiss, he has them both covered. So when it comes to GOAT conversations, there’s only one name for this column – ‘Nole’.

7.       Before we get onto Cricket, can we whack General Motors? “Oh, deary me, how hard was it to accept that we can’t push Holden anymore as a brand, and in fact we need to withdraw selling any cars to right-hand markets asap…” Utter trash by you GM. You say its too hard to justify selling the occasional mid-entry hatchback, ute and SUV in the Australian market? Its no longer the time to put Astras and Colorados on dealer forecourts and expect a return? What are Ford doing then? Pretty sure the Focus is as near as makes no difference just like an Astra, and the blue oval are still 100% ok with pushing sales for that here. And the Ranger. And the million other SUV options they have. So either Ford is essentially to car manufacturing as Korean director Bong Joon Ho is to films, or GM weren’t up to it or knew what they were doing. Utter trash!

8.       Right, summer of cricket. Not great, the obligation to eventually give India some home ODIs against us in January hurt. But the Test team, yeah it might have looked good and we all want to knight Tim Paine for his captaincy, but what, we played five tests and not once did our opponent get 20 wickets. NZ got close, in Perth, took 19, but still got done. The other four tests, two against Pakistan and the other two against New Zealand, were hardly competitive. So sure, Davey Warner looked like old Warner but seriously, the ghost of Bill Ponsford would have averaged 50 this summer, and whilst I am pro-Marnus, don’t get me wrong, he didn’t ton up remember in the Ashes despite the all-in love fest for him. He looks good but his Ashes was overrated and his summer doesn’t frank anything. India here next summer, reality check coming.

9.       Mind you, here’s the first name to remember for the new year – Cameron Green. Firstly, the WA boy is a proper all-rounder you bat in the middle order. Why? After 14 Shield matches as a 20-year-old he has three tons already, averaging 47. But with the pill has one five-for to boot and is averaging at 22. Prestigious talent, it’s when not if you put him in at no.6 and let him flourish for a decade. Gun.

Cameron Green after making his third hundred of the 2019-20 Sheffield Shield (photo:

10.   The Big Bash got its knockers for going too long. I don’t hate the extended format, but the numbers especially at the ground come the finals looked a bit suspect. They didn’t mention though that TV numbers remained total kickass, so let’s be balanced. But you know what, if they could slide it back, so it starts just before school term 4 winds down, so they get the same amount of cricket in but culminating around Australia Day, that’d be stellar. Don’t condense the schedule, just start it earlier in December. Fixed. Next.

11.   Man City got themselves into a spot of bother ey? Not that I have skin in the game but it only accelerates the inevitable Super League. There are 16 clubs in Europe that just continue to pace ahead of the peloton of European football and whilst, in my view, they never forgo their domestic league fixtures and break away entirely, clearly they are too powerful to not get their own continental comp and be above standard playing conditions. UEFA looking to pick a fight with a club already too powerful for its own good, and with 15 very equally powerful mates, better understand the long game at play here I reckon.

12.   How’s the A-League going? For fairness, the NBL is rating just as badly on TV as is our national football comp. But they’re both doing pitiful numbers, where the money is primarily, and then equally yuck at the ground too which is close to number two priority for revenue. The Melbourne derbies are not barely out-attracting big AFLW crowds now. And then the other big source of revenue, Hyundai’s naming rights sponsorship, goneski, they’ve pulled out. Big, big problems. Column on that coming too in the weeks ahead.

13.   Tyson Fury, wow, how much fun was that? The backstory, the pageantry, but just the beauty of proper heavyweight boxing at the elite level, it was great stuff. The bout in Vegas was massive but we’re now potentially going to miss out on what would have been the pinnacle. Wilder has seemingly triggered the clause for a trilogy fight, which sure, will be great. But Fury only has a couple of the heavyweight belts, fellow-Brit Anthony Joshua has all of the rest. A proper, legitimate, complete unification heavyweight bout, between two of the best boxers of all time, in front of over 100,000 at Wembley, could have been the greatest fight ever staged. Now, after however Fury-Wilder III goes, that may not be. Proper shame.

14.   Quick one on the Rugby, do yourself a favour, if you’re not into the Six Nations at the moment you’ve got rocks in your head. This is a tournament, especially for those in the UK and Ireland, that goes back over 150 years, and is as tough and skillful and passionate an annual, international sporting tournament you’ll find. This season’s edition is a ripper with France looking good things but England and Ireland still not without a show – get amongst it.

15.   Couple tidbits on footy to almost wrap this up, Christian Petracca, very much a watch and see year. No.2 pick, prestigious talent. Played as a dominant midfielder as a junior but has barely left the 50 as a Dee. In all seriousness should be as defining an onballer as when Dusty or De Goey go into the guts, the look of a under 16s kid playing amongst under 12s. Glimpses suggest we might get that, finally, in 2020. If so, look out, top 10 player in the comp is his if he wants it.

16.   The Sainters, I’ve got a warm fuzzy feeling about Brett Ratten. Not sure 2020 is the year, maybe it’s ’21, but I can see leaps and bounds this year, maybe a finals spot with a first week exit, or maybe it’s just missing the finals but looking really promising. Some clubs stuff up the offseason recruiting, I think in hindsight we’ll be agreeing the Saints last time round nailed it.

17.   This column has long called for Sydney to at least once a year wear a South Melbourne jumper in a Melbourne game and only enhance the connection to the history of a club that was forged in 1874 and almost made a hundred years down here before Harbour-side. The red V on white, they were Clarendon Street, the Lakeside Oval, they were the Bloods. Well low and behold they’re listening to me, Sydney will wear a South jumper in Round 11 against Richmond at the MCG and it’ll be magical and amazing and we’ll wish it was the VFL days again in no time. Geez this column is shit hot.

Luke Parker and Josh Kennedy, wearing the 2020 South Melbourne inspired Swans jumper, with club legend Bob Skilton (photo: Mark Stewart/

18.   Amazon wants to invest in a properly big-production documentary series on AFL clubs. Interesting. Not just for the content they might be able to put on our tv screens with the access they’re seeking, but it’s the first foray of what might need to bebcome a new broadcast partner in the years to come if we want to see the game continue to grow. If eventually Amazon Prime secures the rights to I don’t know, all of the Sunday games, in the next rights deal, remember where the relationship first started.

19.   Tokyo 2020, supposed to kick off mid-year, gee, with the coronavirus stuff at the moment, and Japan’s proximity to China where the tip is it’s a lot worse over there than the Chinese are letting on, I’d rather wage that the Games are not going to go ahead than wage they do right now, it looks properly precarious.

20. And lastly, Bettina Arndt can go and go get you know what as well, my Lord what on Earth is that about. Go away Bettina.


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