State of Origin has been and gone, Warwick Capper reinvented the Half-Time rub, the AFLW has got an ACL crisis, Sun Yang can go and get you know what and should the Hobart NBL team also be the Tasmania AFL team?..

1.       Lets’ knock some State of Origin out of the way, for another three months at least until the NRL version goes around and it’ll pop up again no doubt. Firstly TV, rated over a mil nationally, it was good in Melbourne, probably a bit unders in Perth and Adelaide. Wonder why… But, for comparison, Grand Finals are somewhere between 2.5m and 3m, but Prelim Finals of recent years aren’t too far off. So glass half full, if you can insert another ‘prime time Prelim Final’ audience into your calendar, that’s attractive. It won’t be a game changer, but on the other hand its not the kind of content you scoff at or overlook easily. Especially if the concept is improved to more engaging to not just Victorians, or if its more meaningful overall, wink wink. But then also what, 51,052 in the house, biggest footy crowd at the venue for over seven years? For goodness sake now..

2.       ‘Oh the standard sucked, look at the All-Stars, only made 34 tackles, that’s not very competitive’.. Would it surprise you that Geelong only laid 17 more than that in last year’s prelim? Or that West Coast laid only 13 more in their semi-final loss the week before? Stats like that can be really easily misinterpreted – stay woke.

3.       Lot of chatter about novelty superseding legitimacy, and I can somewhat understand that side of that debate. However, and this is where I think the revival of Origin would really take off – take this game to Adelaide or Perth, and let the home state tackle Victoria. Then get back to me. Last Friday’s passion was already going to be half-cocked at best because when the Victorians had a bit of pride at stake in the final term, what was there for the All-Stars to worry about when the game was in the balance. You can’t tell me Brodie Grundy would care more about a tight contest in the fourth if he was wearing red in front of 50,000 Croweaters at the Adelaide Oval, than at Marvel at what was essentially an exhibition for the Big V? Of course.

4.       For the final word, let’s see what the greatest footballer ever to live thought about it all, Leigh Matthews, on 3AW Tuesday night:

“the iconic state jumpers are victoria, south australia, WESTERN australia.. i love the CONCEPT of REPRESENTATIVE footy.. what if somehow or another we could almost bypass the other third of Australia and just keep playing the three footy states ..”

Thank you Leigh. Thank you very much. Awful Christian name, but if there’s a more stellar way to sign off Origin chat for now, then I don’t know it.

The Victorian team pre-bounce last Friday night for the Bushfire Relief game

5.       How’s the Wiz? I know a lot of players look for a lift at half time, some recuperation, but Capper’s just raised the bar on that one. In more ways than one. Surely that story’s got a lot of mayo on it, then again, it was the 80s. But good on the Wiz, its 2020 and he can still get a headline. Sure, he has to resort to adult films but who is to begrudge his passion in the performing arts. Keep up the good work Warwick.

6.       Sun Yang – now how about that? Love the ban, love the decision, but why is it not backdated? Not across all the legal minutia but surely stuff he has won in the past, or more so recently, would be under massive jeopardy? Anyway, sod off, been awful knowing you.

7.       But massive props to Mack Horton. Took a stand, against a very powerful opponent, especially given his nationality, but can be totally vindicated by the CAS result. Not only can he swim like a champ but he is all class above the shoulders too. Legend.

Mack Horton refused to share the podium with Sun Yang at the FINA world championships in South Korea

8.       And as for those knocking St Kevins for not naming their pool after their ex-pupil, especially now that Sun has been found guilty, yeah nah not that simple folks. Sure, it’d be nice to live in a world where compromise isn’t a thing, but how much of St Kevins’ revenue would come from overseas, particularly China? Sure, Horton is beyond worthy of accolade, but for the school to strike whilst that iron’s way too hot would be reckless administration at its finest. Don’t forget to honour Horton at some point, absolutely, but in doing so don’t perform an almighty commercial brain fade at the same time. As sad as that is.

9.       NBL is going to Hobart, not bad. Great idea from one of the Get Seriouser family – why not amalgamate the basketball franchise into the AFL team, ala what say the Pies are doing with footy and super netball? Would only strengthen the business side of things, the branding, it means they can both lay claim to the ‘Devils’ moniker and their sports are in non-competing times of the year? Not bad I say, should have thought of it first myself.

10.       Mind you, NBL, there’s a lot going for it, a lot of promise and to be optimistic about its ongoing rise, but they can’t pull a TV audience to save themselves. Yes, as aforementioned, TV audiences are down broadly anyway so its all relative, but the Wildcats game on Friday night got 11,000, which is less people than in attendance. The Kings-Melbourne Saturday game got 14,000. If it wasn’t for every other metric that looks good, those ratings would otherwise have the sport flat lining I would have thought.

11.   And then Monday night’s semi-final game 2 happens, what the bloody hell was that? The Tigers, sorry United, got up by 50 at one point, on supposedly the best team in it easy. I know the Richmond-GWS final was lopsided, but in a basketball game, the United-Kings game has that taken.

12.   SEN as a business is going ok despite a lot of reasons why perhaps it shouldn’t. I sense there are plans to broaden the brand from being a Melbourne station (with half an Adelaide branch-off) to being completely national. I half expect a Sydney SEN at least and then maybe Brisbane and/or Perth for later considerations and see if they can prosper, especially with no Macquarie offering anymore. Stay tuned.

13.   The AFLW suffered its 11th and 12th season-ending ACL injuries on the weekend, with the season only 28 games in. That’s just absurd. That’s the equivalent of three rounds of the men’s comp having half a side worth of talent out for the year with a knee. I get there’s studies into legitimate biology that suggests our girls are more susceptible, supposedly, but nah those stats are just ludicrous and surely unacceptable.

14.   Speaking of the girls, Brisbane and the GWS played an out and out blockbuster in the Brisbane suburb of Stafford on Sunday afternoon. Attracted just over 3,000 people. Meanwhile, down Geelong at the impressive GMHBA stadium, Western United thrashed the Central Coast Mariners, in front of an eerily similar crowd. I’ll expand on this in a dedicated column later this month, but what if Western United had accepted Melbourne Knights offer of playing at their Somers Street stadium instead of being vagabonds to any oval in the state?

15.   I would not in a million years have put an A-League team west of the city. I am also however a 30 plus year resident of Melbourne’s western suburbs. However, now that the damage has been done and they’re here, could they get away with something successful? Maybe, just maybe. But gee, if it wasn’t for this trump card ‘promise’ of the first Australian stadium ever to be fully funded without any public money, every other decision has been awful by that mob. Their fans, bless them they have a few and they’re grouse, deserve a lot more in getting on board and sticking with them.

16.   Ellyse Perry’s hamstring, the torrential rain forecast for Sydney Thursday night, not finishing first in the group – its all ahead of our girls in the T20 World Cup. What was supposed to be a cakewalk, a given the Aussie girls would feature in the Katy Perry concert this Sunday, is all looking precarious now at best. Would be some story to get up from here, even though they were short-priced fancies in the lead up.

Ellyse Perry walking off the Junction Oval after hurting her hamstring against New Zealand at the 2020 T20 World Cup

17.   The Olympics. Channel Seven is still planning as though “no dramas, she’ll be right” and we will all be glued to prime time Tokyo come the winter. But even though the Games weren’t awarded to Wuhan, or Iran, or northern Italy, that’s hardly the point. How could China possibly go, at this rate? And if China isn’t going, is that almost enough to delay/postpone/cancel as is? Certainly looks destined to be a closed-doors Games if we do still get them, anyway.

18.    How is it that New Zealand comes to Australia as the second best team in test cricket, then looks about as good as a Channel Seven cooking show, but when they go back home to take on India they crunch it? Mind you, with the no.1 ranked India here next summer, our Kiwis bruthers and susters have shown us the way – green tops. The Indians might as well have smashed flakka the night before, they couldn’t make a run to save themselves. So, curators of the nation, we want four decks next something akin to Robin Hood’s wardrobe, please and thank you.

19.    So Wilder-Fury III has been confirmed. We’d expect Fury to keep his belts, and the lure of an almighty, all-UK Fury-Joshua fight for unification may still happen. But damn if Wilder gets up and all of this has been for nothing. Joshua has now got a fight with some Bulgarian in the mean time, I’m so excited by that I might buy that pay-per view twice..

20. Seems we’re losing the AAP. What’s that you ask? Pretty much most of the news covered by the written or online press is by an AAP journo. Any news article you read that has no name attached, the AAP wire service covers it off, providing a backbone of information that eventually makes its way to us. Now, without their support, we’ll have to rely on news outlets hiring enough journos to cover every court case, press conference and media release in the country. Trust me – this is a big step back, and a massive shame.


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