Tag Archives: Football

Ryan Giggs accused of ANOTHER affair!

Ryan Giggs has once again found himself hitting the headlines for all the wrong reasons, this time for an alleged extra-marital affair with… Wait for it… His brother’s wife!

A UK-based Sunday tabloid has claimed that the Manchester United Football Club star has finally been busted after and 8-year fling with his 28-year-old sister-in-law, Natasha.

Just months after claims of an affair with Big Brother star Imogen Thomas, the new claims of lies, deceit and betrayal has stunned his adoring fans.

The News Of The World claimed earlier today that the multi-millionaire footballer even spent the night with estate agent Natasha on 9 April 2011. The British tabloid also alleged that Giggs was seeing Natasha behind his wife, Stacey’s back while she was pregnant.

It’s reported that the star footballer frequently met his brother’s wife at various hotels, after first meeting Natasha when she was single almost eight years ago in 2003.

As yet, Giggs hasn’t commented on the scandal and he is believed to be in hiding. We shall await with bated breath to hear more…



Money Talks

With the entry of the new Gold Coast team coming into the AFL next season, the conjecture and second-guessing about who’s going there and who’s staying with their teams has been ripe all year long.

However, in recent times we have seen the first few players leave their teams and take up offers to join the Gold Coast Suns. I’m talking about Nathan Krakour, Nathan Bock, Michael Rischitelli and the most recent, Campbell Brown.

Now we all know that the Gold Coast team has alot of money to throw around and lure the players to the sunny part of Australia, but somehow in the middle of all these players signing with them it seems to have been forgotten. Sure they have alluded to it in the media, the compulsory one sentence saying how much they believe the players to be earning over their tenure with the Suns but thats it. When the players make their speech about why they signed with the club, the money is forgotten.

Sure they may want to join the club to become a leader, one of the elder statesmen if you will. They may want to join the club so that they can find some form of continuation in where they play their footy, as Campbell Brown has said earlier in the week. But the main reason is the money, some of the players salaries will, or have, reportedly doubled or tripled in size because they have joined the Suns.

Brown is on a reported $450,000 per year with the Suns for the next three seasons, compared to a possible $300,000 over two seasons with the Hawks. Which one would you take?

Jared Brennan, the Lions player that has been linked as a Gold Coast target could make more than $2mil over three seasons at the Suns, compared to a contract with a sort of performance claus from the Lions. Which would you choose?

The Gold Coast have the first three picks in the draft and their players, according to the Herald Sun will be Sam Day, Harley Bennell and David Swallow. All three are reportedly tremendous talents and will play in the midfield. The Suns are then looking at a ruckmen such as David Hale, Robbie Campbell or Josh Fraser to work with Zac Smith so there is some experience there. Harbrow is pretty much a given that he is going to the Suns and then, again according to the Herald Sun, there is a raft of Essendon players that are being looked at.

Whichever way you look at it though, the Gold Coast has alot of money to throw around and plenty of young, talented players. However, they don’t have superstars that will make people move to a team and play alongside them (example LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh in the NBA), so I wish that people would stop giving that reason as why they move to the Gold Coast. Just once I wish someone would say “while I look forward to the challenge of playing with such a young, talented list, to being a leader of the club. The biggest thing that swayed me to take this offer was the money.”

Lets hope that one of Ablett, Harbrow or Brennan will say that! Because in my mind, those three are signed and sealed with the Gold Coast, just waiting on the delivery.


A solution to the AFL conference system in 2012

With so much speculation around regarding how the AFL will look in 2012, I’ve decided to form a proposal and send it to the AFL. A lot of study has gone into this and I believe that this is the best option for the future, should the AFL decided to (as expected) move towards a conference system.

Firstly, there needs to be just 2 conferences which will have 9 teams in each as it will ensure the Home & Away season is kept to 25 weeks. This is how it’ll work;

* The Home & Away Season will commence on the weekend of Saturday 17th March 2012 and run for 25 consecutive weeks, ending on the weekend of Saturday September 1st 2012.

* Each team will play all other 8 members in their conference twice (16 games) and members of the alternative conference once (9 games).

* Fixturing can be done at a later date by the AFL, but with 18 teams the need for a “Bye” is eliminated.

I believe the two conference system needs to be as follows;

There are a number of ways in which this can be justified, the most important of these include;

* The major rivalries within in the AFL are grouped together. This includes both traditional Victorian rivalries and also “local derby” rivalries from New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia respectively.

* There are 5 Victorian teams and 4 interstate teams in each conference, this means the travelling will be as even as it possibly can be.

Finals will begin on the weekend following the Home & Away season, and will run for 5 weeks in total.

The AFL would be best off introducing a “Top 10” style system, similar to the system the NRL used in 1998 when they had 20 teams competing.

The way that this would work is as follows;

* The winners of each conference would be ranked numbers 1 and 2 respectively. In order to reward these 2 teams, they will receive a week off in week 1 of the finals.

* The remaining 8 teams will be ranked 3-10, in an order which represents their winning record throughout the Home & Away season.

The following diagram highlights how the finals series would be played out, assuming the highest ranked team wins each week.

Key: Winners (Blue arrows), Losers with double-chance (Red arrows)

To the naked eye, this may look confusing, however it was proven to work successfully in the 1998 NRL season.

The key thing to note in this system is that if matches go according to rankings, the best teams will continue to survive. For example;

– In week 1, teams ranked 9 and 10 will be eliminated.
– In week 2, teams ranked 7 and 8 will be eliminated.
– In week 3, teams ranked 5 and 6 will be eliminated.
– In week 4, teams ranked 3 and 4 will be eliminated.

This will ensure that the best 2 teams in the entire AFL will have the opportunity to play off for the premiership. This is a superior system to the conference system in most American sports where quite often, the best 2 teams are from the same conference and as a result, can not play off for the championship.

With the removal of the NAB Cup and the introduction of this system, the length of the season isn’t extended longer than what it currently is, ensuring summer sports such as cricket won’t be affected.

In conclusion, this is not only the fairest system for all teams within the AFL, but it will also guarantee the highest number of marquee games. This will ensure that the fans are happy and that the economic profits will be maximized through both match attendance and more importantly, TV ratings.


Essendon bombs out!

Essendon Football Club’s record of 44 wins, 2 draws and 81 losses in their past 127 games is a disaster. They have played in just 1 finals match since 2004 which resulted in a 96 point defeat at the hands of the Adelaide Crows. Recent thumpings by Geelong, Adelaide, Melbourne and West Coast have seen the club slump to one of its lowest points in their proud, 139 year history. The article below highlights just where things went wrong.

(Article originally posted on Talkin’ Sport website, July 2010)

The once mighty Essendon Football Club has given me a lot of joy throughout my lifetime, none more so that the flags in 1985, 1993 and 2000. During this time, along with all other Essendon members, I’ve come to expect a great deal of success both on and off the field. This stems from such a proud and successful history which has yielded a record (shared with arch-rival Carlton) 16 Premierships from 30 Grand Final appearances. However, due to this long-term success and a recent history of poor drafting and poor development of the younger players, Essendon now finds itself in arguably the lowest point in the clubs history.

Currently languishing down the bottom end of the AFL Ladder, Essendon have gone from a competitive record of 5 & 5, to a wooden spoon chance of 5 & 11. Obviously injuries to key players such as David Hille and Tayte Pears, along with the recent suspension of champion veteran Dustin Fletcher, have played a part in the clubs recent demise, however even with the inclusion of these three stars, the results are unlikely to have changed a great deal.

Questions are being raised as to the ability of coach Matthew Knights and his future must be in serious doubt. After 27 years of Essendon’s favourite son Kevin Sheedy, the shoes were always going to be hard to fill and after a finals spot last season, things were looking up. However, merely 10 months on, Knights’ head is well and truly on the chopping block.

Of course there is only so much a coach can do and if his players aren’t performing, then he can not be blamed. However, serious questions linger over the style of game he’s asking his players to perform while even bigger questions remain over the selection, or non-selection of promising young players at Bomberland such as Jake Melksham, Brent Prismall and Bachar Houli. While these three players, comfortably in Essendon’s best 22, are fighting a losing battle at Bendigo, other less competent players such as Michael Quinn (the silly Irish git), Henry Slattery (Essendon’s most hated player) and Ben Howlett are being picked to play most weeks.

In regards to the exciting brand of football Knights is asking his players to produce, despite this being successful in 2009, things have changed which require a re-assessment of the game plan. In 2009 Essendon had two champion forwards in Scott Lucas and Matthew Lloyd who provided a target for the mid-fielders if the ball was moved down the field quickly. This year however they aren’t there given their recent retirement. The result of this is Essendon rebounding out of the defensive 50 and reaching the mid-field and wondering what to do next. Given the confusion, they hold onto the ball, stuff around with it in desperation to find a target and ultimately turn it over. This is reducing entries into the forward 50 and reducing the shots on goal being taken. The other negative of this is the rebounding ball into Essendon’s defensive half is putting the backline under immense pressure and ultimately resulting in more scoring shots for the opposition.

On a more positive note, there are promising signs throughout the mid-field and defensive half with young players such as Heath Hocking, Nathan Lovett-Murray and Angus Monfries linking well at times with experienced players such as Dustin Flethcher, Jobe Watson and Brett Stanton. There are exciting young forwards in Leroy Jetta, David Zaharakis and Alwyn Davey who are full of excitement, however still lacking in consistency. There are also promising signs from talls Michael Hurley, Jay Neagle and Scott Gumbleton however like their small forward counterparts, they are lacking in consistency.

Another area which is causing some concern is the poor performances from two key experienced players in Mark McVeigh and Andrew Welsh. Both of these blokes have been at the club for close to, or over a decade and really need to show some leadership, which is not beyond them. Welsh needs to concentrate on his football and not his clothing business or his hairstyle. The form which saw him average 20 disposals a game in 2006 has vanished and has been replaced by a player lacking the courage and desire to run out in the red and black each week. McVeigh, also famous for his hair care is looking very slow and questions must be asked whether he has fully recovered from his recent hamstring troubles of the past few seasons. He’s approaching 30 now and is half the player now as he was when he came runner-up in the Critchton Medal in 2007.

The final issue facing Essendon at the moment and in fact, over the past few years is the poor development of players picked up in the national draft. Such examples include;

Jason Laycock (2002, #10) – Just 58 lacklustre games in 8 injury-prone seasons.

Darren Walsh (2002, #27) – Just 2 games in 2 seasons, de-listed in 2004.

Tristan Cartledge (2002, #28) – Just 7 games in 6 seasons, de-listed in 2007.

Kepler Bradley (2003, #6) – Just 49 games and 14 goals in 5 seasons. Highly over-rated player who’s now at Fremantle.

Jay Nash (2003, #28) – Just 43 games in 7 seasons.

Andrew Lee (2004, #30) – Just 5 games in 5 seasons.

Paul Thomas (2004, #60) – 8 games, de-listed after a promising debut season.

Austin Lucy (2005, #66) – Never played a game, de-listed after a few seasons.

Tom Hislop (2006, #20) – Just 7 games in 2 seasons before being traded to Richmond.

David Myers (2007, #6) – Just 20 games in his third season at the club after being taken at number 6. Time is quickly running out.

The issue here is that these kids are showing promise at a young age, yet not developing into classy footballers. A look through the draft records show many of today’s best AFL players, all taken at later stages of their respective drafts.

So in conclusion, who’s to blame for the current situation the Essendon Football Club finds itself in?

Partly the coach for playing to a game style which will not work with the list of players he currently has available to him. He also needs to select the best 22 and give these kids a chance to live up to their potential. Dropping them after one or two chances will not do anything for their confidence and when they do get a chance to play, they’ll be so terrified of being dropped that nerves will simply get the better of them.

Partly the players for under-performing. There are some exceptions, in particular Watson, Fletcher, Hocking, Monfries, Hille, Ryder, Dempsey and Stanton who are performing close to their potential and giving it 100%. There is however a long list of players who are terribly out of form or simply not good enough.

Partly the recruitment and development staff for the poor results which has ended up seeing a dozen top 50 draft picks wasted in 7 years. More effort needs to be put into the recruitment and development process in order to ensure these talented kids become future champions.

So, what’s the solution?

Firstly, Knights needs to change his approach if he wants to keep his job. The attacking needs to back off a bit as the turn-overs are costing us dearly. He also needs to persist with these kids and give them a decent chance before sending them back to Bendigo. If this doesn’t happen, there needs to be a change of coach, simple as that. Essendon missed their opportunity a few years ago with first Thompson, then Harvey and finally Hardwick. Three Essendon champions who are highly respected within the club and want it to succeed. Gary O’Donnell is a possible replacement.

Secondly, the players need to be put on notice. If improvements aren’t made in the remainder of the season, then there needs to be a clear-out. Essendon is a proud club and will not accept mediocrity.

Finally, there needs to be dramatic improvements in the development of these young players taken in future drafts. As previously mentioned there needs to me more effort put into the screening of potential draftees and once drafted, more effort needs to be put in to develop these fresh kids. The partnership with Bendigo also needs to be scrapped and Essendon (like Collingwood and Geelong) needs to go it alone in the VFL.

Fingers crossed some of, if not most of this occurs and Essendon can return to the glory days of the early 2000’s. Essendon members are a bunch that demands success and if this continues, it’ll only get uglier.