As for the smarties saying the win vindicates the state’s big stadium policy, uh, that would be a big no, Big Bopper. If Sydney can win a prize like the Women’s World Cup with just one state-of-the-art stadium, the new SFS, can we agree that entirely redoing the Olympic Stadium to turn it from an oval to a rectangle really was a tad excessive?
But enough of that now. Eyes right, and all hail the Matildas. The only thing better than hosting a World Cup final would be to see our women waltzing to a great win.
Poms back losing side
Yes, yes, yes, I am chair of the Australian Republic Movement, and bloody proud to be so, which brings me to my point. One of the more risible points put forward by Australian monarchists – who seriously maintain that as a country we can do no better in the 21st century than find our Head of State from a family of English aristocrats living in a palace in London – is that we and England are all part of the same family. We look after each other.
Really? So where the hell was the English vote for hosting the World bloody Cup! They sided with Colombia. The English rep wouldn’t even take a call from NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern!
Meanwhile, Prince William is president of the English Football Association. Would it have been too much to hope, do you think, that the nominal future King of Australia might have put his weight behind, you know, supporting the AUSTRALIAN candidacy ahead of Colombia?
Call off the jam, this is ridiculous!
It was put well by Eddie McGuire on Melbourne’s Triple M on Friday morning.
“It’s good to see that England has voted in solidity with Europe … that’s the mob they’ve just ‘Brexited’ from, remember that?” McGuire said. “That is staggering that the Poms could look themselves in the mirror today not voting for Australia and New Zealand. Here’s the other bloc they’re involved in mate, it’s called the Commonwealth, how about that one? They’ve voted … Colombia or Australia and New Zealand, ‘Ah OK, which ones? That’d be the ANZACs wouldn’t it? Yeah, that’s good we remember them at Gallipoli don’t we? Two world wars, yeah yeah yeah, sent all the food parcels over during the wars, yeah nah we’ll vote for Colombia’. Fair dinkum. So when they come, remember OK? What a low act.”
Par for the course
Greg Norman is like his hero Donald Trump – a cross between a world champion limbo dancer and a pole-vaulter on a Saturday night. Just when you think that’s it, that they can’t possibly set the bar any lower, they effortlessly set new records for low as the crowd roars, just before soaring impossibly high as they bounce off their own self-regard to heights of ego previously unseen.
(Hello, Metaphor Workshop? Yup, clear the decks, you are going to need to work on this one all weekend, I am afraid.)
But first some background on the latest from Norman, spotted by clever reader Tim Ingate.
Tim Ferriss is a popular podcaster and author of the book Tribe of Mentors. In it, he asks an eclectic mix of successful people for wisdom and advice, including the standard question: “What is the book or books you have most given as a book, and why? Or what are the books that have greatly influenced your life?”
Up in the sky!
It’s a bird! It’s a plane!
Nup. It’s just our Greg on a Saturday night, setting new records, as ever.
Slice of reality
The rugga-buggas threatening to go on strike if they don’t get more pay?
Gentlemen, it’s like this: Fair enough that you want the slice of the cake you were promised, and we can all understand you feeling a bit grim about it. But the simple incontrovertible fact is this: because of the coronavirus crisis, that cake is about half the size it was, if that.
What it means is that no matter which way you cut it – thank you, thank you all – there isn’t enough cake to go around. Simple as that. And if you do go on strike, that cake will fall away to crumbs.
In short, if there was ever a time when you needed to take one for the team, for the game, it is now.
What they said
Nick Kyrgios reaches for the long handle on Novak Djokovic’s move to hold a no-precautions tennis tournament in the middle of a pandemic: “Prayers up to all the players that have contracted Covid – 19. Don’t @ me for anything I’ve done that has been ‘irresponsible’ or classified as ‘stupidity’ – this takes the cake.” Correct – and good on Kyrgios for speaking up.
Novak Djokovic, after testing positive to coronavirus – together with his wife, three other players and two coaches at his tournament, not to mention who knows how many in the crowd: “I am so deeply sorry our tournament has caused harm. We were wrong and it was too soon.”
Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Anderson, reportedly: “If I can remember my grandkids’ names, then I didn’t play the game right.” The comment was recalled by former teammate Garrett Hudson in a podcast. For the special essence of madness that sees players sacrifice their brain health in their 20s to condemn themselves in old age, you can’t go past this quote.
Australia’s former NBA player Luc Longley telling sports podcaster Mark Howard a few years ago what it was like to deal with Michael Jordan’s competitive furnace at the Chicago Bulls. “It was a sort of bloodlust. He was like a sort of predator stalking up and down outside a cage of goats. You know, let one out, let one out, looking across to the next bench to see which one he could devour.”
Super Netball chair Marina Go on introducing radical changes to the game: “Male sports are making innovative changes to their rules to increase the entertainment value of the game and they’re doing that to position themselves to greater revenue opportunities … we need to be as agile as them.”
Sydney Swifts coach Briony Akle: “I know a lot of people aren’t happy, I think I am one of the only ones that are not [unhappy]. I’ve only heard good things about the NRL [rule changes] … teams that were up the top are not up the top any more … people who have switched off rugby league are turning it on again.”
Former English rugby pin-up boy, Will Carling, on what it was like to retire in 1998. “I didn’t open the curtains for a year because I didn’t want to be seen. I needed to be alone. Even a few years later … I didn’t want to go out because I don’t want people judging me. It’s only when you grow up you realise people don’t really think about you. The vast majority move on but I was so battered I didn’t want people looking at me.”
Dylan Alcott says wheelchair tennis can be at the 2020 US Open: “This is a massive sign of progress for our community, and I appreciate all your help. I know there is a lot going on in the world at the moment, and the tournament might not even go ahead, but at least now we have the same rights as our able-bodied counterparts – like we deserve.”
Peter V’landys says all but “we know where you live” in stating Victorians won’t be welcome at NRL matches: “The only people that will get in will be members of the clubs or season-ticket holders, where we’ll know all their details. It’s to assure the government that no one from Victoria will be allowed in. By only allowing members in, we know their addresses, we know all their details, so we can safeguard against any Victorians getting in.”
Wayne Bennett: “I don’t have a manager. I don’t have management, I manage myself. I’m an old man. I don’t need someone to hold my hand for me … Just let me do my job, will you? How many times do I have to put it to bed? It does my head in mate. If I am going to change clubs, I will let you all know about it.”
Team of the week
The Matildas. With the successful World Cup bid, they now have the potential to play in a home final in Sydney in 2023!
Bianca Hunt. I am not sure what Yokayi Footy means, but she co-hosts it and has “star material” written all over her. You heard it here first.
Clare Connor. The 43-year-old will become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in its 233-year history.
Karma. She’s a bitch. After Novak Djokovic pronounced himself an anti-vaxxer – short-hand for “chronically irresponsible and remarkably stupid” – he went on to poo-poo coronavirus and the attendant strict protocols to prevent its spread, even as he organised his own tournament. This saw him, his wife and four other players contract the virus. But get well soon.
Roosters. They lost their first two matches of the season before “The Pause”. Since the reboot, and under the new rules, they’ve won all four games by a combined score of 153-28 and look like unbackable favourites to win the premiership for a third straight year.
St George Illawarra Dragons. Have won two matches on the trot – their version of Christmas in June.
Liverpool. Won the English Premier League.
James Graham. The hard-working prop retired from the NRL mid-week, after a long stint at Canterbury and a short, much less successful, stint at St George. As whole-hearted a player as ever pulled a boot on, he dished out a lot of punishment over the years and received as much in kind. I fear for his old age.
RIP Glendon “Clem” Burgess. The legend of the Hunters Hill Rugby Club passed away very suddenly last Saturday morning. Played more than 300 games for the Hillies across all grades, a tower of strength in the front and second rows, he was recently awarded, and cherished, a coveted honour cap by the club. Well done, oh good and noble servant of the game, and go to thy rest, “The Kadiddlehopper”.
RIP Arthur Buchan OAM. The great Wallaby No.8, one of the last men left standing from the great Wallaby 1948 Invincibles side, died this week aged 95. Vale, Arthur. And thank you for donating your brain to the Australian Sports Brain Bank.
Peter FitzSimons is a journalist and columnist with The Sydney Morning Herald.