HOW DO YOU STOP MESSI?

Posted: 03/05/2016 in Uncategorized

Imagine being a poor goal keeper against the great Lionel Messi. How do you stop him?

 

 

It’s finally here. One of the greatest events on the sporting calendar…the US Masters.

This is the tournament which truly messes with player’s heads and can make professionals look like an everyday hacker.

Amen Corner is arguably the hardest stretch of holes in the world. It includes the approach shot into the 11th, the entire 12th hole and then the tee off on the 13th. Many players have had their prayers unanswered over these three holes.

The US Masters is full of tradition. Each year the tournament starts with legends of the game teeing off. This year Gary Player got us under way and he was followed by the great Jack Nicklaus, while Arnold Palmer watched on.

Australia is full of anticipation heading into the years event. Adam Scott has been hot over the last month and knows what it feels like to have a green blazer on his back. He’s a beautiful playmaker with an almost flawless swing. He can attack the course and at the same time, knows how to fight and grind out a win.

Marc Leishman missed last years Masters to look after his sick wife. She is at 85% health and will be by his side with their two sons as he comes back. Leishman won’t be on the radar as a potential winner, but he’s led here before and won’t be overawed by the occasion. Cam Smith is making his debut this year. He tied for fourth in last years US Open and has plenty of potential. Steven Bowditch returns for his second attempt at Augusta. His short game is as good as it gets and he’ll need it to be working around these treacherous greens.

It’s been 14 years since the number 1 player in the world won the US Masters. That was Tiger Woods back in 2002. With back to back wins, Jason Day comes into the tournament in red hot form.

Rory McIlroy is trying to win his career Grand Slam, Jordan Spieth is the defending champion and Bubba Watson has won twice here and has the perfect game for Augusta.

Form and common sense says this tournament has to be won by either Day, Spieth, McIlroy, Watson or Scott.

Phil Mickelson will be sniffing around like he always does and Rickie Fowler won’t be far from the leader board, with his snapback. If an Australian can’t win, I’d dearly love Sergio Garcia to win. He’s the best player on the tour to not have won a major.

I think there’ll be a two way play off with Day and Watson, with the Aussie coming out on top!

Good luck to Tom Watson in his last US Masters appearance.

Enjoy the lack of sleep and the greatest golf game in the world.

The US Masters is one of the most famous sporting events in the world and it’s definitely the most exclusive golf event.

While there are three other Majors, the field is almost half the size of every other Major and all golfers wants a start in Augusta and the chance to wear a green jacket.

There are only 90 players who have qualified, which is the lowest field since 2002. It’s a small number, because it’s almost impossible to qualify.

Here are the ways you can qualify:

  1. Win the US Masters and get a lifetime invitation
  2. Win another Major and receive an invite for five years
  3. Win the Players Championship
  4. Be in the top 12 of the previous year at the US Masters
  5. Be in the top four of the previous years other Majors
  6. Win a PGA Tour event between the previous years Masters and the upcoming year
  7. Qualify for the previous years season ending tournament
  8. Finish top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings for the previous calendar year
  9. Be in the top 50 of the Official World Golf Rankings published, the week before the Masters
  10. Be the current US amateur champion or runner up
  11. Be the current British amateur champion
  12. Be the current Latin-American amateur champion
  13. Be the current Asia-Pacific amateur champion
  14. Be the current US Mid amateur champion

The above is why the US Masters field is so small and why it’s the golf tournament which captures the world’s imagination.

Here is the how you receive your official invitation. I think mine is lost in the mail…

Screen Shot 2016-04-03 at 7.06.22 PM

As a sports fan there are days you remember and days you try to forget.

I am told, the days you remember like they were yesterday, are when your team wins a grand final. I haven’t had this day yet…

The days you forget are when you team loses that grand final or gets embroiled in a scandal. I’ve had that.

But the day I met Herb Elliott is one of the greatest days of my life. It stands out as a highlight in my career as well.

The man is a legend. Unbeaten in four years over 1500m and the mile, Olympic Gold, World Record. His time to win in 1960 was so quick, it would have won gold in seven Olympics since then, including Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta.

Working on behalf of Athletics NSW to promote their Olympic Qualifiers, the Sydney Track Classic, I was told I was able to use Herb Elliott as a spokesman. The first time I rang him, I was incredibly nervous.

I was talking to an Olympic champion!

I wanted to organise a story around his tips for runners of all levels. Who wouldn’t want tips from an Olympic Games gold medalist? His tips were based around mental toughness, lots of hard work and just running the fastest. No tricks or shortcuts and this Publicist had been beaten at his own game.

Meeting him a week later when I took him in to be interviewed by the Triple M Grill team was a moment I will never forgot. He walked into the foyer and I knew as soon as he walked in who he was. I had a complete lump in my chest as I was about to meet the man I had idolised as a 1500m runner, all my life. It took me a good few minutes to even get the courage to go up and introduce myself. I wasn’t star struck- I was simply in the presence of my hero.

The Triple M Grill team are one of Sydney’s most successful breakfast shows. Matty Johns, MG and Gus Worland are celebrities, but even they seemed stunned, excited and a little nervous to be interviewing Herb.

GRILLTEAM

I finished that first meet and greet with Herb and burst in to tears of absolute joy. I couldn’t control it. I was simply deliriously happy.

I drove him to a Fox Sports interview a short time later. Apart from getting lost in streets I knew so well, because I was a little nervous, we just chatted away. The uniqueness of Herb is he is so humble, charismatic and genuinely hysterical.

Herb didn’t notice the stares he received as he walked into the Fox Sports studios, but I did. When he arrived on set for the TV show, the Back Page, he was greeted with an applause by the hosts. Again, I could tell the unparalleled nervousness, apprehension and pure excitement of the hosts, who were about to interview him. No-one wanted to be disrespectful to such an incredible man, who has kept out of the media spotlight for the best part of five decades.

Herb Back Page

When you meet your idol or hero you want them to be just how you imagined. I had this and more.

Herb Elliott is honestly one of the most incredible people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. He is kind, gentle, highly intelligent and has incredible people skills- he even pretended to laugh at a few of my jokes.

He praised my guts and get up and go, for working on my own and that is something I will always take the grave. I could barely believe it when Herb Elliott, was praising me! Apart from a stunning athletics career, this is the man who was CEO of Puma, North America.

This was a once in a lifetime experience and something I will never forget. This is why you work in Sports Marketing.

I hope everyone has the chance to meet someone they have looked up to. And I hope their experience is as memorable as mine.

DSC_0816

The 50th Super Bowl is almost upon us!

It’s Superman v Super old man. Cam Newton v Peyton Manning. Carolina Panthers v Denver Broncos.

Peyton Manning is the quarterback for the Broncos. At 39, this will most likely be his farewell game and what a way to go out. He is one of the greatest players to ever throw a pigskin and he deserves to go out a champion and claim his second Super Bowl ring.

The Panthers however will be favourites for this clash and they deserve to be. They have only dropped one game all year and look almost unstoppable in offense while stopping everyone in defense.

Manning isn’t throwing the ball like he used to. Can you blame him? Would you be throwing the ball well with your 40th birthday on the horizon? However he makes up for his throwing with his smarts and astute knowledge of the game.

I was in New York when he last started a Super Bowl and he had a horrible night. If Peyton catches the first snap this year, it will at least be a better start.

Denver’s defense is stunning and if they can hold the Panthers to field goals, it will make a victory very imminent.

The AFC team gets to choose what colour jersey they wear in even numbered years, for the Super Bowl. If I was Denver I would have chosen, their prominent ‘orange’ colour. They didn’t. Carolina will be wearing a strip they have never ever won a post season game in!

The Broncos are in white and the Panthers are in black. Michael Jackson once sang “It don’t matter if you’re black or white”, but in this case it certainly does!

As a Charger fan I really can’t go for a division rival, but I’m making an exception. I want Peyton Manning to go out a winner and I think the Broncos will win…in extra time 27-21, in a thriller!

A lot of Australians leant a little about NFL during Haynemania, but in case you haven’t got the rules down pat yet, here they are in an easy to understand way.

TIMING: Games are divided into four, 15 minute quarters. At the end of the first and third quarters, the team with the ball retains possession heading into the following quarter. That is not the case before halftime. The second half starts with a kickoff in the same way as Rugby League or Union.

HOW IT WORKS:
Each team essentially has 4 tackles (downs) to try and make 10 yards (just over 9m). If a team manages 10 yards (or longer) they are then given the opportunity to try and make another 10 yards within 4 downs.

If a team is 2nd and 8, this means that the offensive team is on its 2nd down and they still need to make a further 8 yards to receive their next set of 4 downs.

On the 4th down, if the offensive team is too far away to kick a field goal, they will punt the ball for field position, like in League on the 5th tackle.

The main difference between Australian codes of football and NFL is, that after the ball is kicked, the kicking team isn’t allowed to re-gather the ball.

Play begins at what is called the line of scrimmage. The offensive team is allowed to only throw the ball forward, once per down. However each team may pass the ball backwards as many times as they like (which is termed ‘a lateral’).

THE TACKLE:
 A player is tackled when one or both of his knees touch the ground. The play is then over (even if the ball comes loose).

SCORING:
 A touchdown (which is comparable to a try) is worth 6 points. To score a touchdown as a player carrying the ball, the ball simply needs to cross the plane of the goal line (it doesn’t have to be grounded over the goal line). If someone is catching the ball in the ‘end zone’ (in goal area), the person catching the ball needs to have two feet in bounds at some point in time.

After a touchdown is scored, the offensive team tries to convert the touchdown for one point. This kicking conversion attempt is taken from the 15 yard line directly in front of the goal posts.

Teams can also attempt a 2 point conversion, which is where they will try and score another touchdown from the opponent’s 2 yard line.

Like in Rugby, field goals are worth 3 points and can be attempted from any position on the field.

OVERTIME:
 In order to win the game, the team who wins the coin toss must score a touchdown on their first possession.
If they only score a field goal, the opposing team then gets a chance to score. If they kick a field goal, the game continues. If they score a touchdown, the game ends. If the game is tied after both teams have had a possession, then the next score wins.

Date: Monday 8th February, 2016

Time: 10.30am start

This whole Mitchell Pearce story is very strange, from so many aspects. I’m not going to talk about what actually happend. But…

Who is the winner out of this?

  • The NRL- not great for the game before the 9’s or the start of the NRL season. Not a winner
  • Sydney Roosters- star player caught on camera. Not a winner
  • Fans of NRL- children get to see their hero, drunk. Not a great look. Children aren’t the winner. Women get to see more drunk NRL stars. This won’t encourage women to watch more NRL. Women aren’t the winner.
  • Channel 9- they are the only free to air broadcaster of the NRL! If Pearce is suspended from games, the Roosters will be a weaker team and this won’t be as great for television ratings. Not a winner.
  • Mitchell Pearce’s (friend)- he might have more cash in his pocket now from ACA, but no-one will want to have a beer with him anymore. Not a winner.
  • Mitchell Pearce- clearly not the winner.

The only possible winner is the replacement halfback for the Roosters.

In Melbourne, the number of sports scandals reported on seems far less than Sydney. Why is this? Are the AFL players better behaved than NRL players? Or is it that the sports journalists in Melbourne, report on actual sport and not scandals?

This whole saga will go to the NRL Integrity Unit. What are they are really going to do? Pearce was at a Roosters function and then the club gave them cab vouchers to get home safely. The club has done a very good job at controlling this event. Pearce was then taped in the privacy of a home. I’ve thought for many years that sports starts need babysitters, for want of a better word. Maybe they do.

The NRL Integrity Unit needs to work with the media to understand why this type of behaviour needs to be made public. If the NRL and the media can work together to build the game up, rather than pulling it down constantly, the NRL will be in a lot stronger position. Until this happens, the game will always be in trouble.

If I were the Roosters now, here is what I’d do:

1. Stay silent

2. Don’t issue any releases or statements via email or social media

3. Get Mitchell Pearce to pick up the phone and speak to every single sponsor (from your major sponsors down to the casual sponsor) and every single season ticket holder and apologise for making the club’s name look bad. The value of this is far greater than a media conference. Pearce would speak to the people who most matter to him and his club.

If the Roosters make any statements, this will only add fuel to the fire. Let the story die. This is the key. The more sports clubs keep coming to the media, either defending themselves or apologising, it allows the story to continue. Again, no-one is benefitting from extended negative exposure.

Do the NRL have to make a statement? I don’t believe so. They need to be strong and not bow to media pressure.

If the NRL and the Roosters work together on this on what is best for the game and not for the media, the game will be best served.

Unfortunately, I fear both the Roosters and the NRL will issue statements and this saga will continue on and there will not be one winner, as a result.

So…if this statement is to come out, here is the other option. Make Mitchell Pearce become a spokesperson for dogs without homes. Make him appear at dog shelters to encourage people to foster  dogs or try owning a dog. This is turning an unpleasant situation into a positive situation. Pearce has been caught with a dog and now his punishment is helping homeless dogs. This  becomes a complete win situation and hopefully many dogs will be adopted into great homes.

This is N O W! a blatant plug- I can be reached by the Roosters or the NRL for any advice or strategy on next steps via joe@nowcommunications.com.au or 0455 494 409.

We are one more game away from the Super Bowl. There are three, first round pick quarterbacks competing in the Championship games and then some other 6th round hack, called Tom Brady. The scene is set for an incredible penultimate weekend!

Brady is taking his Patriots and defending World Champions into Denver to take on Peyton Manning and the Broncos for the 17th and most likely, last time. All of America wants Manning to prolong his great career by one more week and finish in Santa Clara and Super Bowl 50.

Brady may be getting all his star players back to health, but I think emotion is worth a few points and one of these points will take Denver to Levis Stadium with a 24-23 victory.

The Arizona Cardinals travel to Carolina. Carson Palmer tried as hard as possible to keep his playoff record as no wins, but alas he teammate, Larry Fitzgerald decided to ruin this and was explosive last week. Palmer needs to regain his composure, otherwise a Panthers defense will demolish him. Carolina put the most impressive 30 minutes of football seen all season, together last week and this was followed by almost losing in the ensuing 30 minutes. If they turn up for 60 minutes there will be no kryptonite for Cam and they should win. 27-20.

I’ve learnt to expect the unexpected over this playoff period so who knows what will happen with these two games?!

Will Mary hail again?

Will fumble-itis strike?

Will a coach pull a player’s locks?

I almost expect the goal posts to fall down, balls to inflate or deflate themselves or a koala to wander across the field.

Enjoy the Championship games.

WHO’S A HUSSEY?

Posted: 24/01/2016 in Uncategorized

The Hussey brothers are up against each other today in the final of the most successful season of the Big Bash League, yet. 

The MCG attracted 80, 000 people a few weeks back and who’s to say this won’t happen again. 

David Hussey leads the Melbourne Stars while his brother Mike will line up for the Sydney Thunder. 

The Stars might be aligning for the Hussy family, but where there’s lightning, there’s thunder! 

This 5th season of BBL has been like no other. A few performances have caused people to blush, new talent has been harnessed, Channel 10 have been rewarded for their faith with amazing viewer numbers and most importantly, people are loving the product and crowds are enormous. 

Kids are watching cricket again; an expression I thought I wouldn’t say again. The atmosphere of T20 is made by the children dancing and singing. The bar lines are empty and the ice cream lines are long and cricket is working again. 

Take a bow Cricket Australia. This format is the most successful sport in the country. 

Good luck to both teams today in the final! It will be a cracker! 

I predict a Thunder win- rain, hail or shine. 

Mistaken identities can be very funny. I constantly get stopped and asked “are you Wesley Snipes?”.

I actually have a friend who often gets Matt Damon and to be fair, it’s not too bad a doppelgänger.

Screenshot_2016-01-21-14-17-20-1.png

A woman from the US became famous on social media with a mistaken identity.

Recently the St Louis Rams, NFL team, announced they would be relocating to Los Angeles and would be called the LA Rams.

Lara’s name on twitter was LaraMS; which is obviously LA Rams!

She became quite a sensation and was quite shocked when she was inundated with messages! If you didn’t’ know her before, you definitely know LaraMS now.

I guess she really has no choice but to become a LA Rams fan now…and I’m sure the LA Rams will want to buy her handle for a pretty penny!

Screenshot_2016-01-21-14-06-26.png

The Duckworth Lewis rule is the crazy system which works out how many runs a cricket team needs for victory after a rain delay. Basically you divide the opening batsmen’s average score on Angry Birds, add this to the sum of all their kids birthdays and finally subtract the numbers on the back of the jersey of the not out batters and you have the total.

Thankfully there was no Duckworth Lewis method needed last night to know that Lleyton Hewitt had beaten fellow countryman, James Duckworth, to begin his 20th and final Australian Open campaign.

Poor James Duckworth was the first Aussie to ever play on centre court and have no-one going for him. If he’d won he would have been the most hated person in the country! He would have felt like Eric Hollies, the leggie who bowled Don Bradman for a duck in his last game.

I’ve never said this before about an Australian… But thankfully Duckworth lost. He will remember this game for the rest of his life though. Playing against his idol, on opening night, on centre court at the Australian Open. He knew he just wasn’t allowed to win. Duckworth lost, but I’m sure it was one of the highlights of his life and the only loss he’ll ever remember.

For the rest of us, we can enjoy watching the little champion that is Lleyton Hewitt, one more time.