MURDER SHE WROTE

Australian sport may have its problems.

The fact that we can’t win on the international circuit is the least of our concerns.

There are constant alleged bashings of women, sexual misconduct, too much alcohol and rumours of performance enhancing or recreational drugs. 

All of the above are less appropriate than Michael Jackson holding a baby over a balcony. 

However recent events in the US of behaviour of players has made our athletes look like Saints. 

Boozy nights and sexting now look like child’s play compared to murder.

New England Patriots star, Aaron Hernandez is facing a long time in jail for murder. He is one of the most decorated players in the NFL and now it appears as if he will be decorated in a jail uniform. 

Why do these sports people behave like this? They have money, fame, glory, cars, houses, free clothes and designer sunglasses thrown at them. They often eat for free at any restaurant or get free coffee simply for a tweet in return. 

They have everything most people in the world would want. Maybe they just get bored so they kill people. 

Call me boring, but when I get bored I use google, hit some golf balls or go and see an Owen Wilson movie. Sometimes I even jay walk or litter or swear or text on the phone while I’m driving. The latter is unacceptable and illegal but that is the extent of my poor behaviour.

I haven’t thought about bashing someone (admittedly my 60kg frame wouldn’t pack much of a punch), driving while drunk and never have I even entertained the thought of killing a man.

Australian sport is in tatters with discipline across all matters. However we can thank our lucky kangaroos and emus that no one has really crossed the line of no return.

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FROM BIFF TO BOOF

Australian cricket has moved from biffing people in pubs to Darren ‘Boof’ Lehman, as their saviour for the upcoming Ashes campaign. 

 Just a few weeks from the start of the first Ashes Test, our coach has been stood down for failing to submit homework on Joe Root and because he didn’t correctly use a hashtag when tweeting a journalist. 

 Or maybe he was stood down, because the Australian team couldn’t win a Test Match, One Dayer, Twenty 20 or game of uno. 

 What has Mickey Arthur actually done wrong? I personally have no idea. It was his batsmen who didn’t score runs and his bowlers who didn’t take wickets, yet he was the man who stumps have been pulled on. His cattle slightly lack the class of past teams who I could have coached to victory. 

 It appears as if poor discipline was the reason for Arthur’s sacking.

 There has been poor discipline in Australian cricket for decades with drinking, smoking, girls, text messages at lewd hours, and videos yet Australia still won, so there was no problem. Now, when we couldn’t win a game of ‘Guess Who’, discipline is important. 

 Boof is well respected by the current players and the Australian media and this may in fact be the reason for his future success. He does command respect because he has been there and done it. He is relaxed and has a great sense of humour and these may be the attributes a young and inexperienced Australian cricket team need to guide them through England. Hopefully the players respond to Lehman, because everyone wants to see the Ashes come home.

 I do feel sorry for Mickey Arthur though. If the Australian cricket team was a game of Cluedo, the final result would be Mickey Arthur ‘done’ it, in the Walkabout, using his homework.

FOR BLAKE’S SAKE!

This cat has run out of lives.

Blake Ferguson is undoubtedly talented. Somehow he climbed a roof with Josh Dugan a few months ago, at some ungodly hour, balancing a pineapple Barcadi Breezer and he didn’t spill a drop- now that takes skill.

As a footballer he has done things which makes acrobats in Cirque Du Solei jealous. He is a true circus act with the ease and grace with which he flies through the air. Being able to juggle balls at top speed, suspended in mid-air is another trick he had mastered. Now the only thing he will be juggling is his time as he works out if he should apologise to the woman in question, the fans, the NRL, his club, or the Blues, first?

While Paul Gallen and Greg Bird are the “bash brothers” of the Blues squad (and I’m not going to touch on Gall’s bash in the last game or any of Bird’s alleged incidences), Dugan and Ferguson were called the ‘booze brothers’ after their rooftop catch. Dugan appears to have downed his schooners (well maybe just three rather than 33) and got his career back on track, but unfortunately his mate hasn’t.

While Robert Redford’s Indecent Proposal to Demi Moore may have been somewhat acceptable, indecent assault is never acceptable.

Ferguson hasn’t been found guilty yet, but it doesn’t look good. CCTV footage won’t lie. There are no producers or production assistants behind this horror which is worse than any reality television show. There’ll be no man with painted finger nails or someone chewing a toothpick to make a decision on the Blake Ferguson journey. NRL CEO, Dave Smith is The Voice and has already taken the incredible and tough stance of suspending Ferguson’s NRL registration until further notice.

It appears as if Ferguson hasn’t tried to rape a woman, hit someone or glass her. It appears that he hasn’t been shot at either, yet Dave Smith has taken a very strong stance. Why? Is he trying to demonstrate his authority or set an example for what will happen in the future? If the latter is the case- fantastic. This drunken behaviour needs to stop.

Footballers need to realise they are in the spotlight- not just when they have 80,000 people dressed in matching acrylic scarves and jerseys watching them, but when they are having a social drink or bite to eat.

Education isn’t the answer. I know the NRL have numerous discussions with players on behaviour and quite clearly it isn’t working.

I believe the answer is babysitters. You can change this word around and call them, minders, or even give them fancy titles such as ‘Player Welfare Managers or OAB (Out and About ) Directors. What it simply means is that when footballers go out, they take two people with them to make sure they don’t get into trouble.

Let’s say for example I was the Out and About Director the other night.

I would have walked with Ferguson and Dugan to the bars in Cronulla. I wouldn’t have sat with them and I wouldn’t have engaged with them at all. I wouldn’t have been playing on my phone and would have simply been observing their behaviour. When they began talking to a girl or group of girls, I would have moved in closer and possibly joined the conversation. Having me there, completely sober, would most likely have changed the situation and I could have possibly averted the crisis, saved a women from feeling violated and saved Ferguson’s career.

How do I know the above may have worked? I’ve done it before. Simply having a sober carer stops events escalating.

If only Ferguson had got a haircut from a male hairdresser, worn a ‘blue tie’ or thrown a sandwich at someone, none of this would have happened.

I don’t know where or what Blake Ferguson will do next, but what I do know for sure is, that James Tamou won’t be driving him to Origin 2.

THE HALFBACK WHISPERER

When Brett Kenny played in the number 6 for the Blues, do you think he was there as a “calming influence on Sterlo”?

Do you think Fitler and Daley were ever chosen to help calm Ricky Stuart or Andrew Johns?

I have no doubt Wally Lewis was not chosen purely because of his emotional relationship with Alan Langer and Johnathan Thurston isn’t wearing the maroon jersey to make sure his halfback doesn’t Cronk out.

Laurie Daley has an amazing football brain and as collective Blues fans we all need to trust that he knows what he is doing. Daley has made no secret that James Maloney was chosen over Todd Carney as he has a calming influence on Mitchell Pearce.

What does this even mean? Does it mean he will ensure Pearce doesn’t get any more ridiculous tattoos on his body? To be fair I wouldn’t trust Todd when it comes to ink, either.

Everyone knows the famous book, The Horse Whisperer which was turned into a movie starring Robert Redford.

Will James Maloney star in the sequel, ‘The Halfback Whisperer?

What will Maloney even say to Pearce on the field? “Good luck in your ninth consecutive Origin game. I’ll be fine in my very first game – thanks for asking”. Or maybe he’ll say ” Just relax Mitch. I’ve booked Icebergs for dinner on Friday night”.

I hope I am wrong and I will be the first person to admit I am, if I am. But I have no idea how James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce will change NSW’s horrible run. A few weeks ago against Melbourne the calming influence of Jimmy Maloney couldn’t help Pearce conjure up a try when he needed to. What will happen in a bigger game, with more eye balls, more pressure than a Masterchef cook off and the best players in the world running at you under a chorus of QUEENSLANDER. I expect the result to be like Pauline Hanson’s newest political career.

Maloney might well be a great bloke. He might keep Pearce relaxed when buying him a soy latte with honey at Bill’s Cafe in Woollahra, but he won’t change the result of a game. Todd Carney played with Pearce and helped steer the Roosters to a Grand Final. Admittedly his track record of keeping people calm isn’t flawless, but surely he has the results on the board to prove he can play and play well with Mitchell Pearce.

I believe if NSW do win Game 1, it won’t be because of the halves, it will be on the back of their fearless captain and an amazingly mobile forward pack.

If the game is on the line and either Maloney or Pearce do win the game for the Blues, I will be very happy to have underestimated them.