Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cah Crash Chooseday

One from the archives, DTM in 1995.
This kind of crash is the reason drivers get so pissed off when they qualify down the order.


Sunday, December 28, 2008

Like Nails on a Chalkboard

LeBron James has a new shoe out, called 'Chalk'.

Here's the ad [Note the inclusion of Lil Wayne... I'm not sure why. The song is by Cornershop. The reference to Chalk is a way of paying homage to James' custom of throwing it in the air at games he plays at.]:

Hope you're all having a good break!

[I've syndicated this post on The Dropkicks, because I don't have enough time to find seperate stories... Sorry!]


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Why can't we have sports fans like this in New Zealand?
For those who do not recognise the song, it is the Fox Sports theme used to introduce NFL matches.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Cah Crash Chooseday

There's some posts coming soon, I promise. Unfortunately my correspondents have taken a while to get back to me.


Friday, December 19, 2008

2008 Race of Champions

The 2008 Race of Champions has been run, and you can find all the results in a good writeup here.


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Five e-Minutes with Andrew Gourdie

Andrew Gourdie is a journalist who caught my eye from day one. Maybe it was his good looks. Maybe it was his dulcet tones. But most likely it was the fact he was a passionate football fan and his stories reflected this, unlike previous 'football' reporters who seemed to treat the stories as a chore. So I decided I'd send him a few questions and run a profile on him. He also has a blog which is updated every once in a while here.

Questions after the jump.
First off, how did you get into football and what is your first footballing memory [either as a spectator or player]?
I got into football through my dad's side of the family. He and his brothers all played football. It actually goes back to my grandmother who once coached the first XI at the secondary school me, my dad and my uncles all went to in Christchurch .
My first football memory was my first game when I was about 6. I played for Nomads against Malvern in Darfield. All I can remember was running around like a headless chicken chasing the ball like all the other kids. After the game I told my dad I was absolutely exhausted, so during the 30 min drive home he gave me my first lesson about positional play. I listened.

How did you get into journalism?
I was a keen sportsman in my younger days but was never going to be good enough to make a career out of it. I loved sport, so from the age of 14 i wanted to be a sports journalist. After i finished school i studied journalism at the New Zealand Broadcasting School in Christchurch .

What is your standout memory of this year's A-League season to date?
Without doubt, Shane Smeltz' screamer against Melbourne [Naly D: Good choice]. We are certainly going to miss him.

What do you think of the SPARC funding allocation, recognising the improved performance in recent times of both the men's and women's teams?
I was really impressed with SPARC's initiative in providing a funding boost for women's football. If the results of our U20 and U17 women over the last year tell us anything, it's that we can compete at this level. Hopefully this money will help our olympic and senior teams achieve the same results, if not better.
The All Whites have their best chance since 1982 to reach the world cup finals, and they are going to need all the help they can get to achieve that. Again, it shows fantastic initiative by SPARC to provide some extra help.

Do you think the creation of the Phoenix has helped this?
It hasn't helped achieve results at a national level, although having a large number of the team playing for the All Whites will help in years to come.
However the Phoenix have undoubtedly helped lift the profile of football in New Zealand , so their presence has helped make SPARC's decision a popular one among the public.

Why do you think the Auckland Knights failed and do you believe the Phoenix are safe from this?
Having spoken to one or two former players, the Knights' on-field problems were born off the field. Issues with managers, CEO's etc were a constant problem from day 1, and made it impossible to create a winning environment. Even from my days covering the team's progress, the Knights never even seemed to have a visible 'club base'. They played and trained at North Harbour Stadium, but I wouldn't know where to find the chairman or CEO there.
It's completely different with the phoenix. We all know Terry and Tony and where to find them. They are both very approachable people and easy to contact [Naly D: In my experience this is true also, and their staff are very prompt at answering questions].
In terms of the off-field setup, the Knights and Phoenix couldn't be more different. I think they're safe from any administrative problems in that respect, but it's hard to know what will come of the issues arising through the Asian Football Confederation.

Do you think the A-League is a competitive league, and could teams in the league perform against european clubs?
The a-league is a very competitive competition. I think some of the players could make the step up to playing for a european club, but i think teams would struggle playing against european opposition.
The club world cup so far has been a good example. Australian teams are still a step behind Japanese teams, who are quite a big step behind europe , but I'm sure that gap will close over time.

The Phoenix are registered to Federation Football Australia and the players are the same, but several play for the All Whites. Do you think the All Whites and Football NZ have benefited from the Phoenix and as such, do you think the Phoenix are shooting themselves in the foot by not being able to receive reward from FNZ by being registered in Australia? [Naly D:If you don't understand this either, I'm working on a story and all will be revealed soon...]
I don't quite understand your question but I'll try to answer the best i can.
Essentially, the Phoenix don't have a choice. They have to be registered in Australia or they can't compete in the a-league. As we all know, the Phoenix are in no-man's land thanks to Australia's decision to join Asia, which means their situation is completely different to other NZ teams competing in Australian competitions like the Warriors or the Breakers.
I'm not sure what kind of rewards the Phoenix could expect to get from NZF, but as a professional team they need to operate largely off tickets sales, and Terry's cheque book. They're not shooting themselves in the foot by being registered in Australia , but to ensure their future they need Asian Football Confederation and the FFA to accept that for all intents and purposes, the Phoenix is a team based on an island off the coast of Australia . Hopefully they'll be able to have some kind of dispensation to be allowed extra New Zealand players, but essentially they need to be considered an Australian team, and have the same rights as other Australian clubs.

Do you think that New Zealand football teams, such as the Under-20 women, punch above their weight, or does the lack of public interest cause us to have low expectations of the team?
Those teams undoubtedly punch above their weight against nations that pour incredible amounts of money into sport. In saying that, we don't expect our football teams to do well on the world stage so it's a bonus when we do.

Finally, here's a clip of Andrew from his bright-eyed, bushy-tailed broadcasting school days. [Starts at 1:40]


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I've gone Viral

I'm writing for The Dropkicks now, go check them out. And while you're at it, why not find your nearest stockist and drink some Epic Beer?
And here's some other links of goodness:

Richard Irvine of sportreview fame has a great and unique sense of humour. It's like the Winnebago Man of blogs. It's so funny because it's so strange. Or is it so strange because it's so funny?

Iain O'Brien, the BLACKCAP who looks like he'd scare your child for life, has his own apparently unsanctioned blog and it makes for good, candid, reading. I suspect if his cricket career is brief, he'll be picked up by a paper quick smart.

Bridget is a 12-year-old Aussie cricketer and she blogs about her favourite sport.

Glenn Marvin is a runner who is preparing to compete in the Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon and blogs about his favourite sport. He's gonna be looking for people to help him get there and support his really good cause, so if you've got a tenner down the back of the couch I'm sure he'd appreciate it.

The Cheap Seats is what Scrubs would be if it were a blog on cricket. Check out the cricket drinking game for a laff.

This one here is one of my fav's - it's not really that high quality or in depth, but analysis of the media or sport [or the two] is always gonna get kudos from moi.


Strange Things Happenin' at the Three-Point Line

There are some strange things going on in the land of Australasian Basketball at the moment. First, you've got the Sydney Spirit almost leaving the NBL, only to be helped out by Andrew Bogut. Then, a week later, the Cairns Taipans get into the same situation. The Taipans situation seemed to come from left field, but it should have been expected really.

The Taipans went downhill so quickly because their main sponsor - Pacific Toyota - was struggling to make money and pulled out. Apparently this clause had been in their contract from the word go. Which makes me think one of two things. Either the relationship between the Taipans and Pacific Toyota was not supposed to be long-term, or somebody at Taipans head office did not get their act together and have a secondary sponsor lined up in case this clause was ever actioned.

The Breakers meanwhile, continue their healthy [heh] relationship with Burger King and their reign at or near the top of the NBL continues unabated. That's all I'll say on them, for reasons I have outlined here.

The New Zealand domestic competition hasn't escaped though. The Otago Nuggets signalled their intention to pull out what seems like donkeys years ago. The situation in Canterbury seemed to be a replica, with the Canterbury Rams not convinced they could make their payments. Along come rumours of a shadow team - Rumours I paid no attention to, at my peril.

Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to the Christchurch Cougars. Besides the obvious Top Gun jokes, the Cougar name is crap. Sure, you wanted a name which featured alliteration, but naming your team after an animal which doesn't even exist in New Zealand? [Note: I'm not sure if there are Cougars at Christchurch's Orana Park.] Why not name them after something in the area? How about the Christchurch Cardinals [the religious type, not the bird, continuing the link with the Crusaders - and a good blog headline for me when Wellington beat them: Saints give Cardinals bloody baptism], Christchurch Kakapo, Christchurch Gondaliers, etc? At least Rams had relevance to the area. The team apparently have eight members already signed up, which is great to hear given how quickly they've set up shop, and hopefully they can give a kickstart to basketball in the South [it can't die if it wasn't really established in the first place - Nelson you're excluded from this statement of course.]

Which leads me to actually talk about our competition. I've been a Wizards/Saints fan for four name changes [other fans will know this is 12 years] and last season was a dream for me. But I noticed at the start of the year that TSB Arena was hardly ever full. Games were usually on a Thursday/Friday. The booze was cheap, plentiful and every seat had a good view. Yet there were still many, many empties. It seemed a lack of promotion was to blame [tickets were cheap as hell]. But the cliche of 'success draws crowds' prevaled. As the season went on and we won more and more matches - and subsequently when Terry Serepisos dipped deeper into his non-Phoenix pocket [the Saints are actually the Century City Saints, the company owned by Serepisos who also owns the Wellington Phoenix, for the uninitiated.] giving a bigger allowance to advertising, the crowd rolled up. The last home match against Waikato was packed and it was great. We just need some of that down south because surely a nine team domestic series shouldn't struggle to draw crowds?


Monday, December 15, 2008

Le Tas'man revolutione!

In this post right here, I speculated what the future would hold for the Tasman Makos.
Now, I was completely wrong, but I thought I'd explain my logic, as the previous post was written in a couple of minutes [after a full day's thought] as I was about to head home from work.

Breakdown/explanation of my predictions after the jump.

The first point, about financial statement, goes without saying really. I expect this goes on already to a certain extent, but in cases like that of the Makos I believe financial transparency is paramount. While no organisation likes revealing their costs to another, I believe the only way the NZRU can help Tasman's financial security is to be able to see where they can save money [not direct them where to spend it, but advice would be welcomed, surely?]

The second point, about the appointment of two board members, was not intended to be read as NZRU board members being appointed, but rather that the NZRU could choose to appoint two 'independent advisors' if you will. I was thinking along the lines of a financial advisor [which would work with the above point] and somebody who has experience as a manager/coach. Someone like John Hart [although he is involved with the Warriors, but that's the sort of person I was thinking] because let's face it, Tasman's board are minnows in the world of professional rugby. [I've tried to find who they are but can't find a damned thing, unlike the Canterbury board. Can anyone help?]

The third and fourth point are hand-in-hand. The Makos are projecting a $380,000 shortfall from this season and have been told to find $250,000 of that. Now they've recovered a lot from last year, but the NZRU and rival unions are unlikely to be too happy about bailing out Tasman time and again. The logic is simple, and more of a scare tactic. If you can't run at a profit, you can't be responsible or a positive reflection on NZ rugby.


It's an early Christmas Present

I arrived at work today to have an invite sitting in my inbox.

A very, very special sort of invite.

Our work had a contract with SPARC earlier this year to monitor the media coverage of their Olympic athletes, with the information being compiled to track positive/negative coverage, as well as when an athlete was mentioned for quantitative measures.

As the resident sports-nut, I was delegated the role of tracking the television coverage of the Olympics [I may have been hired with this in mind, it appears to be a subject of conjecture]. This literally meant I was being paid to watch 8 hours of Olympics coverage - It wasn't all like that though, it had been recorded from the night before and I had to get through it in 2 hours.

Anyway, our report to SPARC has been completed and will be presented on Friday... And I was invited... Can't wait!


Friday, December 12, 2008

Will the Makos continue to bite?

The NZRU is set to announce the future of the beleaguered Tasman Makos in the Air New Zealand Cup today. No decision has been made public as yet, but I'm going to throw out what I think will happen.

The Tasman Makos will remain for the 2009 season in the Air New Zealand Cup, under the proviso that the Makos and parent body the Tasman Rugby Union provide regular financial reports to the NZRU.
The NZRU will be allowed to appoint two members to the board of the Tasman Rugby Union.
The Tasman Rugby Union is to remain financially viable for the 2009 season, or its team, the Tasman Makos, will be relegated at the end of that season.
If the Tasman Makos are relegated, the Tasman Rugby Union will be liable for the $380,000 shortfall for the 2008 season, which has been paid by the NZRU.

That is how I see the contract between the two drawn up anyway... Guess we'll find out at 4pm!


Don't cap my Celery

Well, analytic company Offlode has come up with a novel idea and reviewed 23 competitions in terms of closeness and whether the salary caps work. I've posted the full list, as well as my comments, after the jump.

Where I think this list is flawed is in that the top half of the list has much, much longer seasons than the bottom half, so random fluctuations where a bottom team beats a top team are going to occur more often [though in saying that, I do agree that the American draft system (where the team which finishes last in a season gets to have the first pick of a rookie player in the next season and has to play for that team for a certain length of time, I think 2 years is the norm) is very effective in creating a level playing field, while the Super 14 'draft' system (where a team can 'protect' 22 players from their region from being picked up by other teams) is a joke.]

Taking Major League Baseball as an example, eventual winners the Philidelphia Phillies played a total of 162 matches in the 2008 regular season. Makes our 16-match Super 14 look a bit naff. Or the beautiful Boston Celtics, who played 82 matches throughout the entire [including playoffs] season. There is definately a lot more room in those matches for a team to field a weak lineup, knowing they're in the playoffs, and get done by a weaker team.

The list itself:

Major League (Baseball)
French Ligue 1 (Football)
Magners League (Rugby)
Primera Argentina (Football)
MLS *(Football)
Spanish La Liga (Football)
Primera Mexico (Football)
German Bundesliga (Football)
ANBL *(Basketball) NBA *(Basketball)
NFL *(Gridiron)
Dutch Eredivisie (Football)
Italian Serie A (Football)
AFL *(Aussie Rules)
NRL *(League)
Scottish Premier League (Football)
NHL *(Ice Hockey)
English Premier League (Football)
Guinness Premiership *(Rugby)
Air New Zealand Cup *(Rugby)
Super 14 (Rugby)
Currie Cup (Rugby)
National Bank Cup (Netball)

* denotes competitions which use a salary cap.


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thank Heavens for Mad Mike

There's some big rennovations for this blog on their way too.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Super 14 jersey's - a second look.

Thanks to Hadyn I got to have a closer look at the new S14 jerseys today.
I had only seen the long, wide-angle shot on RugbyHeaven which failed to show off how awesome they actually are - especially the Highlanders one! The little embossed pictures are so cool. The Crusaders away strip is growing on me, I reckon from a distance it'll kinda look like chain-mail.

Hadyn's gallery is here.

PS Hadyn, you're wrong. The 'Canes strip is the best. It's gonna look so good with Cory Jane running at a full sprint in it.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In other news

The 2009 Rebel Sport Super 14 draw has been announced.
This took me ages to format, stupid press releases.

Highlanders v Brumbies
W Force v Blues
Lions v Cheetahs

Crusaders v Chiefs
Hurricanes v Waratahs
Stormers v Sharks
Bulls v Reds

Hurricanes v Highlanders
Waratahs v Chiefs
W Force v Cheetahs
Stormers v Reds

Brumbies v Crusaders
Bulls v Blues
Sharks v Lions

Crusaders v Hurricanes
Waratahs v Highlanders

Chiefs v Sharks
Brumbies v W Force
Lions v Bulls
Stormers v Blues
Reds v Cheetahs

Chiefs v W Force
Waratahs v Reds
Hurricanes v Cheetahs

Blues v Sharks
Highlanders v Crusaders
Bulls v Stormers
Brumbies/Lions Bye

Blues v Cheetahs
Brumbies v Waratahs

Crusaders v W Force
Highlanders v Chiefs
Reds v Sharks
Stormers v Lions
Hurricanes/Bulls Bye

Hurricanes v Bulls
Highlanders v Cheetahs
Chiefs v Blues
Waratahs v Crusaders
W Force v Sharks
Lions v Brumbies
Reds/Stormers Bye

Blues v Waratahs
Highlanders v Bulls
Crusaders v Stormers
Reds v Chiefs
Sharks v Brumbies
Lions v Hurricanes
Cheetahs/W Force Bye

Crusaders v Bulls
W Force v Reds
Sharks v Hurricanes
Chiefs v Lions
Waratahs v Stormers
Cheetahs v Brumbies
Blues/Highlanders Bye

Blues v Lions
W Force v Hurricanes
Highlanders v Reds
Brumbies v Stormers
Waratahs v Bulls
Cheetahs v Sharks
Chiefs/Crusaders Bye

Blues v Highlanders
Brumbies v Bulls
Hurricanes v Stormers
Reds v Lions
Waratahs v W Force
Cheetahs v Chiefs
Sharks v Crusaders

Highlanders v Stormers
W Force v Lions
Blues v Reds
Hurricanes v Brumbies
Cheetahs v Crusaders
Bulls v Chiefs
Waratahs/Sharks Bye

Hurricanes v Blues
Lions v Crusaders
Cheetahs v Waratahs
Reds v Brumbies
Sharks v Highlanders
Bulls v W Force
Stormers v Chiefs

Crusaders v Reds
Lions v Highlanders
Chiefs v Hurricanes
Brumbies v Blues
Sharks v Waratahs
Bulls v Cheetahs
Stormers v W Force

Chiefs v Brumbies
Lions v Waratahs
Blues v Crusaders
Reds v Hurricanes
W Force v Highlanders
Cheetahs v Stormers
Sharks v Bulls

Week 15 - SEMI FINAL
Friday 22 May TBA v TBA
Saturday 23 May TBA v TBA

Week 16 - FINAL
Saturday 30 May TBA v TBA


Your attention please!

The NZ Super 14 jerseys were to released this afternoon.

I guess they'll grow on us...


Roughies - Edition 2

Poor Sam McKinnon.
MVP for the 2007 NBL.
Captain of Australia.
His team currently sits third on the table.

And he gets a blood clot which may kill him.
I feel for you bud.

[To those wondering why this is the first time I've mentioned the NBL and I've ignored my favourite Breakers, it's because I don't want to place the commentators curse on them.]


Cah Crash Chooseday


You'll never find a more wretched hive of scum and villany

I'm a Ford fan and always have been. But I can always have respect for a good driver, such as Mark Skaife. As such, I have been saddened to watch him fall further and further down the grid over the years [in much the same way as Glenn Seton], which means I can't help but feel this latest story is appalling.

To put it in rugby terms: adidas, the main sponsor, stops giving the NZRU money. At the same time, adidas, who are locked into a contract to provide boots, shirts, etc raise their prices. But you only get a bill at the end of the year. So Steve Tew gives the NZRU to adidas, or else the NZRU will become bankrupt.

That's so messed up beyond words. Not to mention Tom Walkinshaw's dubious past.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Plaxico + Gun = Leg Trauma.

Yeah yeah yeah, it's been a while since the last one.
But you know that old addage that good things take time?
Case in point.
I'm a Patriots fan, so this was karma.
"Burress, 31, who was sporting flashy jewelry and carrying loads of cash, told club management he needed the gun to protect himself, sources said.
The mercurial Giant was waved inside the crowded Latin-themed club on Lexington Ave. about midnight. He downed several drinks, making already jittery security guards more nervous about his weapon.
As Burress was being led into a VIP area, with a drink in his hand, the gun slipped down his pants leg. He reached for the weapon, but fumbled it and it went off, sources said. The bullet tore through Burress' already injured right thigh, police said.
"[The bullet] went in and out. No bones," Chief Michael Collins, a police spokesman, said."

But the story gets better. Click the link up there.

Oh, and ten reasons why this happened.