Sporting fans show their best as Kiwi brethren suffer through dark day

Sporting fans show their best as Kiwi brethren suffer through dark day

Bravo all the rugby league players, and all those fans attending the Souths-Roosters match at the SCG last night.

Before kick-off the players put their arms around each other for a minute’s silence in solidarity with the people of Christchurch after the terrible mosque massacre.

Solidarity: Souths and Roosters players observed a minute’s silence at the SCG on Friday night.Credit:NRL Photos

For that minute there was not a squeak, not a peep, from anyone — a moving gesture of support to our brothers and sisters across the ditch. As their Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern so magnificenty said of the victims, ‘‘they are us.’’ Bravo.


When it comes to the sex-tape scandals that have engulfed rugby league in recent months I, like nearly all of you, am left gobsmacked that it should have come to this.

Few of us can work out why you would film yourself in the act in the first place and secondly why you would then send it on to your circle of current friends. This is particularly so when, as seems to have happened in recent months in league circles, your current friend becomes your former friend, the thing goes viral and you risk getting a zebra sun-tan.

Gobsmacking: Penrith’s Tyrone May has been charged over the NRL’s sex tape scandal.Credit:NRL Photos

(Do you start to get it now, you blokes? Every time you press “send” on one of those bits of footage, you might as well add a note: “By the way, any time you want to blow away my life, my wife, my reputation, my career, my wealth, my liberty … here is a bullet for you to fire right at me. I made it myself.”)

But what is the explanation for such stupidity?

I seriously had no clue at all until I talked to a former player recently who offered an explanation that gave me the first glimmer of comprehension, if not understanding, in the murky gloom. In broad terms, he noted the way it used to work was the lads of his generation gathering up the back of the bus, or at the pub, or in the corner of the dressing room to tell stories of their Saturday night conquests.

“What’s changed,” he said, “is that for the more stupid ones, this is their form of storytelling and in many cases, they’re re-enacting for the boys particular things they have seen in porn movies.”


Look, I’m sick to death of the whole #StadiumSplurge thing and so are you. But one last time for the road there is this. Opposition Leader Michael Daley has made clear that if elected next Saturday his preference is to refurbish the existing hulk as it stands.

Up until this past Thursday that meant the bulk of that hulk was an extremely valuable asset – like the chassis and enduring bodywork of a Rolls-Royce, except it was worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Everyone with me? No dispute so far? Daley is a 50-50 bet of winning, and if he does, the public asset of the stadium hulk is worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Yet on Thursday, nine days – count ’em, NINE days – before the election to decide it, the NSW government sent in the heavy equipment to start crushing that chassis, despite enormous opposition, ongoing court action and the fact that waiting a week here or there will make absolutely no difference.

Heavy equipment: demolition work gets under way at Allianz Stadium this week.Credit:AAP

My question: if, instead of a public asset stadium, it was a private asset Rolls-Royce chassis owned by the NSW cabinet, does anyone think they would have sent the heavy machinery in?

Or do you think sanity would have prevailed, and there would have been a majority – and in fact unanimously passed – decision to wait a week, on the chance that value could be realised.

We all know the answer. By any measure it was wilful madness, spiteful destruction of our asset that they never would have done if it was theirs.

The best selling point the current NSW government has going for it is that the economy has been strong, and their best chance of getting over the line is to sell themselves as good economic and commercial managers.

Let the record show: at Hillsborough, they didn’t demolish, they renovated and refurbished,

Before our very eyes, that was an act of economic and commercial vandalism – just as it was when they put $2.2 billion to #StadiumSplurge for knocking down existing modern stadiums, when judged against the $2.1billion in the current annual budget for capital expenditure of health and $1.8 billion to education and skills (including TAFE).

And yes, I, too, can hear those squawks in the distance carrying on about “preventing another Hillsborough”.

After a British-Australian who was actually at the Hillsborough disaster protested this week at the outrage of the likes of Alan Jones invoking those 96 deaths as part of a political campaign which has no parallels, one of the Twitterati made a very telling point.

Even if you are disgraceful enough to go down that path, let the record show: at Hillsborough, in the wake of that tragedy, they didn’t demolish, they renovated and refurbished, staying with the same valuable chassis.


“No matter how big you think you are, no matter how much you think you’ll be missed,” my first Sydney Uni first-grade rugby captain Peter Wood said to me about four decades ago, “when you retire, it’s like taking your finger out of a glass of water.’’

It is hard to go past the fact that without Steve Smith and Dave Warner, they just beat India in a one-day series, IN INDIA.

Sure, it might take a little while for your replacement to settle in, but from the moment you leave The Team, there is a new team, and you are no longer in it. What is more, the bloke who replaces you – once he is exposed to the same rigours of training and hard competition that you were, except he is hungrier – might very well play better than you in any case.

Illustration: John Shakespeare.Credit:

I don’t say that this is precisely what has happened with the Australian cricket team. But it is hard to go past the fact that without Steve Smith and Dave Warner, they just beat India in a one-day series, IN INDIA.

It would suggest that after a very wobbly start without them, the team has come together into a very strong and capable unit, and it begs a question.

Should two blokes who have been suspended for cheating, walk straight back into the national side, inevitably at the expense of two blokes who have done the job in their absence? Would the same thing ever happen in the Wallabies, Kangaroos, or Socceroos?

I don’t say Smith and Warner shouldn’t find their way back. They have served their time, and are all even with the house. But what we all want to see is a real cultural change in Australian cricket, away from the win-at-all-costs attitude that led to this mess in the first place. So let’s slow down. Let the blokes who have the job and have done the job, keep the job until such time as the case made by Smith and Warner for their reinstatement cannot be denied.


TFF chatted with Matty Johns on Friday arvo, who mentioned he will be interviewing his brother Andrew on Fox Sports, at 8pm tomorrow, where the Immortal will go into some details of his health and developing epilepsy. I gather it will likely make headlines, as Andrew might come at the subject from an interesting angle.


CEO of the Waratahs Andrew Hore: “We’re a global game, we’re not kicking around in a tiddlywink competition like the NRL, which is only played in this part of the world.” Goodness!

Bid document that allegedly shows what was in it for FIFA should Qatar win the rights to host the 2022 World Cup: “In the event that the 2022 competition is awarded to the state of Qatar, Al Jazeera shall, in addition to the … rights fee, pay to FIFA into the designated account the monetary amount of $100m.” Did I tell yers, or did I tell yers? I TOLD yers.

Daniel Ricciardo on his new team: “People in this team now are meeting me as a 29-year-old, where a lot of people [at Red Bull] met me as the 20-year-old young kid. I’m not saying they treated me like a kid from then on, but they knew me as a kid, more what I used to be than what I eventually became.”

Central Coast Mariners firing coach Mike Mulvey just after midnight: “The Central Coast Mariners can today advise that the Club has parted ways with Head Coach Mike Mulvey, effective immediately.” And so endeth the season that began with so much hoopla over the addition of Usain Bolt.

Former Mariners coach Phil Moss on the Bolt effect: “In my opinion that was always going to play an adverse role in the Mariners season. The pre-season all became about one person who was never going to add to the quality of the football team, given he had never played professionally. It was a major factor for why the season went from bad to worse.”

One of a kind: Cristiano Ronaldo does it like it’s rarely been done before. Just ask him.Credit:AP

Former jockey Jim Cassidy after a bad car accident: “Driven all over Australia and New Zealand, five or six hours to race meetings, but I’m very cautious on the road. I would only speed on horses. The faster they go the better. But not in cars.”

Hakeem al-Araibi on becoming an Australian citizen: “I’m an Aussie now. I’m very happy to get citizen, I’m very happy to be safe.” Welcome, cobber.

Cristiano Ronaldo on single-footedly helping Juventus overhaul a two-goal deficit, by scoring three goals himself, and advance in the Champions League: “This was why Juventus brought me here, to help do things that they have never done before.”

Snooker ace Ronnie O’Sullivan gave a post-match interview in an Australian accent: “Idip in with a bit of Cockney, a bit of Australian and a bit of Scouse, you know what I mean mate? When you talk Aussie, the Aussies are just winners mate, you know? You’ve got to love a winner. Us English, we love a loser, so I thought I’m fed up of being a loser, I’m going to talk like a winner, like the Aussies. Get the Ashes won, mate.”


Australian Grand Prix. Start your engines at Albert Park with the launch of another Formula One season, to watch fast cars go endlessly rrrrrRRRRRRrrrrround and rrrrrRRRRRRrrrrround.

RIP Kelly Catlin. US Olympic cycling silver medallist took her own life this week, aged just 23. She was one of triplets. Are we in Australia doing enough to help our own Olympians to get down the other side, after they have scaled the high peaks? (Lifeline 13 11 14)

Form team: the season has barely started but Jahrome Hughes and the Storm look strong again.Credit:AAP

Melbourne Storm. Five minutes into the first match of the season against the Broncos and they already looked the NRL’s form team.

Melbourne Rebels. The form Australian side in Super Rugby.

Six Nations. Headed for a thrilling climax as any of Wales, England and Ireland can win.

Zinedine Zidane. Is now the Real Madrid manager after quitting there at the end of last season.

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