Category Archives: Sports

NRL 2011 predictions

By Mysterion

Disclaimer: Sorry if I didn’t put your team in the top eight. This is just a bit of fun, I don’t know how it will really turn out – I’m no Ryan Tandy.

Broncos: The return of Justin Hodges and Ben Hannant should cover the loss of Folau and bolster the forward pack. The core of youngsters should be better for the experience last year and will be enough to get the Broncos back to where they belong. 5th

Bulldogs: Have made some good recruits and look good on paper but a slow start will be a hindrance to their hopes of making the eight. Maybe next year. 10th

Cowboys: Another team that has made some good recruits but still not enough quality and will likely struggle again this year. 15th

Dragons: A strong looking squad and the reigning Premiers are definitely the yardstick for the rest of the competition. Favourites for sure. 1st

Eels: I can see a repeat performance of 2010: Thereabouts for most of the year, waiting for a winning streak in the lead up to finals that never comes. 11th

Knights: Still not enough quality in the side to have a proper tilt at the eight. Maybe when Nathan Tinkler takes over. 14th

Panthers: Surprised everyone with their showing last year but I think other teams will have them figured out by now. 12th

Rabbitohs: Didn’t really recruit any big names over the off-season but a team on the rise and should be there come September. 6th

Raiders: Made big moves towards the end of 2010 and should see this continue this season. Will probably fall short of winning the title but things are looking up for the Raiders. 3rd

Roosters: Another side that did well at the back end of 2010 and should see that momentum kick over into a top four finish. 4th

Sea Eagles: Will have an up and down season but will do enough to see them in the eight. However like 2010, I can’t see them getting past the first week once there. 8th

Sharks: Definitely the weakest side in the competition and a long, hard season awaits. 16th

Storm: Not the side they once were (and quite rightly too) but still plenty of quality across the park, plus they have something to prove. Back in the eight this year. 7th

Tigers: I like this Tigers side and they should be able to go one game further this year. However, this depends on Benji Marshall staying fit/avoiding prison. 2nd

Titans: A lot of key players are ageing and an injury toll could see them just missing out come September. 9th

Warriors: They look good this Warriors side, they have recruited well and are coming off a strong season last year, which can only mean…13th


So why is it all right for women to be sexist about men?

By Mysterion

This week Sky Sport football presenters Andy Gray and Richard Keys have lost their positions after being caught up in a sexism row. During an English Premier League game remarks were made about a female linesman (or linesperson, I guess), suggesting that she did not know the offside rule. They have since been sacked, which you may think is fair enough, except that these comments were made OFF AIR.

Aside from now being able to be punished for private comments, this incident also raises other issues. Giles Coren has written an excellent article on the hypocrisy of sexism.

Men are fair game for women. While sexism from men is the outstanding social crime of the modern world, women can say absolutely whatever they like about us.

For make no mistake: sexism is alive and well in this country and applauded in all quarters — as long as it is practised by women. And they are allowed to say the most terrible, terrible things.

American attempts to divine political lesson from the Ashes

by Leveret

See Cricket and Political Correctness in the AmSpec blog.

I’m not persuaded by the probative value of this little parable actually – it’s pretty weak and the connexion between the Ashes and the author’s thesis is pretty weak.

And, as one commenter pointed out, 10 of the 11 players in the 2005 England team went to state schools.

NEVERTHELESS this is worth reading because it is always so fascinating to see Americans try to explain cricket.

Re: UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules Not Fair For All

by Leveret

But of course Mysterion – what benefit does Man U or Liverpool get out of competition . There really is no difference between the big business of mega corporations and the big business of professional sports.

Here’s a Pulitzer winning explanation from 1979:

These insights are gradually helping us to understand why the very biggest businesses are such unreliable allies in the fight to preserve a free enterprise economy. We’re sure, of course, that Mr. Murphy thinks of himself as a capitalist, and can give as stirring an “economic education” speech as anyone around. We’re sure that it has never even occurred to him that since GM has a bigger cushion than its suppliers, it can grind them down if the economy is locked up in price standards. We’re sure that he and other GM officers have persuaded themselves that the government is waging fiscal and monetary restraint, and sincerely believe that wage-price voluntarism will help it work faster.

For all that, self-interest finds a way to get itself expressed, and the business giants have rather equivocal interests in free enterprise. They always have the option of doing everything left-handed and backwards if that’s what the government wants; indeed, that kind of regulation gives them an advantage over less durable competitors


UEFA’s Financial Fair Play Rules Not Fair For All

By Mysterion

UEFA is taking steps to try to curb the outrageous spending in football.

UEFA’s Executive Committee has approved a set of key regulations as part of the financial fair play concept designed to bring greater stability to European football in the coming years.

Under the concept, clubs will have to balance their books, not spend more than they earn and operate within their financial means, thereby curtailing the excesses that have endangered football’s health in recent times.

As admirable as this is, all it will really do is serve to ensure the continued hegemony of the top clubs in Europe. A lot of clubs have been upset by the way big spending Manchester City have used their new-found financial clout to muscle in on the elite. These rules are designed to stop such instances happening in the future. It is akin to someone taking their soccer ball home when some big kid tries to play with them. As such, established European clubs are welcoming the moves:

Indeed, for very different reasons, they have been positively welcomed by Roman Abramovich at Chelsea (having already ploughed £700m into the club), by the Glazers at Manchester United (who hope to use their natural revenue-generating strengths to increase their competitiveness without spending more) and by Arsenal’s chief executive, Ivan Gazidis (who believes it will reward his club’s careful financial husbandry) Continue reading

Russia, Qatar win FIFA World Cup race

By Mysterion

So, the hosts of the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups have been announced. I hate to cast accusations at anyone, but everyone else is doing it.

Russia and Qatar are interesting choices, especially considering the bid process was fraught with corruption allegations levelled at FIFA. Russia I can deal with. It is a big country (in more than one sense of the word) and has never hosted the tournament before, which is a plus. It has several problems to overcome before 2018, but I am sure that they can manage to put on a decent show.

Now Qatar, I am not so sure. They have many problems to overcome, not least the fact it can get up to 50° in the summer. Then there are the infrastructure problems. Qatar is a relatively small country with a population of just 1.6 million, and it is questionable whether they will be able to cope with the influx of people that the World Cup will bring. One has to wonder how much money Qatar put into their bid. Australia spent $45m and managed to get one vote for their troubles, but one feels their bid was probably hampered by this awful video.

England will be disappointed. Despite all their efforts, they only managed to get two votes. British Prime Minister David Cameron was criticised by some for travelling to Zurich to support the bid instead of attending climate change talks in Mexico. But hey, why trade one corrupt bunch for another? Luckily, Ed West is on hand to put his own perspective on things:

Sepp Blatter, after telling us that the Chinese invented football (???), then explained that football teaches us how to accept defeat.

Wrong – for the English football teaches us that foreigners always cheat us out of everything, and we have never fairly lost in anything, ever.

Ashes Preview: Write off Australia at your peril

by Mysterion

Today the 2010-11 Ashes Series gets underway in Brisbane. To many, the result of the series seems like a foregone conclusion. England find Australia in a state of disarray, with Australia coming off a 2-0 series defeat in India.

However at home, Australia are a completely different prospect. England are well aware of this. The last time Australia lost the Ashes at home was in 1986-87, an admirable record. Australia hasn’t lost at the Gabba since 1988, which is why I’m not prepared to write them off so quickly. Even though Australian cricket is at a low point, they still have talent in their side that other nations could only dream of.

With Shane Watson, Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke in their top order, there are runs there. If Mitchell Johnson can fire this series, England’s batsmen may be in for a torrid time. And in debutant Xavier Doherty they have a spinner who is hungry to prove himself and establish himself in the test side. He can have no greater occasion to do so. 

It is not as though England are invincible either. There are still question marks over the ability of their batsmen. For example, Alastair Cook has a healthy average of 42.78 in tests, but against Australia it is just 26.21. Having said that, if he wants to improve that average, he will have no better chance than this series.

England have their best chance to break their Australian hoodoo. A lot will hinge on the first test in Brisbane, which will set the tone for the series.  Whoever can take the initiative on the first day may well win the series.  It should prove to be a fascinating match up, with England wanting their first series win in Australia since 1987, and Australia desperately looking to restore their reputation. 

It should be a lot closer than people think. I can’t wait.