Welcome to the Tuesday Tithbits, where for some reason, I post a crapload of AFL ‘Tithbits’ and not much else.
Blog Stats for March
Would like to kick off the weekly segment by giving a few thanks to you, the viewers of JT’s Sporting Reviews- I had a grand total of 1,082 views for the month of March, and also hit 500 likes on the Facebook page– Many thanks, and your support is much appreciated!
A Dog Bows Out
It wasn’t a major shock, and it wasn’t an April Fools Joke, but after struggling with concussion symptons since March of last year, Western Bulldogs stalwart and 2016 Premiership hero Liam Picken announced his retirement.
The son of Collingwood champion Billy Picken (And a cousin of Jonathan Brown), he wasn’t taken as a father-son selection in the draft by the Pies, played at Williamstown and won their Best & Fairest, and then made it to the Dogs on their rookie list in 2008 and debuted in 2009 at the age of 22.
Aside from the Dogs’ memorable NAB Cup win in 2010, Picken’s finest hour was the 2016 Grand Final, where in a close game against the Sydney Swans, he kicked 3 goals, including the sealing goal with 2:20 to go in the last quarter, which sealed the end of the Dogs’ 62 year premiership drought.
In some weird coincidence(s), his 198th and final game was against Hawthorn in Round 23, 2017, the pre-season game in which he suffered his career ending concussion symptoms was against Hawthorn, and he announced his retirement the day after the Bulldogs played Hawthorn.
He also had the win-loss record of 99 wins, and 99 losses. Now that, is pure coincidence.
A Buddy Big Record
Buddy Franklin is on his way to 1000 goals, but on the march there he’s racked up yet another milestone, passing Scott Thompson (Of the Adelaide variety) for the most career ‘Clangers’ by a player since they were first recorded in 1998.
For the uninformed, ‘Clangers’ are defined as disposals which go straight to the opposition team, and are in their own way, similar to an unforced error in tennis.
Franklin racked up 6 clangers against the Crows last Friday, bringing him to 1076 career clangers, ahead of Thompson’s 1071, and Bud in his 292 career game averages 3.68 clangers per game, which is more than the likes of Joel Selwood (2.97) and Patrick Dangerfield (3.22) and teammate Josh Kennedy (3.08)
On current numbers, only Dustin Martin has a higher average than Buddy, at 3.92 clangers per game, which is somewhat understandable, given Dusty predominantly plays in the midfield.
Of course, if they included behinds kicked as clangers, Buddy would sit on approximately 1,740 career clangers. What a spud, no wonder the Hawks didn’t re-sign him.
Andrew Gaff Returns This Weekend For West Coast
It’s fair to say a bit’s changed at the Eagles since August of 2018, when Gaff felled Andrew Brayshaw in the Western Derby of Round 20, and earned himself an 8-game suspension for one of the ugliest off-the-ball hits ever seen.
What a fun fortnight to start your season- Getting abused by Collingwood fans at the MCG, and then a Western Derby in which Dockers fans will probably try and jump the fence with machetes in search of retribution for ‘that’ hit.
The Nicky Winmar Statue
Last time I checked it wasn’t exactly official, but the Fremantle-St Kilda game this Sunday will see the unveiling of the Nicky Winmar Statue outside of Perth Stadium, depicting the moment Winmar (As well as teammate Gilbert McAdam) stood up to racial abuse at Victoria Park in April 1993 by raising his jumper and pointing to his skin, allowing photographer Wayne Ludbey to capture one of the most iconic moments in Indigenous-Australian history.
There was some debate about where the statue, being designed in Sunshine, would be placed; The Saints’ home of Moorabbin, Victoria Park, where the moment occurred, or at Optus Stadium, built on Noongar land, and Winmar of course, being a WA born and bred Noongar man.
Ultimately, Optus/Perth Stadium won the day.
My only disappointment is that they didn’t get the location sorted in time for the AFL to schedule the unveiling during Sir Doug Nicholls Indigenous Round!
The Eddie Aftermath
So out of the hundreds, if not thousands of thoughts that were spawned by Eddie McGuire’s somewhat dim-witted comments about coin tossers being fined $5000, even when they don’t have any legs, the ABC’s Richard Hinds threw down his opinion, with this attention grabbing title:
I hadn’t even read the article, and when I first saw it, I instantly felt that it’s fair to say that I’ve done my part in contributing to that cause.
Rising Star Nominee
Good to see a Constable laying down the law- Geelong’s Charlie Constable is the Round 2 Rising Star nominee.
AFLW Player’s Association Awards
With the season over, the Women’s awards season has begun, and it was no shock to see Erin Phillips pick up yet another accolade, while Chelsea Randall still remains the only player to win the ‘Most Courageous’ award in 3 seasons of the AFLW.
The list of winners:
Most Valuable Player: Erin Phillips (Adelaide)
Most Courageous Player: Chelsea Randall (Adelaide)
Best Captain: Brianna Davey (Carlton)
Best First-Year Player: Madison Prespakis (Carlton)
The Seed’s Torp, Yet Again
The torpedo is a dying artform of Australian Rules Football, and yet the halfwits who decide Goal of the Year didn’t have the Seed’s ripsnorter on quarter time in the Top 3 FOR THE ROUND. Get stuffed, that should have been the Round nominee the moment it left Seed’s boot.
It seems like every week that I’m talking about the near death experience of a former Newcastle player.
This time it was Knights great, former RLPA President and 1997 Premiership winner Tony Butterfield, who suffered a heart attack during an Old Boys Oztag game on Saturday in the change room after the game, but “dodged a bullet” thanks to the quick thinking of a few quick thinkers, including the game doctor Colinda Holmes and an ICU Nurse Rachel Paton, who by pure chance just happened to be in the crowd watching the game.
Fortunately he’s now recovering in John Hunter Hospital, and should be out in a few days.
Philips quits the Panthers
After being embroiled in the ‘Sex Tape’ affair a few weeks ago, and now being charged with DUI with a supposed breath alcohol content of 0.103, Tyrone Phillips has resigned from the Panthers effective immediately.
Teams for Round 4
With Benji Marshall on the sidelines due to a hamstring injury, don’t be surprised to see a certain J.Reynolds slot straight into the Wests Tigers lineup against Penrith.
While ‘The Championships’ are getting underway at Royal Randwick on Saturday, with a card including The Doncaster, the TJ Smith, the Sires Produce and the Australian Derby (Throw the Country Championship Final too), I wasn’t able to mention how the Aussies fared on Dubai World Cup night during my Sporting Review- So, time to write that wrong.
Kris Lees’ Brave Smash, Peter Gelagotis’ Illustrious Lad and Lloyd Kennewell’s Viddora were the only three Australian-based horses on the card, and they all featured in the Al Quoz Sprint, going up against the mighty Godolphin sprinter and hot favourite Brave Point.
Hugh Bowman sat on the speed with Brave Smash, but he couldn’t go with the hot speed set by and weakened out to run 7th, with Illustrious Lad running in 10th.
Brave Point won well and nearly ran a track record for the 1200m, while Viddora flew the flag with a very game 4th, and as a result, she’s off to Hong Kong at the end of the month, before ending her career in the UK at Royal Ascot, if all goes well.
The best result for any Australian on the night was Bowman aboard his Japan Cup winning ride Cheval Grand in the Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m), finishing 2nd to Godolphin’s Old Persian, who last year won the Great Volitgeur Stakes at York, beating a certain stablemate by the name of Cross Counter- Who, if you’ve forgotten by now, won the Melbourne Cup.
Speaking of which, Cross Counter had his first start since that Melbourne Cup win, in the Dubai Gold Cup (Also over 3200m), and after a two-horse war in the straight with the stablemate Ipsolini, William Buick punched out the favourite and got him home.
I don’t fancy guessing what weight he’ll carry if Charlie Appleby does bring him back during the Spring.
Rest In Peace John McNair
Former trainer John McNair, best known as the trainer of Black Caviar’s only true rival Hay List, passed away today aged 69 with his wife Sue by his side, after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
McNair moved to the Central Coast of NSW from WA in the 1990s, and without a doubt his best horse was fellow expat West Aussie Hay List, routinely ridden by jockey Glyn Schofield, who won 15 of his 28 starts, including 3 Group One victories, among them the 2012 Newmarket, when he carried 58.5 kilos, the highest weight to win the race in 43 years.
Ironically, McNair didn’t want him to run with his high weight, but the owners said otherwise!
Hay List also finished runner up in 4 Group Ones to the ‘Black Flash’, and held the ‘honour’ of being the only horse to ever seriously test her during her 25 start career.
McNair also one of the finest training feats this century on August 14th, 2010, when McNair’s spry 13-year-old Mustard won a Saturday race at Rosehill, believed to be the oldest Metropolitan winner in modern history.
Hay List passed away in 2015, and now Johnny is ‘up there’, reunited with his best mate.
Daniel Ricciardo… Again
After retiring from the Bahrain Grand Prix due to an electrical failure, Daniel Ricciardo was summoned to answer the stewards for not following standard procedure and “failing to leave his steering wheel in place.”
Speaking to Sky F1 after the race, Ricciardo explained the situation, believing it to be dangerous to reattach, given his car failure:
“I saw the red flashing light on (The steering wheel) so I wasn’t taking any risks.. don’t really feel like getting electrocuted today… I believe it was the same as Carlos (Sainz) in Melbourne.”
Imagine how that went down in the stewards room.
“So why didn’t you touch your car after retiring, Mr Ricciardo?”
“Well, I could’ve been electrocuted.”
“What a pissweak excuse, you’ll start from the rear in Shanghai!”
In his last 27 starts dating back to the 2017 US Grand Prix, Ricciardo has retired from 13 of them, at a rate of 48%.
And that’s all I’ve got for now- Will be throwing any more ‘Tithbits’ I can find throughout the day!