AFL

Tuesday Tithbits: 29th March

So it’s the last Tuesday of March, and I haven’t seen this much discussion about a slap since ABC aired The Slap in 2011.

If you ask me, it’s a good thing Will Smith chose to slap Chris Rock instead of Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson…

Because The Rock would’ve driven down Jabroni Avenue and dropped the People’s Elbow on Will’s roodey poo, candy ass, because he’s the most electrifying man in sports entertainment.


If Channel 7 had been the host broadcaster for the Academy Awards, the Smith/Rock slap would’ve looked like this

For context, this is what Buddy Franklin’s 1000th goal looked like on the Channel 7 broadcast:


Given there’s a high chance the Hawks will be in the Bottom 6 by July, I may as well enjoy this for the next few days


On the subject of 1,000 goal players

This subject came up on Sunday night’s broadcast of Bounce on Fox Footy, when Ben Dixon mentioned he’d played with both Buddy Franklin and Jason Dunstall (His co-host) at Hawthorn.

After consulting the mighty Swamp, the only player to play alongside at least THREE of the six 1,000 goalkickers in league history is 2-time Hawthorn premiership player Peter Russo, who stands as the only player in history to play alongside the 3 legendary spearheads of the 1980s and ’90s, Gary Ablett Snr, Jason Dunstall and Tony Lockett.

Russo played 2 games with Ablett in 1982, which was Ablett’s only year with Hawthorn.

He played for 4 seasons alongside The Chief, capped off by the 1986 Premiership.

Then he moved to Moorabbin and finished his career at St Kilda alongside Plugger between 1989 and 1990.

In fact, here’s the exclusive list of Hawthorn players who played with Dunstall and Franklin:

Ben Dixon, Shane Crawford, Richie Vandenberg, Trent Croad, Angelo Lekkas, Jonathan Hay, John Barker and Nick Holland.


If Western Australia win or draw the Sheffield Shield Final this week they’ll complete the treble of men’s Australian domestic cricket titles for 2021-22

The Perth Scorchers won the Big Bash League title back in January, WA won the Marsh Cup Final against New South Wales 3 weeks ago, and WA is hosting this week’s Sheffield Shield Final against Victoria, starting on Thursday, which is the first time the WACA has hosted the Shield Final since 1998, so to put it mildly this is WA’s best chance to win the Sheffield Shield since their last title way back 1999.

No word of a lie, I was going to go to Day 1 and actually use my WACA membership for the first time all season, but we had to rearrange the rosters at work due to close contacts, and now my schedule is up the creek.

Going through the record books, since the domestic Twenty20 competition began in Australia began in 2005-06, the only state to win all three domestic competitions is Victoria in 2018/19, they won the Marsh Cup & Sheffield Shield, and the Melbourne Renegades won the Big Bash Final against the Melbourne Stars.

Some near misses in that time:

2009/10 = Victoria won the Sheffield Shield & Big Bash title, lost the One Day Final against Queensland

2012/13 = Queensland won the One Day Final & the Brisbane Heat won the Big Bash League, but drew the Shield Final against Tasmania

2014/15 = WA won the One Day Final & the Perth Scorchers won the Big Bash League, but drew the Shield Final against Victoria

2020/21 = Sydney Sixers won the Big Bash League, NSW won the One Day Cup, but lost the Shield Final against Queensland


Yesterday was 40 years to the day since the Swans played their first game in Sydney as the Sydney Swans

On Sunday March 28, 1982, the Swans took flight in the Harbour City against Melbourne at the SCG, a massive stride forward in the VFL’s fight to get a foothold north of the Murray River.

In the first sign of the false dawns to come, the nomadic Swans won the game 20.17-137 to 16.12-108, with a team that featured the likes of 1981 Brownlow Medalist Barry Round, future Norm Smith Medalist and tribunal savant David Rhys-Jones, and Anthony Daniher, the father of Joe Daniher, who would retire in 1994 as the last active player to have played for South Melboune.

The odd part of that first game is that the Swans were still formally the South Melbourne Football Club and based in Melbourne until June 3, but were marketing themselves as the ‘Sydney Swans’ for their home games at the SCG.

After June 3, they dropped South Melbourne and became known as ‘The Swans’ for the rest of the year, and from 1983 onwards, the Swans officially became the ‘Sydney Swans’ and set up their offices in the Harbour City.


The only Budget I give a rat’s arse about tonight

Who knows why the Australian Government chose to name such an occasion after an American company with an established history in the country, but all we can say on this Tuesday night every year, is thanks Budget, for providing reasonably priced cars and trucks for hire for the people of Australia.


Haas team principal Guenther Steiner on Kevin Magnussen finishing 9th in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

One of the great quotes from an individual who would call a spade a “****in’ shovel.”

“We can’t be too greedy, last year for 2 points I would’ve f**ked the whole paddock.”

For context, Haas didn’t score a point in 2021, and didn’t score a point for a total of 28 consecutive races.

Kevin Magnussen replaced Nikita Mazepin 10 days before the season, and has now scored 12 in 2 races.


Fantastic to see Duais retrospectively saluted as Crazy Craig’s Pick of the Day in the rerun Tancred Stakes at Newcastle

As someone who watched a couple of Monday’s races, that Newcastle track has solidified a feeling I’ve had in my mind for at least 5 years…

Sell off Rosehill and use it as a nuclear weapons testing facility.


The 2022 NRL season has the lowest average winning margin (9.9 points) through 3 rounds of any season in the NRL era (1998-)

This was actually pointed out by RL Guru on the Bloke In A Bar podcast for Round 3 (Look at 19:32 in):

But it does appear the Murdoch papers have jumped on that factoid like seagulls on a chip:

It’s the key rule change that has delivered the closest start to an NRL season in 24 years and erased the stunning blowouts that plagued last season.

The Daily Telegraph can reveal the winning margin across the opening three rounds compared to last year’s mismatch debacle has remarkably been slashed by nearly 50 per cent.

The revised six-again rule, key injuries to top-flight sides and improved rosters to lower-ranked clubs have been identified as key reasons behind the stunning blowout reversal from 2021.

Fox Sports Lab stats reveal the average winning margin is just 9.9 points so far this season, down from a whopping 18 points last year, making it the lowest average winning margin after three rounds since NRL started in 1998.

After three rounds last season, that average winning margin was already sitting at 15.7 points, before carnage hit the following week with blowout scores of 46-6, 38-0, 40-6 and 48-10. The average winning margin of that weekend was a staggering 26.1 points.

Thirteen of 24 games this year have been decided by seven points or less.

Further indicating how competitive season 2022 has become, an average of 6.58 tries have been scored each game compared to 8.02 through 2021.

In watching a couple of games each week, I reckon it has been noticeable to see how much closer the competition is, and it is funny to think about how a team like the Bulldogs contributed heavily to that average losing margin, whereas this year their 3 games have had margins of 2, 6 and 1 point respectively.

And on the other hand, you’ve got teams like the Cowboys who have won 2 games by 20+ points.


The Richmond vs GWS game on Sunday afternoon was the 16,000th game in the history of the VFL/AFL

That is a genuine fact that you can get from the Big Lists on AFL Tables:

With the current 18 team setup and 22 games per season, it takes roughly 5 years/season to get through 1000 games.

For reference, the 15,000th game was the North Melbourne vs West Coast game in Round 1 of 2017.


Another major triumph down at Manning Memorial

Last Thursday was the final day of the Metro Midweek season for 2021/22, and Manning played host to the finals of Premier League South and Division 2, while Division 3 played a promotion final against Gosnells at Gosnells, with the winner going up to Division 2 next season.

First up, the good news is that following on from the Manning women winning the Tuesday Premier League title for the umpteenth time, Manning won the Premier League South title for the first time in the club’s history, defeating Kardinya 62-55 thanks to big Bill Fraser’s rink (with Matt France, Brad Hogg and Nigel Rees) winning by a decisive 23-13 score, with the other two rinks finishing 23-22 Manning and 17-21 Kardinya, which means the Manning gents won a superb 17 consecutive games to end the season, a streak running all the way back to November 18.

AJ Heal, Brad Hogg, Bill Fraser, Phil Herbert (Manager), Matty France, Martin Downey (Substitute), David Downey, Larry Herbert, David Cliff, Blake Butler, Joe Angel up the back, and Nigel Rees

After the game, AJ handed out the special awards – Larry Herbert was given a special hat for finishing as the No.1 ranked player in Premier League South, super sub Martin Downey, who only played in the final because regular lead Andy Lill was isolating, got a substitute’s green vest like many AFL players a decade ago, while Nigel, the short statured Welshman from Wales, received a baby seat so he can actually see out the window of AJ’s Dodge next season.

Shortly after the Premier League final finished, the news filtered through that 3rd Division had absolutely roasted Gosnells on their own dungheap, winning 70-50 overall to earn promotion to Division 2 in 2022-23, which means Manning are going to have 2 Premier League teams, a Division 1 team, and a Division 2 team on Thursdays next season…

For context, Division 2 would be the highest or second-highest ranked team at a majority of bowling clubs, whereas it’ll only be our fourth best team, so we may expect a few beltings.

Unfortunately, the only piece of bad news for Manning on Thursday was that Willetton proved too good for the Eagles in the 2nd Division Final, winning all 3 rinks to win the flag 64-48, a big achievement for a club who’d never won a men’s pennant beyond 4th Division in their history, although the good news for Manning is that they were already guaranteed promotion to Division 1 thanks to finishing top in 2 White.

I did ask Willetton’s team manager Peter Reed if this was their first men’s flag in the club’s history, which he thought it was, but it turned out they had won a couple of titles in the lower grades since the turn of the century, although Thursday’s win was easily their greatest achievement in a men’s pennants competition, and well done to them.


The story of my absolutely definitely lucky last game of the Pennant season

With our Saturday 2nd Division game called off last Tuesday because Safety Bay had a positive case and more close contacts than the West Coast Eagles, I assumed I was going to get a quiet weekend, but it turned out that the club had at least a dozen players out as COVID positives or close contacts, which meant some Division 2 players had to play Premier League at Safety Bay, while I was parachuted down to aid Division 5 playing at Como, which I thought was half a chance of getting called off given the forecast for rain and thunder thanks to the ex-tropical cyclone currently hanging off the WA coast.

Alas, we played on an often gloomy, humid, sweaty Saturday afternoon, and on my rink was Peter in his first game as a skip, Adrian, and fellow ring-in Ilona, who I’d played alongside during my Tuesday adventures for plenty of success.

For context with ladder positions, the game was basically a dead rubber, because Manning were locked in to 3rd place and a Promotion Final next week, while Como were 9 points back in 4th, and unbeknownst to them, their season was done after Saturday, because unlike other Divisions, there are five colours in Saturday Division 5, which means the five Division winners play a Finals series against each other for the title, while the 10 remaining 2nd and 3rd placed teams play for Promotions in a random draw, and finishing 4th is akin to finishing 4th in a horse race – You get stuff all.

To cut a long story short, our rink raced out to an 8-0 lead after 6 ends, and thanks to another great team effort, we never trailed at any stage in the game, although Como (Rod, Lorraine, Robert and Andrew) did give us a big push, with moments like Lorraine (Who had the pink bowls) forcing a dead end on the 15th End after I trailed the jack, old Andy cutting our holds down time and again, and at one stage our lead had been cut to 13-11 after 16 ends, and we were getting a bit ragged.

Although, we got the mat back on the 17th end and never gave it back, holding 1, 1, a 3 to make it 18-11 with 2 ends to play, then we dropped a 5 on them on the 20th end to make it 23-11, guaranteeing the outcome, and we finished off with a 1 to make it 24-11.

This was the 20th end, when we had 4…. Andrew then hit one of Ilona’s bowls in to make it 5

What I enjoyed was that none of us really stood out – I put down a couple of beauties to match my stinkers, Adrian was right behind me, Ilona came good a couple of times, Peter did himself proud in his debut as a skip, and the best part of all was that we wound up carrying Manning to the aggregate victory 60-51 and 4 points to 2, as Como made comebacks to win the other two rinks 23-22 and 21-17 respectively.

Actually, on a totally unrelated note, on the adjacent rink to us Como had a player called Marda…

Every time I heard the Como crew cheer her name, I thought of Alan Sherman.

“Hello Marda, hello Faddah!”

So that officially marked the end of my maiden Pennant season, and having crunched the numbers, my rink record across about 6 divisions, 2 genders and 23 games was 13 wins & 10 defeats, which was a fair return considering I lost my first 4 games.

If you ask me, the highlight of all those games was the visit to Safety Bay back on February 10, because it was the first time I’d been promoted to Division 4 in my life, I played really well, we won our rink to help defeat the ladder-leading team by 1 shot (53-52), and as I found out on Thursday, that very same Safety Bay team won the Thursday Division 4 pennant.


And finally, congratulations to my mate Merv Roberts, the No.1 Used Toyota Salesman in Western Australia

Unfortunately for Merv, he found out the No.1 salesman only gets a Silver award, instead of the expected Gold.

So not only is Merv the World’s Unluckiest Bowler, a fact confirmed by the Guinness Book of Records, he’s also the World’s Unluckiest Used Car Salesman.

“Why the **** wouldn’t the idiots have gold!”

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