Friday, June 27, 2008
Basically 10 nations remain in the hunt for the 4 full and 1 half world cup spots available to Asian teams. Namely Australia, South Korea, Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, North Korea, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Tonight's draw will divide the 10 teams into 2 pools of 5 teams. The two top nations of each pool will take the 4 full WC spots. The two teams that finish third in each pool will play off against each other for the half spot. The winner out of the two third placed teams will then battle the winner of the Oceania region for a world cup birth.
The draw works by splitting the 10 teams into 4 pots based on rankings. Currently Japan and Saudi Arabia are equally ranked 4th. And as such a preliminary draw will be held to separate the two teams. One team from pots' 1, 2 and 3 and two teams from pot 4 are selected to form each of the two pools. As it stands
Pot 1: Australia, South Korea
Pot 2: Iran, Japan/Saudi Arabia
Pot 3: Japan/Saudi Arabia, Bahrain
Pot 4: Uzbekistan, North Korea, United Arab Emirates, Qatar
Australia will therefore be fortunate enough to escape battling South Korea for qualification but, depending on the luck of the draw, could face Iran, Japan, Uzbekistan and North Korea. Alternatively if the football gods are in much of our favour as Mohamed bin Hammam (AFC president) is suggested to be, then Australia could have a slightly less challenging task in the likes of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE and Qatar.
Tentative dates for the next round of qualifications are:
Sept 6: Bye
Sept 10: Away
Oct 15: Home
Nov 19: Away
Feb 11: Away
Mar 28: Bye
Apr 1: Home
Jun 6: Away
Jun 10: Home
June 17: Home
It has already been arranged that Australia's' last home game will be against the team that is ranked just below them, either Iran or the winners of the preliminary draw between Japan and Saudi Arabia. Given that there is a good chance that this will either be Iran (the team who knocked us out of the 1998 world cup or the Japanese who ended our limp Asian cup debut and whom Australia racked up their first World Cup finals victory, there should be nothing for early ticket holders to whinge or complain about. And at the end of the day we all want to jump and scream in a stadium full of Australians - wearing our green and gold!
Thursday, June 26, 2008
But basketball is a funny game. It's not uncommon for great teams (playing badly) to be humbled by average ones (playing as well as they can). And international basketball tournaments have been very open in recent times, mostly due to the number of foreign players who now play in the NBA. Not many people would be able to tell you that the defending Olympic champions are Argentina and the defending World Champions are Spain. However, the U.S.A. are still ranked number one in the world and one glimpse at the above line-up reminds you why.
The starting five for the U.S. will likely be Paul, Bryant, James, Anthony and Howard. In this bunch you have three of the NBA's top four scorers (James, Bryant and Anthony) and the league leaders in assists (Paul) and rebounds (Howard). That's the complete package right there. If these guys have an off night you've got plenty of options on the most star-studded bench in world sport.
So who can stop Team U.S.A.? Argentina are ranked number two in the world and are renowned for their great team play, which was on display for all to see during Athens 2004. MVP of those games was San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili. Ginobili and his injured ankle are in a race against time to be fit for Beijing. Losing their best player would be a bitter blow for the Argies as they have also had two other key players retire from the international arena. A definite medal chance nonetheless given their ability to play as a team in synch with one another and the game plans of coaching staff.
Spain are represented by the brothers Gasol (Pau and Marc) as well as NBA players Jose Calderon, Juan Carlos Navarro and Jorge Garbajosa (no relation to French Rugby star Xavier). There is talent in the Spanish squad but I'm not sure the depth is there to win the gold. I wouldn't try telling that to a Spaniard though as they are passionate about their country to the point of being totally crazy.
Russia are the defending European Champions. They are very much a mystery as nearly all of their players play in Russia. Only Andrei Kirilenko and Viktor Khryapa ply their trade in the NBA. The heart and soul of their team, a guy that epitomises everything Russia (when I think Russia, I think of vodka and this guy) is:
It would be remisce of me not to mention the World Champion Opals. They will be fighting it out for the gold with the U.S.A. and Russia, who joined the battle by stunning the U.S. in the semi finals at the Worlds. Led by the best female player in the world in Lauren Jackson, and with most of the Opals playing in the WNBA, they should take a heap of beating. It's optimistic to see any other country taking a medal off these three...
Go the Boomers! Go the Opals!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
- Blues: Brett Stewart, Jarryd Hayne, Joel Monaghan, Matt Cooper, Anthony Quinn, Braith Anasta, Mitchell Pearce, Willie Mason, Danny Buderus (capt), Brett White, Craig Fitzgibbon, Ryan Hoffman, Paul Gallen. Interchange: Kurt Gidley, Anthony Laffranchi, Ben Cross, Anthony Tupou.
If you, like many Australians stayed up to watch Lleyton Hewitt win his first round match at Wimbledon against Robin Haase you probably have come to the conclusion that his tilt will be a short lived one.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
If you haven't caught the Euro08 fever, then you must be living in a hole. I have to commend the SBS for at least giving us a highlights package each and every game day but is there anything better than the dulcet tones of Martin Tyler calling a game live - 4:30am or not, I don't think so.
Turkey have just progressed after three heart-wrenching come from behind wins, whereas Portugal have stood aside to let an unconvincing Germany side through to another victory and back into favouritism for the title. The question regarding second string sides and what it does for the team is one that Australia must take on board given Portugal's stalled performance against ze Germans. Although the WCQ route for the Australians is a long and arduous one, the impact of a loss on team dynamics can still play a factor, especially when trying to turn the team energy from taking the foot of the gas to motivating them to step it up a notch.
The last two remaining quarter finals pits an unquestionably strong Dutch side against an equally unquestionably strong Dutch coach. Russia, who looked like a different side when putting aside Sweden 2-0 compared to the one that lost to Spain 4-1, will have to find another gear if they are to be considered a threat against the Dutch. The Netherlands, who beat a lacklustre and quite honestly an uninspiring French team, who were deservedly knocked out in the group stages, clinically destroyed an Italian side who weren't allowed to play the kind of football they are known for and was able to field a second string team with depth of quality in the likes of Van Persie and Robben to undo a Romanian side who were growing from game to game and were hot favourite to qualify along with the Dutch going into the final group game. The Dutch have all the cards to play and deserve to be hot favourites to win this one.
Hiddink will have a well oiled Russian side playing a team that he arguably knows more about than his own. But the talent will be against him and if the goals that the Netherlands have scored are anything to go by, so will the football gods. I'm predicting the Dutch to be tested here in a way they are yet to be so in this tournament but they will ultimately come through (paying $1.65) with the final score - 3:1 (paying $13), first to score will be the Dutch (paying $1.60) in Kuyt (paying $9), half/full time to be a draw/Netherlands (paying $4.35) highest scoring half to be the second (at $2.15).
In the other game, the one that will be the one to watch, southern Europe's best are pitted against each other with Spain to take on Italy. I think the wily Italians are going to be too good for the perennial under achievers, Spain. It's not a result I want but can not argue that the Italians know-how in tournaments will get them through over a team that has deserved a lot more silver than it currently boosts. First team to score - Spain (paying $2), and it would have to be in the form of one D. Villa (paying $6.50), half/full time - Spain/Italy (paying $34).
Well I know I said I would give you just one tip and so it must be. I think at $34 you should take a little of the Spain/Italy half/full time action. If you were a cautious man then hedge a little of your outlay on Spain/Draw paying $15. Don't be a douche, catch a little FIFA fever Euro style.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Nothing gets the blood pumping like women's tennis. Normally I would get on an Aussie underdog but the opposite of that is to get on an ugly Russian favourite in Nadia Petrova. She copped a few branches to the face when she fell from the ugly tree did this one. Very butchy as well, Petrova and Mauresmo would be a match made in heaven. I pity the poor mofo that fancies his chances of a home invasion there. But just looking at some pictures of her, in Seinfeld parlance, she's a "two-face"! On one hand she doesn't look half bad; on the other hand she looks monstrous:
So $20 on Petrova to beat Samantha Stosur in three sets @ $5.
I've given the Rabbitohs a bit of a hard time on this site. So this weekend I'm joining forces with one the greatest actors of our time, one Russell Crowe! Getting on the Rabbitohs to a). beat the Titans $30 @ $2.75 and b). to thump the Titans! By 13+, $10 @ $6.75.
When a horse is involved in a horrible fall the start prior, it makes perfect sense to get on! Street Smart would have no doubt won that race by at least 5 lengths if not for getting a face full of turf. Some desperate tactics/sabotage from other jockeys conspired against her but now she gets her chance for revenge! $10 each way on Street Smart, Race 7 in Brisbane.
With hurdling in the spotlight at the moment and talk of it being banned, I'm getting behind the battlers of the jumps scene. After all, it's the missing link between thoroughbred racing and Equestrian! So having $20 on Pride of Westbury, Melbourne Race 2. Man I love my jumps!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
But, is it just me, or is diving a sport that you have all the time in the world for with the women's event, but when it comes to the guys you find the remote control pretty quickly. For example, I can watch such talent as Sharleen Stratton for hours (don't worry she's 21):
Whereas the guys, and in this case its 3 metre synchro specialist Scott Robertson, seem to be continually sporting the 'just hopped of a cock' look:
Elements of the dive that are judged are the approach, take off, elevation, execution and entry into the water. Pretty straight forward - but approach?
Scoring: Individual events - Marked out of 10 by seven judges. The highest and lowest scores are eliminated and the remaining 5 scores are multiplied by the degree of difficulty, added, and then multiplied by 0.6 (why 0.6 I don't know, but I think Duckworth had something to do with this formula). Synchronized events - 9 judges score the dives, 4 look at the execution of the individual dives and the other 5 assess the synchronization of the divers.
Men complete in 6 dives, women 5 (fair enough best of 3 sets in tennis but is diving that gruelling that women can't do 6 dives?). After each preliminary event, the field is reduced to 18 who go on to the semi-final. After the semi-final, the preliminary scores and the semi-final scores are added to find the best 12 divers. These 12 then compete in the final. The medals are awarded to the best three combined semi-final and final score (DUCKWORTH!!!).
Australia have some real chances to take home some medals later this year, but don't be surprised if the Chinese clean up in Beijing. The Olympic squad put 5 medals into their kit after the recent FINA competition in Germany.
Boring things can always be made more fun with martial arts stuntmen. So then, Chan will compete in Individual & Team Dressage, Individual & Team Jumping, and Individual & Team Eventing. Let's just clear one thing up:
dres.sage / drəˈsäzh/: The art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, flexibility, and balance.
Okay then...sounds like fun. Australia's Andrew Hoy, looking to compete at a seventh Olympics, has become embroiled in an animal cruelty case. It's alleged that one of his pupils used spiked boots on her horse to make it jump higher. Hoy is denying any responsibility and rightly so. When asked for comment he said "I'm absolutely convinced someone is out to get me".
What did you expect? Drugs, booze, wild sex-romps, illegal bookies and high speed car chases in an equestrian scandal?!
The Brent Tate Foundation
Locked Bag 50
Turtleneck, QLD 4889.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
There will be four disciplines of cycling at Beijing; track, road, mountain bike and the exciting addition of BMX. Good to see the Games' organisers going retro with a bit of California Games. An Atari 2600 classic. Hopefully London introduces footbag or at least flying disc for 2012. Back to the subject at hand, the track cycling events include sprints, pursuits, keirin, madison, and points races. Medals for road cycling will be awarded for the road race and time trial.
The main reason for watching any of the four disciplines is the possibility of:
The "KFC Kid" Ryan Bayley is back and angry as ever after an on-track stoush with his soon to be brother in-law Shane Perkins. Bayley is obviously stoked that Perkins is doing his sister and had this to say after the incident: "The biggest thing was, I actually don't like the guy, so it made me a little bit more angry during the race and after the race. It's an unfortunate incident. Perkins is going really well at the moment, but I don't care because I don't like him". He'll also be up against Theo Bos and his million dollar bike.
Other Aussies to look out for are Mark French, Anna Meares and Katie Mactier. I could crap on for hours about the finer points of keirin and madison but I'd ruin all the fun for you, the viewer. Trying to figure out who wins and how in a cycling event is part of the enjoyment. Let's just hope there's as many stacks as Aussie gold medals in Beijing!
Watching the BMX at the Games, I'm sure I'll be hearing in the back of my head the catchy theme for California Games...doo-doo-doo.....doo-doo...doo-doo-doo...
Monday, June 16, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
BR2 no. 5, Supreme Agenda $10 e/w
BR4 no. 3, Magic Promenade $20 win
BR5 no. 14, Strawberry Sky $10 e/w
BR6 no.6, Easy Rocker $20 win
BR8 no. 1, Spinney $20 win
Well despite picking winners in the sport I haven't been converting it into dollars thanks mainly to my appetite for getting a little carried away. So in an attempt to restrain myself I give you my weekly insights:
$15 Multi on
Hawthorne / Adelaide @ $2.00
Collingwood / Carlton @ $1.38
Richmond / Melbourne (1-39) @ $2.25
Spain/Sweeden (Half/Full time) @ $2.45
Portugal / Switzerland @ $2.25
$15 Multi on
Roosters / Panthers (1-12) @ $3.10
Sharks / Warriors (1-12) @ $3.10
Tigers / Eels (13+) @ $3.95
Spain/Sweden (Half/Full time) @ $2.45
Portugal / Switzerland @ $2.25
$20 Multi on
Spain/Sweden (Half/Full time) @ $2.45
Portugal / Switzerland @ $2.25
I will be the first to admit good fortune last week in the Straddie, but let's see if it will continue into this weekend's racing:
$15 W Randwick Race 8, No. 9 "Carry on Dude"
$15 W Randwick Race 6, No. 2 "Eagle Rock"
$20 W Randwick Race 4, No. 1 "Star of Crown"
Thursday, June 12, 2008
* Tony Archer; the Hometown Hero. A terrible performance dictated by the home crowd. Even parochial QLDer's would have to ask why this dipshit awarded 16 penalties in an Origin match. Watching the Hannant try I correctly predicted it would be Refs Call and that Archer would give it a try. There was nothing surer. And once again the douchebag referees boss Robert Finch refuses to acknowledge the ineptitude of one of his bum-chums.
* Gasnier and Turner in defence... you all watched the match, that's all I really need to say.
* I've watched a lot of Rugby League but I can't remember watching a team that never even remotely looked like scoring as was the case with NSW.
* They were so bad they made Brent Tate look awesome, Incurable Neckitis and all.
* Willie Mason should be bound, gagged, locked in a vault and fed sedatives up until just before kickoff for Origin III lest the stupid bastard be tempted to shoot his mouth off again.
* And Queensland...it's only 1-1. You ain't won shit yet. Especially if the Hometown Hero gets the gig for Origin III.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
1. B. Slater
2. D. Boyd
3. G. Inglis
4. B. Tate
5. I. Folau
7. S. Prince
6. J. Thurston
8. S. Price
9. C. Smith
10. P. Civoniceva
11. M. Crocker
12. S. Thaiday
13. D. Johnson
14. B. Hannant
15. K. Hunt
16. N. Myles
17. A. Harrison
1. B. Stewart
2. S. Turner
3. M. Gasnier
4. M. Cooper
5. A. Quinn
6. G. Bird
7. P. Wallace
8. B. White
9. D. Buderus
10. C. Fitzgibbon
11. W. Mason
12. R. Hoffman
13. P. Gallen
14. A. Laffranchi
15. A. Tupou
16. K. Gidley
17. S. Simpson
NSW won the first game fairly convincingly. However game II looks like a more difficult proposition, based on the team changes made by both teams and on the move to the Fortress formerly known as Lang Park. QLD have brought in Prince for
The great news selection for the Blues is the suspension of Justin Hodges. This shifts Tate in to the centres (hurrah!) and drafts in Darius Boyd. Whilst I will never complain about a Tate selection from the standpoint of a biased NSW fan, it must be wondered what he holds over the QLD selectors (See the poll on the top right of the page!) Lillyman out, Harrison in. 8 minutes of unspectacular football replaced by 8 minutes of unspectacular football. I always wonder about the 17th man selection by Queensland... is there some sort of pride factor in picking a side with only 16 players in it???
For NSW, Hayne, Cross and Hornby make way for Turner, Simpson and Gidley. The Turner and Gidley changes should provide little change from game 1. The Simpson change is a headscratcher. Are there no other props in NSW??? The Captain I know would have gone with Todd Payten. I could have lived with that. The *best* thing that comes out of the Simpson selection is that it gives a new guy to fill the role of Laffranchi in game II. Laffranchi in game one was spectacular when he was on the field, but saw far too few minutes. Hopefully that role (lack of minutes) falls to Simpson in game II. In fact, Laffranchi wins the "Wes Mantooth Award" for his game I performance.
* Note the Wes Mantooth Award is given to Sportsmen who dazzled us with their play. But deserved far bigger roles. Seriously, Anchorman is my favourite movie but how much better would it have been with MORE MANTOOTH! It runs for something like 90 minutes. Make it 92 minutes and lets see Wes present the news or something. At least in a deleted scene. Also, why can't they make Anchorman 2 and save Will Farrell from himself.
I think NSW are a good chance here. The backline of Queensland just looks 209% worse when Tate is in the centres. And the Queensland bench is bereft of impact. If NSW can stay close for the first hour, I think it could come down to the benches. And there NSW is a clear winner. If you are betting, take QLD by 13+ and NSW by 0-12. Either NSW get blown away early or win a close one. I will just take the second option as I don't have the heart to back QLD.
Anyway, that's all I've got on Origin 2. I will be cranking up some Roy and HG, getting some sweet seafood and beering on.
No laughing stock post today, eh JB??? You saw how that went last time.
Monday, June 9, 2008
After yet another series of howlers over in the West Indies, "Gunfinger" Tiffin as we like to call him at WHAB, has deservedly been added to the honour roll. Without doubt the worst umpire in international cricket. If I walked out to the middle at a weekend warehouse cricket match and saw this guy up the other end I'd be very nervous...
Saturday, June 7, 2008
They are somewhat rough, so I may come up with nothing, but if you are like me - this is how you like to invest.
Not too interesting in terms of roughies, I think Lancaster Park ($26) can improve. There seems to be enough of a wrap on it and this is an easy race.
Again, wish I had of started this preview with Race 3, however lets lock in Our Jangles ($21).
Looks to be a race in two - High Rollin' WOman and Black Minx. I will be betting on High Rollin' to turn the tables but a good outside chance is Cloudcatcher at $13.
A horse that lost to El Cambio by 2.5 lengths - whilst carrying equal weights. Comes in on 53 kgs. Paying $51??? Take Frosty each way and call it your roughie of the day.
Three roughies to like here.
1) Alverta ($17) - last first up run was a nose behind Takeover Target. Good enough for me here.
2) Sir Monashee ($13 allegedly will be more like $30)- owner of the hottest 1000 metre times in this field. That was three starts back. Last start looked like he was back - length behind your favourite Sectagonal. Has a good gate and could be too good.
3) Nessuno ($26) Owner of a 56.85 1,000 metre time with 62,5 kgs on his back!! Has 53 here and looks like he is coming back into form as well.
Will probably go with Riva San here, personally. However if you want some juicy odds, you could go worse than Rainbow Styling who has been solidly working through the classes to get here.
All of my favourite roughies here have shocking gates.
- Swiss Ace
- Snipers Bullet (now its dry)
- Absolut Glam
They could all go well though.
Am actually leaning towards Swick in the big one now..
Chevron Island ($26) - Country form around some decent horses. May stack up here.
By this time big Frosty will have made this all academic anyway.
Friday, June 6, 2008
The Straddy is a race where either a). the leaders knock up but the backmarkers that sit at the tail are too far back in the big field or b). the leaders kick and the backmarkers are again too far back. Right then, I want something that will sit back but have 7-10 horses behind them. Alternatively you might go with the jockey who's the best in the country at miraculously bringing a horse through along the rail in Glen Colless but I think Black Ink was a better chance a couple of years ago. Personally, with pace from wide gates in Murtajill, Swiss Ace and Omnitrader also pushing forward I really think that the barrier is key here. With that in mind, the race is set up for Casino Prince and Pinnacles provided they settle somewhere in mid-field. Shouldn't be a problem for the Prince so that leaves me to plead with Rick Hore-Lacy and Craig Newitt, please don't ride Pinnacles cold! Not from barrier one, surely. The other two I want are Chinchilla Rose who from gate 15 should be able to settle somewhere in mid-field and I like Swiss Ace to hang on gamely if he can get to the rail from the start. I'll be boxing these four. Track will be dead at worst. I've been to Eagle Farm under similar conditions and have seen it go from slow before Race 1 to good before Race 7 so don't be surprised if it gets back to a dry Stradbroke.
I agree with the Captain, you do want something that gets back - but not too far!
Thought it was going to be a wet track... Oh well. I love El Cambio for this race, barrier the only doubt but he could be too strong given any luck. Comes in fantastically at the weights and has to be a good chance. I also like Swiss Ace, Atapi, Helideck and Diplomatic Force. All have horrible gates but remain nice value. With everything that I like coming from the grandstand, I will have to spread the cash around a little bit - pimp style - and hope for one of them to get a bit of luck. With any luck yours have drawn better than mine.
$50 on Geelong, Hawthorne, Sydney, Brisbane, Bulldogs, Collingwood all by more than 15.5 into Portugal/Turkey into Titans and Tigers paying $16.86
$50 Following the Professor with $10 place on Mr Baritone, $10 place on Hellideck, $15 win Casino Prince and $15 win on El Cambio
Captain: Fuck betting on weekly sport. It sucks balls. They call RACING the Sport of Kings...
$35 on Casino Prince
$13 each way on Pinnacles
$11 each way on Chinchilla Rose
$5 win on Swiss Ace
Boxed trifecta with these four at a half, cost $12.
A very open race but think the Captain has well and truly nailed this one. Enjoy!
All my bets are on the Straddie! Yeah.
$20 on Diplomatic Force (When I think of this horse I think of)
$30 on El Cambio!
Swiss Ace: 10/10
Spreading the love around. Like JB, he's anyone's after a few cosmos.
Dorothy Mantooth is a SAINT!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Kevin Garnett: “KG” is going to have to be Finals MVP for
Paul Pierce: Pierce is no doubt an important part of the Celtics line-up but will play a role that will look to compliment Garnett’s inside game. With Ray Allen struggling in the playoffs from deep, Pierce will need to get his three point shot going. His nickname “The Truth” was accorded to him after Shaq said this to a very obedient
"My name is Shaquille O'Neal and Paul Pierce is the motherfucking truth. Quote me on that and don't take nothing out. I knew he could play, but I didn't know he could play like this. Paul Pierce is the truth."
It's hard to argue when Shaq puts it so eloquently...Lamar Odom, Vladimir Radmanovic and Derek Fisher are the other likely starters for L.A. with Allen, Rajon Rondo and Kendrick Perkins taking the tip for Boston. The bench of the Lakers runs deep. Just about everyone will get time in this series and each will have a set role. The Celtics are skinnier in terms of depth so will rely heavily on their big three.
PREDICTION: Lakers win. Most likely 4-2. Any sort of foul trouble for Boston's big men will be exploited. The Lakers bench will boast too much depth. The Celtics will go down in all three matches on the road. Kobe Bryant MVP. Series tips off in Boston, 11.a.m Friday AEST on ESPN.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Anyway, to the current system. Lets look at the finalists for the past five years. Many of the games talking heads make a lot of the fact that of the 16 teams currently playing in the NRL, only the Gold Coast, in their second year of playing - have made the finals at least once in the past 5 seasons. This does not account for the fact that South Sydney, Cronulla and the Tigers have made just one appearance, compared to the 5 trips made by Melbourne and Brisbane. What is a far more revealing indicator of a lack of parity, look at the average table positions for the 16 teams over the past five years.
Brisbane & Canterbury: 5
North QLD, Parramatta, St George, Sydney: 7
Penrith, Canberra, NZ, Tigers: 9
Cronulla, Newcastle: 10
Gold Coast: 12.
Taking Gold Coast out of the equation, the differential between the top and the bottom is astounding for a game that preaches parity and assures that the salary cap has created this. Moreover, we can conclude that the notion of many teams making the finals is a flawed manner to grade the current system in terms of parity. It is clear that average/below average teams can make the final 8. Looking at the results from the 1v8 and 2v7 finals in the past five years gives us:
Top seed wins: 9
Bottom seed wins: 1
Average Winning Margin by top seed: 20.3
So, the only upset in this round was by the red-hot Cowboys in 2004. The average winning margin at greater than 20 points makes this clear that the notion of a finals appearance is no measure of parity.
So what to do about parity???
There are a number of complementary regulations that I would advocate in order to achieve parity or competitive balance. Lets start with the removal of the salary cap in favour of a "soft cap."
The Soft Cap:
Spend what you want!! At least in theory. You have a lot of financial resources at your club. Fine. Spend away. However, once you reach some salary figure, you pay a tax on your payroll. Say you have a cap of $2M. Spend $4M and you pay 50% of your excess payroll into a fund that gets distributed amongst poorer clubs. This ensures that clubs with limited resources stay viable. Also means that if you want to spend your way to a premiership, it hurts a lot more. The abolition of the salary cap as a hard cap allows players to be paid a figure closer to their market value. Yes, this figure is distorted by a tax. However, the distortion is less than under a price ceiling.
Free agent compensation:
Lets start with a basic and obvious change. No midseason deals on free-agents-to-be. The club that owns the rights to a player, controls that player until the end of the season. Letting a player sign elsewhere halfway through a season has no parrelels in the sporting world.
Onto the notion of free agent compensation. If you control your player until the end of the year, you should get something for him if he leaves. This is a response to the widely held view that clubs see their own developed prospects leave for other clubs after the club spends a lot of time and money on their development.
At the moment, it can be argued that clubs are actually being offered a disincentive to develop their juniors. This would need to be addressed.
Under the Compensation scenario, if a club loses one of its free agents to another club, that club is compensated by picking up a player from the signing club (outside the signing clubs top 25). Again, this compensates the club for the resources spent on developing a young player. Obviously, tiers of free agents would need to be agreed upon. For example, a club that signs a mediocre free agent would have to only offer a restricted list of juniors/reserve graders to choose from. Otherwise, second tier players would be disadvantaged. However, signing a marquee free agent would expose your best youngsters. This would shift the demand for free agents leftwards - so whilst players would feel that the abolition of the salary cap would pay them market value - the combination of leftward shift (due to the tax) and the further shift (due to the opportunity cost of signing players) could actually depress players wages!!!
The final complementary policy that would need to be worked in would be a draft of junior players. Much of the dominance of Melbourne and Brisbane can be put down to their ability to sign young players. A draft that worked in reverse order of standings (similar to the AFL model) would benefit the parity debate greatly.
Monday, June 2, 2008
- C1 500 m (canoe single) Men
- C1 1000 m (canoe single) Men
- C2 500 m (canoe double) Men
- C2 1000 m (canoe double) Men
- K1 500 m (kayak single) Men
- K1 1000 m (kayak single) Men
- K2 500 m (kayak double) Men
- K2 1000 m (kayak double) Men
- K4 1000 m (kayak four) Men
- K1 500 m (kayak single) Women
- K2 500 m (kayak double) Women
- K4 500 m (kayak four) Women
Australia's lane to Beijing has been hit by tidal waves with one stupid decision during the selection process. To cut a long and arduous story short, the final make-up of the men's team is still unknown. This has been fantastic preparation for our K4 team who don't yet know if they are actually on the team. Luke Michael and Clint Robinson were unavailable during the selection trials through illness/injury. The selectors used their "discretionary powers" to pick Robinson. Michael has since won his appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport. All this equals one big mess. Tensions are sure to be high and team morale low. With the rumour mill rife that Robinson has taken Michael's endless appealing personally, WHAB-bet has Robinson to win by T.K.O inside 8 rounds as the favoured betting option.
Hungary are the surprising powerhouse in the sport for both men and women going by the 2007 World Championships. Germany are also up there. Australia are not. Don't expect any miracles here people. And don't be surprised if China announce their emergence overnight and break many world records in winning nearly all the gold medals. The Beijing University of Chemical Technology has been a busy place this semester...
A bit of history to finish. The only inductee into the flatwater hall of fame is Birgit Fischer. Fischer is both the youngest and oldest Olympic champion at 18 and 42. She has eight Olympic gold medals stashed in her undie draw and would no doubt have had more but for East Germany boycotting the L.A. Olympics. Now retired for a third time she has been preparing for life after flatwater kayaking;