Thursday, July 31, 2008

BEIJING 2008: Rhythmic Gymnastics!!!

Can you feel the rhythm of the rope/hoop/ball/clubs/ribbon? If you answered yes to any of these then you either belong at your local gay bar or at Beijing representing your country in Rhythmic Gymnastics (R.G)! But in all seriousness, R.G has been planted into everyone's subconsciousness by TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy, Lizzie McGuire (First season, "I've Got Rhythmic"), the classic episode #66 of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (Bloom Of Doom), and even Will Ferrell in the movie Old School. So here's a guide to R.G at Beijing to help you get in touch with your feminine raving homo you!

Rope: Fundamental requirements/elements include leaps, skipping, swings, throws, circles, rotations and figures of eight. What a hoot!
Hoop: Rotation of the hoop around the hand/body, rolling, swings, circles, throws, and passes through and over the hoop. Google search...hooping...Cirque de Soleil...Elena

Now where was I? Ah yes, Olympic R.G...

Ball: Throwing, bouncing and rolling; the gymnast must use both hands on the ball and work on the whole floor area whilst showing continuous flowing movement...
Clubs: Juggling, just like clowns at the circus, only not lit on fire.
Ribbon: A satin ribbon is attached to a stick and the gymnast flicks, circles, snakes, spirals, and throws like so:

So impress the missus with your knowledge gained right here at WHAB. Watch some R.G with her...maybe you can use what you've learnt to spice things up in the bedroom...maybe she'll just wonder if you are actually a massive homo...Anyhow, like most forms of gymnastics, R.G is dominated by Russia. Australia suffer the ignominy of being worse than New Zealand in this sport. Maybe we need a Kiwi coach!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The best tour in Sport

Here's a nice debate post:

Given the amount of sports tours that get plugged by sports travel companies - most famously featuring Kerry O'Keefe - we are debating today what would be the BEST sports tour that you could go on. A couple of simple rules:

1. No World Cups

2. No Olympics (as if anyone here was thinking about it)

Reason for these exceptions is that I think there would be too much consensus here - all of us would probably be all over the soccer world cup and it would be a little boring.

Professor Chaos: Anyway, let me get all patriotic and throw my hat in the ring with Le Tour de France.
- Yes, it is possibly a reaction to the Evans tilt capturing the imagination so massively.
- Yes, cycling is BORING; you see the peloton flash past once and you are done.
- However, the goodness is that it is a TOUR. A TOUR of FRANCE. The peloton flashes past and you are good for the rest of the day; eating French food, drinking regional wine and trying to nail a French bird. A bird who could cover my smoking, stocking and pit hair fetishes in one foul swoop. We haven't even touched accents yet...

Game over.

Though, I might have to beef up the sporting side of things a little bit.
Easily done.
July has some fantastic racing in Britain. Watching the likely Australian tilt at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot would do nicely.
And maybe, just maybe sneak to the 72nd hole at the British open to watch another Norman choke.

The Captain: Mine is an American sports tour of my own choosing which I am looking at doing just over a year from now. I'm also incorporating other aspects into the tour; I've always wanted to go to Alaska, and the response from friends has been overwhelming when told of my plans for a second wedding conducted by a fat Elvis who doesn't really look like Elvis! You can even have him drive you to the chapel in a pink Caddy!

Viva Las Vegas! The missus is very brave honeymooning/letting me loose in the gambling capital of the world; and there are some sweet sports bars over there...

I'll definitely be catching an NFL game aboard the pirate ship in "Buccaneer Cove" at Raymond James stadium, home of my Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aaarggh me hearties!

TD Bucs, load the cannons!

Some NBA is also on the agenda, if possible I'll catch a Phoenix Suns game; if not, after promising the missus some Disneyland frivolity and being an admirer of Dwight Howard's work, I might check out the Orlando Magic. Another major part of the tour will be a trip to Talladega Superspeedway; and not because of "Talladega Nights". The title promised so much yet the film delivered so little...Anyway, I've always wanted to catch a race there as it's the fastest track in NASCAR and the possibility of carnage is massively high. We're talking 10-20 car pile-ups, cars flying through the air, cartwheeling through the infield, motorsport at it's destructive best. We're also looking to go to the Big Apple and I vaguely remember the missus once saying "tennis is alright". Yes, she sure does love her tennis, so off to Flushing Meadows we go for the U.S. Open! Not a big ice hockey or baseball fan but as Ron Burgundy likes to say out of context, "When in Rome..."

JB: The drama I have here is to balance a tour which takes account of the bit of travel I have already done and where I would like to go and mix it with sporting events I would kick myself for missing. As it stands, I would have to throw my support for the Socceroos WC qualifying campaign. First game is away to Uzbekistan, I have always wanted to do a 'stan' tour through south Asia, taking in a bit of the silk road and who the f*#k knows what else is out there, one hell of a sporting event and one hell of an adventure. Next up and we have Bahrain, and if you want to talk troubled areas of the globe then surely, the Middle East is the only contender that could match it with the "stan" region. The beauty of Bahrain is that this archipelago whilst being in the Middle East is safely located in the Persian Gulf and with petrol prices the way they are, there would be no better souvenir at this time then a barrel of crude. Next stop and it's Japan. Japan is fastly becoming Australia's no.1 football rival ahead of Iran and Uruguay. What can I say about a country who on the one hand has given us Sony and at the same time some of the best tv game shows known to man. The tour ends with Australia's new whipping boy Qatar which has the highest income per capita in the world. A nice win and another duty free barrel of oil are all but packed in the carry on luggage. Throw in a few nice home games scattered around Australia and we have not just a tour but a campaign. For those who wanted to extend the trip, there are a few Asian cup qualifiers being played in and around these matches.

Wednesday afternoon rantings...

The first thing to get out there; We'll Have a Bowl favourite Phil Gould has been stepped down from interviewing David Gallop on tomorrow nights NRL footy show.

The feud started (or continued) over some pretty heated words on Triple M radio on Monday night, where Gallop was being interviewed and Gould called in and was quite hostile towards Gallop. It is some hilarious audio.
Gould sounds like a complete douchebag. More hilarity is the jock "journalist" using phrases like "the fair dinkum department."

I am not sure where I stand on this mess. On the one hand, Channel Nine looks somewhat weak by allowing the NRL to dictate who interviews it's chief executive. Some would suggest that the NRL is using Channel Nine as its mouthpiece. One wonders if Alan Fels would have jumped in when he exerted Hoover-esque control over the nation's media back in the 90's.

However, the other side is equally valid. Gallop has no responsibility to be interviewed on the Footy Show. Thus, as an interviewee he is entitled to expect courtesy and the opportunity to present his arguments. It seems quite unlikely that this opportunity would be presented by Gould. If I had the choice, I would sidestep Gould as well. Imagine, a fired up Gould, centimetres from your face. Repeating "I told you so," "I told you so" whilst you smell nothing but Kielbasa, Old Spice and Shame. No thanks. And you know he is a spitter. I heard from a friend of a friend of someone who knows the cleaner at Nine that they have to airbrush all of the Gould footage to get the spit out of camera.

Anyway, contrary to what the last 200 words would suggest, I don't really care. I'll be watching the Amazing Race which is always good.

Memo to Channel Nine: if you want to win the ratings battle on Thursday nights, something more like the Sunday Roast would probably help. If I wanted to watch middle-aged jocks make douchebags of themselves I would go to a different high-school reunion every week.

The Captain made the point: "no one thinks highly of Nathan Brown enough for him to be overrated." I refer him to this: Sure it was written by the guy who replaces Phil Gould in my "to kill list" over the summer, Robert Craddock, but there it is. Seriously Robert Craddock, for your crusade against the most visually appealing batsman I have ever viewed, I will kick you in the nuts one day. Maybe tomorrow. But probably not.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Captain's 2008 Pretenders/Wannabes

Here's my team selection for most overrated players in their position:

1. Nathan Meritt
2. Taulima Tautai
3. Brent Tate
4. Krisnan Inu
5. Matt Utai
6. Jamie Lyon
7. Johnathon Thurston (co-Captain)
13. Jacob Lilyman
12. Sonny Bill Williams (co-Captain)
11. Willie Mason
10. Nathan Cayless
9. Mark Riddell
8. Carl Webb

14. Nathan Hindmarsh
15. Roy Asotasi
16. Andrew Ryan
17. Brett Finch

18th man: Nigel Vagana/Steve Simpson

Coach: Michael Hagan

Just cannot put Hunt down as the most overrated fullback. Whether you're a fan of his or not, the job he does is priceless. I've gone for Merritt. I guess Souths don't have another fullback option at the moment. He's small, not fantastic under the high ball and not as effective at no. 1 as he was parked on the wing and topping the NRL tryscoring list. It's harsh on Merritt because if you go through all the teams there aren't any truly terrible or massively overrated fullbacks. Utai the biggest no-brainer in my team. Awful hands and wastes time/allows the defensive line to get set whilst trying to milk a penalty every single time he gets tackled. Tautai, I just don't see much in him. Looks shaky with his hands as well and I'm not sure how Luke Burt gets dropped before Tautai. Joining International Incurable Neckitis Foundation spokesman Tate, is Krisnan Inu who has done absolutley nothing this year. If you're detecting a strong Parramatta undercurrent here that's because they deserve it on this year's display. Jamie Lyon will always be overrated. No matter who he plays for or in what position, but especially in the 6 jersey. If Finch was still at 6 then he would have got it but he's moved to 7 where he's a clear second behind Thurston. Lilyman has to be there for his inexplicable selection for QLD. He's a Cowboys bench player at best and they are coming last. Second row was relatively easy although Mason and Williams were challenged by a fading Hindmarsh. Front row sees a fading Cayless who's talked a better game than he's played this season, linking up with the ever-overrated Webb and his 30 mins per game. The out of shape Riddell who seems to have become even slower and more lazy packs in at hooker. The bench consists of Hindmarsh and Ryan. You've got to feel a bit sorry for Ryan because his team is rubbish in 2008 but I swear I've seen him actually give up in matches this year. Within reach of maybe holding a player up over the line he makes no attempt and down goes the head again in the huddle. What a difference a year makes; Asotasi gets a place on the bench. Has barely looked better than Scott Geddes this year. His stats are okay but he is supposed to be the number one prop forward in the game. If Lyon is proving too effective at five eighth then Finch can be brought on to add more "leadership" around the park. The man loves to point people in all directions. Vagana is another Rabbitoh who has contributed to their unimpressive season with mediocre form. Enough has already been said about the NSW selection of "Mr. Invisible" Steve Simpson. Both he and Vagana are on standby. And finally, Michael Hagan, who has failed to inspire one of the most talented sides in the NRL, is coach. His only idea about what to do; drop Luke Burt. Brilliant. That fixed everything as the Eels showed in their blowout 16-4 win over a third-string, last in the league Cowboys.

The most overrated team in the NRL

Controversy time...
Trying to put together the most overrated team in the NRL actually took a lot more thought than I felt it might. There were a couple of walk up starters, I will get to them in time. But coming up with a couple of wingers, a hooker and a few other positions was quite a tough one.

Anyway, on to the team.

Fullback: Until Slater really burst out this year, this would have been an easy one for me to pick. I still think that Slater is not far and away the NRL's best fullback. Brett Stewart really pushes him and Hodgson is probably a candidate for the most underrated fullback in the game. Overrated; it has to be Karmichael Hunt. Getting an Origin berth over Slater and an Australian jersey over Slater, Hodgson and Stewart is a shock.

Wingers: The NRL's highest paid turnstile Amos Roberts joins Luke Rooney who has been on holiday since his contract extension of 2003.

Centres: The million dollars or so that the Warriors forked out means that someone must be overrating Neck model Brent Tate. He is excellent, maybe in the top three players in the game. But Shimmy Whoosh Gasnier has to land here. If anyone can make the Channel Nine commentary team forget about SBW it is Shimmy Whoosh.

Halves: 6 used to be so easy, Braith Anasta used to be far and away the games most overrated player. However, that can't seem to be the case any more. Yeah, he was found out in origin game three, but noone seems to class him as an upper echelon player any more. Plus, he is probably as good as he has ever been! So your 6 can only be one man, Benji Marshall. Always injured, recovering from injury, not very involved in games due to his risk of getting injured again. You get the point. Sure he can step, but with his fibreglass frame and lacking the distributive skill of others at his position makes this a no brainer.

Joining Benji in the halves is the undisputed leader of the most overrated team in League. Johnathon Thurston. Allegedly the greatest player in the game. I can't see it. I have never seen it. Revolving door defence. Looks great behind a top pack but can't get it done behind anything less.

Props: Mark O'Meley gets the starting nod here. Fortunately overrated by everyone BUT the NSW selectors. Joel Clinton joins him here. Overrated by Joel Clinton so much that noone else's opinion matters.

Hooker: Mark Riddell. His 40 minutes of playing time in a position where 80 is expected. That 40 minutes of playing time might include 20 of quality. I openly challenge Mark Riddell to a race around the world. I don't get paid to play sport. I'll beat the Pig because he will stop every hour for Fried Chicken.

Second Row: Willie Mason must be disappointed here. Most thought he was a shoe-in but he sometimes is just as good as the press clippings suggest! Your Kiwi-Western Sydney-Le Blue duo of SBW (TM) and Frank the Tank Pritchard are your walk ins here. The Captain just wrote at length of the Overratedness that is SBW (TM) so I won't say anything but that I CONCUR. The Tank (All rights Reserved) is cut from the same cloth. A second rower that moulded his game on Nathan Sharpe, the TANK sits out wide and makes the occasional booming run against a tired forward or more often a player half his size. In defence the TANK is often AWOL. Can the Panthers win a match without that TANK being man of the match?? Not if Ray Warren and Gus are involved.

Lock: Not many overrated guys in the 13 this year. Best I can do is Ashley Harrison who probably shouldn't hold down a starting role on a team with so many stars in the back row. Never should have played Origin...

Carl Webb gets the reserve prop spot. I can't believe I forgot about the Webb. I'll even throw a (VC) next to the Webb name on the team sheet. Joining him Jason Ryles another who I can't believe I overlooked for a starting role. Overrated props are certainly abundant this year! Add Michael Crocker whose sole skill seems to be being a complete cockbag and rounding out our team Nigel Vagana who manages to bankrupt the Rabbitohs for no real output.

This team will be coached by the NRL's newest supercoach, Nathan Brown. Brown gets credit for his outburst last week but too little, too late. Something else for me to heckle you about next time you collect a winner's cheque and trophy at Doomben.

Monday, July 28, 2008

WHAB's Weekly Wrap

First things first. Since news broke that Sonny Bill Williams has wiped his ass with the contract he signed with the Bulldogs, we at WHAB realised that we have long overlooked something. SBW plays a handful of games every year. In those games he sometimes puts on a big hit or two. Sometimes he scores a try out wide. Never does he hit the ball up as much as a second rower should. Never has he rattled off 50 plus tackles in a match. His Test performances for NZ have been largely mediocre. The guy comes up well short on his reputation as one of the game's great players, a reputation which has been built around numerous trips to see Phil Gould and the Footy Show and numerous other interviews and press conferences. For someone who claims to be shy and reserved he's turned into quite the media whore. And as such, for all the above reasons, I induct thee, Sonny Bill Williams, into WHAB's Hall of the Over-rated (a hall within the Hall of Shrutebaginess), where he joins 2008 player of the year leader Johnathon Thurston.

What a Test match on Saturday night. Not just because the Wallabies were victorious but for the standard of play. Two teams with a positive approach = great rugby! Some outstanding attacking play in the backs and some gutsy play from the Wallabies pack, particularly the front row. Deans is a Supercoach! We don't like to bandy that word around here too often but New Zealand now fully realise the extent of their stupidity in re-signing Graham Henry. Let's hope for more of the same this weekend.

I have never seen a side with twice as much talent as their opponents play as negatively as Parramatta did against the Cowboys. On that performance they are not even a chance to make the top eight.

Despite Melbourne and Manly losing on the weekend, there shouldn't be alarm bells ringing in either camp. The Storm found their attack blunted by the conditions in Auckland while the Sea-Eagles were down on muscle and had an off day against the Roosters.

Geelong knocked off third placed Hawthorn...without their best player.

Rafael Nadal continued his quest for the number one ranking by winning the Toronto Masters. Federer was a first round casualty. Rafa is now only 300 points behind Federer and if results go his way, he has a chance to take top spot in Cincinnati this week. In past U.S. hardcourt seasons, Nadal has looked tired and off the pace but he looks in good shape, both physically and mentally at the moment, and continues to firm in U.S. Open betting.

Last but not least, the Cadel Evans tilt at Le Tour is over with another second place finish. Sastre and his big budget CSC team proved to much for Evans and his team of sprinters and climbing riff-raff. Maybe next year...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The most awesome night in Australian sport!

It is fairly hard not to be pumped about tonight. Australian sports fans will have the Bledisloe Cup to look forward to at 7:30, closely followed by the Tour de France at 10:00!

Not only do we have sensational sport on the menu but the potential for some seriously historic wins.

Cadel Evans has to make up a difficult (though not impossible) 1:34 in Le Tour.

Anyway, $30 on the Cadel to win the Yellow Jersey into the Wallabies to win tonight will net you a tick under $100!

It would be unAustralian (TM) not to.

You don't want Ray Martin to hate you.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Stage 18: Viva Cadel!

Last night's stage was a tricky one for Cadel Evans in his pursuit of the Yellow Jersey.
The stage took the riders from Embrun to L'alpe d'Huez.
210.5 kilometres including some very tough hill climbs. Cadel sits just off the pace 1:34 off the leaders. Much of the pre-race analysis suggested that if Evans could sit within 2:30 of the leader at the end of the Alps, he would be favoured to go on with it. As such, he looks in a commanding position at this stage.

Stage 18 seems like a key one for the Evans tilt. Now out of the mountains, the stage from Bourg D'Oisans to Saint Ettienne could provide some crucial ground. This is not a completely flat stage though, with a category 2, 3 and 4 climb on the way. The category 4 climb comes at the end of the stage and seems to make the likelihood of a successful breakaway unlikely.

Anyway, this looks like a good one to stay up for. It seems unlikely that Cadel will reclaim the Yellow Jersey tonight, but with only 3 stages to come after this, a successful night will have to involve a nice 0:30 to come off the leader Carlos Sastre. Also interesting, this is about as close as the stage gets to the Beaujolais region, so it should be quite fun to watch Gate stumbling around tasting some of the tastiest young wines on the planet. Did I mention that I will be there in a couple of months???

Anyway, let's hope we see Cadel reunited with the Yellow Jersey soon, and more importantly with his little golden friend.
Another completely unrelated point... How good would a Tour de France trip be in relation to other sports tours. Poll to come!

Football for Fags

Let me set the scene; it's Monday night, all the talk has been about how Manly are a much better team this year, your team is second on the ladder because of a bullshit Origin draw and you're playing the team that is being praised for having a super coach knowing deep down that the only reason they are in the top eight is because of the same ridiculous Origin draw that has robbed you of your top spot. I'm talking about the Storm v Dragons, so let's not dance around the issue, what's wrong with the biff?

For years you have had all those associated with the game crying out for more intensity, more rivalry and a lot more uppercuts to guys in a headlock. We finally see the sort of spark that was lacking in this season's lead up to the finals and we have the game doing all it can to distance itself from the first true bit of passion. My god do you remember the Channel Nine hype over SBW v Mason - what a flop. You can't manufacture the raw passion that fans of rugby league fell in love with. We finally get a taste of it and now it's all about how it brings the game into disrepute. I say it raises the game beyond the bar of professional sport that it is aiming for and takes the game to a higher more poetic and majestic level.

Billy Slater, don't apologise for coming to the aid of your teammates, don't shy away from the fact that when the shit was on you were there with your fists raised. The Folau try in the third origin was magic, but last Monday night's outpour of rage is what this game was founded on and what this game needed.

The Australian sporting landscape is an overcrowded nightclub; great when its full of talent, but an early night out when its nothing more than a sausage sizzle. If rugby league wants to be successful, then its not about keeping Murdoch happy it's about giving the fans something they can support passionately, and that only comes when the players are playing with passion, and the only passion I want between two blokes on the footy field is with their fists -pain and anger.

Thurston's Cracking 2008 Season

I was flabbergasted to read that Johnathon Thurston is leading another website's Player of the Year award. He must have been outstanding in the three wins the Cowboys have had in season 2008 and even more so in the 10 losses he's been involved in. Thurston, despite missing four games through Origin/injury, leads an impressive bunch including Greg Inglis and Billy Slater. His superhuman efforts haven't helped the Cowboys though; they sit 16th and last with the league's third worst attack.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Weekend Wrap...

Only a few things to comment on over the weekend. I got out to some live football at Brookvale on Friday night to see two teams that I don't have much love for go head to head, with Manly dissecting Parramatta by 28-10. Other than that, work kept me far too busy to catch a lot of sport.

Most of the fallout from that game is related to Parramatta's ineptitude. Much of that is valid. Parramatta present a forward pack that looks done. In fact, it is hard to recall a team where so many marquee names have fallen away in the space of one season. Cayless and Hindmarsh, seen to be the backbone of the pack for almost a decade look done. Riddell as always looks decent on the ball in patches, but the Riddell story has long been one of promise that was undelivered. The notion of a professional athlete being as out of condition as Riddell is disgraceful. His only job is to play sport. It's not like he spends his days filling out TPS reports.

The casualty from Parramatta's shocking run: Joel Reddy. Blaming Joel Reddy for Parramatta's woes is akin to blaming those scheming Swedes for starting WWII. Reddy is a serviceable centre who offers good defence and some solid gains on the ball. Think of him as a poor man's Nathan Grey playing the wrong code 10 years later. Reddy has been about the most reliable option for the Eels all year.

The other story from Friday night's game - and the sadly neglected one - is that Manly are very, very good. Without Orford, they lacked a little bit of creativity and some kicking options were a little bit poor, however superior fitness and a massively underrated group of forwards wore their opposition down. Without doing much during the offseason personnel wise, they look to be a far superior team to last years unit. I am thinking that at $4.50 that they can stick around with the Storm this year.

Anyway, having now visited every NRL stadium in Sydney/Brisbane I think it might be fun to compare them. But that will be for a later post. Brookie at this stage is my second favourite NRL stadium. More to come later.

Tour de France is hotting up. Cadel Evans on fire! $2.20 to win the whole thing... Got in a lot earlier, more out of national pride than anything else. I have watched most of the Tour on SBS. Still don't understand it all, but loving the Gate culinary tour of France and the French scenery.

Enjoy your week, and keep reading the official blog (TM) of the Cadel Evans Tour Tilt!

Pay Per Post

Hi all,
You may notice some changes to the blog over the next couple of months. Just a result of our dissatisfaction with our old system of advertising and our desire to make the blog more interesting (and lucrative).
We have shut down our annoying advertisements and moved over to a new system. We hope you enjoy the change. We were looking for a system where we could have more control over the advertising content of our page and we have found one.

We discussed at length with some friends in the blogging community and they recommended Pay Per Post.

We are now able to select what we advertise via Pay Per Post. We find that the major benefit of this is that we can pick our opportunities to ad's that are more tailored to our blog. The community of bloggers is fantastic and the system is easy to use. The web based video tutorials gave us all we need to start advertising and there is a lot of help available to us on the forum pages.

Of course, it certainly helps that they pay really well!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the changes we have made. Myself and the guys will still be posting the same brand of sports journalism and misguided rage that we are best at.

We are excited by the change. Please let us know what you think in the comments.

WHAB Crew.

Musings On The Week In Sport...

Just waiting for confirmation today from Robert Finch that Gavin Badger had a terrific game last night and that those complaining about the 19 penalties, three sin-binnings and the send-off of Jason Ryles are nothing but whingers and sore losers.

The two-horse race between Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi at Laguna Seca was some of the best MotoGP racing I've seen. Unfortunately for Stoner, Rossi came home in front, showing his champion qualities under extreme pressure.

The Wallabies put in a top performance to knock over the Springboks. Sure it wasn't a high-scoring, end to end affair but the battle in the forwards was great stuff. It was a relief to see the improvements in our scrum and line-out and it was Al Baxter's least shite performance ever, though it will take a lot more than that to forgive past hopelessness (i.e trying to run around the winger on the last play of the match whilst in field goal range and down by two against England in our World Cup quarter-final). Under Robbie Deans the Wallabies look much more organised and structured and seem to have a game plan and objective, all of which were sorely lacking under "Knuckles". Seriously, what did we ever do to deserve "Knuckles" as coach?!

That was about all I was able to catch this week as I was away visiting the in-laws...Stay classy WHAB readers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Beijing Preview: Handball.

The sport of handball, whilst relatively unknown in Australia is a much loved sport in Europe with its origins in Ancient Greece. Known as urania then, it was played in a highly similar fashion to the modern game to be played at Beijing.

It takes some of the elements of a lot of sports with which Australians are familiar. Dribbling from basketball, the inability to move too far with the ball and the resultant likelihood of knee blowouts from Netty and adds to those something from the rugby field; the ability for defenders to make hard front-on contact with the attacker!

Your tournament favourites - France. Though the European Handball Federation has had a shadow cast over it of Derek Zoolander proportions by two Spanish teams BM Ciudad Real and Barcelona of late. Though Germany are also mighty based on the form of THV Kiel and HSV Hamburg. Lovely how the Germans always throw a bunch of initials at the front of their team names. Not as cool as TSV 1860 Munich, my German soccer team which manages to combine letters and numbers in an almost unbreakable code, but good enough.

Anyway, the qualification system again seems to have given Australia the bone. The Chinese managed to qualify automatically for both the mens and womens draw. The Chinese men will be joined by African powerhouses Egypt, South American hotshots Brazil and the rest will be from Europe. Croatia, France, Germany, Spain, Poland, Russia, Denmark and Iceland. Here's hoping Iceland come up with the goods. I think it would suck to be from a country where you are known internationally for this:
Anyway, if Channel 7 is so inclined, enjoy some handball. Given the lack of Australian involvement they will more likely fill any time that isn't devoted to swimming with Andrew Hoy.
As for your cool pub trivia to make you sound like a pretentious twat in front of those you like - call it fangballspiel - as your German friends would have in the middle ages.

If you have a midweek gambling addiction that can't be sated by Dubbo racing, Germany at $5.50 and the choking Spaniards at $6.50 seem like a treat.

Enjoy the handball. Go Iceland.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Beijing 2008: Judo

Judo was the sleeping giant of Olympic sports until this guy came along:

After International Man Of Mystery was released, the "judo chop" was all the rage. It got out of hand really; people holding their hand out for a hand-shake only to pull away at the last minute and judo chop their hapless mate; others judo chopping their grandmas for a laugh; and some even just judo chopping thin air in a judo chopping frenzy, such was the impact of this supposedly new form of "self defense". Of course, the Japanese have been judo chopping for as long as they have been stabbing people with samurai swords.

Judo chopping is not permitted in Olympic judo. Neither is "body scissors". In a sport where the Japanese used to compete to the death, it's less likely to end in a funeral these days. So why would we want to watch judo at Beijing? Well it's still pretty tough...

In the NRL, this would be getting referred straight to the judiciary. In judo, this is nothing more than dominating the dojo.

Judo masters are also faster than a speeding bullet:

Ooh, you'll feel that in the morning son!

Australian have a team of 13 heading to Beijing to lay the smackdown. If you want to know more about the scoring and rules I suggest you start to learn Japanese and then hit Wikipedia. Maybe even enrol at a Japanese university. You need a double degree in Japanese/Judo to fully understand the sport; however, anyone with a dozen beers under their belt will know who's who's bitch. So sit back and feel those faceplants, all the sneaky judo chops when the referee isn't looking and every grade five intentional throw from the comfort of your favourite armchair when Beijing 2008 comes around.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Pittman/Rawlinson Bounty

Jana Pittman/Rawlinson is out of the Beijing Olympics.

The much maligned athlete has pulled the plug on the Beijing games due to a toe injury. In most cases, an athlete pulling out because of a toe injury may suffer ridicule, and be asked to harden up. Maybe, the athlete would be condemned by the eyes of Katich. In the Jana case though, we at WHAB are giving her the green light to stay at home. We are even going to suggest that she rests her big toe by not talking to the media, plugging treadmills or stirring the pot. You can take some time off your media feud with Tamsyn Lewis.
Now there's something we can all enjoy. You didn't think I would give you a photo of Jana for your Friday.

Will Australia's favourite daughter: "Rawly" heed our advice??? The smart money suggests that no, she will not.

So how will we next see Rawly?? Will she be given a column in the Telegraph or some such? A place to give us daily insight into how the "toe that stops a nation" is healing. A place to tell us all about her contempt for Tamsyn.
Again, this is not Jana Pittman. Nor is it Jana Rawlinson...

Will it be on television - a today tonight puff piece about how hard it is to be Rawly, followed by commentating on the athletics at the games. Another place to inform us of her Tamsyn Lewis contempt. David Koch and Jana in the same room - time to turn the sound down and ABC radio up.

Will it be another miracle healing??? Stepping through customs at Beijing and casting her crutches aside. Oh, and how the nation could breathe again, if only it were true. Brought a tear to the eye. I think that Australia qualifying for the world cup overshadowed miracle Jana as Australia's finest sporting moment is a travesty. You heard me, a travesty.

The miracle at Athens!

We at WHAB cannot allow this to happen.

You can not allow this to happen.

If you see Jana on a plane to Beijing and suspect something might be afoot, FINISH the JOB(*Deliberately vague in case anyone takes this at face value).

What's in it for you???
Oh yeah - a crisp 80's era five dollar note *May not be legal tender*

You could buy a schooner! 2 service station Mars Bars! A cheeseburger stunner deal! The options are endless.

*** Legal Disclaimer - this is not a serious bounty. Stepping on the toe that stops a nation, as funny as it may be is not being encouraged here. Professor Chaos, WHAB, and WHAB enterprises take no responsibility for anything, ever. Though we may find it hilarious.***

The Worst Seven Game Winning Streak Ever...

After hearing doubtful suggestions around the traps that the St. George Dragons (formerly the St. George-Illawarra Dragons) can make the top four and ludicrous ones that they can win the premiership, I have felt it necessary to quash these foolish thoughts. For starters, the current squad appears hopelessly less talented than the 2005 squad. It must stand to reason then that if the 2005 squad were unable to even make the grand final then the 2008 Dragons are longshots. Yes they have won seven games on the trot but first, let's examine the opposition in that streak.

Win #1: Against a Storm outfit missing nine players and their coach on Origin duties, the Dragons lit up ANZ stadium in a six tries to two, 36-12 romp over the defending premiers. Well five of the defending premiers anyway...

Win #2: Although a very credible performance in winning 20-18 at Brookvale, I would suggest that this was the worst game of football between two sides in the top eight this season. With 13 handling errors apiece and a combined 86 missed tackles, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a battle of the cellar-dwellers.

Win #3: The Rabbitohs had won only once this season (against fellow wooden spoon contenders, the Cowboys) going into this match and were chopping and changing halves on a weekly basis leaving them without cohesion and good decision-making. Dean Widders was at five eighth for this one if you can believe that. Souths had no luck either in this match with the time-keeper sounding for half-time a minute early (when Souths had a full set inside the Dragons 20) and the Dragons also scoring off a charge-down. 26-12, not very convincing stuff.

Win #4: The Dragons showed their eagerness to beat up on teams missing multiple Origin players by defeating the "Baby Broncos" 28-10. They still managed to miss 38 tackles against a makeshift team who you would hardly say were dangerous in attack.

Win #5: After negotiating the bye, the Red V's were shown a thing or two about courage by the Panthers. Penrith were still right in this game until the end despite suffering multiple injuries throughout the match and finishing with only one player on the bench. The Dragons eked a 13-12 win in a match they should have won comfortably at home.

Win #6: Definitely one of the more impressive efforts in this streak, an away win against the Gold Coast. It must be noted however, that Scott Prince was out through injury. Nevertheless, a hard place to win a football game , Scott Prince or no. Dragons sneak home again 26-22.

Win #7: St.George downed the Knights on the road 24-16. The Knights are far from a formidable outfit though, despite decent early season form and currently lie in 11th place.

So there you have it. A pretty unremarkable seven game winning streak, all things considered. And perhaps I should have waited a week to write about the most unimpressive eight game winning streak ever instead. The Dragons are at home to the Raiders. Should win by 2-6 points and firm another couple of points in premiership markets...seriously, get on people!

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Wimbledon Final Preview

For the third time in three years Rafael Nadal will try to take the Wimbledon crown off Roger Federer. Should be a cracking contest, let's suggest some supplements for the punters...


Stella Artois. The beer of choice for the Championships. Elegant, yet understated. Or something like that...doesn't seem either elegant or understated after half a carton though...


Going with Arnott's Crimpy Chicken Shapes to be dunked into Copperpot's French Onion Dip. This may well be followed with some Bulla Creamy Classics Mint Choc Chip ice-cream around the time of the third set. And, depending on the level of messiness/number of sets, there is always a chance of a cab run through the 24 hour Macca's drive-thru...


Fortunately for me I have my brother's bucks party this weekend so that's as easy an excuse as you can get. No-one expects you to be fully recovered from such an occasion by the following Monday. Alternatively you could try what a guy from my work does when he's trying to cover his ass; he speaks a mixture of Chinese and English, "Chinglish" if you will. It makes no sense whatsoever and aims to try and confound the bosses with bullshit. If you are smart, you haven't mentioned to your boss that you're a tennis fan and have possibly even dropped a few of "Oh, is Wimbledon on? I don't really get into tennis much," during the last fortnight. Thus you are able to take a seemingly legitimate sickie.

Nadal leads the head to head 11-6. As I said before, Federer has won their two matches on grass at the last two Wimbledon finals. In the 2006 final, Federer won in four sets. 2007 was much tougher, a five setter as Nadal showed marked improvement on the grass. I see even greater improvement in his grasscourt wares this year and his depth of shot and ability to find the lines will bother Federer once again. It will be interesting to see how Federer starts the match given his thrashing at the hands of Nadal in the French Open final just weeks ago.

I'm tipping Nadal to win but am certainly not writing off Federer. Federer will need a positive start if he's going to win a sixth straight title. Ultimately I think the tide is turning at the top of the world rankings in men's tennis but we'll know more on that after tonight. Enjoy what could be a classic.

Friday, July 4, 2008

WHAB Wimbledon Final Preview

WHAB will preview the final Sunday afternoon AEST so pop back in then for all the form, stats, recommended beer choice and suggested creative excuses to be late/skip work on Monday should it go to five sets.

Beijing Preview: Baseball

Think baseball at the Olympics, and you may think you will be seeing another sport (like basketball) where you see a star-studded Team U.S.A. having their way with almost all comers. Given, however that the Olympic baseball tournament coincides with the Major League baseball "stretch run" and you see a different looking Team U.S.A. and unsurprisingly a much more level playing field.

Team U.S.A. will basically be a cobbled together group of the best players not on a Major League team's top 25 players. Joining them will be the top players from the college ranks. For an NRL equivalent, think about Australia entering the Rugby League World Cup without being able to choose any first grade players, plus the best reserve graders from the other teams.
Team U.S.A. will still be all kinds of good. Led by San Diego State college phenom (widely tipped to go first in next years rookie draft) Stephen Strasburg, and Mike Minor U.S.A. will pitch very, very well.
The Australian tilt... well it's not happening. a silver medal in the last Olympics wasn't enough to let Australia avoid the qualification campaign. The qualification campaign which somehow found a direct qualification spot for THE DUTCH! A country whose most famous baseball export is Win Remmerswaal.

I only hate two things; people who are intolerant of other people's cultures; and the Dutch!

Anyway, you can write off the Dutch, along with hosts China, Chinese Taipei and I will happily write off Korea as well. Some would dispute this, however Korea has been lagging behind their neighbours - Japan - in terms of churning out quality players for some time, and it is pretty hard to see the Chan Ho Park led Koreans battling out for more than a minor role. They will have a lot of depth - with very few players ineligible for selection but will find the top few too classy.

So who does that leave???? Favourites Cuba, Team U.S.A., Canada and Japan.
Cuba have been spurred on by words of encouragement from both Fidel Castro and later Raul Castro: "You all know what the Cuban people expect from you". Exactly what these enigmatic words mean is up for debate. Are the Cuban people hoping that they win? Or have the Cubans been watching a lot of Disney films, and simply hope that the Cuban team has fun and learns some kind of life lesson? Quack.
Cuba are used to tasting success at the Olympics, winners in 1992, 1996 and 2004 and silver medalists in 2000. Bookies have been cautious, sticking them at $1.80. You never know much about the players you will see - the Cuban national team is based at home. The success in the majors of occasional defections from Cuba, such as 2008 defector Alexei Ramirez underline their threat here. Though it can hardly be called defecting anymore.. And after signing a $4.5 M contract with the White Sox it doesn't seem likely that he floated over to Florida on a fridge door.

At $50, Canada could easily find themselves battling out for the gold. With one of the best pitching prospects in the game, Phillippe Aumont leading their staff, anything could happen here. And if anything could get the Captain interested in baseball, it is his beloved Canadians!

You fart loving, fart lovers.

And then comes my pick for the title, Japan. Winners of the inaugural world baseball classic - that's the real pinnacle of international baseball - the one where MAJOR Leaguers play. Japan has lost two of its Major League stars in Ichiro! and Matsuzaka, however the feudal system in Japanese baseball where clubs basically own players until they die means that only a few Japanese players are playing in the Major Leagues and the losses of Matsuzaka and Ichiro! can be adequately covered. Matsuzaka, the find of the World Baseball Classic should be ably covered by Yu Darvish - whom the Japanese hype machine touts as being BETTER than Matsuzaka. Japan at $4.50, yes please.
Even without Australia in the mix, Baseball fans should be entertained to some extent. Though even a rabid fan such as myself would be more likely to watch his Brewers on rather than catch the 5 minute highlight package of Cuba v the Netherlands, in all honesty, there is little more enjoyable than watching the Americans not win Olympic gold in the game where American teams battle out for the WORLD SERIES. Whether it is by their hated Communist neighbour, their hockey mad brothers across the border or by the Japanese. It's all GOOD!
My money is on the Japanese, but my heart says:


And in the red corner...Ben Cross!

Ben Cross was one of NSW's best in the two State of Origin matches he played this year. The only down side to his game, according to WHAB "foighting" expert Russell Crowe, is "foighting".

"He's a good player but 'e can't foight!" exclaimed Crowe after the match. "I'm gonna take him 'round the world with me good mate Tugger 'n show 'im 'ow to foight!".

Cross was quoted as saying he would "rather sit through a week's worth of Master and Commander bloopers and out-takes than accompany that lunatic anywhere".

Tommy Raudonikis also suggested Cross needed to work on his technique. "He was just throwing punches at thin air. Then I think 'e was punchin' his own team-mate. I can see the kid's got heart but when the "cattledog" call comes out he's got no idea!".

The most damning report came from Canberra's Michael Weyman, considered to be the NRL's best biffer. "He's a top player and a top bloke but he'd get knocked out by a rabid chihuahua on that form!".

Thursday, July 3, 2008

My final Origin thought till next year.

On hearing the unbelievable news that Thurston was "man of the series", apart from being speechless, I have taken the drastic step of naming WHAB's own Man Of The Series...Petero Civoniceva. If you think I'm off the mark, I suggest you find a tape of all three matches and watch them start to finish. If on the back of one run, beating a prop with a dummy, you could possibly entertain Thurston being "man of the series" then I suggest you are mentally retarded. Goodnight Australia.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

State of Origin wrap

WHAB would like to congratulate QLD on winning the Origin series. At this juncture we will not mention referees, touch judges, selectors, hopeless players etc. There's no need to go into details, at the end of the day it was a tight series and simply, the aerial abilities of Inglis and Folau proved the difference in what was a very close Game III. We will just congratulate QLD on a job well done and hope NSW can come up with something in their two games at Suncorp next year.

Final thoughts for Origin III

I can't understand why you would contemplate starting Gidley instead of Stewart. Gidley was chosen as an alleged utility... and now our utility is Stewart? Whatever. I would definitely start Cross and bring Mason on after 15 mins or so. NSW should use Monaghan's magic hands and aerial ability to their advantage and play him on Tate. In Origin I, Quinn scored off a bomb and Tate was caught embarrassingly out of position. The kicking game is there with the Roosters halves...use it! And if Tate somehow emulates his Origin II fluke then I'll be the first to tip my hat to him. Leave Inglis to the defensively sound Cooper.

Hard to find any reason why QLD will change their starting line-up from Game II. Hunt will probably start again and be inspirational (?). Most fans realise that the forwards hold the key in any League match. The Blues pack went AWOL in the second match but bear in mind that the QLD pack was missing in action in the first. It seems the opposition packs in the first two games couldn't lift with the hostile crowds yelling out nasty things at them.

Enjoy the game people, may the best team win and may the referee be largely unnoticed. I'm off to the TAB to unload on NSW to win, Monaghan to score first try, and Pearce and Anasta for MOM...

This is just awesome...

Christian News site One News Now is so homophobic that they have installed a filter to change all instances of the word Gay to Homosexual!

As always with the Christian Right, hilarity ensues.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

State of Origin game III preview thread.

Well with State of Origin III kickoff just around the corner, now looks like a good time to preview what should be a great match.

NSW have rung the changes to the back line in particular. Injuries to Bird and Wallace have opened the door for the Roosters duo of Anasta and Pearce. Jarryd Hayne makes his return from injury and the injury to Mark Gasnier has opened the door for Joel Monaghan, a player who most believed should have been given a shot to fill Hayne's wing spot in game two.

In the forwards the return of Ben Cross is the only real change to game two's much maligned forward pack.

On the Queensland side, no change has been made to the team that decimated the Blues at Suncorp in game II 30-0.

Much talk is made of the Queensland side and its all international back line. However, running down the team sheets, much of their edge appears to be in the forwards. With the steadiest front row in the game: Price and Civoniceva, Queensland seem to have a real edge in this department. NSW countering with the often missing Willie Mason and Brett White - about whom the Professors jury is definitely out after game II. Until this morning,I had yet to read anything sensible out of the mouth/pen of Gorden Tallis, however his comments regarding the ability of Mason to go missing for extended periods when his side is in trouble is a valid point. Contrasting this to workhorses Civoniceva and Price and you see the problem that NSW could face if down early.

The back row is a decided advantage for NSW with Fitzgibbon, Hoffman, Laffranchi and Gallen and the potentially explosive play of Tupou.

Queensland may have one of the best paper combinations of halves seen at this level, and a trio of explosive men outside them in Slater, Inglis and Folau, however the combinations may not work at this level if Queensland are unable to establish the forward momentum that game II offered. NSW look steady in the backs with a pair of fine defensive centres and a potential future superstar in Pearce.

One area where NSW seem to have dropped the ball at the selection table is with automatic selection Kurt Gidley. In game I, Ben Hornby provided spark and utility value that was discarded with the return of Gidley. Gidley plays because he can cover myriad positions - 1,6,7 and 9. Hornby on the other hand plays 1,6,7, and 9 and can ably fill in in the centres. This is debatable, but the Professor would argue that Hornby plays ALL of these positions with more vigour than Gidley.

Tomorrow night marks the end of the Origin road for Danny Buderus. It is hoped that the often missing superstar Mason plays with a little more vigour based on that fact. I thought that Buderus had gone on for a season too long at this level but I was mistaken. Next year, I hope that one of the games most underrated players - Michael Ennis - gets his shot at Origin. Though it is almost certain that the selectors will pick the mercurial Robbie Farah.

This game could go either way. If Queensland win, I predict a cricket score, but if NSW win it will have to be a grind. The heart suggests $40 on NSW by 1-12 @ 3.55 and $5 each on Magic Monners to score first and last @$13 and @$14.

Enjoy the game!