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Thursday, June 02, 2005

[Sport] Weekend Warriors

The weekend is fast approaching and there is so much sport on I am feeling quite overwhelmed.

First the mainstream stuff: the rugby.

On Friday the New Zealand Māori take on Fiji in Suva (3-5pm on Maori Television
). They then head to Hamilton to take on the Lions on the 11th.

Update: The All Black Trials will also take place on Friday (6.30-9.30pm Sky Sport)

On Saturday the Mighty Bay of Plenty take on the Lions (I’ll be there, keep an eye out).

On Friday also the Northern Force will take on the Southern Sting to see who will play the BOP (Waikato) Magic in the National Bank Cup final. The Magic are the top seeds but home-court advantage will go to their opponent. Why? Because the Magic do not have a “suitable stadium”, according to Netball New Zealand (NNZ). The Queen Elizabeth Youth Centre (where I once attended a bluelight disco many many moons ago and where, later, Pennywise gave a concert shortened by a fire alarm) isn’t the greatest venue, but it is a venue and one that has held regular season matches, so what’s going on?!

NNZ chief executive officer Shelley McMeeken said, “We're disappointed for Magic that they are unable to host this game but this decision needed to reflect what was best for everyone involved.”

But it doesn’t. This isn’t “what is best for everyone involved” its “what’s best for NNZ and the Sting/Force”. And what happens if the other team can’t get a stadium either?

[I just know the final is going to be in Southland AGAIN].

I wrote in a previous post that Netball NZ seemed to have its shit sorted. Turns out more sorting is needed. Bay Park (Blue Chip Stadium) is going to be expanded in the near future; hopefully part of that expansion will be an indoor sports facility that the Magic can use as an alternate to Mystery Creek.

Internationally, the French Open will be finishing up.
The Men’s Quarter Finalists are:

  • Nikolay Davydenko (12) vs Mariano Puerta
  • Roger Federer (1) vs Rafael Nadal (4)

The Women’s Quarter Finalists are:

  • Mary Pierce (21) vs Elena Likhovtseva (16)
  • Justine Henin-Hardenne (10) vs Nadia Petrova (7)

In the MLB, roughly 1.3 billion games of baseball will be played (or 2.6 billion ½ games).

The NBA finals continue. The Spurs still just need one more win to get into the finals and the Heat and Pistons are even-steven.

And finally (for American–based sports) NFL teams can now start culling all of your favourite veterans because we have passed June 1st. This means that the players’ salary cap impact won’t happen until next season. It’s like being able to forget about your credit card debt for a year.

Speaking of trades and player movements, both Byron Kelleher and Ma’a Nonu have implied that they might be on the move to the Crusaders next season. Both are well within their rights to do so, both are coming off-contract this season and the Crusaders are a team that would be great to play for.

But hang on, don’t the Crusaders already have Chris Jack, Richie McCaw, Gregg Somerville, Caleb Ralph, Dan Carter, Corey Flynn, Rico Gear, Greg Feek, Leon MacDonald, and Aaron Mauger (to name a few)? Aren’t all of those guys former or current All Blacks or NZ Māori? Wouldn’t that mean that Canterbury’s salary must be huge? It must be way over the salary cap…oh, wait, there is no cap.

Canterbury can buy whomever they want. Justin Marshal and Andrew Mehrtens are off so let’s get some new blood in. It’s all the freedom of a professional league, where players can move wherever, but none of the checks and balances to make sure the competition is fair. Don’t believe the hype, by the way, that a salary cap means lower salaries for players; it just means they may have to change provinces to get them. Can’t always eat that cake that you’re having.

Also don’t believe that we are haemorrhaging players overseas. In fact lots of players are returning to play NPC rugby (ala Adrian Cashmore) or they wait until the very last minute before being passed over for selection and heading off (ala Glenn Jackson).

The NZRU is about to release its plans for the new revamped NPC (I never new the NPC was “vamped” to start with). The new idea will include all 14 provinces that put in a bid, but it is basically fucked.

What a great example of “thinking dumber”. Instead of a great competition with 12 teams, instead we are going to have two competitions of six and eight teams each. How is that any different from what we currently have?

One rugby administrator who The Dominion Post agreed not to name said a 14-team round-robin would raise costs, weaken the competition, and create problems in terms of scheduling unless it was split into pools. "The big problem with 14 is the round-robin adds another two weeks...the question is where do you start? You
could start earlier, but that's bumping into club rugby again."

Who gave this guy a job? Look just because you have 14 teams doesn’t mean they all have to play each other. Split them into two division of seven and use that as two sides of a tournament. Or just don’t get each to play every other one. Hmmmm this is starting to sound familiar. Guess nobody from the NZRU reads this.

So if that didn’t bring you down here are two non-sports stories that might.

  1. War is good for your mental health, and
  2. Sherlock Holmes has been reborn (again) with a new series of writers creating new stories featuring the famous detective. Well, you know what they say: Always tamper with the classics.

1 comment:

Gibbs said...

Wellington is the richest union and could probably buy all the players it wanted.Nonu wants to play midfield and canterbury dont have smith and umaga, lualala is okay but nah, and ralph is still just a Mr average-pants.
I reckon its an empty threat. after-all the boofheads and bogans down canterbury way will beat him on the streets for wearing make-up. nonu needs bohemian wellington to be who he is. As for kelleher, well im sorry but the chiefs suck. I can understand him leaving.