20 things you might’ve missed

Inside Sport - - 20 Things You Might’ve Missed -

1

In one hell of a sec­ond act, Shane Gould re-emerges into the pub­lic eye and wins re­al­ity-TV com­pe­ti­tion Sur­vivor. From watch­ing the show, we see that the 61-year-old can still swim, and is supremely canny with the po­lit­i­cal machi­na­tions. Olympic com­mit­tee boss John Coates was moved to say, rather ob­tusely: “There’s some­thing spe­cial about the Olympic spirit. It can pro­duce the very best in in­di­vid­u­als, it can bring na­tions to­gether and can even sway the Tribal Coun­cil.”

2

Young Liverpool star Trent Alexan­der-Arnold plays world chess champ Mag­nus Carlsen, loses in 17 moves. Alexan­der-Arnold later says foot­ball and chess share sim­i­lar­i­ties, which should worry Reds fans.

3

Newly re­tired rugby league star Billy Slater moves into a foot­ball club front of­fice – only it hap­pens to be the AFL’s St Kilda. Slater’s role is in lead­er­ship de­vel­op­ment, and judg­ing how the Saints have gone in re­cent years, Billy will be very busy.

4

The AFL for­malises its long-mooted rule changes, in­clud­ing its di­a­bol­i­cal-sound­ing six-six-six set-up, which will keep a half-dozen play­ers in each third of the ground at cen­tre bounces. The more pro­found vis­ual change is the 18m goal square, dou­ble the size of the cur­rent one. The AFL jus­ti­fied the changes, not­ing a trial in the VFL pro­duced a 15 per­cent scor­ing in­crease; stats-in­clined ob­servers noted that the sam­ple was a minis­cule three matches.

5

Kurt Fearn­ley wins The Don. The Par­a­lympic champ be­comes the first ath­lete with a dis­abil­ity to win the award, which recog­nises the most in­spi­ra­tional sport­ing feat of the year.

6

The first fa­ther-daugh­ter AFL draft se­lec­tion is made with Carl­ton nom­i­nat­ing Ab­bie McKay. She’s the kid of An­drew, a 244-gamer and premiership player for the Blues. An­drew noted to the club web­site: “You hear of play­ers you played with whose wives are preg­nant: when it’s a boy, every­one says ‘fan­tas­tic, the next fa­ther-son’. If it’s a girl, it’s a ‘con­grat­u­la­tions, but they won’t play footy’. Cer­tainly that’s changed now.”

7

Usain Bolt gets a test no­tice from ASADA, grum­bles that he’s not a pro­fes­sional foot­baller yet. The sprint god does even­tu­ally get a con­tract of­fer, then knocks it back. For­mer Soc­ceroo Sasa Og­nen­ovski puts the most fit­ting epi­taph on the Mariners’ Bolt ex­pe­ri­ence: “In the foot­ball world, you’re a no­body.”

8

The Par­ra­matta Eels say they won’t play in the new Western Syd­ney Sta­dium, lead­ing to the ab­surd prospect of Parra not play­ing in a build­ing built in, and for, Par­ra­matta. San­ity even­tu­ally pre­vails, as the club fi­nally agrees to a 15-year deal at the 30,000-seater.

9

Cirque du Soleil is mak­ing a show based on the life of Lionel Messi. This is one of those weird things that makes un­usual sense, in­cor­po­rat­ing Messi’s sub­lime skill into Cirque’s ac­ro­batic artistry. Can’t wait to see the char­ac­ter rep­re­sent­ing Luis Suarez.

10

A Queens­land govern­ment re­port finds the na­tion lost $1.06b on sports betting in 2016-17, a 15 per­cent in­crease on the pre­vi­ous find­ing. Sports betting is the big growth cat­e­gory – with all those ads and apps, hard to be­lieve, yeah? But elec­tronic gam­ing/casino/lot­ter­ies still make up the bulk of the gam­bling take, as Aus­tralians lost more than $23.7b.

11

Boxer Canelo Al­varez signs an 11-fight, US$365m deal with stream­ing ser­vice DAZN. It’s touted as the sin­gle rich­est ath­lete con­tract ever, and an in­di­ca­tor of the fu­ture; rather than putt’ing the Mex­i­can idol’s fights on pay-per­view, where he would be boxing’s big­gest draw, he can in­stead be seen for a $10 monthly subscription.

12

The Gold Coast Suns are slammed all through the off­sea­son for a de­par­ture-wracked list that isn’t con­sid­ered AFL-stan­dard. En­ter doyen Kevin Sheedy: “When you think of the Gold Coast, re­ally they’ve been there for five min­utes and they’re ahead of Carl­ton – and Carl­ton have been there for 140 years ... I’d be wor­ried about Carl­ton more than Gold Coast.”

13

English rac­ing com­men­ta­tor Ma’ Chap­man claims Winx was re­garded as av­er­age in Bri­tain, hav­ing beaten only “fairly mod­er­ate” op­po­nents. Chris Waller and the lo­cal rac­ing in­dus­try fire up. Winx, we’re guess­ing, did not care be­cause she’s a horse.

14

Every­one’s favourite high-per­for­mance man­ager, Pat Howard, will quit his cricket post a˜fter next year’s Ashes. We’ll watch with in­ter­est to see which per­son from an­other sport Cricket Aus­tralia will bring in to tell our crick­eters how they’re do­ing, and who all the ex-play­ers will bitch about.

15

The AFL will play Shang­hai matches for an­other three years. That Port Power fan club in China is re­ally com­ing along. St Kilda will be the other end of the fix­ture, and no doubt the Chi­nese will ask why we name sports teams aft“er saints.

16

The Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view’s Young Rich List places 13 sportsper­sons in the top 100 – only tech and fi­nance do beŒtter. But if you want to be fit and rich, pro sport isn’t the place to be – fit­spo In­sta­gram­mers fare as well, with Kayla Itsines’s near-half-bil­lion for­tune crush­ing any other Aussie ath­lete. The les­son: kids, if you want to be rich at a young age, for­get about school and get re­ally good at sport or so­cial me­dia.

17

The Aussie tim­ber­sports team wins a record fi˜fth world cham­pi­onship. (Why doesn’t Cricket Aus­tralia get some­one from the Chop­per­oos for their high-per­for­mance role?) Star woods­man – and man with a name made for his game – Lau­rence O’Toole wins the in­di­vid­ual ti­tle.

18

Tour de France un­veils its 2019 route in what is be­ing touted as the “high­est in his­tory” (it’s prob­a­bly less ironic in French). The great race will have a record 30 moun­tain passes and five sum­mit fin­ishes, three above 2000m. In what is seen as a bid to rein in Team Sky’s dom­i­nance, the Tour is also push­ing for a ban on power me­ters – or­gan­iser Chris­tian Prud­homme said the de­vice “an­ni­hi­lates the glo­ri­ous un­cer­tainty of sport”. That surely sounds great in French.

19

Ben Sim­mons says he wants to play one sea­son in the AFL for Essendon be­fore he’s fin­ished his sport­ing ca­reer. Bombers’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Xavier Camp­bell tweets back: “Just let us know.”

20

The take­aways we’ll al­ways re­mem­ber from Cricket Aus­tralia’s ethics re­view aft“er the ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal: that the play­ers live in a “gilded bub­ble” that cuts them off from real life; that the vice-cap­taincy should no longer be seen as the role of heir ap­par­ent; that the Al­lan Bor­der Medal, self-con­sciously mod­elled on footy B&Fs, didn’t suf­fi­ciently recog­nise on-field be­hav­iour. Last, best word goes to for­mer Eng­land cap­tain Michael Vaughan, on the Play­ers’ Pact: “Cringe­wor­thy. Smile with us, dream with us. What a load of bull­shit.”

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