Gurgler’s Sports Review – Circling the Drain

A LEAGUE IS BETTER THAN NO LEAGUE.

People will surely scoff, and maybe it’s the boredom talking, but the A League is becoming a better prospect by the day. Without the usual oval ball antics to fill up a weekend in the colder months, the A League has assumed it’s mantle of best of whatever’s left.

But it’s not just a default option, a lot of the games are actually quite good, as long as you’re not expecting Messi, Ronaldo or Fashanu type of skills. It may be nearer to the third tier of English football than the first, but it still provides enough entertainment for the sports fan over summer. Sure there’s cricket, but there’s also Michael Slater.

And, another thing A League avoids unlike Channel 9 is a fairer sharing of the FTA love. Sure not every team has played yet, but at this stage of the year, they have shown more variety in a 10 team comp than NRL with 16. And the games, whilst often lower in quality than you can be used to higher up the football chain, there’s usually enough goals or enough hate between the sides to keep a person casually attached to the TV.

For a game that always been called the sleeping giant, comps like the NRL should be getting worried. The average figure of the NRL last year was 17,264, the A League so far this year is 14,362 nad rising. Crowds over 40,000 in Melbourne and Sydney should also be a worry. As is the intensity of the rivalry. Proper rivalry where teams hate each other.

So, it might be anyone’s Lipton, but is it better than nothing? Sure is. p.s. is also better than M.Slater.

WHY TEST CRICKET IS STILL KING

Anyone who persisted with the test match last week was rewarded with an enthralling ending to what was a see-sawing 5 days of test cricket. At regular intervals during the stoush it looked as if the game would grind into a draw, but unlikely things happened, and almost happened.

The first unlikely is a 12 wicket, game winning haul to Nathan Lyon. A note to selectors about sticking with players instead of dropping them every time they rate lower than a Channel 10 news broadcast.

Second surprise was just how close India came to snatching an unlikely win. Virat Kohli could have made an even bigger name for himself than he has already achieved by his double centuries with almost guiding India to an unlikely win.

A welcome return was the tensions on the fourth day too. Test cricket thrives on those confrontations, allowing for hours of stares and spite. Not surprising that David Warner was amongst it. Thankfully the selectors have gone with Steven Smith as new captain, as only Smith and Warner could be guaranteed of a starting place in 18months time, and we don’t need an Aussie captain like warner.

A final thing, for Channel 9. As at least 3 days of the test are played over weekdays, and an ever increasing percentage of the population needs to work on weekends too, why not have an hourly highlights package on one of their lesser channels. Sure, there’ll be a backlash from Antiques fans across Australia, but won’t it be worth it to give more people a few of the cricket every night, gaining better sponsor dollars in prime time. A day of a test could easily be edited into an hour package. An added bonus would be less time to listen to the self indulgent drivel that flows from the comm box. You would think that cricket began and stopped when the current comm box came and went.

 

AUSTRALIAN PGA GOLF

With a 7 hole playoff finally deciding the victor on Sunday, the Gurgler had a thought about how to best promote golf with new ideas.

Firstly, Golf is boring to watch. If it’s not Augusta or Miguel Angel Jiminez warming up for the British Open, it’s likely it will be boring as. So with the 7 hole play off we though maybe that could be extended into the final day.

We suggest a moving cut line that players have to stay within throughout the day, with a reducing margin to the leader. This will still allow a late charge, as they are likely to tee off much earlier than leader, and remove the bit players playing for pittance and never getting on TV anyway. One the back nine starts and the cut leaves just 10 players left, after every hole of the leader the next worse player gets cut no matter what shot on what hole they are playing. In the event of ties, all of the players on that score are cut. Then with each hole another is cut until only 2 remain, who battle it out for the title in sudden death. it would be a welcome and needed injection of life into the body of golf.

THE NRL DRAW RIGHT ON TIME

So finally the NRL Draw came out. As ever, a million miles behind the AFL, but the NRL should be used to that by now. We’ll delve into the draw itself in detail with Dr Sport later in the week but will pick out a good and bad thing on first reflection.

Good, no great, is the feast of League on Anzac Day. Diggers would surely love the choice of 5 games to watch – all live – on Anzac Day. Premium clashes no less, no just the Channel 9 friendly Roosters v Dragons “tradition game” – which for interest actually started on Fox.

Bad is the thinking that one less game during the origin period will make the fans happy. Wrong, what fans want is stand alone origin and proper rounds. People are sick of worthless round of 4,5,6 games that blight the comp each year.

FORMULA E-CITING

In the absence of anything decent from Motorsport over the off season apart from the occasional Bernie Ecc rant or cuckoo comment, we have the FIA’s eco friendly Formula E.

In what are essentially beefed up life sized radio control cars, ex F1 drivers join the series to merely confirm they’ll never drive F1 again by competing. A surprise was to see Jean Eric Vergne confirming so early in his career that he’ll never drive again in F1. Not that F1 will miss his surly demeanour.

Whilst the environmental merits are to be applauded, it is hoped that F1 doesn’t head too far down this green trail. Although the halfway change of cars is worth thinking about.

Any port in a storm I guess with no other motorsport, but it makes you think about how good the old A1GP championship really was as a summer stopgap.

YOUR FTA SPORTS TV GUIDE HIGHLIGHTS

Another test, Big Bash starts, A League. It’ll do…nicely

[table caption=”FTA SPORT” width=”500″ colwidth=”100|100|100|200″ colalign=”left|left”]
Day,Time,Channel,Sport
Wed,9am,CH9,Cricket – Test Day 1
Thu,9am,CH9,Cricket – Test Day 2
Thu,7:30pm,CH10,Cricket – Big Bash
Fri,9am,CH9,Cricket – Test Day 3
Fri,6pm,SBS,Football – A League
Fri,7:30pm,CH10,Cricket – Big Bash
Sat,9am,CH9,Cricket – Test Day 4
Sat,10am,ONE,Cricket – Big Bash Replay
Sat,6pm,CH10,Cricket – Big Bash
Sat,9:30pm,ABC2,Boxing – Thrilla in Manila
Sun,9am,CH9,Cricket – Test Day 5
Sun,10am,ONE,Cricket – Big Bash Replay
Sun,6pm,CH10,Cricket – Big Bash
[/table]

About Max Layne 241 Articles
Max has no time for long bios, he has only time for sport and then more sport. Each week he tries to sum up what sport has tickled the collective fancy of The Gurgler.