We need a ‘Chilla’ not a character killer

I read Clothhead Fitzsimon’s article in the Clever Chronicle this week with interest.  It went beyond his normal fare of good journalism, reheated jokes and sideswipes.  A solid writer, amusing after chicken dinner speaker, who slopes in the coffee shops of Mossman crafting columns moated by his laptop and a sling of surl.  This weeks spray was a very effective, well-considered iron fist in glove piece on the very scrubbed and increasingly pinker Alan ‘Bloat’ Jones.  It appears that Bloat has been smacking his thick pursed lips at the thought of being a very important part of the new Wallies.  Like an autograph hunter who is buoyed by the chase of just another signature, Jones still believes he is of the time rather than out of it.

Some credit Jones as being the mastermind behind the Grand Slam win in the early eighties.  I don’t.  He simply had the horse power.  Any bozo with a vocabulary of twenty words and a lettuce whip could have shoved this talented bunch of boofs across the line.  What Bloat is very good at is taking the gold and leaving the tailings. He is great at the black board of history where he arduously scrubs out any other contributors as he underscores and bolds his “struggle street’ credentials.

Of course, Bloat is loved by those inside the tent, however as many have learned if you don’t toady to the Bloat then your stay in the tent is terminated.  Of course this is an extension of the ‘pick and stick’ philosophy that has spawned a rotating bunch of men who come under the spell of a very, very clever man.  Of course the price you pay for being part of this hubris hurdy-gurdy is that you apparently get the flick if you don’t stick.

FitzSimons article mentions Bloat’s criticisms of John Eales.  In a spurn on Triple M, Bloat allegedly called Eales an “overrated player” and admonished him for having both a media commentator role with Schlock Sports and being an ARU director.  Why so Mr Bloat?  Why the need?  Well it is interesting that John Eales was called to give evidence to support John Coates in a defamation case against Bloat some years ago.  I’m not sure whether this may or may not have had any influence on Bloat’s attack on Eales.  However given his ‘p&s’ philosophy one suspects that it could have influenced his words just a wee bit. The ABC reported back then:

A court hearing has begun in Sydney to hear defence arguments and decide damages in a defamation action brought by Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates against radio broadcaster Alan Jones.

Mr Jones commented on an incident in the women’s eight rowing finals at the Athens Olympics, in which one of the crew, Sally Robbins, stopped competing.

The jury found Mr Jones implied that Mr Coates had ordered a cover-up and bullied Robbins’s crew into saying what he wanted them to and that he was incompetent in the way he handled the matter.

A Supreme Court jury has previously found Mr Jones defamed Mr Coates during three broadcasts on 2GB radio in December 2004.

Mr Coates’ lawyer has told the Supreme Court that Mr Jones repeated the allegations, despite being told by former Wallabies captain and women’s rowing team mentor John Eales that they were not true.

FitzSimons also writes in the ‘Clever’ about Jones’s possible ambition, “one of your former charges called me on Wednesday and said it seemed as if you were going to get the Wallabies manager’s role.” Oh dear, how could that be true – you have so, so much on your plate Mr Bloat?  It is interesting to read the wonderful Mark Ella’s comments on the Tour Manager in 1984, Charles ‘Chilla’ Wilson.  Of this former Wallaby captain, Ella said:

“I couldn’t think of a better manager. I played for Australia for six years. Thank God I had Chilla Wilson for three of them. With Jonesy up there dominating everything, Chilla was the perfect foil. He was quiet, unobtrusive and didn’t make a lot of noise.”

So should Jones, the highly successful media man be brought back?  Oh don’t, please don’t bring him back or I’ll be forced onto the Drambuie Drip ..again.  We don’t need this dated windfarmer’s view of Wally World anymore.  We need more ‘chilla’ rather than killer and we need to be fairer and firmer with errant players.  Mr Bloat seems incapable of either.


Pessimists never get disappointed – a sporting wish list for 2013

I’m really struggling to put down a sporting wish list for this year.

I want to approach the task with all the fervour of a young tagged kid with too much Red Bull coursing through his unclogged arteries. But it is hard to do this because with as many years on the clock as my IQ the arteries are clogged, the brain is “doonered”and to be honest I have been incredibly disappointed in recent years with not one wish getting up or even going close. My gut instinct is to settle for less.

Seneca the Younger, the Roman philosopher had a good grip on disappointment – he basically put it all on the plate when he asked us to consider why we continue to get disappointed by the expected bad behaviour of all the low dicks around us? Seneca Jnr was saying that pessimists never get disappointed. But bugger the Romans they are rubbish at most sports except those that involve hair dye and high heels.  So here it is.

My overarching wish is to see fashion eradicated from all sport

Appearance over performance is on the rise not only on the paddock but in the press.  Fairfax Media had two stories about rugby league players suits in a month.  This twaddle took the column inches from serious analysis of the game.

So where do we start?  Well I’d start like this.  If a character turns up with some fancy shear work on their dome expecting to run on for their country they’d be yanked.  If they want to get their ends tinted then that can be done in the privacy of their own home but it has no place on the paddock of pride.  The offender would be given two options – a sensible haircut done by a barber seconded to the national team or simply told to bugger off.

If a sportsperson gets a tat and wants to play for or represent their country that’s fine as long as we don’t have to see their stupidity on display.  I’m talking long sleeve shirts and pants here if necessary and if they have one of those neck tats with stupid, scribbly writing with words like “Forever” or “Bethany” – I’m thinking a very tight-fitting cravat.  Now the extra gear could be a problem for swimmers but kiddies would only have to see someone sinking to the bottom of the pool in the 1500m freestyle at the Rings to get the message loud and clear.

Wallabies clean sweep against New Zealand in the 2013 Bledisloe Cup

In Rugby Union – the game my old claret partner Tom calls,”stacks on the mill”, I just want to see the Wallabies win the bloody Bledisloe Cup.

That cannot be such a big ask given we spend more money indirectly propping up this game via our tax dollars to the rugby breeding grounds of places like St Kevins of the Bleeding Noses than we do on aircraft carriers. For this sort of investment I don’t want to see further second half capitulation that has become the signature tune of some of the haircuts and inked billboards that run around these days in the gold.

I want to return to the days of hard slightly unfit characters desperately grunting hanging on with blood, mud and spittle on their chins.  I know the milk industry has been rubbished by deregulation and Woolworths and the bush is being ripped up by Big Gina so pickings are slim but we need more dairy farmers and cockies on the park. We need blokes who know what drought is rather than these show ponies who sook it if a trainer doesn’t run on to give them a drink and well-done on the arse.

We need blokes with big ears and bad haircuts that only think about one thing.  In October this year, after winning the first two they live or die for the pleasure of grinding those mongrels in black jerseys so far into the mud of the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Duneedin that a fleet of back-hoe drivers are required after the match.

An Australian bred horse that cost peanuts wins the 2013 Melbourne Cup

I don’t want it trained by Gai Waterhouse but by a trainer who cut their teeth at places like Northam, Seymour, Mudgee or Scone.  That someone would have to be a person who pays their staff and strappers a fair wage and who works around the stables not sits on their freckle at three-hatted restaurant tables.

I don’t want it to be owned by Blue Tongue Singleton or the Parrot. It should be owned by many including a butcher, a baker and the chap who broke it in.  I don’t want a Sheik Yo Money, I want a Sheik from Scrubby Creek with teeth like tomb stones, a ruddy face and story to tell.  I also want it ridden by a smiling young woman who looks silly in a frock and a hunger to do the right thing by the owners not a fist-pumping rock jock who has deep pockets and shallow thoughts.

I want certain player managers to attend ethics classes

This is a big ask.  The NRL Code of Ethics for player agents is a simple one page, eight point addendum to the Accredited Player Agent Scheme Rules document.  I can understand why one would want to keep the document simple.  A lot of these people trail off half-way through 160 character tweet.

The player agents in all sports are often the mentors, business managers and social conductors for these young players – some who are a long way from home and family influence.  In recent times some of these player agents have been missing in action in most regards of their duty of care.  Some are simply incapable of assisting their charges in navigating the complex social/work maze that young sportspeople have to traverse daily.

Some of the ethics course workshops could include;

  • What’s yours is mine : Business Ethics
  • You buy one – I get one for free : Financial Planning
  • Tats, tequila and trifectas : Social Skills and Responsibility

I want the Swans “No dickhead rule” to be mandatory for all sporting clubs

Now this will have a devastating impact on most codes and clubs.  For awhile there will be more sporting positions vacant notices than fatties at a fry-off.

There will be pain.  No Friday night games, there will be forfeits, coachless clubs, boards without directors, two-man front rows, foot-long grass and chubby blokes coming from fourth grade to bat for Australia.  But take solace – there will be no dickheads.  That is no blowhards, no big heads, no loons, no lard farmers or flash moles.  There will just be good sports.