Love it or Hate it – Finals Footy is here

10/09/2013

Love it or Hate it – Finals Footy is here

Short and Sweet September 10

Check out Andrew Webster’s SMH response to South’s silent partner Peter Holmes a Court’s reaction to THAT banner “SCUM: FOREVER IN OUR SHADOW” unfolded by some Rabbits fans last Friday night. I thought it was great to see another club leader, CEO Shane Richardson, come out strongly too in condemning that sort of thing.

I know Andrew is a journalist with some sort of compulsion to stir the pot of interest and sales for his newspaper, so let’s not be too hard on him (or take his contribution too seriously).

But let’s take very seriously how you and I feel about the H word when it comes to sport and supporting your team. Do you seriously HATE someone else’s favourite team? Or even more so, do you HATE someone in someone else’s favourite club or team?

I don’t mean dislike or not respect but HATE! Seriously?

I am with Peter and Shane in their stance. Sport is a great medium for developing better societies but sadly also capable of bringing out the worst in some at times.

By co-incidence I watched Greg Norman reflect on his attitude change to his role as a leading sportsman on Australian Story on ABC TV last night. As a Republican voter he declined the opportunity to play golf with Bill Clinton the Democrat president until told by Republican mate George Bush Snr that he should reverse that decision which The Shark duly did. The golf game became the catalyst for a great relationship. Simple and sweet.

We can all relate to meeting people who we thought from distant observations were quite different to how they are in person. Media creates heroes and villains for greater sales not reality or accuracy. As sports nuts or footy fanatics it’s fun to barrack, support and take the piss out of friends who follow other teams.

My mate Bill supports Tottenham Hotspurs and I have a lot of fun with that. My mate Chris is a nut for West Ham – that’s quite sad really – just kidding!

If it turns into something else like we see overseas which is quite ugly especially in soccer crowds, that’s just wrong. When, in our game it gets to degrading banners and attitudes leading to behaviours out of context with societies basic rules, lets nip it in the bud.

It’s also missing out on way too much fun when your life revolves that tightly on your team winning every week or you feel the need to attack opposing teams or their fans.

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Big League Rd 26 also carried “Love to Hate” on its front cover. Is it the time of year?

For a completely different take on this time of year take a look at Steve Mascord’s The Wrap round 26.

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The Sharks seem to have held together well in a turbulent season to finish in 5th spot after round 26. The Bulldogs likewise have seemingly done ok to come in 6th. Still can’t help but wonder what might have been without those serious distractions and what still might be in this wide open play-off series.

All four of the top teams have both flexed and folded recently. They can all give us a reason to believe they can win it – Roosters through awesome power and speed, Rabbits through teamwork and discipline, Melbourne through finals experience and star power of big 3, Manly through a mix of all of those commodities but dependent on all their trumps fit and firing.

The bottom four are not without a chance as expressed above the Sharks and Dogs will need to hit the high points above distractions but are very capable based on their A game. Newcastle would have to play their best game of the season to move to the next round. If their outside backs get some opportunities they could hurt the Dogs but it’s a big if I think.

Team 8, NQ Cowboys is the form team of all the finalists!

If Matt Scott manages a quick return after suffering a broken finger, I reckon, they can surprise the Sharks and maybe some more before it’s all over for them in 2013.

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In the golden days when balls were made of leather, footy balls that is, the first round of finals were almost always plagued with handling errors. These matches are hosted by the league so there is no home club to prepare and supply the balls. Quite often back then no-one remembered to prepare the balls days or weeks ahead so the players were hampered immediately.

With synthetic balls in this day and age you will be expecting that to be a thing of the past, right? Wrong!

If these modern balls are taken straight from the packet, pumped to the right pressure and thrown to the ball boys for the players to get stuck in there will be similar problems to those old leather things.

There seems to be some light film of some slippery kind that needs to be removed by washing with soap and a bit of use in hands and on the grass.

I watched an English Challenge Cup semi-final and then the final at Wembley recently where neither team could hold onto the balls with any confidence. It certainly appeared like new balls was at least a part of the reason for what was described by many (not just the losing Hull fan) as the worst final they had ever witnessed.

Hope we don’t have that problem of preparing the most important items for a series of good matches in these sophisticated times of professional football.