Short and Sweets July 11

10/07/2013

Digital Image by Robb Cox Action Photographics
Digital Image by Robb Cox Action Photographics

Shorts and Sweets July 11

Did you get into Steve Mascord’s awesome piece for smithyspeaks.com.au on Tuesday? Check it out and BTW Steve is writing for us all EVERY Tuesday for the rest of the season.

I have known Steve since his work experience days from Port Kembla High back in the day – Steelers days for me. He was passionate about footy and writing about it then and still is today. He is just a whole heap crazier nowadays!

He never ceases to amaze with the travel he completes and the tremendous footy coverage across so many media outlets these days not to mention the quality of the stuff that he continually generates. It  is just a credit to a guy who sets mean standards of both the professional and personal kind.

We are all honoured to get a close look at his insights into all angles that footy offers in 2013. And well-travelled too after he took us with him last weekend from Sydney to Melbourne to Darwin to Alice Springs (no footy involved just a connect) to Perth and back again for Monday night footy in Sydney!

His look from the inside into how the communications business is changing as new media takes its place was also enlightening.

More please @realsteveis.

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I am certainly not condoning Ricky Stuart’s post-match comments about the refereeing of Parra matches this season but if that is not good for our game and attracts a fine then what about the comments  of others in our sport recently.

The older fraternity of ex-players and associates are welcome to their opinions and to express those publicly as we all are in our democratic society but what about people currently in high profile roles in footy. I am talking about Greg Bird as an example. Admittedly I only read it I didn’t hear him say it (and even then he could be edited to not context it well either) so I hope I am getting it right here. But I am concerned by his comments on the game’s administrators and their decision to introduce measures to reduce and remove fighting and brawling from the game.

He may well be expressing an honesty we love in our sportsmen and women when he says “he doesn’t mind a blue” or words to that effect. The expression of that opinion publicly is harmful to our game’s future and doesn’t need to be said publicly.

Likewise I feel it’s time for Mal Meninga and particularly Laurie Daley to publicly support the stance of the hierarchy. Whilst I have seen nothing to invite fines I do find it disappointing that Daley, whose players are the penalised and big losers because of the lack of in-game discipline, has not stood up and said “NO MORE”.  Since the moment Gallen let fly and Myles chose not to retaliate NSW has been sliding. They have also been talking about how they won’t be changing their attitude (even Merrin post suspension – talk about slow learners) and even as Bird inviting and looking forward to more!

This stuff goes beyond winning – if some who have responsibilities to the game that are being overlooked by them, then the game’s administrators should remind them. They sure reminded Ricky Stuart!

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To top this stuff off can we please look at how Nate Myles handled his end of Paul Gallen’s furious episode. Some of the populist media types are currying favour with players by tossing up stuff about what’s really going on out there that causes these acts of ill-discipline are looking very soft. I read Paul Kent’s commentary on why Mitchell Allgood let fly at Steve Matai with interest. He apparently has been trained to over the years by the need for aggression to win. Some others are saying his choice was hit or be hit. Better to go first apparently.

Others would have us believe that there are leg and “nut” pulls going on and that’s what is causing the “blues”. Get real; intimidation is and always will be cheap and dealt with by senior players telling those blokes to pull, their heads in. if it doesn’t happen there are certainly plenty of guys with their own media mouths to carry the message to the rest of the world about how cheap so and so is and what he is doing. after all that a good old fashioned big hit in an extra special tackle has stood the test of time for those who have not felt the need to punch or fight to get square.

This is all tripe. If you can’t control your temper, be aggressive but disciplined and play within the rules, you get penalised, sin binned, sent off and/or suspended. If it continues you get longer suspensions and this will cause you to lose your contract eventually. Will we have issues where someone loses it and punches or fights? Of course. But when it happens let’s not cry about it just accept, someone will be disciplined for it and hopefully pull his head in.

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And while we are on about attitudes and discipline did you catch comments reported after NSW Origin 3 selections attributed to Luke Lewis. He spoke glowingly of Laurie Daley’s decision to NOT ban the players from the ritual bonding session of Tuesday night. How good it was to be treated like adults and let the guys make their own decisions and show their personal discipline on how much they choose to drink. It was after all “a time to let their hair down”.

It seems like the thinking here is based on a couple of way out of whack principles from totally out of date behaviours for professional athletes. Firstly sports celebrations ALWAYS come AFTER the battle. Is this celebrating selection? Have they developed an in-built losing mindset that continues after seven losing series?

Secondly, are we still in an age where professional sportsmen need to get pissed to “bond’? If so maybe we really are picking the wrong players. We need to pick guys who can get really pissed and really bond because these guys clearly can’t manage it and WIN. Or maybe we can find 17 dedicated athletes who are grateful for the opportunity provided by their teammates and coaches at club level and the rest of the millions supporting the blues or maroon colours? So grateful that they would be happy to brush the celebrations not only prior to the battle but also after the battle to go back and give it full throttle for and respect to their clubs instead of hungover.

Queensland has always done that better too. They have a proper party … in October when they have WON THE SERIES and no one misses out or leaves early. They always have been good winners those Maroons and seem to know the right time to really let their hair down.