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Doping and Organised Crime

A couple of weeks ago I watched with interest the Lance Armstrong interview with Oprah.  I honestly never expected to see Armstrong admit to cheating in his sport of cycling.  For so long I believed that people were gunning for him due to the tall poppy syndrome.  Surely, someone who won seven consecutive Tour de France’s had to be juiced up, they were saying. No one could possibly achieve that feat without some assistance, they said.

I for one believed him and then felt like a schmuck when I heard him confess. I knew that doping in cycling was rife but I hoped that the best of the best, who had such stellar careers and did so much good in the community, were above that.  That these people won because they had a drive and determination and a skill that made them the best.

I now can’t look at the sport of cycling or its participants without thinking cheats and that their sport is tarnished, perhaps forever.

I remember thinking that I am glad that cycling, which is to me, just a sport which is a passing interest, and I felt sorry for all of the fans whose sport was now ruined and in tatters.

I was glad I wasn’t that guy.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday the same brush that has tarnished the sport of cycling was also used to brand, well most Australian sports, into the category of drug cheats.

In a historic press conference, the heads of the major sports in Australia, including AFL, NRL, FAA, and CA, with politicians and investigators from the Australian Crime Commission lifted the lid, no blew the lid on illegal doping in most Australian sports with a link to organised crime.


I was shocked that it was so widespread and while no names were named it was pretty obvious that this story is only going to get bigger and a witch hunt will begin.

So now what?

As a major consumer of sport, particularly AFL, NRL and Cricket, I want names named! I want to know who are the players and coaches and sports scientists and clubs that are illegally trying to get an advantage.

I want to know who the clean players are so that when I watch the footy this winter, I’m not wondering if that goal by a superstar forward was not assisted by illegal doping. That, that freak try that no one in their right mind should have been able to score, was not assisted by illegal doping.  That, that outfield catch which was no one’s business to take, was not assisted by illegal doping.

Because until names are named, that is exactly what I will be thinking.

It’s a very sad time for Australian sport and the authorities must get to the bottom of it and quickly.

So what do you think. Is all Aussie sport tarnished?  Will you be watching and wondering who is a cheat and who isn’t?

Melbourne Storm – Salary Cap Controversy

The Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club has been caught cheating by rorting the salary cap in the National Rugby League competition in Australia.

The penalty is huge.

They have been stripped of their premierships they won in 2007 and 2009 as well as losing the minor premierships they won from 2006-2008. As well as the premierships, the Melbourne Storm will lose all points from the 2010 season and will not earn any points for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Financially, the Melbourne Storm will have to return $1.1 million in prize money won during this time and have a $500,000 fine imposed by the NRL.

The ramifications are huge and there will be plenty said over the coming days and weeks. I’m interested in hearing your thoughts in the following two polls:

Do you agree with the penalty handed down by the NRL?


Will the Melbourne Storm survive as a club and be in the NRL competition in 2011?


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Who will win the 2010 NRL Season?

The Weekend Ritual

9am Friday morning. The last day of the working week. It’s a great day because in just 8 short hours the weekend begins. 5pm Friday afternoon and it is time to close down the computer, pack up your lunch box and thermos and struggle your way home along with the thousands of others clogging the major arteries heading off to suburbia, all in a desperate attempt to start their weekends too. It’s a battle to get home first and while I won’t go into that battle today, I do want to talk about what the weekend holds for most average males, of which I am certain, I fall into that category.

So what does the average mid 30’s Australian male look most forward to each weekend? Well for me it is the footy. I am a very lucky guy where I have an equal love of both the National Rugby League (NRL) and the Australian Football League (AFL) so I have two games each weekend to look forward to. For my overseas friends who are reading this and are not familiar with our codes of football, they are two totally different versions of football. Both are played with oval balls and both are very physical with plenty of tackling and collisions. It is very different to soccer and gridiron but I guess the best way for you to see what I mean is to jump onto YouTube for examples. Anyway, I digress. Today’s blog is not about educating you about different versions of Australian football codes but to discuss the weekend and why it is important to me!

So as I said the weekend commences Fridays as soon as my garage door opens and I turn off the engine. My kids come running into the garage to greet me and within minutes I have my favourite beverage, being Pepsi Max (I am a non drinker) and plenty of hugs and kisses. I am all set for a weekend of spending time with my kids and football watching.

I mentioned that I have an equal love of both NRL and AFL. In the NRL I love the Brisbane Broncos and in the AFL it is the Brisbane Lions. Both teams have been very successful in their respective codes. The Broncos normally play on a Friday night at 7.30pm and the Lions normally play on a Saturday night at 7pm. I can’t remember the last time I missed a game. I don’t watch the games live. Thanks to technology like Foxtel IQ and Tivo I can record the games and start watching it about 30 minutes after telecast time so I can fast forward through the ads and the drivel on the half time stats. I’ve been watching the frigging game so I know what is going on.

So recording the games can sometimes be frought with danger especially if I am not home to set the show to be recorded. Like tonight. Instead, I called home as I was delayed at the gym and I asked my wife to set the IQ to record Friday nights Broncos vs Cowboys game. This request has been made several times and normally it is all good and I am happy in the knowledge that even though I am not home, the game is being recorded. Occasionally, maybe once every 2 or 3 years there is a stuff up of monumental proportions. Like tonight. I ease my way home from the gym. First problem. The kids are no where to be found. No probs it is late and they are asleep. So I grab a Pepsi Max and settle into the recliner with the Foxtel remote at hand and I turn on the 50” Panasonic Plasma Viera Full HD (bought for the footy and movies). I go to start watching the game and there is no game recording!!!!! My weekend is ruined before it even really began.

Sure the game is being replayed at the ungodly hour of 1am but that means I can’t do my other ritual of Facebook and Twitter in fear that I will know the result. I don’t care whether we win or lose I don’t want to know the score. It ruins the enjoyment of the game for me. So with no footy and no social networking my weekend is off to a bad start.

So I ask my wife why she didn’t tape it (and yes I did ask, I am not a yeller). She said she forgot. “How can you forget”? I ask, “You put down the phone, you go to the TV you find the game via the EPG and you press RECORD. You then go back to doing what you ever you were doing, safe in the knowledge that you have satisfied your husband’s requirements”. What is so friggin hard about that? So she begins to give me her reasons why she forgot, but by this stage it really doesn’t matter as it won’t turn back time (unless we can get Cher to suddenly arrive and start singing, or my red Mazda 6 parked just a few minutes earlier in the garage turns into a DeLorean) and the opportunity to watch the game and commence my perfect weekend which I worked very hard all week to enjoy, is now gone.

So by not doing a very simple task that would have taken a matter of a few seconds to complete I am now writing this blog instead of watching the Broncos buck the Cowboys in the 2nd last game of the regular season.

By following the 6 P’s (Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance), I should be setting the recording myself way in advance because I can’t expect anyone bar me to understand the importance of my weekend ritual. Without a good weekend, I will struggle to have a good working week as I am grumpy and edgy waiting impatiently for the next weekend.

The weekend can be saved however by watching the Lions qualify for a home final on Saturday night by beating the Swans in Sydney, and yes, I have set the IQ to record just in case. Lesson learnt.