Monday, December 17, 2007

Waddell vs Drysdale

What a great race and rivalry is brewing for 2008 and Beijing in the men's sculls. I am not surprised to see Waddell defeat Drysdale. To me, Waddell is a freak and would have reigned supreme since 2000 if he had stayed in the sport. He will only get faster. Drysdale will too, but I can't see him making the gains that Waddell will. I say, get Mahe in a double, because I can't see him running Rod down. But why can't they both compete in the singles? What a strange world we live in when one will miss out.

Athletic Stars of the Future

We have some class coming through in athletics. I was there at the secondary school nationals last weekend and there were some super performances. Fraser Wicks is quick. In one race he broke the national junior and senior 400m time. Fantastic! He looked like a young Michael Johnson! Dallas Bowden will be a star. He has a blistering finish, demolishing the 800m and 1500m fields. He is class. He had to run a heat for the 1500 and a heat and semi for the 800m leading in. Look out for this class athlete. Hannah Newbould followed up last years cliff-hanging Junior 1500m victory with a senior win in the 1500 senior event. She is strong and beat off some real class in her victory. Esther Keown was similarly dynamic in winning the junior event. We have real strength in junior middle distance running coming through with a number of good times posted. Sarah McSweeney continues to dominate the Steeplechase, winning just a couple of hours after a fine second in the 3000m. Olivia Burne too was superb in oppressive heat in winning this event. There is some real promise here.

Black Caps

What a great start to the season for the Black Caps. We have come to the end of an era and it is not looking good. Hammered by South Africa and more of the same in Australia. Our top order is dismal! Embarrassing. A lack of technique is palpable. We need to go for experience. And what are they doing to Matthew Sinclair. Put him in and leave him in and watch him flourish. It is time for Vincent to give it away, he is not there. We are terribly vulnerable at present, weak. The loss of Fleming, MacMillen, Cairns and others is really noticeable. To me the only world class players are Bond who is out again and Oram who is class. McCallum is class with the gloves and has his moment with the bat. But, we need to desperately find a top order that can get us through to 150-200/3 to give ourselves a chance. Is is time for Bracers to go? Perhaps. But then, he does not have a lot to work with.

Henry, Deans and all that

I have not said much for a while, eating humble pie from my earlier stated position that Graham Henry should resign as All Black coach and then watching his reappointment and Deans appointment as Australian coach. But I must break my silence. I DON'T GET IT!

Surely this was the one time that it was a no-brainer that the AB coach WOULD NOT BE reappointed! Henry took the number one team in the world and through the shrewd strategy of failing to play them so that they did not develop combinations, lacked match play and the nous to win a quarter-final against one of the worst French teams in recent times. They should have slaughtered France, demolished England and won a gruelling final against SA! But they didn't and it comes down to poor preparation and poor selection! Yet he is reappointed.

At the same time Robbie Deans sits waiting, the best coaching record bar none on the planet; he is primed and ready. He is rejected!

Instead he is sent to coach our arch enemy, Australia, without doubt our biggest threat in 2011! After all, according to history, the only team that really can win on NZ soil is Australia, at least with any consistency. So we give them our best coach.

Then, when it seems obvious that it is a conflict of interest for him to coach our leading Super 14 Team leading into the Wallaby role, he is allowed to do so!

Forgive me, but I don't get any of it. Now I do agree that failure at the world cup should not necessarily lead to a coaches sacking, it depends on the circumstances. So for example, to me Laurie Mains and John Mitchell deserved second chances. Mains lost only because of food poisoning in 1995. Mitchell lost to Australia in Australia which history tells us is no surprise no matter how good the AB's. Clearly Hart had to go after 1999 as did Wylie and Hart in 1991, the team was poor and disunified. Similarly with Henry! He should have gone. It will be an amazing story and not a great surprise if a Robbie Deans coached Wallaby side knocks us off in 2011.

Anyway, I suppose we get behind Father Ted and hope he can pull them together and do the business. I think the decision was wrong whatever happens! I will be thrilled to eat my words.