Home > The Final Word > The Monday Wrap – 4/4/11

The Monday Wrap – 4/4/11

After a massive response to my debut piece, The Monday Wrap is back again this week, and again there is plenty to speak about. The ICC World Cup is over, injuries continue to cause controversey in both rugby league and AFL, as well as some massive announcements during the week across a few codes.

To the victors go the spoils

So the World Cup is over for another four years, and the perennial major tournament under-achievers India have finally broken the streak to grab their second trophy, and become the first country to ever win on home soil, so congratulations to them. They were probably the most impressive side throughout the tournament, and the sublime form of “The Little Master” just shows his agelessness, ranking him with the best ever, probably second only to Bradman. It was also good to see Sri Lanka bring it together all at once. For a side which has been quite inconsistent over many years, they really stepped up in front of their home crowds. Unfortunately the final saw the end of a record-breaking career for Muttiah Muralitharan. Whilst his career will always be blighted by chucking claims (for the record I am with Darrel Hair on this one), there is no doubting he was a wonderful bowler, and a and even better role model for the struggling people of Sri Lanka. As for the Australians, their winning run ended, which brings me to……..

Pup named Top Dog

Ricky Ponting’s reign as Australian captain, however unexpectedly he is staying on as a batsman. For those of you who read my article about Ponting and the Australian captaincy (if you didn’t, you can here), you would know my views about Ponting. I get the sense that no matter what he says, he was pushed out of the captaincy in an effort to try and reignite his struggling form with the bat (ala Tendulkar). Moving on from that though, the Australian captain in waiting (seemingly since he was 16), Michael Clarke, was named as the new captain with sobbing Shane Watson the new vice-captain. Clarke was the logical choice, and after all the effort they put into him as a leader, it would have been stupid not to pick him. His tactical nous, as evidenced by his time as captain of both the Twenty20 team and occasionally the ODI team seems much better than Ponting, something which Australia will benefit heavily from. Unfortunately its the image and what comes out of his mouth (or through his phone) that worries me. The fact that he is more worried about getting the public on his side than winning games, which would do the first thing anyhow, is very worrying. I think Mick Molloy puts it best when he said that Michael Clarke will be the first Australian captain to declare via Twitter. In regard to Watson, I’m a little in disbelief, a little not, and a lot curling up into the foetal position and rocking back and forth. I’ll leave it at that.

The next immortal?

If Queensland didn’t have enough over NSW in this year’s Origin series, they have now got more motivation than ever before. Darren Lockyer’s retirement early last week, however not overly surprising or shocking, did see many anointing him as the next immortal. There is no doubt that Lockyer is one of the best to ever play the game, and immortal status would not be out of the question, but in my opinion Andrew Johns just pips him. Where Lockyer had longevity, I don’t ever thing that he carried a team as well as Joey did. A quick look at all the winning teams that Lockyer was a part of will see they were full of superstars. Tallis, Webcke, Walters, Langer, Sailor etc all won with Lockyer both at club and representative level. Johns however, carried Newcastle (Yes, with some very good players aside him such as Buderus and O’Davis) through a golden period, and when NSW needed him to step up, he did it. That aside, Lockyer will, barring injury, appropriately claim Terry Lamb’s record for most first grade games this year, and hopefully finish with the Four Nations trophy in November. For the Broncos going forward, there is talk of Darius Boyd ‘doing a Lockyer’ and stepping into five-eighth, or possibly signing rugby pin-up boy Quade Cooper. Either way, interesting times ahead at Red Hill.

A real knockout

Despite some great games in the opening rounds of the AFL and the NRL, the big issue surrounding both games is concussion and injury prevention. Despite the NRL injury toll being higher at this time last year, it is the succession of similar concussions, or long-term injuries that has experts worried. The main agreeing factor is that by reducing interchange in the NRL, there would be less small-guy bashing by big forwards budging in the back-line. I guess this is right, and it produces more 80 minute forwards which can only increase the skill levels of all players. The change of the substitution rule in the AFL has also turned some heads, with some saying it is working well, others saying it is failing miserably. I don’t completely understand it so I won’t comment fully, but I like the idea, and it is something that could be possibly implemented in the greatest game on earth.

Camp Concord Hospital

Well after a disappointing loss to the Roosters yesterday, the Tigers injury toll continues to rise, and put them in a very sticky situation. In a season where many were tipping them to go close, if not knock off the Dragons, the Tigers have suffered by far the most horrific injury toll of the NRL clubs. They currently have six of their starting seventeen, and eleven full time players in total on the sidelines, and they could possibly be joined by skipper Robbie Farah after he was diagnosed with Osteo Pubis, requiring surgery which could put him out for six-eight weeks. With Benji Marshall’s knee looking a little ginger late yesterday, and a returning Bryce Gibbs looking slightly off the pace, the question which needs to be asked is can they keep up with the competition with only half a team?

The Sun late rising

So I don’t know a whole lot about the AFL, or the Suns. All I know is they got smashed. Poor Gary Abblett can only do so much, and Karmichael was found out on debut, but there is a positive for the Suns, the only way is up. Maybe I should trade out those Gold Coast rookies from DT ASAP!!

Süß, Süß Rache!

So, for those of you who don’t follow football too closely, Australia beat Germany during the week. You know, nothing flash, just a 2-1 win OVER THE THIRD BEST SIDE IN THE WORLD AT THEIR HOME GROUND! Man this is big. But what really got me excited and proud most was the post-match comments of coach Holger Osieck. He has been quite positive in most regard to Australian football, a welcome change from the doomsday of Verbeek, but one comment in particular stood out the most. “I said to the boys, we are Australia, we are somebody. You have no reason to be scared of these people.” This says everything about Osieck and that performance, and in my opinion shows we are in quite good hands leading into Brazil 2014! Whilst there is some people who will say its not revenge because they were understrength, but they still had half a full strength team, and that is good enough for me. And don’t forget Australia were without Tim Cahill, our biggest attacking threat. So for me it really is Süß, Süß Rache! (which for those who couldn’t work it out roughly translates into sweet, sweet revenge!)

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