Posts Tagged ‘Newcastle Knights’

Darius, we love you; now answer the question!

Take yourself back to 2009. What a year in rugby league that one was.

Queensland won the State of Origin. Hazem El Masri broke Andrew Johns’ long standing point scoring record. Jarryd Hayne had that magical run, bringing Parramatta to the finals, but more importantly stretched journalists to the very end of their powers of rhyme, spawning such notable and long-lasting nicknames like ‘Hayne Drain,’ ‘Hayne Spain’ and ‘Hayne Citizen Kane.’ Melbourne won the premiership, but were exposed as dirty cheats so had it taken away, like candy from a baby.

But there was one thing about that year of football that really wasn’t great. Was it worse than Melbourne cheating the salary cap? Well, if you compiled videos of both incidents and crammed it into 42 seconds, this one would certainly be more painful.

After another shocker of a press conference from Darius Boyd two days ago, I thought I should speak on behalf of people much more qualified than myself about how Darius can improve his relationship with the media.

First of all, let me say to you Darius that more goes unsaid than said in every single article about rugby league. Here’s some of what goes unsaid too often.

“Darius, you’re an excellent football player. You’re better than I’ll ever be. You are at the pointy end of a very high level competition and you’ve worked exceptionally hard to be there. Well done.

Well done, too, on your absurd pace, your calmness under pressure and your ability to make the big plays at the right moment in every single game of every week. We applaud you, and your talent, your team and the rest of the players around you. You’re all great footballers.”

That is never said in a rugby league article. It’s taken for granted that you are an excellent footballer, Darius, and maybe we should tell you more often how good you really are.

So you should know, then, that all criticism directed at you is only directed at you in the context of you being an amazingly talented, hard-working, successful player. The paradigm is so different to, say, fourth grade Saturday afternoon footy, in that you get paid what you do to be in the papers, and play the big games in front of the cameras and score spectacular tries.

Know that we don’t hate you when we criticise. We talk about you in a context that we all dreamed of being inside as kids. But we don’t happen to have a tenth of a sixteenth of your skill, so we write about it instead.

First we admire. Then we evaluate. Then we write, but we only write about the second bit, because if we always wrote about how much we admired, it would be awfully boring to read every day.

Media can be scary. They can write nasty things about you. They have terrifying, limited, ethically bound power. But as Gordon Tallis said on Matty Johns’ show, don’t treat them like the contemptuous, blood-sucking parasite you think they are, treat them like a big megaphone booming out to your legion of fans.

For if it wasn’t for the journalists, your fans wouldn’t get to hear what you have to say on TV or read what you have to say in the paper. They’re your mouthpiece. Sure, the mouthpiece might play Chinese whispers with what you say, but they’re still your link to the fans. If you like your fans, you should at least pretend to not hate journalists during a press conference.

And when you don’t answer questions in a press conference, whether it’s because your nervous, tired, you hate the journalists, or whatever, it doesn’t look good. People don’t see it like you’re making a point.

They just think you’re being a douche.

That’s not to say you are a douche, indeed Gordon Tallis on the very same show said that you weren’t; and who am I to disagree with Gordy having never met you myself?

But it would certainly serve your self interest to just answer the question. Suck up whatever your beef is and do it.

Because we do love you. We just don’t tell you often enough.

Watson looking hot for the title – Aussies tag along

Sorry about the cricket glut people, but you know what you’re getting yourself into when you click on a webpage that has a still of Andrew Symonds absolutely dominating a streaker.

What are you getting precisely? Well, more or less a random assortment ¬†of sporting thoughts at my whim. Don’t like it? Then go read somewhere else (note: please don’t read somewhere else, you’re all I’ve got)

But mostly it’s just because I’ve run out of ideas. There. Onto the blogging.

I spoke to a dear friend of mine the other day about the ICC World Twenty20, which I am thoroughly enjoying at the minute. Some of you more avid followers (both of you) might know this dear friend as Diablo. Diablo told me that he couldn’t give two hoots about the World T20. Being a newly deflowered viewer of illicit Indian streams I thought he was crazy. Both on these streams and on Twitter people were going mental for this thing. It’s trending every time there is a game on.

Yeah, I just got Twitter, the gateway to lazy journalistic practices and me becoming a narcissistic Generation Me’er, whatever that is. Follow me @WarmingthePine.

I do promise you one thing though, I will never, ever, quote Twitter if I am attempting to break a story. News might be made on Twitter these days but how lazy do you have to be to control-C someone’s 140-character-or-less internetings and call it a news story? Gets me all worked up in my pant region.

Also know that I am a reluctant user of hashtags, and find them a reprehensible but necessary evil.

Anyway, so my friend said not many people are watching the World T20 because of Nine’s terrible coverage and generally a lack of promotion and interest. I suspect my friends with Foxtel and without a hole in one to their name might have been more interesting to talk to on this subject. Diablo is horrifyingly uninteresting to talk to at the best to times.

For all those who don’t know, Australia qualified first in their Super eight group with a couple of absolutely crushing displays against India and South Africa. Or should I say, Shane Watson qualified Australia first in their Super eight group, because at this stage the Aussie T20’ers are a bigger one man team than Newcastle Knights circa 2005. God forbid if Shane Watson were as injury prone as the latest Rugby League Immortal. Oh wait…

With four straight man-of-the-match awards to his name and at one point topping all the charts in the tournament that matter (runs, wickets and sixes) Watson looked unstoppable. What a role he was on! He was even hitting spinners for six.

At first I rubbed my eyes. An Australian batsman actually laying willow on a delivery with rotations that weren’t in the direction from whence the white seed came? What is this arcane tomfoolery, the likes of which the best cricket writers in a Australia have apparently never seen? But my eyes weren’t deceiving me. Australian batsmen are actually allowed to hit spinning balls, sometimes even for six.

The Australian Cricket team is mobbed by a bunch of others who wear the same shirt as him, including his captain

Worryingly, though, in their last game against Pakistan the soft, meaty, and probably delicious underbelly of the Australian middle order was exposed and the ravenous Pakistanis took to it as hyenas to an exposed deerling gut. Imagery, people, imagery.

The guys in our team who weren’t Warner, Watson or Hussey hardly looked like they could bat at all.

After the game George Bailey said that in Twenty20 cricket you really needed your top order to do a bulk of the scoring. I thought that was all very convenient for George to tell us that, completely absolving he and the rest of the eight guys who are supposed to be in the team too of their batting failures from the last six months.

“Hey Shane, so, um, you and Dave can score the runs and me and the boys will be out the back having steaks and beers. Cool? No? Well, I’m the captain these days so, I don’t really care.”

While convenient, it ain’t right to place so much pressure on the three best players in your side to do the bulk of the scoring every game. Sure, they’ll do a lot of scoring, but when they fail the middle order has to do its job and score runs too. It’s easy for George to pretend he doesn’t have to bat just because he’s not listed in the top three, but when the pointy end of this tournament comes along in the next few days there will be no hiding behind Shane and Dave if they happen not to fire.

Time for you and your steak-eating pals to put away the table cloth and napkins and get an appetite for runs, George. Otherwise this one man team is going nowhere, and you’ll be back with the Hobart Hurricanes before you can say “but I told Shane to score all the runs.”

That’s not good captaincy George.

Also, any reader who made it this far, know that I refrained from using a refugee boat joke somewhere in this post. Points for anyone who can guess where.

Finally, if you haven’t realised, I’m really craving steak.

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair