Monthly Archives: June 2009

It's Not All Black, But It's Close

Stephen Donald

As the substantially weakened All Blacks of June 2009 gear up for what should be a routine thrashing of the touring Italians, the drawn series with the French may just have given us a timely wake up call as to what sort of shape the AB’s might be in without their twin towers of excellence, Dan Carter and Richie McCaw.

In fact, their indisputable excellence and superiority to any other contenders may have directly led to our failure at RWC 2007. They cast very long shadows over the NZ game, shadows that afford precious few opportunities for the next tier of players, and as a direct consequence we lost the next best options, Nick Evans and Marty Holah respectively, to the lucrative northern hemisphere club game.

It is notable that despite the ‘rotation’ policy that was in full effect in 2007, Carter, McCaw and man-mountain tighthead prop Carl Hayman played in virtually every game. Thus, despite the fact that Evans was playing better football than a decidedly out of sorts Carter by the time they hit Cardiff , the latter was preferred in that ill-fated quarter final.

To this day we haven’t really replaced Hayman; a huge presence, magnificent scrummager and superb lineout lifter. Greg Somerville was only ever a short term fix, John Afoa looks good in general play but disappears when it comes to the tough stuff, while watching Neemia Tialata waddle from ruck to ruck last week (like a chubby toddler at a birthday party heading from one plate of fairy cakes to another) and get popped out of scrum after scrum was a grim reminder of what a loss Hayman is. Don’t be surprised to see the NZRU move heaven and earth to get him back in time for 2011.

After yet another failed experiment playing players out of position in Dunedin (who woulda thought – playing three number 6’s looked for all the world like… they had three blindside flankers on the field!), and rugby oracle Spiro Zavos’ insistence that playing a man the size of Adam Thomson at seven under the new rules was tactically inept, it was a relief to see specialists in specialized positions in Wellington.

Tanerau Latimer could indeed be the great find of this round of loose forward ‘pass the parcel’ – he is an out-and-out seven, runs the lines of a seven, makes a lot of tackles and is good on the ground, rather like Australian George Smith. Kieran Read looked good at the back of the scrum, but will naturally make way for the unjustly derided Rodney So’oialo’s return.

Let’s face it –this was always going to be the Boks year – they will thrash the Lions this weekend and the following one, and will be very difficult to beat at home at the very least. Many of their key players will head North at the end of the year, having won a World Cup and beaten the Lions, the Tri-Nations will be the golden sunset for them to wave goodbye to the puny Rand and say hello to the mighty Pound or Euro.

I would be thrilled if we can just hang onto the Bledisloe – despite the advances that Robbie Deans has made with the Wallabies (tolerable scrum, grooming some three quarters with genuine speed, taking the obvious step of moving Giteau to ten – basically rebuilding them in the image of his champion Crusaders), they are only a couple of injuries away from being as exposed as the AB’s have been.

Watching Stephen Donald at the Cake Tin fumbling even basic restarts and missing some pretty regulation kicks at goal, it was hard to share Messrs Henry, Smith and Hansen’s faith that he could run the backline against the Boks and Wallabies. One also wonders just how injured some of our key players would be if there was more at stake in 2009.

This year, in fact, is the year that the All Blacks can afford to lose a few in the quest to create some depth and back up in key positions. It’s not really worth wearing out players as valuable as Ali Williams or McCaw against a wall of Bok this year. They needed to win in 2008 to get a hurt and angry NZ rugby public back on side, next year they need to start building for 2011. We don’t need guys who can play in any position from ‘12 to 15’ (as we are assured Isaia Toeava can – wouldn’t you just rather he could catch the ball?!) – we just need two good players in each position.

An important year for New Zealand rugby, even if it is not likely to be one that we look back on with great fondness. We have always been criticised for peaking between World Cups – rest assured that probably won’t be the case this year.

– Jeremy Taylor

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Giving Doug Golightly the Red Card

Doug Golightly

Doug Golightly, long the best excuse for sleeping til the afternoon on a Saturday morning, has now extended his monumental dull-wittedness into some new media, being appointed editor of Sky Sport: The Magazine. Full disclosure: Until very recently I was a contributor to the publication, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. And just so people know it’s not sour grapes, I’ve had no communication with the new team, I just wouldn’t want my name anywhere near Golightly’s.

Sky Sport: The Magazine was created by Eric Young in 2007, it functioned as something like an Antipodean Sports Illustrated, running pieces at far greater length and depth than you’d see anywhere else in New Zealand sports journalism, and generally providng a counterpoint to the cloying, inarticulate blokeishness which permeates almost all coverage of sports in this country.

Features ran at anywhere up to 5,000 words or 14 pages, unheard of in New Zealand sports journalism, which tends to view any attempt to decode the romance or futility of sports as somehow antithetical. Young published Gary Smith’s incredible SI piece on Andre Agassi, following his retirement, which was written entirely in the second person. Writers like noted NZ playwright Greg McGee found a home in its pages, and Young was unafraid to seek out the best available voice on a topic – my first contributor credit came between following the name Steffi Graf.

There was amoment when I realised this magazine would be different. I remember asking Young after receiving my first assignment whether he wanted me to look for a sidebar, a piece of the story which could be broken off into a more easily digestible form. He dismissed the idea out of hand, even made me fel a little ridiculous for asking. At journalism school I was taught two things regarding sidebars. Firstly that they were a cheap, lazy way of hooking readers into a story when the writing didn’t measure up, and secondly that every editor I encountered would demand them. Not this one.

The strange thing was that this austere, old-fashioned approach bore spectacular fruit. Young recieved every award he was up for at Terry Maclean Sports Journalism awards, including Sports Journalist of the Year. The magazine was an instant, raging success. The most recently published Nielsen survey gave it 243,000 readers (to give you an idea of how large that figure is, it’s five times that of Real Groove, the publication I edit, double what celeb gossip mag NW and Auckland icon Metro can claim, and only 40,000 behind the grand old lady of New Zealand publishing, The Listener), and it was experiencing strong growth even as Young was being forced out of the publication which was his brainchild.

In his place comes Golightly, and on his first cover? Who else, but the injured, non-playing All Black captain Richie McCaw. The headline? Into Battle! Where exactly he’ll be battling isn’t specified. Just put the most famous guy on the cover, who cares whether he’s going to be involved in any sport this month. I wouldn’t mind betting that the days of seeing cyclists, triathletes, netballers and surfers on the cover are over.

Judging by the first issue, the magazine has already become indistinguishable from all the other areas Golightly holds sway. Prosaic, processional examinations of the game as it transpired, nothing more. His Radio Sport show is characterised by interminable interviews, with him stumbling around, barely asking a question, with all the charisma and intellect of that half-cut guy down the pub whose gaze you try and avoid.

Periodically he’ll bring up one of his tired old stand-bys, the ‘red card’, or ridicule anyone who opposes his perspective as a ‘lesbian tree-hugger’. He’s already set about politicising his sports magazine with an interview with John Key (extremely tedious too – I feel like he’s doing a reasonable job, but he’s clearly not a sports fan of any description) and, most mystifyingly of all, replacing Jeremy Coney’s column with one from WINSTON PETERS.

Am I dreaming? Jeremy Coney’s columns were a perpetual highlight of the magazine, erudite, compelling pieces of writing which talked of Harold Pinter’s love for cricket or drew lines between Snow White, Odysseus and the All Blacks. They were characterised by surreal anecdotes, dazzling leaps and the same kind of sparkling intellect which has long made his entry to the commentary booth such a delight.

And in his place we get Winston Peters, that most self-serving, career-before-country abomination of a politician, less than a year distant from his eviction fom parliament by the electorate after a series of  serious scandals, which tainted his very fibre and obliterated any shred of credibility. Golightly’s Muldoonist tendencies and rank cronyism bring him back in front of us. The only saving grace of the whole fiasco is that Peters has chosen his first column to celebrate the history of Maori rugby, an institution which has always rankled Golightly, who so loathes ‘racially selected teams’. Middle class white men have always been the staunchest defenders of ethnic equality.

The rest of the magazine is little better. The longest feature runs to six pages, and the entire thing is a mess of sidebars, TV listings and wacky facts, with none of the passion or vibrancy which characterised it under Young’s stewardship. Within one issue Golightly has drained the life from Sky Sport: The Magazine and suffused its spirit, turning it into an extended version of his Sunday News sports section, plodding, empty and riven with clichés. And New Zealand sport is much the poorer as a result.

– Duncan

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Filed under Announcements, Dick-List, Reminiscing, Rugby

Chris Harris: A DeadBall Icon

Chris Harris

As the World Twenty20 runs on without The Black Caps, the time feels right for a reappraisal of the career of a man who might once have saved our blushes: Chris Harris, New Zealand’s pre-eminent cricketer of the post-Hadlee era.

Belying his thinning hair and hedonistic reputation, he pounced on seemingly impossible catches like a balding cat, regularly threw down the stumps from square leg with a grace that made grown men weep, unilaterally conjured up miraculous batting recoveries, and bowled dot balls when we needed them most.  He was New Zealand’s face saver, a legendarily down-to-earth everyman who commanded respect when the rest of our team inspired ridicule.

A contemporary of the teary-eyed Wellington tradesman, Gavin Larsen, he took that same role of the mid-late order batsman/second change dibbly-dobbly swing bowler, but owned it with such effortless flair and jouissance that he transformed the very landscape of New Zealand cricket.  From Harry onwards, the role of the seemingly unthreatening all-rounder became not a mere afterthought, but the essence of New Zealand’s one day approach.

He is the blueprint and spiritual guide for all our middle order all-rounders, who just about every match are expected to compensate for the under-performance of our top order batsmen, and wayward or injured frontline pacemen.  Daniel Vettori is the most obvious proponent of the Harry Way, having trained under Harry, partnering him in many heart-warming, tail-wagging, respectability-saving stands.  Jesse Ryder bowls dibbly-dobblies and has taken Harry’s booze-and-durries reputation and developed it.  Scott Styris, unassuming, roguishly handsome, aged before his time, but heroically consistent, is probably the closest a modern NZ cricketer has come to capturing the soul or mystical aura of CZ Harris in his prime.

On November 20 this year, Chris Harris will turn 40, default upper age limit for international cricketers.  Since last week’s decision to make former ICL players eligible for New Zealand, Harris hypothetically could make a return to the Black Caps, but the chances of this happening are sadly slim.  Thus, barring a miracle, we have witnessed the end of one of New Zealand’s great cricket careers, the fading away of a prodigious talent and New Zealand folk hero, and one of cricket’s rare alopecians not to resort to the Advanced Hair Clinic.

He debuted in Australia in 1990, hinting at his future lynchpin role in the team, scoring 17 not out and taking a wicket in his first game.  His batting form through the first few seasons of his career was patchy though, and while he was definitively one of the ‘Young Guns’, their golden moment, the 1992 World Cup, did not feature any Harry magic with the bat, for one because the top order largely fired, but more significantly because he was part of a revolutionary bowling lineup made up of almost entirely of dibbly-dobbly bowlers. (Gavin Larsen, Harris, Rod Latham and Willie Watson. The other key bowler was of course off-spinner Dipak Patel, who legendarily opened the bowling in a self-professed “captaincy masterstroke” by Martin Crowe.)

Harry took 16 wickets in the tournament at an average of 21.38, a figure that would have been even better had he not suffered a tonking at the hands of Inzamam ul-Haq in the heartbreaking semi final defeat against Pakistan. Appropriately, Harris ran out Inzamam in typically spectacular fashion with a diving side-on throw from point, but it was too late to prevent New Zealand’s dreams of World Cup glory being crushed. The loss was a hammer blow to the nation’s psyche, and perhaps marks the moment when New Zealand trudged downcast with resignation into the ’90s, realising that the decade was not going to be a new era of optimism, prosperity and sports supremacy over Australia, but just more of the same shit.

In a sense, Chris Harris’s batting performances as the ’90s progressed mirrored the state of our country at the time, providing an objective analogy to our own aspirations and frustrations. Just as we were hamstrung by recession, isolation, and an indefinable cultural/ideological malaise, Harry was prevented from ever being truly flashy and excellent by regular top order collapses.

As mentioned earlier, his gift was restoring respectability in difficult and sometimes appalling circumstances, which allowed him to deploy the batting equivalent of such parochial stand-bys as ‘Kiwi Ingenuity’, ‘the Number Eight Wire Mentality’ and crucially avoid the dreaded ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’.  No fear of being charged with arrant excellence when you’re coming in at number eight and forced into a situation like this (note plucky support innings from Harry’s young apprentice Vettori)

Harris3

Conversely, it was the very same failures that allowed Harry to truly shine.  Had it not been for the regular sub-par performances of our top and middle order, Harris wouldn’t have had the chance to come out and play those vital innings that made us feel okay about losing. When you trawl through Chris Harris’s higher scoring innings, the common thread in a noticeable majority of them is that they were New Zealand losses, not surprising in itself as the majority of New Zealand cricket performances in general are losses.

I guess what I’m trying to get to here is that Chris Harris actually needed New Zealand to be the wretched team they were in order to scrawl his legendary, indelible signature across the autograph book of cricket history*. (yes I know this is a lame metaphor, but hell this is sports writing right, this shit’s pretty much obligatory)

Occasionally though, his brilliance combined with the right team and the right occasion, and he had the rare satisfaction of taking the role of match-winner, as seen in the first two matches against Australia during the 2002 VB Series. In the first match at the MCG, New Zealand made a total of 199, only remotely defendable because of the gritty salvaging efforts of our hero and his plucky young protege Vettori. The two left-handers shared a record eighth wicket partnership of 72, taking New Zealand from a typically worrying 94 /7 in the 26th over to 166/8 at the beginning of the 44th.

Harry finished up with 63 not out, undoubtedly a truly great innings, given the situation on his arrival at the crease versus the final result. With Australia chasing 200, New Zealand’s bowlers put on an exemplary display of strike, spin and economy, Shane Bond (on debut) knocking the guts out of the Australian top order and Harry putting on the brakes, bowling 1 for 17 from seven overs. The Australians finished up all out for 176 after 42 overs. This is the archetypal perfect New Zealand cricket result really, what we wait for as fans of this mercurial team: a victory over the ultimate foe at the MCG, despite an inimitably flawed performance, thus making the victory all the more satisfying, human and truly glorious.

The second match in Sydney had strong similarities to the first, but with Harris coming in at a slightly more forgiving 137/5 in the 36th over, he brought a more insistent approach to the batting crease, making a commanding 42 not out off 43 balls. Defending 235, the New Zealand bowling attack once again took the Australians apart, with the last six wickets falling for 38 runs. Harris himself took three wickets of the six, as well as two catches. He was named Man of the Match in both of these deeply pleasing cricket contests, and I shall humbly and probably erroneously suggest that it was this moment that truly made concrete Chris Harris’ position as one of the few New Zealand cricketers genuinely respected across the Tasman.

These performances are heart-soaring, blessed highlights in the career of a cricketer who taught New Zealanders that the next best thing to saving a match is saving face. His determined stands in the path of total embarrassment were moments of hope and sheer joy amidst the dark and conflicted mess that is to be a New Zealand cricket fan. He was the spoonful of sugar that helped the medicine go down.

The final stages of Chris Harris’s international career were confused by injury, and the corporate mess of Twenty20 and his participation in the rebel Indian Cricket League. This has all threatened to obscure the dignified bowing out of this great man from the traditional realm of international cricket. Whether or not he intends to keep playing cricket at the highest level possible until he simply drops dead, he is overdue a testimonial match to draw to a symbolic close his international cricket career and usher him lovingly into the world of commentary, punditry and after-dinner speaking engagements.

If not for Chris Harris, then for me, and the thousands of other Harry connoisseurs who quietly long for the days when his inventive, determined approach and captivating scalp dominated New Zealand one day cricket.

– James Milne

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It's Not Your Fault

Martin Guptil

Martin Guptil’s head hung disconsolately after his dismissal in this morning’s Twenty20, but it was Jacob Oram who should be ashamed of himself. The way The Giant meekly gave up his wicket was shameful, and you have to think his limp 12 ball 7 will be his last innings as a Black Cap.

Oram’s been a mercurial figure his whole career. For starters, a guy who’s 6’7″ should be bowling at better than military medium. When you think of tall cricketers from years gone by, the likes of Courtney Walsh and Curtly Ambrose, you think of intimidation, of bouncers which would decapitate a batsman if the blinked at the wrong time, of brutal, unswerving pace.

Oram somehow manages to bowl at 125-130 and be constantly suffering from a stress fracture or strain. How does he sustain those injuries? My grandmother is in her late 70s and not in the best shape, but I’m certain she could throw down an over or two at that pace without exacerpating anything. Throughout his career he’s been a containment bowler, pretty much interchangeable with Scott Styris, who at least has a hideous face to give him some cult appeal.

The saving grace has been his frequently savage batting. But as he last hit a half century for us over a year ago, so that’s been well and truly gone for a while now. I feel like his presence in the dressing room must be more of a hindrance now, this old, once-great war-horse creaking around, a shadow of his former potency, but refusing to admit defeat.

Instead the Black Caps wheel him out time and again with ever-fainter flickers of hope, and he gets no wickets for not too many runs, and uses 10% of our balls to score 4% of our required runs, and turns twos into singles, whic a fitter, faster, younger cricketer mightn’t have. And then we see sprightly, vibrant guys like Guptil destroyed by losing their wicket, when the only reason they’re out is because Jake couldn’t hit runs or gallop between wickets like he used to.

The team is right now in a state of flux. We have too many new cricketers (N McCullum, McGlashan, Redmond) who can’t be relied upon, and too many old nags (Oram, Styris – who also probably needs to make way) who are similarly unreliable. So the new kids who make runs (Taylor, Guptil, Ryder) and the old hands who’ve still got it (B McCullum, Vettori, Mills) have to carry far more of the burden than they’re physically capable of.

And we’re losing. By large margins. And if we’re going to lose by large margins, surely it’s better to be doing so with fresh blood in there than yesterday’s men? A young team which solidifies and learns together can end up surprising you, can gel as a unit and lift beyond its component parts. Right now, with Oram dreadfully out of form, and looking utterly disinterested, we’re breaking the young guys’ hearts and spirits.

Plus, as you can see below, Oram’s gotten a bit fat:

Jacob Oram's bum

This is the wicket’s view of him on its way down, and it caught a glimpse of an uncomfortable truth: our once fit and sexy allrounder has packed on the pounds. See that line along the middle of his buttock? That’s not musculature. That’s where his Y fronts are cutting into his arse-flesh, trying and failing to contain the jelly within.

I know there have been heaps of great fat allrounders in the past – Beefy Botham, Fattie Lehman, even Jayasuria’s not short of supplies for the winter. But Oram’s not built like that, and has only gained weight because he doesn’t care about winning anymore.

So it’s time to send him to the glue factory, we’ll make cents in the dollar, but he’ll be off our hand, and we can bring in a fresh generation of headcase allrounders to disappoint and occasionally thrill us.

– Duncan

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The Chopping Block: Not The Sharpest Knife In The Drawer

The Sharpest Knife 1

TV2’s new Top Chef challenger The Sharpest Knife The Chopping Block has all the right ingredients – including this fantastic specimen – but somehow the end result is less than compelling.

EDIT – When I wrote this I was under the retarded impression that this show was called The Sharpest Knife. Despite watching it three times. Muppet. Rather than just correct it with quick find & replace I thought I’d leave my massive journalistic screw up in full view, to remind me and the world of what an idiot I am. So whenever you see The Sharpest Knife below, just rememeber I’m talking about The Chopping Block, TV2, Tuesdays, 7.30pm. Anyway, as I was saying before…

Apparently it’s been pulled after three episodes in the US (tonight’s was the third to screen in New Zealand, I have to presume they’ll allow it to run to its conclusion here), but it’s kinda frustrating, because at its core there’s enough drama for it to work as a show, but due to a series of pretty amateur errors, it falls, and falls hard.

The concept is simple, and pretty decent. There’s a bunch of chefs and other chef-y type people (waiters, maitre d’s etc), divided into two teams, each of whom have a restaurant in NYC that opens to the public for a night at a time. The twist being that they’re all couples of some description – sometimes romantically linked, sometimes cousins, or, in the case of Anapol (above), a homeless man and his minder. At least that’s what it looks like.

They have their own version of a quickfire, where they cook something for judge/host/big swinging dick Marco Pierre White, who then gives one crew an advantage based on which one wins.Then the two teams open for a night, create a menu based on certain limitations implied by the prior (quickfire-ish) element, and a critic judges them.

So why doesn’t it work? Maybe it’s best to look at what does work first. Full credit to the producers for getting Anapol on the show. Not only does he look like he’s been living rough since coming back from ‘Nam in ’68, he also has the most repugnant beard I’ve ever seen on a human. The above image really doesn’t capture just how grotesque this malignant tuft of pubic hair thrusting from his chin really is. There’s only eight or so strands to it, but the very idea of it being within a stray gust’s distance of any food, let alone my own, makes me want to give up eating altogether.

Sharpest 2

But his companions are such freaks that he ends up being the voice of reason. There’s the token black couple, Mike and Panya, the latter of whom goes to war on this girl Vanessa, and waits all of a minute at elimination before playing trying to start a race war. She and Mike, who seemed like an eminently reasonable sort of guy, got the gong pretty sharply.

The other team’s fruitiest loop is Dean, who managed to cut his hand towards the end of the night, which for some reason (let’s call it a doomed grab for ratings) required an ambulance. He’s got this weird, squirmy, recovering-alcoholic, I-once-killed-a-man-drunk-driving-and-never-got-caught kinda vibe, forcing jollity to mask the epic, unquenchable sadness at his core. He’s pretty fun.

Marco Pierre White, on the other hand, is anything but. Because G-Ram’s taken the shriekin’ and swearin’ spot in modern celeb chefery, Pierre White’s gone for simmering, glowering menace. Which is a great, intimidating prospect in person, but doesn’t play well either on TV (where it can’t leap out of the LCD and shrink your testicles) or to Americans (who need yelling to be aware of emotion). He does have one cool trick, which he put to use particularly well on Dean, of tearing slow and deliberate strips off of each team’s menu which contravene the rules of engagement.

Photo0030

Imagine seeing your lovingly scrawled creations (cf: the sample above) torn asunder by a large, impassive Englishman! Dean didn’t like it one bit. Looked close to tears, or at least a return to the bottle from whence he crawled.

So it has a few things on its side, mostly personel (Pierre White also does a neat line in philosophising, Art of War-style, from a chair in his study), but, like the John Mitchell-era All Blacks, The Sharpest Knife royally screws up the set pieces.

The eliminations, the dramatic ejaculation of a show like this, are so perfunctory that you could easily miss them. Where is the thunderous music, the intense stares… Where is the iconic phrase? “Go home” just doesn’t cut it, unfortunately. The lack of a supporting cast also murders the show. the reason Top Chef works so well is the way the judges interact; Pierre White has to handle it all, be the Colicchio and the Lakshmi… It’s too much for any man to handle. And this show falls as a result.

Henry’s an Iron Chef America man, and while I can see the attraction of the Kitchen Stadium (and particularly its perfect resonance for a blog covering sports and reality TV), for me Top Chef is one of the great triumphs of the Bravo era. The Sharpest Knife’s failing’s are chiefly a result of not paying close enough attention to TC‘s key principles, most notably the drama of elimination, the harsh words, the pressure cooker of the house and the interplay between the judges. So it was with great anticipation I read of the creation of two new Top Chef spinoffs.

Top Chef: Juniors could be anything. Hopefully it is to Top Chef what S Club Juniors were to S Club 7. “Contestants in their early teens”… I guess it’s either going to be as brainfryingly brilliant as the national Spelling Bee (I intended to write on this… Kyle Mou was a fuckin gangsta) or like an extended food fight. Judges, as per, are key. But Top Chef: Masters, by virtue of having high end chefs, and even bigger egos involved, should be totally killer.

All of which is by way of saying the The Sharpest Knife is probably only worth watching for hardcore competitive cooking freaks. I’m myskying it, but it’s teetering on the brink.

DB rating (this may or may not become part of the general DeadBall landscape, but I’m trying it on for size): 5/10.

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Back To The Homeland

Dan_Carter_mono_display

It’s the most interesting thing that’s happened all year in rugby, and it didn’t involve anyone actually stepping on to the field. The NZ Herald has just announced Dan Carter will not be signing with the Blues, instead, he’ll be returning to his beloved Christchurch and the supple bosom of the Crusaders franchise. We were lead to believe Dan Carter had all but guaranteed his signing with Auckland for $400,000, some designer hair product and a small piece of his soul. Maybe that’s because every media outlet reported that he had.

In many ways it seemed like a natural fit. Carter’s minders want us to believe he feels OK wearing tight fitting underwear and metro-sexual attire in way that only an Auckland professional dressed by his girlfriend can. But despite their best efforts, no amount of public training can supersede the awkwardness that sits in the very fibre of Carter’s being.  Carter mumbles through interviews like he’s at a 8th grade school dance and sheepishly models clothes as though trying them on for his Mum. So he may just be the strong, silent southern man we all secretly hope he is. Christchurch is his spiritual homeland, a place where rugby is played with little fuss and you don’t need to drive up hills (but there are some there if you want to). Maybe he couldn’t deny it any longer. Or perhaps the notoriously powerful Christchurch mafia had a part to play (Jason Gunn and Simon Barnett are members). Continue reading

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LAKERS!

NBA Finals Lakers Magic Basketball

Lakers win! 4-1! Odom wins a ring! Fuck, The MACHINE won a goddam championship. There’s hope for every misfiring Euro. Did he even score in the finals? I can’t remember. Anyway, one of us here at DeadBall is happy as Larry David. Oh, and Phil Jackson wins his TENTH title! Man, what a day. I am so glad things got better for Odom. Hopefully he’ll be back in purple next season. If they can afford both him and Ariza now. Players with rings are more expensive right? Continue reading

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