Monthly Archives: July 2010

DeadCast: Balls 024 / The Bledisloe’s back (Alright), Warriors Revert to Type and the return of the DeadBall liveblog

Aaron and Duncan spoke on Radio One in Dunedin, live-to-air with no preparation about the week in sport. This included talk about the revival of the Bledisloe Cup after a period of dormancy, whether the Warriors’ weekend hiccup might actually be the start of a coughing fit and got a little off topic to discuss DeadBall’s upcoming liveblog of the Auckland Supercity mayoralty debate (TV One 9am Sunday August 1). Come join us here to revel in the idiocy of the latter – LIVE!

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdeadball%2Fballs-024Balls 024 by Deadball

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Tri-Nations Guest Post: ''If You Want to Run With the Big Dogs, You Have to Lift Your Leg''

If the Springboks’ two heavy defeats in New Zealand gave their ‘bonkers’ coach Peter de Villiers cause to believe his team were the victims of some form of conspiracy, their third consecutive Tri-nations defeat, this time to the unfancied Wallabies in Brisbane, must have him thinking Michael Moore is about to make a movie about them. Hell, all the credits run about the same – the plot similar (yellow cards to his boofheaded forwards, weak defense, directionless kicking, experienced stars underperforming), and similar outcomes (other team – 30 odd, his team – quite a bit less than that). So what’s really going on?

For starters, the Wallabies had clearly swotted up on how the All Blacks had put the Boks to the sword the previous two weeks. They adopted the tactic of rarely kicking the ball into touch, and thus starving Matfield and co of their easiest won possession. They were fiercely competitive at the breakdown, sharp on the counter attack, and they also utilised the AB’s tactic of keeping a big loose forward to run two wide of the ruck into the big Bokke backline. Continue reading

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Five Things I've Thought This Week

1. Brendan McCullum should not be putting out a book

2. This Tour de France has a reasonable chance of being one of the best ever.

3. I don’t think I’ve anticipated a non-All Blacks game of international rugby as much as this weekend’s Tri-Nations game in a while.

4. Jesse Ryder’s career might already be over.

5. Brendan Telfer and Dale Budge worked far better than I thought they would.

Read more detailed analysis of the above after the jump. Continue reading

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Filed under Basketball, Cricket, Cycling, Dead Ball Icons, Fandom, NBA, Rugby, Rugby league, Tri-Nations

Guest Post: Thinking Outside the Boks

There was always going to be the faint whiff of anticlimax about the All Blacks beating the Springboks in Wellington this week, after the heady high of their crushing win in Auckland the previous week; what Richie McCaw’s men essentially delivered was Part II against a Boks side who look like they can’t wait to get out of Godzone.

With the southerly blowing sheets of rain in from the Strait, what I was hoping for was some smart wet weather rugby – keeping the ball tight in the forwards, playing low risk rugby with a focus on retaining possession and dominating the set piece, and grinding out the win through a war of attrition. But from my warm, dry vantage point at the southern end of the ground, it was possible to see clearly the width and confidence these AB’s are playing with, the sweeping lines of their attack, and the way they number up dutifully on defense. When after only a dozen minutes two of last week’s star performers Ma’a Nonu and Mils Muliaina had dotted down, punishing a Springbok defense that looked shabby in its organisation and execution, this was looking like another romp. Continue reading

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DeadCast: Balls! 23 feat. 'The Decision, The All Blacks, The Warriors and The Tour de France

Duncan Aaron talk about The All Blacks humiliation of The ‘Boks over the weekend, The revival of the Warriors, ‘The Decision’, The way this Tour de France is shaping up as a classic with many more to come… And that’s about it. A good time.

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fsoundcloud.com%2Fdeadball%2Fballs-023 BALLS! 023 by Deadball

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Guest Post: Chasing Contador Through the Alps

My uncle is currently living what could be either a dream or a nightmare depending on your perspective. He’s riding the Tour de France – not as a combatant, obviously, but riding many of the stages a day ahead of the Tour itself. Last year I had my own up-close-and-personal encounter with the Maillot Jaune, and can testify to thrill of following these guys around the high mountains (though the idea of riding up them makes me feel faintly nauseous). Howard will correspond from France when he’s not too exhausted to type (IE this has a very good chance of being all we hear from him).

Had one of those days yesterday. Everything just got better. After having the 10k Col du Telegraphie for starters we main coursed on the brutal Col du Galibier 17km’s at an average of 7.5%. The brutality made as much by the short distance between them. 5 kms from summit of one to the climb of the next. In essence you are are never out of climbing mode.

We finished by riding to Saint Jean-de-Maurienne to watch the finish of the Tour de France stage. It was said that this stage was going to be important and so it proved. On the Col du Madelienne Cadel Evans was to get smashed by Schleck and Contador. He eventually finished 8 minutes down and handed the yellow jersey to Andy Schleck. The battle between Schleck and Contador was amazing. Completely inseparable, they finished together. At the time however I didn’t know this. Wondering around the finishing shute I saw an interesting roundabout that lead the riders around and down to their team buses.

It was surrounded by police and officials but I could see that from a certain point none of them could see me if I jumped the barriers and got onto the grassy centre piece. So I did. I just lay down and tried to look like an official photographer with my point-and-shoot camera. After half an hour the activity around me starting getting serious and the close overhead helicopters signalled the climax of the stage. [Photos are after the jump] Continue reading

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What The Warriors Can Learn From The Thunder: It’s All About Chemistry

No way out

It’s really tough to not let yourself get sucked into this Warriors team right now. They’re a side which wasn’t expected to do much at all this season by pundits or fans, with an awkward combination of very raw kids; over-the-hill, injury-prone vets clogging salary space and head cases in their line up. They had just changed captains in the off season, and there were whispers about the coach and the front office staff – John Hart in particular.

So to find ourselves well inside the eight in mid-July is surprising to say the least. Even better, they’ve done it with most of their salary cap on the sideline. The team which won against Parramatta two weeks back had an average age of 23, and around 50 NRL caps apiece under their belt. Apart from Brisbane’s injury-ravaged start, there won’t have been many greener sides fielded this year. They were without captain Simon Mannering, Steve Price, Brent Tate, Joel Moon, Lance Hohaia, Jacob Lillyman, Kevin Locke, Sam Rapira and Wade McKinnon, who they’d parted company with earlier in the season. They’ve gotta be $2.5m, easy.

They got Mannering back for the weekend’s match away to Penrith, and turned out the most heroic defensive game I’ve ever seen. Shayne Hayne’s preening, patronising, astoundingly incompetent performance was exactly the kind of spanner which would have seen a slender 12-6 half-time lead become a 12-40 full-time thrashing in pretty much any previous Warriors team. We’ve never handled adversity particularly well round here. But despite what no less an authority than Bob Fulton called “the worst refereeing performance in the last 20 years”, those young dudes just put their heads down and tackled like animals for most of the second half. It put this year’s Origin to shame for tenacity, and created some of the most infuriating, enthralling sport you’ll in this or any other year.

It was a game that will become part of the side’s lore, that will live in the memory of fans forever. But it should also be a salutary lesson in where this club’s strength lies at the moment, and how it should spend its money. This winning streak is not being created by the big dollar Australian imports (though the attitude and work ethic of Michael Luck was written all over that win). It’s young, hard, unflashy home-grown kids who are doing it. They are deserving of their spaces, they’re playing together and for each other, they have incredible chemistry, and it is precisely the latter which I think is most valuable, and makes the rumours swirling around the likes of Steve Matai all the more worrying. Continue reading

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