Quick note: the power rankings aren’t dead! They’re just relocatin’
They will be on umusic.co.nz when those guys go live, but in the meantime they’re running on the umusic facebook.
Aaron and Duncan get on Radio 1 on Dunedin to discuss the astounding implications of the Melbourne Storm salary cap scandal, Piri Weepu’s looming defection to the Northern Hemisphere, Kevin Garnett’s elbow and the NBA playoffs, plus some other things I can’t quite remember. But it was a lot of fun, potentially the best BALLS! yet.
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
Seeking out some atmosphere to go with an event of the magnitude of the Champions League final I am forsaking my trusty chair, easy access to coffee, and about half an hours extra sleep to head down to The Bard on Avon, Christchurch’s early morning football destination. And so Deadball is proud to bring you a live account of the final, just a bit later on ‘cos I have to transcribe it from my notebook.
The Champions League final is great but it does herald the end of the football season, it’s a pretty bleak three months once the NBA Finals are over, and does have a tendency to bring out the type of people who watch one game a year and so it is no surprise to arrive to a sea of ManU shirts already spilling out onto the outside tables. Where were all of you during the semi finals? Not wearing your shirts that’s for sure where Gunners bearers outnumbered you 10 to 1, that is until the goals went in and it turned out you’d come in plainclothes, way to stand up for what you believe in. It is a particularly bad year for this type of behaviour with two obvious teams who are also two of my most hated, slightly less on the Barca side (no more Deco, no more worlds most overrated player, they play amazing football, and it would be nice to see Henry win it).
A week which saw the models slough off the veneer of pleasantry which had just about been maintained through the opening rounds and pull out some good old-fashioned schoolyard bitchery. The young rose precipitously this week, while any over 20s saw their stock take a hit. Guest judge Karen Inderbitzen-Waller helped with jettisoning the good vibes, just calling it as she saw it, and the power-shifts we saw last week solidified into a new order, with some heavy implications for the old regime. Judge-wise, Colin remains amazing, Sisarich cool and even Sara is becoming vaguely tolerable.
With the elimination of Rhiannon so goes the innocence, and the first genuine contender has left the building, never to squeal “Sara mail!” again. Game on, girls.
1. (Last Week: 1) Christobelle
Another powerhouse performance from the Dio girl saw her comprehensively dominate the competition with a characteristic mix of focus and frivolity. She seems to know exactly when to turn it on, giggling her way through the make-up round before turning in a photo of international quality, and no one can doubt that she is in the box seat now. The other girls recognise it too, the extremely illuminating Q&A with an enjoyably frosty Sara saw her name emerge as the near-unanimous favourite. Just needs to be careful Ruby and Ajoh like their roles as loyal lieutenants, because if (when) they turn on her life could get ugly very quickly. Continue reading
Note: our good friend Robbo attended this years F1 race in Melbourne. In a haze of alcohol fuelled inspiration, he channelled Hunter S. Thompson and gave us 150 words on the experience. Enjoy.
A race around the streets beckoned. A flight ensued. Melbourne.
A large casino was all that concerned me. And the race. Bet’s were placed. Trulli at five to one in the top three. My kind of odds. Flashy lights of casino seduce me. I am number. Around and around I go. Looking, waiting, watching. Drinking, that’s my forte. One Mojito, two Mojito, now I’m rhythm.
A day at the races. Gentlemen start your engines. The red light is always green. Fast cars, faster ladies, beer at six dollars. One hour and one half of pure hedonism. Around and around and around they go. Ten, twenty, thirty minutes and it’s all the same. All a blur. Alcohol? Maybe.
Ninety minutes that’s my game. Winners and losers or so they say. Trulli in the top three. I’m happy. Paid for a few of those drinks.
Old rock and roll to satisfy the motorheads. The Who. Old men singing old songs. Who are you? That kind of question is too philosophical this late in the day.
Round three of NZ’s Next Top Model took place Friday, and after the tumult of the first couple of weeks we’re starting to see the competiton settle into some kind of order. The trash has been largely wheeled out the door and the contenders are starting to make some serious moves, so I figured it was time to launch our NZNTM power rankings.
Inspired by the ESPN’s on the NBA and LeagueHQ’s on the NRL we’re going to rank the contenders on their momentum and recent form, and try and predict who’s next in line for elimination, and see who’s making the right moves to take the whole thing out. Power rankings, for the unfamiliar, are based on form and a team’s general outlook, rather than where they might be positioned in the competition. While there’s no official ladder for NZNTM, it’s pretty clear that Teryl-Leigh would be atop it if there were, with her surfeit of wins in the first couple of weeks. Power rankings would suggest that there’s a new challenger they need to pay attention to.
She’s looked like the quiet achiever from the start, a sunny personality belying a steely determination, and she picked the right time to turn it on, with a stunning catwalk performance, and while she let herself get phased by the rigours of the makeover, she pulled it back together for the shoot. Her only issue now is that she’s clearly in everyone’s sights, those models don’t fuck around when they see someone trying to take their contract, and will be scheming for her downfall at every turn. Continue reading