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Thursday, 30 July 2009

NRL Tips Round 21 2009 - AFL Tips Round 18 2009 - 3rd Ashes Test Begins

If you are looking for Round 21 AFL Previews and Tips - click here. ========================= This is an archived story - so check the main page - www.wdnicolson.blogspot.com for the current round of tipping for NRL, AFL and Super 14. The site is also regularly updated with opinion, news and features on sport, entertainment and life. =========================
NRL Tips & Previews Round 21 2009 - AFL Tips & Previews Round 18 2009 - 3rd Ashes Test Begins Bye Bye Karmichael. We all thought Karmichael would take the money in Union (which he will probably still do in 2010) but he's now switching codes to the AFL to play for the Gold Coast who enter the competition in 2011. The Broncos face a must win game in Canberra this weekend and Hunt will be under immense pressure to lift his game another notch in his final few months in the game. Friday Night Football is a beauty this week with the Dragons taking on the Storm and the Titans hosting the Cowboys in Round 21 of the 2009 NRL Premiership. In the AFL the Saints refuse to lose and were mighty against the Bulldogs to make it 17 on the trot. While the MCG hosted an absolute beauty as Geelong showed they are still a champion side by coming from nowhere to pip the Hawks with the final kick of the game from Jimmy Bartel. In Cricket England are 1-0 up and have been handed a leg up by the Australian selectors who have apparently left Phillip Hughes - a match winner - out of their team in favour of Shane Watson. Rain has delayed the start of play but you can follow the match and series in depth via regular video blogs here on wdnicolson.blogspot.com and my Twitter feed as Australia try to level the series. In Rugby Union the All Blacks were repelled by the Springboks and we now have a clear favourite for the Tri-Nations crown. They go at it again this Saturday Night in South Africa. Can you kick a goal from the sideline just 1.5 metres from the tryline - interested in giving it a go? Go to http://wdnicolson.blogspot.com/2009/05/kick-off-2009-are-you-up-to-challenge.html for more information on Kick-Off 2009! NRL & AFL Match Previews below. =================================================================== NRL ROUND 21 - 2009 Quick hit Previews for the Greatest Game of All as Friday Night throws up a possible Grand Final preview. STORM over DRAGONS > Could be a game on par with the Dogs-Dragons and Knights-Storm clashes - as the best we've seen this year if all the stars play. Melbourne are on the road but I've got a feeling they are primed to make a statement. COWBOYS over TITANS > The Cowboys are great front-runners and terrible coming from behind. Tipping they start in front and hold on against a Titans team that will really miss Laffranchi on the right side. BRONCOS over RAIDERS > Canberra played as bad as any team has this season in their loss to the Tigers but are admittedly some hope in this one. That is only because the Broncos are down on troops (but get some back this week) and have to travel. Still the Broncos have something to play for and the Raiders are playing without an idea. KNIGHTS over ROOSTERS > Gidley and Mullen playing make the Knights a must pick. PANTHERS over WARRIORS > Didn't give the Panthers a chance in Townsville last week but they were great and deserved to win. Yet here I am a week later liking the Warriors for a game IN Penrith. Taking home team but like the Warriors chances. EELS over SHARKS > Paul Gallen's status in this game may have a real impact on the result. If he plays the Sharks come into serious consideration. That being said Jarryd Hayne is playing great footy behind an in form forward pack, so at the moment with Gallen unconfirmed - pick Parramatta. BULLDOGS over RABBITOHS > Great matchup for Sunday afternoon football. The Dogs deserve favouritism but John Sutton and Souths are scoring points at will right now. Take the Dogs if Stagg plays. TIGERS over SEA EAGLES > Both Robbie Farah and Benji Marshall weren't in great touch against the Raiders and the Tigers won by 21 points. If they fire - and I expect them too - I really like their chances to beat a Manly side that is good without being great.
=================================================================== AFL ROUND 18 - 2009 St.Kilda seem destined for the Minor Premiership and should they beat Sydney - are just four games from regular season perfection. BLUES over KANGAROOS North Melbourne don't have to troops to be competing for anything but a priority pick, while the Blues face another game they must win to solidify their spot in the Top 8. BULLDOGS over WHARFIES The Western Bulldogs have some key guys injured (Higgins, Walsh & Murphy) but Freo made hard work of beating a depleted West Coast Eagles last week and the Dogs should prevail. CATS over CROWS Great matchup considering the Crows are in fine form and the Cats only just snuck home against the Hawks. The Geelong machine may get back into gear this week with Steve Johnson back and the Crows are hard to back. SAINTS over SWANS Historically the Swans do well against St.Kilda in games when the Victorian club are on a roll but this roll is an avalanche and the Swans are playing poorly. MAGPIES over LIONS Brisbane are a sexy upset pick given they got 8 goals from spearhead Jonathan Brown last week, so they'll bring confidence into the clash with the Magpies. But this is in Melbourne and it's Collingwood for mine. DEMONS over TIGERS Yes the Tigers upset the Bombers last Sunday but the Demons get some key men back for this one. Melbourne aren't going that badly to be $3.50 against Richmond at this stage of the season, so we're taking the Demons here. HAWKS over POWER You would think the loser of this game is done for 2009 as the winner will jump 4 points ahead. Hawthorn may have played their last card in the loss to the Cats but in watching that game, you got the impression that Hawthorn aren't finished in 2009 quite yet. BOMBERS over EAGLES A second danger game in as many weeks for the Bombers - who lost a game they had to win last week against the Tigers. If Essendon lose here they aren't finished but they will have squandered 8 points they should've taken into Round 19. =================================================================== 2009 ASHES UPDATE ENGLAND won the 2nd Test convincingly but Kevin Pietersen's campaign is over. Australia blew the 1st Test in dramatic fashion and then were outplayed from the get-go at Lords. We now wait for the rain to clear at Edgbaston for the 3rd Test with Australia desperate to square the series at 1-1. Shane Watson is the only confirmed change, coming in for the axed Phillip Hughes. Ian 'Bunny' Bell comes in for the injured Pietersen. This website is covering the Ashes with regular video blogs, twitter updates and features over the course of the Test Series so keep checking the main page or the archive list on the right for the next addition. Follow me on Twitter during the Day's Play. =================================================================== WALLABIES TEST SERIES WINTER 2009 South Africa were too strong for New Zealand in their first Tri-Nations Test and will host the All Blacks again in the 3rd Tri-Nations Test this Saturday Night in Durban. Here is the Test Schedule for Winter 2009: June 6 Sydney 7:30pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Barbarians Won 55-7 June 13 Canberra 7.30pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Italy Won 31-8 June 20 Melbourne 8.00pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Italy Won 34-12 June 27 Sydney 8.00pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v France Won 22-6 July 18 Auckland 5.35pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand Lost 22-16 August 8 Cape Town 11.00pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa August 22 Sydney 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand August 29 Perth 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa September 5 Brisbane 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa September 19 Wellington 5.35pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand =================================================================== Good luck with your tips this weekend!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

'The 7pm Project' Reviewed - Part One of Two

'THE 7PM PROJECT' REVIEWED - 
July 2009

Part One of The 7pm Project Review - July 2009

Back in my primary school days I had to enter a Project Competition pitting my investigative skills of a country against the best that the rest of district had to offer. The two projects I actually remember completing were on the lands of Russia (then the USSR) and Papua New Guinea.

The sheer bulk of information I'd sift through (ok I admit I'd just get the encyclopaedia out and rewrite what it said) was then whittled away to some key areas that I believe mattered and then pasted onto the big sheet of cardboard. The alternative route others tried was to fill the sheet with 84 different factual points about the country, which looked impressive but had very little substance.

This second approach appears to be the one that the Channel Ten show 'The 7pm Project' is taking to fill its 23 minutes every weeknight.

Network Ten’s new vehicle to try and capture the internet obsessed younger demographic in Australia, debuted last week to unspectacular ratings.

Preparing this review I watched two episodes which gave me a very good indication as to why the ratings are unflattering.

 Hosts Carrie Bickmore, Dave Hughes and Charlie Pickering (by far and away the shining light on the show) sit around a desk taking the audience through the news of the day. The concept is not new for television and has been attempted in Australia in various forms in the past but the difference the producers of 'The 7pm Project' are pushing thus far, is the speed at which the show moves.

 It seems that given Generation Y (a key part of the target demographic) is stereotyped as 'fickle, impulsive and having the attention span of a... wait what was I talking about?’ the show’s relentless speed may in fact be a result of what the producers of the show think their targeted viewers want. The instant impression you get from the opening to the show, is that the hosts are under strict instruction to follow the 'we've got a schedule and we're not slowing down for anyone' mantra. Each news item read by Bickmore gets a few seconds for Pickering and Hughes to generate something funny before Bickmore moves right along. Not only is this structure painful and rigid but this focus on relentlessly moving forward, looms large as the show's biggest obstacle to success.

 The reason shows like 'The Panel' or true satirical news shows like 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and 'The Colbert Report' work is because they dedicate time to finding the best joke or viewpoint from a small collection of news or a guest. It is never a rapid fire service and the focus is rarely to educate.

This is because providing entertainment and laughs is the first priority and the news is merely a conduit for that. If the producers of 'The 7pm Project' don't realise this soon, the show won't last a month.

 I tried to watch Friday’s show via their website to begin my review, but when the final segment ‘Metro City Whip-Around’ lasted just 40 seconds before the video player cut the feed, the signs weren’t good. Four attempts to replay that segment ended the same way.

If it works when I go to file this review I’ll report whether it delivered on the promise the first guest (Adelaide Nova Host Julian Schiller) showed in his 30 second spot.

Or what the segment really is - him rehashing the best jokes he had from his morning radio show that week.

The show has a few things going for it, even if it doesn't appear to really know what it is trying to be.

Their tagline is: ‘It’s the news – but not as you know it.’

Excuse me… what does this mean?

All that suggests to me is ‘The 7pm Project’ might be going all ‘A Current Affair’ and ‘Today Tonight’ on us by conjuring up elaborate stories from only the smallest element of truth. But when you tune in it feels like a replay of the normal news, just in shorter bursts.

‘The 7pm Project’ has a prime time slot on weeknights and an affable (if restrained by the structure) trio hosting in studio which should appeal to first time viewers. However, the show is way too tightly run to let the ‘news but not as you know it’ ideal come through. All those first time viewers will not turn back if promising moments of comedy each night are cut short by yet another heavy dose of pointless news from the day.

Let’s be honest – the target demographic of the show are more interested on their news feed on Facebook or Twitter, than the mainstream news of the day – and have no need to tune into a show that will rehash the news, which they don’t watch in the first place.

What they want is funny people being funny, with the odd decent point thrown in as a bonus.

The fact the show is on nightly, means the viewer will expect a number of ‘things that happened today’ thrown into the content mix. But what they are basically tuning in for, is a televised radio program with better looking people. They couldn't care less about every little thing that happened that day in a reality that isn’t their own and the producers have to realise this or the show is doomed.

  Continued in Part Two 
============
  The 7pm Project Reviewed: - Part One - Part Two - July 29, 2009

'The 7pm Project' Reviewed - Part Two of Two

- 'THE 7PM PROJECT' REVIEWED - 

July 2009
Part One - Part Two - 

Check out Part One Here

Unfortunately negatives continued to stack up as I watched both episodes (Friday’s last week and Tuesday’s this week) of Network Ten's new current affair's vehicle - 'The 7pm Project'.

As discussed in Part One - the biggest negative is sacrificing quality for speed but here’s a quick list of what else doesn’t work.

> Not steering clear of applying stereotypes. 
In the very same segment that Bickmore was crying foul over the lady who was asked to remove her niqab before boarding a bus, she labelled all bus drivers as having terrible BO…
That’s the spirit, defend one and have a go at another. Dangerous ground, especially without a trace of comedy amongst it.
> Dave Hughes.
... Ok that’s a little harsh given Hughes can be funny.
The thing is, don’t expect quality comedy from him in seventeen different segments in 23 minutes.
While he can deliver a one liner, he can also produce some clangers with the likes of ‘only old and deranged people send letters’ to ‘the English should be immune to swineflu because they’ve endured the bubonic plague’ aren’t exactly home runs there Hughesy.
What struck me – again we return to the tight schedule ruining potential quality – with Hughes was he was given no freedom to explore the comedic possibilities of his meeting school kids in the park before Friday’s show.
He brought it up and then BAM! we’re off to gloss over reasons why people dump partners for being fat. There had to be some fertile territory for Hughes to work off with the school kid bit but the show moved on and we missed it.
> Ruby Rose and a Cardboard Cut-Out = split hair between which inanimate object could offer more to the show.
> Refusing to give on-air guests decent face time.
On Thursday’s show they threw to Gyton ‘The Fisherman’s Friend Ad Guy’ Grantley and Nathan ‘Snakes on a Plane was good but the highpoint of my career was my 14 episode stint on The Saddle Club’ Phillips at the red carpet movie premiere of ‘Balibo’.
They spent what felt like only 30 seconds saying hello, got a quick rundown of the movie and then said goodbye to wrap up a segment they’d plugged heavily at the start.
If you’re going to spend the money on getting a camera crew out there, get more than 30 seconds worth of airplay out of it, and secondly – Grantley’s star is pretty bright at the moment (but has he done anything as good as his turn as a truck driver getting hit by a giant tuna?) and his presence on the show was wasted. Engage your guests – especially the higher profile ones!
Run overtime if you have to but open the floor and let your ‘exclusives’ make an impact.
> Skype callers.
Wow… cannot state anymore plainly how pointless this part of the show appears to be. 

Is the show all bad though? 
Well no.

Having just had the website video player allow me to watch the final segment of Friday’s show, getting a number of moderately funny people to rehash their best bits from their radio shows that week really works in the whip-around segment.

And please more Kitty Flanagan!

Charlie Pickering is the standout of the show's early days and not least because he touched on the kind of subjects that really matter.

No I’m not referring to being forced to work until you’re 70 or showing us how to suck up to Dr Phil – I’m talking about his appreciation for the little things.

Like how the mail system works.

Not only was he spot on declaring there was something magical about being able to send something anywhere in Australia for 55 cents (soon to be 60c!) but let me go one step further - some kind of magic must be behind a  person finding the motivation to send a letter via the post rather than the computer.

Tony Moclair and Lucy McDonald were the standout guests of Friday Night.

Moclair showed no fear delivering his comedy in a ridiculously short segment and McDonald had probably the best prepared joke of the night, by identifying lolly pop ladies as the new drug lords on the streets of London in the wake of swine flu.

Ratings wise the show started with the customary bang of a new Australian offering, with 1.2 million nationally (or as Peter Rowsthorn so elegantly puts it ‘nasch’) tuning in on the Monday Night premiere but this had fallen to under 700,000 by Friday’s show.
The second week has remained unspectacular with Monday (764,000) and Tuesday (786,000) showing just minor gains on Friday’s drop.
Even this week as this review goes up the whispers are getting louder that Channel Ten executives are looking to tweak the show, but remain committed (for the time being) to giving the show a decent run.

Anyhoo to wrap up this rather frank and beans review of ‘The 7pm Project’, let me be brutally honest with you the discerning viewer.

Consider this following paragraph the part of the review where I tell you what I really think.

Sure you probably could’ve read it first and saved yourself 1500 words of repetitious nonsense that was saying pretty much the same thing all the time… err which is in fact repetition, but here goes:

‘The 7pm Project’ which launched nationally last week is a rigidly tight program, that squeezes out what room there could be for quality television. The panel has a mix of charm, larrikin and monotone newsreader skill, which promises little and delivers less within the confines of the show’s current structure. Lacking the flexibility to flesh out segments (especially with guests) to allow natural comedy to happen, is unforgivable and leaves a very disheartened feeling within as you wonder what could be if the producers would just let the show flow. With Australian Idol just around the corner and coming to every other weeknight, ‘The 7pm Project’ may not be long for this world (or at least in its current daily format). However in saying all that there is reason to believe that ‘The 7pm Project’ could work. This is because Australian TV still needs something topical (which is at the same time loose and humorous) for the very demographic Channel Ten is targeting.”

 =========

In case you were wondering I never got more than a B for my country in focus projects in primary school, so clearly what the heck do I know?
Other than Russia had a Net Material Product (NMP) of $712,530,000,000 in 1983. Source World Book 1988 and my project on the USSR in 1989 – which incidentally was pasted on a glorious red sheet of cardboard.

 The 7pm Project Reviewed: - Part One - Part Two - July 29, 2009

Monday, 27 July 2009

Kevin Rudd laying cable...

Not exactly the most high-brow article ever to be found on wdnicolson.blogspot.com but when I was browsing Twitter and came across the Prime Minister of Australia Kevin Rudd's feed... he left us in no doubt about what he is doing. Well I'll let his publicist tell the story... with some unfortunate wording. In Tas on Sat to lay 1st cable for NBN. 2B 100mb per sec up to 90% of country. Heaps of jobs now. Great infrastructure for the future. KRudd from web Link: http://twitter.com/KevinRuddPM I'm not sure flying to Tasmania on the Prime Minister's jet is an appropriate use of governmental funds just to do a twosie Mr Rudd... And another thing - has anyone got a link to a press conference Rudd did around the time he was in Italy for the G8 Summit in July 2009? His response to a question from a journalist was priceless for the way he tried to sound all tough and stern: to paraphrase 'you won't be getting a quote out of me on that... in due season."

Thursday, 23 July 2009

NRL Tips Round 20 2009 - AFL Tips Round 17 2009 - England up 1-0 in Ashes

If you are looking for Round 20 AFL Previews and Tips - click here. ========================= This is an archived story - so check the main page - www.wdnicolson.blogspot.com for the current round of tipping for NRL, AFL and Super 14. The site is also regularly updated with opinion, news and features on sport, entertainment and life. =========================
NRL Tips & Previews Round 20 2009 - AFL Tips & Previews Round 17 2009 - England lead 1-0 in Ashes Series Who woke up John Sutton???? Just a few weeks ago in this article I questioned how long South Sydney could afford to keep Jason Taylor at the helm with his team playing some seriously insipid football. But after benching Sutton in a loss to the Tigers at home, Taylor has finally got the message across to his most talented player that you have to earn your spot in First Grade. Since then Sutton has been unstoppable - playing with the kind of fire you'd love to see the rest of the competitions glory boys show every week. The Sea Eagles host the Knights in Gosford and the Titans take on the depleted Broncos to kick-off Round 20 of the 2009 NRL Premiership. In the AFL the Saints just keep winning and the Final 8 is looking like a race of just ten now that Sydney have fallen off the pace and the rest of the lower half of the table begins to explore ways to 'win' by losing... In Cricket the Poms are 1-0 up and deservedly so after breaking their hoodoo at Lords in the 2nd Test. You can follow the match and series in depth via regular video blogs here on wdnicolson.blogspot.com and my Twitter feed as Australia try and wake up and play some good cricket now that it really matters. In Rugby Union the Wallabies missed a golden opportunity to knock the All Blacks off in Auckland and will be chasing their tails for the rest of the winter as a result. Can you kick a goal from the sideline just 1.5 metres from the tryline - interested in giving it a go? Go to http://wdnicolson.blogspot.com/2009/05/kick-off-2009-are-you-up-to-challenge.html for more information on Kick-Off 2009! NRL & AFL Match Previews below. =================================================================== NRL ROUND 20 - 2009 Quick hit Previews for the Greatest Game of All as the pretenders finally start to fall out of the mathematical race for a playoff birth. SEA EAGLES over KNIGHTS > If Jarrod Mullen and Chris Houston were playing the Knights would be a tempting selection here - esp since the game is at Gosford and not Brookvale. But Manly need this game to open up a potential gap on the Broncos so they get my tip here. TITANS over BRONCOS > News today that Karmichael Hunt (big loss) and Peter Wallace (no big loss at all) are out for the Broncos leaves them to battle the Titans with just 3 quality players in Justin Hodges, Corey Parker and... wait couldn't find a 3rd. Even if Nathan Friend can't play the Titans can't forget about doing anything this year if they lose this game. Hodges could run the ball 30 times on Friday Night. BULLDOGS over EELS > Dogs face an Eels team that were pretty impressive beating Melbourne on Monday Night. But the Dogs are full strength if Hannant plays and will end the Parramatta flirtation with the playoffs this Saturday. COWBOYS over PANTHERS > Yes the Cowboys were over-run by the Tigers on Sunday but that was at Leichhardt and Thurston seemed disinterested after a poor showing in Origin III. He'll rebound this weekend behind the returning Matt Scott and the Cowboys might put on a score in Townsville vs the Panthers. STORM over SHARKS > The Storm didn't just miss Cameron Smith - their lack of attacking options outside of Slater and Inglis were painfully evident. Cooper Cronk and Brett Finch are quality ball players but Nielsen, Chambers, Tomane... no threats there and if Ryan Hoffman is out for any length of time - it won't matter if Smith is back - the Storm are in strife in the short term. Having said that they will beat the Sharks at Olympic Park and if fit in September are my pick for premiers. TIGERS over RAIDERS > Whatever you do this weekend, don't pick the Raiders. DRAGONS over WARRIORS > Warriors aren't without hope here as the Dragons have had a long break and get a bunch of players back into a forward pack that has operated incredibly well without them. Whether it is a case of too many cooks for the first few weeks remains to be seen but you can't pick the Warriors based on their recent form. Dragons to win. RABBITOHS over ROOSTERS > The John Sutton show will continue even as the Anthony Minichiello one tries to start up again. Will be great to see Minichiello back but if Sutton can maintain the rage and care-factor - the Bunnies will win once again as they build an unlikely assault on the final playoff spot.
=================================================================== AFL ROUND 17 - 2009 St.Kilda look to have the Minor Premiership in their keeping and are still on track for an undefeated regular season - an amazing effort thus far from the Saints. MAGPIES over BLUES The Magpies just look a little strong for the Blues in Friday Night Footy - but if Fev and Judd fire the Blues will probably win. CATS over HAWKS Rematch of the 2008 Grand Final could spur Hawthorn to a big one but the Cats get Jimmy Bartel back this week and that's good enough for me to pick Geelong. WHARFIES over EAGLES This game might mean everything to a Sandgroper but I've got little interest in the fortunes of either side in 2009. Freo to win because the Eagles don't have Dean Cox. LIONS over KANGAROOS Roos somehow pulled off a draw v Richmond but the Lions are building nicely towards September this season and they won't drop this one. BULLDOGS over SAINTS Two suspensions (Koschiztke and Dawson out) open the door to the Bulldogs who are capable of running with the Saints for all four quarters. If those two play then I pick St.Kilda but I like the roughie from time to time (to the detriment of my tipping) and I am going with the Bulldogs to break the perfect season party up. SWANS over DEMONS Was thinking Melbourne until I saw their 'out' list for this game and have instead installed Sydney as the special fried rice of the weekend. BOMBERS over TIGERS Tigers get some manpower back but the Bombers will be too good in a game they simply must win if they wish to play Finals Football. CROWS over POWER Yes I'm an East Coaster and no I don't have anything against South or West Australians but these derby games hold no interest for me outside of the fact I can't really tip based on the home team factor. Crows are still in the hunt for the Top 4 and will win but the Power need this game to make life harder on the Bombers. =================================================================== 2009 ASHES UPDATE ENGLAND win 2nd Test convincingly but Kevin Pietersen's campaign is over. Australia blew the 1st Test in dramatic fashion and then were outplayed from the get-go at Lords. We head to Edgbaston for the 3rd Test with Australia desperate to square the series at 1-1 but the tour match with Northampton may go a long way to determining the makeup of the Test Team. This website is covering the Ashes with regular video blogs, twitter updates and features over the course of the Test Series so keep checking the main page or the archive list on the right for the next addition. Follow me on Twitter during the Day's Play. =================================================================== WALLABIES TEST SERIES WINTER 2009 The Wallabies had a halftime lead and couldn't hold on in Auckland and the loss may cost them their chances in the Bledisloe Cup and Tri-Nations as wins away from home are vital to winning either crown. South Africa host the All Blacks in the 2nd Tri-Nations Test this Saturday Night in Bloemfontein. Here is the Test Schedule for Winter 2009: June 6 Sydney 7:30pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Barbarians Won 55-7 June 13 Canberra 7.30pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Italy Won 31-8 June 20 Melbourne 8.00pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v Italy Won 34-12 June 27 Sydney 8.00pm (EST) Bundaberg Rum Series v France Won 22-6 July 18 Auckland 5.35pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand Lost 22-16 August 8 Cape Town 11.00pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa August 22 Sydney 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand August 29 Perth 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa September 5 Brisbane 8.05pm (EST) Tri-Nations v South Africa September 19 Wellington 5.35pm (EST) Tri-Nations v New Zealand =================================================================== Good luck with your tips this weekend!

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Back up and running this weekend

For those of you who visit wdnicolson.blogspot.com regularly - apologies for the complete lack of content of the past week (although that may have been an improvement on the usual fare) but I have been away and barely near the computer for the duration. Tips for last week were as always - average - but a new round of competition will be previewed before the weekend to steer you wrong with your own tipping. Thanks for visiting and with the AFL and NRL Finals on the way - the blog will be adding some new features for the run home. And coverage of the 2009 Ashes Series will pick up for the 3rd Test - with England sadly 1-0 up in the Series after the pathetic display at Lords by Australia. Regards, Warrick Nicolson wdnicolson@optusnet.com.au

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

2009 State of Origin Game Three 3 Preview: Queensland v New South Wales

State of Origin Game Three 2009 PREVIEW No Video Preview of Origin 3... Because I am completely confident there is only one result coming tonight. QUEENSLAND TO WIN. As a New South Welshman who is passionate about State of Origin I just cannot see a way the Blues beat the Maroons tonight. You can see my initial reactions to the teams selected last week in the video below and nothing has changed my state of mind. Queensland will win Game 3 and take the series out in a sweep. Game 3 Predictions: SCORE: QLD 28 def NSW 6 First Tryscorer: Billy Slater QLD Last Tryscorer: Darren Lockyer QLD Man of the Match: Billy Slater QLD Player of the Series: Johnathan Thurston, QLD Below is the article written after the teams were named last week.
New South Wales are obviously approaching this year's State of Origin Series in reverse. In Game One they blooded a team full of players that seemed set to appear in Origins for the next three or four seasons but by Game Two a couple of key members of that group were left out and now entering Game Three they've picked the kind of team that says 'it is a new series so let's pick on form (well allegedly)'. What a pity it won't make any difference as I fully expect Queensland to play out of their skins in Game Three - with or without their best side. I truly have no idea what NSW are thinking... There will be a Video Reaction to the NSW (& QLD who have their own issues with unavailability) side tomorrow and to say I will be unloading on the NSW Selectors and Coach Craig Bellamy for having no idea what they are doing in this series is an understatement. Queensland's team is fairly predictable in the sense that although they will be without Petero Civoniceva, Israel Folau, Ben Hannant and Nate Myles, their replacements are logical substitutes. But admittedly they will go into Origin Three with a weaker team on paper. QUEENSLAND HAVE WON THE SERIES 2-0 after a 28-18 win in Game One on June 4 & a 24-14 win in Game Two on June 24. NSC's Video Reaction to Team Selections July 7, 2009 GAME THREE WILL BE PLAYED AT SUNCORP STADIUM JULY 15 QUEENSLAND MAROONS - GAME III 2009 Backs: B Slater, D Boyd, G Inglis, J Hodges, W Tonga, D Lockyer (c), J Thurston. Forwards: S Price, C Smith, M Scott, A Harrison, S Thaiday, D Johnson. Bench: K Hunt, N Costigan, D Shillington, M Crocker. Extras: C Cronk. VERSUS
NEW SOUTH WALES BLUES - GAME III 2009 Backs: K Gidley (c), J Hayne, M Jennings, J Morris, D Williams, T Barrett, B Kimmorley. Forwards: J Perry, M Ennis, J Poore, T Waterhouse, B Creagh, A Watmough. Bench: C Wing, T Learoyd-Lahrs, G Stewart, B White. Extras: Hopefully about five or six players who can actually play football and can come into the squad by the weekend for the five or six players named - who cannot. The first casualty was Jamie Lyon replaced by Josh Morris. ENJOY THE FOOTY!

Monday, 13 July 2009

2009 Ashes Series First Test Video Blog #05 - Australia v England - Test Recap

Australia let golden opportunity slip to take 1-0 series lead late on Day Five as England hold on. =============================
Follow the 2009 Ashes Test Series with me on YouTube or via Twitter. ============================= There will be a Video Blog Review of the First Test uploaded Tuesday 13 July 2009. But what can be said is Australia butchered this Test Match after being on top heading into a final session where some questionable captaincy, ordinary bowling and resolute batting saw the game end in a draw DAY FOUR HONOURS: AUSTRALIA DAY FIVE HONOURS: ENGLAND The Ashes Video Blog wrapping up the First Test is below:
Final Result: MATCH DRAWN ENGLAND 7/336 (K Pietersen 69, P Collingwood 64, M Prior 56, G Swann 47* A Flintoff 37, R Bopara 35, A Strauss 30; M Johnson 3/87, N Hauritz 3/95, B Hilfenhaus 2/77, P Siddle 2/121) & 9/252 (P Collingwood 74, G Swann 31, B Hilfenhaus 3/47, N Hauritz 3/63, M Johnson 2/44) v AUSTRALIA 6/674 (R Ponting 150, M North 125*, S Katich 122, B Haddin 121* M Clarke 83, P Hughes 36; J Anderson 2/110). @ Cardiff, Wales, July 8-12, 2009. AUSTRALIA: Simon KATICH, Phillip HUGHES, Ricky PONTING (c), Michael HUSSEY, Michael CLARKE, Marcus NORTH, Brad HADDIN, Mitchell JOHNSON, Nathan HAURITZ, Peter SIDDLE, Ben HILFENHAUS. 12th Man: Stuart CLARK. V ENGLAND: Andrew STRAUSS (c), Alistair COOK, Ravi BOPARA, Kevin PIETERSEN, Paul COLLINGWOOD, Andrew FLINTOFF, Matt PRIOR, Stuart BROAD, Graeme SWANN, James ANDERSON, Monty PANESAR. 12th Men: Young Fit Fielders who will never play Test Cricket. 2009 ASHES SERIES TIED 0-0 after the First Test of Five. ============================================================ Follow the 2009 Ashes Test Series with me on YouTube or via Twitter. ============================================================

Saturday, 11 July 2009

2009 Ashes Series First Test Video Blog #04 - Australia v England - Day Three Recap

England get into the swing of things but Australia push ahead in rain interrupted Day Three of First Test. =============================
Follow the 2009 Ashes Test Series with me on YouTube or via Twitter. ============================= England finally found the swing they had been relying on to take wickets heading into the series and James Anderson produced two beauties to remove Simon Katich for 122 and Michael Hussey for just 3 - leaving Australia 3/325 with still some work to do for a 1st innings lead. But Ricky Ponting coasted to another Test Match 150 (the 13th time he's passed that score) before giving Monty Panesar and the English spinners their only wicket of the Test - and a cheap inside edge at that. Then Michael Clarke and Marcus North continued to build on the Australian innings formed on the foundation of the Katich/Ponting partnership and despite Clarke going late in an interrupted last session for 83 - the tourists are 44 runs ahead with 5 wickets in hand. North is not out on 54 and Brad Haddin is also unbeaten on 4 as Australia look to bat well into Day Four and are firming as the only team that looks capable of winning this match. However the draw is the clear favourite with rain forecast for the last two days play. Australia will resume at 5/479 on Day Four - 44 runs ahead of England. DAY THREE HONOURS: AUSTRALIA Here's The Ashes Video Blog from Day Three with Question #04:
Close of play Day Three: ENGLAND 7/336 (K Pietersen 69, P Collingwood 64, M Prior 56, G Swann 47* A Flintoff 37, R Bopara 35, A Strauss 30; M Johnson 3/87, N Hauritz 3/95, B Hilfenhaus 2/77, P Siddle 2/121) v AUSTRALIA 5/479 (R Ponting 150, S Katich 122, M Clarke 83, M North 54*, P Hughes 36; J Anderson 2/80). @ Cardiff, Wales, July 8-12, 2009. AUSTRALIA: Simon KATICH, Phillip HUGHES, Ricky PONTING (c), Michael HUSSEY, Michael CLARKE, Marcus NORTH, Brad HADDIN, Mitchell JOHNSON, Nathan HAURITZ, Peter SIDDLE, Ben HILFENHAUS. 12th Man: Stuart CLARK. V ENGLAND: Andrew STRAUSS (c), Alistair COOK, Ravi BOPARA, Kevin PIETERSEN, Paul COLLINGWOOD, Andrew FLINTOFF, Matt PRIOR, Stuart BROAD, Graeme SWANN, James ANDERSON, Monty PANESAR. 12th Men: Young Fit Fielders who will never play Test Cricket. ============================================================ Follow the 2009 Ashes Test Series with me on YouTube or via Twitter. ============================================================

Friday, 10 July 2009

2009 Ashes Series First Test Video Blog #03 - Australia v England - Day Two Recap

England's tail wagged but Simon Katich & Ricky Ponting have the ascendancy heading into Day Three of the First Ashes Test of 2009 at Cardiff. =============================
Follow the 2009 Ashes Test Series with me on YouTube or via Twitter. ============================= Graeme Swann made a mockery of my pre-series prediction that the England tail was ordinary with a lusty 47 not out to help the Poms make 435 all out in their 1st Innings. Some insipid bowling from Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle didn't help but credit to the Englishmen for a positive attitude and some fine shots. The Phil Hughes Show began in style with the young left hander measuring himself for a fruitful innings alongside the rock solid Simon Katich, but Andrew Flintoff unsettled Hughes in one over and dismissed the opener for 36. That brought Ricky Ponting in to join Katich and the pair have put on a masterful 189 for the 2nd wicket with Ponting looking every bit the best batsman in world cricket and Katich showing us all that he's got more class to his game than he's ever been given credit for. Flintoff toiled hard for the home team and still makes the ball lift off the deck unfairly at times but the rest of the England attack was below par. Australia will resume at 1/249 on Day Three - 186 runs behind England. DAY TWO HONOURS: AUSTRALIA Here's The Ashes Video Blog from Day Two with Question #03:
video Close of play Day Two: ENGLAND 7/336 (K Pietersen 69, P Collingwood 64, M Prior 56, G Swann 47* A Flintoff 37, R Bopara 35, A Strauss 30; M Johnson 3/87, N Hauritz 3/95, B Hilfenhaus 2/77, P Siddle 2/121) v AUSTRALIA 1/249 (S Katich 104*, R Ponting 100*, P Hughes 36; A Flintoff 1/48). @ Cardiff, Wales, July 8-12, 2009. AUSTRALIA: Simon KATICH, Phillip HUGHES, Ricky PONTING (c), Michael HUSSEY, Michael CLARKE, Marcus NORTH, Brad HADDIN, Mitchell JOHNSON, Nathan HAURITZ, Peter SIDDLE, Ben HILFENHAUS. 12th Man: Stuart CLARK. V ENGLAND: Andrew STRAUSS (c), Alistair COOK, Ravi BOPARA, Kevin PIETERSEN, Paul COLLINGWOOD, Andrew FLINTOFF, Matt PRIOR, Stuart BROAD, Graeme SWANN, James ANDERSON, Monty PANESAR. 12th Men: Young Fit Fielders who will never play Test Cricket.