Tuesday 30 November 2010

Where does Braith Anasta really want to play? | NRL Scraps Sydney Home Finals for Cash

Where does Braith Anasta really want to play?
November 30, 2010
Late in the 2010 Regular Season the Sydney Roosters were making a run at the NRL Playoffs. 

They were playing arguably the best attacking Rugby League in the competition and a lot of it had to do with the decision by their Coach Brian Smith to shift Todd Carney from fullback to five-eighth to partner Mitchell Pearce in the halves and in turn move skipper Braith Anasta from five-eighth to the backrow.

The move spurred Carney on to pick up a host of major Player of the Year Awards and saw Anasta in arguably the form of his career playing at lock forward.

As a result the Roosters would go on to finish 6th on the ladder and run a playoff gauntlet past the Tigers, Panthers & Titans all the way to the Grand Final where they were defeated by the St.George-Illawarra Dragons 32-8. 

But there was one story that 'emerged' during September that surrounded the future of Anasta with the Sydney Roosters. Anasta was contracted until the end of the following season but the whispers that the North Queensland Cowboys had tabled an offer to Anasta for 2011 got so loud that on Channel Nine's The Footy Show - Anasta was asked point blank whether or not he had any intention of leaving the Roosters and going to the Cowboys.

Anasta denied the story outright and seemingly that was that.

The Roosters went on to the Grand Final and although outplayed on the day - Anasta and his troops looked to have a bright future together. And given the skipper had pledged his future to the club - everything seemed great.

But now we get a story from the Townsville Bulletin that says the Cowboys are still very interested in the 28 year old Anasta.

Hang on a minute.

The information to hand now alleges Braith isn't happy playing at lock forward... no matter how well his team goes with him not playing of his favourite Number Six jersey.

(Now it must be noted that according to a trusted source of mine (not the papers) Anasta's manager is adamant this is a story that has been rehashed and is old news... not necessarily a pork pie though.)

This isn't the first time Anasta has allegedly blown up at his club for playing him out of position. When Brad Fittler toyed with the idea of moving Anasta to the backrow while he was still coach of the Roosters in 2009 - Anasta refused yet somehow agreed to play fullback instead... Fittler lost his job soon after.

Now there's no evidence that can categorically say that Anasta himself wants out of the Roosters but rather alarmingly, the North Queensland CEO Peter Jourdain has admitted to the media that his club was approached by Anasta's manager Greg Willett about a move north.

One however could speculate that if your manager is searching for interest in your services... you might have had something to do with his actions.


Now players and clubs are notorious for denying any story right up until the time they break the news themselves but this series of events suggests that perhaps Braith Anasta's love affair with the Number Six jersey is so passionate that he's willing to leave a club brimming with talent and momentum heading into 2011 - for a club that if not for Melbourne's unscrupulous dealings being discovered, would have won the Wooden Spoon last year with just 5 wins from 24 starts.

Now the Cowboys have plenty of talent of their own but given Anasta is the CAPTAIN of the Sydney Roosters and he gets to play with Mitchell Pearce and Todd Carney in the most potent scrumbase combination in the game... doesn't it just boggle the mind that he might want out simply because he can't play in the Number Six he wants out?

Making this even murkier is the statement from Sydney CEO Steve Noyce in the SMH today that "Braith is under contract to the Roosters for 2011 and he will be playing for our club. I don't know what his manager or Peter Jordain has said but we won't be giving permission for any club to talk to him about playing anywhere else in 2011."

Mind you if Anasta does get out of his deal going to Townsville to play alongside Johnathan Thurston wouldn't exactly be a huge downside but what makes this so strange is that Anasta finally started to show some of the signs that he was indeed Brad Fittler's heir as the dominant figure at the Roosters and now he wants out?

Then again it could all be about money rather than what position Braith Anasta really wants to play...

all together now... Allegedly.

In early December Anasta once again publicly denied he wanted out of the Roosters but that doesn't mean he's happy playing lock...
In other news... 


The National Rugby League have today moved to stop all the harrassment they receive come playoff time from the News Limited Press by forcing through a mandate that leaves every Sydney club without the option of playing an earned semi final at Home.

Unless of course they play all their home games at ANZ Stadium or the SFS that is.

Monday 29 November 2010

Defend Your Kingdom - A Refreshing NRL Membership Campaign from the Newcastle Knights

- Defend Your Kingdom - 
A Refreshing NRL Membership Campaign from the Newcastle Knights.

Membership has become a bit of a buzz word in recent seasons for the National Rugby League.

Whether it is a result of the code realising that people that support the club are actually important or it is just a campaign fueled by a desire to combat the AFL's incredibly impressive membership numbers - the fact is having a campaign is a MUST for any football club.

The surprising thing however is not the various advertising campaigns that are popping up, but the fact that it is has taken this long for clubs themselves to really make an effort to attract members.

Gone are the days (well for most clubs) where management thinks "Membership will take care of itself, after all we're the Whoevers" and in recent seasons the NRL has led a push to convert 'supporters' into members. Mind you, the NRL aren't perfect in their execution either - their choices as 'Faces of the NRL' of late have proved to be incredibly unfortunate - but the effort is there.

Now the clubs are quite rightly seizing the initiative and going well beyond what the NRL is doing at the membership recruitment strategy level.

But one theme song does not a membership campaign make... you've got to be inventive, varied and most importantly - humorous.

As a result we've got a ripper of a campaign by the Newcastle Knights.

Newcastle launched the 'Defend Your Kingdom' campaign for the 2009 Season but judging by the three commercials they have produced for the 2011 Season - this time they've struck gold.

The premise is to get Newcastle fans off the couch and to the game - and Winger Akuila Uate's stunning acting debut should ensure a few more butts on seats at EnergyAustralia in 2011.

Here is Akuila Uate in his Academy Award Nominated Performance for Best Newcomer.

Now if you can't enjoy that you are very hard to please.

Now how successful this campaign will be depends on how eager Newcastle fans are to spend their hard earned on the variety of packages on offer for Season 2011.

But I can only congratulate the Knights for certainly the most entertaining Membership Campaign I've seen so far.

And it's not even close... and I've seen a few.

Simply click on the pictures below for details of their Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze, Pink, 4 Game, Mini & the rather patronising Ordinary Defender Packages.

Thursday 25 November 2010

Ashes Series 2010/2011: Australia v England First Test Review, Scores, Commentary & Twitter Updates from the Gabba - 2010/2011

Ashes Series 2010/2011: 
Australia v England First Test Review.

Scores, Commentary & Twitter Updates from the Gabba - November 25-29, 2010

Welcome to the dedicated Ashes Page for the First Test of the 2010/2011 Ashes Series between Australia & England from the Gabba in Brisbane. 

Australia & England Draw the First Test in Brisbane.
Series Level at 0-0.

England 1st Innings: 260 All Out. 2nd Innings: 1 dec. 517
Australia 1st Innings: 481 & 1/107.
The Match is a DRAW.
England's Alastair Cook is Man of the Match with 235* & 67.


Simply put Australia had England in a position to be beaten and England batted themselves out of it. In fact not only did England stymie the Australian push for victory but they quickly became the only team that could force a result as early on Day 5 (if not late on Day 4). 
Australia had three big moments in the Game - Strauss going 3rd ball on Day 1, Siddle's Hat-Trick & the Hussey-Haddin partnership - but didn't convert them into a victory.
England countered with having Australia 5/143 chasing 260, cleaning up the Australian tail for just 35 runs, opening their 2nd innings with 188 run stand and finishing their 2nd innings with an unbroken 329 run stand.
Advantage England.
Winners & Losers from Day 5 & the rest of the First Test Below.
Hear Kerry O'Keefe & Jim Maxwell recap Day 5 & the Test via ABC Grandstand Audio. Click to listen to the mp3

Here are The First Test RATINGS
Note: There will be a Player of the Series Award based on the Player Ratings and an MVP Award based on IMPACT over the course of the Series. It is of course possible for one player to take out both awards. All Ratings out of 10.
AUSTRALIA - 1st Test Ratings
Simon KATICH - 7
Shane WATSON - 6
Ricky PONTING (c) - 6
Michael CLARKE - 4
Michael HUSSEY - 10
Marcus NORTH - 4
Brad HADDIN - 8
Mitchell JOHNSON - 3
Peter SIDDLE - 7
Xavier DOHERTY - 5
Doug BOLLINGER (12th Man)

ENGLAND - 1st Test Ratings
Alastair COOK - 10
Andrew STRAUSS (c) - 8
Jonathan TROTT - 9
Ian BELL - 8
Matt PRIOR - 6
Stuart BROAD - 6
Graeme SWANN - 5
James ANDERSON - 8
Steven FINN - 7
Tim BRESNAN (12th Man)

Note: These 5-2-1 Votes are for IMPACT on the Test Match - not necessarily based solely on their individual player rating in the match. There is a Player of the Series Award based on the Player Ratings and this MVP Award based on IMPACT in each Test over the course of the Series. But it is of course possible for one player to take out both awards. 
5 - Alastair COOK, England
Full credit to the Englishman who came into the Series being seen as the weak link in the batting order only to emerge from the Gabba with 302 runs in almost 1000 minutes at the crease. His 67 in the 1st innings was a good knock but his 235* in the 2nd was commanding. He never looked like he would tear the Australian attack apart yet in his own way he did just that - accumulating runs at a rate of 55 per 100 balls and punishing the bad delivery throughout. His 329 run partnership with Jonathan Trott (135*) was outstanding and helped Cook walk away with Man of the Match Honours both officially and on wdnicolson.blogspot.com.
2 - Michael HUSSEY, Australia
What an outstanding innings when the press and a lot of supporters wanted him punted heading into the Test Match. Had it not been for Cook's incredible 235* - Hussey's innings would hold a place of its own in Ashes History. But it's not all bad - in a game that featured two partnerships in excess of 300 and one of 188 - we got treated to some superb batting. Hussey's 195 from 330 balls with 26 Fours & 1 Six was simply sensational. Also took a huge catch on the 3rd ball of Day 1 to dismiss Andrew Strauss - imagine the way the game could've gone if he'd dropped that regulation gully chance?
1 - Peter SIDDLE, Australia
Features solely for his memorable Hat-Trick but sadly was not seen in the 2nd Innings when Australia desperately needed him to back it up. Make no mistake - a Hat-Trick is an incredible feat but I am still yet to be convinced Siddle is anything more than the toiler we've seen over the past 18 months - as opposed to the 6/56 guy we saw in the 1st Innings at the Gabba.

IN GAME TWEETS - Available again for the 2nd Test from Adelaide.

Monday 15 November 2010

Australian Test Cricket Team for the Ashes Series v England 2010/2011

2010/2011 ASHES SERIES
1st Test - Australia Drew England
2nd Test - England defeated Australia by an Innings & 71 Runs
3rd Test - Australia defeated England by 267 Runs
5 Test Series Tied 1-1.
1st Test Review
2nd Test Review
3rd Test Review
4th Test Score Page
Australian 12 Man Squad for Fourth Test - Named December 19 Click here for the 4th Test Page
Ricky PONTING (c), Michael CLARKE (vc), Shane WATSON, Phillip HUGHES, Michael HUSSEY, Steven SMITH, Brad HADDIN, Mitchell JOHNSON, Ryan HARRIS, Michael BEER, Ben HILFENHAUS, Peter SIDDLE + Usman KHAWAJA (added Dec 21)

December 26 Update: 
Australia cleared Ricky Ponting to play and decided not to play a specialist spinner in Michael Beer - with Peter Siddle holding his spot in the team.
England were pleased to see Jimmy Anderson declared fit, while Tim Bresnan was preferred to Steven Finn.

December 21 Update: 
Australia have added Usman Khawaja to the squad as cover for Ricky Ponting (finger). Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus & Michael Beer are fighting for two bowling spots.
England will sweat on the fitness of Jimmy Anderson (side) who is in some doubt for Boxing Day. Tim Bresnan would come in if England's best bowler this summer was ruled out.

December 19 Update: 
Australia make no changes to their 12 man squad from Perth. Michael Beer remains in contention to play at the MCG on Boxing Day if Australia decide to go in with only 3 quicks with Peter Siddle the likely casualty. Speaking of casualties Ricky Ponting is in serious doubt with a broken left pinkie finger - a standby player has not been named but it is likely to be one of Usman Khawaja, Callum Ferguson or David Hussey. But Khawaja is the clear favourite.
England are expected to stick with Chris Tremlett as their 3rd seamer after he was their best bowler in Perth. And while Paul Collingwood should keep his spot ahead of Eion Morgan, it looks like he will drop down to Number Six with Ian Bell moving up a spot to Number Five.
A dedicated Fourth Test Page will be available before Christmas.

Australian 12 Man Squad for Third Test - Named December 10 Click here for the 3rd Test Page
Ricky PONTING (c), Michael CLARKE (vc), Shane WATSON, Phillip HUGHES, Michael HUSSEY, Steven SMITH, Brad HADDIN, Mitchell JOHNSON, Ryan HARRIS, Michael BEER, Ben HILFENHAUS, Peter SIDDLE.
December 16 Update: Austrlalia went without Beer and took four quicks into battle. England played Tremlett.
December 10 Update: Goodbye Marcus North, Doug Bollinger & Xavier Doherty. Of the three form related omissions - Bollinger has the best chance of wearing the Baggy Green again. Simon Katich is injured and won't play again this series. In come Steven Smith, Phillip Hughes, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mitchell Johnson & rookie left arm spinner Michael Beer. The final bowling spot looks to be a battle between Siddle & Hilfenhaus, as Australia's selections suggest they'll take two spinners in with Smith batting at #6 or #7 and Beer as the left arm option.
England are expected to replace injured fast bowler Stuart Broad with one of Chris Tremlett, Tim Bresnan or Ajmal Shahzad.
It includes Scorecards, Twitter Commentary & Winners & Losers From Each Day's Play.