Thursday 27 January 2011

Can Brisbane Support a Second Team in the NRL?

Can Brisbane Support a Second Team in the NRL?
By W D Nicolson, January 27, 2011.

Late in the 2010 NRL Season the NOT The Footy Show Rugby League Podcast discussed the viability of a Second NRL Team in Brisbane.

NOT The Footy Show Regulars Dave Chapman and Warrick Nicolson asked Queensland's 101.5FM Morning Show Presenter Matt Duncan if his home town could support a second NRL Team.

The following is an extract from Episode 36 with the 10 minute discussion on that very point from August 2010 - made even more pertinent now that the press have picked up a story outlining the plans of a former Brisbane Broncos' backer to bring that second Brisbane team to the NRL. Check out more info from the Sydney Morning Herald.

Here is our discussion from August, 2010.

Some of the interesting grabs from the various (SMH & DT) interviews 2nd Brisbane Team 'bid chief' Craig Davison has given today:
|-| "I informed the Broncos last week, and they were quite good about it. They will always be No.2 with me but this new team looks good, and planning is well advanced. It will have strong sponsorship backing."
|-| "If and when the Independent Commission takes tenders for NRL expansion, we'll be in there fighting for that spot in Brisbane. We're talking to a number of sponsors and they are excited about coming on board. We've spoken to David Gallop. He is very much aware of our plans."
|-| "We want to be successful from day one and that means sourcing the best CEO and the best coach in the game. Wayne Bennett is doing a great job at the Dragons and his record speaks for itself."
|-| "Obviously it's too early to be naming names and we're keeping our cards close to our chest, but we intend to go to the marketplace with the name being Brisbane something. We'll have fans help us decide the name. It will be like the Sydney Roosters and Sydney Bulldogs."
|-| NRL CEO David Gallop weighs in.... "With the strength of the game in Queensland it is pretty easy to see the merit of another team in Brisbane at some stage."

So how do you feel about a Second Brisbane NRL Team? 
Do you think it can work? 
Are there any South Queensland Crushers' fans still out there?

With that in mind here is some Rugby League nostalgia with vision of the Crushers' first ever home game in 1995 v the Canberra Raiders

That Number 6 for Canberra could play couldn't he?

Finally - what would you call the new Brisbane Team - we already know they would be the 'Brisbane ______' if admitted to the NRL.
Fire your best our way.
Comment below or on The NRL Tweet

Wednesday 19 January 2011

2011 Cricket World Cup Squad Analysis & Preview

Analysing the 2011 Cricket World Cup Squads

From February 19 to April 2 - the cricketing world will once again come together and fight it out for the title of World Champion of One Day International Cricket.

India, Sri Lanka & Bangladesh are the host nations, with Dhaka hosting the opening game on Feb 19 between India & Bangladesh and then Mumbai hosting the Final on Apr 2.

We're now in mid-January and as each nation names their 15 Man Squad for the Tournament - will analyse each team's squad, identify their wildcard, give you our Best XI from the squads and judge the chances of each team lifting the World Cup.

We'll add in the odds for each team closer to the start of the tournament and give you our predictions before the first game on February 19.

Here we go...

15 Man Squad Named January 18:
BATSMEN: R Ponting (c), M Clarke (vc), B Haddin (wk), M Hussey (OUT), C White, T Paine (wk), C Ferguson (IN).
ALL-ROUNDERS: J Hastings, D Hussey, M Johnson, S Smith, S Watson.
BOWLERS: D Bollinger, N Hauritz (OUT), B Lee, S Tait. J Krejza (IN)
Australia have had no answers at the selection table for the English over the summer and now the same decision makers have made a bunch of head scratching decisions for their World Cup defence. Despite incredible domestic form there is no place for Brad Hodge and seemingly incumbent batsman Callum Ferguson has been punted despite a career ODI average of 46.07 (Ferguson was recalled after Michael Hussey was ruled out with a hamstring injury). Ricky Ponting returns to skipper the team which features some batting class in Watson & Clarke. Shaun Tait, Brett Lee & Mitchell Johnson will lead the attack with Steve Smith, David Hussey & late call up Jason Krejza fighting for possibly two spinning roles. Tim Paine has been included to keep pressure on Brad Haddin for the wicketkeeping spot, while John Hastings will fight Doug Bollinger for the 4th seamer ranking. It's a good squad but it is not a great one on paper and it doesn't help that key men Ponting (finger) is still in doubt for the start of the tournament and Michael Hussey will not play.
Mitchell Johnson - he can spray it all over the place in four straight games and then bowl a spell that is so devastating in the next game that it can turn his team's fortunes around. In a World Cup you'll take those four dud performances if the stellar display is in a World Cup Final. Handy with the bat but it is with the ball that Johnson can make his biggest contribution for Australia's title defence.
Best Australian XI: 
  1. S Watson
  2. B Haddin
  3. R Ponting (c)
  4. M Clarke
  5. C White
  6. C Ferguson
  7. D Hussey
  8. M Johnson
  9. J Krejza
  10. B Lee
  11. S Tait
They can but they are not the best in world cricket any more.
Australia have won three consecutive World Cups (1999, 2003 & 2007) but they enter the 2011 Tournament no longer holding the mantle as the best team in the world. That doesn't mean they cannot reclaim the title and hold onto the title as the best One Day team but their Ashes defeat has them on the backfoot entering the competition. That being said they still have the likes of Ponting, Watson, Johnson & Michael Hussey - all match winners on their day, so you cannot write them off.
15 Man Squad Named January 17:
BATSMEN: M Dhoni (c/wk), V Sehwag (vc), G Gambhir, V Kohli, S Raina, S Tendulkar.
ALL-ROUNDERS: Y Pathan, H Singh, Y Singh.
BOWLERS: R Ashwin, P Chawla, Z Khan, P Kumar (OUT), A Nehra, M Patel, S Sreesanth (IN).
If Dhoni stays in the Top 4 then India have the best top order on paper in the World Cup. Sehwag and Tendulkar (if both are fit) will get them off to a flier and Gambhir and Dhoni could make teams pay off the back of a good start. With a variation of Yuvraj Singh, Kohli, Raina and Pathan in the middle order - India should keep coming at their opposition with plenty of batting but they may go with an extra spinner instead of a batsman which may weaken them if early wickets fall. Khan must take wickets with the new ball, while Harbhajan Singh needs to make full use of his 10 overs every game. The rest of the attack is nothing flash to be honest but there's not many teams that have a deep bowling unit. 
Harbhajan Singh - his batting at Test level lately puts him in the all-rounder category now but it is with the ball that the prodigious off-spinner must make his impact. Could be the one bowler no-one wants to face all World Cup long...
Best Indian XI: 
  1. V Sehwag
  2. S Tendulkar
  3. G Gambhir
  4. M Dhoni (c)
  5. Y Singh
  6. V Kohli
  7. Y Pathan
  8. H Singh
  9. Z Khan
  10. A Nehra
  11. M Patel
Of course... but we've been waiting for a while.
India are the team everyone is waiting for to seize a World Cup with their talented roster but they haven't made a serious challenge since 2003 when the Australian's bashed them in the World Cup Final in South Africa. This will surely be Tendulkar's last World Cup and his Test form suggests he has plenty left in the tank... he can get them to another Final but Harbhajan Singh & Zaheer Khan must be the ones who win it for them.

Thursday 13 January 2011

NSW Blues Name 51 Man Future Squad for 2011 State of Origin Training Camp


The 'Blues in Waiting' - that is what NSW Blues Coach Ricky Stuart has dubbed the gigantic 51 man squad he named this morning for a three-day training camp to be held at Homebush from Jan 21-23.

Stuart describes the camp as a tool to prepare the next generation of possible Blues for the rigours of State of Origin Rugby League.
“One of the key messages for our “Blues in Waiting” squad members will be that all they can do is prepare and be ready for when this time arrives,” Stuart said.

The big question to come out of the announcement is not so much who was named in the 51 man squad but who was not.

According to Stuart there is a core group of Blues that he has identified to lead the state back to the top of the Origin pile (Paul Gallen [left] is said to be on that list) but given the vast majority of possible Blues named today have zero Origin experience - a large number of experienced players may not have the same warm feeling inside that the named 51 do today.

That's not to say that what Stuart has done is the wrong thing.

Far from it.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Rugby League World's 16 Emerging NRL Stars - Issue 358, 2011

The NRL's Emerging Stars: 
16 Players To Watch in 2011
By Warrick D. Nicolson
January 7, 2011.

Rugby League World features the 16 Emerging Stars of the NRL in their February Issue.

When Rugby League World Magazine commissioned me to write an article scouting the next wave of star talent in the National Rugby League - I made a decision to feature a range of potential stars rather than just the obvious 'can't miss prospects'.

So if you pick up a copy of Issue 358 of the fine publication (you can get it via an online version or have the original version posted to you) you won't see the names Josh Dugan or Sam Burgess featured in the magazine.

The reason for this is simple - we all know they are going to be or are already superstars of the game and looking at the rosters of each club I reasoned that the reader will find it more interesting if they get features on a range of players rather than telling them something they already know.

That doesn't mean I haven't featured some of the more household names but I have made every effort to make this article an interesting and informative read.

So get yourself a copy of the February Issue of Rugby League World - because there is much more than just the Emerging Stars article worth reading.

It is a cracking read.

Friday 7 January 2011

Congratulations England - Winners of the 2010/2011 Ashes Series 3-1

Ashes Series 2010/2011: 
 England Retain Ashes after destroying Australia 3-1 in Australia.

England defeated Australia by an innings and 83 runs to win the 5th Test Match and retain the Ashes.
3rd Test Review
4th Test Review
5th Test Review (To Come)

Full Scorecards Available below.

Please Note: Due to Christmas Holidays there was not regular updates of the 4th & 5th Tests on
However we will have a Series Review up next week including Winners & Losers from the Series, Full Player Ratings & Ashes MVP Results.

ENGLAND won 3-1 in the Best of Five Ashes Tests.
1st Test: Draw - Review
2nd Test: England won by an Innings & 71 Runs - Review
3rd Test: Australia won by 267 Runs - Review
4th Test: England won by an Innings & 157 Runs - Review.
5th Test: England won by an Innings & 83 Runs - Review to come.

IN GAME TWEETS - Not available for the 4th & 5th Test - apologies.

There'll be scores from during and at the close of play on each day updated on this page and simply follow the Twitter Feed below for regular commentary on the match.

Please note although The NRL Tweet deals mainly in news relating to the National Rugby League - it will have Cricket Tweets from the Ashes Series throughout the Summer.

The Tweets displayed on this page will only contain Ashes Tweets during the Test - they'll become dated in the days following the match so make sure you follow us on @nrltweet to stay up to date via Twitter.