Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Wow, that's ugly man..smell the fear!

Jon Green they call him and he wrote about the Australia New Zealand game for the ABC. So now even the ABC get to bag the game of football.

Interesting to me is the age of this seemingly long line of sports writers simply looking to bag the game. Dinosaur anyone?

This is what the Green man wrote; and he works for the ABC. Aussie journalism at it's best once more. And note the pathetic references, to AFL, the great and brave Barry Hall, now theres a coward on an Aussie sports field if ever I saw one, boring, new game...dear old Jon. Guess you won't need your passport for this weekends AFL round eh!

As the great Australian poet Les Murray once mused, "I like the World Cup, it cheers me up". Well no he didn't actually; maybe it was the other one.

But here, apparently, we go again. Australia against the wide footballing world. Will we like this World Cup? Probably not.

If last night's spiteful snorefest from the MCG was any guide, the Australian campaign will be a short one marked by the sort of ugly studs-up, shin-gouging violence that is the last resort of the desperate and the outgunned.

Unable to better the tall, disciplined New Zealanders we resorted to hacking them down. We won, thanks to a cruel deflection and a late lucky strike that came from the depths of dead time, after a second half that was so ring-a-rosey with substitutions it was more like a training run than anything worthy of keeping 50,000 sitting in the soft, cold rain.

But it was the yellow-carded hacking of the first half that set the tone. Unlike an enraged Barry Hall headlock, soccer's violence is something gutless that comes cold-bloodedly from behind. It's typical of the code's overwhelming sense of calculation and accurate finesse. Nasty for its cool intent.

But that's soccer. Watching last night on the telly -- action so limp even the commentary team gave up on it for long silent pauses - was like seeing a Fremantle possession drill extended to occupy 90 minutes. And then broadcast in 3D. Apparently.

What a sublime consummation that must have been, lame sport viewed through silly glasses... oh brave new world that has such wonders in it.

Last time round there seemed some sense of urgent feistiness about the Socceroo campaign to take on the world. There was an appealing freshness, a wonder at the revelation of this new game. They exceeded expectations, had an unlikely run against the house in the biggest lottery on the planet. It ended in tears of course, but somehow that just added a touch of under-dogged lustre.

This time round? The same bunch of guys slopes off to a sudden death in South Africa, expectations are low, interest lower. And last night was the perfect send off. Ill-tempered. Boring. Wet.


Hamish said...

Well the game was pretty bad, but yeah, this guy doesn't get it at all, and he clearly loathes our game, for whatever reason.

But he is a journalist, and many Australians agree with him, so we can hardly blame the ABC for allowing him to be a voice.

Meanwhile we get a regular diet of rhetoric against the 'egg-ball games' (no mnemonic relation to 'wog ball'?) from SBS and elsewhere, and hell, that's cool too I guess surely. Once again, plenty of Australians feel like that.

So what's an intelligent response? Chill I reckon. Let the extremists rant and rave. Football - our football - will speak for itself, and monumental historical forces are behind it. I think we can afford to shut up and be smug. :)

Exciting days ahead! Cheers Eamonn.

Eamonn said...

I don't get it either Hamish but not sure I agree with you on this one.

In the UK where sports have their niche or in footballs case the whole market there seems very little energy to bag other codes.

Here it continues even after one World Cup and another on the way.

Journos from other codes seemed to be able to write about football as though they are watching it thru the lens of League or AFL. Very odd to me!

Why point it out? Let the extremists rant as you say, but it seems to me the "extremists" are in the traditional media, the normal respected journos, who follow and write about the League aFL and Union for their day jobs; and while SBS may be able to rebuff some of this stuff, let's face it they are hardly mainstream and already preaching to the converted.

How many people who read the "extremists" who happen to be most of the revered and mainstream journos, how many of these people are not having their views and prejudices re-enforced, this despite the fact that the game is being played by most their kids at some point.

Methinks you are too soft Hamish.

Pauline Hanson might be extremist and eventually she went away, but the journos from the other codes are well mainstream and given their voice to slag off football whenever they want.

We'll differ!

Actually thought the game was great for a friendly. A whole heap of emotions came out in me, for a friendly that was me!

Brendan said...

What struck me in the post match press was that the various opinion articles reporting on the `atmosphere` at the game were so contradictory (agendas at play?).

Read Greg Baum's gloomy piece in the Age compared to Terry Brown's upbeat one in The Herald Sun - were they at the same game?

As a spectator myself, I found the crowd around me to be pretty engaged by the game itself and certainly very much into it over final 30 minutes leading to the much celebrated last gasp goal.

What was also clear to me was the festive mood shared by most as we streamed back on mass from the MCG to the city - despite getting drenched.

Perhaps Greg was sitting far removed from most of the crowd whereas Terry did at least quote a few paying spectators.

Anonymous said...

It's far too easy to for AFL writers to bag football. Why? Because they are running scared. While, once more, the whole World gears up for a festival of football the pitiful few remain to watch a prosaic game that is the watched and 'enjoyed' by a minority. That's right AFL is a minortiy sport. In World terms it's probably behind tractor-pulling. So they need to bag the 'World' game in ordert o make themselves fell big. Nice work....enjoy your World Cup AFL....oh what's that you have't got one?