When Rugby League legend Phil ‘Gus’ Gould stopped his on-air spruiking of sports betting for long enough to attack the Gillard Government’s responsible gambling laws on Friday night, he was blowing the opening whistle for what is looming as the match of the season.
Cash-Strapped Clubs versus Wilkie’s Wowsers shapes as a classic encounter, a contest where there can’t be any compromises, where a loss could spell death for one side, a victory worth self-evident, if ill-gotten, riches for the other.
Cash-Strapped Clubs, traditionally one of the principle sources of funding for NRL clubs, have been targeting New South Wales and Queensland Labor MPs for months claiming they would be driven to the wall if people were given the option of nominating a maximum losing amount before they hit the poker machines.
Now a number of AFL notables, several with strong Liberal Party ties, are parroting the dubious proposition that sporting clubs need the proceeds of problem gamblers to remain viable entities. Ignore the millions in broadcasting fees just secured; if people who can’t control their gambling are protected from themselves, the code itself is in peril.
Australians take enormous pride in the exploits of their sporting heroes – but the needs of grass roots community sporting organisations are often overlooked. For Hurlstone Park Wanderers Football Club (HPW), in Sydney’s Inner West, its urgent need for improved facilities was a low priority for the local council. Wet weather, overuse and poor drainage combined to see 40 per cent of HPW home matches cancelled during the 2011 season.
If the mid-term drubbings and G20 currency fisticuffs with China are not enough, Barack Obama will return home with more bad news: Australians think his nation has lost its mojo.
While Julia Gillard and entourage were all smiles at the official photo call, they politely chose not to disclose they were representing a nation that thinks the USA is in decline.
In fact, 60 per cent of all surveyed in this week’s Essential Report see the American Empire’s influence becoming weaker, with just 20 per cent believing the USA’s influence on the world is on the rise.
At last, Australian sport’s Great Rematch is upon us.
Is it the Collingwood vs St Kilda Grand Final Replay replay? No.
Anthony ‘The Man’ Mundine vs Danny Green? No.
Michelle Ford vs Tracy Wickham? No.
I’m talking about Craig Foster vs Ange Postecoglou.
For readers who may not be familiar with Round 1 of this epic contest, let me paint you a picture …
It is Remembrance Day, 11 November 2006. The Young Socceroos have just crashed out of the Asian Football Confederation Championships in the quarter finals, losing 2-1 to South Korea. By failing to make it through to the semi-finals, they have also failed to qualify for the Under 20 World Cup – to be played in Canada the following year.
The Australian media has been quick to condemn Commonwealth Games athletes Hassene Fkiri and Shane Perkins for their televised displays of sporting petulance. They apparently let us all down, giving people the impression that Australians are actually bad losers.
C’mon! Why pick on these athletes, when they are simply upholding a great Aussie tradition?
Indeed, the evidence shows that we’re actually a bunch of world-class, Gold Medal-winning tantrum throwers, who love nothing more than gobbing off and flipping the bird – to officials, fellow competitors and even our team-mates.
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