Poword by Phpos!

First Test should go ahead, but how best to pay tribute to Phillip Hughes?

The Fitz Files

A tragically sad week for Australian sport that we will long remember. The week that a popular Test cricketer, on the most fabled turf in the land, his own field of dreams, was struck a blow as the cameras rolled, that felled him, that he never rose from. I suggested on Thursday that the Test match against India go ahead next week, with all proceeds to go to brain injury charities. Others have suggested that instead of one minute’s silence, there be a 63-second silence to mark the score Hughes was on when he was felled, while still others suggest he be posthumously selected in the side he was heading for anyway, and instead of a12th man, there be a 13th man.

Irish doctor shows the way on concussion

Bravo, Irish team doctor Eanna Falvey, who last weekend personally showed the way forward for all contact sports when it comes to the treatment of concussion.

With Ireland holding on to a lead of just three points with nine minutes to go, Irish halfback Conor Murray was hit and hurt. He did not want to leave the field. Dr Falvey didn’t wait. He didn’t look to the coach. He didn’t even ask Murray.  As Murray was about to feed a scrum in the Ireland 22, the doctor pulled him from the field.

It was the doctor’s call, and nothing the hell to do with the coach, nor anything to do with the tightness of the score or the importance of the match. There was no message out there to “think of Ireland”, or the like. He took him from the field,  assessed him properly, and then and only then was he allowed to return.

As The Irish Times proudly noted: “It probably wouldn’t have happened even just a year ago. Now it should be the model for all team doctors to work off. This is on your watch. It is your responsibility, not the coach, not the captain, not the player.”

Bravo, Dr Falvey, a credit to your profession. As the Times noted, “If we’re trying to change the culture in rugby when it comes to concussion, sometimes players are going to have to be taken out of games even though they don’t want to be. We have to send out the message that player health is the most important thing.”

This week, of all weeks, it is a message that must be heeded.

Hercule Poirot, the third

You will recall the famed reply of British Olympian Chris Hoy when once asked what Chris Hoy thought of Chris Hoy. “Chris Hoy thinks that the day Chris Hoy refers to Chris Hoy in the third person is the day that Chris Hoy disappears up his own arse.”

You will note that your humble correspondent has ranted for years how the surest sign that a sportsperson has so disappeared in that general direction is when they do it. This week I was sent a literary reference by clever reader Ron Boyd, identifying what is perhaps the earliest explanation for this strange behaviour. It comes from Agatha Christie’s fabulous detective Hercule Poirot, who when asked why he constantly referred to himself in the third person replied: “Because it helps Poirot achieve a healthy distance from his own genius.” Told yers!

Hail centurion

An extraordinary Australian turned 100 years old last week. Dan Cullen won the 1937 and 1938 WA Open Golf championships – with prizemoney of £5 a pop – and would likely have won many more tournaments if not for the Second World War. He joined the RAAF, and after training was posted to Britain, where he flew Lancaster bombers. Despite the fact that only one in four pilots survived flying 30 missions over Germany, Mr Cullen piloted 32 of them and narrowly survived. In 1944, on a bombing run over the German town of Friedrichshaf, his plane was hit, lost an engine, and for his heroics in getting his crew home safely, was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross medal.

He returned to be the pro at Roseville Golf Club and then St Michael’s. In 1977 he became the oldest man, at 62, to gain admittance to a British Open championship, and registered a pair of 71s.

How has he survived so long? A long and happy marriage has been one thing, as has raising a happy family. But Mr Cullen also credits helping a homeless Irishman during the war, by giving him a pound. The Irishman called after him, “God bless you sir and may the wood for your casket come from a tree that hasn’t been planted yet!”

Bravo, Mr Cullen, and happy 100th from us all. We dips our lids to you, sir.

Insurance plan will cripple rugby clubs

As reported in The Area News, here is Griffith Blacks Rugby Club president Clint Robertson on the ARU’s introduction of a crippling user-pays system for insurance and registration fees: “If we expect players to pay $168.50 before they run out on the paddock, they just won’t play. I’ve talked to the other guys within the zone, and it would not be unrealistic to say we would lose 40 to 50 per cent of our players. Clubs like ours, bush clubs in Australia, would go bust within two years. This is just a cash grab from the ARU because they’re broke. You will see a revolt from the whole of country rugby in the whole of Australia towards the ARU saying ‘No this isn’t happening. You’re not doing this to us because it will break us’.”

More on this next week, together with the disastrous news that the ABC will stop broadcasting the Shute Shield for the first time in 57 years, because of the gummint’s cuts to the ABC.

Fun, Games and Gough

TFF’s friend, the well-known sports journo Richard Sleeman, contacted me this week with one last yarn on Gough, which he credits to AOC president John Coates. As part of the bid process – perhaps the most crucial of Sydney’s campaign – Coates hired an aircraft and pilot and criss-crossed Africa, pressing the flesh of dignitaries of African sports associations, Olympic committees and IOC members in return for crucial votes. To add gravitas, Coates took Gough and Margaret Whitlam, a master stroke, as Gough was so much admired throughout Africa for his anti-apartheid stand. One night they were in the back of the African beyond, dining under the stars, when a local journalist stood up from the table and relieved himself only a short distance from the table. Gough didn’t blink.

“Didn’t that bother you Gough?” Coates asked.

“No comrade,” the great man replied. “Just another media leak”.

Those African votes eventually carried the day for Sydney.

You owe me lunch. $75 worth. Don’t forget.


Former India captain Nari Contractor, who was struck on the skull by a bouncer in a practice match against Barbados in 1962, and never played again: “I never thought something like this could happen. With the advent of helmets, I never imagined …”

Greg Baum: “RIP Phillip Hughes. Those have to be the saddest words ever written in the name of cricket. This has to be cricket’s saddest day. Others have died playing the game. Others have died playing other games. But no cricketer so high profile can have died so publicly, and in such grim circumstances. No sportsman’s death can have come as such a shock.”

Australian team doctor Peter Brukner at a press conference on Thursday night: “Obviously, what Sean Abbott has gone through has been an incredibly traumatic experience … When he came to the hospital yesterday, Michael Clarke came down and spent a significant amount of time with him. Phillip’s sister also spent a significant time with Sean.” How very fine of Clarke, and particularly Hughes’ sister, Megan.

John Newcombe on Nick Kyrgios: “I would hate for him to lose his natural bravado, never take that away from him. You must have self-confidence and self-belief to make the top. But once self-confidence and self-belief turns into conceit, conceit becomes very brittle.”

Michael Cheika on Kurtley Beale: “When he came to the Waratahs, I never claimed that I was going to be his social worker. I’m just a rugby coach so it’s about honesty, straightforwardness, directness and putting out an exact picture of what’s required and what’s not needed.”

Kurtley Beale: “There’s always criticism. But I made a mistake and I owned up to it. I’m a very proud indigenous man and I do see myself one day trying to be – it’d be silly to say perfect because no one’s really perfect – but to try and be that role model that young kids can strive to be.”

Christian Seifert, the head of Germany’s Football League, says urgent co-ordinated action is needed from Europe to reform FIFA: “One does not know if one should wonder or feel ashamed for them. It cannot be acceptable when FIFA’s credibility is in a free fall.”

Brett Brown on his winless Philadelphia 76ers: “That’s where we’re at, everybody. And we’re not crying about it. We don’t want sympathy. We come to work. I get it. We put our big boy pants on and made a decision that is best for the club long-term. Time will tell.”

Cricket Australia was not happy when selector Mark Waugh said they wanted the Test team to be announce early for marketing reasons: “Selector Mark Waugh spoke to Mr Howard this morning and admitted he used the wrong word on Fox Sports last night, stating the early selection of the team was for marketing when he should have said logistics.” I call bullshit.

Dominic Knight tweets: “Such an odd table for the @ALeague. Three undefeated teams after 7 matches – and none of them are on top!” I’ll take his word for it.

Former formula one champion Jackie Stewart on Lewis Hamilton’s win this year: “Lewis can be as big as Muhammad Ali.” Bollocks. Name a single admirable thing Hamilton has done of note, away from the race track? Yes, he is brilliant at driving rrrrRRRRound and rrrrrRRRRound in circles, very fast, but what else?

Rolando Pena, director of football at Honduran first division outfit Marathon, after his team’s goalie was sent from the field for patting an opponent on the bottom. “It’s the strangest decision I’ve ever seen in football, it’s totally absurd. The world is laughing at us and at the referee.” We must hope that the A-League does not adopt the same approach. Could the comp go on?


RIP Phillip Hughes, 1988-2014. The Test batsman died this week, in tragic circumstances. He would have been 26 on Sunday.

RIP Ian Craig, 1935-2014. The youngest player to represent Australia in Test cricket, at age 17 years and 239 days, then the youngest to captain the side, when he took over at age 22 years and 194 days, died on November 16, nudging 80.

Lewis Hamilton. Won the F1 world championship for the second time.

Daniel Ricciardo. Our bloke finished the year in third place. Not bad!

Switzerland. For the first time, won the Davis Cup. Just the 14th nation in 115 years to win it. And Roger Federer’s wife won the Heckling Championship!

Tony Popovic. Appointed in May 2012, is the longest serving A-League coach. What is it with soccer that they turn over coaches so quickly?

Wallabies. Back at Twickenham after a four-week gap that feels years ago. Our blokes are struggling, and need to win this’un at least, after two narrow losses against France and Ireland.

Richie McCaw. Captained All Blacks for the 100th time. I claim some credit, however, having opined strongly in 2011 that he was getting too old and slow for the World Cup held that year.

Kirrily Dear. Doing the White Ribbon run to help raise funds to fight violence against women. She is running 860 kilometres from Walgett to Forbes. She will cross the finish line sometime this week. Bravo.

Gus Worland. Triple M’s “Fatty Boomka” was recently challenged by his best mate Hugh Jackman to lose weight and get fit. He did just that, as the cameras rolled for Foxtel – training to run the New York Marathon – and the resultant show, Gus Worland: Marathon Man, runs on Thursday night at 7.30pm on the A&E channel. It’s surprisingly good!


This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Comments are currently closed.