The GWS Giants got their weekly ‘‘they’re going to be an outstanding unit’’ and ‘‘team of the future’’ post-match comments after the narrow loss to Richmond.
Humanitarians of peace and goodwill everywhere will hope these predictions come true.
The score this time, after another competitive AFL debut-season performance, was 11.20 86 to 12.2 74.
Receiving less attention was another statistic: the 7538 who watched the Giants’ second game at Skoda Stadium at the Homebush Olympics complex.
Many of those were Richmond supporters.
The Giants drew 11,000 to their first Homebush match, against Essendon, and 6700 to their only AFL game at Rooty Hill.
True, it was a wet, windy, miserable day when they played Richmond and there’ll be bigger Homebush crowds, but the question is moot.
Wouldn’t the Giants have been better getting 7538 to Rooty Hill if they were fair dinkum about winning hearts and minds out west?
But then the Giants forfeited all right to be known as Western Sydney when they abandoned the Blacktown International Sportspark complex for almost inner-city Homebush.
Still no public word from Blacktown mayor Alan Pendleton on what he thinks of the Homebush move after he so vocally welcomed the Giants to Rooty Hill, and with ratepayers’ money.
National living treasure Forbes Carlisle has just celebrated his 91st birthday.
Carlisle is best known as a swim-coaching legend and was a sports-science pioneer, but has a less-known achievement to be celebrated.
He was Australia’s first modern-pentathlon competitor, at the 1952 Helsinki Games.
Modern pentathletes are arguably the best all-round athletes at the Games, because the event’s five disciplines are pistol-shooting, fencing, show-jumping, running and swimming.
Carlisle finished a meritorious 25th from 52 competitors in Helsinki and at the advanced age of 31 in the event’s terms.
The Master of Science had coached the Australian swimming team at the 1948 London Olympics.
He took up the modern pentathlon because he thought if he was going to coach prospective Olympians, he should know what the competing experience was like.
But he was no chance of a medal and wouldn’t be picked today.
Carlisle’s experience is recalled because of 3000m steeplechaser Genevieve LaCaze’s out-then-in drama before this year’s Olympics.
The Olympics are nominally about the individual, not competition between countries.
That ideal went soon after the start of the modern Olympics, and it’s understood that success or failure is central to the health of the national psyche.
In London, no doubt there’ll be another story about an African swimmer almost drowning, or an equivalent from another sport.
This will be held up as a shining example of the Olympic ideal; that it’s the competing, not the winning that’s important.
This will be condescending rubbish.
The Olympics will be about winning, money and national bragging rights.
Carlisle would have been outraged by LaCaze’s treatment.
He has always thought that if an aspirant trains for four years and wins a national title in their chosen Olympic sport, or qualifies, they should go, regardless of whether they’re a medal chance or not.
There’ll always be an occasional bolter, like diver Bill Eve, high jumper John Winter, 800m runner Ralph Doubell or skater Stephen Bradbury, who’ll win gold.
There is no Australian bolter who could upset Usain Bolt, never could be.
But it would be nice to have the Australian 100m champion Josh Ross competing in the individual event in London, even if he’s run out in the first heat.
Carlisle would approve.
No surprise that Monty Python’s Dead Parrot sketch is recalled most times when an NRL referee-video referee decision is defended.
The latest video-referring decision to recall the Dead Parrot was South Sydney’s Luke Burgess’s no-try against Parramatta.
‘‘He’s not deaf, dumb and blind, he’s only resting..’’
Maybe so, but also deficient in common sense and a feeling for the game, as another by-the-book defence is trotted out.
Followed by another recurring nightmare: what if it was a grand final?
If one incident ever encapsulated a player it was Chris Sandow’s intercept for the Eels against his former club Souths.
There was his anticipation, his thrilling 80m run (well, 60m).
There was his cheeky grin after he slowed down for the last 20m; there was Adam Reynolds’ chase and covering tackle as he put Sandow into touch 2m from the tryline.
That’s Sandow: one of the game’s great entertainers.
Rugby league would be poorer without him.
He can be a worldbeater for 10 minutes, hopeless for the next 10.
This time he was both in about 10 seconds .
Great fun if you’re just an observer.
Not so great if you’re Parramatta and have shelled out a reported $550,000 a season for him . But they should have known what they were getting.
There was at least one game Sandow would win for them this season, and all would be forgiven.
He did — against Penrith — and you mighn’t bet $550,000, but it would be worth a punt that he’ll win another.
It was a generous Aidan O’Brien who asked for forgiveness in a extraordinary display of humility after Royal Ascot’s Prince of Wales Stakes.
So You Think restored his reputation and belatedly showed his best Australian form with a decisive win in the Group-One event.
Ireland’s O’ Brien said he had overtrained the horse and had now listened to the stallion’s former trainer Bart Cummings and others, and learned.
O’Brien’s humility bespoke a generosity of spirit but he was being overly harsh on himself.
His son Joseph had ridden the horse properly, letting him find his rhythm and then sprinting the last two.
Had he have been ridden that way, instead of being made to take off before acceptances, So You Think would have won last year’s Prince of Wales and English Champion Stakes instead of finishing second in both, however he was trained.
And if the ownership hadn't had more money than sense, So You Think might have won last year’s Arc de Triomphe, had he been set for the race.
Instead, he’s run in everything everywhere, bar a steeplechase.
Better late than never, and it’s only a pity the rising six-year-old hasn’t another campaign ahead.