Jack Howes’ Hot Taekes are all over the latest in the NFL draft, boxing fans finally getting their wish in the Mayweather v Pacquiao bout and a huge step forward in women’s AFL.
Mostly good news this week, I’m afraid!
A big step forward for female sport in the country, or at least sport in the professional/semi-professional realm. Channel 7 has decided to broadcast a game of women’s AFL. The game is scheduled to be played at 12:30 on August 16, acting as a curtain-raiser to a men’s game to be played later in the afternoon.
While women have been doing well, and regularly appearing on televMalthouseision, in individual sports such as golf and tennis, neither of those have anywhere near the mainstream appeal or cultural pull as any of the oval-ball codes.
The cultural significance of women playing a football code on live, free-to-air, television really can’t, and shouldn’t, be underestimated.
A couple more bits of AFL news to get through.
Carlton coach Mick Malthouse broke the coaching record of Jock McHale last night, coaching his 715th game of VFL/AFL football. Starting in 1984, Malthouse has coached at four separate teams, winning four premierships along the way.
A tetchy and irascible figure, Malthouse’s incredible longevity in a high-pressure job is a testament to his passion and ability.
In a fairly opposite sort of situation, Richmond’s star defender Alex Rance is considering giving the game away at the age of 25. Rance is just coming into his absolute prime and is looking at a big contract extension. Over the last week it’s emerged that due to his religious beliefs (he’s a Jehovah’s Witness), he might well walk away.
There’s been talk swirling that players are not enjoying the life of professional footballers, that the demands and pressure simply aren’t worth it, that they’re losing the love of the game. If Rance is of that mindset, and has religious doubts to go along with it, it wouldn’t be an enormous surprise to see him simply walk away.
Reports have begun emerging of a rebel cricket league being set up by Indian billionaire Subhash Chandra. Drawing comparisons to Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, Chandra’s organisation, the Essel Group, have stated their intention to launch a restructured cricket world. While details remain sketchy, it’s believed the Essel Group want to see a global T20 competition while also maintaining long form cricket in some way.
Plans to draw players away from their national team’s extraordinary sums of money are being proposed. Early rumours have it that stars such as David Warner and Michael Clarke could each be looking at $50 million contracts. While the players will no doubt want to represent their countries, every man has his price and $50 million is a decent wedge of change.
Of course, Chandra was the man behind the now-defunct Indian Cricket League, which collapsed under allegations of match-fixing and the loss of player payments, so it’s probably best not to take this too seriously just yet.
Off to the other side of the world and the NFL draft continues today. Keep an eye on the prospects of Dorial Green-Beckham, La’el Collins and Randy Gregory. The three are all considered top ten prospects on talent but have fallen because of various “character” red flags. Green-Beckham because of a fairly nasty alleged domestic abuse incident. Collins because he’s being questioned by the police in relation to the murder of an ex-girlfriend – although the police have said he isn’t a suspect. And Gregory because of a long history of marijuana use, as well as coded suggestions regarding his mental ability to deal with the strain of the NFL – reporters are being careful with their language but they do appear to be suggesting he may be suffering from depression and/or a bipolar condition.
The NFL is a business, and teams are very careful about who they draft. At some point talent almost always outweighs character issues. Case in point being the quarterback taken with the first selection of this draft, Jameis Winston, who has faced charges of rape and petty theft during his university years.
And in one more thing, keep an eye out on Sunday afternoon for the Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao fight. It’s probably come about five years too late – both boxers are comfortably past their prime – but fight fans have been waiting a long time to see this and they won’t be denied. Arguably the two best pound-for-pound fighters of their generation, their match-up is set to draw over $500 million in ticket sales and TV revenue. It’s unlikely to live up to the hype but it’s still a chance to see two all-time greats going at it one last time.