Is it me, or is there a significant cultural difference between AFL and NRL scandals? In the AFL they seem to be mostly stuff that goes on behind closed doors, only for everyone to reel back in horror, once the door is suddenly opened. But even then they seem to eschew the NRL's predilection for simulated copulation with dogs, shatting in Schlossy's shoe and urinating in your own mouth. In rugby, it was always said, you meet a nicer kind of thug. I reckon in AFL, you generally get a higher class of scandal. On the other hand, the leaguies are winning hands down, when it comes to truly creative, out-of-the-box atrocities, stuff that you and I can't even conceive, let alone try to execute. They have single-handedly expanded the range of human endeavour. Just not in a good way. Thoughts?
Warnie's monkey business
Plays Of The Week
From slam dunks to double tons, these are the most exciting, silly and downright crazy plays in the sport world this week.
Shane Warne! Just when you think he has flooded the market with stupid, that he can't possibly expand, he opens up a whole new line in the African jungle! And it is selling well! I refer, of course, to the show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here, where Warnie is the star turn. As if you didn't know, our scene this week centres on the spinmeister lazing around the camp area with fellow contestant, a woman by the name of Bonnie Lythgoe – no, me neither – when Warnie puts out the view that both us, and our world has been shaped by ... well, it would spoil it, if I told you. You tell 'em, Shane.
"If we've evolved from monkeys, then why haven't those ones evolved?" Warnie asks. "Cos I'm saying: Aliens. We started from aliens. Maybe they turned a few monkeys into humans and said 'Yeah, it works'." Ground Control to Space Cadet Shane. Do you read me? Over ...
Nothing. Stone-cold nothing. For Shane was still up there, off with the pixies, and still going!
"Look at those pyramids, Bonnie," says the Warnester. "You couldn't do 'em. You couldn't pull a bit of rope ... those huge big bits of brick and make it perfectly symmetrical. Couldn't do it. So who did it?
"It has to be from another world?" Lythgoe, clearly a student of our times, proffered.
"Has to be," Professor Warne heartily agreed. "Has to be."
Country cricket's great read
As if you didn't know a fascinating cricket book The O'Farrell Cup – The Quest for the Holy Grail of Riverina Cricket Supremacy, came out recently. Written by John Scascighini and Brian Lawrence, it documents the story the longest existing challenge cup competition in Australian country cricket, going all the way back to 1925. It includes this extraordinary passage: "In the 1930s a very talented cricketer from Narrandera, Geoff Dangar, used to take with him to away matches a crate full of pigeons to places like Albury, Wagga etc – he would release them one by one at various intervals ..."
Dangar went on to become a very successful flight lieutenant in the RAAF – mentioned in dispatches – and returned safely to play many more important O'Farrell Cup innings.
The magic of Cometti
As the greatest commentator of the lot, Dennis Cometti, girds his loins for a final lap of the nation's AFL fields, TFF is going to give you regular rerun dollops of "Cometti's Greatest Hits" that I've collected over the past couple of decades:
"Scotty Cummings alone in the square, jumping up and down and waving his arms like they're playing My Sharona."
"The Magpies ought to be kicking themselves right now, but with their luck, they'd probably miss."
"The goal square's full of Bears. Looks like we've got ourselves a convoy."
And, my favourite of all.
The scene is set in the first-round match between Melbourne and Collingwood, back in 2005. The game is in the balance, with just seconds to go as Collingwood forward Tarkyn Lockyer lines up a kick from 50 metres out. Television commentator Gerard Healy is beside himself with excitement.
"Word is," he tells Channel Seven viewers, "this guy is the most reliable kick for goal in the side. They say down at Collingwood if you had to have someone kicking for your life, Tarkyn Lockyer would be the man!"
Dennis Cometti: "I'd prefer my mum."
Cometti: "Not a great footballer, but at least she'd care ..."
He will be missed.
Please send in your best Cometti-isms and I'll see if they're any better than the ones I've got!
Gotta love this city
Last week Putney played Denistone in a pennants lawn bowls trial game. On the Putney team was 96-year-old Ken Andrews, while on the Denistone team 10-year-old Jack McShane was playing. Are there any other sports in this town that can boast an 86-year age gap between competitors. Jack was able to go school on Monday and tell his classmates he'd played that weekend with a decorated WWII spitfire pilot. Gotta love this city.
A game for everyone
Last weekend Bernie Shuttleworth, the mighty coach of the Narrabeen Tigers under-10s, died suddenly of a massive heart attack. In his memory his wife Erika has asked that in lieu of flowers, mourners – and the rest of us, if we can – make contributions via www.narrabeenrugby.com.au to the new clubhouse they are trying to fund. The Herald sends its deepest condolences to Erika, son Harvey and daughter Anna.
After Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 US Open champion, won his first match in yonks – at the Delray Beach Open in Florida – he was asked about his next opponent, Denis Kudla, and replied: "I don't know him. For two years I was at home watching The Simpsons."
Boxer Manny Pacquiao disgraces himself: "It's common sense. Do you see animals mating with the same sex? Animals are better because they can distinguish male from female. If men mate with men and women mate with women they are worse than animals." In fact, homosexuality across all of the natural kingdom is well-documented.
Kanye West, who I think is a famous rapper: "I am the Jordan and Steph Curry of music, meaning I'm the best of two generations." On the other hand, with lyrics like this, in his new album, "I love you like Kanye loves Kanye ...", he might be the Michael Clarke of his generation?
Billy Brownless, pondering to Mike Sheahan on Foxtel's Open Mike, how much his fame impacted on the breakdown of his marriage: "... you do forget maybe your family or your wife or kids. And then later on when you think about it, you think I should have been a better dad. I should have been a better husband."
Former AFL star Jonathan Brown on the marital episode that has Melbourne abuzz: "It is the ultimate betrayal [for mates]. Mates get fired up, blokes get fired up, everyone gets fired up ... I've touched base with one of the boys, not called. Blokes are not great with this situation, we are not great with talking about our feelings." On the other hand, sleep with another bloke's missus, and you do tend to get a fair burst of the other bloke's feelings?
Eastwood president and one-time Wallaby centre Brett Papworth on the ARU's lack of funds for the grassroots game: "It is alienating us now. We don't rush out to buy tickets to Test matches. You know why? Because we don't care any more. Do you want to know why the stadiums aren't full for Bledisloes any more. It is because the rusted on footy fan who puts the flags out every Saturday, who gets the kids to training and makes sure club games happen every Saturday feels shafted."
Papworth getting his money's worth: "There's no money spent. No money spent at all. Our issue is in the last published [ARU] annual report - we haven't seen 2015 - [Pulver] spent $106 million. The ARU, they are the guardian of the game. Let me tell you where they spent it: $25m was head office salaries and benefits ... The game at grassroots level nationally got $4m, $56m was spent on the professional side of the game, which is Super Rugby grants, Wallabies payments, sevens programs."
Jason Day: "I don't feel that old, but when I talk to these kids, I do feel old. Because I'm talking about taxes and all this other stuff that is very, very boring. And these guys are talking about music, and I'm like, 'Oh, I remember those days'." Day is 28.
Adam Voges having a Test average of over 100: "I'm probably happy that I'm out now and it's gone back under [Bradman]. That doesn't sit all that comfortably with me." Now you know why the rest of us, Adam, are ecstatic, most of the time.
Kevin Rudd on the booing of Adam Goodes: "I'm not exactly a connoisseur of the finer points of the game. But I think the claim that this was to do with Adam Goodes as a sportsman and not to do with his Aboriginal identity, I think that claim, is 100 per cent bullshit."
Kobe Bryant at his last All Star Game: "How many players can say they played 20 years and actually have seen the game through three, four generations? It's not sad at all. I'm really happy and honoured to be here and see this."
Team of the Week
The Sydney Skinny. Created by the author Nigel Marsh, it is basically a nudie community swim off Cobblers Beach, Middle Head, over 900 metres on the morning of February 28, and this'un'll be the fourth annual. You walk into the water with your speedos, then disrobe in the water. Details on www.thesydneyskinny.com.au and it helps raise money for the McGrath Foundation and the National Parks.
Michael Hawker. Has stood down as chair of Australian Rugby after a terrific stint reorganising the whole thing. Well done, oh good and faithful servant of the game. He is replaced by Cameron Clyne.
Michael Clarke. Is making some kind of comeback to cricket this weekend, with Western Suburbs. Seems odd, to me.
Southern Thunder. Australian baseball team qualified for next year's World Baseball Classic
Billy Calcraft. The 1984 grand slam Wallaby is standing for Liberal Party pre-selection against the sitting member Bronwyn Bishop. He has the support of Alan Jones, but, despite that, I still hope he wins.
David Pocock. His extraordinary life and times will be the subject of Australian Story – the finest show on Australian television – on your ABC, Monday, 8pm.
Adam Voges. The 36-year old Australian batsman scored 239 runs against the Kiwis, for his second double-century in the past three months. He now has an average of 97.46.
Chautauqua, Terravista. Can't follow it, and don't care. But I gather they are horsies that run fast – not sure if they are boy horsies or girl horsies - and horsey sort of people are talking about them racing this weekend.
Third Dixon Advisory Croquet Classic. Boasting 10 of the world's top 100 croquet players, including the world champion and his two brothers (all in their 20s) it will be held at Cammeray Croquet Club February 26-28 , and they will be competing for their share of $5000 in prizemoney.
Wayne Bennett. New coach of the England rugby league team.
RIP Arthur Tunstall. The infamous sporting administrator died last week at the age of 93.