Standing on the outside lookin’ in

January is an odd month for sport in Melbourne. Post Boxing Day test, there are a sprinkling of fillers leading up to the Australia Open but nothing to really get the pulse racing. The Big Bash has continued to provide some fun to those with short attention spans and there seems have been an increased focus on some bike races. This is no doubt due to the residual effects of Cadel’s Tour de France heroics but somehow the Tour de Rosebud doesn’t really cut it, despite the emergence of the GreenEdge team. One assumes the team consists of Marvel comic characters who will strike fear in the hearts of the Schleck brothers and underhanded drug cheats riding push bikes throughout Europe.

Where’s a Chinese sub when you need one? Last weekend the front page of The Sunday Age greeted me with the fearsome sight of the state Premier and Federal Opposition leader decked out in seal skins and condom headwear. The dynamic duo were apparently about to plunge into the briny and swim in the annual pier to pub open water swim down at Lorne. Having swum in the cool waters at Loren in January, I would have opted for a thick layer on whale blubber or at least a 10ml steamer (wetsuit for those non-surfie types). Not for T n’ T. With Cheshire like grins they bounded into the depths of Bass Straight emerging some varying time later to regale their efforts to the waiting media throng. Presumably the application of burley was not permitted (shark attractor for those non-fishing types).

In the past fortnight tennis has been going off like a frog in a sock. You can’t swing a cat for without hitting a tennis player. Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Hobart and Kooyong have all had there share of warm up “Classics”. The main game of course starts next week when Australia’s “Season of Tennis” rolls into town. Media outlets throughout the southern state have been awash with all things tennissy. Sadly, it also hails the return of Craig “What sort of stupid accent is that?” Gabriel who will be providing insight into tennis goings on that only Craig could be insightful about. The rest of us don’t give a tinker’s toss about Serena’s adductor strain or “Raffer’s” tight glute. However, to Craig, such things, along with the opportunity to drop “I was lunching with Roger in Monte Carlo” are paramount. Craig is to tennis is what Parez Hilton is to serious journalism. Undoubtedly, we will see headlines of “Our Bernard” and “Our Helena” quickly turn to “former Serbian tennis brat” after round 1 in the opening week. Hopefully “Our Sam” will fly the flag but sadly this will result the roof being closed due to the endless salivation of Bruce and company.

I asked last year if the arrival of the Melbourne Heart would stretch the support of soccer fans on the H of S. Seemingly it has, as the former manager of the Victory can now attest. In that time honoured sporting tradition, the Victory’s manager was bulleted due to the lethargic effort of his underlings, most notably Mr Golden Balls, H. Kewell. Harry of course has his personal coach so why listen to the one that supposedly calling the shots. Club management have broken with the tried and true formula of hiring as former Glasgow shop steward and instead gone for a former Belfast shop steward to take the reins. If only the Labor Party would make a similar decision and we could be spared of Doug Cameron.

I’ve never been to the Open and it is something I need to mark off my list of must dos. Again, the sporting folk of Melbourne will be treated to a fortnight a saturated coverage and the opportunity to see the world best tennis players in action. Most of that action will be at the Werribee Zoo and it seems that it’s obligatory to be pissed on by a Koala prior to swinging the Slazenger at Rod Laver Arena. Speaking of Australian tennis icons. Margaret Court apparently had the temerity to spriuk from her pulpit that gay marriage was not in God’s plan and that flying the representative rainbow flag of the gay movement (that’s a lobby group rather than a happy action for those not up with all things gay) was not appropriate at out national tennis championship. Well bugger me (no pun intended) if that didn’t put the cat amongst the budgies. Some plonker from Sydney suggested that given tennis’ apparent plethora of lesbians, flying the rainbow flag would be a noble gesture by Tennis Australia. To new age man Mike Gibson (presently guest hosting with some other pigmy on Radio Tolerance 2GB), such an act was tantamount to handing them the keys to whole bloody joint. How would “they” like if we turned up in our Dunlop Volleys during the Gay Mardi Gras Parade. Hard to argue with that type of logic Mike. Mr Ginson also espoused that sport and politic should never mix. Too right Mike and why not put the IOC and FIFA up as the template for that principled stand.

You’ve Been Verballed by Mick

Speaking of dills filling in over the summer months, Mick McGuane has been sitting in the chair on National Sport Radio’s morning shift. Mick is many things. A former premiership player, trotting enthusiast, keen punter and coach of the Keillor Numbats, amongst them. Firstly however, Mick is yob. Mick’s Monday interviews of all the previous weekend’s various victors had a familiar theme that pervaded most questions. How pissed did you get last night and what was the drink of choice. This was most likely at the core of victory celebrations at Victoria Park in Mick’s hey day. However, your modern athlete tends to put a bit more effort into post competition rehabilitation other that standing around a keg in the social club on Sunday morning after a huge night on the gas. Also, apparently Adam Scott’s tennis playing girlfriend is rather glamorous in that “phwor, you’d give that one gov” kind of glamorous. Mick really missed his calling playing Jack Harper in On the Buses.

No amount of media coaching can hide the fact that you can’t take the Ballarat out of the boy (with apologies to fine folk of Ballarat other that those who refer to Mick as ” Ballarat’s favourite son”. Mick, I’m afraid, is a bastard child).

Tip of the week

When faced with the choice of hitting a 60° sand wedge through the fork of gum tree or taking your medicine and chipping out sideway, always take the former. You know you will make a triple bogey on the hole but at least to can look your playing partners in the eye and ask “what would Tiger have done?

Tony’s Weekly Dump
Apparently the Australian cricket team has now been restored to its’ rightful place a world champs. Are South Africa and England now longer playing? Anyone remember the Ashes? You know things are good when you hear our cricket team referred to as “we” and “us” again rather “them” and “those”. I can’t wait for the re-introduction of the Australia A for the one day series given out ascension back to world dominance in three short weeks.

See ya’ next week

About Tony Robb

A life long Blues supporter of 49 years who has seen some light at the end of the tunnel that isn't Mick Malthouse driving a train.


  1. Nice work Tony.

    Can I suggest a future ‘Ti of the Week’ comment on seagulls. Seems they have taken to free ranging on thw WACA in much the same manner as the ground staff in the same week a mate of mine bagged 20 tailor and a solitary seagull on Far Northern NSW coast. Was able to give him a good recipe for the fish, although apart from suggesting it be served on a bed of chips, couldn’t offer any real cooking advice.

    Perhaps Matt Hayden might have a recipe for duck that is transferable?

  2. Thanks Gus As an very poor angler who counts eels see snakes and angry octopus amonsgt my
    bycatch I too have snagged a seagull. Bugger give a good fight. A little like a Kingfin only with intermittent “fluttering runs” The recipe for seagull involves boiling the bird and a large rock in a pot. When the rock is soft. throw away the seagull and eat he rock

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