Standing on the outside looking in


by Tony Robb

Greetings to all. The past 12 months have seen a change of career for your Canberra correspondent. It has resulted in an increase in writing output but sadly in the form of reports about injured workers and not about sport. There are only so many ways one can describe the ebbs and flows of a low back injury. In an effort to redress the situation and once more engage the eclectic thoughts of the Almanac community, I’ve decided to embark upon a Year of Observation. A sabbatical if you will that will look at the Australian sporting experience from the isolated perspective of the national capital.

Canberra is not without its share of sporting luminaries and intelligentsia as the recent launch of the 2011 Almanac will attest. But the root of the problem is that the vast majority of these fine folk don’t actually hail from here. They have been drawn by their vocations and chosen interests to Canberra. Some are transient, such as John Harms, while others came and stayed, such as myself. To most Australians, Canberra is about politics and bureaucracy. To most Canberrans, the same could be said about AFL. However, there are some specks of insight that filter past the sharks of parliamentary press gallery through to those seek every morsel of sporting sound bite at the bottom of the bowl. This very web site provides an ever increasing view of sport in the real world to those who live beyond the CBD. The dulcet tones of Sport 927 give a small window of Melbourne based viewpoints about all things sports and most things Collingwood. The panel consisting of Michael Christian and Tony Jones, with support from Mick McGuane and Adam White, make the listener feel part of Sports Capital of the World (SCW). It can also isolate the listener with its’ parochialism .

Those of us blessed, or cursed, with Foxtel will have AFL access not seen since the heady days of the old AFL Channel. Sure, the boys will be on the couch again and Brian Taylor with be omnipresent in every way. But this year every game will be live and surely that can only be good. We have had quite good run in the ACT for some years. Live Friday night footy on Main Event while those in the SCW learn a few tricks about sprucing up the house and garden. This year will see the arrival of the GWS Gnats as the Capital’s adopted team. Four games at Manuka for the next decade and big door opened to aspiring young local footballers. The Melbourne paper and blogs will provide a detailed analysis of all the going on and a myriad of sports chat shows will dissect then to death. The Saturday ABC Grandstand will be its usual font of knowledge. You may well be thinking that a person based in the middle of NSW might have a passing interest in League of Rugby. I don’t as the Brumbies are a foolhardy collective and the Raiders are a collective of fools.

So I will be attempting to combine all of these sources of inspiration to put together a weekly column about Standing on the Outside Looking In as one
J Barnes famously recited. But I’ll be trying to write as an outsider in Melbourne with occasional trips to Manuka Oval and the annual pilgrimage to Mecca. A summary of the year as it unfolds as discerned through media and conversations at the pub. There will be some regular inclusion that will evolve such as:
What would Mike Have Written?
Mike Sheahan has finished writing full time for the Sun and his insightful scribbling will be missed. If you bother reading them, which I seldom did. But it is fair to say that his standing in the football media can’t be overlooked nor his presence on the couch when again Mike will offer such gems as” Gee Gerard! The Pies look good”.

You’ve Been Verballed by Mick
Mick McGuane is to oration as Tony Abbott is to yes. Mick’s regular appearance on the Monday and Friday Sports 927 Panel offer the work of a wordsmith not seen since the days Jack and Lou. Mick’s capacity to use a noun as a verb and have a thorough disregard for the correct use of past or present tense that places him in a league of his own among modern commentators, Danny Frawley excepted. Mick will again continue to “medal” throughout the year.

Tip of the Week
As my brother once said, “there is only one things worse than coat tugger and it’s a Carlton coat tugger: Sadly, I agree but my tip will not be in the form of punting suggestionS but rather small, but useful, tit bits of information that may assist you in conquering your personal sporting demons. Stuff like how to make the sandwedge your best friend. Why Ascot can turn a bad day on the punt to a Chinese takeaway that night. Have your notes booked handy as there will be a chance for readers to submit question on all things sports.

Most Ridiculous Predation by a Sport Commentator
Yes Tim Lane, I’m looking at you. Not to mention a few hundred thousand Geelong fans.

When’s your team buggered?
I’ll be attempting to call at what stage of the season a particular football team, or teams, has no hope of making the finals. Out of festive well being, I’ll leave nominations to at least week one of a NAB cup. No I won’t. The GWS Gnats will never win a flag under Kevin Sheedy!

Tony’s Weekly Dump
This little segment stems for a similar piece that is aired each Wednesday morning on the radio each week called Serge’s Morning Dump. This is no infringement of copyright. I’ll be doing plenty of that elsewhere. I was the person who came up with the idea as part of radio segment suggestion competition some years ago. So each week I’ll dedicate a dump to the individual or team that has absolutely given me the shits. It could involve a considerable amount of coverage of Kevin Sheedy and self deprecation.

So there you have it Almanacers. It could grow or it may shrivel in the vine but join with me in 2012 as we dissect the sporting calendar and SCW one week at a time.

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.

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