7 February 2013


From AAP
A year-long government investigation has found widespread use of banned drugs in Australian professional sport and links with organised crime.
The Australian Crime Commission released the findings of a 12-month investigation into the integrity of Australian sport and the relationship between professional sporting bodies, prohibited substances and organised crime.
It said the links may have resulted in match-fixing and fraudulent manipulation of betting markets.
The key findings of the investigation identified widespread use of prohibited substances including peptides, hormones and illicit drugs in professional sport.
It said that in some cases players were being administered with substances that have not yet been approved for human use.
The ACC also identified organised crime identities and groups that are involved in the distribution of PIEDS (Performance and Image Enhancing Drugs), to athletes and professional sports stars.
The ACC report noted increasing evidence of personal relationships of concern between professional athletes and organised criminal identities and groups.
“The ACC has found that professional sport in Australia is highly vulnerable to infiltration by organised crime. Multiple athletes from a number of clubs in major Australian sporting codes are suspected of currently using or having used peptides,” Justice Minister Jason Clare said in a statement.
The report concluded that some coaches, sports scientists and support staff of elite athletes have orchestrated and/or condoned the use of prohibited substances.
Some sports scientists have indicated a willingness to administer substances to elite athletes which are untested or not yet approved for human use.
The ACC said illicit drug use by professional athletes was more prevalent than had been indicated by sports drugs testing programs.
The report found that organised crime had an expanding role in providing banned substances to athletes, and this was facilitated by some coaches and support staff.
The head of the AFL Players’ Association say it’s possible organised crime has infiltrated the AFL.
“You know organised crime have infiltrated gyms and provision of various kinds of supplements and substances which aid performance,” Players’ Association boss Matt Finnis said.
The ACC has referred its findings of suspected criminal activity to the Australian Federal Police and state police forces.
The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and other regulatory agencies will undertake more investigations on the basis of the findings.
Clare said one possible case of match-fixing was already under investigation, though he did not identify the sport.
“The findings are shocking and will disgust Australian sports fans,” Clare said.

5 February 2013


The debate about the 3rd tier of Rugby has been enlivened lately, as a result of the suggestion for using the Universities, as the providers. As usual, the Sydney boys only want to see teams from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra. Hasnt' the penny dropped yet, after all these years?

In case some hadn't heard, Melbourne and Perth have Super Rugby teams etc. If you want Rugby to be truly strong, you need to have a state based competition and have one team per state, in every state.

Just like the Sheffield Shield - for the weak states, you allow exemptions to draft in as many players as needed. You let natural selection and attrition work for you. I am sure that the pool of available club players around Australia is sufficient to find good Tier 3 quality players, so that should not be a consideration.
You try to schedule it so that the best players are available, but if they aren't you pick your next best - that's how you develop people.

If you had one team from each of Qld, NSW, ACT, Vic, SA, Tas, WA and NT and they play a "home and away" situation, you have 16 weeks spread throughout the season. If you can get a fair bit of that out of the way before the Club season starts, so much the better, or you wait until the end of Super Rugby and play an 8 round comp. Out of say, 320 players in total, you will lose 30+ Wallabies. Personally, I would start with small steps and go for an 8 round comp spread over the season. Nothing wrong with playing mid-week games - Monday night and Friday night are great football nights and the TV networks like them. A bit of competition for NRL.

If the main universities then swing in behind this, and you base each franchise at one of them, we can start to use the horsepower of the University system, which I think is a great idea, and why didn't we think of it before? .. and then, logically, you can develop the academy system, through the university link. It doesn't necessarily mean that you have to run an Under 23 comp, but if you did, maybe you could grant each team overage exemptions, or something.  We just need to think outside the square.

Logistics will always be an issue, there will have to be salary caps, etc, but these are the factors that have always hindered us in the past and will continue to, unless we take bold steps.

The proposal will not find favour with the traditionalists in Sydney and Brisbane. So what. Time for bravery and logical thought.

2 February 2013

..The Other Trials

Reds get up with a cricket score.......read it here!

Izzy saves the day ...looks like it was a good investment after all ....read it here

The Brumbies Get Up in the Top End!

Photo borrowed from the Brumbies website

What a shame the media can't find it within itself to televise or even provide a live stream of a game like last night's trial. Best we could do was follow it on Twitter!

You can check out the full report on the Brumbies website, ..and to be fair, you can also check out the report from the Forces' website.

But in a nutshell - four seasons in one day - from sun to wind to rain..happily the boys got off to a good start in the sunny period with tries to Matty Toomua and Clyde Rathbone, and went into the half time break with a 20 - 10 lead.

All players were replaced in the second half, and the atrocious weather allowed the Force back into the game, but the Brumbies were able to hang on, despite a last minute long range penalty to the Force, but kicker Kyle Godwin, happily for us, sent the kick wide.

Final score 20 - 18 and no injuries.

Next game -v- the ACT XV at Vikings Park next Friday afternoon. Can't wait!

Brumbies 20 (Matt Toomua, Clyde Rathbone tries; Christian Lealiifano 2/2 conversions, 2/2 penalty goals; Zack Holmes 0/1 penalty goals) defeated Emirates Western Force 18 (Ben McCalman, Junior Rasolea tries; Sias Ebersohn 1/1 conversion, 1/1 penalty goals; Kyle Godwin 0/1 conversions, 1/2 penalty goals)

30 January 2013

Revving Up for the Southern Season - Need Followers

Hi, all,

Gatesy here!

I've been running this blog very sporadically for a few years - mainly because I spend a lot of time running a Rugby Club (School) website: www.maristrugby.com.au and a lot of time contributing to The Roar of the Crowd site, but this year I want to gear this one up and get lots of followers.

Also run a website for those who are interested in having their own website built: Rugby Website Builder.

So give us a shout!!

Season 2013

How great that the Southern Hemisphere and the Northern Hemisphere seasons literally kick off their internationals and Super Rugby at the same time! How long before we have a truly global season?

This year we have the Lions touring Australia and France touring NZ.

Argentina will be stronger in the Rugby Championship and the international Sevens circuit is in full swing.

Heaps to talk about, so jump on board and if you want to post articles on here, we are more than happy!

See you on the sidelines!!

29 January 2013


How much am I looking forward to season 2013?

I haven't had too much to say on the Roar this year, as frankly, I think that the reportage has been fairly ordinaire, but it's a new year, and there is a bit of excitement in the air!!

It seems like everyone is fit, for once.

James O'Connor back on board, desperate to take Kurtley's No 10 jersey, and along comes a new kid (Angus Roberts) who looks like getting the nod for Number 10 at the Rebels..wow!! One out of left field.. That's the kind of news that I like to read.

A brand new Sevens outfit, building to the Olympics (go Tommy Cusack!)

The Brumbies .. what could have been last year?. Watching Toomua and then Lealiifano go down with injury was almost surreal - Jake just got on with it and how close did we come?..Clyde Rathbone is back and don't underestimate that little vignette! Leaders stood up, none less than Benny Mowen .. stay with it, Ben, you will wear the Green and Gold ....Dave Pocock appears to be refreshed and mentally dangerous! Mogg, Coleman, Tomane, Speight and many others ready to make a mark. I reckon the team is revving up like a purring Ferrari. The quiet achievers are on the starting blocks and I'm excited. Strong across the park!

The Waratahs - the glamour boys, the perennial underachievers!! .....I have a funny feeling that that is about to change - Cheika, will bring the Eastern Suburbs, surf club, hard man attitude, and I'm guessing that there ain't much room for princesses, at Moore Park at the moment. If you haven't noticed, there is not a lot of hype coming out of the Waratahs right about now.. looks like they have finally decided to do their trash talking on the paddock for a change!

The Reds! How would you know? Who is really in charge? Have to say, every photo, video and article that Ewen features in shows him looking pretty relaxed. Looks like Richard is doing the hard yards at HQ. But they are fit, mostly ready to play and therefore bloody dangerous. A lot of people down south are hoping Quade gets knocked out by that bloke that he is about to fight. What a bummer for Rugby, in general , if he gets his block knocked off!! Silly season is in full swing!!

The Rebels - are these guys the new Waratahs??- I mean, on paper they are a top side - have they got their heads in the right place? They definitely have the talent, and I think that they will be the fourth team in the conference this year. Glad to see Cipriani go, but not too many other radical changes - Higginbotham should contribute - if they can get O'Connor and Beale firing together, they should be dangerous. Hope that Saffy can make an impact this year. He made a big commitment to come across from NRL and hasn't yet been able to crack it - he has come up against the likes of Hooper, Pocock, Gill, Schatz, and must be wondering what happened. Well, mate, when you are playing in that position, you can't afford to be complacent, that's for sure!

The Force - again, who knows? - a bunch of relative no names - Foley has to prove himself, yet again - I wish them all the best - definitely looking forward to seeing Sam Norton-Knight back - he is one of those players that you just like to watch. Will be interesting to see how his game has gone while he has been in Europe.

The Lions - who knows? - we need to have a good look at the 6 Nations, because I don't think that there will be the same number of big well known names in this year's group than the last time they were here. Given that they will be playing most of their games against our professional outfits this time around, it's not likely to be too much like the last time they were here, when their first game was against some WA amateurs with a couple of east coast ring ins (what was it? about 62 -0 ) - a feel good start to their tour - won't happen this year - my guess is that they better be on song from the get go - we have more depth in our Rugby this year, and barring some catastrophic injuries in the early part of Super 15, we are all on deck!! If the 6 Nations is one-sided, then England will get weight of numbers, so the arrogance factor will be right up there!!

The Wallabies - who knows (period) - after 5 years, I can't decide whether Robbie Deans is a great coach or not - probably not, but you have to give him the benefit of the doubt with the injury toll they suffered last year. However, the omission of Matt Giteau from the RWC was a glaring SNAFU, in my mind that can never be forgotten! So maybe that is the best way to sum it up.

The silly season has been pretty light on for Rugby news, but there seems to be a new crop of journos, who might try to write original stuff! I surf the Rugby web most days and I find the same stuff everywhere I go - at least the 9 University story was something that might have legs - as a Brumbies supporter, I can see how it can work - but we all need to keep open minds about it - maybe the University system that has proved so successful in the US is the way to go. Let's just make sure that we get there before NRL and AFL and Soccer suddenly see its potential!!

..and last but not least, the most exciting thing for me in season 2013 is that my little guy, Charlie (just ten years old), had his first Rugby season last year, loves the game, big time, and wants to learn everything about it and can't wait to get back into it... it doesn't get any better than that!!

30 April 2012


35 years young and probably just what the Rebels need. Not that Gareth Delve has not been doing a great job, but Stirlo is a natural leader.

Have a blinder on the weekend, mate!

25 February 2012


A win is a win, even when it is "won ugly".

The Brumbies defensive line was magnificent. It was almost unbreachable all game.

In the last few minutes, the Force were playing in their Red Zone, and could have set up for a drop goal, but they didn't seem to see it. An ugly way to win, but still a win.

My take on it - the Brumbies are yet to gel, as a unit, but that is not surprising as this was their first outing. I think that they will gel reasonably quickly.

Their backs looked promising at times, but probably lacked that last little bit of confidence. Coleman ran wide in the first half, and there wasn't too much going on down the middle, but, that said, they were playing a tight game around the rucks.

The kickers were both on song, and honours were even, there.

The difference was most likely the Brumbies defensive line. You got the sense that the Force just did not know how to breach it.

That might be the case for a lot of other teams, if they don't think their way through the contests.

Overall, I would give the Brumbies a 6/10 score, but that effort, tonight will give the coaching staff a hell of a lot to work with.

9 November 2011


I'm seeing some interesting things in the tea leaves, lately.

Robbie Deans has all the hallmarks of a man who has been recruited by the ARU for a long term plan. Not just to establish ourselves now, for if that were the case, maybe we would have been more desperate to show improvement during the RWC.

Over the last, say, ten weeks or so, Robbie Deans has not looked like a man desperate to win the RWC at all costs.

Indeed, there were some pretty puzzling selections and decisions, made, weren't there?

No Giteau in the RWC squad - no back up no 7, which nearly came a cropper.

Nobody really took Quade Cooper by the coat tails and helped in his "hour of need".

Looking back on it, it's as if Robbie is a protected species, and maybe that't what has happened.

Is it too much to think that the powers that be took the view that we might or might not win the RWC, but that that was not the main game?

As Rugby has now got to find more ways to be profitable on the world stage, moves into Asia, moves into North America, NZRU teaming up with North American franchises, the prospect of Rugby in the Olympics where previously unknowns will start to throw serious money at the game ....well, maybe that frightens the likes of Australia and NZ. One of the opening salvos in that campaign was lobbed during RWC when NZ complained about the cost of mounting a campaign, and the ARU jumped right in behind them, with almost indecent haste. YOu would love to be a fly on the wall in John O'Neill.s office, at least when he is having closed door sessions with Robbie. Not much of this would be minuted, because the ARU would probably leak like a sieve.

So, if my theory is right, I take my hat off to the ARU for bravery. If you think about it, we have been living on borrowed time for years with a squad of brilliant players most years, but not a lot of depth behind them. This smacks of an attempt to build that depth, which is a move designed for the long term.

For instance ...... why has Robbie left it so long to bring James O'Connor into the midfield - his comments today suggest that James, despite his immense talent, still has a lot of development to go through...he suggests that Tapuai is a successor and cover, despite Horne and Faingaa only just beginning to settle into those spots.... a typically evolutionary process, not one driven by panic or pragmatism.

Why has he left it for so long to involve Berrick Barnes in his best position, which, patently, is no 10?

Why did we take three halves to the RWC and we are now talking about Lucas being the back up?

and importantly, when will the ARU start to put the same kind of serious effort into the forwards as they do with the backs?

It all points to another couple of years of development, and the only conclusion is that we are building for evolution and consistency, not winnign cups every four years by taking pot luck.

Just hope we can put down a few markers along the way and not always be evolving.