AFL must not tolerate knuckle-dragging treatment of women

AFL Grand Final Richmond family day punt road Tigers on stage Jack Graham’s premiership medal 1/10/2017 Picture:Wayne Ludbey Way back when, I publicly accused Brendon Fevola of “visual rape”, for first taking the photo of Lara Bingle in the shower against her will, and then passing it on – against her will. In the AFL case that has dominated the sporting headlines this week, of a young bare-breasted woman with a grand final Premiership medal dangling between. It was taken, with her consent, by one of the Richmond players, who then, at her request, deleted the photo from his phone – before retrieving it from the deleted folder and passing it on to one, or several mates, whereupon it went viral.
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The player has not yet been identified and the police are investigating. Defenders of the player maintain it is a misdemeanour only, on the grounds she consented to the photo, and is not identified by it.

They don’t get it. Yes, you and I don’t know her name – and hopefully never will – but in her own community the fact that it is her is well-known, and she is the one left feeling violated, because of the sheer venality of the player retrieving and then passing the photo on. Yes, the Richmond player’s offence is a lesser one than Fevola’s, but, ultimately, the AFL must punish and punish hard if they are at all serious about dragging football from the knuckle-dragging treatment of women, and into the 21st Century. Who can challenge Tim Cahill?

Well done, Tim Cahill, for saving the day against Syria and nailing the two crucial goals that needed to stay alive in the World Cup qualifications. But why, once again, does have to rely on a bloke nudging 40 – he’ll be 38 in December – to get the job done? Where are the young, hungry generations rising up, to push him out? It would be exactly like the Wallabies still relying on Phil Waugh to get the job done, because no Michael Hooper or David Pocock had come along, to move him along!

Wasn’t the A-League meant to provide the perfect nursery to produce champions? Or is it that, with the A-League, the Cahills, Kewells, Bosnichs et al, no longer have to leave to go after riches and glory – and thus getting experience in the really big leagues – meaning that our cream is not nearly as creamy as it once was. I note the Olyroos haven’t made it to the last two Olympics, and while the under-17 World Cup is happening right now, we don’t have a team there. What is going on? (And if as a soccer person, you say I have no clue, I say, “Thanks, Scoop. So give us the John Dory! What is going on?”)

Cometh the hour: Tim Cahill celebrates his extra-time winner. Photo: AAP

A fair exchange?

And we think we have problems, with our World Cup qualification. The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte is feeling so grim about the Netherlands missing out on the World Cup – after making the semi-finals last time – he said this week he’d be willing to swap the entire Dutch province of Limburg with Belgium, in return for the services of the Belgian and Manchester City ace Kevin De Bruyne.

“Of course,” he allowed, “this is a great sacrifice for Dutch society. They are such nice people and we will certainly miss them. But yes, sometimes you have to make difficult choices and recognise your priorities.”

Listen, I don’t suppose we could get the Kiwis to take both Pauline Hanson and her whole seat of Oxley, could we, in return for All Blacks skipper Kieran Read, could we? And we could throw in a set of steak knives? Oh, alright, you Kiwis, anything! Name your price!

OK, OK, OK. You can have Pauline and Oxley for free. Please?

Does father figure?

Think of it as The Umpire Strikes Back. TFF has long maintained there is no more beautiful town in in the springtime than Beechworth, right there in the northern part of Kelly Country. And they do things differently in those parts. A case in point, concerns an n football umpire, just suspended until the end of 2018 for “making contact with a player”, the first incident of its kind in the area. It happened after an episode in a match between the Beechworth Bushrangers under-14 side and their Wodonga Saints counterparts. All the reports are framed carefully and the umpire is unnamed but, reading between the lines, I am guessing it is significant that the umpire had a son playing for the Bushrangers, while a player for the other team, the Wodonga Saints, was also suspended for rough play …

As to other reports that periodically emerge, and one just last week, which maintain that Ned Kelly played n football, allow me to say two things, as one of his biographers. Firstly, nonsense – there is no primary documentation of any description, which links Ned to an Aussie rules side, much as it would be a fabulous story if it was true. Secondly, the sport he did excel in, beyond stealing horses – where he was the world heavyweight champion to beat them all – was bare-knuckle boxing. Step into the next item for an account.

Kelly goes Wild

See, despite the fact that Ned Kelly and the Kelly Gang stole around 250 horses, Ned did a three-year stint at Pentridge, from the age of 16, for a horse that he didn’t steal. The bloke who had, Wild Wright, had manouevred so that Ned took the blame. Upon emerging with a zebra sun-tan, in the rising summer of 1874, Ned went looking for Wild, and found him having a drink at Beechworth’s Imperial Hotel. Never one to hide from confrontation, Ned takes it upon himself to push through the mob, to tell Wild a few things that have long been on his mind. The pub quietens. No one speaks to Wild Wright – the toughest and most naturally violent bastard in all of north-eastern Victoria, and that region’s bare-knuckle champion to boot. But Ned does.

Sensing an opportunity, the publican invites the two men and whichever patrons would like to watch, to take their fight out the back, on the small patch of grass right by the bubbling Spring Creek. In short order the clientele of the entire hotel, for no one wants to miss it, files out the back, holding their beers and licking their lips in anticipation.

The 19-year-old Ned Kelly is, in the old money, six foot neat and 12 stone, without an ounce of fat on him. Twenty-five-year-oldWild Wright is six feet one inch for 13 stone, and is equally all muscle and gristle, while instead of a head, he really has a solid cone of bone.

First the publican draws “the scratch” – simply a line in the dirt – and now the two combatants must line up on opposite sides of it, bare-knuckled. Whatever happens, they must come back to the scratch, and the end of each round has nothing to do with time, and is all to do with whether one draws blood from the other, or is knocked down. At this point, each man’s “picker-up” has 30 seconds to get his man back in shape ready for the next round. The combatant has eight seconds to get back to the scratch before it begins again. All is in readiness …

As the crowd presses close, emitting a guttural raw that comes not just from them, but from ages past, the two begin to shape-up and the fists begin to fly.

Wright is vicious and no doubt about it, aiming blow after blow at Kelly’s nose as with his experience he know this is the quickest way to not only demoralise a man, as the blood bursts forth, but also to weaken him if the blood flows copiously enough. And yet Ned is fast and nimble, swaying out of the way of most of Wild’s furious flurries, before crashing in with his own body blows to Wright’s ribs.

From both sides, blood is drawn, as are knockdowns, but for round after round, as the sun begins to wane, neither man gives an inch, as the ground around the scratch – redrawn many times by the publican as their boots scuff it away – becomes sprinkled with red.

It is the best fight anyone has ever seen and the ongoing roar of the crowd brings others from far and wide, as the crowd gets bigger still and so does the roar, meaning the crowd gets bigger still!

Finally, the death knell … after an horrific 20th round, more like a slaughter than a fight, Wright tries to come back to the scratch, but either can’t or won’t and instead waves a bloody hand of defeat.

Ned Kelly bested him.

A boxer? Absolutely.

But an Aussie rules players, no. And in any case he would have been wasted. What they said

Matthew Johns on Triple M, after the latest meltdown of Nick Kyrgios: “That is bullshit. This bloke … it’s just disgraceful behaviour. People pay good money to watch this match. He tells supporters courtside that if he loses the first set he’s going to walk off, does it, then tries to go and apologise on Twitter saying he’s got a tummy bug. Please.”

How does Israel Folau score so many tries? He now has the fifth-most by a Wallaby: “To be honest, I go into a game not thinking about scoring tries and I think that’s the key. Once you go into a game thinking about tries, you’re not thinking about your role as a player for the team.”

Nick Stiles on being sacked as Reds coach: “You go from the obsessive routine of coaching, all the time you spend thinking about it, the phone calls, the injury updates and to what … vacuuming. I’m going to let the dust settle before making a call on what comes next.” Good luck, Nick. If you were doing the vacuuming right, there’d be no dust left to settle.

Teigan Power on marrying Alex McKinnon: “It doesn’t worry me if he walks me [down the aisle], or is just standing at the altar; I still get to marry the man of my dreams.” That young woman has got something special, that makes her, among other things, mesmerising television. Good luck to them both, for a long and happy future together.

Scotland football manager Gordon Strachan wants the Scottish to beef-up: “Genetically, we are behind. In the last campaign we were the second-smallest, apart from Spain. Maybe we get big women and men together and see what we can do?”

Tim Cahill: “I’m just happy the boss gave me the opportunity. Any player with conviction will score. I’m not going to waste an opportunity. I feel great.”

Steve Waugh on Ben Stokes: “It’s a tough one. If it was anyone in the n side, they wouldn’t be picked. You can’t do that these days in public. It just didn’t look good and it’s a bad image for the game.”

Mitchell Starc wants the n cricket fans to abuse the English, especially Ben Stokes: “I guess I’d love if he was out here. I’d love for the n crowd to get stuck into him the way the Poms get stuck into our blokes over there.” I reckon we’re better than that.

Betty Klimenko on winning Bathurst: “And today we took it to the mountain … and I like to know that I’m the first woman, ever, to win the Bathurst 1000 as an owner. It’s magical. And now I need to finish my cigarette.”

Benji Marshall, who is leaving the Broncos, on what makes it such a great club: “There’s not a dickhead in the group.”

Iceland soccer player Aron Gunnarsson on making the World Cup: “In my opinion we were in the most difficult group, but we decided that we were just going to finish this. We had no interest in some play-off bother.” A pity we didn’t embrace the same notion. Helllloooo, play-off bother!

Cameron Smith on the defections from the Kangaroos: “World Cup year is almost like a year off where you can pick where you want to play if you have any type of heritage in some nation.”

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire channelling Donald Trump: “We’re a big club at the moment, we have to get back to being a great club.”

Josh Dugan, says he has turned over a new leaf. No, really. “I’ve been training a fair bit. I haven’t been going out partying. Not that I do that. I want to repay the faith Mal has shown in me by picking me. I will be trying to steer away from [alcohol] as much as I can and focus on my footy.” Team of the week

The Socceroos. Beat Syria 2-1 to avoid elimination from the World Cup. Their final challenge will be to beat Honduras in home-and-away battles.

Tim Cahill. Bloody hell that bloke delivers. Delivered the goals that needed to stay alive in the World Cup.

Ange Postecoglou. The Socceroos coach has announced that, whatever happens, he won’t be taking the n team to the World Cup.

Isaac Mitchell. The middle-order batsman for Stockinbingal, down Riverina way, nailed a 40-ball century, with eight sixes and a dozen fours, to steer his team to victory over the Temora Leprechauns last Saturday arvo. Strangely, it was his maiden century.

Wellness Walk and the Bridge Walk for Mental Health. Both walks start tomorrow from Government House and are to raise awareness for Mental Health Week. You can either go over the coat-hanger or to the Botanical Gardens. Go to wellnesswalk成都模特佳丽招聘.au for more details.

Winx. The girl-horse now has 21 wins in a row.

The n Stockman tour. Coached by Wallabies Chris Roche and Tony Melrose and boasting 25 players from regional , they’re about to play two matches in NZ and three in Argentina.

Simona Halep. New women’s No.1-ranked tennis player. Odd then, that you and I have not heard of her?

Josh Papalii. Born in Auckland, he moved to aged five and played all his junior football in Queensland, before playing for both Queensland and . In the World Cup, he will be representing Samoa.

Tamworth Cycle Club. Sent 70 athletes to Forster for the ultimate triathlon and they all, in particular the women’s team, starred.

Balmain Touch Football Association women’s team. After beating Hills Hornets, the Tigresses are into the grand final of the Vawdon Cup.

Twitter: @Peter_Fitz


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