PLAYER PROFILE HELPS A LEAGUE!
A big WELCOME BACK to former Variety Today `Sporting Link’ Columnist GRAHAM WILSON (ex the multi-award winning The Four Kinsmen) who’s uncanny knack for remembering dates, names and even scores of sporting fixtures around the world, made him a valuable asset to the Variety Today team and, now, we are delighted to have him on board for On With the Show Entertainment. We hope you will enjoy his regular contributions which, although based on the sporting arena, are written from an entertainer’s perspective and will, undoubtedly, be full of surprises and a host of interesting anecdotes, as only Graham Wilson can present.
By Graham Wilson
AS everyone knows Football is very big in Australia, which is unique in that it is the only country, I believe, which has 4 major football codes – Aussie Rules, (AFL), Rugby League(NRL), Soccer Football (A League) & Rugby Union.
Aussie Rules is only played in Australia, NRL in Australia, NZ, England, France & Pacific Islands. Rugby Union is played in probably a dozen countries but Soccer is played everywhere.
We are obviously top of the tree in AFL and NRL in Australia is as good as it gets. We do struggle to compete in Rugby Union.
In Soccer we are nowhere in ratings really. We struggle just to make the final 32 teams.
The A League has been a revolution in the just completed season due to the marquee players at a few clubs. Alessandro Del Pietro has captivated the public with his ball skills & his Hollywood looks. And, the other marquee players, like Emile Heskey & Shinji Ono, have all added another dimension to the A League.
The West Sydney Wanderers initial season has been nothing short of amazing, considering 12 months ago they were only a suggestion. Unfortunately out of all good stories there’s always a downside which was displayed at the Grand Final with their fans throwing flares, bottles & destroying 350 seats at Alliance Stadium.
Socceroos kick into high gear
Now it’s official Australia has made the finals of the World Cup in Brazil the publicity our Socceroos will receive between now & next year will be enormous. You’d have to be the supreme optimist to think we could ever make the Quarter Finals , let alone the Final. But one can hope. Wouldn’t that be something?
The other 3 football codes in Australia must be so envious of the publicity this is going to generate.
Shock exit of tennis greats
Wimbledon is here again and after 2 rounds the surprise exits of Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer & Maria Sharapova has me perplexed. Nadal & Federer, 2 of the greatest players to ever play the game losing to virtual unknowns.
I suppose that’s the uncertainty of sport on a particular day. Any gambler would have bet their house on both of them reaching at least the quarter finals.
Long live cricket
As for the cricket. What a schmozzle. I’ve always been a cricket tragic but something has gone awry since 20/20 cricket was introduced here.
Being a traditionalist I love the contest over 2 innings each. With the Ashes contest against England about to start on July 11 our chances are not looking too bright mainly due to the uncertainty of how our top 6 batsmen will perform. We need our batsmen to build an innings like in other eras before 20/20 turned the game into a `slogfest’.
Like I said in my previous column I know it has captured a new market and can be played and completed in three hours which has attracted very good crowds. I’ll be interested to see the attendance figures at the 10 consecutive tests, 5 in England and 5 in Australia.
Playing against England to win the Ashes has been the highlight for every cricketer, from before Don Bradman to the present. Spectators felt the same. Let’s hope it never dies…