Rattue goes on to list the latest salary cap scandal in the NRL ‚Äď the 90th by his count, with no sign of abating.
He looks at our erstwhile passions of summer: ‚ÄúThe nation which produced legendary and respected tennis icons such as Rod Laver, Yvonne Goolagong and Margaret Court now comes up with knuckleheads like Nick Kyrgios and Bernard ‚Äėthe Tanker‚Äô Tomic.‚ÄĚ
No, Chris had barely cleared his throat.
‚ÄúAs for cricket, there has never been a sadder more pathetic episode in sport than the sandpaper scandal in South Africa, the nadir for a team which had spun out of control on anger and arrogance.‚ÄĚ
Perhaps, he might be kinder to the Wallabies?
‚ÄúAs for rugby . . . sophisticated, clever, that’s how the best of Australian rugby used to be. There were elegant leaders like John Eales and Rod Macqueen, and never-to-be-forgotten players such as David ‚ÄėCampo‚Äô Campese, Mark Ella, Stephen Larkham and many more . . . What have we got now? Whinging Michael Cheika and a team which doesn’t know what it is about.‚ÄĚ
He finishes: ‚ÄúHey, if the once great Australian sports nation is determined to be a sporting laughing stock, it’s a free world.‚ÄĚ
Too harsh? Too unbalanced? Too brutal?
But hey, at least we‚Äôre light years ahead of those Kiwis in politics, and are not infected by the same stupidity there.
Hopping to it
As you will see in the quotes section, we have it on the sincere authority of Will Hopoate that his father John has another side: ‚ÄúIf people saw him at home, they’d see mum is the real boss, she’s got him under the whip, vacuuming and doing the dishes.‚ÄĚ
As one who‚Äôs had my fair share of goes at Hopoate Snr over the years, I am glad to hear it. In similar spirit, as one who has criticised Josh Dugan many times, and those who only go to children‚Äôs hospitals as the cameras roll, a reader sent me a story this week that showed another side.
It concerned his eleven year-old grandson Gabe Smith, who was diagnosed with a brain tumour and admitted to the Randwick Children‚Äôs Hospital, where Dugan came across him . . . and held on, going to see him many times thereafter, through all his many treatments and even into palliative care at Manly‚Äôs Bear Cottage, where he would stay for four hours at a time.
For yes, young Gabe tragically didn‚Äôt make it, and died in July. Dugan and his girlfriend attended the funeral at the Avoca Beach Surf Club and stayed for the wake.
So, there you go. Just as I struggle to put the public Hopoate I know of with the private figure described by his son, I can‚Äôt quite fathom that the Dugan described above is the troubled, swaggering bruiser we know ‚Äď but accept that it is.
Still, if it turns out that Greg Norman has a humble side, that Shane Warne actually delights in Dosteovsky, and Nick Kyrgios is releasing a motivational lecture , I‚Äôll give up!
Tr√®s dr√īle, as we say in the classics. The 53-year-old pro golfer from Michigan, Scott Parel, see, was asked at the end of the second round of the PGA senior tournament what he thought of his chances of winning.
‚ÄúI think I have two chances ‚Äď slim and none. And I think I just saw Slim heading out of town.‚ÄĚ
It might be straining the metaphor a little, but Slim came back and tucked into the buffet something fierce, because he soon became Huge, and Parel shot 63 on the final round to win the whole thing.
As mentioned, this year‚Äôs Cauliflower Club lunch is at the Hyatt Regency on Sussex St on October 12, with special guests Wally Lewis, Michael O‚ÄôConnor and Ricky Stuart on deck, and you can book at www.cauliflowerclub.org.au.
This week though, our Chair, John Fordham, secured a very interesting auction prize: a big lunch with all of Bob Dwyer, Alan Jones and Rod Macqueen.
Reluctantly, I must accept that there is some chance that, for Father’s Day, some of you won‚Äôt be buying or getting my own latest book, Monash‚Äôs Masterpiece, the 93 Minutes That Changed the World. In that case (sniff), allow me to recommend Greg Growden‚Äôs The Wallabies At War, which looks at the stunning service of many Wallabies from the Boer War onwards, or Michael Visontay‚Äôs Beyond the Stereotype: A Celebration Of Jews In Australian Sport.
Both are, as you‚Äôd expect from two long-time Herald scribes, exceptionally well-written and chokka with good yarns.
In Growden‚Äôs book, my favourite is about the great Stan Bisset ‚Äď a man I was proud to call a friend ‚Äď who was decorated for his bravery on the Kokoda Track where, during the Battle of Isurava, his brother Butch was riddled with machine gun bullets. Stan carried Butch to a clearing, where he held his hand through the night, singing him songs from the old days, till he died just before dawn. Vale, great men.
Meantime, reader Michael Milgate reports that when about to head off on a hike along New Zealand‚Äôs spectacular Milford Track with his daughter last year, they were encouraged to have dinner the night before with other hikers. As dinner is being served, his daughter finds herself in the company of a group of charming strangers, one of whom is notably robust, resplendent in a black tracksuit, introduced as ‚ÄúSteve‚ÄĚ but addressed by his companions as ‚ÄúCoach‚ÄĚ.
‚ÄúAnd what do you coach?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúRugby,‚ÄĚ he replies.
‚ÄúOh, and is it a local team?‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúHave you heard of the All Blacks?‚ÄĚ
Oh . . . pass the bread?
Short and sweet
The way forward for the Wallabies? Fitzphile Robert King has the answer! ‚ÄúIn the same way T20 has rocked the cricket world,‚ÄĚ he writes, ‚Äúlet‚Äôs push for a shorter version of the Bledisloe Cup. We will play the first 35 mins only, two-man lineouts and no scrums. I understand Lord Bledisloe died in 1958 so he can‚Äôt object.‚ÄĚ That works!
Lovely writing from Matthew Johns on the early days of Johnathan Thurston: ‚ÄúHe first came to the Bulldogs in the mid-2000s and he looked like a rabbit trying to find a hole in a barbwire fence. He was a ducker and a darter . . .‚ÄĚ
When ESPN commentator Brad Gilbert asked Nick Kygrios after the first round if all his carry-on was to get himself going, Kyrgios replied: ‚ÄúNot really. It keeps me relaxed.‚ÄĚ
Tennis umpire Mo Lahyani to Nick Kyrgios during a break in the second round of the US Open, asks him to carry on with more purpose:
‚ÄúI want to help you. I want to help you. I‚Äôve seen your matches: you‚Äôre great for tennis. Nick, I know this is not you.‚ÄĚ Kyrgios won nineteen of the next 25 games to win the match. There was hell to pay.
Will Hopoate on his dad: ‚ÄúFor most of my life I’ve seen the John Hopoate off the field, and that’s the man I respect and love as a father. The bloke you see on the field and off the field are two different blokes. If people saw him at home, they’d see mum is the real boss, she’s got him under the whip, vacuuming and doing the dishes.‚ÄĚ
Venus Williams laughs at the prospect of playing her sister, Serena, in the American Open: ‚ÄúThe last time we played, in Australia, it was two against one. At least this time it’s fair.‚ÄĚ On that occasion, at the 2017 Australian Open, Serena was pregnant.
Barry Hall: ‚ÄúI got no income, and there’s no real light at the end of the tunnel of when that will change or when that will be. So it’s a big cock-up.‚ÄĚ
Collingwood President Eddie McGuire on another Pies player testing positive: ‚ÄúThe last person to find out anything to do with drugs is the club itself. It‚Äôs an AFL issue. They have control of everything that goes, as far as the testing is concerned. In fact, as the president of the club I‚Äôm not even allowed to ask about these situations.‚ÄĚ
Carlton coach Brendon Bolton on the upside of having won two games for twenty losses this season: ‚ÄúIn some time we’ll look back and say this time paid us back.‚ÄĚ Sure you will, Coach.
Wayne Bennett following the Roosters game: ‚ÄúI could make a headline easily, but I won‚Äôt tonight. I’ll leave you with this guys, you’re all journalists here, you see what I see, why don’t you write the stories?‚ÄĚ
Eels coach Brad Arthur on the wooden spoon, after his side lost 44-6 to the Cowboys last Friday: ‚ÄúAt the end of the day, I‚Äôm in charge. Someone has got to claim responsibility, that‚Äôs me. I feel a sense that I‚Äôve let people down. It‚Äôs just embarrassing. I have to face up to it, I can‚Äôt run and hide from it.‚ÄĚ Coach? Look to the blokes laughing and joking within seconds of being on the wrong end of a 40-point drubbing ‚Äď and wipe them. Start with Jarryd Hayne, who was doing precisely that.
Gus Gould: ‚ÄúSunday afternoon at Jubilee Oval. One of the great pleasures of life.‚ÄĚ
Andrew Johns: ‚ÄúGus, you‚Äôve gotta get out more.‚ÄĚ
Johnathan Thurston Plays the final match of his extraordinary 17-year career tonight, against the Gold Coast Titans.
Richmond and Hawthorn How very odd. Between them they have won 24 Premiership flags and yet next Thursday, for the first time, they contest a finals match.
Argentina Pumas Snapped an 11-match losing streak in the Rugby Championship by beating South Africa.
Sunshine Coast Lightning Gone back to back to claim their second Super Netball title. So I suppose it does strike twice!
The second annual Chappell Foundation Golf Day To raise money for the homeless, it will be held on Tuesday September 11 at the spectacular NSW Golf Club, La Perouse.
Italy Has just banned all advertising for gambling, most particularly including sponsorships of sporting teams. Watch this space!
Caloundra Won their first rugby grand final since their foundation in 1982, beating Noosa.