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Stay Tuned

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What’s happening in sport with Ash Gray.

Justin Langer’s had a lot to worry about lately, but if the standard of England’s pitch invaders is anything to go by, he and Tim Paine will be clutching the old urn come summer’s end. During the recent Test series against India, a Pommy bloke, who looked like he ate all the pies and then some, clattered into batsman Johnny Bairstow after attempting to bowl a ball – with a bent arm. His appalling lack of technique was only matched by Bairstow’s limp reaction. If it had been Andrew Symonds, the chunky chucker would have copped an exocet missile of a shoulder charge that landed him in Her Majesty’s nearest prison.

Of course, Langer has more pressing issues at the moment with the upcoming T20 World Cup in the UAE being seen as a barometer of his leadership – and grumpiness – with a number of senior players complaining that JL’s old-school intensity puts them off their smashed-avocado-on-rye. Is it a case of today’s pampered professionals unable to cope with Langer’s hard-hitting home truths? Or is he merely a dinosaur left behind in an era of mild-mannered metrosexuals and mealy-mouthed marketers?

 

GUEST SPEAKER
‘Everybody wants to rule the world’ sang 1980s pop group Tears For Fears.

Michael ‘Madge’ Maguire was well aware everyone wanted to rule his world. In the Foxtel doco Wild Wests: Tales From Tiger Town he dropped more F-Bombs than an angry B52 pilot on Mad Monday, and what looked at the time like raw honesty had critics questioning whether, he, like Langer, was a man out of time and place. Not that his pissweak roster was of much help.

Serial rule stretcher and part-time rugby league genius Latrell Mitchell pulled the pin on his 2021 season with yet another act of barmy barbarism. His impression of an out of

control combine harvester left ex-teammate, and presumably ex-friend, Joey Manu with a fractured cheekbone and Roosters coach Trent Robinson reaching for expletives. But he’ll be back next year, adding glamour and grist to the daily NRL soap opera.

The same can’t necessarily be said of Canterbury playmaker Lachlan Lewis, who comfortably wins What Tradies Want’s inaugural Bozo Of The Month award. The out-of-contract Bulldog, on a tidy $450,000 a season, made sure he would stay out of contract by allegedly nicking, and attempting to sell on eBay, a loudspeaker provided to the club by the NRL. And this all happened while players were meant to be on their best behaviour, having been granted exemptions by President Palaszczuk and the Queensland government to continue the competition in a COVID-free bubble.

FFS!

GRIN AND BARE IT
Whatever Lewis – the nephew of King Wally – is doing next year, at least he has his front teeth. Towering Melbourne Demons’ utility Luke Jackson lost his bunny chompers in a clash during their qualifying-final victory over the Suns. Afterwards it looked like a pizza had exploded in his mouth. Not pretty. Nor was Giants’ forward’s Toby Greene’s ump bump on man-in-white Matt Stevic following the orange-and-grey’s loss to Geelong in another semi. Like Mitchell, it nixed his season and screwed over his teammates. But it was only his 22nd charge by match reviewers.

Did we say ‘only’?
It’s way past time to pull your head in, son. New Pies coach Craig McRae will have his work cut out at the second-from-bottom super club. The most loved – and despised – football team in Australia is scrutinised like no other. McRrae, a three-times flag winner with the Lions, knows he has to seriously up their inside-50s and get more dominant in the contest. One saving grace is that if he starts to fail, he won’t have headline hog Eddie McGuire hovering over him

EARNING A CRUST
Fear of failure is not something that haunts Nick Kyrgios. At Wimbledon he said he feels his role is as a ‘relatable entertainer’ not a ‘tennis god’ who has to win matches. The trouble is, when you’re not winning there’sno-one to entertain, as he found out during a calamitous first-round loss in the US Open. He was so distracted from the main game he got embroiled in an argument with the umpire about towel placement – it was beneath him, a grand entertainer and all, to hand it to the ball boy – so he threw it in, crashing out to Spaniard Roberto Bautista.

Basketballer Ben Simmons has never descended to Kyrgios’ levels of sook, despite his career having hit the skids at the 76ers. He wants out, and the chance to explore his talents – and shooting phobia – somewhere else. In the meantime it’s good to see him spruiking him Four’n Twenty pies on Aussie TV. Fortunately, he can sink those without blinking.

BROCK TO BROC
The weekend of November 4-7 is when this great revhead nation of ours comes to a screeching halt. Naturally all eyes at the Bathurst 1000 will be focused on Shane, Chaz, Jamie and the boys as they go bumper-to-bumper in the battle for ultimate Supercar glory.

But we’ll have the binoculars trained on 18-year-old Broc Feeney. Not only is he carving ’em up in the Super2 Series, he’s also snared a wildcard entry alongside old-timer Russell Ingall. But that’s nothing compared to the news he will replace GOAT Jamie Whincup at Red Bull Ampol Racing next year. Seven-time champion Whincup is hanging up his helmet after the Gold Coast 500 in December.

Talk about pressure on a young bloke.

But callow Feeney could do worse than heed the words of his near namesake, the great Peter Brock, who famously said, “When opportunity knocks, bite off more than you can chew then chew like hell.”

It’s time to start chomping hard, Broc.

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