Carbo's Classic Hits

I'm an aspiring sports journalist and am currently studying Professional Writing & Editing at RMIT with a view to completing a journalism degree. Sport plays a big part in my life and I don't think you will ever be able to take sport away from me no matter what I am doing or where I am in the world.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The World Cup.... who's interested?

With the 2006 World Cup being less than two weeks away, it's about time that we all discuss what this great sporting spectacle will do to the sporting culture of Australia.

Football has long struggled for any sort of attention in this country from the mainstream media and the sports crazy society that we have here, although this has changed following the FFA restructure.

The introduction of the new A League to replace the old NSL has seen increased crowds and media coverage at games, which has translated into kids wanting to kick a round ball rather than a round Aussie Rules ball.

Australia qualifying for the World Cup has certainly lead to increased interest and I say without hesitation that SBS televison will record some of the largest viewing figures they have ever recorded since they started in the early 1980s.

For anyone who cares to listen, it's called football and not soccer.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Grass roots football.... an important part of the local community

With the AFL and elite level sport in general dominating our society today, grass roots or local community level sports struggles to get any sort of media or sponsorship interest.

The media are extremely fickle when it comes to grass roots sport and in the majority of cases, they are only interested in grass roots issues when someone famous is involved.

For example, if an ex AFL player went to play local football they would write a story and feature some pictures of them play but not if the average Joe was running around playing football with his mates.

Had it not been for the Rupertswood Football Club, I wouldn't be where I am today working as football analyst/statisitician in the VFL with the great club that is Werribee.

Unfortunately, a lot of people forget that community level sport plays a large part in ensuring young people in our community an opportunity to play sport and also to keep themselves out of trouble.

The media needs to be less fickle and show a greater level of support towards sport at the grass roots level, as this is where the champions are made.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Mainstream media... out of touch with netball fans?

For too long, netball as a sport has been ignored as a sport by the mainstream media and it's about time that one of Australia's most popular sports with regards to participation is given a fair go.

The mainstream media is out of touch with netball and this can be demonstrated that only show interest when there is controversy, taking the current Anne Sargent "sacking" by ABC television.

Netball is a sport which has been viewed as being one which doesn't deserve media coverage and this attitude will change when the mainstream media decide to see that the sport is more than just a certain television network sacking an ex player from a commentary team.

It's all well and good to suggest that another sport which doesn't get much coverage over netball, but what makes netball worthy of coverage is the sport in general which Netball Australia are doing a sterling job in running based on previous administrations of it.

The Commonwealth Bank Trophy is considered by many to be the best national league netball competition in the world and whilst it has been domninated by the same teams every year, the foundations it lays for Australia to be a force on the international stage have been immense.

The ABC provide great coverage and exposure for netball in this country and in my opinion, the only reason why the mainstream commercial networks won't touch it is because virtually all television/network exexcutives are male.

Just a thought.... wouldn't it be great if CBT matches were shown live on commercial television in prime time just like football and international cricket is?

This might be a dream, but it's about time that the sports that struggle for coverage are accepted by the mainstream media and just placed on the too hard or not that good pile.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Akermanis... should he be blamed?

Brisbane Lions superstar Jason Akermanis was dropped from the Lion's started lineup and played for the Suncoast Lions in the AFLQ last weekend.

Whilst his form and off field behaviour have been questionable in recent weeks, I don't think all the blame should be directed towards him because it is more than one person that makes up a football club and the playing group is just no part of it.

There is one thing that has been bugging me since this entire saga began and it is, why has Akermanis been allowed to get away with misbehaving and making stupid comments to the media when the Lions were playing well but not when they have been stuggling so far this year?

Others who are part of the playing group need to be accountable as well and I wouldn't be surprised if there are people out there who believe there are other reasons as to why the Lions are struggling in season 2006.

What frustrates me the most is that the supporters and media are quick to bag Akermanis when the Lions are struggling and although some of his criticisim is warranted, it shouldn't be placed on solely one person.

It's about time that Leigh Matthews and others in the football department at the Brisbane Lions don't simply blame a player who is a true champion. there are others who are playing bad football as well.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What's next? Fair and equal pay...

The ongoing saga with Australia's elite level netballers and Netball Australia continues, with the dispute over how much they are paid continuing and the AWU continuing to show support after the peak body for elite netballers establishing an affiliation in September of last year.

Fully endorsed by the AWU's national secretary, Bill Shorten, the ANPA (Australian Netball Players Assocation) are claiming that more than half of the players receive under $4,000 each and the highest paid player receives somewhere in the vicinity of $15,000 for an entire season.

This is under the current deal put forward by Netball Australia to the APNA, but the players are not happy and if negotations fail a strike may occur.

Former Melbourne Phoenix and Australian goal shooter Eloise-Southby Halbish, says that while the players are disappointed they want to show support to players who are at the raw end of the pay scale.

"We are disappointed as players, but we didn't want to strike at the beginning of the season because new sponsors have come on board and we wanted to show our support, and also for the fans, but we are unified," she told The Age.

Since retirement, Southby-Halbish has been working as a specialist commentator's on the ABC television's netball coverage and further involving herself as a director of the APNA.

Netball Australia's general manager netball operations Jon Bissett believes that the gap between the players and his organisation is becoming smaller.

"We're fully in support of the players getting improved conditions but, unfortunately, it's not an easy situation," Bissett told the Herald Sun on Friday.

"Netball Australia doesn't actually employ the players, the state associations do.

"We're trying to move that into a single sort of payment system. We'd love the girls to be full-time professionals but, unfortunately, at this time the sport doesn't have the revenue to support that.
"I think we're fairly close though. I think they understand that we're not a super rich sport."

"There are no television rights paid and we've got some sponsorship from the Commonwealth Bank, but not near the magnitude of men's sport."

Currently, Netball Australia pays for travel and training costs who play for any of the eight teams who compete in the elite Commonwealth Bank Tropy competition but many players believe is well below what other players are being paid in competition in other countries.

Late last week, a sponsor of National Bank Cup team the Capital Shaker's revealed that he had made an offer to star Silver Ferns goaler Irene Van Dyk to the tune of $170,000 to move from the Waiakto/Bay of Plenty Magic to play with the Shakers for two seasons.

For too long, netball at the elite level in this country has struggled for recognition in the media and other outlets even if it is has one of the largest participation rates of any sport at the grass roots level in this country.

It's about time that the players who play at the elite level are financially rewarded with at least a minimum wage and although Netball Australia is not in the position to pay the players more, it makes for a good way to reward some very committed professional sports people who play mostly for the love of the game.

The Commonwealth Bank Trophy moves into round two this week, with the Melbourne Phoenix playing thier first home match for the year against the AIS Canberra on Friday night.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sam Carpenter, a great story

This weekend sees round 4 of the VFL being played and for the Frankston Football Club, tomorrow marks a special day for one of its players when it takes on Geelong at Skilled Stadium.

The player is Sam Carpenter, who makes his senior debut after impressing the Dolphin's coaching staff in the reserves. He is rated by many as one of the best young footballers to have not been drafted in last year's National Draft and he had some outstanding performances for the Dandenong Stingrays in the TAC Cup competition.

Such performances made those in the football community stand up and take notice of a player who had already played senior football with MPNFL club Cribb Point before his 18th birthday.

His footballing ability stood out from the time he started playing as a junior in the under10s at Cribb Point and it can be highlighted from the fact that he has won nine club best and fairest awards as well three league best and fairests.

He also trialled with the Victorian metropolitan side for last year's under18 National Championships, but missed the cut.

What makes it all more interesting is the fact that Carpenter has had to overcome an obstacle that not many of us would experience ourselves, having only one full arm. He lost half of his other arm whilst having his arm caught in a mincer in his father's butcher shop as a young child.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Carpenter said, "I have learnt to live without it," "I can't really remember ever having two arms so I've never known any different".

When asked about whether he viewed himself any differently because he only had one arm, he said that it is something he chooses not let to get in the way of his day to day life.

"It's not something I really reflect on. I suppose, because I lost it so many years ago and it's always been the way I've played, I've never really seen it as a big deal."

Sam Carpenter is an inspiration to all because he has shown that being without part of an arm, has not prevented him from living life to the fullest.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

CBT season starts on Friday

The Commonwealth Bank Trophy kickes off its tenth anniversary season this week, with all opening round games to be played on Friday night at venues across Australia.

I'll be at the Melbourne Kestrels v Sydney Swifts game at the SNHC in what will be the first time I have seen any sort of elite netball live since watching seeing the gold medal (Australia v New Zealand) match at the Commonwealth Games in my role as a volunteer.

As usual, there are always plenty of questions at this time of the year as the teams and the state netball associations are busy training or preparing everything for what is a long season ahead of 14 games plus the finals series.

Let's not forget there are also some interational matches against New Zealand in both Sydney and Brisbane.

The question is... will the Melbourne Phoenix still be able to have that potency in goals now that Eloise Southby-Halbish has retired from playing?

In my opinion, I think that the Phoenix will still be able to maintain the forward potency because Cynna Kydd (nee Neele) will pair with Sharelle McMahon and they have lined up together for Australia before, back in 2003 at the World Netball Championships.

With some exciting young talent such as Sophie O'Shea and Renae Hallinan, the Phoenix have some more than handy backup players should any of the established starting seven players be injured or unavailable due to representative duties.

Coach Julie Hoornweg is regarded as one of the best in the business and with the amount of preparation she does before each game, her players are considered by some to be the best coached players in the entire CBT competition.

Her ability to get her players to perform at the optimum level all the time means that she is almost virtually in the box seat when it comes to securing a second consecutive premiership, although a lot of it rests on whether the McMahon/Kydd combination will work effectively at this level.

Hoornweg's methods have been copied by other coaches, but only Hoornweg knows how to best use those with the playing group that she at her disposal.

The Phoenix should score a win in their premiership defence as they face off against traditional competition cellar dwellers the Queensland Firebirds who have a new coach in Australian netball legend Vicki Wilson.

But with Wilson taking over from Brenda Scherian as coach, anything is possible and many experts are tipping that the Firebirds will be the big improvers for season 2006.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Why be negative towards those with disabilities?

Despite society developing a greater understanding and acceptance of people with disabilites, there is still plenty of work to be done by the individuals who make up our society.

Reading a thread on a forum today, it only made me think again about something that I have known for a long time as a person with a disability and this is that no matter what you do or say to change people's view of you, it won't always change.

The negative attitudes that they display towards people with a disability will remain with them for the rest of thier lives.

Just because someone has a disability, this doesn't mean that they should be judged any differenly and in my experience as someone who has a disability, most people are willing to learn more about your disability if it means they can have a greater understanding of who you are as a person.

For example, someone who is Deaf or hearing imparied may be laughed out or labeled because they can't speak properly or don't communicate with others at all using voice and instead use hands to communicate.

Just because someone can't hear or has trouble hearing, this shouldn't mean that this person should be treated any differently. A lot of organisations have been slow to realise that there are Deaf people who are clients who need interpreters etc to help them understand when someone is trying to communicate with them.

Negative attitudes towards people with disabilities will continue unless people are prepared to no longer judge those around them and to be positive with regards to who they are as people.