"What's a tank?" North Dispels Tanking Rumours

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott has sought to allay concerns that North Melbourne is "tanking" - deliberately losing - to move up the order in this years draft.

Photo: AAP

Photo: AAP

Several senior players were withdrawn from last week's match against Essendon - a game in which North played extremely well - which raised eyebrows in the media because the media need something to talk about.

"What's a tank?" Scott replied to a reporter's question at a press conference today, a hilarious reference to The Simpsons episode where Fat Tony responds to Chief Wiggum's interrogative questioning, "What's a truck?" Gold.

Scott was emphatic in his desire to maintain a winning culture at the club versus higher draft picks.

"We don't want to turn in the next Carlton or Melbourne where you go through three or four coaches and waste a whole lot of money on quick fixes. That's moronic.

"If we really wanted to tank this year then we would've kept all those old fogeys we kicked out last year."

Superstitious Richmond Fan Still Not Watching The Tigers

Beryl Sweeney has followed the Richmond Tigers for 68 years. She's seen a few flags in her time. She's also seen a lot of ninth places on the ladder.

As the 2017 home and away season draws to a close, Beryl is beginning to get excited. But only from what friends are telling her.

"I'm not watching any regular games, and to be honest, I don't even like hearing about them," says Beryl. "If after round 23 we're in the top eight then that's when I'll start paying attention. I know if I start engaging we'll fall away faster than a cat on a hot tin roof."

Sport and superstition go hand in hand. From cricketers who wear special underwear to footballers who always strap up their shoulders to fans that never watch a set shot for goal, there's always a weird habit.

But Beryl has taken hers to a new level.

"I remember yelling at my grandson when he was driving me to my optometrist appointment. He put SEN on and bloody Kevin Bartlett was pumping us up!"

It's been 16 years since Richmond last won a final and Beryl hopes her luck is about to change.

AFL Announces Massive Alcohol Sponsorship Deal

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan yesterday announced a massive new sponsorship deal with SAB Miller, owner of Foster’s Group, owner of Carlton & United Breweries, makers of Victoria Bitter and Carlton Draught, beers, for the next five years.

The news is a rare piece of good news in a week where all the news has been bad news for the AFL with the news that two senior executives were having affairs with younger women.

The alcohol deal continues the partnership between the AFL and the some of the biggest drug companies in Australia and the world. The Melbourne-based AFL was keen to ensure that weird, unknown beer labels from states such as Queensland and South Australia weren’t seen by Victorians.

The deal enables the beer makers to put their logos on advertising boards all around Australian football grounds to remind people to keep consuming their product.

In other AFL news, McLachlan established a working group to work to consider an overhaul of its drugs policies.

‘We need players to heed the anti-drugs message,’ McLachlan said.

NSW No Different To The Boy Who Cried Wolf

New South Wales is either the boy who cried wolf, saying over and over that there's a predator laying in wait, or Pinocchio, telling the world they can win next year's Origin series.

Photo: Mark Kolbe

Photo: Mark Kolbe

NSW will make you believe anything you want to believe. But they can't win Origin. They don't even "get" Origin according to former champion Andrew Johns.

They don't know how to win and it seems like they don't want to win. Perhaps the participation trophy is enough for them.

Jonathon Thurston played Game II with a smashed shoulder and won the game for Queensland. He'll never play Origin again but his legacy is complete.

What legacy does NSW have? Will anyone ever believe them when they say they're a chance?

Eddie Extends Holiday To Avoid Sacking Buckley

Collingwood FC President Eddie McGuire has extended his holiday to avoid dealing with difficult decisions in the days ahead at his beloved Magpies.

Coach Nathan Buckley is under enormous pressure and suggested his team had reached a "tipping point" after Saturday's loss to Essendon.

Buckley last year said he wouldn't expect to keep his job if Collingwood miss the finals in 2017, which now looks likely.

Sources inside the Triple M radio station where Eddie also works have confirmed to The Seagull that Eddie, who was due back from overseas this Thursday, will now remain aboard for two more weeks.

A Nine Network spokesman said broadcasts of Millionaire Hotseat would not be affected as Eddie had increased the shows pre-recording schedule in the event of Collingwood playing poorly.

It is well-known in Melbourne circles that Eddie absolutely loves Collingwood favourite son Buckley. It is even rumoured that Eddie has a tattoo of Buckley on his back.

Whilst most people don't believe there will be a Romeo And Juliet-style climax should Eddie decide to sack Buckley, it will nevertheless be an emotional time at the Holden Centre.

 

Man Confused As To Whether Punching OK Or Not

A simple forklift driver from Gowanbrae, Darren George is finding it difficult to make sense of today's topsy turvy world.

When Darren picked up the paper on Monday morning on his way to work, the front page was emblazoned with pictures of Jeff Horn, Australia's newest sporting hero. Horn defeated Manny Pacquiao to win the WBO welterweight title last Sunday.

On Thursday Jeff Horn received a ticker-tape parade through the Brisbane CBD as well as the keys to the city.

"I've never been that interested in boxing, it seems pretty brutal, but I'm happy to support any Aussie when it comes to sport," Darren says. "Everyone seemed to be stoked that an Aussie had won. It must have been the underdog thing."

But things changed when Darren saw his paper the next day. Video footage had emerged of AFL executive Ali Fahour striking an unaware opponent in a suburban football match. Darren became confused.

"They were calling this guy a thug, but I thought footy was a contact sport. Let's be real, everyone loves watching a bit of biff. It's like the crashes on motorsport.

"I don't get it. I mean, the Player of the Century, Leigh Matthews, was surely also one of the games dirtiest players, hitting blokes behind the ball. His job's fine.

"Same thing with Barry Hall after he clocked Brent Staker. Now he works for the fantasy AFL game. What's the deal?"

 

Woman Reignites Mild Interest In Cycling Via SBS

Patricia Pabst, a medical secretary from Keilor, found herself channel surfing last night with not much good stuff on the telly.

As it turned out, the one last turn around the twenty-or-so free-to-air channels led her straight to the Tour de France.

"It was such a relief. I thought I was going to have to lie in bed in complete darkness and contemplate the emptiness of my existence. But then I found cycling."

Ms Pabst is not alone in her TV awakening. SBS conducted an online poll which found a remarkable number of people rekindle their faith in cycling when July comes around.

"It's more than just the beautiful French countryside," says Annabel al-Deeversitee, head of sports programming at SBS. "The incomparable of knowledge and excitable tones of Phil Liggett is another reason people watch."

Perhaps people just grow weary of another fishing or 4x4 show on free-to-air TV?

"No, no," Ms al-Deeversitee interrupted. "It's Phil Liggett."

David Warner's Lamborghini On Carsales

A keen-eyed punter has informed The Seagull they have spotted Australian cricketer David Warner's Lamborghini on the Carsales website.

The asking price is $380,000 for the white Lamborghini Huracan.

This latest information would appear to confirm that Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association won't be able to reach an agreement by the June 30 deadline, which is today.

As a sign of good faith, cricketers will turn up for training on Monday.

Former international player Shane Watson, a member of the ACA executive, has said cricketers could easily ply their wares in overseas competitions such as Bangladesh, the Caribbean and South Africa.

However, it seems Warner is taking pre-emptive action to safeguard his family against the dramatic loss of income which take effect at midnight tonight.

Hawks Fans Moan Loss Of Wealth Advantage In AFL's Even Season

Hawthorn fans are bemoaning the loss of the advantage of being one of the wealthiest clubs in the AFL, declaring the competition has become "socialist."

One of the brown and gold's 72,552 members, Clive James, says it is "regrettable" that the Hawks financial supremacy has not translated into on-field supremacy in season 2017.

"The game has finally left it's rightful phase - that of capitalism - and entered socialism. What a shame!" James said. "You only have to look at the Bulldogs triumph in 2016 to see how the lower types are now considered equal.

"What's the point of all this money if it doesn't buy you anything?"

Other AFL fans, however, are relishing season 2017. Iain Glenday, an MCC member and impartial fan, couldn't disagree more.

"Now when I go to the game and say I don't have a team I don't feel so silly. The contest is magnificent!" Glenday said.

Footy Tippers Furious at 2017 AFL Season

Dozens of angry footy tippers flooded talkback radio Monday morning to vent their spleen and the topsy-turvy 2017 AFL season.

No match has typified the current season more than yesterday's nailbiter between Carlton and GWS which saw the Blues prevail by one point. The match was a contest between second place on the ladder - and 17th!

Kayne from Highett was fuming. "We follow all the experts and all the gambling apps and they're bloody useless! I'm sick of it!"

"There's no way I'm gonna win that spa weekend away at work!" Screamed Nigel from Melton. "It's a bloody joke."

Most talking heads have a positive view of the season so far, noting that attendances are up and every fan goes to the ground thinking their team can win.

Darren from Laurimar was less positive. "My sister-in-law is even beating me!"

 

Some Cricket Tournament Happening In England

Sport is generally a temporary relief for most people from the drudgery of their everyday working lives. It enlivens their weekends. It gives them a sense of community.

Photo: Peter Cziborra

Photo: Peter Cziborra

But mid-week one-day cricket matches in England? Nobody cares.

People are more interested in the stoush/bitter pay dispute/EBA negotations between the cricketers' union ACA and Cricket Australia.

A minor AFL story will make headlines in the middle of summer, but the second biggest one-day cricket tournament in the world is a sidebar. And rightly so. The powers who run cricket have abused the public's support for decades. Now they are voting with their remotes and watching the entertaining if very inconsequential hit-and-giggle Twenty20 stuff.

Until international cricket administrators make cricket matches mean something, then nothing will change. Tonight Australia plays Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier. Even in Australia where soccer isn't that popular, people are still keen observers.

AFL 50% Confident Rules Won't Change Next Week

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has emphatically asserted that he is "50% certain" that there will be no rule changes next week.

Photo: David Caird

Photo: David Caird

At a press conference McLachlan answered questions on the Match Review Panel and the contentious issue of "jumper punching." Geelong forward Tom Hawkins has been offered a one-match ban for a strike upon Adelaide's Matt Crouch.

"We think the MRP has got it right today, so that's where it stands. It is what it is," McLachlan said.

When a journalist asked whether this new interpretation would stand next Monday, McLachlan replied: "I am 50% certain that that will be the case. It will be what it will be."

Two weeks ago McLachlan made it clear he didn't like the look of jumper punches, and then one of his deputies said players were "on notice" about the issue, but, as usual, fines were doled out instead of suspensions.

Until today. AFL fans are likely to be complaining about the issue for the rest of the week.

Rugby League Feel-Good Story: NSW Wins!

Finally some good news for the National Rugby League. After a season dogged by scandal after scandal, even by NRL's standards, there was good news after the opening game of State ofOrigin with NSW beating Queensland 28-4.

The pace was frenetic early on with neither side giving an inch. By half-time both sides had fully completed an equal number of tackle sets. Penalties were at a minimum as the referees did the classy thing and let the game go.

James Tedesco and Andrew Fifita were standouts for the Blues, with the latter busting through the Qld defence on several occasionsand both scoring tries in the second half.

Blues fans are now relishing the prospect that the Maroons decade of dominance may be at and end.

Game 2 will be played at ANZ Stadium on June 21.

Shock As Driver Screwed Over In F1 Again

There was widespread shock in the Formula 1 pit lane yesterday as once again a Formula 1 team favoured one driver over another, this time Ferrari at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Photograph: Marco Rossi

Photograph: Marco Rossi

Ferrari, who basically invented screwing over their drivers with team orders, made the unusual move of pitting race leader Kimi Raikkonen before team mate Sebastian Vettel, resulting in the Finn being returned to the circuit amidst slower cars.

As a result, Vettel was given clear air which allowed him to make a gap and create the overlap upon his eventual pit stop and later win the race.

“It’s clear to me that Ferrari have chosen their No. 1 driver,” Raikkonen said after the race. Vettel is currently leading the championship by 25 points ahead of Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton.

Ironically, it was Ferrari's first one-two finish since the German Grand Prix of 2010 when Felipe Massa was instructed to let Fernando Alonso pass. Prior to that every No. 2 driver at Ferrari had to let Michael Schumacher past during the dominant phase of his career.

"I don't think anyone expected a team like Ferrari to be so brazen in 2017," said veteran F1 reporter Miles Wilhelm.

Geelong Says Dustin Martin "Over-rated"

In a stunning declaration that has stunned football journalists, Geelong has declared Richmond midfielder Dustin Martin is "over-rated."

Assistant coach Kieron Faulkner said the Cats would not be interested in chasing the signature of the 25 year old Tiger champion unlike all other AFL clubs in the AFL.

"He's a good kick, no doubt," said Faulkner. "But you can teach that to anyone. Let's be real - the only reason he looks so good is because Richmond are so bad."

Martin will be the hottest property on the free agency market at the end of the season, where he is expected to receive offers from between one and one-point-five million dollars per season.

Except from Geelong.

Added Faulkner: "And let's face it - we used all our money on Dangerfield. Which is money well spent when he plays better than half the team combined."

Indy 500 Fireball: How hard is it to drive into a wall?

It's the question everyone around the world is asking after Sebastien Bourdais drove his IndyCar into the wall at the Indianapolis Raceway, causing it to explode with a massive fireball.

Most talented racers drive or ride on circuits that have usually 10 to 20 corners, undulations and sometimes blind crests. With IndyCars, one is turning the wheel four times the same way every lap... is that racing? Is it even driving?

Nobody doubts these drivers go fast - clearly Bourdais was going too fast for his hand to keep up with the necessary leftward tug the machine required. Perhaps we should examine the similarities with drag racing. Even though drag racing is technically racing, perhaps by the mere technicality that there's more than one car involved, is it really racing using skill and nous against other drivers and not just your reflexes?

 

Trump's Bizarre Sharapova Rant

Donald Trump's strange week keeps getting stranger. The US President has intervened in the emerging saga that is Maria Sharapova versus the Rest of the Tennis World.

Early in the morning today Trump tweeted: "More anti-Russia bias by French losers banning the beautiful Maria Sharapova! Sad."

The President's tweet relates to the French Open organisers refusing to give Sharapova a wildcard entry for the tournament starting May 22.

The president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, said "There can be a wildcard for the return from injuries; there cannot be a wildcard for the return from doping."

Trump's intervention follows the shocking revelations revealed this week that he had asked former FBI director James Comey to shut down the Russia inquiry, which is tantamount to obstruction of justice, or what Congressional Republicans call "concerning."

Nation Glad It Doesn't Have To Side With Michael Clarke In Cricket Dispute

The ongoing pay dispute between Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association has revealed a silver lining: the public has realised it doesn't have to invest emotional effort toward Michael "Pup" Clarke.

Last summer Clarke joined the Channel 9 TV commentary team and was widely panned on social media. The occasions where Clarke was joined by fellow bogan Shane Warne in the box were particularly horrendous.

"God awful," was a common refrain.

But on the weekend just past, Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland, who must have been fighting with the missus or something, sent an angry, threatening email to the ACA, saying players would not be paid past the June 30 expiration date of the current agreement.

Australian cricketers basically laughed in Sutherland's face via social media, saying the summer would be weird if they took strike action.

But everyone has come to the great realisation that should the players take industrial action then they'll be supporting the likes of Steve Smith, David Warner, Peter Handscomb and Elise Perry, and not that wanker from Western Sydney.

"Pup was a good player," said cricket fanatic Kelvin Yates. "But nobody, and I mean nobody wants to hear him talk."

"I don't know how his wife would put up with it," said Patty Edwardes, another fan. "He's more nasal than a kazoo."

Are We Expecting Impossibly High Standards From NRL Players?

Less than a week after three NRL players - including the New Zealand captain - were arrested and charged over drug-related offences, people are again asking: "Does the NRL have a drug problem?"

Also, other people are asking: "Is taking cocaine or any other illicit drug on the weekend that big of a deal?"

With three out of more than 300 players at the moment facing drugs charges - meaning less than one percent - it's fair to say that the NRL is no more guilty of having a drugs problem than society itself.

And as Peter FitzSimons reminds us, nobody's mentioning alcohol either.

Everyone knows that most (not all - we don't want to generalise) sportspeople aren't that bright. So perhaps we should just let them be human and leave them be. Why do sportspeople have to be paragons of virtue?

Why should we expect higher standards from footy players than CEOs, bankers and politicians?

City Rejoices As Pies Fall Flat Again

There's a saying in football: the only thing better than Collingwood losing a grand final is Collingwood losing a grand final by one point. In essence, there is no hiding the joy in the schadenfreude of every non-Collingwood fan, and certainly not after this weekend.

"It's just bloody fantastic," said Jason Retizzi, a cafe owner in Lygon St, Carlton. "Especially as it was on their birthday!"

Saturday's match against Carlton marked the Magpies 125th anniversary of their first match. But their listless performance has opponents crowing and fans seething, with the focal point being coach Nathan Buckley.

AFL coaches would be well advised to steer clear of social media, more so after a loss.

Whilst some observers saw green shoots in the upset win against Geelong in round 6, others were content to bide their time.

"Collingwood has been more flaky than a weatherboard house over recent years," said sports journalist Ewen Rhames. "Last year they beat the GWS Giants up there. Now they lose to Carlton twice in two years!

"Remember, Carlton is a club that had a full reset last year. Buckley has won 11 games at his hand-built Collingwood side against the 10 wins of the Blues in that same period. Something's not right. But I'm lovin' it!"

It seems objectivity even flies out the door when the Colliwobbles appear!