The issue was raised early in the week about drugs/supplements involved in school sport in New Zealand. More specifically in 1st 15 rugby where the desire to be bigger, faster and stronger than your opponent is placed as a high priority. I mean schools go out in search of the biggest bopper they can find, whether it's from the islands or elsewhere in NZ, so they can be forgiven for slipping their players some supps to help performance.
If you were a school, especially a high profile school which is going to be investigated pretty heavily, wouldn't you just want to play it safe? And by playing it safe I don't mean give up any sort of advantage, I just mean focus all the money/energy you put in to ensuring that your players have all these complicated supplements and put those energies in to nutrition. Call me an idealist, but it would not only have performance benefits but you'd be educating young men on what they should be eating - a gift that can last a lifetime (schools say they're all about preparing students for life). No school should be investigated for suspect supplement programs, it happens all around the world but it's just dumb. Trust your coaching and eat the right food.
It seems like a near certainty that the St George Dragons are going to bring back Russell Packer and fair play. Who are we to say he can't do this and he can't do that when he's simply toe'd the line? The latest situation is that the Dragons appear to be keen to offer Packer a similar deal as the Roosters and Blake Ferguson. Packer would effectively be a Dragons employee while completing the remaining rehabilitation stuff and ticking off the NRL's boxes. It's kinda weird how a few clubs have bent over backwards for Packer though, he wasn't exactly the Warriors best prop even at his best. Maybe he's got better in jail?
Kane Williamson is back bowling, hoorah! The only thing that matters is the World Cup, so we'll head straight in to the future and look at how this will impact the Black Caps then. Basically the Baps will have 2 spin options in their top 11, Daniel Vettori/Nathan McCullum and Williamson. It gives Brendon McCullum the option of a Mohammad Hafeez type of player, but I'm not 100% sold on Williamson's impact bowling his tweakers in NZ. I doubt he'll bowl 10 overs more than once in the World Cup - he'll average 5 overs #meow (when I make outlandish, extravagant predictions, I use #meow).
The really important thing here though is Daniel Vettori's swag...
Oki dokie, ya got me. I tried to ignore Greg Bird's piss. It's all fine and dandy for the two guys mentioned above plus the likes of Todd Carney, Zane Tetevano, Kirisome Auva'a etc to behave badly because they aren't certified NRL leaders. Greg Bird is a club captain, NSW rep and Kangaroo and he pissed on a cop car, awesome.
We've got a bit of a situation on our hands with Hockey NZ. This has been simmering for a while, with players walking the tight rope of semi-professional sport. Many of the players study and/or work with a few able to enjoy the luxury of having an employer who is understanding and generous, it's a luxury though. Hockey NZ isn't a money making machine, despite trying to be so they can't offer players enough financial backing to really push them to the next level. Either they use their imagination and come up with new ways to earn cash, to fund better Olympic/Commonwealth Games/World Cup/Champions Trophy campaigns or they let all the players go earn a living in Europe. It's a tricky one, we'll keep you informed.
Congrats to Glen Jackson and Chris Pollock for getting some Six Nations ref spots. We always bitch and moan about refs from the Northern Hemisphere, so it's good to see us serving up some alternatives. Maybe they'll all bitch and moan about our refs, maybe they'll ref perfectly, who knows.
Lastly, Auckland City FC are in action tonight against some blokes called Moghreb Tetouan. It's not the Club World Cup, but it's pretty darn close as it's a playoff so hopefully the lads can get up in Morocco and do something funky. These games/tournaments always perk up the sporting antenna because it's what we're all about - a group of Kiwi/South American battlers up against those who are legit footballing professionals. All we can do is rally in behind the team and wish them the best, with NZ Football entering a new phase it would be pretty cool to see the momentum continue with Auckland City.