It's only right that we kick off the Midweek Bulletin with Auckland City FC who are set to take the footballing world by storm. Yes, it's going to happen! No negative Ned's here, we're all in behind Auckland City who will line up against the champions from South America - San Lorenzo from Argentina. The underdog tag is understandable, we all know how this group of footballers mostly work day jobs and epitomise the 'do it for love' mantra, but there's a different aura coming from those within the Auckland City set up.
It's interesting because they aren't crazy and understand where they sit in the big scheme of things, but they sound like they think of themselves as more than a bunch of amateur footballers. Which is awesome, there's no pity for themselves and they understand that they are simply there to win, and they will. What's also interesting is a story out of Australia about one of City's more impressive youngsters in Ryan de Vries who spent part of the year playing club footy in Australia with Bentleigh Greens in Melbourne. It's an idea and/or pathway that I reckon more young Kiwi footballers should take, with a higher standard along with a greater chance of earning a bit more cash the key factors. Not to mention more eyes casting a gaze on your performances and the close proximity to home, if I was half decent at kicking a ball that's what I'd do.
It was a pretty simple decision to keep Steve Hansen as the All Blacks coach, I'm not sure why anyone would oppose it. Everything about it is right, but I'm going to raise a slightly different idea and one that I think fits in pretty nicely - Tana Umaga will be the next All Black coach. Obviously Umaga has a fair way to go as he is still merely the coach of Counties Manukau, but that's the point - there's a lot of water to go under the bridge, plenty of time for Umaga to continue to gain experience. Whether Hansen steps away in 2017 or if he decides to stick out a few more years, keep an eye on Umaga as he ticks all the boxes and I'm sure he'd go good. There ya go, Tana Umaga will be the next All Blacks coach.
Great to see things getting shaken up with the review of Netball New Zealand. Clearly something wasn't quite right as they weren't the dominant force that we had all come to love and the fact that it's got to this point is a slight worry as there's obviously been a fair amount of chilling within a comfort zone. Did it need a thorough investigation to get all this information out? Why couldn't this happen slightly more seamlessly instead of it being more of a 'ok we've been shit, so what's wrong? situation.
Much of it revolves around Waimarama Taumaunu's coaching style, but to single her out would be pretty wrong as the players and officials must bare some of the burden. Personally, I reckon we've been spoilt in New Zealand in terms of netball and everyone was lulled in to this place where hard questions weren't asked. We've also seen that not many young players have come in and really had sustained success like our two best veterans Laura Langman and Casey Kopua did. Do we really have the young talent compared to Australia? Or do we just think we do? At least there's some questions being asked and everyone should be on notice, not just the coach, everyone.
Kumar Sangakkara is the man, one of the greatest batsmen to ever play cricket and his greatness is severely slept on. Check out these scenes after his last ODI match in Kandy...