Friday Frills - Bonjour

Dan Carter's move to France following the World Cup, with a hefty pay packet is the sort of deal that should make everyone involved pretty darn happy. Dan Carter is 32 years old and he isn't our best number 10, he could go on a crazy 2015 campaign and do something rather extraordinary, but for now he's behind a few young bucks. It's the perfect opportunity for him to cash in on what has been an amazing career, he'll earn $2 million a season with Racing Metro which is obviously a win for DC - he gets paid what he deserves (the NZRU can't afford to do that). 

Carter gets to slide on in to the last phase of his career in the rather lovely surrounds of Paris, with some dosh in his pocket. But he won't leave until after the World Cup, leaving the door open for him to either put together an awesome Super Rugby season and re-claim his position as the best number 10 in Aotearoa, or he can play the role of Stephen Donald and be there for an emergency. Who knows how that will play out, but I feel happy just thinking about Carter's deal because he's our greatest first five ever, easily.

To play for the All Blacks, you have to sacrifice getting paid what you probably deserve (or what a team is willing to pay for you). There's likely to be a fair amount of no name rugby players from the Pacific earning more than what our All Blacks get, so I'm celebrating for Carter - he can have all the money he wants. 

The impending departure of Richie McCaw, Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith as well as the likes of James Horwill and Adam Ashley-Cooper who will leave Australia for England post-World Cup, highlights the weird way rugby contracts work down under. Where do you sit? For me, I like it as it is like an automatic refresher, it forces the All Blacks and Wallabies to keep bringing in new players and developing talent. I'd rather that than see veterans stick around and clog up the system.

Auckland City FC couldn't quite get over the line against San Lorenzo at the FIFA Club World Cup, but they definitely didn't loose any fans or respect they had earned. It's not the time to slip off the back of the band wagon though as they can still secure 3rd with a win against Cruz Azul from Mexico on Sunday - yes, Auckland City can still be the 3rd best team! Thinking bigger picture here, this can't be the highlight - we as a footballin' nation have to appreciate the work of Auckland City but we have to continue to take steps forward. I don't care whether it's Auckland City continuing their rise and becoming the football powerhouse of the Pacific and even Australia or whether it offers encouragement to the other teams in the ASB Premiership. 

Auckland City didn't do this well because of luck, they earned everything they got and there's no reason why football in New Zealand can't use it as fuel. Sometimes I feel like we don't take these opportunities to really leap forward, but at the very least I'm 100% sure that Auckland City will use their performance as a spring board. The key is getting everyone else who is involved whether it be a Premiership club or the Phoenix or the All Whites or individual players, to jump around on the same spring board.

The old alcohol advertising/sponsorship discussion has popped up again, and it's a confusing one. Sports teams, especially those of a professional nature rely on the money from liquor brands. It's not a 'oh let's be nice to Double Brown and let them put their logo on our jersey' situation, no, they rely on that money to exist. Obviously it's wrong and professional sports is a walking contradiction as we rip in to any athlete who has an alcohol problem, but it's all fine and dandy for alcohol cash to fund that sport. Cigarettes, they're behind the counter locked up with no advertising, no nothing ... while alcohol is put all over the jersey of your favourite player and the broadcast of your favourite sport. 

How do you solve it this conundrum? Sports teams simply have to man up their balls and show some innovation, it's 2014 and you're telling me that you have to rely on alcohol money? C'mon matey, use your imagination and partner with a fruit and vege supplier or something. Or just keep on keeping on with your ageing mentality.

Make sure you tune in to this deciding ODI between the Black Caps and Pakistan. Why? Because it's an opportunity to see what this Black Caps side can do when under pressure to perform. This is where individual performance means that much more and where we either get a tingle from watching our lads show some clutch, or we cover our eyes as they fold. We'll get a great insight in to what this side is made of ahead of the World Cup.

Steve Smith is a gun, I don't think I've witnessed a young player go about his business in such an impressive way. He's been getting runs in all formats this year and then he gets the captaincy and takes everything in his stride ... and gets runs. Kid goes good.

Big Bash > Silly Super Smash