Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...
Diggity Doc - El Wildcardo, Corey Webster has been waived by the Pelicans which is a bit of a bummer. Does that mean he will come back to the Breakers or could another NBA team sniff arouns for C-Web?
Wildcard - G'day Doc. Both things could happen but I'd expect him to return to the Breakers. Doubt there's a massive line of teams looking at him, the Pelicans were always his best shot. But through pre-season so far he's not got the same on-court opportunities as others in the same role as him that he was competing against and that was a clue in itself. Plus he was spending a lot of time at point guard. That position's a bit of a need for the Pellies with Jrue Holiday on a minutes limit and Norris Cole just getting injured, which will probably mean he missed the first half dozen games of the season. That could have opened up an avenue for Webster to thrive despite some of the superior efforts of roster rivals but instead they've let him go and signed Bo McCalebb, a local uni star of the past. So it goes. There are two ways this goes now. One - the experience has made him an immensely better baller and he returns to dominate the NBL with a fiery fury. Two - the, shall we say, 'Tony Lochhead Effect' where the disappointment of missing out means he's never the same player. Care to wager which?
DD - Well I would hate to bet against Webster and it makes sense that he bounces back strongly with the Breakers. The only thing now is that he's known as a bloke who almost cracked the NBA which means his reputation has increased and opposing teams will keep a close eye on him. Trying to nulify both C-Web and Cedric though, that's nearly impossible.
WC - Well there is one other thing: Who gets cut at the Breaks to make way for him? Everard Bartlett was gonna be the dude but he's only gone and shot 53.3% from 3pt. With Shea Ili's slight emergence, maybe that means Shane McDonald might be vulnerable. Hmm. I still expect it to be Bartlett cut but it's harsh when he's shot as well as he has (one of the few reliable options on offence recently). Oh, I should have added that the Pelicans also signed Nate Robinson, remember him? The point dwarf of the NBA. Corey was always gonna need the luck to break his way and is seems the Cole injury meant it didn't. I'm backing him to slay when he returns. So, did you learn anything new about Joseph Parker this week?
DD - So you would take Bartlett over MacDonald? Bartlett has shown great signs but it is a small sample size and who knows if he can maintain this good shooting for the rest of the season. Learned nothing about Parker and I just feel like I am repeating myself each time he fights because all we see is him beating up an opponent who is clearly not as good as him. That might be because Parker is awesome but he hasn't fought someone who is A) younger than 30 and B) is currently good at boxing.
WC - Haha, that's about right. I mean, I got the feeling that last fight they wanted to work him out over a stretch of rounds but he knocked the dude out early. You know, all those "prepared to go 12" quotes from the Parker camp. So when they booked Meehan on a short turnaround from the last fight, I assumed he was there to give him at least 5-6 rounds, coz, like, what else did Meehan bring to the table if not to be a walking punching bag that wouldn't break? Only he did, in the third round and if Parker hadn't been told to calm down and be patient then it could have been sooner. But I'll say I did feel like this was an off-schedule fight, like a bonus one to make up for the last one. Whatever comes next I'm guessing will be an actual step forward. It'd better bloody be, he's just way too good to be fighting this far below him. I actually felt kinda queasy a few times seeing what was gonna happen to this guy, he had no hope.
Ah, I'd keep Old McDonald. Love what Bartlett's doing but for the balance of the squad I think you need to keep the ball-handler. Bartlett's skills are less valuable with Webster in the team, though they do always say you can never have too many shooters.
But back to Parker, taking into account that the undercard was worthless and offered no entertainment, the Parker fight cost 40 bucks for about 7 minutes of action. Almost $6 a minute. That's borderline criminal when these fights are so completely undermatched.
DD - I wouldn't get my hopes up if I were you chief. Parker will apparently headline the Fight For Life circus in December and the opponent isn't listed yet so it is hard to see any notable fighter taking that opportunity at what is now short notice ... opportunity to get KO'd in NZ at a circus. And then Parker will fight in Samoa and the chances of finding a notable fighter who is keen to go fight in Samoa would be pretty slim. I reckon we are going to be fed a few more super average fights before we get anything worth paying for. We both recognise that Duco and Parker are taking the long route to a title fight and are trying to lay some professional foundations down, but at the moment it looks like they are just trying to milk it for all it is worth.
In all honesty mate I am just over the circus. I just want to see Parker fight quality boxers without all the shenanigans that we currently see.
WC - Yeah I'm finding it hard to stay on board here myself. It's not that I don't love Parker or believe in his potential, it's not even Kevin Barry that's to blame here. I'm laying it all on the crooks at Duco. It's all money to them and they're not even clever about it. Fighting in Samoa sounds awesome but let's not pretend they'd have had the idea without the All Blacks doing it first. Oh and 'Circus' is the exact word for the Fight for Life, except it's a circus where the clowns aren't trained, they're celebrity jokers instead. I'm never gonna fully criticise an event that exists for charity but the concept of celebrity boxing is pathetic to me. It's a belittling disgrace to a great sport, imagine going to a performance of Hamlet where all the characters are played by Kardashians. And don't even get me started on the media's treatment of 'reality star' Lamar Odom over the last couple days. Hey, I've said more than my share of insulting things about that dude after his (lack of) efforts with the Mavericks but for God's sake, the man was once a great ball player and he deserves better. All prayers to him. Tell me something happy now, Doc.
DD - Something positive ... well the Wellington Phoenix could bounce this weekend against Perth?
WC - Umm, maybe. I wouldn't count 'em out because the problems that cost them last week aren't the kind of things that'll rear their heads every week. Most teams that can control the midfield will make the chances they need and the Nix showed last season that they can do it. I'm always worried about the trip to Perth for NZ teams, aside from Super Rugby nobody really handles it but the Nix are solid even for that frustrating opener and Perth ain't fantastic. We beat them last time we played them there anyway, Roy Krishna scored a couple. Now, repeat that and the season's immediately back on track. Something I've been wondering after the Newcastle game: Who do you think will be the top scorer for Welly this season?
DD - Oh interesting, I might as well ride the Sarpong bandwagon all the way home - Jeffrey Sarpong will be the top goal scorer for the Nix. Who you got?
WC - Before the season I'd have said Krishna and I think I still will, but it's weird how much pressure he seems to be under after one game. Also, Blake Powell starting at centre-forward throws that off a bit, especially with ya boy Sarpong waiting in the wings. Right now, though, it's Roly Poly... which isn't ideal given where he plays. The fact that there isn't a Sergio Aguero type goal bringer is a slight weakness for mine, it's the one glaring hole in this team (aside from a depth-less back four) and that's been the case since Smeltz left.
So... tell me about the domestic cricket season that's just started. Most people seem to look at it like a feeder system for the Blackcaps but we're wiser than that. Gimme a few potential breakout players to be aware of.
DD - Funny you should say that because by first entry in the Plunket Shield MVP Extravaganza only included BLACKCAPS so it is good to see them dominating as they should. First and foremost is Will Young who is the most promising young batsman in Aotearoa and plays for Central Districts. With the ball there is Auckland's Matt Quinn and Otago's Jacob Duffy who are fairly similar with their right-arm swing bowling. There is also Michael Bracewell for Otago is a strong lefty batsman and is the cousin of Doug. All of these guys have been on the domestic scene for a few seasons and should be piling up the runs and wickets this season.
WC - Lovely. Yeah it was nice to see Blackcaps getting the business done early on, Southee in the wickets, Neesham with a tonner and all that. Pretty much as it should be but the stars don't stay around all season and that'll be when the others get their chance to make a name. I love that name, by the way, we all need more extravaganzas in our lives.
I s'pose we need to say some obligatory words about the All Blacks?
DD - Or some obligatory words about the French mutiny that is currently going down!
WC - It's just like last time! Remember when Marc Lievremont got overthrown by his own players in the group stages of 2011 and they went on to make the final anyway? Gotta love the French and their lack of respect for authority, you're either a revolutionary or you're not a leader at all. This keeps happening to their football team too. It's funny coz Philippe Saint-Andre demanded an "uprising" to beat the ABs and that's literally what he got!
DD - I reckon it is a wise ploy from the French to throw a spanner in the proverbial works. It takes whatever small amount of pressure was on France and dumps it all on the All Blacks. SURELY FRANCE HAVE NO HOPE NOW!
WC - Yep, which is exactly what they want. Plus it rallies the troops on their end. Whether or not this story is fact or glorified fiction, it almost doesn't matter, this was a clever PR move either way. To paraphrase a cartoon Scottish janitor: bloody cheese-eating surrender monkeys. Tell you what though, I reckon these All Blacks want a grinding, passionate game from the French. A bit of trench warfare. Beats the flamboyance of 1999 any day, especially in a knockout game where points are hard to come by. I'm excited, to be honest. I haven't been able to get into the rest of this tournament yet but from here on I'm finally pumped up. The fact we might lose makes it better. Not that we'll lose. We won't lose... right?
DD - Trench/French warfare huh? Mate we are gonna lose, I have had the vision sent down to me by our governing overlord Natty Mac.
WC - I knew I was asking the wrong person. I'm shocked that Natty Mac would forsake us like that. Well, I don't believe it. I'm picking tries to Savea and one of the Smiths with the All Blacks riding Dashing Dan's boot to a 20-12 victory. It won't be easy, but then it's not supposed to be easy.
DD - Yeah sorry I just made something up on Natty Mac's behalf. Any thoughts on the other quarter finals?
WC - Sacrilegious, Doc, toying with the great being's reputation like that. Umm, not especially. I'm expecting Aussie and South Africa to do what they ought to in their games, while the Ireland-Argy game is gonna be much closer than it could've been but I still kinda think the Irish have enough about them to get through. Not that I'd be surprised if they don't, that's a great game there. You spotting an upset anywhere?
DD - No upsets besides the French and I'm actually glad that France have spiced things up a little with some drama. France definitely need peptides don't they? I am willing to volunteer my sevices, so if any French rugby folks are reading this - I HAVE THE SECRET FORMULA. Otherwise I will catch you at the office on Sunday morning sir.
WC - I look forward to it, as emotionally drained as I'm sure to be. Maybe save a couple peppies for me if you can spare them. Save a few for the entire nation if the All Blacks lose. Salut, adieu and bon voyage. (I'm preparing for the French invasion, just in case).
DD - Je m'appelle Diggity Doc. Au revoir.