Friday Frills - Come On Aotearoa, Catch Up

New Zealand Football has announced their pay to play scheme is no longer and that they will not expect players to contribute towards costs of representing Aotearoa in age group football. How generous of them.

While Team New Zealand were doing their best vacuum impersonation, sucking up cash from the floor young football players were asked to make contributions for having that silver fern on their chest. Odd.

In their statement, NZF said that they are now in a position financially to be able to scrap this madness which would mean that they weren't in a position before. So the national body for football, the biggest sport in the world couldn't afford to fund their age group teams? I'm not sure how anyone lets a national body to get to that point, but it's wrong.

I don't know whether to be excited and happy that this is no longer the case, or whether I should be worried that this all took place. This is football, imagine what it's like for all the 'minor' sports - any sport that isn't rugby, imagine how much parents have to pay just to see their kid pull on the black or white jersey and experience representing their nation. Whether it's hockey, basketball, netball, rugby league, swimming etc, we're behind the eight ball.

Expecting the government to help fill the shoe box of our sporting organisations is wrong, but when you see how much money their throwing at a rich boys boat race, it makes you wonder. What matters more - providing the best experience for elite young athletes or trying to hang with billionaires?

I guess it just shows the mentality huh?

It's a coninkidink that these next two stories also cropped up around the same time, I didn't just wake up hating on the beautiful Aotearoa. 

Cricket Australia has announced that they're going to spark up the Women's Big Bash League which will be a copy cat version of the Big Bash League for the ladies. Same teams, same colours, same 20 over action except talented ladies will do their thing.

Obviously this is awesome and it's a great initiative from Cricket Australia, amazing what a bit of forward thinking can do huh? If I were New Zealand Cricket I'd be adding the goal of getting a team in the WBBL to the list of getting a team in the BBL. Cricket Australia have big plans of female cricket, aiming for it to be the biggest female sport in their land and the WBBL is definitely a step in the right direction.

Why wouldn't we want to join forces? Or at least offer something similar?

The White Ferns are currently in action against England, yes on the same day as the Black Caps take on England in a World Cup blockbuster, the girls are serving up the same dose. The White Ferns took out the ODI series 2-1, but got their T20 series off to a sketchy start as they were knocked over for 60 which was easily chased down by the English. 

They're playing today in Whangarei, so hopefully they and the Black Caps can get up over the Poms!

Mark Hunt, one of the best heavyweights in the UFC and the whole damn world will fight Stipe Miocic in Adelaide which is equal parts awesome and stink. Hunt doesn't look likely to fight in Aotearoa any time soon and is enjoying all that Australia offers as they embrace MMA and the UFC. After the Miocic fight was announced, Hunt talked to the Daily Telegraph in an interview that put his effort against Fabricio Werdum in to some great context as well as highlighting the fact that he's still gunning for the title.

It's been a huge morning in the NBA with some big old trades breaking Twitter, I mean big as in they're actually really big trades involving multiple teams and a truck load of players. The big one for us is the Oklahoma City Thunder getting Enes Kanter from the Utah Jazz, with Kendrick Perkins going the other way (amongst a bunch of other players with Reggie Jackson joining Detroit). 

Kanter is a centre so the homie Steven Adams will have a new, young, skillful centre alongside him in the paint. While you'd expect Adams' minutes to slide, the prospect of Adams, Kanter and Serge Ibaka holding things down in the frontcourt is promising and the niche that Adams has carved out for himself as a hard working team lad who does his job should still be there for him once he returns from injury.

Use the interwebs to find out more information on all the trades, but my favourite move was the Miami Heat getting both Dragic brothers - Goran and Zoran, from the Phoenix Suns. I like the post-LeBron James Heat so hopefully these two can get things popping in Miami.

As I write this, it's become known that Karmichael Hunt has been arrested for slanging cocaine. Wow.

Who knows why a professional athlete feels the desire to get involved in supplying cocaine, we all know that many might turn to using it but supplying it? Hunt was apparently part of a syndicate throughout the Brisbane/Gold Coast region and there's been a few former players arrested in recent months as well.

Hunt's legacy is now someone who was a top league player, mediocre code hopper and coke slanging hustler. Not too shabby.