Sometimes the Mizzle Dizzle and the Wildcard talk to each other...
Mizzle Dizzle - Wildcard, the creator of creations who also enjoys some sport, how's it going? A fair amount of shit has happened in the last few days with the NRL starting, Daly Cherry-Evans announcing his move to the Gold Coast Titans, the EPL has been charging at a furious pace and Jarryd Hayne's a 49er ... but it all comes second to the New Zealand Breakers who are now 1-0 up in their finals series after a scrumptious performance last night. What's the verdict?
Wildcard - Mate, you make it sound like I've got a God Complex or something, haha. Yeah, wow, what a line-up. So many happenings. But yes, the mighty Breakers. I don't even know where to start! That was a superb performance in a tough place against a really tough opposition, yet they blew them out of the water in the first half, held off a frightening comeback in the third and polished it off in the final quarter. Wonderful all round, the defence was turned up to 11 from the start and they shot well all game. Cedric, Uncle Kenny, Rhys the Beast.. all stepping it up. Buuuut, they're still only half way. Gotta do it again against the ANBL Coach of the Year having laid out the gameplan already. Cairns beat us twice in NZ in the regular season.
Anyway, we like our unsung heroes in Aotearoa. For better and worse, we tend to prefer guys who do the hard yards for little reward, never flashy or posing. So in that patriotic spirit, I think we all need to raise a glass to Mika Vukona. What a player. Not one to fill up the stat sheets, though he never goes empty either. It's no coincidence that when the Taipans did mount a comeback it was with Mika on the sidelines. A true leader by example, in the same mould as kiwi favourites like Richie and Capt. Mannering. He should be on the same level of adoration too.
MD - So we beat the top dogs away from home, do we come back to NZ then game 3 if needed is in Cairns? Surely we can get a W at home, well you'd hope so anyway because they deserve to celebrate at home in front of all their fans and those on the bandwagon.
I know you're a vital cog of the Niche Cache, but you can't go adding heroes to the list like that. We're going to have nearly everyone battler getting the ultimate praise of being Rightfully Respected ... all shit talk aside, Mika Vukona definitely does deserve all the kind words that you and others grace him with. It's hard to imagine the Breakers without him really huh? I'd happily put him up there with Richie and Mannering, he's got the rings, he's got the respect as well as the bountiful clips of insane effort.
We haven't ventured to the EPL in a while so I thought we better stop off there and check in ... jokes I just want to talk about Winny! Does him staying at West Ham just enhance his awesomeness?
WC - Yep, that's exactly it. At the NSEC today/tomorrow *(Sunday)* and then back to Cairns if necessary. But like I say, they beat us both times at home in the regulars so it won't be easy. Gonna need another one just like the other one.
Woah, hold on a sec, Mika is not like every other battler. He's not even a battler. This guy won the Fast Break Report MVP last season, remember. Lad's legit. I reckon he oughta be a top tier NZ sports hero, in the same way that Ivan Vicelich has finally got there.
Enhance his awesomeness? Hmm, I dunno. I know plenty were waiting fingers-crossed for a big club to come swooping in. Personally I think this might be his level, I'm not sure if he stepped up to European competition that he wouldn't start drawing heat. He makes the odd error, his passing out isn't perfect. But at The Hammers he really just fits. I've got a couple thoughts on this. One, it throws water on the 'off-season transfer already hand-shook' idea that Sam Allardyce floated out there. Or maybe something fell through. Two, I'm sceptical over the length of the deal. Six and a half years!? He's locked up 'til 2021! That seems like an unnecessarily long deal. And three, I wonder how much recent form had to do with this. West Ham are starting to slip away after a stunning start, and I'm not too certain that Fat Sam will still be in his job next season. Bombshell. Reading between the lines, it seems like he may getting on the nerve of management, and given some of his comments over Reid's contract negotiations, perhaps Winny won't be too upset if that happens. This is all speculation, but watch this space all the same.
On the subject of player movement, how deliberate was the Cherry-Evans announcement directly after an abysmal start to the NRL season for Manly? Disgusting timing, really. Not a great start to the season for those fans, now was it?
MD - Alright, Mika mate you've got a free pass around here.
I think clubs like West Ham and Blackburn when Ryan Nelsen was the boss-dog there, suit kiwi players. I agree with you on the weirdness though, it's a huge deal and Big Sam basically talked a whole bunch of shit leading up to the deal being signed. His statements were about as accurate as Stuff's constant headlines regarding Reid's future. It does smell slightly fishy don't it?
First of all I think the idea that DCE and/or Kieran Foran had their decisions influenced by last night's loss is false. The fans always knew that they'd loose at least one of them and that has come to fruition, so I don't think they'll mind. This puts Kieran Foran in to the spotlight though as DCE has made his bed and he's having a nap. Foran has all eyes on him as well as the pressure knowing that if he leaves, Manly will be in a pretty shit spot. He was going to Manly, but then Manly took their offer to DCE off the table so you'd think that Manly will put something substantial in front of Foran...
WC - Yeah, plenty of similarities to be found between Reid/WHU and Nelsen/Blackburn - not the least of them being the Fat Sam connection. It'd be interesting if the money going into player wages were made more public in the Premier League so we could read more into that side of things (maybe West Ham lightened up with a raised offer and that was the difference maker?). I know Reid has said that he's settled in London and that's a big part of it. Also, it's really hard to judge transfer rumours in the EPL since literally 90% of them are made up. We don't know that there was ever any tangible interest from a top six club at all. He might have simply gotten cold feet over going into a summer without a contract.
There's no way the Parramatta result had any effect on the decision, though releasing it to the press right after a demoralising loss is super strange. Unless there was a leak, who the hell would let that happen? Maybe they were doubling down on the bad vibes to get it all out of the way. If it had come out after a win then that would have been quite a dampener too, I wonder if that would've happened.
I saw Toovey on Fox when they broke the news about DCE's offer being withdrawn, he put on a brave face and said optimistic things, but by then it seemed pretty clear that losing him was more likely than not. It's not that the fans won't mind, more that they'll reluctantly have to accept it. Plenty of pressure on Manly now, on and off the field.
MD - Reid's settled in London, while both Arsenal and Tottenham are both London clubs so that wasn't obviously a factor ... that just smacks me in the face with a bit of hype. I'm sure if Arsenal or, well much less importantly, Spurs come knocking at your door you'd consider it. And Arsenal and the shitty Spurs tend to splash the cash when they're locking someone up so I doubt West Ham offered Rothchlid money. All that points to the fact that like you said, maybe no one was really chasing Reid like that?
Man, the situation at the Sea Eagles is so intricate. Toovey's under fire and isn't liked by many people at the club, there's been plenty of drama in the boardroom, DCE wasn't really liked while Foran's future is still undecided. The big question here is how do you structure contracts to have your gun halves pairing come off contract at the same time? In fact, how do you allow a club to end up like the Sea Eagles are now?
Afghanistan take on the Black Caps and while we've adopted the Afghani's, we call Aotearoa home so the kiwis should get up here. An unchanged team, any concerns? Anything we need to do against Afghanistan to continue to keep raising the bar? Surely King Rossco needs some runs and Guppy.
WC - Well the big thing with that Toovey interview is that he actually didn't seem to know they were withdrawing the offer. He found out live on telly! I get that stuff like that is a boardroom issue but you'd think the coach would have plenty of input - unless they actually are icing him out? If you're making a major call on a key player, the coach should have a say. It reminds me a little of the Rondo trade in the NBA. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle was apparently not keen on the idea of bringing in Rondo, for reasons supposedly obvious now with the difficult fit it's been. But that was a worthy gamble (and one that can still pay off) while this Manly thing is a pure disaster. All these guys coming off contract at once. It's not even only these two, having to let Glenn Stewart and Anthony Watmough go recently too. I mean, they did great last year despite all the off-field drama but it's only getting worse. At what point does it affect their play, has that already happened? Can't read too much into one game, of course.
No issues at all with the unchanged line-up. I love it in fact. They've had a break, they trust their backups. Keep going until someone breaks. I'd like to see us bat first and set a huge total. Other teams have done that, we had a great one against Sri Lanka and it's all been bowling hype since. Plus I wanna see out guys work their way up that runs scorers list too. Guppy has a process, I have faith in that process and the role it plays. He's fine. King Rossco needs runs and I'm confident he'll get them. Every team, even the best ones, have players that have had slow tournaments so far. Wouldn't be devastated to see Adam Milne wreak havoc with the ball either.
MD - Lemme break it on down for you DubCizzle. Geoff Toovey, for whatever reason isn't liked by certain aspects of the Manly top-dogs. I'm not sure why, but that's the way it is and I'm 95% sure that he's got absolutely no idea what's going on. When you hear Anthony Watmough talk about Eels coach Brad Arthur who was Toovey's assistant, he sounds as though he much prefers Arthur which could be the same for Foran. Let's not forget that Watmough and Glenn Stewart weren't chuffed that DCE wasn't keen to take a little bit less money as they and their crew of Manly OG's had done. Now, all of a sudden they face a future without their two gun halves, but I'm not willing to make a bet on Foran yet. His decision is - do I stay at Manly or do I go to the new Manly that has a ruthless edge? (which is why the Eels won)
Yeah there's not much more to that game really is there? Either we bowl first and try skittle our homies from Afghanistan and just get the W or we bat first and get all the boxes tick ... or it's a fucking coin toss and who knows.
Lastly chief, Joseph Parker. What'd you make of it? Surely we just sweep that under the rug and look forward to him sparring with Klitschko right?
WC - Man, the rot's really set in hasn't it? Pick an area of the Sea Eagles organisation and there's something wrong. Ah well, those fans have had more than their fair share of success the last decade anyway. Someone else's turn now.
NZ fans obviously want to see us bat first. Gives us a chance to see both sides of the ball dominate, and another sloppy, small run chase would really be annoying. But let's not pretend that anything other than that W really matters. We'll win this one way or the other.
Yes, glad you brought up the boxing.
I'm getting so frustrated with everything Duco, and they'd be so much easier to ignore if they didn't have their greasy mitts all over our best heavyweight fighter. Apparently they have a plan for him, a schedule. Now, I trust Kevin Barry and his guys, but I'm running out of patience seeing his promoters continually find him these lazy battlers to fight. Is he really learning anything he wouldn't get from some proper sparring in the USA? Doubt it. They're trying to be all credible/loyal by getting him fights in NZ which is a fraud. Let him fight the big guys overseas! 13-0 now, I hope that zero isn't holding them back. Get some tough bouts, maybe lose one or two. Not everyone can have Floyd Mayweather's record.
I love the Klitschko spar thing though. Brilliant move, finally. Especially since that'll get him in the eyes of guys like Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder, both of whom are eyeing up title fights with the champ. THIS is the way to the top.
MD - I think that's the general vibe of the NRL this season - give someone else a turn. And while the Bunnies and Roosters will be there come the finals, I still reckon a fresh team will win the'ship.
Alright let's finish with the Duco strategy which seems to be - let's milk it for all it's worth, make plenty of money in Aotearoa, get people excited about Joseph Parker and make us lots of money and then we'll probably try to make us some more money then ...
That's the icky bit ... then what? If he had established himself overseas then it wouldn't be a jump up ya know, he'd just being going about his business ... but Duco wouldn't be making money. It's getting to the point where the general public can spot the gimmick as well and aslong as Parker's not challenged, we zone out.
Can I finish on this before I hit the Gold Coast for the DCE welcome party, I've got the peptides, they've got the CoCo .... David Tua didn't fight in Aotearoa until he was 10-0. Parker is 13-0 and has fought outside of Aotearoa three times so far.
Peace, love and peptides!
WC - There ya go. Adios, Doc