Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...
And sometimes they talk to each other before Sepp went and got re-elected
Diggity Doc - Lord Wildcard, thou who is cut from the same fabric as Sepp Blatter. Nah, sorry just joking. What's the worst case and best scenario with this whole Fifa scandal?
Wildcard - It's funny because we were just talking about FIFA corruption in last week's convo and all of a sudden within a few days the axe drops and there's a police raid on officials in Switzerland. Turns out we were the straw that broke the camel's back for the FBI investigation. Good work, Doc. Umm, best case scenario... I dunno. I try to separate FIFA from football as much as I can, because as awful and blatantly corrupt as they are, it doesn't affect my Premier League viewing at least. They're more of a humanitarian problem. But there is one area in which they've completely overstepped the mark and could do terrible things to the game's centrepiece event, and that's the World Cup in Qatar. The one in Russia is fine, that country has its issues but it also has a fine history and solid infrastructure. It's playing in a nation that is literally killing people to prepare for an event in conditions where it's basically impossible to play footy anyway that's a major problem. Best case scenario then, I guess, is Qatar lose the World Cup, Blatter loses the elections and FIFA loses enough sponsors that the other two actually happen. The sponsor unrest is the biggest factor in my mind here.
DD - Yeah it seems like there's one logical reason behind all the Qatar stuff and it's all negative. We should probably take the blame for the timing of all of this then? Like with the two World Cups, this is a big ol' elephant lurking isn't it?
WC - Blame? No, mate, we're taking credit. Like I said before, I like to distance FIFA from the on-field stuff as much as possible, so I don't see this affecting either the U-20 World Cup or the Womens World Cup in any tangible way. I mean, if it were gonna, then they wouldn't have been holding an election right in the middle of it anyway. It's not flash for FIFA, but it's about damn time. UEFA is publically backing Prince Ali bin Al-Hussein, as is America, and as is New Zealand. Granted, Sepp Blatter has an enormous following in less established nations (esp. in Africa & South America) on account of he gives them money. So... well, we don't know how it'll turn out. But as Platini said, there's a chance Blatter could lose and that's not something anyone believed a few days ago.
DD - Mate, I'm going to take all the credit for this seeing as my love affair with Luis Figo sparked all this. FIFA is a bit depressing, like it is all that is wrong with the older generation who just happen to run everything as well, so what did you mate of State Of Origin mate?
WC - I wouldn't call it a generational thing, it'd call it an institutional thing. But Prince Al-Hussein is half Blatter's age, so that oughta suit ya. Right, State of O! I thought it was a great game, but NSW really let it slip/QLD really earned it in that second half. The Maroons (rhymes with balloons, stupid Australians) came out and bossed it, owning the forward battle that was supposed to be their downfall. It was a game that was there to win for either team, and the Queenslanders were the ones who knew how to get it done.
DD - Yeah that's one of the more interesting things from the game is that Queensland won the forward battle over the course of the whole game. Nate Myles, Corey Parker, Matt Scott don't exactly roll through you but they'll keep the legs pumping, they'll get inbetween defenders and they'll get a quick play the ball. I was actually blown away by Billy Slater and while we know that Cameron Smith, Jonathan Thurston, Cooper Cronk etc are all amazing, Slater had me in awe. So tough, like stupidly tough but always a threat on attack even if New South Wales tried to isolate him and his 'fragile' body. My overall favourite moment of the game was when a Blues player caught a kick and Greg Inglis kind of pulled him down and then Slater did an almighty flop leading with the elbow. Glorious.
WC - Slater had a blinder, didn't he? I do think the Blues played some dumb footy though. Not finding touch from a penalty inside you're own 10, Jennings kicking it dead for a 7-tackle possession that QLD scored the droppie off, throwing the ball to the wrong guy for their final chance. Dugan did his best (he and Aaron Woods were the best NSW players on the night in my mind) to make something outta nothing but that's just inexcusable. Daley says no changes to the halves after that... Pearce was decent but surely Hodkinson's riding his luck to be there?
DD - Yeah I agree, but you make those mistakes when you haven't dug that deep before or when doing what it takes to win isn't quite an instinct. The only change I would make is bringing in Blake Austin for Boyd Cordner on the bench. NSW needed some pizzazz, some more x-factor and Austin can spark a game late in a half. Daley said some weird things in general that made me cringe. He seemed to be more inclined to big up the Blues for their defence and their go forward instead of actually talking about the nitty gritty as to why they lost. It was all very John Kirwan like.
WC - Haha, Blues as Blues, that's actually a pretty fine comparison. There is one other change they'll probably have to make with Robbie Farah's injury, and it's hard to see who else they have to pick there. I mean, there's they brilliant Mitch Rein, of course, but not much else... Oh, and Paul Gallen should be back, and meathead that he is, he has to be there. Guts to Josh Jackson, who did fine, but fine don't cut it against at Queensland side for whom winning is a habit, as you rightly say. To be honest, I thought Laurie Daley's comments were terrible. Either his attempt to protect his side after a grinding defeat or he's just plain delusional. Hard to see the NSW public settling for 'good defence' and a loss.
DD - I wouldn't bet on Farah not playing in game two, they kinda need him. Mitch Rein ........... or Nathan Peats haha. To be honest, Paul Gallen won't help this team much. NSW were fine going forward, fine in defence and fine in effort but lacked a killer attacking instinct which Gallen doesn't really provide. Ya boy Trent Merrin on the other hand did offer some of that didn't he?
The European football season has come to a hault, reckon you could grade the season for each of our main Flying Kiwis?
WC - Well i'll admit that perhaps personal bias has me overrating Mitch Rein a little, but you can't go wrong with a hooker who consistently gets you on the front foot with his running and can tackle very well (for his size). But, yeah, it's still a case of 'believe it when I see it' with Farah's absence. Trent Merrin does bloody everything, which is why it's a friggin' travesty he didn't play more minutes. Sort it out, Laurie!
Haha, right. Grades. This is gonna be a lil harsh on a few counts, but here goes...
Winston Reid - 6/10 Some outstanding performances amidst some sloppy ones. Injuries and that contract debacle hold him back a bit.
Tommy Smith - 8/10 Lost his starting spot early in the season, but won it back commandingly. Helped his side to the playoff semis, even scored a few goals.
Chris Wood - 2/10 Gets a couple sympathy points for lack of opportunities and his opening weekend equaliser against Everton. But did bugger all during his loan at Ipswich, might need to drop down a division to get game-time.
Marco Rojas - 5.5/10 First half marred by injuries and a bad loan fit, but showed some promising glimpses when he started to get games in Switzerland on his second loan. It'll be interesting what Stuttgart do with him now.
Ryan Thomas - 7/10 Coulda used more goals & assists, but was a regular in a super successful season for PEC Zwolle in Switzerland.
Jeremy Brockie - 9/10 Only got a few months in South Africa, yet scored goals as easy as he breathes. Already a fan favourite.
Bill Tuiloma - N/A Only played twice off the bench for the firsts, so no grade, but that's a superb achievement at his age.
DD - Quality and who ya got for the Under 20 World Cup?
WC - Ooh, I do like the look of the Argentinian squad after doing a little research, watch out for Angel Correa, they reckon he's the new Sergio Aguero. And I'll be chuffed if the kiwis can squeeze their way out of their group too.
DD - Wonderful, I'm going with Sweden. Peace out.
WC - Who... didn't qualify. As you will, Doc. We'll do this again some time. Adios.