A Nichey Niche Convo - Bubba Sterling And The Crilympics

Sometimes the Diggity Doc and Wildcard talk to each other...

Diggity Doc - Lord pretty flacko junior aka the Wildcard, the weekend and all the glorious sport it brings with it is upon us but I want to revisit the Oly Whites situation. What's the latest?

Wildcard - No latest, mate. We're in limbo. NZ Football has 15 days from the complaint to lodge their appeal so we're all now waiting for the lawyers to do their thing. Never a pleasant state of affairs to be relying on lawyers. We probably won't get anymore news for another week or so, which will be driving kiwi newspaper hacks wild as they struggle for ways to keep writing about this. One interesting sidenote though, I did some research about Raheem Sterling's situation, coz he was ineligible under the same rule as Deklan Wynne, but what happened is that there are slightly different rules for British players. That's coz the United Kingdom is a single country yet is made up of four individual FIFA nations. Like, eligibility is tricky, since a player isn't a Scottish or English citizen, they're a British one. So there's this Home Nations Agreement there to tidy that up, and they've snuck a couple extra clauses in there, one being the education clause which says if a player was educated in Britain for at least five years, then he's eligible. Since Wynne moved here at 14, he probably misses that, but it's a common sense rule in my mind.

DD - Football's a big old beast on this planet, imagine how many other players have got some funky wheelin' and dealin' done to represent this country or that country. Ah well, thanks for the non-update anyway glad we got that one out of the way. Have you been salivating at the prospect of Bastian Schweingsteiger roaming around in your midfield at Manchester United?

WC - Salivating is one way to put it. I'm pretty stoked. Not just with him either but with the whole summer's work. Last year there were a couple sales I wasn't pleased with at the time (Danny Welbeck for example) and then the purchase of Angel Di Maria felt more like flexing muscles than filling a need. But everything's been great this time around. RVP is off at the right time and in the right feelings, sounds like Jonny Evans is off too, probably Valdes and Rafael too. Fine by me. Then in come two of the best midfielders in the world, a versatile international right back and one of the best young wingers in the game. Probably more to come too. Hope your Gunners aren't plotting a title challenge there Doc because they'll have a tough time keeping up with our lot.

DD - There's also some noise about Di Maria possibly moving as well? United appear to have gone from panic transfer business to smart, shrewd signings that fit the team and that won't hinder team moral either. My Gunners have taken a hit with Alexis Sanchez set to miss the first few weeks, but don't sleep on Theo Walcott who I'm hoping will get some solid game time. It always feels like Arsenal need to invest more in their doctors and rehab process's than actually buying players because we've always got a long list of title-threatening injuries. I've said it before to you, but we don't really need to sign anyone else, we just a similar team on the park each week ya know?

WC - Oh, I don't think it was ever panic business. Well... maybe in the Moyes year, haha. But yeah, if Di Maria stays then I'm fine, he should be more comfortable this season, yet if he goes then no biggie, so long as we get most of that cash back. Giggsy's been stressing the need to buy the 'right kinds' of players. Specifically, winners. Obviously Schweiny fits that bill. You're right about Arsenal, they've filled their biggest need with a class keeper. Maybe a striker? Maybe a central defender? Nah, Wenger's always taken the conservative route in the market. It really feels like all the challengers have improved coming into the next season, including Liverpool and Spurs. And I'm fully expecting 15 goals from Raheem Sterling this year. I feel sorry for that dude, he got some bad advice and was pushed into a situation he couldn't handle.

DD - How do you see this season panning out for Sterling and City? Where do you think Sterling will play? Minutes? Team moral? And what's your broader gut-feel about City? 
I expect you to answer all them questions.

WC - Well the season, like I said, I reckon 15 goals. A few assists along with them too and some solid performances. He'll be good for them, he was always good for Liverpool and that situation got so messy that people probably have a much harsher view of Sterling than they should. Pool fans will boo him every time now but City fans should feel good about this. Overpriced? Sure, that's what you get with young players though, you have to pay for both talent and potential. He'll get good solid minutes so long as he's fit. Fewer chances to play striker because of how City line up, however he'll prefer playing wide-right anyway, which is where I expect to see him most. Because City stack their midfield, he doesn't have to do as much defending and he'll be able to play quite far forward. Team morale won't be an issue from his side of things, though given the stumbles of last season (hell, they still finished second) a bad start may pressure Pellegrini. I figure they'll be fine though, they're one of four teams expecting a title challenge and they should be right up there. Them's my gut feelings. Did I miss anything?

DD - Nah mate, I feel like an expert on Bubba Sterling now. It hasn't been confirmed yet by either the Warriors or the Dragons, but the word is Siliva Havili is heading to the 'Gong next season. As a Dragon (what's your Dragon name?) yourself, how you see the signing of Havili?

WC - Umm, it's a little bit underwhelming, to be honest, but it's never too bad for a young player not to have to have huge expectations. Like, if we were gonna steal a Warrior than one of the many beastly front-rowers would've been better. But Havili is a tidy player. He won't start over Mitch Rein, he'll play off the bench presumably. But this is dodging the main issue, that being the fact that every other week another Warriors youngster is leaving for another team. Realistically, is there something that ought to be done here? They can't play all these guys, but some kinda compensation? Then that might piss off other teams without the scouting range to find young players. Hmm. It only seems fair that they should get something back for developing NRL talent though.

DD - They should definitely get something, especially if the Australian clubs - who already have a heavy presence around Aotearoa, scoping out and snapping up young talents - are in need of what the Warriors provide. If the Australian clubs are solely responsible for developing that player as in scouting him, moving him to Australia, bringing him through the grades then cool, great work. The problem I guess is that then every other club would want compensation for their juniors who leave as well, I think it's more of a situation that is unique to the Warriors thanks to their large talent pool, but that doesn't diminish the need for some sort of benefit to be given to the Warriors. I'm just not sure what that would be.

WC - Yeah it's a difficult line. One side is that compensation idea, I guess another is some kind of salary cap exception to help keep homegrown players around. But that doesn't solve the problem of too many players getting in each other's way and blocking game-time. I guess the Warriors are getting the pick of the litter though, so it's not like they're missing out. It's a win-win until Havili ducks over in the 80th minute next year to win the competition points for the Dragons.

DD - I'm glad you said competition points and not competition because I don't think the Dragons will make much of a dent there. Do you have any thoughts on Jesse Ryder returning to the Stags? It's all good if you don't, in fact I'd prefer it if you didn't because I think it's time we all ease up on Ryder a wee bit and just let him do what he wants and as he pleases.

WC - Oooh, cutting right to the heart there, Doc. The injury crisis is nearly over, ya know. But anyway, shout out to Jesse Ryder. The only way this goes wrong is if he does well and people start rallying to get him in the Blackcaps again. That ship has sailed and Ryder's probably in a better place without all the extra pressure. Just let the dude play cricket and enjoy it, that's when he's at his best. Unfortunately he has a reputation in NZ, so some people are gonna get on his back automatically just because they're assholes. You know the types, armchair coaches who work 9-5 jobs, enjoy a beer or seven and have an unhealthy addiction to calling up talkback radio.

DD - Yeah and for me it's unfair to mention Ryder and national honours in the same sentence, not because he doesn't deserve to play in that arena but it's just like a massive, elongated distraction that is complete not needed. I've also got this theory about the various T20 leagues around the world and the general T20 landscape where we could possibly see the IPL drop down the pecking order and be surpassed by the Big Bash, T20 Blast in England and the Caribbean Premier League. I mean, bigger pay packets from the IPL aside, the Caribbean looks like a nice little spot to earn some dosh and play cricket right?

WC - Oh for sure. Except when the lights all go out as a fast bowler's steaming in, that is. Same goes for the quick trip across the ditch for some hit and giggle and cash. It's a heck of a living if ya can get it. I wonder if the recent T20 issues (what a shocker!?!?!) might speed up your theory there too. To be honest, I haven't hardly read a thing about that saga, it's like breaking the news that footballs are round, that the ocean is big or that the internet likes cats.

DD - It's a weird one that is for sure and I wouldn't be surprised if a few players gave it a miss next time - Steve Smith won't be looking for a new team to join as he was a Rajasthan Royal (drama involves them and Chennai Super Kings). Cricket-wise they emergence of more leagues means the competition and standard increases but the IPL's lure is the money and frige benefits players get. If you are a top player, I doubt you are worried about that though as you'll be getting paid a fair amount regardless of where you play. I saw that there will be no more Champions League T20 cricket either as it wasn't getting enough viewers. I can feel the landscape changing.

WC - My ideal situation is that T20 becomes entirely about this domestic stuff and is only ever played internationally at the T20 World Cup, but I get that teams don't mind a little twenty over slog at the start or end of a tour. I've never really understood the appeal of it to the degree it got to. You see more sixes, but you also see far more ugly slogs and mis-hits. And muuuuch worse bowling. And negative captaincy. Plus if the players aren't really that competitive about it, why should the fans be? Now that the novelty's wearing off we're starting to see it for the fair-weather fan pandering that it pretty much is. I'm cool with that though, it serves a crucial purpose in world cricket because it gives top players money, making a career in the sport all the more enticing. Which everyone wins from.

DD - Yeah it does fill a nice little niche doesn't it? Especially when you consider that cricket's possible entry into the Olympics will come via the 20 over format. Cast your mind off into the distant future where cricket is in the Olympics, what do you see?

WC - I see loud complaints that cricket shouldn't be at the Olympics. But I can imagine it happening. It's an interesting one, I've heard talk that Olympic cricket would mean more funding for the sport in nations that really need it... but I'm not sure which nations those are. Bangladesh & Sri Lanka, maybe? We do fine. As do the big boys. Maybe those tier two nations, I s'pose. Olympic medals for T20 cricket is a joke though. Not a funny one either, one of those lame TV3 comedian kinds of jokes. It'd be like having golf or tennis or football or rugby sevens at the Olym... oh wait.

DD - You're not a fan of those sports being in the Olympics? Hey, Papa New Guinea beat Ireland in a T20 so ya know ... well I don't know, it's just cool.

WC - That is cool, very cool. I just don't feel like the Olympics should be this all encompassing sporting spectaculr. Stick to the sports that traditionally need and use it, give these teams sports with their own World Cups the flick. Of course, the counter argument is: Money. Coz let's be honest, they wouldn't do this solely for the good of the game, it'd have a lot to do with cash. So it goes. Whatever, it's no harm to me.

DD - Part of the allure of the Olympics is the purity - it's largely the same events that have been competed in for so long and yeah I feel ya there. I do like the idea of having one gigantic sporting event, but that would take away from the athletics-like events for which the Olympics is the pinnacle. And ya know, if the Olympics just keeps opening its doors and gets bigger and bigger, who will be able to host the bloody thing?

WC - Umm, America, China and... Qatar. Geez, imagine that world, where the Olympics is cycled through cities in those three nations. And somehow Qatar will find a way to win 50 golds despite the conditions and their population. Hopefully they never learn to take up rowing or rugby sevens.

DD - Mate anyone can win anything with my peptides! I better hit the lab and figure out how to get around the Olympic's stricter drug testing, I'm sure you'll understand.

WC - Yep, I get it. Me, I'm busy practising for the eventuality that Football Manager becomes an Olympic sport, because I'm ready to represent my country with flair and distinction. Tokyo 2020, here I come. Over and out, Doc.