Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...
Diggity Doc - El Wilcardo, who is disliked around the sporting world right now more than Nick Kyrgios?
Wildcard - Ah, Jose Mourinho might run him close, Doc, but at least he didn't go telling Arsene Wenger that Louis Van Gaal banged his girlfriend or anything. He did shockingly demote a couple of medical staffers for doing their jobs, but I think Kyrgios pips him at the post. Both he and his mum reckon that all lil Nicko did was give as good as he got. What could Stan Wawrinka have said for him to drop that bombshell? I'm guessing based on Wawrinka's response that it might not be an unfound rumour either. His girl does play doubles with Thanasi Kokkinakis, not a euphemism. A complete dick move from Kyrgios, that's for sure.
DD - We must be severely underestimating the sledging ability of Stan then right? If he was chirping and drove Kyrgios to play the girlfriend card, you'd imagine that Kyrgios was playing his trumpcard. Hoe has his Mourinho story trumped everything else from the opening weekend of the Premier League?
WC - Well, exactly. Surely Waw must have played a Your Mum card? Can't think what else might have provoked him if we're going by his tale. It was a sister=whore one that got Zidane pumped way back when. And poor Kokkinakis. Whatever he does he's always the butt of the joke. I think you probably can say that Mou has trumped all else. He's good at that, taking the headlines to deflect attention when his team does less than expected, a trick he learned from Fergie and a few others before him. There must be more to this story though. He can't be demoting people out of the blue. Rumours are that this has been a long time coming, frustrations welling up for a while now. Diego Costa's hamstrings aren't making things easier. And it's a shame because nobody likes seeing off-field stuff hog the headlines. It's also odd (but expected) that Eva Carneiro has been so well-publicised in all this that a lot of people won't even realise that the physio was demoted with her. Seeing as neither of them did anything wrong, though, it's still entirely wild. Jose can be a real madman sometimes.
DD - So should we expect that every time Chelsea under perform that Jose will have some sort of distraction up his sleeve? How's Costa looking?
WC - I mean, he's not usually this drastic but yeah. This isn't a new revelation, he's always done this. He'll often make it something personal with a manager, look at the handshake business after he lost to Arsene and Arsenal in the Comm Shield (though that was Wenger's fault). It's just good management, really. Protecting his players. As for Costa, I think you can expect to see him playing at 80% for a while. Which is still better than most, just not quite the hurricane he was for a while there last season. On a different note, I see Aaron Woods is sick of NRL players pulling his hair. On a similar different note, hopefully Isaac Fotu doesn't have those problems for the Tall Blacks against the Aussies.
DD - Is it all good to like Jose? I quite like him even though he and Arsene aren't too fond of each other and that his team is just better than mine. Long hair don't care is the motto I live by and Fotu won't be caring to much when he's dominating Andrew Bogut in the low post ... right?
WC - I'm not sure if I like Jose or not, I go back and forth. His latest stunt's annoyed me and calling Rafa Benitez fat was pretty tasteless. But I've always loved the rivalry between him and Wenger. I guess even when I don't like him, I still love him. Sounds like a bad country song, that. Umm... probably not? But hey there's always the chance that Bogie gets injured, as he is wont to do. It's funny how this series works because it's best of two, but if it's tied then they go by aggregate score. Nobody really thinks we can sweep the Aussies, however if we can come out of Melbourne with a close loss then you never know what might happen in Wellington. Either way, yay for basketball. I wish we got more international stuff outside major tourney qualifiers but it's not really in the culture, what with NBA teams reluctant to release their players. Fair enough, I s'pose.
DD - I like/love Jose and Shag (Steve Hansen) equally but they are at opposite ends of the spectrum aren't they? Oh yeah so stay close and then get a big crowd back in Welly and dominate? I have another Steven Adamd theory, which is more about Fotu, Rob Loe and Tai Wynyard. Our youngsters are bigs and I mean, cast your mind off into the future and we could roll out a pretty dangerous front court at some stage.
WC - Haha, they certainly are two peas from two very, very different pods. Yeah I really like Rob Loe but since he went to Europe it's been a little harder to keep track of him. Those are some quality bigs, as good of a generation as we've ever had I reckon (though Steven Adams alone makes that the case). But you do need a starting five, not just a starting couple, so it's important that we find the backcourt to compliment it. Further on that last thing I said on international basketball, national teams tend to be pretty hypothetical. If Wynyard makes the NBA then his national team appearances will dwindle like Big Steve's have. Even for the big tournaments it can be hard to get the best possible team out there so building for the future of the Tall Blacks isn't really a thing we can hope for. But building for the future of NZ players certainly is. A theory about your theory: If you're a 6 foot 4 15 year old, still growing, you don't really have too many options other than basketball or being a lock in a rugby team. Maybe a footy goalie, if you're agile enough too. However the shorter quicker point guard moulds can play whatever they want and I wonder if, even though bball is a fast growing sport in NZ, we aren't yet getting that talent to stick with the sport?
DD - Yeah way to ruin my Tall Blacks fantasy there mate, hard to disagree though. We'd have to have as many NBA players as Australia where if a few don't turn out for the Boomers there are still a few who do which is ideal really. Like you said more NBA players doesn't exactly mean a better Tall Blacks team. If you are around that 6ft mark your sporting options are endless really aren't they? We're pretty big naturally so we could just become an NBA big man production line. How about that - where's he from? NZ, right he's a good lad and is tough, we'll take him
WC - What I'm really low-key interested in with NFL pre-season starting is how Jarryd Hayne goes. Because forget the NBA, if Hayne is a rip-roaring success over there (still not a likely chance but it's getting incrementally better by the day) then that opens a huge door for USA scouts to start taking a notice of rugby/league players with the knowledge that those skills translate a lot smoother than they realised. Of course, this all hinges on Hayne's success, but it's one to keep an eye on. He'll definitely get a run in pre-season, that's for sure (midday Sunday is their first game).
DD - Everything I see and hear is very positive which is good but it is positive in the sense that Hayne has a good chance of not getting cut. Not exactly being a star running back, he's got a lot of work to do their. But what about the 49ers Wildcars? Where do they sit in the NFL landscape this season?
WC - Well it's funny about the Niners because for every positive story I read about Hayne, there are three more about what a disaster this team is going through. Which might not be terrible for him, mind you. They're more likely to gamble on a guy like him if results are bad and player depth is lacking. And it is. Aldon Smith is the latest to drop off the squad, he was cut after yet another stupid off field drama. No need to stretch that out, the details are in The Dugout, it's just that Smith, one of the NFL's premier pass rushers, becomes another name that we won't be seeing in San Fran this season. Joining the likes of... Patrick Willis, Justin Smith & Chris Borland (retirement), Frank Gore, Mike Iupati, Chris Culliver, Perrish Cox, Michael Crabtree (free agency) and Ray McDonald (cut). Plus they've lost their head coach and offensive and defensive coordinators. So... you could say it's almost a clean slate.
DD - A stinker of a team is always a good place to go when you are trying to get in the game. Drop some NFL knowledge on me here and give me a player you are amping to see?
WC - Ooh, tough to say. There's still a month or so before it all begins so plenty of time for a few more backup linebackers to break some quarterback jaws. I notice that dude got straight-away signed by Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills too, curious little dynamic. At this stage Marcus Mariota looks like he might have a flawless transition into the NFL for the Titans, he's a sure bet for rookie of the year as things look now. Which is good to see because none of the rookie QBs since Andy Luck (everyone's picking your Colts to have a great season) have mostly been letdowns. Johnny Manziel is one thing (the money sign's been retired) but even guys like Derek Carr and Bake Bortles, while they've shown signs, have been far from outstanding. I guess it takes a while for most players to get going at the top level, they're also guys stuck with stinker teams too (Raiders & Jaguars) so at least the expectations aren't there yet. On the other end of the scale, the old generation, Brady/Manning/Brees, might be starting to hit the decline. Brees is the guy I'm worried about there, probably due a drop in my pre-season rankings unfortunately. The Saints are much like the 49ers in that they could well be a complete mess. Notice I've carefully strayed from putting any pressure or expectations on my Dallas Cowboys team...
DD - Mate here is the question of the day - of the two money-sign men (Manziel and Chad Townsend who borrowed the money sign from Manziel) who would you least want to pick right now in you NFL/NRL team?
WC - I'd least like Manziel in my NRL team but that might be cheating. I think it's acknowledged that Manziel's got a lot to learn and he's showing signs that he's getting down to business to achieve all that. With Townsend, you wonder if he's reached his peak by now. One thing's for sure, he's not playing at that peak right now. Maybe he'll surprise us all this weekend. Maybe he'll surprise us all next season for the Sharks. At least Johnny Football's got the avenues there to rise up in the public's estimation.
DD - Imagine if Townsend is yet another player who goes far better when he leaves the Warriors? Can the Warriors beat Penrith?
WC - Ah, I dunno, I should be asking you that, really. I'd suggest they can because I don't rate the Panthers too much but it also feels like the air has gone out of the Warriors' balloon. Maybe the biggest indictment I can give is that I won't be watching it anyway. Rather see the Bledisloe Cup game, to be honest. It's rare to see a non-World Cup game against Australia with something real at stake. This will be a great bit of experience either way for the All Blacks before jetting to north in search of Webb-Ellis. Very exciting.
DD - On a scale of 1-Shag, how much do you like Michael Cheika? I love him, about an 8 I'd say.
WC - I feel duty bound not to like him at all, but I'd say around a 6. Which, for the coach of an Australian national sports team, is very high for me. And that 6 probably rounds out to an 8 when you chuck it through one of those analytic formulas and remove the bias from it. So it sounds like we're in a bit of agreement there.
DD - So Mic Cheika ... hah, get it? Yeah well he doesn't need peptides, nor do his players and the All Blacks definitely don't. I better treat myself then, if you don't hear from me by Monday then I'm probably #winning. Ciao.
WC - Mic Cheika, Mic Cheika... 1, 2, 3. Over and out, Doc.