Sometimes the Diggity Doc and Wildcard talk to each other...
Diggity Doc - Overlord Wildcard, I was watching the Wellington Phoenix play in that FFA Cup on Wednesday night and I just had to stop watching. I couldn't continue, it's hard to continue when the team you're supporting can't string more than two passes together. In fairness, it was classic 'Nix play but damn, it wasn't good. Did you catch it?
Wildcard - Haha, Doc, yeah I did. I did happen to watch that one. The first five minutes were really good... the next 85 were awful. We got dominated in the midfield but that was compounded completely by some terrible defending and goalkeeping. Also, I don't know I've ever seen a game with 4 penalties in 90 mins either. 5-1 was a pretty disastrous loss, but then it's still just pre-season footy, whether there's a trophy in the distance or not. It looked like they might have been trying a new formation (it was hard to follow with dodgy web coverage and no replays) which you'd assume needs a lil more work. Long way to go before the A-League playoffs though.
DD - Hard to read too much into it but I'm not convinced that Roy Krishna can lead the line. I am not so worried about the midfield inability to pass to their own players and control the footy, that'll come. I see there was a Champions League draw done...
WC - Or Alex Rufer for that matter. He's a sharp young player but he's no Sergio Aguero quite yet. The main thing is that if Ernie doesn't seem to care too much then neither shall I. Yup, Champions League draw, and for the first time in an eternity (two years) Manchester United are back in it. Damn, and we got a pretty easy group too. PSV are the toughest ones we'll face. That's Memphis Depay's old team so that'll be fun. Chelsea got a solid looking group too, their toughest test being a return to FC Porto for Jose. As always, City got the toughest one of the English teams, they're pretty much cursed. They play Juventus, Europa League champs Sevilla and Borussia Monchengladbach. While Arsenal get Bayern Munich which is never enviable, but you'd back them to squeeze past Olympiakos and Dinamo Zagreb. Big thumbs up to FC Astana, too. First Kazakhstani team to ever qualify for the group stages. Here's hoping they topple Atletico Madrid.
DD - Who, besides Man Utd do you always try to catch playing on a Wednesday or Thursday morning?
WC - Ooh, well there isn't usually the greatest choice for who to watch. Generally I'm fond of hate-viewing a bit of Barcelona and I still like seeing Ronaldo and Bale play for Real Madrid. I guess the whole point of the Champions League is seeing the best teams play so that's the attraction. Juventus were wonderful to watch last season, Paul Pogba's not the best remembered player at Man Utd but he's irrepressible on the pitch. Though the bearded-artist-shaped hole in their midfield from now on is a tragedy. Hey, the transfer window closes next week... you still holding firm with your no wasted dollars strategy for Arsenal? I'll be honest, I'm feeling that way with Utd too. Not a massive deal if there aren't any more signings.
DD - I reckon the gunners are at the point where a semi big signing only complicates matters further. I do think that a few depth players are need up front and at the back. Guys who sign knowing that they will need to either wait their turn or make an impossible-to-ignore case. Benzema doesn't fit that description so I'm not too upset that that rumour didn't come to be.
WC - I was pretty pissed off to read Neymar links to Man United this week. First of all, he can only possibly be another Di Maria. Second of all, I'm bloody sick of players using United as leverage in getting new contracts. Our rivals are gonna be busy though, Chelsea need a defender whether it's John Stones or not and City are about to drop huge bucks on Kevin De Bruyne, who Chelsea dumped off not that long ago. I dunno about the depth signings, you make depth by bringing in new players that improve your squad. Signing players worse than what you already have is what Liverpool did post-Suarez and that's flopped badly. Like, if you aren't buying a striker better than Giroud then you shouldn't be buying one at all. The number one priority oughta be a better version of Le Coq to play holding midfield.
DD - Yeah I guess I have my NRL hat on there don't I - it's not the football way to sign battlers. What's your thoughts on Robbie Farah's situation?
WC - True, sports with a salary cap do change that concept quite drastically to where you have to be on the look out for second/third tier players who can do a job, as they say. Robbie Farah. To be honest, I'm still not sure what to think. It definitely feels like he's been hard done by but then I can also understand if this was more his fault than we realise. Dunno. Then again, it wouldn't shock me in the least if it were purely about on-field reasons. In fact I'm starting to lean that way.
DD - On-field? He's the NSW rake?
WC - I don't mean in terms of talent so much as in terms of a team in transition. They've got a really young playmaking core aside from him and I wonder if that doesn't clash. (Anyway, he's just keeping the jersey clean until Mitch Rein takes it over). You know the situation better than I do, what do you reckon's going on and where do you think he'll play next season? NSW Cup?
DD - Just testing ya there chief. Ah well I have no real idea where he might end up because pretty much every other NRL team has their dummy half position sussed. I would actually like to see Farah try and stay with the Tigers and make this a way crazier situation than it is now - he would be playing NSW Cup but could be playing for NSW. That would be awesome right?
WC - That's the thing, aye? It's so late in the season and everyone else has their key players sorted for 2016. And you doubt he'll take a big pay-cut, though I did read that the Tigers aren't opposed to footing a good chunk of his salary going forward. Which also suggests this isn't all about money. NSW Cup and NSW Origin? It's like that time Dave Nugent played for the England football team while he was still a Championship player with Preston North End. He hasn't played again since (now a journeyman at Leicester). It'd be a fun anomaly but I doubt it happens. I'm gonna go so far as to say if he's still a Tiger next year then his Origin career is over. Ooooh, big call.
DD - The Tigers have talked about how shit their salary cap situation is, which is partly because the are paying opposing players. Yet they are keen to keep paying Farah to play elsewhere - it smells fishy don't it? I would also suggest that Farah isn't in the top 5 hookers right now ... Smith, Luke, Granville, J Friend, McCullough, Ennis, Segeyaro and that Rein fella.
WC - Agree with ya there, though Farah's had injury troubles. There's more to this story that we don't know yet, but chances are we'll get the word once he actually leaves and the leaks start emerging in the press. I thought it was funny that a new story about Mario Balotelli at Liverpool came out as soon as he left for AC Milan (in the Liverpool Echo, no less). Apparently he turned up to training one day, saw an unnamed teammate already had the then-brand-new iPhone 6, pulled out of warmups with a 'sore hamstring' and then when everyone else finished and were back from the changing rooms, there he was with a flash new iPhone, playing away. On a different and entirely subjective note: Is Usain Bolt (when not being run over by segways) the greatest athlete on the planet at this moment in time?
DD - That sounds like the ever childish Super Mario. Who is better than Usain? No one and we know this thanks to the fact that he wins with ease and has always done so. There is no one who is head and shoulders of their competition like he is, in a pretty competitive pursuit.
WC - I mean, when Usain races it's a literal pursuit too. The race starts, he gets ahead, everyone else chases, Usain wins. It's been that way since Beijing, which is an enormous length of time to so completely dominate in a sport that's so incredibly incremental in terms of gaining an advantage. His 100m record could stand for decades. Everyone loves to witness greatness and he's one of the few established legends of any sport to gain that recognition while he's still at the peak. I s'pose Serena Williams is another. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo too. Roger Federer and Tiger Woods had it for a while.
DD - For me, Bolt is the king of right now and Serena Williams is the queen. I thought of Roger and Tiger, but their greatness was yesterday which definitely lingers but Bolt just continues to be so much better than everyone else. It's rude that doping comes into the equation, but given that he's just so much better and that Jamaica does have some sort of history with doping, is that a possibility? I'm not even considering it, blinded by love.
WC - Well one thing about Usain is that his dominance is explainable, even if it's unattainable. Those long strides and all that. It's the inexplicable things that get the dopist conspiracies going. Roger and Tiger aren't there anymore but when they were, they got the adoration. People knew they were witnessing something special, and with Tiger especially they thought it would last a lot longer than it did. Stuff's fleeting, ya know? That's why I love Usain Bolt as much as you do. Can't ever take that stuff for granted.
DD - Things get pretty scary when you start to think where sprinting could go once Usain Bolt retires. Will someone faster come along? Will athletes have to resort to doping to try and reach those heights? Will everyone cut their legs off and run with those blades?
WC - Umm... the blade running thing didn't really turn out that well... but wherever sprinting goes, it's been revolutionised by Mr Bolt. Even now you can already see it, the body shapes of sprinters aren't what they used to be. Oh, and the other thing that shouldn't matter here but it always seems to: Usain's a top bloke. Shouldn't be relevant but it is. Because Floyd Mayweather should really be on this list too.
DD - We all kinda assume that with greatness comes being a dickhead, which makes Bolt such a fresh breath. Same with the homie Lydia Ko right? None of them need personality peptides and if they did, I consumed all that I have. Better go stock up chief, I'll be back with my blades and peptides ready for action.
WC - Getting into the blade-selling business too aye? Good on ya Doc. Plenty of athletes out there definitely need a leg-up. (Ba-dum-tish). 'Til next time.