Sometimes the Diggity Doc and the Wildcard talk to each other...
Diggity Doc - El Wildcardo, how long will Brendan Rodgers last as coach of Liverpool?
Wildcard - Good question Doc, let's start the countdown. 10... 9... 8...
But seriously, when you need penalties to get by Carlisle then you're in trouble. They couldn't even beat Norwich and they always beat Norwich. And the game against Man United? Well now that's best not mentioned. Results aren't all of it though. Managers should be judged on a range of factors and results are just one of them (though they're the only one most pitchfork wavers care about). The bigger problem is that it looks like he may have lost the confidence of his squad, which is bound to happen with his genuinely weird team selections. Most of all, a manager is a leader. Rodgers is still leading but he's not inspiring. There's still time for him to turn it around, I doubt he's as close to the axe as people think and I've picked a win against a sloppy Aston Villa side on the weekend. The important thing is that he finds a way to build back the illusion of control that he had a couple seasons ago. No manager is even truly in control but guys like Ferguson and Mourinho seem like they can wish a goal to happen with a furrow of the brow. Question: What are the qualities of Arsene Wenger that keep you (mostly) on board?
DD - Rodgers just appears to be lost right now doesn't he? Well Wenger has won stuff - once upon a time so he has some history and he kept Arsenal competitive when the club tightened the purse strings. Wenger has proven himself so he deserves to be shown faith.
WC - That's mostly results again though. To me Wenger's done superbly at exuding a calmness at the head of a club whose fans are in a permanent state of never quite satisfied. They leave early, bored, when they win comfortably and moan when they don't. I think it comes with the season tickets. Anyway, Wenger is a guy who may only get to 80% of expectations but he does it in a way where it looks like he's in control. That word again. Louis Van Gaal offers control too, but not a whole lot of calmness, haha. Mourinho is something close. Pellegrini is so quiet and calm that his fingerprints get overlooked while globally there probably isn't a manager with more control than Pep Guardiola. You sign him and you agree not only to a manager but to a complete style of play. Right now, the last month or so especially, it feels like Rodgers is being swept away with the tide.
DD - Control comes via winning though and I think Rodgers' illusion of control is coming to an end because the results aren't appearing. It's great though because I'll never grow tired of a crazy Liverpool team/club. What was your verdict on the All Blacks? Some will be bummed that they only scored 58 but that is the usual kiwi one-eyed view - Namibia made life tough which is what you'd hope for.
WC - Oh yeah, he's perfect for Liverpool, isn't he? Always talking about 'character' and 'passion' and not living up to it... it's a lot like their fans always talking about the good old days because their team doesn't win trophies anymore. Hey, how many Liverpool fans does it take to screw in a lightbulb? At least five. One to take care of the bulb and the rest of them to talk about how good the old one was.
I thought it was a below-par performance but that's fine with me. Some guys got a solid run out there, Julian Savea broke his try drought, Milner-Scudder had a great one, as did SBW in the first half. The score isn't a huge priority, we should be glad that we won't ever see another 145 point haul from the All Blacks. Namibia competed well and that's an indication of how much smarter world rugby is becoming. They slowed the game down where they could, like in kicking goals, and limited us to what they could. Scored a nice try too, always like seeing the minnows get over the line at least once.
DD - How would you approach that game as Namibia's coach? The possibility of an upset is teeny weeny so I would just go out there and slow it down as you said. Spoil the breakdown area and just make life as hard as possible for the All Blacks. Then if you're frustrating the ABs you can throw it around later on but I would want plenty of niggle.
WC - And I think they mostly did that, to the best of their abilities. There was a huge cheer when they started kicking penalties into the corner but they didn't do that until after they'd put a few kicks over first. Fair enough. I almost wouldn't have minded if they'd kept on with that strategy, ticking the time away, but then I guess you probably only get one chance to play the All Blacks and you wanna try make the most of it after a certain point. If I were Namibian coach I'd be stoked with how they did, honestly. I don't think I'd have changed anything. Looked like they kept the niggle to an appropriate level too, no eye-gouging in this one.
Did you see British boxer Tyson Fury acting like an absolute weirdo dressing up as Batman at his presser and evicting a Joker in the front row? Reminds me of that time I watched him fight once and he apparently promised to do some a capella Elvis karaoke if he won. He did, and before he left the ring he burst into a couple verses of 'Walking In Memphis'. Disclaimer: despite Mr Fury's claim, that's not actually an Elvis song (though it is about him, close enough). Aside from all the clowning about, he's also gonna be Wladimir Klitschko's biggest challenge in ages, but, like... wtf?
DD - The best bit is that I hear Mr Fury is one of these English gyspy folks. They are always a bit crazy but you reckon he could pose some sort of threat to Klitschko?
WC - As much as anyone else can pose a threat, sure. At least until Smokin' Joe Parker's paid his dues. I mean, it won't be a foregone conclusion Floyd Mayweather fight anyway. It's reeeally hard to take him seriously when he dresses up like a comic book character for a stunt though. But fair play to him, gotta get the people talking one way or another. This is a sport where a guy once bit another guy's ear off, where a guy once parachuted into a ring. Stranger things have happened, maybe, but he'd better put up a show in the fight or he'll look like a bit of a poser, won't he?
DD - To be honest when I saw that footage of 'Batman' I thought to myself - what a twat. But then I remembered that this is boxing and anything goes, especially when you are fighting a stationary boulder in Klitschko. How are you feeling about the prescription painkiller situation in the NRL mate? You're all over the NFL where concussion and pain relief is a massive hazard - in a country that is in the midst of a painkiller epidemic in everyday society.
WC - Yeah, I mean, there are all sorts of hazards going around and in a world where gluten has become a dirty word, I'm actually shocked that prescription pills don't have more of a dark reputation. Just coz they're prescribed by a doctor doesn't make 'em safe, hence why they needs a prescription in the first place. Instead people treat painkillers like they're a magic solution. All that's happening is a dulling of the sensation itself, the causes of the pain still exists even if you aren't feeling them anymore, not to mention the many potential adverse effects of medication. Pain is a natural warning system by the human body. This is pretty serious.
DD - Serious when you consider that each and every one of these blokes has to deal with pain. Every collision will leave a dent and to get on the field each week; to earn your money would be pretty damn tough without some sort of assistance. What we need to establish right now though is that the problem is in the silly use or over-use of prescriptions. I'd say that the use of prescription pain-killers is common and fair enough but as we've seen in general society, these pills are addictive and I mean they are pills and there's somethign icky about pills.
WC - For sure, like, it's a well known thing just how evil the companies are that manufacture these things and yet we don't even bat an eyelid. And it doesn't take much to imagine how addictive it must be to have a pill that takes away your pain. It's almost like the forbidden fruit, you know? But, yes, the problem is not so much in the use of them but in the abuse of them. Something that's incredibly difficult to monitor as well, it really is in the hands of the person themselves and that's why it's crazy that there isn't more education about these things. Hopefully the Walker/Gray situation wakes a few people up because we don't wanna have to wait until the case that turns tragic.
DD - I also think it's one thing to take a few too many, but to willingly take too many and down a few energy drinks is a bit daft. The guys have said their apologies and will move on but it's definitely a reminder to the NRL and the players that this is yet another issue to keep a lid on. What's on Jarryd Hayne and Paul Lasike's radar this weekend?
WC - Nothing but business on Paul Lasike's radar. Gotta put his head down and battle away in training. Things don't tend to happen too quickly on the practice squad, but it's an important step all the same. As for Jarryd Hayne it's tough to say. He might get backup duty or he might not play at all, who knows? Well, Jim Tomsula might. It's very hard to separate the Aussie pandering from the actual journalism with Hayne, but suffice to say the 49ers are in a bit of flux below Carlos Hyde in the running back stakes. Which is normal. But Reggie Bush is still hurt so we'll probably see Hayne. Maybe as a punt returner more than anything, though that's all good, it's what he's best at.
DD - So am I giving the peptides to Hayne or Lasike?
WC - Ooh, try Hayne for now, he needs them first. But make sure he steers clear of the energy drinks.
DD - Oh nah, peptides and energy drinks works a treat mate ... if someone asks, I didn't say that. Over and out chief.
WC - Mate. You know me, I'd sooner claw my own eyeballs out than start snitching. Over and out.