David White’s Blog

Warner was denied the opportunity to create history

DAVID WHITE

David Warner had the cricketing world in a spin at Adelaide Oval against Pakistan.

An unbeaten 335 in the second Test was nothing short of spectacular.

Aside from the fact that Warner spooned a catch to gully off a “no ball”, it was a near-perfect innings.

Safe to admit that Warner isn’t everyone’s cup of tea considering he was the catalyst behind the Cape Town atrocity.

The fact that he wouldn’t spill the beans – even under duress – when he returned from South Africa just made your skin crawl.

However, Warner paid his dues and returned to the Australian side despite a less than flattering Ashes series in England.

A good record in Australia no doubt saved him from the axe, and boy, hasn’t he made every post a winner.

Incredibly, he survives a dismissal off a “no ball” en route to a century at the Gabba in the first Test against Pakistan.

A headline through the week said that despite Warner’s heroics in Adelaide, he didn’t exactly end up with the plaudits that someone like a Steve Smith would have received.

The headline went on to say that a lot of Australian cricket fans still haven’t forgiven Warner after allegedly encouraging Cameron Bancroft to damage the cricket ball with sandpaper.

Warner was on fire in Adelaide, and Matt Hayden’s Australian record (380) and Brian Lara’s world record (400) were suddenly appearing on the radar.

The swashbuckling Australian opening batsman was scoring with ease.

And he deserved the opportunity hunt down those two Test match records.

We then hear that when it comes to the Australian cricket side under the tutelage of Justin Langer and Tim Paine, the team comes first before the individual.

There was the forecast of wet weather in Adelaide that may have been a hindrance in Australia’s pursuit for victory.

In the end, Australia creamed Pakistan with four sessions remaining in the match.

When Warner passed 334 – a score achieved in the past by Don Bradman and Mark Taylor – he appeared to head straight for the dressing room.

Clearly, Warner was granted the opportunity to post the second highest Test score by an Australian batsman.

The fact that Australia declared on a beautiful sunny day with plenty of time remaining before the “lunch” break was ludicrous.

It is highly unlikely that Warner will ever have the chance to break the records of Hayden and Lara again.

In other words, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Australia wanted to bowl at Pakistan at night on the second day – even though they had no idea when the rain would arrive.

The bottom line is that Warner was dudded.

Warner may have been forgiven after what transpired at Newlands, but his transgression has not been forgotten.

And the conspiracy theories have started already.

It’s pure speculation, but consider the following.

Langer and Hayden formed one of the best opening batting combinations in the history of Australian cricket, and also had a strong bond and relationship.

Did Langer want to see Warner break Hayden’s record?

And did Cricket Australia and the International Cricket Council want to see a player, who will forever be remembered as the Cape Town instigator, break two highly significant records?

Makes you wonder how Warner was allowed to exceed the highest score achieved by Australia’s greatest ever cricketer.

Had the shoe been on the other foot, it also makes you wonder if Australia would have declared at 3-589 had it been Smith unbeaten on 335 instead of Warner.

The final wash-up is that we’ll never know.

A final thought.

Warner has apparently been welcomed back to the Australian team with open arms.

He has served his time after committing the crime.

Why then was Warner’s wife Candice spotted sitting in the crowd on her own celebrating the achievements of her husband instead of being in the company of an Australian teammate’s wife or girlfriend?

It seemed strange, if not odd.

 

 

 

 

Canberra Raiders were always a NRL premiership threat

At the start of the NRL season you assess all the teams before you nominate your Top 8.

And of course, you settle on eight teams who will hopefully have their best players on deck come the finals.

Absolutely had no hesitation nominating Canberra.

In fact, tipped the Raiders to finish in fourth place.

Had a decent side on paper and adequate depth.

Could say that one did their homework on their English recruits.

Wasn’t sure who would end up playing fullback, but hasn’t Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad grabbed his opportunity by the throat.

Jack Wighton playing at five-eighth came as a surprise, but then again who would have expected him to play in the centres for NSW.

The Raiders were a $17 chance to win the 2019 premiership when the market was released in October last year.

Despite receiving little recognition, Canberra kept rolling along and sat comfortably in the Top 8.

Discussing who would make the Top 8 with mates, I nominated the Raiders as a candidate without hesitation.

The response was mixed.

At the end of the State of Origin series it was apparent that the “Green Machine” would most likely crack the Top 4.

Turning for home in the race for the 2019 premiership it then became clear that it was a three horse race – Storm, Roosters and Raiders.

Didn’t rate the Rabbitohs, the Eels and Sea Eagles had overachieved, the Sharks were far too inconsistent, and the Broncos were making up the numbers.

However, I will give you 58 reasons why the Tigers – instead of the Broncos – would have been a lot more competitive had they got a crack at the Eels in the first week of the finals.

The Raiders roll the Storm in Melbourne in August and suddenly the world seemingly takes notice.

Ricky Stuart’s mob slip up at home in the final round against those unpredictable Warriors and finish in 4th place.

The Raiders would have been on the road against the Roosters in the first week of the finals had they finished 3rd.

Instead, Canberra heads back to Melbourne and once again they produce a stunning win over the Storm.

Proves that their first win over the runaway minor premiers was no fluke.

The plaudits for the Raiders only intensifies.

Proves that the media were all “warm and fuzzy” when it came to the Storm, Roosters, Rabbitohs, Eels, Sea Eagles and Sharks.

Even the Broncos and Tigers received more love than the Raiders.

Could it be that with Ricky Stuart at the helm as coach Canberra weren’t in the premiership equation?

A gutsy win over the Rabbitohs in the preliminary final and Canberra cracks the grand final.

Their first since 1994 and significantly 30 years after their first grand final triumph.

All week, it has been suggested that it will be a massive upset if the Raiders roll the Roosters in the grand final.

Say what?

The Raiders are a talented bunch and at full strength are a formidable opponent.

In recent years, it has been proven that to achieve premiership success you’ve got to have your best side on the paddock in the final game of the season.

Do you think the Roosters roll the Storm in last year’s grand final without Cooper Cronk?

The Roosters are basically fielding their best team in the grand final – although many will argue that Jake Friend is a huge omission.

On the other side of the fence there is a question mark in regards to the fitness of Joey Leilua.

We’ll find out more come Sunday, won’t we?

And the good news for those supporting the Raiders is that no team has won back to back grand finals in 26 years.

It should be an intriguing grand final and if both teams bring their A grade game to the table it could go right down to the wire.

Finally, the Roosters were a $5.00 favourite to win the 2019 premiership this time last year.

By the way, I am a Roosters supporter.

Below is my Top 8 in 2019 before Round 1 and as you can see there’s no Storm, Eels, Sea Eagles or Sharks.

Proves that the NRL is arguably the most even competition in Australia and that as a coach Storm’s Craig Bellamy has no peer in this country.

COWBOYS

ROOSTERS

PANTHERS

RAIDERS

RABBITOHS

WARRIORS

BRONCOS

DRAGONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One clear omission from 2019 All Australian squad

Every year there is debate when the AFL names it’s All Australian squad.

Not an easy process to settle on a final 22 when you consider that up to 40 players would be worthy of selection.

Perhaps it’s time for the AFL to consider naming a B Team.

Just like the NBA, who name a second starting five at the end of the season.

The fact that the likes of James Sicily, Isaac Heeney, Robbie Grey, Travis Boak, Steele Sidebottom, Lachie Whitfield, Ben Brown, Hugh McCluggage, Dustin Martin, Luke Shuey, Nick Vlastuin and a certain Gary Ablett can’t crack the side proves what a difficult task it is for All Australian selectors.

However, if becoming an All Australian is based on consistency then one player was incredibly unlucky not to be named this year.

The fact he didn’t make the starting 18 was surprising, but to miss out on a spot on the bench is bewildering.

That player is GWS Giants defender Nick Haynes.

His omission is worse than West Coast’s Shannon Hurn not being named All Australian captain for a second straight year.

No offence to Nat Fyfe, but Hurn has guided West Coast to great heights in recent years.

Anyone seriously think that the Eagles would win the premiership last year?

Not here to bag anyone – but there are at least five players who were lucky to make the 2019 All Australian squad.

Critics argue that there should be a criteria, a formula if you will, when it comes to naming the squad.

Picking a player in his rightful position instead of finding a spot in the squad for one of the many outstanding midfielders and on-ballers who dominate the AFL landscape.

In other words, a squad comprising the best forwards, defenders, midfielders, on-ballers and followers, as well as four players who can play more than one position.

Someone like former West Coast premiership player Adam Hunter, who could play as a forward and as a defender.

Or former St Kilda and Hawthorn star Peter Everett, a high quality ruckman, who could go forward and kick crucial goals.

And why doesn’t the AFL name an All Australian coach?

It should be on the agenda.

Brisbane’s Chris Fagan would have been a worthy winner in 2019.

What a pity the All Australian squad doesn’t get to play a game.

When would a player have the opportunity to take the field with the other members named in the All Australian squad?

In a perfect world, wouldn’t it be great to see the All Australians play a representative match at the start of the season the following year.

One year against Victoria, the next against South Australia followed by games against Western Australia and the Allies.

It would make for a spectacular start to a new season.

The All Australians and there opponents would get a run under their belt during the pre-season.

Injuries occur in any sport, no matter what time of year, but a game between the All Australians and a Victorian State of Origin team at the start of a season makes more sense than AFLX.

Add a few more players to the bench for the pre-season game that would launch the new season – just like when the Big V played the All Stars in the last genuine representative match the AFL staged in 2008.

Representative football where by the best players in the AFL take on Ireland in International Rules just doesn’t cut it.

 

 

 

 

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