The Roar
The Roar

Nathan Absalom

Roar Guru

Joined March 2015







The author is a member of the Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA) and has a family member that is a Director of the GBOTA. These opinions are his own. I am a loyal Souths supporter and have played a lot of cricket, bowling an almost infinite number of full tosses in my life.



There was also tackling a player in the air, so I think it was 4-3 for ruck/offside penalties, with no ruck/offside penalties in the second half.

Refs were much better than the defence of both teams, which will see Souths bundled out next week, in my view. Mind you, you’d probably have to forget to take out the whistle to go worse than some of South’s defence the last few weeks….

Six talking points from South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles NRL semi-final

And I think the introduction of divisions helped improve English cricket as a whole. The better players in contention for test selection now play a better standard of cricket more consistently, although it makes it harder for selectors to compare players.

I wouldn’t be a Test selector for quids

I wouldn’t disagree with that, Gary Ballance scores runs in County Cricket! But I would say that players like Bell, Cook and Root were given opportunities when they were 20-22 partly on the basis that they weren’t going to learn enough in County cricket. Our players are given longer in Shield cricket to develop, partly because our selectors feel they learn more in the Shield than against all bar 4 Test sides. Less true now than 10 years ago, but still. So I think England will be well advised to select a younger batting side over the next 18 months.

I wouldn’t be a Test selector for quids

I think Ollie Pope was the young prodigy averaging high 50’s in the county championship but dislocated his shoulder at the start of the season. I just looked up this year’s stats and he averaged 84 in 4 matches on return. Last year’s champions Surrey had good youngsters as well, I think they fielded 3 or 4 teenagers at one point in 2017.

The Ashes probably came at the wrong time for England, and the next 18 months or so will see their youth start to sort themselves out and get chances in the test team. We have a similar situation, but sometimes you just have to give players their opportunity and let them sort themselves out.

I wouldn’t be a Test selector for quids

Well said. Although if I were a selector and we needed a draw in the last test to win the series, I wouldn’t replace a batsman with an allrounder. But, then the allrounder took 5-for, so what do I know?

I’m a bit more worried about Marnus than most. If I were Joe Root I’d have asked myself why someone with his test and first class record was batting 3. I’d then bring the spinner on to him immediately to see how he played them early in his innings. I reckon he’ll get a few captains with good spinners do that to him.

But a better way to think of it is to consider the plight of the English selectors. When they came over here their test batsmen just weren’t good enough but their one-day batsmen were flying. The obvious solution, put some of the one-day team into the test team, ended up being a terrible idea.

I wouldn’t be a Test selector for quids

And maybe a bit of a think about footwork as well. As you say with Burns, it looks unorthodox but his feet are balanced and allowing him to play the shots he wants to play, rather than looking to be able to get into position to score all around the ground. I feel that English coaches at many levels have swung from too much emphasis on footwork to not enough.

Finally, a big well done to the major writers of the Roar during the cricket world cup and ashes. The coverage has been uniformly excellent, much better than anywhere else, informative and challenging in equal parts.

England set to slide down Test rankings

Excellent preview, very astute observations Scott, I enjoyed reading it and strongly agree that there are times Australia need to bowl fuller.

I think, with Smith, the question is whether they feel that the bounce at Lord’s was variable and causing all the trouble, or whether the line Archer bowled when pitching short caused Smith more trouble. I felt Archer was aiming his bouncers at a line outside off stump to Smith, and as he moves across his stumps he had real difficulties. I have no doubt Smith can adjust if that is the case, but it could be difficult to do that in a short space of time. It will be interesting to see how that battle develops.

I still feel that England’s ability to gift so many wickets to Australia will end up deciding the series.

The Ashes: England vs Australia, fourth Test preview, prediction

That’s not what I was saying at all. The English players are quality cricketers, but Smith is a once in a generation player, Cummins nearly is and I believe Archer will be, his control and intelligence are every bit as good as his pace. Stokes is an excellent player in form, Root is an excellent player who often loses concentration to miss out on big hundreds while Broad is also high quality, but so is his Australian counterpart. The others, all 7 of them, are good cricketers that are yet to establish themselves at test level. I think this Australian side is of high enough quality that they should be confident in beating such an English side, it doesn’t require an exceptional captain to make the difference. What do you think of the English side that is different to that summary, and why do you think Australia shouldn’t be confident in beating them?

T-Paine worth more than just runs to the baggy greens

I just don’t agree, at all, and I don’t think the last hour of the Headingly test match is the right time or place to judge Paine’s captaincy. I think that taking the captaincy away from Paine wouldn’t be smart, but he must improve and be prepared to listen to some of the valid criticism being applied by highly experienced cricketers.

Two situations to me exemplify the shortcomings of Paine’s captaincy. In the final test against India, Hazelwood started brightly pitching the ball up and searching for wickets. After taking 1/9 off four and looking as likely as anyone in the series to take a wicket, he was dragged so Starc and Cummins could bowl short stuff on a road. This worked a treat as India were left on the ropes declaring at 6/600-odd and ensuring a series victory.

The second was with the second new ball at Headingly. It very quickly became clear that England planned to score heavily off the new ball and Australia were caught on the hop, with the track much flatter than they expected. Every man and his dog worked out that Lyon needed to come into the attack, but Paine delayed the inevitable, at one stage bringing Pattinson to bowl with a deep point. He’s lacking cricket nous, but he hasn’t captained for long and should be given the opportunity to improve.

Finally, I don’t see why an Australian series win should be a surprise. This Australian side has some serious talent, Steve Smith currently has the second highest batting average ever, and Pat Cummins the 23rd lowest bowling average ever. England have one out and out superstar but he’s only played two tests, and they have a seemingly infinite capacity to gift wickets to the opposition. They don’t compare at all to the Michael Vaughan-led side of 2005 at the moment.

So yeah, Paine needs to improve his captaincy a lot, and I think that the people who are making rational and observant criticisms of him shouldn’t be ignored by people who irrationally fixate on mistakes that are consequential only because the score is very close.

T-Paine worth more than just runs to the baggy greens

I agree that this point in the game was critical, but the English batsmen should get a lot more praise than the Australian bowlers criticism. They clearly decided to attack the second new ball that put pressure on the Australian bowlers. I also thought that the Australian bowlers did not bowl much better immediately after lunch, the two key wickets were a half-tracker that Bairstow should have despatched to the boundary and a run out, but the swing in pressure then brought the Australians back into the game and then the bowling was much better. England caught Australia on the hop, changed the game their way and deserved their win, I thought.

The hour that cost Australia victory

Quite generous to Tim Paine although, to be fair, Joe Root is a bit uninspiring as skipper as well.

Australia third Ashes Test player ratings: Labuschagne and Hazlewood the best performers in stunning loss

Yeah, I agree with this. England now can’t afford to lose a test and have a batting order as solid as playing a game of jenga with a 3 year old. I’d rather be Australua than England.

However, their bowling is now exceptional. It is not simply Archer’s pace that is the issue, it is everything else he brings. Bowls stump to stump. Good seam position. Long spells maintaining quality. Accurate. Highly intelligent. His decision to focus on bowling short to Smith on a line outside off stump, for instance, was really crucial, it gave Smith few options when he moved across his stumps, catching him in very awkward positions. Additionally, Leach is miles better than Ali with the ball, at the moment. But it all means nought if they get skittled for 60 in one of the remaining tests which, frankly, I’d take shorter than even money to happen at the moment.

Warner and Khawaja face make or break Ashes Test

Minor point, but Mystic Journey is a group 1 winner taking out the Australian Guineas. I am assuming you mean group 1 wfa winner?

I tend to agree with what you’re saying about her though, and would want to wait and see how some of the 3yos progress before making any Cox Plate predictions, for instance.

Be wary backing Mystic Journey too early

Ironically it was George Burgess who was suspended for two games for throwing the water bottle.

Debate rages as Sam Burgess successful at NRL judiciary

It is completely appropriate for the ICC to remain silent on this issue. The MCC write the laws and provide clarifications, not the ICC. Cricket doesn’t need two different bodies defining the laws of the game.

But yeah, the decision wasn’t the right one when I read the laws.

ICC issues statement on controversial Cricket World Cup moment

I think that was Munster in the grand final. Curtis Scott was sent off against Manly for decking Dylan Walker.

But the bar has to be reduced significantly and players should be told to treat playing with twelve as a challenge, not drop their bundle because of the one-man disadvantage.

The NRL needs to better protect its players

“It’s been said before but in 2018, 112 players were sin binned and zero were sent off”

Minor detail, but wasn’t Curtis Scott sent off last year, or did I imagine that?

Otherwise, completely agree with the article.

The NRL needs to better protect its players

I wish there was a way to increase the amount of likes to a thousand specifically for this comment. The truth is that crackdowns on advertising for sports betting would be counterproductive.

The reason is exactly as you point out, poker machines. They are far more addictive than other forms of betting and contribute far, far more to problem gambling, and as you say, they don’t advertise.

But during the period where advertising for online went genuinely beserk, what happened to gambling in Australia? Well, in real per capita terms, it went down. People spent less money on gambling. Probably because more people were betting online on products with less potential for harm than poker machines.

The data is in this article I wrote here.

The idea that if you restrict gambling ads then people will gamble considerably less is so self evident that no-one who espouses it checks the empirical data to see if it is true.

I’m all for regulating gambling, but what’s the bloody point of introducing regulations that will fail?

Australia must overhaul its position on gambling

I think there is a common misunderstanding from the AFL that has affected their judgement of the AFL expansion into Sydney and Queensland. Basically, the AFL rarely competes with the NRL for supporters. The only time that they did was during the disastrous Super League era, where supporters were disenfranchised and supported other sporting codes, to the eternal benefit of the Swans and the temporary benefit to the Waratahs. In more recent years, the AFL has been successfully competing against Rugby Union, and as that code meanders from one self-inflicted wound to another, supporters have been drifting from Rugby to the AFL.

Out west, things are a tad different. Even many of the people who passionately support NRL play and enjoy the round ball game and they don’t give that much of a stuff about rugby. They are also attracted to representative fixtures, State of Origin, Wallabies and Socceroos games that the AFL don’t have. They are more comfortable talking about Champions Leagues fixtures than AFL ones, in somewhat of a contradiction to the insular, working class depictions that have been made on this thread.

So, my view is that the AFL have done pretty well in the region, great investment in junior sport and the like. But they have done poorly in understanding the region and many people have set them unachievable benchmarks because they seem to believe that the NRL clubs here are a soft brand, rather than being institutions that are ingrained more deeply into the culture of the area. Ironically, it was the same thinking caused the Super League war to be so destructive to the NRL. The AFL will need to wait for the NRL to make a big mistake for GWS to be truly popular, although that’s not exactly a risky strategy when looking at the history of rugby league in Australia, rather than clinging on to the misguided belief that the support of the Giants is solely down to the deeds of the AFL.

GWS are tearing up the AFL, so where are the fans?

I think it’s a bigger jump than that. For five of those meetings they go from 2% to 3% (and 2.5% to 3.5%) as they are currently standard meetings, and only for the Spring Champion Stakes day they go from 2.5% to 3.5% and 3% to 3.5%, as they are currently listed races or above.

But let’s not get into too many details or we’ll be at cross-purposes and miss the point. I don’t want to knock V’landys, but get people to think about how and why racing is about to undergo changes on the big racedays, at the flagship meetings, and whether this is a good idea.

If I were RacingNSW, I’d have probably done something similar, as the incentives that they have through legislation is now to have many more meetings with a single feature race, very different to the ’90’s where big races were consolidated into fewer meetings. They also have incentives to place those races on the same day as the traditional features, so we have the $1 million Bondi on Cox Plate day and the Golden Gift on Derby Day, for instance.

The trouble is that whatever we think of the corporates, that’s where a lot of the punters are. If racing pushes too hard on revenue, and at the moment this is occurring both with increased racefields legislation and point of consumption tax, there will be consequences. First with poorer percentages in the fixed odds markets, and then in the longer term, better incentives for people to bet on sport than racing.

I should be clear that the Golden Eagle and Everest aren’t part of this equation, but the decision to spread $1 million feature events over as many days as possible is. Also, taking features to Kembla and Newcastle should be applauded, good idea. And, of course, I may be wrong and there is plenty of room to generate more revenue from punters without seeing them head to other forms of betting, but I personally believe that there is an ever-present danger that racing talks itself into taking punters for granted.

The racing industry is its own biggest enemy

I am. And please, stop calling me Shirley

Mitchell axed, seven changes for NSW Blues Origin 2 team

I’m sorry I missed this article, I was intending to write one on this subject but work is horrendously busy at the moment.

The Victoria/NSW thing is a sideshow. A complete sideshow. These decisions are about money, and it’s treating punters for mugs.

The first question you should ask is why have so many races for a million dollars spread over so many Saturdays? And the answer is that racefields legislation allow RacingNSW the right to charge bookmakers a higher percentage of turnover and profits on an entire meeting if there is a million dollar race on the card. These changes take the number of such days to 14, more than a quarter of Saturday race meetings over the year.

So, the second question is why place those days on the same days as the Victorian carnival? And the reason is that when Victoria have big meetings, the turnover on NSW race meetings increase. They don’t have to compete with Victoria to be financially successful, they can simply ride the success of the Victorian carnival, they know they can have a race restricted to donkeys unplaced in their last 30 starts and they’ll still come out ahead.

But it’s the punters who will pay with worse markets, fewer offers and more emails of “Dear successful punter, your priveleges of being able to have a decent amount of money on a horse have been removed. Send our regards to Betfair”.

Finally, the media should at least have the decency to tell punters what’s happening and why, rather than treat them for mugs.

The racing industry is its own biggest enemy

Looks like Fittler picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue….

Mitchell axed, seven changes for NSW Blues Origin 2 team

First AFL game I went to was at the SCG with my now wife who is a bombers supporter, so she gave me a hat and a scarf to wear. At 3/4 time, this petite elderly lady, in her 80’s, was walking past and saw my bombers hat and scarf. She walked right up to my face then yelled as loud as she could “F@$k the bombers!!!”

Geez it was funny. I can see argument of the author and Scott, but I think in the two circumstances cited a warning or a quiet word to the fan along the lines of “settle down, that’s going a bit far isn’t it? Don’t want to have to talk to you again”, would probably be more effective in getting the desired result.

Why the AFL is right to remove abusive spectators

I think that the biggest take away from the game is that, right at the moment, Walker and Mitchell should not be on the same team. It was obvious from very early on that they were not on the same page when NSW ran it on the last and Walker gave it to Mitchell early with an opportunity to run at his opposite number and then he chose to kick it, and Walker must have been thinking he’d have kicked it himself if he knew that’s what Mitchell was going to do.

In defence, Mitchell was all over the place and ran at gaps rather than tackle players, but seemingly more keen on blaming those around him. I think Mitchell is more used to a half that comes out of the defensive line and Walker preferring to slide, but they both seemed to make things harder for each other and Addo-Carr was left perplexed in defence most of the game. It was instructive that NSW scored their late try with Walker shifting to the right and putting Murray into space with a nice short ball when nothing was on.

I’d have hooked Mitchell rather than Walker, he seemed to be handling it worse, but Fittler had to hook one of them. Does he take a chance the two of them sort it out for the next match? I wouldn’t, but I’m not sure which one I’d give the boot to.

New South Wales Blues player ratings: Game 1