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.



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

The best answer to your questions is Secretariat.

When you line-breed to maintain the beneficial traits, you also reduce the variations in each successive generation. One consequence of that is that if you introduce new genetic material, the effects of that material will be more similar in all the horses that have been bred through the same lines than it would in other populations. So, there can be mixes of genes out there that aren’t of so much help in some lines, but when you cross them to the right line they’ll be much more beneficial, better penetrance as it were.

Of course, when you breed the best mares you have with the best sires when they are quite closely related, you’ll get consistently good horses. It’s not a bad idea at all, but others will do the same thing and if they have more horses they’ll eventually overtake you. It might take centuries, but they will.

So, at some point you cross to another line, and for Nearco a very important cross happened when his grandson Bold Ruler mated with Somethingroyal, daughter of Princequillo. This cross was extremely productive, where the right combinations of genes that may not have previously mixed did, with stunning results.

The only issue when this happens, is that for the progeny of Secretariat, the mix of the right genes aren’t necessarily inherited. Secretariat was just not a champion sire in comparison to his deeds on the track. Good, but no champion. Eventually though, after some generations, the better mixes of this cross produced champion sires (for instance, Sir Tristram through Secretariats half brother Sir Gaylord with Princequillo also on the mare’s side).

The trouble for the studs is that you can probably only truly predict these results in hindsight. Someone has to experiment with crossing different lines before you know which crosses can do this. I would think that the idea of a champion spontaneously introducing a new mutation or haplotype is not as likely as a rare mutation or haplotype crossing into a very well-bred line, but I’m sure in 20 years we’ll find out so much more about genetics that I’ll look back and laugh at how naïve my post is!

The Sydney Cup renews the Godolphin-Williams stoush

Can I jump in on the genetics discussion as, to be fair, I do have one or two academic publications that include genetics, albeit it’s not my primary field by a long stretch?

It might seem like the thoroughbred genetics are set in stone, and that is certainly true when you compare large cohorts. It would be slower in a population where 1 mare = 1 offspring to change the characteristics of the average horse than in mice or dogs or rabbits.

However, when you’re talking about comparing the best horses of a generation, then rarer changes in genetics need to be considered and are more likely to have an effect. This isn’t just mutations (there’s an average of ~60 mutations per generation in humans, which we know from studying people with rare mutations that are not inherited, my current academic area of interest, just search me on pubmed if you want to see what I do), but also rare recombinations that create novel haplotypes. Basically, genes aren’t randomly shuffled, genes which are closer to each other on the chromosome are less likely to undergo recombinations and are generally inherited together, but on rare occasions there’ll be a recombination to introduce a new haplotype, or combination of genes, that wasn’t previously present in the population.

Whether champion thoroughbreds had such a significant shift in their genome is anyone’s guess, although whole genome sequencing is getting cheap enough to find out.

The Sydney Cup renews the Godolphin-Williams stoush

Quite. I used the Good Friday holiday to do the form for Easter Egg and wouldn’t mind a few more Fridays off without racing, if I’m honest.

Time to bring in Good Friday racing, plus five Saturday tips

Yes, I know that’s the case with Folau but I’m talking about the how the Folau incident is getting people to think about the rights of employers and employees. People are thinking about their own contracts and social media accounts and whether they’re protected.

As I said, it’s no bad thing if people start to debate this a bit more deeply and that a greater range of people contribute than the usual suspects.

Izzy and Rugby AU: A monumental misconception

I don’t know if a majority of people see the issue this way, but there are a lot of people who seem to be genuinely in disagreement with Israel Folau, but are uncomfortable at the employers’, and the sponsors and media, power to sack him over it. I share that discomfort. To date, the free speech bandwagon hasn’t really sold many tickets in Australia, but this incident seems to have some people arguing they’d like a few more protections than are currently allowed in law, the right to make a mistake, as it were. I think it’s no bad thing if this incident gets people thinking a little more deeply about free speech, the consequences of free speech and what the limits of employers, courts and corporations should be on restricting a persons speech should be.

Izzy and Rugby AU: A monumental misconception

Fair to say that his progeny hasn’t exactly set the world on fire as yet. Surely he’d have beaten Shamus Award in the Cox Plate if he’d raced another season? Pierro’s throwing his fair share of G1 horses though. Two other horses that retired early and would have liked to see continue were Ocean Park and StarSpangledbanner. Also, Haradasun and Starcraft exploits overseas were very impressive and would have been interesting to see how they would have gone if they stayed in Australia.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

I think that two exceptional horses to miss this list, Pierro and All too Hard, say a lot about the different perceptions of horses to those heavily inside the industry, and those who follow and enjoy it.

Although the wfa credentials of the two horses shouldn’t be in question, both went superbly in an epic cox plate and All Too Hard beat a cracking field in the All Aged, the early retirement of the colts for breeding really robs the horses of any legacy in the eyes of the racegoing public.

When All Too Hard retired we were told it was because he “had nothing left to prove”. If that were true, he’d be on lists like this.

The 20 greatest Australian racehorses of the past 20 years

Well, now the MCC have changed their mind and argued it should have been given not out, as Buttler did not leave his crease before Ashwin was expected to release the ball, and was only out of his ground because Ashwin delayed to take off the bails.

Jos Buttler is a two-time Mankad loser

Ok, the MCC have now clarified their position to say that it was not out due to the pause between Ashwin stopping at the crease and removing the bails. But who knows, they could change their mind in the next half hour the way they’re going.

The Mankad rises from the deep

“The MCC, in a densely worded response, said it was out and the umpire was right”.

No, they didn’t. They said:

“Yesterday’s decision could have been ruled out or not out…”

They did state clearly, well clearly for them, that it wasn’t outside the spirit of the game.

The Mankad rises from the deep

A Western Union telegram, to be precise.

Jos Buttler is a two-time Mankad loser

Well, the MCC has released a statement where they have argued that Buttler being run out was the correct decision, and if he was given not out that would also be the correct decision. This is because they have decided that the interpretation of “normally expected to release the ball” can vary from actually releasing the ball, to the point in time when a bowler would release the ball if they continued through their normal delivery stride and bowling action.

While I appreciate their committment to world peace by telling everyone on the internet that they’re right, and making a continuation of this particular argument unnecessary, I think allowing individual players and umpires to have such wide interpretations over the law is stupid, likely to cause fights at different levels of cricket and completely indefensible.

Jos Buttler is a two-time Mankad loser

Geez, the articles get even worse. Buttler did not leave his crease before the ball would be expected to be released. He was out of his crease because Ashwin stopped. There’s nothing wrong with the Mankad, but in this specific instance it should have been not out.

Jos Buttler is a two-time Mankad loser

Oh lordy. The ICC did re-think the Mankad and change the laws with the explicit aim of stopping batsmen gaining an unfair advantage by leaving their crease early. A sentiment I agree with entirely.

However, to prevent bowlers from trying to trick the non-striker into being run out, the laws were written as:

“If the non-striker is out of his/her ground from the moment the ball comes into play to when the bowler would normally be expected to release the ball, the bowler is permitted to attempt to run him/her out”.

Not when the ball is released but when it is normally expected to be released.

The Ashwin run out was a very poor decision by the umpire, because Buttler wasn’t early to leave his ground. I don’t necesaarily think Ashwin’s actions were wrong, he may well have thought Buttler left his crease early. But the video was pretty clear that, under the laws, he was not out.

So, instead of “re-thinking the Mankad”, how about everybody, including senior umpires, take a step back and read the new laws, think about how they apply and give them a chance to properly work at all levels of the game?

Time to rethink the Mankad?