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Simon Massey

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Joined August 2015

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A passionate sports fanatic who loves the ability of sport to bring communities from all across the world together.

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Completely agree Sheek. A players contribution towards winning (not their average runs / wickets) needs to be weighed against team dynamics, willingness to learn / adapt, leadership, etc.

Selections supported by analysis, not opinion

I feel like there is enough cricket data available to calculate a ‘WAR statistic’ both presently and in the past. Taking a wicket to break a partnership is an underrated aspect of the game. Much more important than taking a bag full of wickets to clean up tailenders?

Selections supported by analysis, not opinion

Totally agree re the old scouting techniques selection of Oakland’s pitching staff (at least that year). But it’s probably fair to say that Beane’s approach started a new movement in baseball? Much like Kevin Cash’s introduction of the ‘Opener’ in 2018 is being adopted by many other teams (including Oakland)?

Selections supported by analysis, not opinion

Agree that baseball has a much larger sample size, which makes it easier to develop advanced analytics. Cricket does have discrete movements like baseball though – one pitch / one ball. This would make it easier to calculate the contribution of a player to a win than other more dynamic sports.

Selections supported by analysis, not opinion

G’day I hate pies,

I agree that female athletes have been celebrated over time – I still remember the Olympic torch coming into the stadium in 2000 and being carried by some of Australia’s all-time great female athletes. However, I believe that inequality in recognition has existed across time. Margaret Court has twice the Grand Slam record of Rod Laver, but I would suggest that Laver has the stronger profile. And the article only uses Women’s AFL as an example, the changes in women’s sport are widespread – expansion of national netball competition, introduction of WBBL, changes to W-league, etc.

SM

The elite-to-participation ratio in women’s sport is low. Is it sustainable?

G’day AJ Mithen,

Thanks very much for pointing me towards the new ASC dataset – I was unaware of its existence until now. It’s interesting how all of the participation rates are significantly higher than the ABS survey for almost every sport, and often beyond expected growth in a two-year timeframe. AusPlay states that it “is different to previous national surveys in each of these aspects and any comparison of survey data should take these methodological differences into account”. I’ve had a further read of the website, but I’ve been unable to identify what specifically those methodological differences might be.

SM

The elite-to-participation ratio in women’s sport is low. Is it sustainable?

G’day TomC,

Thanks for the comments. I completely agree that participation numbers will only grow with the establishment of a league – that’s positive. My concern was more about creating something before the grassroots population was ready. Is the WAFL a year or two too soon?

SM

The elite-to-participation ratio in women’s sport is low. Is it sustainable?

G’day Simon,

Thanks for your insights and nice to see Buster, amongst others, getting involved in the conversation. It’s a really interesting discussion. A couple of thoughts:

– The controversial Australian Government Winning Edge strategy essentially provides financial support for winners. No matter how you look at it, the Kookaburras / Hockeyroos were disappointing in Rio, and there would be reasonable expectations that funding will drop in real terms over the coming years. So now provides a great opportunity to embrace a new semi-professional program to ensure future success, both on and off the field.

– Could state institutes of sport be provided with increased levels of support to enable Australia players to live in state capitals for the majority of the year? As someone who plays in the Sydney Competition, any involvement from Kookaburras on a regular basis would be brilliant.

– And finally, the message of this article serves to highlight the value of the American college sport system (across all sports – including Olympic sports). All players study and train at the same time. While the context is different in Australia, tertiary institutions need to continue to explore ways to partner with the Australian Sports Commission and state-based sports institutions. I can still remember sitting in our first-year stats course when Thorpey walked into the room…

All the best Simon.

SIMON ORCHARD: Conformity can be cowardly - The change hockey in Australia needs

Thanks for the article Mary. Articulate and addressing important issues.

Sport is a huge platform. It is played by thousands of people each weekend, and watched by millions more. It has so much potential to instigate change in society. Increasingly sports organisations are recognising this potential. The united front against homophobia over the weekend is an outstanding example. The embrace of Indigenous and Women’s Rounds in the AFL / NRL are also fantastic. On an international stage, the International Inspirations programme implemented during the London Olympics highlighted the potential of sport to take its message of inclusion right across the globe.

These initiatives are growing in value and support across the community.

Stronger as one: How sport can tackle society's biggest issues

Nathan – apologies. It is meant to read Manchester United FC. See the following link: http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11959/10209342/uefa-open-disciplinary-proceedings-against-manchester-united-and-liverpool

The denial of intention isn’t an excuse for racism

Great analysis. Djokovic’s greatest challenge has been the public’s willingness to accept another challenger to the Fed vs Nadal domination of Men’s tennis.

Could Novak Djokovic be the greatest of all time?

Thanks for your thoughts Ronan. I think selecting a T20 Australian team is potentially the most difficult of all due to the lack of match play from our test stars. Do we assume that because Warner / Smith and Hazlewood are in sparkling test form that this will carry through to T20? How do you balance this when every other player who is in contention is out there playing every second night?

My key challenge to your squad, and it reflects an article I wrote the other day, ‘Spinning all-rounder provides balance’, is Australia’s continual focus on pace-bowling all-rounders. Considering the records of Faulkner, Watson and Marsh over the past 12 months, and in light of the spin-friendly Indian pitches, Ashton Agar must be considered a legitimate contender for the T20 squad. While his bowling still has a lot of improving, he provides a viable third spin-bowling option to our first XI (in addition to Lyon and Maxwell), and takes the ball away from right-handers. In his limited opportunities across BBL5, he has 3/50 across 6 overs at an economy of 8.3. SOK is also handy with the bat and worth considering…

A number of BBL teams carry three spinners almost every game (Sixers – Lyon, SOK, Botha; Scorchers – Hogg, Agar, Turner to name a few), and it is almost guaranteed that the majority of international teams will carry three spinners at the World Cup.

I believe that a second spin-bowling all-rounder is worth considering…

Paine and Hastings in my Australian World T20 squad

Interesting comments.

Mitch Marsh is indeed a promising prospect for the Australian team, but is he the right prospect? Long-term Marsh has the potential to be a destructive all-rounder, maybe like Ben Stokes has become for England. But is it worth investing the time in him? My argument is not that Agar is better than Marsh (I honestly don’t think there is much between them), more that Agar provides the long-term balance that the Australian team needs.

Long-term, an Australia bowling line-up with 3 pace bowlers (Starc, Hazlewood, Pattinson), 2 spinners (Lyon and Agar), and Steve Smith to occasionally throw a few down could be the best approach. In all pitch conditions, a spin-bowling all-rounder adds variety and depth to an attack.

An alternative option would be the side that Australia played at the SCG, with two spinners, two pace-bowlers and Marsh (or alternative pace-bowling all-rounder). Again, this provided a balanced attack, and O’Keefe is handy with the bat. However, with the Australian quicks being highly injury-prone, a situation where a pace-bowler breaks down on the opening morning would be disastrous. Only one genuine bowler for the remainder of the match.

In regards to the batting order, I would be inclined to push Nevill up to number six and bat Agar (or alternative spinning all-rounder at 7).

Looking forward to hearing more thoughts…

Spinning all-rounder provides balance

Great Australian Olympic memories – thanks for sharing John.

I’d add Matthew Mitcham’s Gold Medal in the 10m platform at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as another highlight. The Chinese won every other diving gold medal, and to beat them in front of their home crowd was immense. If I’m not mistaken, Mitcham’s final dive is the single highest score in Olympic history.

Bring on more memories in Rio.

Rio 2016: Looking back at Australia's gold medal performances

Thanks Klaus – a sensational article and a concept that I have thought about before. Leadership is definitely more than being the best player on the field, particularly with the strategy required in test match cricket. We have seen a few examples of ‘leaders’ being chosen in recent times in cricket, and quite successfully. Graeme Smith was appointed South African captain at the age of 22 even though he was not even a certainty in the Proteas. In hindsight this selection can only be viewed as a wise decision considering that he ushered in one of the most successful South African teams of all time. In Australia, George Bailey was essentially picked as captain for the T20 team without the runs to warrant his selection. Furthermore, in the World Cup earlier in the year one of the major newspapers appropriately ran a headline – “Bailey – a captain without a team”. He has long been praised for his leadership ability and has been quite successful as captain.

So maybe Australia’s option could have been to pick Bailey as captain?! He would average 30 (no different to Marsh x2, Voges or Clarke recently) but would have brought a strategic mind to the game. That could have been a courageous and bold move!

Are we selecting captains in the wrong way?

Thanks for the comments and interest. Julie Corletto might provide a recent case of a sports player retiring on top, but considering her injuries, that’s quite understandable…

The question of needing to retire ‘on top’ for the good of the team is a fascinating one. Haddin and Clarke are two examples in the Australian cricket team who did not retire “on top”. But maybe a more important question is whether that’s their responsibility in the first place? Do players own their own positions in a team or is it the selectors role to pick the best team available? And assuming its the latter, is it wrong for these two players to fight to retain their place? Is there any shame in not being selected, like what happened to Haddin in the third test? Maybe the solution to this conundrum is selectors making bolder statements in their picking of teams. Break the culture of entitlement.

Personally, I would find it invigorating to see Haddin and Clarke return for the Blue Baggers (NSW) this summer, just because they love the game…

Retiring on top is a myth, just ask Hewitt and Goodes