When daylight swimming was illegal


To celebrate its proud history, the club is holding a sold-out centenary function at the Manly Pacific to be emceed by Athens 2004 Olympian Brooke Hanson. The club will also present the team gear to a new generation of Olympic hopefuls as they prepare for the 2024 Olympic trials in Brisbane.

Bravo. And all these years on, well done William Gocher!

A crowded Manly beach in March.

A crowded Manly beach in March.Credit: James Brickwood

A long slog

Every now and then in this game, you come across stuff so perfectly written it nigh takes your breath away.

This was Jonathan Liew in The Guardian this week on the competition that ate cricket.

Take it away, Jonathan.

Jake Fraser-McGurk has been on fire with the bat for Delhi Capitals in the IPL.

Jake Fraser-McGurk has been on fire with the bat for Delhi Capitals in the IPL.Credit: AP

“IPL seasons are now so long that none of the individual parts really matter any more. The competition itself is less important than the content it generates: an empire of product, cricket reimagined as a kind of fungible processed matter.”

Ain’t that just … it?

All of it, just a blur – to the players, the supporters, the distant followers of the game. Back in the day, horse racing used to be an event, a big gala day with race-goers coming from miles away, and talked about for months afterwards. Then it became, for the most part, wallpaper in the wild.

As the gambling industry became industrialised it needed ever more product, the frequency of races grew exponentially, and while the gamblers leaned in, the rest of us completely leaned out. It got to the point that, “in the fifth race at Randwick today …” on the TV news became so ingrained as the point that we flicked over, that they stopped running it. I am not alone in thinking that is broadly what has happened to cricket, as witness the remarks of Liew, and indeed those of Jonathan Agnew last month.

“I can’t get excited by somebody’s move from the Delhi Daredevils to the wot-sit,” he told the Sunday Times. “If people are brought up thinking that that is what cricket is, that’s a real shame.”

To be fair, the IPL is not quite a creation of the gambling dollar, as hundreds of millions – according to last year’s broadcast statistics, half a billion – actually like watching it. But the dynamics of the sheer surfeit of product remains the same. I just wonder if any of those will be able to remember anything about the games they watch a few weeks from now, as there is just so much of it.

Anything we old fogeys can do to change it?

Nuh.

With that amount of money flowing into it, the whole thing is an unstoppable force, and T20 stuff – in India and elsewhere – will continue to eat up ever more of the game. Mr Liew’s “fungible processed matter”, will become ever more “fungible” – the broad definition is not “like fungus”, though for me that would work too, but “interchangeable with another identical item” – and that part of the game will be no more memorable than who won the fifth at Randwick.

See, as if you didn’t know, the Australian team for the T20 World Cup was named this week and …

And what? You didn’t know? Me neither. It’s apparently on in June, and will be held in the West Indies and the USA.

LIV off the grid

Still, at least the IPL gets an audience.

As LIV Golf wraps up for another year, you’ll excuse me if I take some savage satisfaction out of just how poor its ratings are. You will recall that last year LIV stopped publishing its ratings as they were so dire, but for this year there is at least one report on ratings, from February, from the website Golfmagic.com and the news is good! Take it away …

Cameron Smith playing at the LIV Golf event in Adelaide last weekend.

Cameron Smith playing at the LIV Golf event in Adelaide last weekend.Credit: Getty

“With no live golf played on Sunday over on the PGA Tour, it left the door wide open for golf fans to head over to The CW Network should they so wish and view the final round of LIV Golf Mayakoba in Mexico. It was also a particularly strong leaderboard heading into the final round, too, with Joaquin Niemann leading by two strokes over LIV Golf debutant and arguably the best player in the world, Jon Rahm.

“But despite everything aligning perfectly for LIV Golf in the final round, unfortunately its viewing figures on The CW Network were close to five times less to that of CBS Sports’ third-round coverage of the PGA Tour’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, which ended up being the final round due to bad weather.”

Told yers. All that hoopla, all that nonsense about the hunger for an entirely new kind of golfing competition, and the mob simply does not care.

As TFF has always maintained, the only thing interesting about LIV is the stupendous salaries the players receive, but the golf itself has been decidedly ho-hum. The innovation about it being only three rounds, no cuts, the team format and shotgun starts? Not the tiniest flicker of interest!

I will be in my trailer.

What They Said

Andrew Abdo fining Phil Gould for saying the rules are stupid: “We welcome constructive criticism and passionate opinions, but registered officials cannot overstep the mark and make comments that are considered detrimental to the game or NRL competition. Destructive attacks on the game itself will not be tolerated. This is a professional sport and our leaders should set the standard around reasoned debate and respect for the game.”

LeBron James when asked if he’d just played his last game as an LA Laker: “I’m not going to answer that.”

Liz Ellis on joining the Netball Australia board: “This is not the end point where we go, ‘OK, everything’s fixed let’s get Liz on the board, let’s get a [new] CEO’ … there are deep scars from the last couple of years and I think there’s a lot of work to be done.”

Cameron Smith after his team in LIV Golf, Ripper GC, won at Adelaide: “This is unreal, a dream come true. We wanted it so much. We’ve been talking about it all year.” I call bullshit. The nature of “dreams come true” are dreams of decades past, not contrived nonsense invented by some sports marketeer.

Rocketman in the SMH commenting on LIV Golf: “I enjoy both circuses and golf. If I want to go to a circus I would go to one in a tent not on a golf course.”

Rafael Nadal after he defeated Alex de Minaur at the Madrid Open: “I have had many difficult months, not on a personal level but on a professional level. I was always waking up with the hope of experiencing an afternoon like this again. Thank you all so much for making me feel this. I fail, but [the public] never fails. I can only say thank you.”

Nadal, on whether he will play at the French Open this month: “It’s not a thing about losing or winning. It’s about going on court there with the feeling that I can fight and I can be competitive. So if I am not able to go on court and dream, for me it doesn’t make sense to go. I prefer to stay with all the amazing memories that I have.” Back in the day, Bob Dwyer used to exult about an American athlete who said,“Your body is like a horse – you’ve got to ride that nag until she drops”. Nadal is just like that.

Rafael Nadal playing in Madrid.

Rafael Nadal playing in Madrid.Credit: AP

Snooker player Judd Trump on not selling his soul to play in some breakaway tour for a six-figure sign-on fee: “A few people have tried to contact me and I just couldn’t be bothered. If they try to contact me or my brother I just tell them to go away. I’m very happy where I am, with the tournaments I play in. I need something with history and heritage. I need something to play for. I don’t think I would really get out of bed for an exhibition series.”

Judd Trump:“For me, it’s about the titles. At the end of the day everyone wants more money but this isn’t the right time for me. I’d be a lot happier winning my money rather than getting gifted it. I love playing in the kind of tournament with something on the line. I don’t want to lose and feel nothing. I hate losing. I couldn’t imagine walking off and getting paid the same, win or lose. It’s not the same for me.”

Sambit Bal writing on Cricinfo about the IPL: “What happens when the possibilities of big hitting have been pushed to such limits that nothing feels amazing any more? What will be a thing of wonder then? The dot ball? What delicious revenge that would be.”

English all-rounder Sam Curran after his team chased down 262 in the IPL: “Cricket is turning into baseball.”

Credit:

Souths star Jai Arrow seemed to be channelling the Merchant of Venice when talking up Thursday’s match against Penrith: “They’re human beings, they bleed like us, they tackle like us, all that kind of stuff. So, there’s no reason why we can’t, especially at our home, go there and beat them.”

Team of the Week

Jason Demetriou. As they say, there are only three kinds of professional football coaches. Those who have been sacked. Those who will be sacked. And Wayne Bennett. Demetriou is now in the first category after being sacked by Souths.

Hannah Green. The Australian golfer successfully defended her LA Championship crown.

Jason Gillespie. The likeable former Test bowler – a man who always marched to the beat of his own drum – is the new Test coach of Pakistan!

South Sydney. Not even the coach getting fired could help them as they lost to Penrith.

Central Coast Mariners. A-League Men premiers for the third time.

NSW Waratahs. Won a record fifth Super Rugby Women’s crown. So there!

Jake Fraser-McGurk. He’s the wunderkind of Australian cricket, but you barely know who he is! He’s tearing ’em up in the IPL, if you care.

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Swans and Giants. Meet on Saturday afternoon in the Sydney derby with both flying high, while undefeated Geelong look the goods.



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