Was a great game to watch, and thoroughly enjoyed by the
crowd. The gap in skill was obvious - first touch from
Newcastle players was so much cleaner, the movement quicker,
and the vision and decision-making faster. Sydney certainly
did their bit though, and contributed to an entertaining
I thought Coloccini at the back for Newcastle was thoroughly
impressive- while perhaps not tested hugely, his control of
the game and composure on the ball was a delight.
So what was the crowd number? Did this event make any money
for FSB or was it yet another loss making venture? When is
the next major event taking place DVML? What goodies have you
got lined up other than ITM Cup which attracts only small
crowds of die hards? I think its about time you shared the
financial outcomes and schedule with the owners of the
stadium, don't you? By the way DVML, the owners of the
stadium are Dunedin's ratepayers just in case you need
Not wishing to bag Steve Walsh but too often if we do not
speak out about the elephant in the room (bad
refereeing) then the continuing bad decisions will keep
The penalty count was 14 - 6 against the Otago. The
last four were dished out in the closing minutes of the
game. Some were very technical penalties. The
result of the pedantic interpretation was a kick in front,
the loss of the game, the exiting of the finals and the lost
chance to compete for higher honours. This sanction was
too severe for the weakness of the Otago scrum.
Surely the referee has the discretion to moderate the
imposition by resetting the scrum, free kick etc. Not
that Walsh would consider that anyway - he seems to have a
blind spot when it comes to Otago.
I understand that the game score is 23-2 against the
Highlanders with Walsh in the centre. Is it possible to
generate the penalty count "for and against" of these
matches? I would bet that the weight would
overwhelmingly would be against Otago.
Rugby has many issues. Too many penalties is one of
them. Walsh is another. Until the authorities
grasp the nettle and sort the pedantic referees and the
oversized rule book out I fear the game will not grow.
The continual stoppages, the unfairness of some of the
refereeing decisions along with "look at me" attitude of the
referees and their sideline cronies make for a stuttering,
unattractive and frustrating spectacle.
Barely at primary school, I had a wall poster of the All
Blacks. I don't know if Skinner was in that lineup, perhaps
Horsley was. Many years later, the latter threw me out of his
pub, Western Park, Wellington.
Russel: I have no problem if the "largely uninterested
membership of 209" can be persuaded to part with the required
money - if people pay for their own fun more power to them.
On the other hand I do have a real problem if the ratepayers
would be saddled with supporting another rather obviously
dying sport - this push does sound a bit like a softening up
Let's face it, most of the people watching racing are sitting
in TABs, not the stands, I don't see why there needs to be
more than one track in the whole country. It's also time to
stop pretending that the purses for racing are a valid
charitable purpose suitable as a pokie charity or any kind of
charitable deduction, they simply should be a business
expense that shows up on TAB's bottom line.
My point Sports_fan is that there are only 203 members of
Forbury and they are, according to the article, uninterested.
The same thing is happening to many golf clubs around
the country. Declining memberships, increasing costs,
and income derived from potentially shonky and risky sources
such as pokie funds. I know perfectly well that one
track is gravel and one is grass, but there's no reason at
all why a short gravel track can't be installed on the inner
of the Wingatui track. The main reason is apparently
the long established unwillingness for harness and racing to
work co-operatively. Much like rugby union and rugby
league as far as I can see. Just have a look over the
city from the hills above St Clair and it is amazing just how
much land is taken up by Forbury Park sitting there mostly
unused - pretty much like the white elephant at the other end
of the town.
As a pre-schooler, I was a near-neighbour of the Skinners at
the north end of North-east Valley. My family shopped at
their grocery; when I started school, Dorothy took
me on the tram; and I sometimes played with Kevin, a
year or so older than me. When i got my first tricycle Mum
warned me: "Dont let that big Skinner boy ride it; he'll
break it!" I think I didn't, and so he didn't!
Russ n Bev: You are aware that Wingatui is a grass track and
Forbury is an all weather surface right? They are not the
same, so simply "moving" the harness out to the "unused"
Wingatui as you suggest would not work. What about the
hundreds of horses that are trained out there, the two
training tracks on the inner of the course & the pony
club on the very inside?
Forbury is special in the fact it is a dedicated harness
venue. You are right on the outside rail, the winning post is
right in front of you and it is the 1006m circumference
track, rather than the 2200m of Wingatui. [Abridged]