THE International/Compromise Rules series has been evenly balanced at 10-10 (we’re 21-19 up in test matches played) since Australia won the last one Down Under in 2017.
However the Series never really recovered from the decision to send an all-Aborigine team to compete in Ireland in 2013. While some tried to spin that as a progressive move at the time, it was hard to avoid the strong whiff of racial overtones, nevermind undertones, to the decision.
Would it have made any more sense for us for us to send a team of redheads Down Under the following year?
And now a series of allegations have rocked the sport of Aussie Rules in the week of the Grand Final.
A former Hawthorn player from an indigenous background has alleged that he was told by a former club’s coach to terminate his partner’s pregnancy if he wanted to advance his career. Three further indigenous families involved at Hawthorn during the same period as that coach from 2005-21 have said they were bullied and told to choose between their football and their families.
If true, it will be a scandal for a sport that already has serious issues with aborigines being abused from the stands.
It all takes a shine off a decider that could see two Irishmen join Tadhg Kennelly as Gaelic exports to bag a winners’ medal.
Zach Tuohy from Portlaoise and Dingle’s Mark O’Connor will be hoping to help Geelong (8/15) beat the Sydney Swans at the MCG tomorrow (5.30am Irish time).
I asked my wife’s cousin who lives in Sydney if she had any inside info I could use and she texted me back: “What is a Geelong?”
Victoria is the heartland of Rules (rugby league dominates in New South Wales) and I fancy the Irish lads to be celebrating by the time we wake up tomorrow.
IN the last 10 gaelic football meetings between Kerry and Dublin, the Blues have won two, drawn four and lost four. Little surprise Dessie Farrell is delighted to recall two of their greats, Jack McCaffrey and Paul Mannion to his squad next year. The Dubs shortened to 2/1 to lift Sam, just behind their great rivals on 6/4.
Dessie Dolan’s appointment as Westmeath boss isn’t causing the bookies much concern and the Dubs are 2/7 to win the province for 18th time in 19 years. That’s a nailed-on bet if ever there was one.
SO farewell then Roger Federer. The best male tennis payer of his generation, who was also simultaneously the third best.
The 20-time Grand Slam winner will bow out at the Laver Cup, an event that since 2017 has seen Europe pitted against the Rest of the World. Unsurprisingly, Europe have dominated. In the past 18 years only one player not from this continent has one a Grand Slam event — Argentina’s Juan Martin del Potro at the US Open in 2009.
Coincidentally, the 2021 Laver Cup and Ryder Cup were both held on the same September weekend and so it follows it shares a date with the President’s Cup in golf this year. The one-sided nature of the event has meant that like the latter, it has failed to grab the imagination.
The Rest of the World only managed to take a single point in a 14-1 defeat last year, but are just 3/1 to take a maiden win. Europe are priced at 2/9.
Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe remain the captains, as they have from the cup’s inception.
Federer will play his 1750th and last professional match on a tennis court in the doubles, partnering great rival Rafael Nadal today in London. His absence from the singles games means his last one was in the 2021 Wimbledon quarters, when he lost in three sets to unheralded Pole Hubert Hurkacz.
The Swiss racqueteer’s early nickname the Federer-Express never really caught on and he once expressed a preference for simply Rog, presumably unaware it had already been taken. He is considered by most fans as the greatest player of all time despite having an inferior Slam record and head-to-head to Nadal and Djokovic. They have been incredible too but Federer’s record of getting to 18 major finals in 19 from Wimbledon 2005 through Australia 2010 must remain one of the most startling feats of consistency in the history of sport. His dash of panache places him slightly above his famously gritty rivals.
The most likely emerging challenger to the top three who might hope of dominating like them is Spain’s recent winner of the US Open, Carlos Alcaraz. He is 7/2 to win the next Slam in Australia in the new year. Novak Djokovic is 13/8 favourite to lift his 10th title there after it last week emerged his ban on entering the country is likely to be lifted before January.
IRELAND will be facing a backlash form the Scots tomorrow but a draw (21/10) is a reasonable result to help us ensure we aren’t in with a fair chance of being relegated in the Nations League.
The U21s will be hoping for a big crowd in Tallaght tonight and can bring an advantage to the second leg in Israel.
Geelong all the way in the AFL decider. That treble will net you 10/1.