Few days in Australian sport’s history have seen such controversy, misery and outright embarrassment befall our nation’s favourite past-time. From sheer disgrace to the plain bizarre, horrific injuries to states of emergency, this past Monday 24th of June had it all.
We’ll start with cricket, where Australia’s national coach Mickey Arthur was sacked just 19 months after his appointment in late 2011. Not only does the move encapsulate perfectly the horrific disunity and hopelessness of Australian cricket at the moment, but just three weeks out from an Ashes series already predicted to end in failure, it illustrates horrible mismanagement from Cricket Australia.
To compound matters, Test captain Michael Clarke has resigned from national selection panels. Arguably resolving a conflict of interest issue, Clarke is now no longer a two-faced administrator and player, however the input in selection that Ponting and Waugh before him fought to have vested in captaincy has been all but relinquished.
Onto Rugby League now where after a week of media scrutiny, boozing and the NRL world having their noses rubbed in the success of Israel Falou, highly under-rated Melbourne Storm five-eight Gareth Widdop dislocated his hip. One of the most painful injuries which an athlete can suffer, the English star will now miss the remainder of the season and the ensuing World Cup.
Australia’s other national code, the AFL was also stung with a harsh truth when favourite son Jobe Watson admitted to taking a banned substance. Revealed on Fox Footy’s On the Couch, the reigning Brownlow medallist’s admission doesn’t bode well for the results of ASADA’s illegal-substance investigation which is expected to be published in August. Considered one of the best players in the game, a spectacular leader and a picture of honesty throughout the ASADA inquiry, Jobe’s acknowledgment that he took AOD 9604, a banned substance, means that either Essendon are guilty of bringing the game into disrepute or worse, that the mechanisms installed in the AFL to protect the sport are insufficient.
In Tennis, Australia’s 3rd best male tennis player Markino Matosevic suffered defeat in the 1st Round at Wimbledon. The loss takes his career record to 10 defeats from 10 appearances in major championships – not a bad feat for a player ranked number 72 in the world! Thankfully, there was better news for Lleyton Hewitt who downed world number 10 Stan Wawrinka in straight sets. The match was played after midnight in Australia though so despite our happiness for the veteran, he can’t be counted as having put any sort of a positive spin on Monday’s events. Hewitt will now play Dustin Brown before a probably 3rd Round match with the big-serving John Isner. His chance of reaching a quarter-final for thd first time since 2009 also look more promising after potential opponent Rafael Nadal was defeated last night, leaving the draw wide open. Should he get that far, Hewitt would hypothetically most likely meet Federer in the quarters, Murray in the semis and Djokovic in the final.
Finally, in Rugby Union, an arrest warrant has been issued for Wallaby star Digby Ioane after he failed to appear in court today. Facing an assault charge from an incident which occurred in March, the unwanted distraction comes not long after a frustrating 23-21 loss to the British and Irish Lions on Saturday in which fellow back Pat McCabe suffered a series-ending injury.
In the almost lone good news of the day, the Socceroos have still qualified for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil! Just when you think at least one sport has had a positive run of late though, you remember the dismal showing against Iraq just 6 days ago.
At least the only way to go is up… you’d hope!