The Jock Wrap: you can’t spell sport without Ben Birchall
In a move designed to shore up job security and forgiveness for the occasional breach in newsroom practices, this week’s Jock Wrap is dedicated to the special friend of the lovely editor of Crikey, our boss, Sophie Black.
Leigh Josey: Good Morning First Dog, and Happy Winter! I trust you are well.
Firstdog Onthemoon: I’m a bit down actually Lethal — I’ve had to cut back my media commitments for a few weeks and it looks like I’ll be playing in the twos when I come back from my mysterious hamstring injury. It’s been a difficult time, but at least I’m not gay.
Leigh Josey: You know what? I think the whole Akermanis thing was blown up out of all proportion. Richmond won for the first time since 1975 and all the AFL world can talk about is Aker this, Aker that. Sorry to say this Dog, and I love Aker, but I think he is shit now anyway and not in your best 22. There, I’ve said it.
Firstdog Onthemoon: All lies. You are the Israeli Defense Force of Sports Commentary. The problem was Aker lied to the playing group — it had all been put to bed until they found out he told a porky. I reckon he’ll be back. But who knows what it will look like. And Richmond won their annual game? Big whoop. As I said in my hilarious cartoon the other day, they are still a mathematical possibility to finish 9th. They certainly sang the song with gusto — Richo was beaming on the telly! Unlike James Kelly at the Cats — what an arrogant piece of work. Dangerous to give other teams something to get in a flap about.
Leigh Josey: Talking about Israel … Israel Folau? Interesting reactions all round. If you get some time have a read here and here at two of the bigger NRL fan forums. The Daily Tele is going nuts. What do you think First Dog?
Firstdog Onthemoon: I think Maggie Beer was adorable on MasterChef last night. And that Radicchio Braise looked delicious. I don’t even like Radicchio!
Leigh Josey: Insightful. I want to touch on two more thing AFL before moving on. One, Fremantle. My boys are in superb touch and this season is travelling like a dream. It was priceless watching Craig Hutchison squeal on the little watched Footy Classified as he attempted to apologise after saying, pre season, that Freo would struggle and Harvey would be sacked as coach. Secondly, Richmond. The rendition of Tigerland by the Richmond players and coach after winning their first game of the season last week against Port Adelaide was something to behold. I loved it.
Firstdog Onthemoon: Did I mention I got an iPad?
Leigh Josey: That’s excellent news. If you missed it (if you’re an iPadless pleb unlike First Dog) Australia’s women’s football team, the Matildas, beat North Korea in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup. For a neutral perspective I went to North Korea’s official government controlled news service the KCNA. This is what they said:
The DPRK women’s football team finished runner-up in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2010, thus qualifying for the 2011 Women’s World Cup to be held in Germany.
The May 30 finals between the DPRK and Australian teams ended with a penalty kick following 1-1 draw.
No mention of the actual final score. How delicious.
Firstdog Onthemoon: Yes — speaking of North Korean media — did you see the story Fairfax are running on the front page of their website? Some magazine decided the MCG was the 14th best stadium in the world and some shit stadium a year old in somewhereelseland is the best. How about a nice refreshing cool drink of go away why would I care about that? And people wonder why newspapers are dying. It is because their iPad app is shit that’s why.
Leigh Josey: We should make a Jock Wrap iPad app.
Firstdog Onthemoon: WE SHOULD! We could charge $8.99 a month like the AFL Telstra abomination. Even if we only did the Jock Wrap twice a year it would be better.
Leigh Josey: Ha! Watch the NRL state of origin last week? Queensland are too strong. I don’t think the Blues can come back from here.
Firstdog Onthemoon: I watched some of it. But Queensland are superior, what is this now six in a row? They should make it more interesting by selecting the teams like they do in Primary School. Two captains and they take it in turns choosing players until that one guy who is picked last is humiliated and laughed at and suffers low self esteem and gets into his pyjamas as soon as he gets home from school because why would you bother. Did I say that out loud?
Leigh Josey: And the Bulls beat the Stormers in the Super 14 final. It was an all South African affair. New Zealand and Australian teams didn’t make it.
Firstdog Onthemoon: You know, I don’t think I would ever watch Women’s soccer. I don’t watch Men’s soccer either. In fact I am more likely to watch Women’s soccer than Men’s soccer but I don’t watch either.
Leigh Josey: Hmmm. I’m sure your iPad and you will have fun this month when everyone is watching the World Cup. Mark Webber. He’s the Fremantle of Formula One racing. He should have won the Turkish Grand Prix but his teammate Sebastian Vettel screwed it up for him. Now Red Bull’s Helmut Marko is saying it was Webber’s own fault. Geez F1 can get bitchy.
Firstdog Onthemoon: Are the Bulls a rugby team?
Leigh Josey: Yes. Yes they are. A Rugby Union team.
Firstdog Onthemoon: How are they going?
Leigh Josey: They won. Here’s a rugby app for your iPad. Now you can be kept up to date. Now sportsperson of the week. I believe we’ve agreed, for the first time, to nominate the same person. is that correct?
Firstdog Onthemoon: Ooh yes — by miles and miles. And there is nothing nepotistic about it at all. He is a true legend of the game of the game, or at least would be if he had ever played it.
Leigh Josey: Indeed. You see, dear reader, this week’s sportsperson of the week goes to Melbourne independent radio station RRR’s Breakfasters co-host Ben Birchall, who is also the husband of Crikey editor Sophie Black. Ben has been called up to play in the Community Cup — an Aussie Rules football game played for charity featuring all sorts of wonderful people. Now we have it, on some authority, that Ben hasn’t kicked a ball in anger since under 13s where he didn’t get a touch. Nada. Doughnuts. But he did get his profile in a local football magazine:
What say you First Dog?
Firstdog Onthemoon: I love him. Even if I didn’t know who he was I would be so inspired by his choice of Mexicana as his favourite food that he would become my favourite community based never played before footballer ever. When I get my face painted at the game it will be his number I get on both cheeks. Once I find out what number it is. If they get numbers.
I have never been (a fact that causes me a modicum of shame which I have already gotten over) but you know, this particular game jumped the shark after a: Robert Murphy wrote about it and b: I missed it that one time when it was still cool so I didn’t need to make up for not going because it wasn’t any more or at least that is what I told myself but now I shall be there leaning drunkenly over the fence screaming “Get a kick Birchall you flog!!” remembering all the while that it is a family day.
Leigh Josey: I’ll be there with you mate. Birchall, your biggest fans are right here. First Dog, underreported sport of the week?
Firstdog Onthemoon: Well this is a huge coincidence, but this week it is Birchall Ball which is an ancient English sport played by the Vikings when they discovered Mexico. Two teams of 11 players line up and preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Cook onion for 2 minutes, or until soft. Add mince. Cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, for 5 minutes or until browned. Add kidney beans, chilli powder, seasoning, tomato paste and water. Reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 5 minutes, or until thick. Stir through coriander. Arrange corn chips on a heatproof plate. Top with mince. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake for 15 minutes, or until hot. Top with salsa, avocado and sour cream. Serve.
Firstdog Onthemoon: The winner is the team with the most tostitos.
Leigh Josey: Brilliant. Birchall Ball it is. First Dog — have a lovely week and please please don’t stalk Maggie Beer.
Firstdog Onthemoon: I shall try – but no promises – mmmmmmm pheasant pie….