A-League VIII – Round 1

It’s been a long time since I publicly tipped on A-League, and am going to try my hand today at this weeks opening round of Season 8.

Despite the coaching changes since last season seeming to suggest this should be a win for the blue side of Melbourne, I’m going to tip with my heart and say the Heart will beat Victory tonight.

Wellington will spoil Del Piero’s welcome to the A-League,  but defeating Sydney.

Glory will take out their revenge on the Roar.

Central Coast will be too strong for the Wanderers.

Heskey will impress for Newcastle as they teach Adelaide a thing or two… no mercy will be shown the already depressed Reds, coming off their aggregate loss in their Asian Championship League efforts.

So… they’re my tips for this weekend.  If they’re any good, I might do this again.

Real Indication of Olympic Greatness Revisited – BTUSAF 2012

Eight years ago, following some debate at the time, I did some analysis of the medal tally from the Athens Olympics to determine the greatest sporting nation of the 2004 Olympics. Well, I’ve had some time on my hands during these Olympics (due to my recent knee surgery) and I’ve done the same calculations for the London 2012 Olympics.

Doing some online research, I was able to discover weight ((400g source: http://www.coinweek.com/bullion-report/olympic-medals-are-still-made-of-precious-metal-but-contain-less-gold/)) and composition ((Available at http://www.coinweek.com/bullion-report/olympic-medals-are-still-made-of-precious-metal-but-contain-less-gold/)) of each of the medals at the 2012 Olympics. The breakdown:

  • Gold Medal – 5.36g of Au, 370g of Ag, 24.64g of Cu
  • Silver Medal – 370g of Ag, 30g of Cu
  • Bronze Medal – 388g of Cu, 10g of Zi, 2g of Sn

Then, applying these breakdowns to the market values ((Source http://www.wolframalpha.com/ Date: 5th of August 2012)) of metals on the international market at the time of the Olympics, we’re able to calculate the value of each of the medal. Giving:

  • Gold – US$605.89
  • Silver – US$329.52
  • Bronze – US$2.88

As was the case 8 years ago, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) appears to be the best indicator to a nations success at the Olympics. The correlation between the nations medal haul value and GDP ((0.8196 using Excel’s correlation function)) is much higher than the correlation between medal haul value and population ((0.4678 using Excel’s correlation function)), evident by just looking at the Top 10 of the Official Medal Tally:

Rank Nation Rank (GDP) Rank (Pop)
1 United States 1 3
2 China 2 1
3 Great Britain 6 16
4 Russia 11 6
5 South Korea 15 19
6 Germany 4 11
7 France 5 15
8 Italy 8 17
9 Hungary 47 48
10 Australia 13 37

Also, evident from the above table is that Hungary did exceptionally well at London 2012 Olympics, given they’re in the 40’s for both GDP and Population, yet managed 9th on the Medal Tally.

Now it would be possible to manipulate the statistics in numerous ways to get whatever result we desire, as The Age proved already… but we’re really interested in finding out which country was the greatest at the London 2012 Olympics… so as we did in 2004, we look at Value of the medal haul as a percentage of the nation’s GDP, and then we normalise it to that of the USA (USA selected again b/c they once again topped the traditional tally) to come up with the “Better Than USA Factor” (BTUSAF) Tally.

So, here it is, the 2012 Olympic BTUSAF standings:

BTUSAF Rank Official Rank Nation BTUSAF
1 50 Grenada 300.72
2 18 Jamaica 107.65
3 20 North Korea 76.21
4 39 Georgia 52.93
5 56 Mongolia 41.53
6 69 Montenegro 30.87
7 24 Ethiopia 30.83
8 50 Bahamas 30.30
9 28 Kenya 30.17
10 16 Cuba 24.20
11 26 Belarus 20.23
12 9 Hungary 18.50
13 34 Lithuania 16.33
14 14 Ukraine 14.82
15 30 Azerbaijan 14.04
16 60 Armenia 13.78
17 50 Uganda 13.71
18 25 Croatia 13.63
19 12 Kazakhstan 12.02
20 15 New Zealand 11.74
21 47 Trinidad and Tobago 11.60
22 49 Latvia 9.76
23 42 Serbia 9.61
24 69 Botswana 8.54
25 45 Tunisia 8.17
26 42 Slovenia 7.73
27 46 Dominican Republic 6.99
28 27 Romania 6.83
29 69 Gabon 6.76
30 63 Estonia 6.75
31 19 Czech Republic 6.66
32 47 Uzbekistan 6.04
33 4 Russia 6.04
34 69 Cyprus 5.53
35 17 Iran 4.06
36 5 South Korea 4.00
37 3 Great Britain 3.97
38 29 Denmark 3.16
39 69 Guatemala 3.06
40 10 Australia 2.89
41 13 Netherlands 2.79
42 63 Bulgaria 2.68
43 23 South Africa 2.63
44 38 Colombia 2.15
45 2 China 2.15
46 41 Ireland 1.76
47 37 Sweden 1.62
48 7 France 1.55
49 30 Poland 1.55
50 6 Germany 1.52
51 59 Slovakia 1.49
52 8 Italy 1.47
53 50 Algeria 1.47
54 35 Norway 1.44
55 21 Spain 1.40
56 33 Switzerland 1.36
57 63 Puerto Rico 1.29
58 58 Egypt 1.18
59 1 United States 1.00
60 32 Turkey 0.98
61 42 Argentina 0.98
62 57 Thailand 0.80
63 22 Brazil 0.64
64 11 Japan 0.63
65 39 Mexico 0.60
66 50 Venezuela 0.60
67 36 Canada 0.56
68 69 Portugal 0.55
69 60 Finland 0.54
70 63 Malaysia 0.54
71 75 Moldova 0.32
72 60 Belgium 0.28
73 63 Chinese Taipei 0.27
74 79 Tajikistan 0.20
75 63 Indonesia 0.18
76 55 India 0.15
77 79 Afghanistan 0.07
78 79 Bahrain 0.05
79 75 Qatar 0.02
80 79 Morocco 0.01
81 75 Singapore 0.01
82 79 Kuwait 0.01
83 75 Greece 0.01
84 79 Hong Kong 0.00
85 79 Saudi Arabia 0.00

So… once again, the title of best sporting nation at an Olympics (factoring for medal value on the International Metal Exchange and GDP) goes to a Caribbean nation, this time Grenada, thanks to it’s first ever Olympic medal and it’s tiny GDP. Jamaica up to 2nd from 3rd in 2004. Cuba, 1st eight years ago is now down in 10th.

Australia’s showing is a dismal 40th, a far cry from it’s 15th in 2004. This could be put down to the fewer golds this time round, but also a factor is the stronger economy. Guess we can’t have everything.

Gold Coast Football Club

"GC" - Gold Coast FC's mascot

"GC" – Gold Coast FC's mascot

So the AFL have announced the name and colours of its next expansion team… the “Gold Coast Football Club“.

The biggest surprise is that they’ve opted to not give the club a nickname… largely because they couldn’t get the one they wanted, i.e. “Sharks”.

So, from this, one can only guess that they’re leaving it up to the clubs. and/or leagues, fans to come up with one, and we all know that the fans of opposition teams will not be too kind with what they come up with.

So… my thoughts are, given their location, and their mascot, that everyone should start referring to this new club as the “Gold Coast Budgie Smugglers“.

What do you think? Will it catch on?

Beijing 2008 – Football – Australia v Serbia

Just watched Australia’s opening football match of the 2008 Olympics against Serbia on Channel 7 and have been "inspired" enough by a few things to get me out into the bungalow on a cold, Melbourne, winter night to vent blog about it.

Firstly… Channel 7.  The nerve of them to broadcast this on a delay of TWO HOURS.  If they didn’t want to do a proper job of broadcasting the games, they shouldn’t have bid for them.  I vaguely recall being equally disgusted with their efforts four years ago with their coverage of the Athens Olympics.  A sign of the standard we’re to expect of the next two weeks?  Let’s hope not.  At least the guy commentating the game for Ch7 was okay.  Knew the game and made an effort to pronounce the names correctly (got most of them right too).  That brings me to my second point.

Secondly… ABC’s radio commentary was of the game was SHOCKING.  I listened to about 15 minutes of the match and one of the commentators (David Morrow I think is his name) didn’t know the game and couldn’t pronounce his mothers maiden name if it wasn’t "Smith".  He was clearly a rugby commentator as he kept referring to the goal-line as the "by-line"… and on several occasions during the time I was listening, he made negative stereotypical comments about the sport.  Made me want to write to the ABC and complain… thought I’d vent here instead.

Finally… the match itself .  What can I say about the Olyroos?  Uncoordinated, uninspired, unbelievably lucky to come away from this with a 1-1 draw.  Their play had "Graham Arnold" stamped all over it… when will the FFA realise that this guy is a dead weight around the neck of the sport for this counrty.   Get rid of him already.

MCG: Fun Exclusion Zone?

One of the guys from Collective Apathy has asked me to post a rant on my site… seems that the Collective Apathy site is still down, denying Shovel of his outlet. So here is his rant, in full and unedited.

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: MCG: Fun Exclusion Zone?
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2007 12:25:38 +1100

While retarded monkeys, the daughters of bloated egomaniacs and phone text addicts all chimed in to tell us how to ‘reinvent the game of cricket’ this week, all in the name of somehow restoring its status in Australia, Cricket Australia and the MCC did their very best it seems, to ensure this would not be an easy task by once again employing their “zero tolerance” policy toward cricket fans actually trying to bring some personality back into the stands.

While 2 visiting kiwi’s were ejected for a blatantly obvious joke sign from 7-11 ‘supporting Indians all over the world’, and others were ejected for standing on their seat to celebrate a century by one of Australia’s greatest opening batsmen, several makers of rollercoaster restraint harnesses were rubbing their hands with glee over the potential new contract to install their pull down overhead restraint systems to every seat inside the G.

Unconfirmed reports have been rife that the MCC has been drafting a request for tenders to install the restraint systems usually employed on rides that actually provide non-stop entertainment from the moment you get on. Despite cricket’s obvious lack of ‘non-stop entertainment’, the aging MCC board have apparently unanimously agreed it is the only way to save the purity of the game.

Personally, I’m all for the restraint system, because once the MCC has successfully alienated all potential visitors to “the greatest stadium on earth” (*cough*), and everybody just stays home and streaks across their own living room, they will be forced to make use of these restraint systems by turning the G into one giant “Gravitron”. Just imagine how exciting cricket will be to watch when you are spinning around and around and around. Each level could spin in opposite directions, so on those days when it’s not a sellout, you can mix it up, by moving between levels. Who needs the wave then?

And here’s the icing on the cake. each bay will be repainted black or red with a giant number painted under the seats. The MCC will then run an online betting roulette game. Punters can place bets on what bay the cricket ball will land in for every six hit in the match. Given the popularity of online gambling, this will make the MCC and Cricket Australia a BOMB.

So bring on the restraints i say. “It’s good for cricket!”

FIFA Women’s World Cup – Refereeing

Just watched part of the 2nd semi-final at the Women’s World Cup between Brazil and USA, and while the standard of play was quite good, the standard of refereeing was far from acceptable.

Handball in the box not spotted, denying the US of a penalty; a clear corner not given because the US defender fell over as she kicked it; the US goalkeeper blatantly stepping outside the penalty box while kicking the ball from her hands yet no free kick paid.

Now, the men who refereed last year Men’s World Cup were refereed last year Men’s World Cup were far from great… I remind you of the farce which was the refereeing in the Australia vs. Croatia match, but the mistakes I witnessed tonight would not have been seen made by a parent refereeing an Under 8s match on a Sunday morning… and most definitely shouldn’t be made at the World Cup level.

(apologies for any errors in spelling or grammer, but this is my first “mobile” blog posting).

Les Murray’s Team of 2006

I may have tied with him on my A-League tips this year, but I submitted my tips for the last 9 rounds back in November… what’s his excuse for getting only 35? But… I have come to the conclusion that Les Murray doesn’t know a thing about the beautiful game.

Why do I say that?

It’s his international team of the year for 2006… more precisely, his inclusion of one Vince Grella in said team.

How the hell can he justify that? He can’t… I mean… he hardly even tries to either

In this I went for Vince Grella, a choice that will raise some eyebrows given that he is Australian and so am I.

Of course there were more than a few excellent performers in this role. At the World Cup Claude Makelele of France, Costinha of Portugal and Argentina’s Javier Mascherano were other outstanding examples. England’s Steven Gerrard plays this role well, too, whenever he’s used there. But I found Grella to be as good as any of them in that position.

Where’s Zidane or Kaka? Grella, wasn’t even one of the better players for Australia at the World Cup. He doesn’t come anywhere close to being the best player in that position internationally.

There are only three possible reasons for Grella’s inclusion in Les’ team of 2006.

  1. Les has lost the plot
  2. Les was taking some strong medication at the time of compiling his list
  3. Nah… can’t think of a 3rd… that’s it… only two reasons

So… based on this, I reckon SBS should retire Les before he loses what little credebility he has left in the eyes of Australia’s football viewing public and give the job of Australia’s Mr Football to someone less likely to embarrass themself with fanciful claims such as the one made by Les here.