Posts tagged ‘Wallabies’

Finding Her Identity

Last week’s result by the Socceroos securing a draw with World Champions Germany n Kaiserslautern was another feather in the cap of national team coach Ange Postecoglou. It was also a wonderful result on the back of the team’s Asian Cup victory.

Despite these successes there is something that Ange Postecoglou has managed to achieve that no other Socceroos coach has achieved, and for that the game should be eternally grateful.

Rale Rasic back in the Seventies awoke the nation with is team of part-timers making it to the World Cup in 1974 being one of just 16 teams that participated in the finals. It was almost a surreal experience according to those who remember it.

Guus Hiddink broke the jinx, and in truth had some luck in seeing the team qualify for Germany in 2006; in a penalty shoot-out the result can go anyway, unless you are playing Germany! Yet when the tournament started he showed his tactical acumen and managed to steer the team past the group stage, and almost past eventual Champions Italy.

Pim Verbeek achieved the remarkable steering the team to the 2010 finals conceding just a single goal against Japan in the final round of qualifying, with a team that was clearly on the wane. His mission was accomplished. He has suffered major criticism for the 4-0 defeat against Germany, yet the same team went on to beat England 4-1 and Argentina 4-0 before bowing out to Spain in the semi finals.

No one except the FFA and Holger Osieck will ever know what the total brief was at the time of his appointment. One key factor was another qualification for the World Cup which he achieved. He was criticised for not blooding enough young players, yet he achieved the task that he was set.

What all of these failed to do, that Postecoglou has managed to do in his short time as coach, was play a style of football that taps into the Australian psyche.

In the past week this writer has spoken to three people who confessed they never watched the Socceroos before ‘because they were boring.’ They still admitted they did not watch most of the game but they would tune in because the current team is ‘exciting to watch.’

There is no doubt that the Golden generation featuring the likes of Schwarzer, Viduka, Kewell, Bresciano, Grella, Neill and co, were technically more gifted than many of the current crop of players. There were also more of them playing football at a higher level than most of the current crop. Yet the team never managed to achieve what Postecoglou’s players have achieved.

Postecoglou is without doubt one of the best home grown coaches Australia has produced. Like many of the great coaches an injury curtailing his career – just as happened to Brian Clough – saw him enter management at a very young age. Success in the NSL was a regular achievement. When the A-league started he was coach of the national Youth team, which proved with hindsight to be a great learning experience. Back in club football in the new A-League with Brisbane Roar he again created a team that played attractive football and won championships. When he became national coach many wondered how he would fair and early results were not promising. Yet during those games a pattern was evolving.

A pattern that has seen Australia for the first time have a football team with an identity. By that we mean an identity in terms of the style of football that the national team plays.

Australian football under Frank Arok was again blessed with extremely talented players, many who were still forced to be semi-professional. The team was always combative, the team never ever gave up, but the style frequently changed depending on the opposition or the importance of the match.

It was the late Spurs and Northern Ireland captain Danny Blanchflower who once said “Our tactics have always been to equalize before the other team score.” It may sound crazy but one feels the sentiment is there in this Australian team.

Postecoglou has tapped into the Australian sporting Psyche, that Australians in every sport like to be the aggressor. Look at the Cricket team, the Wallabies, the Kookaburras, all are teams that are immediately on the front foot against their opposition. All of them like to take it up to the opposition and make them know that they are not in awe of them. Previous Socceroos coaches have focussed on trying to limit the scoring opportunities of the opposition and therefore tended to play very defensive football. It appears Postecoglou realises that currently Australia’s defensive stocks are not world class, and therefore the team is bound to concede against quality opposition. However rather than sit back and try and limit the damage, his teams go on the attack. The theory being that Australia will score more than their opponents. It is a style that has resonated with many Australians who have never followed the game, and he may well have finally given the nation a style that becomes synonymous with the Socceroos.

Japan knew they could never compete physically with the bigger European players, so they developed a fast paced game based on speed touch and fitness in order to be competitive and it has paid dividends to their national team and is now a style that is expected from their teams. They focussed on their strengths and improved their weaknesses.

Postecoglou has done exactly the same. He has tapped into Australia’s desire to be the team on the attack and a new style of football has evolved. A style that seems to have captured the public’s imagination. Hopefully is a style that can be maintained, and will just like Japan become synonymous with the Socceroos.

To quote the inspirational Danny Blanchflower again ” The great fallacy is that the game is first and last about winning. It is nothing of the kind. The game is about glory, it is about doing things in style and with a flourish, about going out and beating the other lot, not waiting for them to die of boredom.” It would appear that Postecoglou shares those sentiments.

Blanchflower was a part of a Tottenham team that won the double and also steered Northern Ireland to the quarter finals of the 1958 World Cup in the same year he lost his brother Jackie in the Munich Air disaster. Spurs with him in the side played an attractive brand of football, a brand of football where they believed if the opposition scored one, they would score two.

It would appear the Socceroos under Postecoglou have the same sense of belief. It certainly appears that they have found a style that resonates with the people of Australia. Let us hope they continue to win fans over playing football in this manner and like Spurs and Northern Ireland with Blanchflower in their side are rewarded with success. Most of all let this be the style of football for which Australia is known.


March 30, 2015 at 10:35 am Leave a comment

Attracting A Global Audience Key to Opening Game

It is quite laughable the reaction of the AFL affiliates and the media covering the sport in Western Australia to the news that there is a bid for the Socceroos to play England as the focal point of the New Stadium at Burswood. All it has done is show how stuck in the past they all are.

Sure a Western Derby is a big attraction in Western Australia for those who follow the code, but how does it compare to a top class international in football? That is the trouble AFL does not have a higher level than the AFL. Its hybrid games against the amateur Irish teams have an equally limited appeal as does the game itself does. Like many other national sports around the world if it is not going to catch on internationally in the first 100 years of its existence it is unlikely ever to.

We will be fed that old line that Perth is a “Football town,” a line fuelled by those with a vested interest. No city is more of a footy town than Melbourne, yet look how they embrace every sport at every level, by creating decent facilities and attracting major events. They are not so insular in their views and have now established themselves as the Sporting Capital in the country.

It is incredible to read Mr Cransberg, Chairman of the West Coast Eagles say that as the sport most likely to be the main user of the stadium they should be afforded primary consideration. Why? This stadium does not belong to the AFL it belongs to the taxpayers of Western Australia. The West Coast Eagles will merely be tenants just as will many other sports and musical acts.

Head of the WA Football Commission Gary Walton was quoted as saying, “International events come with pretty significant up-front investment where a derby will in my view guarantee a capacity crowd and it’ll come at no cost to the state.” What small minded insular thinking. It is people with attitudes such as this that hold Western Australia back.

This is supposed to be a state of the art stadium when it is completed, so why would you have as your opening event something that will only garner minimum media coverage within Australia. By hosting a top international sporting event you are immediately putting the stadium, and Perth on the world map as having a venue suitable for world class events. If England or World Champions Germany played the Socceroos you would be assured a sell out crowd. If the Wallabies played whoever lifts the Rugby World Cup at the end of this year it is just as likely to sell out, as would an Ashes Test match. The true code of Football however has to be the biggest drawcard, as it is a truly global sport. The fact is all of these sporting events played between international teams will have far more global and national appeal than a local AFL match, and anyone who says otherwise needs to get on a plane and go and experience the real world outside of Western Australia.

What is worrying is the bias and factual inaccuracies run by the West Australian Newspaper. Mark Duffield wrote that ‘the state government will, in three years time have forgiven Australian soccer officials for leaving Perth off its map of Australia when it drew up the Asian Cup Program.” Yes, they did fail to promote the tournament in the West, have any ambassadors or fan Parks, but the biggest problem was the only feasible venue, NIB Stadium fails to meet FIFA requirements. The FFA stated after the game against Indonesia at Subiaco Oval in 2005 that they would never host an international there again because it was unsuitable for television and spectators. Had the State Government spent some of the money allocated to the refurbishment of NIB stadium on upgrading the changing rooms, then Western Australia would have a case to answer as to why we were left out of having any games. The truth is it was our own government who are at fault on this occasion. (Build it Properly and they Will Come). Some cynics have questioned whether the Sports minister did this deliberately so that Football would not be able to challenge his beloved AFL; It is extremely unlikely that a politician would be that petty and small-minded.

So why would Mr Duffield mislead his readers? Then again you cannot expect Mr Duffield to know these things as being the Chief Football writer, his time would be taken up finding inane stories to keep AFL on the back page of the paper for 350 days of the year. It is also interesting to note that the WA Football Commission has in the past paid for editorial coverage in the West Australian, to ensure that they received two or four pages coverage, yet never did the paper reveal that the space was paid for.

To be fair to Mr Duffield he does make a valid point asking why should it be a sporting event that opens the stadium, why can’t it be a concert of epic proportions? The most obvious answer would be because it is first and foremost a sporting venue.

If we wanted mass exposure maybe looking at hosting the T20 Champions League in Perth would be an option. That would attract a massive audience in the subcontinent and would give thousands of people the chance to be a part of an opening event.

The truth is whatever event or events in what should be an opening week of celebrations are staged, they must be ones that attract global attention. Perth needs to shout about this stadium and the fact that finally we have a stadium to match the best in the world – if it in fact does. Only by global exposure will we attract future events.

It is also important to realise that only by hosting the Socceroos will we see European clubs put pressure on the FFA to have more games here as the flying time will be less for their players returning home! So Football’s case actually would have a long term gain.



February 13, 2015 at 6:33 am 1 comment

No Hard Feelings

Sometimes sports players, coaches and fans get caught up in the heat of the moment and say and do something that they later regret. The reason, sport is a passionate affair. Sometimes the actions are inexcusable and seem unprovoked. It is however pleasing when both parties involved are able to apologise and move on.

At the weekend former Western Force and Wallabies prop Salesi Ma’afu was involved in an altercation with opposition front rower Tom Youngs during Northampton’s Aviva Premiership Semi Final against Young’s Leicester Tigers which Northampton won 21-20.

Anyone who has played rugby will know that front rowers are a different breed and the aftermath of this incident proves that.

Salesi Ma’afu hits Youngs with a perfect left hook that felled the Englishman. Youngs received a yellow card for provoking the attack, Ma’afu a red and a  subsequent suspension.

Post match Youngs tweeted Ma’afu saying “@salesimaafu good shot mate go well in the final #rocky.” To which Ma’afu responded “@tomyoungs87 cheers mate. the jersey can overcome us in the heat of battle. I owe you a pint. #respect.”

Now far be it for Not the Footy Show to condone punches being thrown but does this not show that these two gentlemen are true sportsmen and accept that what happened on the pitch should be put aside once the final whistle has sounded? Good to see sportsmanship such as this being made public.

To view the incident here it is.


May 21, 2014 at 9:09 am Leave a comment

Is It Really Super?

All sports fans know that modern day sport is all about money. All professional sports outfits know that obtaining sponsorship to support the sport or the team is becoming increasingly harder. Yet many administrators see expansion as a way to secure more money. More games gives sponsors more exposure, and means more airtime on television. So that in turn that must mean the broadcast contract goes up in value as the television station must be able to sell the sponsorship, as they have more opportunities for advertising breaks thanks to more games.

Sadly what many of those who think along these lines do not realise is fans want to see top quality sport. With the internet and competitions from around the world available on pay-TV, or even free to air television, the genuine sports fan knows what a good game is and what isn’t.

SANZAR have finally come to an agreement to once again revamp Super Rugby. It will expand yet again and will grow from 15 to 18 teams. Argentina will have a team, South Africa a sixth team and the last team will be accepted on a tender basis. Japan is favourite at this point in time, but it would be good to see the Island nations join the fray. Despite the expansion the number of games played by teams not making the finals will be exactly the same. So why the change?

Super Rugby is just about perfect at the moment with five teams in each country. All of the teams get to meet their fellow teams from their home nation on a home and away basis, and also have games against New Zealand and South African opposition. The only way the league could have been improved was if every team played each other at least once.

The new format from 2016 will see South Africa have a conference of 8 teams split into two pools of four.  There will continue to be five teams in Australia and New Zealand, and all of the Australian teams will play all New Zealand teams each season; compared to playing four New Zealand teams per season in the current structure. All Australian teams will play all the teams in one pool of the two in South Africa.

The finals too will be expanded to include five teams from the Australasian Group and three from the South African Group.

CEO of the ARU, Bill Pulver has been understandably upbeat about the developments, “The international nature of Super Rugby makes it unique. It’s already one of the world’s most exciting provincial Rugby competitions, and with the changes announced today, it has the potential to become a truly global competition.” He said.  “Our strong preference is for the 18th team to come from Asia as we believe this will attract significant commercial opportunities for us in the future.”

Then came the clincher, when Mr Pulver said the new competition structure is an appealing proposition for broadcasters, which has the potential to deliver significant positive outcomes and growth opportunities for Rugby in Australia. Let us wait and see on that one.

“Negotiating a significantly increased broadcast deal is the single greatest opportunity we have to increase revenue for Rugby in Australia, which will ensure we can deliver on our strategic priorities and grow the game by continuing to contribute to funding Super Rugby teams; retaining our best talent; new competitions; and by creating an overall better experience for our fan base, especially on game day.” Mr Pulver said, which implies that rugby is already spending money that it hopes will come in from this new format in order to finance the National Rugby Championship. What happens if that money does not come?

Mr Pulver was on a roll, “It’s crucial for the long-term success of the Qantas Wallabies that we’re playing the best opposition in the world on a regular basis, and this has been reinforced by the new model offering the Australasian Conference a guaranteed five of eight places in the Super Rugby Finals Series. With a broader pool of playing talent, more venues and extra match-ups, the new structure presents fantastic opportunities for our players and fans.”

It is not about quantity, its about quality. If the expansion diminishes the quality of the tournament, fans will drop off in numbers. Why have the public stopped watching the Wallabies in recent years? The answer is because against the best two teams in the World New Zealand and South Africa, they have not been able to match them. Its all about quality. Australia has to allow players who have gone overseas to still represent the Wallabies, the talent pool is not strong enough to do otherwise, if they don’t its going to be a very long wait before we see an Australian lift the World Cup again.

There is no doubt this is good news for budding young players, as more opportunities will arise, but what happens if New Zealand teams take most of the finals spots from the Australasian pool come finals time?

This may look good in a powerpoint presentation but one feels Australian rugby is walking a tightrope. If they manage to get to the other side then all well and good but fans should expect a few wobbles along the way. For the sake of the sport let us hope there is a safety net.

New Zealand and South Africa have traditional competitions which breed conveyor belts of talent, Australia does not, and that is why Australia needs Super Rugby. Australian teams must perform for this new format to be successful.


May 1, 2014 at 5:11 pm Leave a comment

Super Rugby to Shun South Africa?

Where to for Super Rugby? It comes as no great surprise that SANZAR officials are struggling to agree on the best format for a new Super Rugby competition. Some will ask why does the tournament need to re-invent itself once more, and if the competition is expanded even further what impact is that going to have on the International game and the toll on the bodies of the top players from each nation. Australia has already proved that it does not have the talent pool within Australia to sustain a World Cup challenging Wallabies outfit; it must accept that players should not be excluded from selection if they opt to play overseas.

Meetings have been carried out for months between Australian, New Zealand and South African rugby officials but still they seem unable to reach a simple solution for expanding Super Rugby. They have agreed to admit a sixth South African team and also an Argentine side; which was logical after this nation became a part of the Rugby Championship Tournament.

There is a strong push to welcome a franchise in Asia, expected to be from Japan, which would open up huge sponsorship potential as well as a new television market.

Interestingly former All Black Andrew Mehrtens has said that he believes the competition should look to exclude South Africa as it moves forward. Writing a column for he said “I can’t help thinking we might have lost a little interest in playing South African teams, and that ultimately the future of this competition might be more localised round time zones.”

Could this view stem from the fact that South Africa has for a while eyed off the opportunity of linking into the European competitions and six nations as opposed to the Southern Hemisphere competitions? This has been based on travel and time zones and in theory makes sense. The downside is Australia and New Zealand playing each other year in year out is not going to have the same appeal as having a powerhouse like South Africa in the mix.

Saying that, the performances of the South African teams on the road this year in Super Rugby is terrible, they have not won a single game in ten outings in New Zealand and Australia.

“The logistics of involving South Africa are problematic – the travel and time difference – and maybe it would be better for all concerned just to play within our time zone and include teams from the Pacific Islands and Japan. You might have 20 teams in our time-zone – eight or so from New Zealand, maybe six in Australia and the rest from the islands and Japan.” Mehrtens wrote.

Some have felt for a long time that SANZAR should have welcomed the island nations into Super Rugby long ago, that it was almost their duty to assist these nations in improving. Promises were made and broken twice as Super Rugby expanded and no doubt they will all be miffed that once again they may be overlooked in favour of an Argentine or Japanese team.

What option do the island players have than to move to Australia and New Zealand and then pledge allegiance to those nations in order to play test rugby. The sad thing is if you speak to most of the players who have done that, most will tell you they would rather have played for their island nation.

Interestingly New Zealand is currently bemoaning a similar issue, that of their top coaches being poached by European clubs, and up and coming players by Australian franchises and then donning the colours of the Wallabies.

Mike Harris at the Queensland Reds had only been living in Australia for two years and playing Super Rugby for a year before he was selected for the Wallabies. He had not been picked up by a New Zealand franchise despite starring in the ITM Cup. Western Force full back Jayden Hayward, who hails from Taranaki, had spells with the Highlanders and the Hurricanes before crossing the Tasman, he even played Sevens for New Zealand, but now is looking to make himself available for Australia. The Melbourne Rebels too have New Zealanders who may switch allegiance in Jason Woodward and Scott Fuglistaller. Both come from Wellington, Woodward never played Super Rugby in his homeland while Fugilstaller played a couple of games for the Highlanders but was unable to hold down a regular place.

Is this good for Australian rugby? Surely the loss of South Africa to the Super Rugby competition as Mehrtens has suggested would see more New Zealanders moving to an Asian franchise and the drain on players continuing.

Whichever way the leaders at SANZAR eventually opt to take, the IRB needs to put in stronger rules in relation to players switching nations at international level. Obviously there should not be a restraint of trade in terms of the franchises signing players in order to be competitive, as that benefits the tournament as a whole, but qualification periods should be enforced for International appearances. That honour should never be given away lightly.

As for the worrying issue of New Zealand and South African players strengthening the Australian Super Rugby franchises at the expense of local talent, that too needs to be monitored and controlled by the Australian Rugby Union. If these players add to the development of Australian players as is currently evident at the Western Force, and also instil a rugby culture and make competition for places stiffer thereby raising the standard of Australian players then that has to be a good thing. It can only benefit Australian rugby in the end. It does however need to be monitored and the ARU.

As for South African born Mehrtens idea that South Africa be left out of Super Rugby, that could well be the death knell for the competition as we know it. One thing is for sure he was never greatly loved in the Republic and his comments are not going to have helped improve that relationship; but he will not lose any sleep over the matter.

April 17, 2014 at 9:40 am 1 comment

After You, No, After You. Who Was the First?

When is an Australian not an Australian, or an Englishman or a Frenchman? Does where you are born determine your nationality?

If this were the case there are many famous sports stars who would no longer be classed as Australian. Footballer Josep Simunic was born in Canberra, attended the AIS but then opted to play for Croatia the land of his parents birth because he was entitled to dual citizenship. Yet as much as this option upset many Australians, as well as the fact he has played over 100 games for his adopted country, the majority of fans are proud to call him Australian.

If we turn our attention to rugby union Wallabies hooker Stephen Moore was born in Saudi Arabia, Will Genia was born in Papua New Guinea, and Quade Cooper in New Zealand, yet we are all pleased to see them in the Australian colours.  You could go through plenty of other national teams and you would find the same thing.

Now this may be semantics, but we have seen Perth Glory’s new recruit former Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur defender William Gallas being billed as the first Frenchman to play in the Hyundai A-League, by the club and also Fox sports. Yet however you look at it he is not. He is however the first French full international, but not the first frenchman.

Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix striker Eugene Dadi, was the first Frenchman to play in the Hyundai A-League. Dadi was born in the Ivory Coast and moved to France at nine years of age, and became a French citizen. His football career started in France, but with no offer to play internationally for his home nation he opted to play for the country of his birth when the Ivory Coast came calling.

Gallas is not even the second Frenchman to play in the Hyundai A-League as  Melbourne Victory’s  Jonathan Bru has that honour. Bru was born in Neuilly-sur-Seine and represented France in almost every aged youth team, but was never selected to make an appearance for the senior side. In June 2009, he announced that he hoped to play one day for Mauritius, the country in which both of his parents were born. He has since achieved that goal. Bru however has become a forgotten man it would appear not just at the Victory where he has not made a start or been listed as a substitute so far this season.

If football is serious about promoting the game and being professional, little facts such as these should be corrected. It is important that the records reflect the truth. Gallas is obviously a big name, and there is no disputing that he is the first full French international to play in the A-League, but not the first Frenchman.  Even for those who try and claim Eugene Dadi was not, despite what his passport says, Jonathan Bru is also ahead of Gallas and he did represent France. For the future history of the game these errors need to be amended to give a true reflection on the history of Australian football.


November 18, 2013 at 9:31 am 2 comments

Australian Sport Lived the Dream, Now Facing Reality.

It has not been a good year for Australian sport, the cricketers, the wallabies, the socceroos have all struggled to win, and with these struggles coming on the back of a disappointing Olympic Games in London there has been plenty of navel gazing

The news last week that Australian Rugby Union is going broke stunned many, but not those in the know. Added to this is the worrying state of the Super rugby franchises. Rugby Union is having to take a good hard look at itself and try and unravel some of the player contracts that they negotiated to keep players in Australia, and it has to act fast.

What is incredible is how football and rugby are facing many of the same problems at the moment, although football is loathe to admit it has any, as it is desperate to appear as if it is finally fulfilling its potential. Crowds attending A-league games are bound to agree that the code is heading in the right direction.

The ARU has stated that it is struggling to fund the game at development level, football too is struggling to meet those needs, with parents being asked to dip into their pockets for more and more money. This is one area the AFL does a great job, making sure funds from the highest level filter down to the youth level; but then again they do not have to fund international teams playing overseas in worldwide tournaments at a variety of ages!

Like the Socceroos, the Wallabies are not currently playing well and there have been complaints from former players that there is no longer a pride in wearing the jersey, or shirt. We doubt that this is true. Sure some players may not hurt as much as others following a defeat, but any player who wears the national colours, has to be proud to wear them, don’t they?

One thing that is clear, is as in football, rugby can no longer rely solely on home-based talent. They have to widen the selection circle and invite those players who have opted to head to Europe or Japan to earn bigger salaries, back into the international fold. George Smith proved against the British and Irish Lions that he was still up to the task, and the Wallabies benefitted.

Unlike their football counterparts Australian rugby union faces a major dilemma. It’s teams play in the toughest club rugby competition, Super Rugby, and then the best players from that competition play in the Rugby Championship against the perennially best two sides in the world, New Zealand and South Africa. So when they are going through a transitional period, – like now – results look a great deal worse, and as a result their world ranking is affected. Losses also result in fans starting to stay at home and revenues begin to dip.

The Socceroos and A-League players are lucky they do not play in similar competitions each year! However sadly the current success of the A-league in terms of excitement is papering over the international capability and player development cracks.

Currently Wallabies are paid $14,000 a test match. The Socceroos for the World Cup Qualifiers were paid $20,000 each. The similarities are clear.

The FFA would be wise to cast a glance in rugby’s direction over the next two years and watch carefully what they do to right the ship, because football could find itself in a similar position in tow or four years.

Football’s sudden clarion call for a home-grown national coach, has nothing to do with the successful A-League coaches being ready to take the reins, it comes down to the final realisation that those charged with developing players have under-performed and Australia faces the very real prospect of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and losing the $10-12million windfall that comes from qualifying. The truth is, as Ange Postecoglou stated ‘it should be the best man for the job,’ however that will have to be tempered with the clause, based on the funds on offer.

Why does Australian sport suddenly find itself in this position? Let’s face it cricket is not in a much better position either. Have Australia’s sports administrators made the same mistakes that many European top flight football clubs have made, ‘lived the dream,’ and spent beyond their means to remain at the top?

They have paid the top players well, but they have failed to bring through the second wave of players. With World Cups in each sport regeneration should take place after every world cup finals; but worldwide it rarely does. In football only Brazil have won back to back World Cups, and that was back in 1958 and 1962. In cricket the West Indies won two in a row, while Australia achieved a hat-trick of successes from 1999-2007*, in rugby no team has defended their World Cup crown successfully.

To compete consistently hard decisions need to be made as to when to drop players and bring in new talent, but just as important is while you are successful the money that success generates must be invested at the bottom of the sport, and not chewed up by those at the top. It is crucial that this happens across many sports in the next few years if Australia is to once again compete at the levels many expect.

* From their 1999 World Cup victory to the 2003 one, only five players remained in the Australian side: Gilchrist, Ponting, Lehmann, Bevan and McGrath. From 2003 to their 2007 success there were six: Gilchrist, Hayden, Ponting, Symonds, Hogg and McGrath. On both occasions they defended their title close to half the team was rejuvenated. Only three players played in all three winning finals, Gilchrist, Ponting and McGrath.

October 22, 2013 at 8:12 am Leave a comment

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