Cronulla to lose from Fifita’s Bulldogs offer

Cronulla aren’t the only losers from Andrew Fifita’s accepting a squillion-dollar offer to join the Bulldogs next season.

Whatever Adam Blair does, he can’t win.

The Wests Tigers’ NRL salary cap was squeezed, pummelled and stretched to get Blair up from the Melbourne Storm.

 It would have required a very small grandstand — a tent would have sufficed — to house Tiger fans who thought it was a good idea to let the then-promising Fifita go to the Sharks.

For other Tiger fans, it would be no shock that Fifita has converted promise into performance; so much so, he’s become the most in-demand forward in the game.

Those fans wouldn’t have been happy with Beau Ryan’s, Chris Heighington’s and Bryce Gibbs’ departure to the Sharks either.

Blair was supposed to be the man to take the Tigers forward.

But he has to have a dynamism similar to Fifita’s just to break even.

Even 10 straight man-of-the-match awards won’t do the job.

Only a title will do.

It’s an impossible burden to carry.

The late, great Rex Mossop contributed several unforgettable Mossopisms.

One of his favourites and one of his best was ‘‘a punch never hurt anyone.’’

It was also nonsense, as recent off-field fatalities from now-designated coward punches have tragically shown.

Then there are boxing-ring fatalities.

But he was right in the sense that on-field injuries have seldom resulted from punches, now-outlawed.

That’s because they’ve seldom landed; alleged punches have often been round-arm air swings.

It’s a paradox and there have been plenty of exceptions, but as a generalisation footballers aren’t good fighters.

Paul Gallen doesn’t throw coward punches.

No-one would accuse someone of the Cronulla and NSW captain’s immense physical bravery of cowardice.

 But Gallen has thrown king hits; he landed two of them on Nate Miles in a State-of-Origin match and didn’t knock the towering Queenslander off his feet.

That should tell Gallen something as he recovers from his ankle injury and plans a continuing boxing career as well as a return to football.

Rugby league legend Herb Narvo was Australian heavyweight boxing champion in the early 1940s and evidently had a bit of technique about him.

There is little technique about Gallen; the bull-necked one favours the bull-in-a-China shop approach.

There was a time when the heavyweight champion of the world was the most important sportsman on earth.

That time is long gone and boxing aficionados apart, most would struggle to name, even be aware of, the Russian brothers who have dominated the heavweight ranks in recent times.

Even so, Gallen could still watch film of plenty of heavyweights outside of Australia, who fight for a living and have technique.

A bull neck and immense strength and courage are not a defence against a real professional.

It was a lesson demonstrated when a washed-up, overweight, unfit Francis Botha almost beat Sonny Bill Williams.

Gallen’s fights against part-timers are celebrity novelties.

Should he step into the ring against a real professional, a punch might hurt and the consequences be severe.

This is a disgrace, an outrage, an insult to the game, dark days in cricket history...

Have there been reactions like that to NSW’s hosting the Sheffield Shield final at Manuka Oval, Canberra?

 Or Doug Bollinger being added to the Australian Twenty/20 World Cup squad?

That’s especially given Australia’s restoring Test cricket’s primacy after the Ashes series and the tour of South Africa.

Not a bit of it, hardly a peep or squeak.

It’s understandable that the final — the most important game in Australian domestic cricket — should be shunted off the Sydney Cricket Ground to make way for the visiting US baseball teams.

They’re playing more than sporting games; they’re the centre of once-in-a-lifetime events here.

But the shield final could have been postponed a week to another venue, could have been played at Blacktown International Sportspark, Bankstown Oval, even Allan Border Field or Mark Taylor Oval...anywhere in Sydney to reflect the game’s importance.

Bollinger? He’s been the successful opening spearhead of the NSW attack all season, and was unlucky not to go to South Africa.

His absence is a devastating blow for NSW, and for what?

A competition designed so bowlers are fodder for big-hitters and where the results are forgotten after 20 minutes.

Bollinger might see it as a promotion but it isn’t doing his career/NSW/the game any favours.

It just aint cricket


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