Northern Mystics unveil rolling maul

NEWSDESK: The Northern Mystics netball franchise’s ‘rolling maul’ technique has left opponents reaching for the rule book, and in some cases, seriously injured. Hot on the heels of last week’s ‘hoist lift’ manoeuvre, this week the Mystics formed a rugby-style maul in the third quarter to advance the ball through mid court, and several Canterbury Tactix netballers.

“Netball has been losing market share in the ‘blood thirsty suburban nana’ demographic to league and UFC,” said NZ Netball marketing manager Suzuki Swift. “The rugby cross-pollination has flipped that around – we’ve gained  great traction with our ‘spunky chicks smashing into each other’ promotional strategy. I’m totally confident rolling mauls will take it to the next level.”

Reports that Australia’s Melbourne Vixens was spotted practising spear tackles at training this week were unconfirmed.

Highs so high, lows so low

Harry’s Tottenham has a lot to like about it. Modric, with his geometrically perfect passing and Bale, with runs that make defenders turn into office chairs are the jewels in the crown. Van Der Vaat (his wife is awesome on Twitter) though, is my favourite, all running, giving everything for the cause – he just looks like he loves Tottenham and would do anything for us. There’s old pros (King, Friedal, erm Nelsen), young kids (Walker etc) and about 37 quality midfielders to choose from.

At one stage, we were playing sublime football, all wingers, full backs, overlapping runs, tasty balls through the middle (ooo-er) and goals going in all over the place. We were also genuinely challenging for the league. Or so we told ourselves. And anyway – the beauty of being in the top three for the first  three quarters of the season was that surely, surely, if we messed up, at least we could fall back on Champions League qualification for next year.


Um, this is Tottenham, haven’t you been paying attention? The two Big Distractions came mid season. First came the ‘is Harry Redknapp a dodgy geezer?’ court case, to apparently no effect. The players rallied around and continued winning. But then, on the day Harry was found not guilty, Fabio Capello flounced out (if you can flounce out in a car) of the England job. All of a sudden the newly-not-dodgy ‘Arry was the popular choice for England. And Spurs began crapping themselves.

The slide was painful. Whenever Tottenham start doing well, I’m bracing myself for the inevitable failure. THIS SEASON, for the FIRST TIME, I’d finally come to terms with us being a Proper Team, a team that wouldn’t just inexplicably fold in a Tottenham-like matter when it really counted. But slide we did. Second. Third. Fourth. FIFTH. Jesus wept.

Somehow, we kind of turned it around toward the end, and clung on to fourth. If it wasn’t for WBA’s second choice keeper throwing the ball into the net three times against Arsenal, we would have wrapped up third and a definite champions league spot on the last day, but we should have wrapped up third (at least) months ago. We only had ourselves to blame.

And so, our fate was in Chelsea’s hands. The veterans Terry, Lampard, Drogba, all tackles, dirty tackles, painful OTT goal celebrations, referee abuse and loathsomeness beyond reasonable levels had one last chance to get that European trophy their owner has been so desperate to buy. But against Bayern? In Munich? Surely they’d have no chance.


Again, this is Tottenham.


I worked myself into an epic frenzy on the Twitter but sadly, it had no effect on the outcome. Chelsea, with their football-free style took it, in the most painful fashion you can imagine if their success was the difference between your team making the Champions League next year. It was awful.

And so, we’re out of (proper) Europe, and I expect it’ll be a very long off season. Some Spurs fans have turned on Harry after his flirtation with England. Modric and Bale will no doubt be linked with every top Italian or Spanish club, and may well go. I don’t have a clever way to finish this, it’s been a harrowing, frankly. As Ali G said, there is a high, but there is also a low. I’d love to be optimistic that we’ll build on what we have now, but you know, this is Tottenham. Let’s see who’s still there next season.

Some say this post is a Clarkson tribute

Jeremy Clarkson is pretty much my first read in a Sunday Star Times. Yes, he’s a loud mouth with a haircut and dress sense worse than stablemate James May, which is no small achievement, but on paper, I find him very amusing indeed. It’s no co-incidence he’s mates with AA Gill, another fine metaphor athlete.

 Picking up the steed for the weekend

So when I was offered the chance to drive a Honda Insight for the weekend by Honda New Zealand as part of their Business Insight challenge, I thought “finally, here’s my chance to do a sweet Clarkson-style car review. Yinnow, pick up a car, hoon around in it, then write some witty shit about it. I didn’t know I’d always wanted to do this, until now”.

Unfortunately for me and my Hamilton right foot, burnouts were pretty much off the menu. The challenge (against other Telco types) was to bring the hybrid Honda back with the most fuel efficient score I could. When I arrived at Honda’s Newmarket branch, Peter (who is a lovely man) talked me through the Insight’s control panel. There’s numerous cunning ways to show how much gas I used, including a kind of glowing orb that throbs green when you drive like Metiria Turei, and throbs blue when you drive like a bogan. As I set off into Friday rush hour traffic, my eyes hovered between the road and the panel, as it told me second by second if I was using petrol, no petrol or charging the battery.

On Saturday, after a quick child-seat install (there are child seat bolts and side bars, safety fans), we went for a weekend drive from East Coast Bays along the Riverhead highway. Turns out it was possibly the worst road I could possibly have taken, its twists and turns were poison to the economical driver. I did myself no favours on the way home either, when I explained to my co-driver that I owed it to myself to plant the foot just the once. I did, and the car went forwards faster than it had before, but kind of slowly, like a hungover thirty-something creaking out of bed.

But that’s OK – you wouldn’t buy this car because you wanted to mix it up with the kids at the traffic lights. It’s a modern, well-put-together economical car. Would I buy one? Maybe. It’s like owning a good, solid golf umbrella. Yes, it’ll do its job and do it really well, but would the 16 year-old-you have reckoned you’d end up as the kind of guy who REALLY APPRECIATED the pleasures of an umbrella? Not very rock ‘n’ roll, is it? The Honda Insight is a car for grown ups, proper ones, that want the right tool for the economical car around town job – it’s perfect for that.

As for the competition, it was the Constellation Drive motorway on-ramp that killed me. I had to negotiate it and the bumper to bumper traffic on the morning I had to return the car to Newmarket. At the bottom of the on ramp my ‘economy score’ was 5.1. By the time I’d crawled to the top of the hill, apparently braking and accelerating in a more gas-guzzling manner than the Dukes Of Hazzard, I was on 5.5. Gutted. Careful negotiation of the harbour bridge and spaghetti junction took me to 5.4, mid-table in the competition.

I’m happy with that. I’ll take my rock ‘n’ roll where I can get it these days.

The fans, they are a’crying

Taking joy in other fan’s pain (har! har!) is the sign of a shallow, shallow person, team, ESPECIALLY when your own team faces a very long week ahead.

That said, is a keen student of the football fans crying genre, and when the two Manchester teams went head to head in full final-day-championship-dramageddon, there was bound to be some tasty crying action for the neutral.


0-0, 22 mins in. I wonder if this City ginger is this kid all growds up?

As an aside, there certainly seems to be a connection between gingers, with all their comedy awkwardness / unrequited longing for fulfilment / susceptibility to sunburn / appeal to bullies and Manchester City fans. At least this one isn’t prepared to take any shit.


1-0 City. All the hurt built up over the long glory-barren years being is released like a tennis ball can being opened in an explosion of beer-guts and dry humping in the stands at this stage.


1-2 QPR. Not going well. No-one waving an inflatable. Mass head clasping and looking around like a bus passenger trying to avoid eye contact is the form.


News of QPR’s goals filters through to Sunderland, sparking happy-head-clasping and hope against hope. Could this development mean an against-the-odds premiership win for Man U?

Spoiler alert: no.


And here we have the money shot – an honest to goodness crying fan, with bonus head-clasping. What is going through this mostly grown man’s mind as he sheds tears in public? The thought of facing his paper round mates on Monday without a championship trophy? The pain from his freshly-inked Man City Champions 2012 tattoo? The realisation that his cape won’t actually allow him to fly? Relief from years of hurt dangled within reach about to slip away in a hilarious-for-everyone-else scenario? I hope he went out and got very drunk, if he was able to sneak into a pub.

Still, for all the sniping by a barely-read, poorly written sports blog from New Zealand, at least City, even after spending all that money, sealed the deal and won a premiership, and avoiding adding the 2011/12 title challenge to the Man City pantheon of comedy gold. That is some pressure to cope with, fair play to them.

All screen captures from this BBC report – recommended viewing.

Blues clues

Pat Lam is out. According to the TV news, big John Kirwin has the job already, in an Andy Dalton / Gary Whetton / 1987 word cup winning team handshake-and-back-slap-fest that’s more old boys network than a ‘Went to Grammar? You get a fucking massive watch FREE with every Ferrari!’ sale at a Newmarket European car dealership.

Appointing rugby coaches to coach the Blues has been done before – they’ve had no joy with this rag tag bunch of talented players, who’ve promised much every pre-season and inevitably underperformed, apart from when they won it and that. But that was ages ago. JK hasn’t signed a contract for next year yet; reckons NZ’s biggest city should explore all its options. Like these:

Option one: Some kind of southern man is envisaging a weather-beaten, grizzled old man with a beard and oilskin jacket sitting quietly in the Blues dressing room, watching as the players come in, listen to dub step on massive headphones, make plans for getting shitfaced in the Viaduct that night and mess around with their hair.

When everyone quiets down, the southern-man-coach would stand up, say nothing for 35 minutes, quietly mutter “soft Auckland wankers” and walk out, never to be seen again. The Blues players would think about what he said, realise the errors of their city-living ways and go on to win every game and the championship. Somehow.

Option two: Kim Dot Com was unaware of its obligation, like all NZ media or websites, to link the Megaupload supremo to every story or issue, ever, but is putting this right now.

Offers a wide variety of transport options to games and that. Has international experience. Could probably record some kind of awesome rap track to get the public on side if results start to go against him.

May be jail-based for the 2013 season. Mates with Banksy. Unable to use the internet (arguably a pro, considering how upset Pat Lam got about it).

Option three: Twitter


Watching any sporting event in New Zealand in modern times is an exercise in juggling your remote control, beer and smartphone and keeping up with the witty online repartee while managing your life partner / wife asking what the hell you’re doing on your phone all the time situation.

New Zealand’s ‘online’ ‘community’ is CHOCK A BLOCK with highly developed rugby expertise, that happens on the fly, in real time. The only reason these guys aren’t coaching the Blues or the All Blacks RIGHT NOW is simply a combination of having to do stupid day jobs and bad luck.

So – to harness this rugby hive mind, call plays and decide who gets subbed off, all we need to do is set up a hashtag and let the magic happen. Tweet #bluescoach to have your very own instructions carried out by a guy with a headpiece and an iPad, be it “smash him!” or “get that winger to pull his finger out of his arse!” or “give up, just walk off right now!”. Opposition players will be banned from tweeting instructions during matches.

Option four: A mime


Yes, the situation at the Blues is bad, and needs a serious overhaul, fast. I feel for Pat Lam, a capable coach that fronts when things are going wrong, but let’s call a spade a spade – the Blues’ 2012 season has been a delight for the neutral. With that hoary old myth that when Auckland rugby is strong, New Zealand rugby is strong out of the way, we’ve all felt pretty comfortable laughing at the Blues, and had a great time. The only I can think of to improve on this season’s comedy factor is to put a mime in charge. On the face of it, they couldn’t do much worse.