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29 August 2010

Australian Sports News Update, by Greg Tingle - 29th August 2010

The Australian sporting world has enjoyed a mega week. We've got Mark Webber, F1 ace in pole position, a footballers ear bitten off and explosive news of AFL's Ben Cousin's tell all documentary, drug revelations and all, and who can forget
the Jason Akermanis gay AFL player revelations. Media Man and Gambling911 offer you on front row ringside and reved up account of the huge Australian sports week that was...

Mark Webber In Pole Position For Belgian Grand Prix...

Mark Webber was over the moon after snatching pole position for Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, but did admit that timing of his best qualifying lap was crucial. It was the 34-year-old's 5th pole of the season for Red Bull, who have taken pole at all but one race this year. Webber, who snatched back the lead in the driver's championship from McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton after winning the Hungarian Grand Prix, nipped the Pommie, who starts in 2nd place, by less than a 10th of a second. Webber clocked a time of 1min 45.788sec on his 1st lap in Q3 and admitted that the timing was vital as some timely rain prevented his rivals from matching his time. Remember the old saying, the more I win the luckier I get. "We knew the first lap was going to be pretty important because round here it is so unpredictable - the weather has been unique, even for Spa. It has been so on and off," the Aussie said. "So to have a pretty clean qualifying was very important. The first lap I was happy with, but you never know in this company if it is enough or not. It was nice to be on pole halfway through, but the weather made it more difficult to improve on our second attempt." Hamilton advised he was disappointed not to have bested Webber's time, but was delighted to be starting on the front row. "It was quite a tricky session through the whole qualifying," he said. "I got out for my first lap, the first one out. Turn 14 was drying up but I was first one to get there and didn't know how much to push. It was a bit of a disappointing first lap, I wasn't able to hold the time out of the tyres. Then I got the opportunity on the second lap which was a good lap apart from Turn 1. That was wet and a little bit damp, I lost time there. But the rest of the track was dry and I was able to utilise the tyres and pull out the time. I think I was a tenth behind Mark, there was the potential there to be in front in P1, but to be P2 on front row is a good position for us." Pole Robert Kubica will start in 3rd position for Renault ahead of German Sebastian Vettel in the 2nd (more controversial) Red Bull, while Brit Jenson Button of McLaren also made it into the top 5 spots. Ferrari driver Brazilian Felipe Massa was 6th fastest followed by Brazilian Rubens Barrichello of Williams. Force India's Adrian Sutil will start in 8th position ahead of fellow German Nico Hulkenberg of Williams and Ferrari driver Spaniard Fernando Alonso in 10th. Hulkenberg set the fastest time in the Q1 opening mini-session which saw rookie Russian Vitaly Petrov fail to set a time for Renault after spinning out on the exit of turn 9 on his opening lap. Sauber drivers Kamui Kobayashi and Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa joined Petrov on the casualty list after crashing out towards the end of the session. Despite not making it to Q2, Italian Jarno Trulli of Lotus will start in 16th position ahead of German Nico Rosberg who, despite finishing 12th fastest, has been given a 5 place grid penalty owing to a gearbox replacement. Kobayashi will start in 18th ahead of Hispania drivers Brazilian Bruno Senna and Japanese Sakon Yamamoto. Former champion Michael Schumacher's 10-place grid penalty for the incident involving Barrichello in Hungary means that despite making it to Q2 and finishing 11th fastest, he will start in 21st place! That will teach you a lesson son. Webber leads the championship just 4 points clear of Hamilton with another 6 points to Vettel.

Australian Rugby Player Loses Ear In Fight...

It was WrestleMania no holds barred on an Aussie footy field. An Australian rugby league player had part of his ear bitten off in a wild WrestleMania like brawl during a match. Jason "Smartypants" (MM tag) Schirnack, who was playing in the forwards for Sydney-based club Wests Tigers, was rushed to the Liverpool Hospital after being bitten in what his coach Paul 'Fireman' (MM tag) Fletcher described as a "bar-room brawl" during the match. The hungry and agro player responsible, winger Mitchell 'Muncher Steak' (MM tag) Stevens, 22, has been released by his club, the North Sydney Bears, Fairfax reported. The butt ugly match last Sunday was part of the NSW (New South Wales) Cup...1 of the 2 feeder competitions for the nation's prestigious National Rugby League premiership. Stevens will front up to the sport's judiciary Wednesday evening, and if found guilty, News Limited papers reported he could be suspended for 18 to 20 weeks. Some other media reckons he could be banned for at 1 year. Pissed off Tigers officials have lodged an official complaint over the bite to the sport's governing body, New South Wales Rugby League, while Schirnack, 21, described the bite as a "low act." "I was involved in a bit of biff with the guy and we started wrestling on the ground," Schirnack told Rugby League Week magazine. "Other players came running in and as we were wrestling on the ground, he took a chunk out of my ear. I couldn't believe it. It wasn't really all that painful, but when I realized a bit of my ear was missing, I was in shock. It's a low act. "I saw a plastic surgeon, but he said there wasn't much he could do," Schirnack said. "We didn't have the missing bit, so that made it hard for him to do anything. My girlfriend isn't happy because it looks pretty ugly, but what can I do? I just have to get on with life and try to move on." Tigers coach Paul Fletcher went on record with "The game was pretty nasty; it was like a bar-room brawl. There was no need for that sort of thing...it was a disgraceful act."

AFL: Ben Cousins Documentary - Drugs And All...

The first explosive scenes from the controversial Ben Cousins doco have been released. Cousins, 32, is shot dancing shirtless while holding a glass of red wine in Such is Life: The Troubled Times of Ben Cousins, which has been purchased by the Seven Network. Another scene shows the AFL star crying while under the influence of an unknown substance. "My name is Ben Cousins. I'm a drug addict", Cousins says while staring into the camera. The tell-all film, which was filmed over 2 years, is expected to screen later in the year over two nights. During the 30-second trailer, his dad Bryan chokes back tears while opening right up about his fears for his young fella. The AFL has confirmed Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou has viewed the doco but has not publicly commented on its content. The Richmond Footy Club has also viewed the flick. Cousins played in West Coast's 2006 premiership but was sacked by the Eagles after the 2007 season when his drug problem and behaviour spiralled out of control. He was suspended by the AFL soon after for bringing the game into disrepute, before Richmond recruited him for the 2009 season. The Tigers club threw him a lifeline and he has played at Punt Road for the past two seasons. A sleeping pill overdose saw Cousins hospitalised overnight just last month. His club accepted it was accidental and he only missed one AFL match. Stay tuned for more.

TV Deals To Rich AFL And NRL Clubs...

About $2 billion from the next AFL and NRL television rights deals is due to deliver an massive boost to the brand value of the top clubs from the two codes. A list of the 10 most valuable football clubs in Australia across Australian rules, rugby league, rugby union and football, compiled by entertainment and trademark lawyer Wayne Covell of Worthy Of The Name, showcases the important role of television exposure in adding value to a club's overall brand. For example, Covell's $ list attributes a value of $263million to Collingwood with $87.9million of that due to television revenue and audience projections. In the NRL, television revenue and audience figures are also vital. Of the $169million value applied to Brisbane Broncos, $89.2million can be attributed to television weightings. For the Parramatta Eels, TV revenue accounted for $86million of the club's value of $141million. Interestingly, on a table compiled by brand analysis specialist Repucom International, highlighting the cumulative television audience of all football clubs in Australia across the four codes for 2009 on free-to-air television and Fox Sports, the Broncos are 1, the Eels are 2, and Collingwood are 3. The AFL's television deal, which expires at the end of next year, is worth $780million while the NRL's television deal, expiring at the end of the 2012 season, is worth $500million. Both codes will be looking for $1billion from their next deals. Covell emphasises the central role television plays in his valuations. "The size of the television deal has a huge impact on the football team valuations. A large slice of the television fees paid are attributable to a team's viewership. Their audience drives sponsorship, advertising and merchandise deals." With the NRL's potential to double the value of their current TV deal, and the AFL set to increase its own deal by $220million, it's interesting to compare their numbers to the English Premier League - its television deal is worth about $5billion, confirming its stature as the biggest football league in the world. NRL chief executive David 'Giddy Up' (MM tag) Gallop says he does not have a target price in mind for his code's next television deal, but feels the game has put forward a strong case to potential broadcasters. Gallop told the press "Our expectation is to get an increase in TV revenue that reflects the game's standing. We have not set a dollar value on that but we believe we have compelling content for any broadcasters and our ratings consistently reflect that." He said the NRL was doing everything in its power to secure the best deal. "It is an enormous opportunity," Gallop advised. "It is unquestionably our biggest single revenue source so it plays an important role in growing the financial strength of the game and in helping the game reach as many people as possible. I don't think anyone is underestimating the significance of the next broadcasting deal." AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou says his code isn't in a battle for the same television money as the NRL, despite having signed NRL players Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau. "We do not believe we are competing for the same television dollar in our next round of TV rights negotiations," Demetriou says. Covell's list comes after the release last month of Forbes magazine's valuation of the world's top 10 sporting franchises. Manchester United topped the Forbes list, with a valuation of $2billion. The total value of Australia's top 10 football brands is $1.8billion, which is about the value of the New York Yankees baseball team, which Forbes ranked as the world's third most valuable sports team. Well, it is sports business, and sports business is Big Business, something Gambling911 and Media Man can certainly attest to.

Boxing Gossip: Danny "The Green Machine" Green VS Anthony "The Man" Mundine (Outside The Ring)...

Mundine is a huge fan of the TV show Top Gear and quite the rev head...but he's said No chance to appear on the program. The producers really wanted Mundine to race against his arch rival Danny Green in what would have been a fantastic dream segment, but Mundine has put cold water on the pitch. "Let's get one thing clear...just like I whipped him in the ring when we fought, I'd whip him on the race track," Mundine sprouted "But Green has based his entire career on me and has ridden on me to try and make a name for himself in that time. I am not going to try and help him resurrect his name after his recent farcical fights (Hurricane Briggs). I've got to fight a world ranked fighter, Ryan Waters, on September 15 in Wollongong. All Green does is pick on blokes past their best."

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Readers, know the odds, bet with your head, not over it, and have fun. Good punting.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming.

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