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Analysis and Comment (181)

Sacking Brenton Sanderson as coach may rebound on the Adelaide Crows if the club doesn’t have a strong replacement ready to step in. Sacking Brenton Sanderson as coach may rebound on the Adelaide Crows if the club doesn’t have a strong replacement ready to step in. AAP/Ben Macmahon

Sack the coach? Wait, there’s more to fixing a club than that

The football season is almost over, but the coach-sacking season has just begun. In the AFL, the Adelaide Crows sacked coach Brenton Sanderson despite only recently having extended his contract. Media…
In football’s biggest week, Franklin is football’s biggest story. In football’s biggest week, Franklin is football’s biggest story. AAP Image/NEWZULU/HUGH PETERSWALD

Buddy Franklin has the swagger – but can he be an Aussie hero?

It’s early in the fourth quarter and Lance “Buddy” Franklin is enjoying himself. Celebrating his 200th game against St Kilda at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) last month, the Sydney Swans forward has…
What keeps us watching AFL, even when we’d rather not? What keeps us watching AFL, even when we’d rather not? Theron Kirkman/AAP Image

The AFL grand final – a carnival of struggle, passion and tragedy

In September each year, for more than a century now, Australians have participated in the triumphs and tragedies of the annual carnival of the boot. We celebrate football as a quasi-religious, tribal homage…
To understand Australian culture in all its diversity, we need data. To understand Australian culture in all its diversity, we need data. AAP Image/Dan Himbrechts

We need ABS arts and sports data to understand our culture

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) last week released its 2014-2018 forward work plan. The work plan confirms the June media release that arts and sport data will disappear from the ABS-funded component…
The last African games bid from Abuja fell short in Sri Lanka in 2007. The last African games bid from Abuja fell short in Sri Lanka in 2007. EPA

It is time to let Africa host the Commonwealth Games

With the end of the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games, it is tempting to suggest that its success might just have saved the event. Certainly what has not been in question is that its future has been in doubt…
Famous for its golden sandy beaches and almost year round sunshine, Australia’s Gold Coast will host the next Commonwealth Games. Famous for its golden sandy beaches and almost year round sunshine, Australia’s Gold Coast will host the next Commonwealth Games. AAP Image/Dan Peled

From Glasgow to the Gold Coast: what to expect in 2018

It’s hard to think of any two Commonwealth Games host cities more different than Glasgow and the Gold Coast in faraway Australia, home to the 2018 Games. But as our small university delegation discovered…
It’s tough out there. It’s tough out there. EPA/Yoan Valat

Explainer: how to win a Tour de France sprint

The final dash to the line in a Tour de France sprint finish may appear to the bystander to be a mess of bodies trying to cram into the width of a road, but there is a high degree of strategy involved…
Current funding criteria count against the ParaRoos and other athletes with disability who are represented by mainstream sports bodies. Current funding criteria count against the ParaRoos and other athletes with disability who are represented by mainstream sports bodies. ParaRoos

In picking winners, sport funding rules can fail people with disabilities

The Australian Sports Commission has announced the funding of national sport organisations and individual sports for 2014-15. Overall Olympic funding enjoyed an increase of about A$750,000. Paralympic…
FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left), pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was booed at the World Cup final because he continues to be the face of what is wrong with FIFA. FIFA president Sepp Blatter (left), pictured with Russian president Vladimir Putin, was booed at the World Cup final because he continues to be the face of what is wrong with FIFA. EPA/Alexey Nikolsky

FIFA is back to its core business – but Platini should replace Blatter

Delays in stadium construction. Poor working conditions for World Cup workers. Massive budget blowouts. Nationwide protests. Ignoring the needs of millions of struggling Brazilian families. All of these…
Get in line. Riders keeping out of the wind on the road to Sheffield. Get in line. Riders keeping out of the wind on the road to Sheffield. Adam Bowie

The science behind Tour de France’s hide-and-seek tactics

When the Tour de France comes to town, it’s a chance to get your gladrags on. This year’s Grand Depart in Yorkshire saw Leeds decked out with yellow flowers, bikes placed in coffee bar windows, statues…
The World Cup may be safe in German hands, but the legacy the tournament will leave in Brazil might be contested for some time. The World Cup may be safe in German hands, but the legacy the tournament will leave in Brazil might be contested for some time. EPA/Srdjan Suki

Cultural and political legacies of the World Cup: where to now?

The losing World Cup teams and fans are licking their wounds, while newly crowned world champions Germany will celebrate for at least the next four years. However, the world has already started to ask…
Football’s growth, while based on the game’s intrinsic nature, is also indebted to the World Cup. Football’s growth, while based on the game’s intrinsic nature, is also indebted to the World Cup. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

In a globalised world, the football World Cup is a force for good

FIFA, world football’s governing body, is not a perfect multinational corporation. It would be quite naïve to envisage that the World Cup should have the capacity to bring world peace, fix global inequality…
Spain’s golden generation, featuring players such as Torres, Iniesta and Casillas, crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil, perhaps marking an end to their dominance of world football. Spain’s golden generation, featuring players such as Torres, Iniesta and Casillas, crashed out of the World Cup in Brazil, perhaps marking an end to their dominance of world football. EPA/Abedin Taherkenareh

Capitalism or golden generations? Explaining success in World Cups

As the World Cup reaches its climax, with Brazil, Germany, Argentina and the Netherlands to fight it out for a spot in the final, can we explain why some countries have been successful at the highest level…
Blurred lines. Costs and benefits of the TDF are hard to define. Blurred lines. Costs and benefits of the TDF are hard to define. oneshotimages

Tour de Yorkshire will boost economy but what about the environment?

When the world’s greatest cycling race starts in Yorkshire, England on July 5, some 2-3m visitors are expected to turn out to watch a spectacle which will cost an estimated £10m to host. If the organisers…
Australia is heading in the right direction football-wise if our results at the World Cup are anything to go by. Australia is heading in the right direction football-wise if our results at the World Cup are anything to go by. EPA/Fernando Bizerra Jr

Despite World Cup losses, Australia has a bright football future

For those well-versed in football and Australian sport, the Australian national team’s early exit from the World Cup should come as no surprise. The three losses – to Chile, the Netherlands and Spain…
Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. Italian striker Mario Balotelli is a pioneer in a society that still struggles to accept its multiethnic composition. EPA/Kai Foersterling

Super Mario: can Balotelli defy racism to be Italy’s World Cup hero?

Mario Balotelli is already an international football star and has the potential to become one of Italy’s greatest ever strikers. But is Italy ready to accept a black player as its next football hero? Balotelli…
Andy Murray just found out he’s missing the Honduras Switzerland game. Andy Murray just found out he’s missing the Honduras Switzerland game. Jonathan Brady/PA

With clever marketing, Wimbledon can compete with the World Cup for viewers

For many sports fans, the final week in June signals the start of a fortnight to be spent enjoying the annual feast of entertainment, heartache and ecstasy served up by the world’s best tennis players…
What does Spain striker Diego Costa’s back story tell us about footballers and identity in the modern world? What does Spain striker Diego Costa’s back story tell us about footballers and identity in the modern world? EPA/Antonio Lacerda

Diego Costa, Spain and problems of identity in world football

People watching the World Cup match between Spain and the Netherlands earlier in the tournament may have been wondering why Spanish striker Diego Costa was vociferously booed every time he touched the…
The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. The heat is on. And referees can get it wrong. Tolga Bozoglu/EPA

Forget the players, World Cup referees are feeling the heat

There has been much hand-wringing over the problems that World Cup players are facing due to the environmental extremes they are exposed to in Brazil. There has been little sympathy for the men in black…
If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. If you would like to see a large number of desperately poor people enjoy the joy of a World Cup victory, you should cheer for Nigeria. EPA/Rungroj Yongrit

Stuck for a World Cup team? Shoot for the happiness dividend

Let’s be realistic. Australia is the lowest ranked of the 32 teams in the World Cup, and despite a very creditable performance in its first match against Chile, its chances of making it out of the group…
Research a better bet than an octopus oracle. Research a better bet than an octopus oracle. Roland Weihrauch/EPA

How to minimise losses when gambling on the World Cup

Given my academic background it may come as little surprise that when I gamble, I expect to lose in the long run. But, that is not to say that I don’t have some golden rules that I apply in gambling situations…
Spain’s revitalisation of ‘beautiful football’ in recent years has been extremely successful. How have football tactics evolved over the years? Spain’s revitalisation of ‘beautiful football’ in recent years has been extremely successful. How have football tactics evolved over the years? EPA/Zurab Kurtsikidze

Tactics at the World Cup: a battle between aesthetics and results

The football World Cup may be yet to kick off, but there have already been innumerable discussions on the various playing styles that each country will adopt. Will they play a 4-4-2, a 4-2-3-1, or a straight…
Crowd pleasers. Crowd pleasers. Agência Brasil

Home advantage makes Brazil the favourite to win World Cup

The “home advantage” is a well known phenomenon in sporting circles with home teams consistently winning more than 50% of sporting contests. But how exactly does playing at home help Brazil and disadvantage…
Australia’s Anna Flanagan reacts after scoring against Belgium in the Field Hockey World Cup. Australia’s Anna Flanagan reacts after scoring against Belgium in the Field Hockey World Cup. EPA/Evert-Jan Daniels

Australia could win the World Cup … in the Netherlands

Like most Australians, I will be staying up late to watch our country play in the FIFA World Cup. But I will also be watching the other World Cup. We’re being bombarded by pre-publicity for the Football…
FIFA suggests that 270 million people are involved in playing or officiating football around the world, with billions also tuning into the World Cup every four years. FIFA suggests that 270 million people are involved in playing or officiating football around the world, with billions also tuning into the World Cup every four years. EPA/Sebastiao Moreira

It may be the World Cup, but how global is the ‘world game’?

In 1863, the newly formed English Football Association (FA) drew up and published the first Laws of the Game of football. The aim was to provide a set of universal rules to govern the various forms of…
The heroics of South Korea’s national football team in the 2002 World Cup, which it co-hosted with Japan, energised the country and restored its national pride. The heroics of South Korea’s national football team in the 2002 World Cup, which it co-hosted with Japan, energised the country and restored its national pride. Damien Gabrielson

South Korea and Brazil: intangible legacies of hosting the World Cup

The host nations of major sporting tournaments like the football World Cup are usually obsessed with the international status and prestige that comes with holding these events. However, the impact that…
FIFA, led by president Sepp Blatter, is under fire once more for its decision to award hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf nation of Qatar. FIFA, led by president Sepp Blatter, is under fire once more for its decision to award hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup to the Gulf nation of Qatar. EPA/Atef Safadi

Qatar saga shows why FIFA should return football to the fans

Qatar did not win the right to host football’s World Cup in 2022 legitimately. That was impossible. Awarding the World Cup to Qatar was clearly not about passion for the game, nor about offering communities…
Similar protests to those that rocked Brazil during 2013 will no doubt re-appear during the World Cup, as many locals aim to increase their social and political rights. Similar protests to those that rocked Brazil during 2013 will no doubt re-appear during the World Cup, as many locals aim to increase their social and political rights. EPA/Marcelo Sayao

Will the World Cup leave a positive legacy in Brazil?

During last year’s Confederations Cup football tournament in Brazil, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators took to the country’s streets to demand change. Protests that started with a clear opposition…
Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? Will Essendon players face sanction if it is proven that they took banned substances during the 2012 AFL season? AAP/Joe Castro

What happens if Essendon players are issued ‘show cause’ notices?

Speculation continues to mount that Essendon Football Club players will face sanctions from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) over the club’s controversial 2011-12 supplements program…
Australian sport has been in a so-called ‘crisis’ since 2013, but what is the best way address it? Australian sport has been in a so-called ‘crisis’ since 2013, but what is the best way address it? AAP/Lukas Coch

Are we doing enough to promote integrity in sport?

The “crisis” in Australian sport in 2013 prompted calls for change to rebuild integrity and public trust. But while beefing up policing and instituting harsher penalties seems to be a natural reaction…
Despite the increasing prominence of women’s sport, the number of women in leadership positions in professional sport is still low. Why? Despite the increasing prominence of women’s sport, the number of women in leadership positions in professional sport is still low. Why? AAP/Joe Castro

What’s holding back women from leadership roles in Australian sport?

Recently, it was reported that the AFL, the Australian Sports Commission and the Richmond Football Club have jointly funded research to “investigate the real and perceived blocks to women reaching the…
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers. Chris Paul and Blake Griffin of the LA Clippers. EPA/John Mabanglo

NBA’s action on bigoted owner a slam dunk for anti-racism

In a scandal that has rocked the American sporting world, David Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team, was caught on tape excoriating his girlfriend for associating with black people…
The cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain serve to emphasise that sport – and society – still has work to do to combat racism. The cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain serve to emphasise that sport – and society – still has work to do to combat racism. EPA/Paul Buck

Sterling, Alves and why racism continues to dog sport worldwide

Two recent instances of sports-related racial abuse have seen athletes take strong, united stands against the scourge of racism. While the cases of Donald Sterling in the US and Dani Alves in Spain are…
AFL fans are being turned off by tactics based on tackling and crowding to deny stars space to display their skills. AFL fans are being turned off by tactics based on tackling and crowding to deny stars space to display their skills. AAP/David Crosling

AFL must change ticketing and ‘Ugby’ rules that drive away fans

Is Australian football, the “people’s game” in its traditional motto, under threat? Will it remain Australia’s number one sport in its bicentenary year 2058? Or will the AFL’s greedy ticket pricing and…
Was McKinnon’s spinal injury a freak accident? Was McKinnon’s spinal injury a freak accident? AAP Image/Action Photographics, Brett Crockford

Is rugby league too dangerous?

After Newcastle forward Alex McKinnon’s neck was broken in a lifting tackle in March, some commentators and parents have questioned whether rugby is just too dangerous for children, amateurs – and even…
It’s easy to make the game safer without significantly altering the collision aspect that makes rugby so attractive. It’s easy to make the game safer without significantly altering the collision aspect that makes rugby so attractive. AAP Image/David Crosling

Brute force: reducing the impact of rugby collisions

The legendary American Football coach Vince Lombardi once said “Football is not a contact sport, it’s a collision sport – dancing is a contact sport”. This is equally applicable to the various codes of…
Could Afghanistan’s cricketers become unlikely ambassadors for their country and bring relief to it in its current state of volatility? Could Afghanistan’s cricketers become unlikely ambassadors for their country and bring relief to it in its current state of volatility? Afghanistan Cricket Board

Sport in conflict: can cricket heal war-torn Afghanistan?

Sport has emerged as an unlikely hero for one nation that continues to deal with violent internal conflicts. Afghanistan beat Australia at last month’s under-19 Cricket World Cup in Abu Dhabi, while the…
That’s all, folks: Andrew Demetriou has announced he’ll step down as AFL CEO at the end of the football season. That’s all, folks: Andrew Demetriou has announced he’ll step down as AFL CEO at the end of the football season. AAP/David Crosling

Demetriou’s resignation leaves big boots to fill for the AFL

Andrew Demetriou yesterday announced his retirement at the end of the 2014 season after 11 years at the helm of the AFL. The announcement was made at a set-piece press conference presided over by AFL Commission…
Tackling a big issue. Tackling a big issue. Neil Marshman

We don’t listen to children when it comes to abuse in sport

Sky Sports presenter Charlie Webster has said she revealed details about sexual abuse by her coach when she was young in order to “break the taboo about abuse as a whole.” There are certainly issues within…
Can the carnival spirit, combined with sport, help deal with Brazil’s social issues? Can the carnival spirit, combined with sport, help deal with Brazil’s social issues? keka

From the favelas: rising up through arts and sport in Brazil

With final preparations now underway for next week’s annual Rio de Janeiro carnival, and as the hype builds for this year’s FIFA World Cup and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, it’s almost inevitable images…
Sport is often compared with religion in Australia. But how do fans' relationships with their football teams manifest? Sport is often compared with religion in Australia. But how do fans' relationships with their football teams manifest? AAP/Joe Castro

More than a game: how attached are we to our teams?

At some point, you’ve no doubt heard someone say “football is my religion”. And if we follow French sociologist Emile Durkheim’s famous building blocks for religion, we will find that football is not far…
Putin leads Russia by sporting example. Putin leads Russia by sporting example. Borodun

Success at Sochi will restore pride to Russia’s self-image

The image of a bare-chested president Vladimir Putin sitting astride his horse or speeding down ski slopes is by now a familiar one. Not since Vladimir Ilyich Lenin himself has Russia had such a sports…
India will be regarded more than ever with suspicion in the cricket world if proposed changes to the game’s governance are put in place. India will be regarded more than ever with suspicion in the cricket world if proposed changes to the game’s governance are put in place. EPA/Jagadeesh NV

India, cricket and the politics of dominance

Just two years after the International Cricket Council (ICC) received wide-ranging recommendations for reform of its governance arrangements – which India promptly rejected – cricket’s global governing…
Much of Rafael Nadal’s success can be attributed to junior practice techniques. Much of Rafael Nadal’s success can be attributed to junior practice techniques. Flickr/Carine06

Different strokes: how Rafael and Tiger hit the top of their games

As Rafael Nadal moves into the Australian Open semi-finals after beating Grigor Dimitrov yesterday afternoon, it’s a good opportunity to think about how he reached his champion status and compare him with…
Looking to big data for that extra leap. Looking to big data for that extra leap. EPA/JASON SZENES Corbis Out

Big data can give athletes the winning edge

Sport at the elite level has always adopted new technologies to capture data from players during play to better understand their performance and their team’s result. Closely aligned with this is the practice…
The former 100m world record holder tested positive for a banned stimulant last June. The former 100m world record holder tested positive for a banned stimulant last June. Matt Slocum/AP

Asafa Powell may be guilty of doping but he’s also a victim

As Asafa Powell faces the Jamaica Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel, we already know his defence – that he was given a supplement called Epiphany D1 by his former physiotherapist, Chris Xuereb, without his…
Muscular women such as Serena Williams issue a challenge to received ideas about femininity. Muscular women such as Serena Williams issue a challenge to received ideas about femininity. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Why do we find muscular women wildly perplexing?

We don’t see many muscular women in popular culture – and the display of much heavier and obviously stronger female bodies can be overwhelming or shocking. Professional tennis playing sisters Serena and…
A different type of Grand Slam: Carlos Moya of Spain loses his cool at the Australian Open in 2005. A different type of Grand Slam: Carlos Moya of Spain loses his cool at the Australian Open in 2005. AAP/Joe Castro

Why some players can’t keep their cool when the tennis heats up

Over the next two weeks, Melbourne Park will host the world’s best tennis players for the Australian Open. We expect the best to perform under the watchful gaze of millions of fans around the world, so…
Media commentary is not a reliable indicator of the severity of fan violence in Australian soccer – but policing approaches do need to improve. Media commentary is not a reliable indicator of the severity of fan violence in Australian soccer – but policing approaches do need to improve. AAP/David Crosling

Australia has no ‘soccer hooligan’ problem – but we need a smarter policing approach

The A-League soccer game between Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers late last year attracted national media headlines for all the wrong reasons: brawls between opposing fans outside a city…
Old is the new young, in tennis anyway: at 35 years old, Germany’s Tommy Haas is still winning tournaments. Old is the new young, in tennis anyway: at 35 years old, Germany’s Tommy Haas is still winning tournaments. EPA/Marc Mueller

You’ll never see another teenage tennis champ – here’s why

Lleyton Hewitt won the Brisbane International last weekend at the age of 32. Roger Federer and David Ferrer, two of the world’s top ten players, are over 30. And 35-year-old crowd favourite Tommy Haas…
Australia regained the treasured Ashes urn after whitewashing England five-nil. What are the key cultural lessons from the latest series? Australia regained the treasured Ashes urn after whitewashing England five-nil. What are the key cultural lessons from the latest series? AAP/Paul Miller

The Ashes: six salutary lessons for the media, the nation and sport

When the end came to the Ashes, it came quickly on the third day at the Sydney Cricket Ground – five-nil to Australia. After ten Ashes tests in seven months, 2015 will be well advanced before Australia…
What chance the ICC will act to clean up cricket, which continues to be dogged by corruption scandals? What chance the ICC will act to clean up cricket, which continues to be dogged by corruption scandals? EPA/Rahat Dar

Corruption in sport: cricket, transparency and governance

Amidst crowded match schedules that are as much about finance as play, cricket’s off-field governance and probity problems have reappeared to raise further questions about its future. News broke last week…
Qataris should prepare for an era of sporting success. Qataris should prepare for an era of sporting success. Owen Humphreys/PA

Sporting success is key to Qatar’s vision of future power

Three years on from winning the competition to host the World Cup, and still more than eight years out from actually hosting the tournament, Qatar 2022 is everywhere. By the time it happens it will have…
Australia’s cricketing mojo has returned in this Ashes series. While effective, their methods have not always been pretty. Australia’s cricketing mojo has returned in this Ashes series. While effective, their methods have not always been pretty. AAP/Dave Hunt

The Ashes: Australian masculinity reborn amid English tumult

After losing three Ashes series on the bounce and following much soul-searching about the decline of its national sporting prowess, Australia is giving England a pounding in the cricket. For many, all…
Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke became involved in a sledging imbroglio after stump microphones picked up a comment aimed at Englishman Jimmy Anderson. Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke became involved in a sledging imbroglio after stump microphones picked up a comment aimed at Englishman Jimmy Anderson. AAP/Dave Hunt

Sledging is out of order in the workplace, so why not the sports field?

Picture this scene: you and a colleague sit down for a meeting with your counterparts from another organisation. Before discussions begin, one employee leans over and questions whether you know what you…
By developing effective concentration and cognitive strategies, athletes can learn to ignore or reframe comments by their opposition. By developing effective concentration and cognitive strategies, athletes can learn to ignore or reframe comments by their opposition. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Don’t be so sensitive, sledging is part of the game

In cricket it’s known as sledging; in basketball, it’s trash talk; in ice hockey, chirping. Whatever you prefer to call it, the banter that occurs between players, whether it is on the field, court, or…
Rupert Murdoch may look to a more sympathetic government for reform to the anti-siphoning list of sporting events. Rupert Murdoch may look to a more sympathetic government for reform to the anti-siphoning list of sporting events. EPA/Drew Angerer

Political favours and the rights of TV sport audiences

As the dust settles after a decisive change of government, it is time for the main support players to call in their favours. Among the cheerleaders for a Coalition government, none was more vocal than…
Football’s popularity in Asia has fuelled illegal betting. Football’s popularity in Asia has fuelled illegal betting. Eugene Hoshiko/AP

FA is fixing football, but not how you might think

In the run up to the London Olympics, Jacques Rogge, then president of the International Olympic Committee, made a surprising statement. Doping, he said, was no longer the number one threat to the integrity…
Spice boys: the English cricket team’s leaked dietary requirements while on tour caused much mirth in Australian press. Spice boys: the English cricket team’s leaked dietary requirements while on tour caused much mirth in Australian press. AAP/Dave Hunt

The Ashes: where the indigestible meets the indelible

An Ashes series – the latest set to commence in Brisbane – symbolically ushers in the Australian summer in a manner akin to the loud soundtrack of thrumming cicadas. The media will cover the sporting exploits…
Football, with its passion, drama and larger-than-life characters, has all the elements for a good literary genre. Football, with its passion, drama and larger-than-life characters, has all the elements for a good literary genre. Boris Roessler/EPA

From stadium to page: why football deserves more fiction

A great football novel is like a perfectly executed bicycle-kick goal, like players such as Argentine legends Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi; they come along once in a generation. Against the accumulated…
AFL clubs Collingwood and St Kilda will play an annual match to celebrate the legacy of Indigenous trailblazer Nicky Winmar. AFL clubs Collingwood and St Kilda will play an annual match to celebrate the legacy of Indigenous trailblazer Nicky Winmar. AAP/Hamish Blair

A game whose time has come: Winmar, Goodes and race in the AFL

The best photos do more than freeze time. They capture a moment and take us there, making witnesses of us all. Here lies their power to inspire, touch and transform; a power tied to the stories, hopes…
Sports fans in the US are being offered the chance to buy shares in their favourite athlete, so what’s stopping the same thing happening in Australia? Sports fans in the US are being offered the chance to buy shares in their favourite athlete, so what’s stopping the same thing happening in Australia? AAP/David Crosling

Invest in your favourite athlete? What could possibly go wrong…

“You just lost 9% of your value, what’s your response to that?” That’s how an interview with your favourite football player might kick off if US startup Fantex succeeds in building a global trading market…
The man touted as the next Socceroos coach, Angle Postecoglou, meets Australian soccer’s greatest export Craig Johnston. Should we have local coaches for our national teams? The man touted as the next Socceroos coach, Angle Postecoglou, meets Australian soccer’s greatest export Craig Johnston. Should we have local coaches for our national teams? AAP/Hamish Blair

The case for a home-grown coach in a global sports market

Another foreign coach of an Australian national sports team has been ushered to the overseas departure terminal. Having overseen the team’s qualification for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Socceroos…
Who was in charge of selling tickets again? Who was in charge of selling tickets again? Bescker

Sochi scandals threaten a Russian sporting renaissance

With the 2014 Winter Olympic Games fewer than six months away, the last thing Russia needs is another scandal. But that is exactly what the organisers have got. The latest controversy involves migrants…
Elite sports training is starting earlier and earlier – but is this always a good thing? Elite sports training is starting earlier and earlier – but is this always a good thing? School sport image from www.shutterstock.com

Do we really need elite sports training in schools?

A short conversation with a parent a number of years ago made me realise the extent of the problems we have in youth sport. This parent wanted advice on how to make his child faster and stronger to ensure…
A country that is more interested in sport than in politics is a ‘happy’ one, remarked prime minister Tony Abbott after his election success. A country that is more interested in sport than in politics is a ‘happy’ one, remarked prime minister Tony Abbott after his election success. AAP/Paul Miller

The nation decides - and sport is the winner

After the gladiatorial combat of the federal election campaign, prime minister-elect Tony Abbott appeared on Sunrise to call an Olympic-style truce. Happy is the country which is more interested in sport…
Victorian soccer club Southern Stars has been caught up in the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Australian sport. What can be done to prevent further instances of corruption? Victorian soccer club Southern Stars has been caught up in the biggest match-fixing scandal to hit Australian sport. What can be done to prevent further instances of corruption? ABC News

Falling Stars: Australian soccer scandal shines bright

Since taking over as chief executive of the Football Federation Australia (FFA), Australian soccer’s governing body, David Gallop would have “sold his arse” (to paraphrase Tony Abbott) to have the sport…
The Essendon supplements scandal that has enveloped the current AFL season has created the narrative of villains and heroes. Is it a sports marketers' dream? The Essendon supplements scandal that has enveloped the current AFL season has created the narrative of villains and heroes. Is it a sports marketers' dream? AAP/Julian Smith

Marketing sport: villains and heroes in AFL brand narratives

This season, some sports commentators and footy fans have argued that the investigation into the supplements regime at Essendon has brought the club, the AFL and “the code” to their knees. From a branding…
The devotion of Essendon fans towards their coach and club legend James Hird - despite his involvement in the club’s supplements saga - can be easily explained away. The devotion of Essendon fans towards their coach and club legend James Hird - despite his involvement in the club’s supplements saga - can be easily explained away. AAP/Julian Smith

Understanding the ‘cult’ of James Hird

It’s times like these when we get to see just how much sports like Australian rules football shape the thoughts and dreams of so many Australians. Not only has the Essendon drugs scandal dominated much…
We’re about to reach intermission in the ten-part Ashes series. What have we learnt about the way we consume the sport of cricket as a social and cultural construct? We’re about to reach intermission in the ten-part Ashes series. What have we learnt about the way we consume the sport of cricket as a social and cultural construct? EPA/Peter Powell

The end of Act One of the Ashes melodrama

The end of the English summer beckons, and Act One of the current Ashes drama is reaching its appointed denouement across the Thames from London’s Theatreland at The Oval. The interval will last until…
Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. Catching all dopers would be an expensive exercise, running into tens of millions of dollars. EPA/Dominic Favre

Exposing dopers in sport: is it really worth the cost?

On the back of an interim report by the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) into the Essendon Football Club’s controversial supplements program in 2011-12, the AFL last night charged the club…
As professional sport lurches from crisis to crisis, is there still room for amateurs to enjoy sport at their own pace? As professional sport lurches from crisis to crisis, is there still room for amateurs to enjoy sport at their own pace? Jim Bryant

More than speed, strength and winning: the pleasures of ‘slow sport’ cultures

Australian male sport is facing increasing public scrutiny in relation to ethics, conduct and cultural legitimacy. Our sports media is saturated with reports of drug enhanced desires for speed and strength…
Despite once being seen as an innovative nation in sport and athlete development, Australia has fallen behind the pack in recent times. How can we improve? Despite once being seen as an innovative nation in sport and athlete development, Australia has fallen behind the pack in recent times. How can we improve? AAP/Alan Porritt

How much are we prepared to pay for international sporting success?

The debate surrounding elite sport funding intensified again this week when newly appointed Minister for Sport, Senator Don Farrell, sent a hard and direct message to sport: …you have to perform or lose…
If the current Ashes series tells us anything, it’s that the roles of Australian triumphalism and British despondence when it comes to sport have finally been reversed. If the current Ashes series tells us anything, it’s that the roles of Australian triumphalism and British despondence when it comes to sport have finally been reversed. EPA/Tom Hevezi

Triumph, despond and the sporting ‘nation’: the Ashes continues

The caravan tour of the England-Australia Ashes series, spanning two hemispheres and ten Tests in the space of six months, now rolls on to Manchester’s Old Trafford ground. The current series has so far…
Cyclist Stuart O'Grady’s admission to doping is an important moment in Australian sport. Cyclist Stuart O'Grady’s admission to doping is an important moment in Australian sport. Ben Macmahon/AAP

Dopers like O’Grady should pay, even if they’re good blokes

Recently retired professional cyclist Stuart O’Grady is the latest elite Australian sportsperson to confess publicly to doping during his career. He admitted last week to using the banned blood oxygen…
Australia fell just short in the first Ashes Test. Australia fell just short in the first Ashes Test. EPA/David Jones

Media misses point on cricket’s Decision Review System

The first Ashes Test was indeed a veritable thriller. England edged Australia by a mere 14 runs, after an absorbing four-and-a-half days of action to go one-up in the best-of-five series. For those not…
Did playing against his brothers in the proverbial great Australian backyard help Ashton Agar to his stunning Ashes debut? Did playing against his brothers in the proverbial great Australian backyard help Ashton Agar to his stunning Ashes debut? EPA/David Jones

The making of a champion like Ashton Agar starts in the home - or the backyard

Cricket fans worldwide are in awe of the talented teenager that threw Australia back into the ring to contest the first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge. Melbourne cricketer Ashton Agar chalked up 98 runs in…
Cricket commentators like Richie Benaud attract cult followings and satirical impersonations. Cricket commentators like Richie Benaud attract cult followings and satirical impersonations. AAP/Dean Lewins

Cricket commentary: an art or a science?

The Ashes are now upon us, and both sets of players are in the midst of the first Test at Nottingham’s Trent Bridge ground. As we sit down to watch the Test on television, it is worth reflecting on the…
The Barmy Army, England’s loud travelling band of cricket supporters, may add colour to the Ashes series, but are they just rehearsing colonial stereotypes of Australia? The Barmy Army, England’s loud travelling band of cricket supporters, may add colour to the Ashes series, but are they just rehearsing colonial stereotypes of Australia? AAP/Tracey Nearmy

The Ashes: time to replay the postcolonial pantomime

When Australian prime minister Julia Gillard was summarily dispatched in June by her parliamentary team, the British media were bemused. Hadn’t Australia weathered the global financial crisis with aplomb…
Australian cricket fans have long taunted English fans over having foreign-born players in their national team, but they may need to find a new subject for their banter. Australian cricket fans have long taunted English fans over having foreign-born players in their national team, but they may need to find a new subject for their banter. AAP/David Crosling

The citizenship hobby horse is a bumpy ride for Aussie cricket fans

One of the more bizarre hobbies of Australian cricket fans is to taunt and berate the English cricket team for the number of South African-born players in its ranks. This has been standard fare in most…
Having legs with the right type of muscle fibre can make all the difference. Having legs with the right type of muscle fibre can make all the difference. Yoan Valat/EPA

Building a Tour de France-winning body: know your muscles

Cyclists in this year’s Tour de France – currently underway – will cover more than 3,300km over 21 stages in 23 days. Of course, due to the extreme physical exertion required to do this at speed, many…
Jimmy Connors: even better than Tim Henman. Jimmy Connors: even better than Tim Henman. Carine06

Forget Federer and Borg, stats show Connors is the greatest

The whole purpose of professional sport is to find out one thing. Football leagues, cup competitions and all sports tournaments around the globe are set up to answer the question that motivates the entire…
Is sport the last remaining institution of faith in Australian society? Is sport the last remaining institution of faith in Australian society? Sascha Wenninger

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi: why do we love sport so much?

Australians have a remarkable affection for their sport, an affection which has endured for well over 150 years. They love the sports they play but, even more so, they love the sports they watch – both…
Despite recent appointments of women to sporting leadership positions, comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter show there is still a long way to go for true equality. Despite recent appointments of women to sporting leadership positions, comments from FIFA president Sepp Blatter show there is still a long way to go for true equality. EPA/Walter Bieri

FIFA and the NRL kick goals, but is it ‘game over’ for female leaders in sport?

The recent appointments of Moya Dodd to FIFA’s Executive Committee and Raelene Castle as CEO of NRL club Canterbury Bulldogs mark significant milestones for women’s presence in sport leadership. For the…
The media coverage of the Eddie McGuire racism controversy is instructive in showing how far we have to go to combat racism. The media coverage of the Eddie McGuire racism controversy is instructive in showing how far we have to go to combat racism. AAP/David Crosling

Racism in the AFL: Eddie McGuire and the media prove there’s still a long way to go

The AFL world has had a tough week, with racism rearing its ugly head again. For an organisation that likes to think of itself as a leader in combating prejudice, the repeated comments about Adam Goodes…
Backlash over the seemingly omnipresence of bookmakers advertising during sport - such as Tom Waterhouse - prompted a government ban on ads in certain situations. Backlash over the seemingly omnipresence of bookmakers advertising during sport - such as Tom Waterhouse - prompted a government ban on ads in certain situations. AAP/Paul Miller

Live sports odds ban: does the government’s plan go far enough?

What are the odds? In the face of public pressure, prime minister Julia Gillard has given bookmakers an ultimatum regarding sporting events. If the bookies do not agree to a ban on gambling promotion during…
The racist taunt aimed at Sydney player Adam Goodes from a young fan provides an opportunity for education rather than humiliation. The racist taunt aimed at Sydney player Adam Goodes from a young fan provides an opportunity for education rather than humiliation. Twitter/Channel 7

The AFL’s Indigenous Round and the innocent face of racism

Friday night’s AFL match between Collingwood and Sydney marked the opening of the code’s Indigenous Round. Yet the chance for the contribution of Indigenous footballers to the game - both past and present…
If she wants to be a grandmaster one day, practice will only take her so far, according to new research. If she wants to be a grandmaster one day, practice will only take her so far, according to new research. Joe Shlabotnik

Sorry, but practice alone does not make perfect

We’ve all heard it before (usually accompanied by repeating hours of music scales or sports drills over and over): Practice makes perfect. But your music teachers and sports coaches were wrong - well…
Children are vulnerable consumers and aren’t capable of making rational, informed choices. Children are vulnerable consumers and aren’t capable of making rational, informed choices. AAP/Dan Peled

Not just ‘a bit of fun’: why sports, gambling and kids are a bad mix

Have your children watched a footy match recently? Well, if they watched AFL on TV they also consumed about 50.5 separate episodes of sports betting marketing, from TV and stadium ads, to footy jumpers…
The belief that rugby league is a ‘hard sport’ played by ‘hard men’ made by insiders does little to advance the image of the game. The belief that rugby league is a ‘hard sport’ played by ‘hard men’ made by insiders does little to advance the image of the game. AAP/Action Photographics

Masculinity and violence: the men who play rugby league

When his grandson was tragically killed while playing rugby league in April this year, former New South Wales and Australian halfback Tommy Raudonikis said: Everyone needs to understand that this was just…
North Melbourne’s Majak Daw, the AFL’s first Sudanese-born player, has been subjected to racial abuse from fans in his first few senior games. North Melbourne’s Majak Daw, the AFL’s first Sudanese-born player, has been subjected to racial abuse from fans in his first few senior games. AAP/Joe Castro

AFL: Majak Daw shows we’ve come a long way on racism, but the journey is far from complete

The more things change, the more they stay the same. A young man playing for AFL club North Melbourne wows the majority of watchers with breathtaking football talent. But for a few observers, the colour…
Alcohol marketing is ubiquitous in AFL broadcasts as can be seen in this shot from a match on Saturday, May 4, 2013. Alcohol marketing is ubiquitous in AFL broadcasts as can be seen in this shot from a match on Saturday, May 4, 2013. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Beer and chips protected species as sports ban healthy eating ads

The Australian Football League (AFL) and Cricket Australia have refused to sell advertising space to a Tasmanian man trying to raise awareness of the impact of junk food and alcohol advertising linked…
Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton in happier times: their acrimonious split and subsequent stewards' inquiry has typified the culture of Sydney. Gai Waterhouse and John Singleton in happier times: their acrimonious split and subsequent stewards' inquiry has typified the culture of Sydney. AAP/Paul Miller

A trainer, a bookie and a ‘drunk’: the Waterhouse saga simply screams Sydney

The Gai Waterhouse-John Singleton horse racing imbroglio has the feel of fiction. Its cast of characters could easily spring from the treatment for a new Underbelly series or the pages of a Peter Corris…
As the drugs scandal continues to plague Essendon, its ‘hardcore’ fans have stood by the club and embattled coach James Hird. As the drugs scandal continues to plague Essendon, its ‘hardcore’ fans have stood by the club and embattled coach James Hird. AAP/David Crosling

Drugs in sport saga: do the fans really care?

When the drugs in Australian sport investigation was announced in early February, much was made of the importance of protecting fans from the actions of wrongdoers. But here we are, three months into this…
Brendan Fevola was followed by controversy throughout his AFL career: would a ‘person formation’ focus in team sport culture have helped him? Brendan Fevola was followed by controversy throughout his AFL career: would a ‘person formation’ focus in team sport culture have helped him? AAP/Dave Hunt

‘Culture’ in team sport: corporate speak or vital for success?

The inventive English journalist Dave Hill (who is as comfortable writing about politics and culture as he is about sport) published a book, Out of His Skin, in 1989 dealing with - among other things…
The Western Sydney Wanderers have had a ‘fairytale’ debut season in the A-League - but does this say more about how the league is run than the team itself? The Western Sydney Wanderers have had a ‘fairytale’ debut season in the A-League - but does this say more about how the league is run than the team itself? AAP/Dean Lewins

The A-League’s Western Sydney Wanderers: the fairytale in context

Western Sydney Wanderers’ inaugural A-League season is the feel-good sports story of the year. The team is undefeated in 13 matches, won the league (generally regarded as the “real” championship in soccer…
The Herald Sun has described fans of A-League soccer club Melbourne Victory as ‘soccer hooligans’, a label many fans feel is unfair. The Herald Sun has described fans of A-League soccer club Melbourne Victory as ‘soccer hooligans’, a label many fans feel is unfair. AAP/Martin Philbey

‘Soccer hooligans’ of the Herald Sun’s making

In 2011, I attempted to warn then-Victorian Police Superintendent Rod Wilson and Australian soccer’s governing body, Football Federation Australia, from “amplifying the actions of a few unruly football…
Fans of English soccer club Brighton & Hove Albion have faced constant homophobic taunts over the years - and they’ve had enough. Fans of English soccer club Brighton & Hove Albion have faced constant homophobic taunts over the years - and they’ve had enough. rockjimford

Soccer and homophobia: why even homophobes are sick of it

It’s been an ugly week in English soccer. Up north, outrage of many persuasions flowed around Paolo Di Canio’s politics. Down south, supporters from Championship side Brighton & Hove Albion presented…
There may be “health risks” associated with GW501516, but what are they? There may be “health risks” associated with GW501516, but what are they? Hannibal/EPA

Anti-doping agency warns cheats on the health risks of Endurobol

This article was updated on April 12, 2013, and includes responses from WADA and GSK. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has taken the unusual step of warning athletes about the health risks of the banned…
In the debate on the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport, what should we consider an unfair advantage? In the debate on the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport, what should we consider an unfair advantage? www.shutterstock.com

Drugs in sport: what constitutes ‘unfair advantage’?

At the heart of growing concern about performance enhancing drugs in Australian sport is the very basic matter of sport as an even contest. As Roy and H.G. used to put it, no one is particularly interested…
Sports journalists don’t always have the resources to break major crime stories. Sports journalists don’t always have the resources to break major crime stories. AAP/Joe Castro

Don’t blame sports journalists for missing corruption scandal

The cheating scandal that has ostensibly bewildered those in command of Australia’s elite sports could end up being the biggest story involving sport in history. Yet sport journalists, like the officials…
Coach of Essendon James Hird talks with assistant coach Mark Thompson in 2011. Coach of Essendon James Hird talks with assistant coach Mark Thompson in 2011. AAP/Martin Philbey

Essendon scandal a symptom of Australia’s sporting woes

The Australian Crime Commission report released last week, Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport, claims Australian sport, especially at the professional level, has a serious drug use problem. According to…
Sports Minister Kate Lundy at the release of the ACC report into organised crime and sport in Australia. Sports Minister Kate Lundy at the release of the ACC report into organised crime and sport in Australia. AAP Image/Lukas Coch

Drugs in the sporting workplace

Sport administrators, employers, policy makers, sponsors, parents and sport fans are understandably scratching their heads right now, as to the facts underpinning claims of corruption and crime in Australian…
Australian sport was supposed to be clean. What went wrong? Australian sport was supposed to be clean. What went wrong? AAP/Lukas Coch

Drugs, crime and ball games: how Aussie sport got crooked

The Australian Crime Commission report, Organised Crime and Drugs in Sport, has come as a hammer blow to Australian sport. According to a review of cycling released only last month, Australia is supposed…
Are displays of emotion from sportspeople about convincing us that it’s not just about the money? Are displays of emotion from sportspeople about convincing us that it’s not just about the money? fox2mike/flickr

It’ll end in tears: why athletes cry and what it means

Any major sporting triumph without euphoric emotion or a serious opening of the floodgates would seem strange. Commentators tell us that tears show “passion”. Fans seem to demand them. It wasn’t always…
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga thinks women’s tennis is affected by their unstable emotions. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga thinks women’s tennis is affected by their unstable emotions. AAP/Joe Castro

Azarenka, Tsonga and the sexism that chokes women’s tennis

Two interesting and intersecting events occurred at the Australian Open this week. First, Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga questioned women’s ability to control their emotions while playing tennis at a press…
Questions have arisen over the cause of Victoria Azarenka’s extended break during her semi-final match. Questions have arisen over the cause of Victoria Azarenka’s extended break during her semi-final match. AAP/Joe Castro

Panic stations: Azarenka’s ‘extended break’ and the science of choking

A controversial extended medical break taken by tennis world number one Victoria Azarenka after losing five match points in her match against Sloane Stephens has raised the issue of “choking” in sport…
Lleyton Hewitt went down in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open last night. Lleyton Hewitt went down in straight sets in the first round of the Australian Open last night. AAP/Julian Smith

Letting go: why athletes play on past their prime

Any hopes that Lleyton Hewitt could revisit past glories in his 2013 Australian Open campaign were dashed last night when he lost in straight sets to Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic. It now seems impossible…
The right to watch the Boxing Day Test is enshrined in law. The right to watch the Boxing Day Test is enshrined in law. Flickr/Richo in OZ

Sport, citizenship and the right to watch the Boxing Day Test from your couch

Is watching sport on television a right of cultural citizenship in Australia? Sport, we are regularly told, is integral to Australian culture. If you are interested in becoming a citizen, the current advisory…
Does Julia Gillard really love cricket? The law of sport and politics says she must. Does Julia Gillard really love cricket? The law of sport and politics says she must. AAP/Andrew Taylor

Fake it till you make it: why Australian politicians ‘love’ sport

It was the last sitting day of the federal parliament for the year. Opposition leader Tony Abbott was suggesting that prime minister Julia Gillard was a criminal, who in turn was rehearsing her lines that…
The finger has been pointed at Collingwood player Dane Swan in the latest drugs in sports ‘scandal’. The finger has been pointed at Collingwood player Dane Swan in the latest drugs in sports ‘scandal’. AAP

AFL drug policy is the best and fairest

Here we go again. Another high profile sportsperson has been implicated in the latest drugs in sport “scandal”. This time the finger is being pointed at Collingwood Brownlow medallist Dane Swan. The same…
Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. Australian cyclist Matthew White admitted to taking drugs during his time riding for Lance Armstrong’s US Postal Service cycling team. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Review of cycling integrity must consider the lessons of history

Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy’s recent announcement of an independent review of Cycling Australia appears sensible given the local fall-out from the Armstrong case. The minister sees this review “as…
“It’s time to remodel our drugs in sport controls in order to get a proper balance …” “It’s time to remodel our drugs in sport controls in order to get a proper balance …” www.YoVenice.com

Bitter pill: have drug bans in Australian sport gone too far?

Lance Armstrong is the flavour of the month when it comes to doping and anti-doping discussions at the moment, but closer to home there are some real and pertinent issues to debate. Australian government…
Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar pounces on a loose ball. The Demons stand accused of deliberately losing games to gain high draft picks. Melbourne ruckman Mark Jamar pounces on a loose ball. The Demons stand accused of deliberately losing games to gain high draft picks. AAP/Julian Smith

The Demons may have tanked, but did they break the rules?

The Melbourne Demons AFL team stand accused of deliberately ensuring their team lost matches in order to secure talented players in the draft in a process known as “tanking”. With the club facing a hearing…
Did Armstrong’s decision to dope come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis? Did Armstrong’s decision to dope come down to a simple cost-benefit analysis? STR/EPA

Lance Armstrong broke rules, but it was a logical choice

Had Lance Armstrong nudged one of his Tour de France rivals over the edge of the Alpe d'Huez he would have likely received a less hostile response than he has in recent weeks for breaking a simple sports…
President Obama’s sporting prowess has helped his popularity among the wider American electorate. President Obama’s sporting prowess has helped his popularity among the wider American electorate. EPA/Kevin Dietsch

Presidential politics: the true US national pastime

For many Americans, it seems, politics is the ultimate sport, the true national pastime. Like athletes, political candidates are written about and widely seen as heated rivals – for popularity, power…
Doping allegations were made against Matt White before he started working for Cycling Australia. Doping allegations were made against Matt White before he started working for Cycling Australia. AAP

Why didn’t Cycling Australia smell the doping stench?

It has become clear over the past two weeks that Lance Armstrong ran the most well-managed and professional doping system ever seen in professional sport. So how did he get away with it for so long? Questions…
Tommie Smith and John Carlos carry the coffin of Peter Norman, who died in 2006. Tommie Smith and John Carlos carry the coffin of Peter Norman, who died in 2006.

“I will stand with you”: finally, an apology to Peter Norman

Sporting celebrities and stars have always featured centrally in the psyche of the Australian nation. Our athletes are portrayed as positive role models and many of their indiscretions and behaviours are…
Emotional intelligence is the order of the day, it seems, for trainee referees. Emotional intelligence is the order of the day, it seems, for trainee referees. Colin Whelan/AAP Image

Developing the mental skills of NRL referees is a no-brainer

It was encouraging to read recently that promising young rugby league referees are being offered the opportunity and time to invest in the development of their mental skills prior to taking on the pressure…
The links between the military and disability sport are being cast anew. The links between the military and disability sport are being cast anew. Corporal Jamie Osborne, Department of Defence

The military and the modern Paralympic movement

In the past five or six years there has been a marked increase in the overt use of disability sport in the rehabilitation of soldiers injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – which, in a sense, is…
British Prime Minister David Cameron with a Paralympic athlete in London this year. British Prime Minister David Cameron with a Paralympic athlete in London this year. EPA/Andy Rain

Why would you DO that? Faking disability at the Paralympics

People pretending to be disabled in order to compete in the Paralympics or Special Olympics is the fodder of many a bad-taste joke. There have even been movies such as The Ringer and an episode of South…
Mariia Pomazan was stripped of her gold medal following an Australian protest. Mariia Pomazan was stripped of her gold medal following an Australian protest. EPA/Gerry Penny

Discus farce prompts points pow-wow at Paralympics

The final of the women’s discus (F35-36) at the London Paralympic Games on Sunday (AEST) raised a question that doesn’t normally comes up once a sporting contest is over: “So, who won?” Ukrainian F35 thrower…
Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley has unparalleled exposure as a Paralympic athlete. Australian Paralympian Kurt Fearnley has unparalleled exposure as a Paralympic athlete. AAP

Brand power: why sponsoring Paralympians allows everyone to strike gold

When triple Paralympic gold mediallist Evan O'Hanlon steps up to the track for the 100m this week, you might notice something odd about his racing apparel. The 24-year-old, who is Australia’s fastest disabled…
Interim Australian Rugby League Commission Chief Executive Shane Mattiske (left) shakes the hand of Nine CEO David Gyngell after a five-year broadcasting deal was struck between the NRL, Fox Sports and Nine. Interim Australian Rugby League Commission Chief Executive Shane Mattiske (left) shakes the hand of Nine CEO David Gyngell after a five-year broadcasting deal was struck between the NRL, Fox Sports and Nine. AAP

The winners and losers in the NRL’s broadcasting rights deal

The new broadcasting deal struck this week by the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) represents an outstanding result as well as a lost opportunity. The $1.025 billion that the Nine Network and…
Australia’s kayakers paddled their way to gold but don’t expect a huge increase in kayak sales in the next few months. Australia’s kayakers paddled their way to gold but don’t expect a huge increase in kayak sales in the next few months. EPA/Robert Ghement

Will the Olympics really inspire more people to play sport?

Did watching the Olympics inspire you to get out and play sport? Perhaps the gold-medal-winning effort of our men’s K4 kayaking team inspired you to take to the water. Or maybe Anna Meares' gold in the…
Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates has started a debate about the role of sport in the school curriculum. Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates has started a debate about the role of sport in the school curriculum. School sport image from www.shutterstock.com

Coates' Olympic school push: do we need more sport in curriculum?

Australia’s recent medal performance at the Olympic Games has caused Australia’s Olympic Chief John Coates some concern. Last week, he blamed at least part of the result on a lack of sport in the school…
Australian sport policy is based on the assumption that success at the Olympics will translate into greater participation rates among children. Australian sport policy is based on the assumption that success at the Olympics will translate into greater participation rates among children. rich115

Olympics success leaves a mixed legacy for Australia’s sporting life

Given the size of our population, Australia’s success at the past three Summer Olympic Games has been quite remarkable. Across the Sydney, Athens and Beijing Olympic Games, the nation’s athletes have won…
Former England captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last Friday. Former England captain John Terry was cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand last Friday. EPA/Facundo Arrizabalaga

Twitter, John Terry and the Sunshine Tigers: how racism dogs the world game

As iconic sporting images go, there are few finer specimens than the picture of Brazilian genius Pele shaking hands with England captain Bobby Moore, after their teams battled to a 1-0 victory for Brazil…
Ceilings on physical ability are there – sometimes – to be broken. Ceilings on physical ability are there – sometimes – to be broken. EPA/Hannibal

Is there a limit to athletic performance?

We once thought no-one could run a mile in less than four minutes – and yet the current world record stands at three minutes, 43 seconds. So will records keep tumbling as people get fitter and technology…
What gets Aussies like Emma Snowsill over the line at the Olympics? And is it worth it? What gets Aussies like Emma Snowsill over the line at the Olympics? And is it worth it? EPA/Nic Bothma

Money well spent? The Olympic dash for taxpayers’ cash

We are now nearly two months away from the London Olympics opening, with the torch relay already underway. For Australian athletes the journey that began many years ago is nearing the end. Most of us will…
Should cannabis to be considered a “performance-enhancing” drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency? Should cannabis to be considered a “performance-enhancing” drug by the World Anti-Doping Agency? pietroizzo

Cannabis use, WADA and the Australian sports system

It has been widely reported that representatives from a group of Australian sporting codes – including athletics, cricket, rugby league and Australian Rules Football – met with the director-general of…
The Federal Court decision means Optus will not be able to broadcast AFL and NRL on its TV Now service. The Federal Court decision means Optus will not be able to broadcast AFL and NRL on its TV Now service. AAP/Dan Peled

Optus decision moves the goalposts in mobile media market

The significance of last Friday’s Federal Court decision to prevent Optus' “TV Now” service from broadcasting was made clear to me while waiting for a bus in Melbourne’s suburbs. Earlier that day, I had…
Greater Western Sydney may be a new team, but Sydney and AFL have firm historical ties. Greater Western Sydney may be a new team, but Sydney and AFL have firm historical ties. AAP Image/Paul Miller

With the debut of GWS, Aussie Rules comes home to Sydney

The AFL season kicks off today and there’s a new team in town – Greater Western Sydney. Some don’t like it – the cynics claim Aussie Rules has no historical foothold in western Sydney. I disagree. While…
Melbourne footballer Liam Jurrah returns to Melbourne after being charged with attacking a man in Alice Springs. Melbourne footballer Liam Jurrah returns to Melbourne after being charged with attacking a man in Alice Springs. AAP/David Crosling

What if Indigenous Australians didn’t play footy?

Imagine if the indigenous people of this country didn’t play Australian football, the only truly unique sport this continent country has ever created. As a percentage of the population, indigenous people…
One does not simply jump from a building … extensive preparation is essential. One does not simply jump from a building … extensive preparation is essential. Channel 7/Colby Swandale

BASE jumping from the Rialto: plain stupid or something else entirely?

Late last week four men entered a restaurant on the 55th floor of the Rialto tower in Melbourne, had a couple of quiet drinks then leapt from the balcony. Much of the commentary of this event described…
Tweet success and sweet success increasingly go hand in hand. Tweet success and sweet success increasingly go hand in hand. Scolirk

Field of screens: it’s sport and social media for the win

In the brave new world of contemporary sport-watching, the goalposts have moved. Watching the big game (once a simple matter of grabbing a beer and some chips and settling down in front of the television…
Workers building a stadium in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Questions linger about the process that saw Qatar granted the 2018 event. Workers building a stadium in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Questions linger about the process that saw Qatar granted the 2018 event. AAP/Fernando Bizerra Jr

Moneyball: why sporting organisations need to start playing by the rules

Rangers Football Club, the historically Protestant half of Glasgow’s “Old Firm” (the other half being the Catholic Celtic) has entered financial administration to prevent UK tax authorities installing…
Where should the NRL focus its attention this year? Where should the NRL focus its attention this year? AAP Image/Action Photographics, Charles Knight

Competition from all sides: the year ahead for the NRL

Being a leap year, 2012 will see the staging of the Olympic Games, this time in London. For Australia’s domestic sporting competitions, this means vying for media coverage with other sports. But the National…
The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. The AFL is throwing everything is has at Greater Western Sydney. AAP/Paul Millar

Bridging codes: football and Islam in western Sydney

The 2012 AFL debut of the GWS Giants is the culmination of efforts by the powerful, cashed up body that administers Aussie Rules to make inroads into the rugby league-obsessed, poor and predominantly refugee…
Many sports fans appear to have more fun outside the stadium than in. Many sports fans appear to have more fun outside the stadium than in. EPA/John G Mablango

Tailgating, the Superbowl and the ineffable mysteries of why people do the things they do

The math involved is quite simple. Be it an Australian Open final, Melbourne’s race that stops a nation or the Superbowl, more people want to attend than can fit in the venue. Less simple, however, are…
Heavy hands might not always make light work in finals. Heavy hands might not always make light work in finals. Vivek Prakash/ Reuters Pool

Do big servers have the edge at the Australian Open?

With the Australian Open into its final few days, we’re starting to see the best tennis players in the world come to the fore. And to be the best in the world, you need a well-rounded game, including a…
Last year’s Australian Open women’s runner-up Li Na in action at the Sydney International this week. Last year’s Australian Open women’s runner-up Li Na in action at the Sydney International this week.

Australian Open: returning a 200km/h serve is easy when you know how (but not really)

Australia’s summer of tennis is a great opportunity to see the world’s best players up close, hitting hard and serving big. Many elite players hit first serves at over 200km/h with great precision and…
It takes more than a batting average to find the world’s best batsman. It takes more than a batting average to find the world’s best batsman. Composite image: public domain/AAP Image/Tony McDonough

Is Don, is good? How Tendulkar eclipses Bradman

Who is the greatest test batsman of all time? In a follow up to a recent paper I created a media furore by suggesting that India’s Sachin Tendulkar had eclipsed Australian great Sir Donald Bradman in terms…
winners. winners.

The smartest coverage of the Rugby World Cup

New Zealand is celebrating the All Blacks' victory over France in the Rugby World Cup. Over the course of the tournament The Conversation has brought you stories about all aspects of the game. And with…
The All Blacks' haka is culturally important for everyone in New Zealand. The All Blacks' haka is culturally important for everyone in New Zealand. AAP/AFP pool/Phil Water

All Blacks' proud tradition of the haka insulted in Rugby World Cup

RUGBY WORLD CUP – When New Zealand’s All Blacks take on France in the final tonight, they will be proud to perform a haka. They’ve taken some criticism for it in the past, but, as André Brett of the University…
Bryce Lawrence is one of the Rugby World Cup referees who has won few friends in the tournament. Bryce Lawrence is one of the Rugby World Cup referees who has won few friends in the tournament. AFP/Marty Melville

Rugby World Cup a lottery amid refereeing chaos

RUGBY WORLD CUP – The Wallabies may have the consolation of winning third place in tournament, but their progress has been far from controversial. The Rugby World Cup has been plagued by accusations of…
Wallabies player Drew Mitchell is taken from the field after an injury during Rugby World Cup match between Australia and Russia. Wallabies player Drew Mitchell is taken from the field after an injury during Rugby World Cup match between Australia and Russia. AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Rugby World Cup injuries: That’s gotta hurt

RUGBY WORLD CUP – The Cup has already taken its toll on many players – finalists New Zealand have lost star player, Dan Carter and Australia goes into its battle for third place against Wales four men…
Marketing in the 2011 New Zealand Rugby World Cup will be different to previous years. Marketing in the 2011 New Zealand Rugby World Cup will be different to previous years. Flickr/Sandy Austin

Selling the Rugby World Cup

RUGBY WORLD CUP – As the All Blacks and the Wallabies prepare for Sunday’s semi-final showdown, Deakin University’s Adam Karg discusses how to make money from the competition. The Rugby World Cup has returned…
Will rugby union remain one of the big four football codes in Australia? Will rugby union remain one of the big four football codes in Australia? AAP/Paul Miller

Rugby World Cup: the Australian situation

RUGBY WORLD CUP – As New Zealand gets World Cup fever, James Cook University’s Chris Davies discusses where rugby union’s place in the Australian sporting landscape. It’s on again – we’re now four weeks…
All Black Richie McCaw has been accused of routinely cheating in his approach to the game. All Black Richie McCaw has been accused of routinely cheating in his approach to the game. AAP

Rugby World Cup: are cheats prospering?

RUGBY WORLD CUP – The athleticism of the players has impressed in this tournament, but is there a whiff of unsportsmanlike behaviour in the air? Brian Stoddart of La Trobe University investigates. A few…
Some AFL teams spend the off season at high altitude. Some AFL teams spend the off season at high altitude. kangaroos.com.au

A higher calling, but does altitude training work?

You might have heard about athletes and other sportspeople absconding to high-altitude locations for training. Indeed altitude training has become the training-method-du-jour for sporting codes around…
New Zealand’s 28th Maori Battalion performing a Haka in Egypt in 1941. New Zealand’s 28th Maori Battalion performing a Haka in Egypt in 1941. AAP Image/Alexander Turnbull Library

Rugby World Cup: All Blacks, New Zealand Maori and the politics of the pitch

RUGBY WORLD CUP – In the first of The Conversation’s series on the Rugby World Cup, Massey University’s Malcolm Mulholland argues for the continuation of a Maori only rugby team. Around half of the All…
Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton (front row far right) in the 1994 NSW under 15 soccer team that won the Australian championships. Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton (front row far right) in the 1994 NSW under 15 soccer team that won the Australian championships. Roy Hay

A-League: Kewell and Emerton come home

Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton’s recent signings for Australian clubs have, in the blink of an eye, skyrocketed interest levels in the coming A-League season. Their return represents the closing of a circle…
The time trial is critical to Evans' chances in the 2011 Tour de France. The time trial is critical to Evans' chances in the 2011 Tour de France. AFP/Pascal Pavani

Cadel Evans and other machines: the science of the Tour de France time trial

Following the 18th stage of the 2011 Tour de France last night, the top six riders are within less than four minutes of one another: Cadel Evans, Andy Schleck, Frank Schleck, Ivan Basso, Damian Cunego…
Despite the success of the State of Origin, rugby league still lags behind the AFL in terms of popularity. Despite the success of the State of Origin, rugby league still lags behind the AFL in terms of popularity. AAP

How bad governance is holding rugby league back

The move to establish an independent commission to run rugby league is a long overdue acknowledgement that strong corporate governance is essential in the small but intensely competitive Australian market…
Maria Sharapova has managed to move her appeal beyond sexiness. Maria Sharapova has managed to move her appeal beyond sexiness. AAP

Playing the (wo)man: why women’s sport is still all about sex appeal

BUSINESS OF SPORT: The marketing of women in sport in Australia in 2011 is simple: sex sells. Don’t take my word for it though. Google the name of any female athlete and chances are the top search results…
AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou announces the league’s record TV rights deal. AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou announces the league’s record TV rights deal. AAP

Too much live sport is never enough

The lucrative broadcast rights deal signed earlier this year by the AFL demonstrates the pulling power of “live” sport in a TV market which is increasingly becoming fragmented by more choice on more platforms…
Some sporting organisations have called for veto powers on “exotic” betting. Some sporting organisations have called for veto powers on “exotic” betting. Joe Castro/AAPimage

Promotion of gambling short-changes Australian sport … and its fans

GAMBLING IN AUSTRALIA – Australians spend about $20 billion every year gambling. This level of expenditure is, according to The Economist, the highest in the world on a per capita basis. Some would argue…
A combination of revenue sharing and fixed salaries offers a good compromise for players and the AFL. A combination of revenue sharing and fixed salaries offers a good compromise for players and the AFL. Flickr/lensfodder

A pay deal both the AFL and players can get behind

To share or not to share – that is the question of moment in the AFL. The AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) appears determined that player payments should be a percentage of league revenue. The AFL administration…
Olympic athletes – among others – will benefit from the new technology. Olympic athletes – among others – will benefit from the new technology. Tracey Nearmy/AAP Image

Smart sensors save swimmers seconds

For Olympic swimmers, the blink of an eye can be the difference between first and forgotten. Everyone wants an edge, which is why elite athletes train relentlessly and why coaches push them hard. Alongside…
Major sporting bodies seem prone to allegations of corruption. Major sporting bodies seem prone to allegations of corruption.

Why does taint of corruption stick to sport and what can we do about it?

In recent days, newly re-elected FIFA president Sepp Blatter has attempted to counter persistent corruption allegations by attempting to assemble a “council of wisdom” to clean up the international sporting…
Majak Daw has been praised for his measured reaction to racist abuse. Majak Daw has been praised for his measured reaction to racist abuse. www.kangaroos.com.au

Racism in footy is not as bad as you may think

This week the media in AFL states have been discussing racist comments made by members of crowds at Australian Rules games. Sudanese-born North Melbourne rookie Majak Daw was racially abused while playing…
Prime Minister Julia Gillard is a keen football fan but women lack representation on the governing bodies of most Australian sports. Prime Minister Julia Gillard is a keen football fan but women lack representation on the governing bodies of most Australian sports. AAP

What’s the score with women on sport boards?

Despite stunning progress on the sport field in the past 100 years, women’s representation off the field remains a serious challenge. While there was not a singe female athlete at the first modern Olympic…
We’re pushing our horses to do things they’re not meant to do. We’re pushing our horses to do things they’re not meant to do. AAP

Jumps racing: what a waste

On the opening day of the Warrnambool jumps carnival in western Victoria this year, five-year-old horse Casa Boy died when he fell at his first hurdle. Just one month later, Shine the Armour also died…
The AFL set-shot is as much about consistency as it is about the right technique. The AFL set-shot is as much about consistency as it is about the right technique. AAP/Martin Philbey

Centimetre-perfect: a quest for flawless goalkicking in the AFL

When the AFL has a weekend of inaccurate goal-kicking, media attention invariably turns to why set-shot goal-kicking hasn’t improved while other areas of footy have. As a footy fan, I have an interest…
Competition enables twins like Brad and Chris Scott to forge separate identities. Competition enables twins like Brad and Chris Scott to forge separate identities. kangaroos.com.au

How twins like the Scott brothers distinguish themselves in battle

Competition between twins hit the headlines this week as, for the first time in AFL history, identical twins Brad and Chris Scott will coach different teams against each other on Saturday. Both twins played…
Calling indigenous footballers “magic” denies their hard work. Calling indigenous footballers “magic” denies their hard work. Flickr/witness1

Black Magic? White muddle more like it

Let me begin by asking a question. Why is it when we think of Indigenous footballers we do so in a way that sets them apart? To put it simply, why do many of us think that there is an inherent genetic…
Brisbane Lions' Jonathan Brown sustains a head injury against Fremantle. Brisbane Lions' Jonathan Brown sustains a head injury against Fremantle. AAP

Should helmets be used in AFL?

The intense public interest in protective headgear following recent cases of high-profile AFL players sustaining concussion and other head or face injuries, is understandable. Unfortunately we have limited…
Former AFL player Daniel Bell is seeking compensation for brain damage linked to multiple concussions. Former AFL player Daniel Bell is seeking compensation for brain damage linked to multiple concussions. AAP

The Daniel Bell effect: sports injuries and the brain explained

What happens to the brain in a collision? A blow to the head can cause any form of damage to the brain. On the serious side, it can cause a large haemorrhage and damage to a large amount of brain tissue…

Research Briefs (16)