Sport Box

Archive - December 2013

Your top SportBox news stories for 2013

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It’s nearly the end of the year, which means us sports journalists are feeling too lazy to do anything that might resemble work or require any hint of critical thought. Actually, we don’t do much of the latter anyway so we’re just feeling lazy. In that spirit, here’s our top five SportBox.co.nz news stories for 2013 as read by you, our uninformed, taken for granted readership.

Kieran Read
1. Kieran Read to replace god in national anthem 
It’s fitting in a year where he was both IRB Player of the Year and New Zealand Rugby Union Player of the Year, that our Prime Minister John Key also got caught up in the zeitgeist and replaced all references to God in ‘God Defend New Zealand’ with references to Kieran Read instead.

Oracle Team NZ
2. Oracle call off race due to Moet spill
In the early stages of the America’s Cup, before Team New Zealand found their windpipes unexpectedly self-asphyxiated, Oracle suffered a devastating setback as Moet was spilled all over their boat during the first race of the day. Clearly the design changes they made for better glass holders paid off as they stormed back from an 8 – 1 deficit to win the Auld Mug.

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3. Sonny Bill Williams reportedly in tears over Halberg snub
Walking headline generator Sonny Bill Williams was reportedly inconsolable when the New Zealand sporting fraternity didn’t recongise his greatness with a Halberg nomination in the same way that his Rugby League contemporaries did. Thankfully for Sonny, he bounced back from this setback by announced a two year deal with the NZRU for the 2015 and 2016 seasons so he could chase more personal glory.

quade cooper
4. Quade Cooper is “All Black’s 16th man”
Wallabies playmaker Quade Cooper revealed that he thinks of himself as the All Blacks 16th man when the Australians play the New Zealanders, explaining why he always puts in his worst performances against the men in black.

ricki herbert
5. Ricki Herbert chains self to Stadium, refuses to stand down as All Whites coach
What was probably our saddest story of the year, All White’s coach Ricki Herbert refused to acknowledge that he was no longer going to be coach of our national soccer team, going so far as to chain himself to the inside of Westpac Stadium in Wellington following his side’s thrashing at the hands of Mexico. While Stadium staff did provide Herbert with breakfast, sunscreen and a sombrero, it is believed that he was finally reunited with his credibility when he was forcibly evicted from the ground.

While we still have another week to go in 2013 with important sporting questions still to be asked like “Will Ross Taylor continue to show up Brendon McCullum?” and “Does Jeremy Brockie actually know that the ball needs to go in the net?” we’d like to quickly thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule of commenting on Stuff articles or checking your Facebook while at work to read our stories. We also want to voice our appreciation that none of you have tried to sue us for defamation yet. Because people who don’t get satire are jerks.

Morgan admits NZ Football criticisms a bit embarrassing now

Gareth Morgan 1

Wellington Phoenix co-owner Gareth Morgan has conceded today that his criticism of New Zealand Football and offer of Ernie Merrick as coach following their two losses to Mexico last month now make him feel awkward and embarrassed as his own team’s winless streak extended to 11 games.

“I really feel a bit silly over everything I said now,” Morgan admitted on Radio Sport’s Crowd Goes Wild show this morning. “Like when I said we needed to infect the footballing establishment with excellence. Well given my team hasn’t been showing anything closely resembling excellence for some time, it makes going to Phoenix games a bit awkward for me now.”

Morgan went on to say that, “And that whole thing about one style of football to rule them, it’d probably be useful if I could at least get the Phoenix playing a style of football to win at least one game this season. I’m a little embarrassed about that. Here I was lambasting New Zealand Football about picking failed rugby players when my own team keeps snatching draws and defeat from the jaws of victory in much the same manner as they’ve always done.

“That’s before we even get to that story about how statistically the Phoenix are getting walloped by the other teams. I mean we rate in the bottom three in the league for shots on target, goals to shots, duels won and pass completion rate,” Morgan added. “It’s made me realise that before I start blasting New Zealand Football for playing a crap style of game with the All Whites, I should probably fix the style of play that the team I own is playing with.”

When approached for comment, New Zealand Football appeared to be unavailable, with only raucous laughter being heard down the phone line.

England cricket team swallowed by crack in WACA pitch

WACA pitch

Following their defeat at the WACA, a result that saw Australia claim back the Ashes 3 – 0, the England cricket team have been swallowed up by one of the cracks in the WACA pitch. So far no one from the England Cricket Board has requested that any rescue attempt be made.

The incident occurred as the English cricketers made their way out to the pitch to congratulate Australia on winning back the Ashes in such a dominant fashion. As the English players lined up on the pitch to shake the Australian player’s hands, one of the substantial cracks on the pitch abruptly opened up, causing the entire England squad to fall backwards into what appeared to be a bottomless abyss. Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson, who was first on the scene, threw the match ball down the crevasse in the hops that his lethal radar might allow the ball to find and injure yet another English batsman, thus eliciting a response, however none was heard.

“I guess it’s sort of a metaphor for the way this Ashes series played out,” said Wide World of Sports commentator and turn-coat Englishman, Mark Nicholas. “I mean it doesn’t really get more emphatic than that. As those cracks opened up on just the second day, they swallowed the hopes, dreams and three years of arrogance of an entire nation. On reflection, it’s somewhat poetic that one of those cracks should claim the team’s lives too.”

Other prominent England supporters took the loss of their side far differently. On Twitter, news personality Piers Morgan slammed the team’s performance saying, “If that crack hadn’t of swallowed them, I’d been the bloody first to push them in.” Comedian Stephen Fry was somewhat darker, tweeting “The irony of it all is that this means that Trott was the lucky one.”

When Cricket Australia initially offered to lower a ladder into the crack to see if the England side could be found, coach Andy Flower replied “What’s the point? They’re dead to me now. I’d have more of a chance coaching New Zealand to some form of cricketing respectability than achieving anything with that inept team.”

Brockie: “Calling me a striker is a bit of a stretch”

A-League Rd 1 - Wellington v Sydney FC

Under fire Wellington Phoenix striker Jeremy Brockie has conceded that continuing to describe himself as a striker might be stretching the truth about his footballing abilities, following his missing of what should have been an easy tap in with an empty goal in front of him against the Brisbane Roar on Saturday night.

“It really was a shocker, wasn’t it?” said Brockie, who blasted the ball high after finding it at his feet with an unguarded goal ahead following Stein Huysegem shot that was parried by Roar goal keeper Michael Theo. “I mean, all I had to do was tap the ball in. Hell, I could have dribbled the ball in, just like they teach kids in age grade stuff. But instead I just smashed that ball. I saw it in front of me and was like bam!”

“It’s made me do a lot of thinking about the position I choose to play in football,” continued Brockie. “I mean it can’t be any coincidence that along with missing that absolute sitter, I’ve also gone 42 international games for the All Whites without scoring a goal. That’s got to be some sort of record, surely? We basically just play Fiji, New Caledonia and the Solomon Islands, how can I not be scoring against them when everyone else is?”

“Sure, I’ve got the ridiculous haircut, but is that really enough to call yourself a striker anymore? Calling me a striker is a bit of a stretch really isn’t it?”

When asked what caused him to try and make himself a striker in the first place, Brockie was quick to place the blame on “that whole bloody ‘well done for participating’ culture we have in this country. Maybe if someone had stopped the 10 year old me and said ‘Hey, Jeremy, you’re a bit shit at this whole football thing. Maybe you should carry the water?’ it could have saved us all a bit of embarrassment.”

Brockie was able about to take some consolation from his miss however, pointing out that “On the bright side, I’m not the first guy at Christmas time who’s seen the goal open before him and sprayed his shot high.”

Bernie Ecclestone to get self-destruct button for cars

bernie-ecclestone

Formula 1’s governing body, the FIA, have today revealed a further change for the 2014 season, where Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone will have access to a self-destruct button which he can deploy when he feels a driver is getting too far ahead in the championship, a move which they described as “an additional tool to help keep the championship interesting up until the last race.” The announcement follows on from their decision earlier this to award double points for the final race of the Formula 1 season after 2014 champion Sebastian Vettel wrapped up his championship with three races to spare.

“None of the fans were asking for these rule changes,” said Ecclestone from the FIA headquarters in Paris, “which told us it was exactly what we needed to do. We know that fans happily accepted that Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel were easily the dominant car and driver combination of the year and deservedly had the driver’s title in the bag with three races to go. We took that as a sign that things were working and that we hadn’t tried to piss off our key audience recently.”

The device, which will cause the back of a driver’s car to erupt in flames, will be deployed when the current championship leader looks like they may end up extending their lead of greater than 25 points – the current amount of points awarded for finishing first in a race.

“It’s a tool that will ensure that no driver or team should aim to achieve excellence, as we’ll just peg them back and antagonise their fans in the interest of television ratings, rather than sporting achievement,” Ecclestone added.

The addition of the destruct button comes on the back of a widely unpopular decision to award double championship points for the final race of the season, which in 2014 will be Abu Dhabi. Defending suggestions that the double points in Abu Dhabi would devalue other races in the season, Ecclestone said, “That’s absolutely rubbish. We all know that the other races weren’t worth anything to me anyway. Maybe if some of those other tracks bothered sending me all the gifts, cash and women that the United Arab Emirates do, I might attach equal value to their races too.”

SBW reportedly in tears over Halberg snub

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Self-appointed greatest sportsman in history, Sonny Bill Williams, is reportedly in tears this afternoon after his name was not included in the list of Halberg Award nominees. Williams, who has spent the last few days admiring his reflection in hotel pools in Dubai, heard of his omission after disembarking his flight home to Sydney.

“Don’t they know I was Rugby League’s player of the year?” Williams sobbed into manager Khoder Nasser’s shoulder at the airport when told the news. “The Kiwis even did a haka for me, surely that must count for something, mustn’t it?”

Nasser, who appeared awkward attempting to hold a conversation with his client that wasn’t about money, tried patting Williams on the back, saying “There, there big guy. Just think of all the other great things you did this year, like defeating that drugged up South African boxer, or single-handedly winning the NRL premiership for the Roosters and carrying the Kiwis to the Rugby League World Cup final on your shoulders.”

As kind as Nasser’s words appeared to be, they only seemed to spur my tears from Williams.

“But why then, why? Who the fuck are Aaron Gate and Simon van Vacuumcleaner anyway? Do they command the salary that I do? Did they have hakas performed for them? Did they have the All Blacks and Chiefs begging them? How do Cyclists get nominated ahead of me? Don’t they appreciate my greatness?” Williams asked as he was handed a tissue from a Customs official. “And all Scott Dixon did was win a third Indy Car Championship, it’s not like he even built the car.”

Nasser eventually managed to get Williams to calm down and leave the terminal building, but only after several more minutes off feigning compassion before he opted to lead Williams out by the nose using fresh $100 bills until the pair reached a waiting car.

Kieran Read to replace God in national anthem

Kieran Read

In recognition of having won both the IRB and New Zealand Rugby Union Player of the Year awards, Prime Minister John Key announced today that Kieran Read would be replacing all mentions of God in the country’s national anthem, God Defend New Zealand.

The new anthem, which takes effect immediately, is titled Kieran Read Defend New Zealand, has also been modified to reflect its new focus on Kieran Read and the centricity of the All Blacks to national pride.

“Given the way that Kieran Read has gotten the All Blacks, and by extension the rest of us, out of so many tight spots of late, I think it’s only appropriate that the entire country honours him by accepting that Read has finally become more influential than God in our national life,” the Prime Minister said. “After all, we have clear proof of Read performing many superhuman offloads and try saving tackles that even Sonny Bill Williams was incapable of in the black jersey. We also can’t ignore the fact that we’ve witnessed Kieran Read delivering more miracles than the big man in the sky has ever bothered to show us.”

John Key went on to add that, “We had considered also adding Richie McCaw, Dan Carter and Conrad Smith to the anthem, but we decided against it. Especially with Carter, I didn’t really want Bronagh thinking about Dan in his jockey’s while singing the national anthem. Read, at least, is sufficiently ugly enough to avoid that type of unpleasantness.”

The new words for Kieran Read Defend New Zealand are as follows:

Read of All Blacks at Thy feet,
In the bonds of union we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
Read defend our free land.
Guard AIG’s triple star
From the shafts of Springboks and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
Read defend New Zealand.
2
Men of every creed and race,
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking Kieran to bless this place,
Read defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And bad refs guard our state,
Make our All Blacks good and great,
Read defend New Zealand.
3
Clinical execution, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
Read defend our free land.
Lord of Tackles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
Read defend New Zealand.
4
Let our love for Kieran increase,
May Read’s blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
Read defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame,
Guard our country’s sporting fame,
Crown her champions of this game,
Read defend New Zealand.
5
May our mountains ever be
Kieran’s training pitch on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Read,
Kieran defend our free land.
Guide her in the nations’ van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out coach’s glorious plan,
Read defend New Zealand.

McCullum to return for Blackcaps “so long as they keep winning”

Brendon McCullum

Brendon McCullum, who fled home early from the team’s disastrous tour of Bangladesh citing a convenient back injury, has announced he’s made a miraculous recovery from the ailment and will return for the Blackcaps, so long as they “demonstrate they’re actually able to keep beating the West Indies,” otherwise “I’ll be gone faster than you can say ‘wants to protect his reputation as an international cricket superstar’.”

Speaking ahead of the first test in Dunedin this morning, Brendon McCullum said he hadn’t really been surprised at the speed of his recovery given that “the West Indies are struggling to find 11 players to field, so we should absolutely smash them,” and that this series would be “too good of an opportunity to improve my batting averages and strike rate to where they rightfully belong.”

“They’re a pretty weak side,” McCullum said of the West Indies, “and without Chris Gayle there’s not really going to be anyone else who can show me up in the batting department, so it’ll be good to have the focus back on how talented I am and how privileged you all are to be watching me once more.”

McCullum’s return came with a warning though, “If the lads start losing games against these easy-beat West Indies, this old back of mine could just play up at any minute and I’ll be gone faster than you can say ‘wants to protect his reputation as an international cricket superstar’.”

Blackcap’s coach Mike Hesson appeared equally excited by his sidekick’s return, “It’ll be great to have McCullum back in the side,” Hesson said during the team’s warm up, “For one, it’ll stop Ross Taylor’s incessant whining about wanting to be captain again while Brendon was away, while Kyle Mills can go back to focusing on scoffing on pies, given he wasn’t focusing much on being a decent captain.”

For their part, the West Indies were more focused on finding 11 fit players to take the field this morning, with coach Ottis Gibson putting the call out for people with passports from any of the West Indies member states currently residing in New Zealand to make themselves known to team management.