Monday, 7 November 2011

Grass and Moustaches

# Big Farming Story of the Week: Grass and Moustaches.

They’re both growing like crazy. Long live the long grass! Farmers make money when it grows. And long live those who grow a mo to change the face of men’s health. It’s not too late to go to and do your bit and it’s not too late to go to your doctor and get your bits checked out.

# Big Political Story of the Week: The gloves come off!

After nearly three years of (metaphorically) being kicked all round the playground by the bigger and smarter kid Key, fearless Phil finally lived up to his moniker and fought back in the first of the leaders debates. While a majority of pundits awarded the bout to John Key in a points decision, it was refreshing to see Phil Goff show some of the fight and oratory he is renowned for in the House. Both leaders were guilty of being slightly clichéd sloganeers. Both are much better when they speak off the cuff and from the heart.

Goff finds himself in a situation not too dissimilar to that of Paul Newman and Robert Redford in that famous final scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There won’t be a happy ending but he can go out all guns blazing!

# Big Sporting Story of the Week: Ted retires!

I have to put my hand up and freely admit I was one of the 50% of the New Zealand rugby public who wanted Graham Henry gone after the Cardiff collapse in the quarter-finals of the 2007 Rugby World Cup. While Sir Brian Lochore and Laurie Mains decided their own fate, we showed Grizz Wyllie and John Hart no mercy in 1991 and 1999, respectively. Both were very good coaches and both made it one round deeper into the tournament than Henry, but that counted for nought when it came to the cull. Heck, even jovial John Mitchell did better in 2003.

The NZRU had the peoples’ favourite and a ready-made replacement waiting in the wings in the form of Robbie Deans but his obvious credentials were ignored as Steve Tew and Co made the unprecedented step of reappointing a losing coach. History, albeit by a coat of paint on the goalposts, proved them right. Henry now retires as arguably the greatest coach in rugby union history. No man has coached more games of test rugby and his 85.4% success rate with the All Blacks over such a long period, in an era that included a very strong Springboks side, will possibly never be bettered.

Yes, he was damned lucky to get a second chance. But his tenacity should be a lesson to us all, as should his example of grabbing that second chance with both hands.

# Brickbat: The Octagon Occupiers.

I can’t speak for the other main centres but Dunedin, where I’m based, has had a gutsful of a pack of largely unemployed dropkicks protesting about the rest of us who get out of bed in the morning and make a living from a capitalist system that pays them to do nothing. The grassed area of the Octagon is a communal gathering point enjoyed by office workers for lunch and by families in the weekend. Now it smells of dubious cigarette smoke and stale urine. While it’s nothing a daily 6am high-powered hosing down from the Dunedin Fire Brigade couldn’t fix, I wish the authorities would handle this blatant trespassing with something other than kid gloves.

# Bouquet: The Happy Hooker.

Grant Nisbett tells a great story about the immediate aftermath of the All Blacks World Cup victory at Eden Park. While the French were being awarded their runners-up medals and the All Blacks were milling about in celebration waiting for their turn, Andrew Hore wandered 30 metres over to a solitary Ian Smith (sideline) and said, “Hey Smithy, how the f@*# did we win that?” Before Smith could utter a reply, Hore cantered back to his team mates.

The townies can keep the pretty Williams boys, Sonny Bill and Ali. I’m sure the farming community will more than happily lay claim to the happy hooker Hore and his fellow front row farmer, Tony Woodcock.

Jamie Mackay is the host of the Ballance Agri-Nutrients Farming Show which airs on Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB.


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