||Issue No. 123||21 December 2001|
The Unmaking of History
International: Global Year in Review
Unions: A Year at the Barricades
Technology: Unions Online 2001
Republic: Terror Australis
Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Legal: The New McCarthyism
The Locker Room
The First Bastion
Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
The Locker Room
The 2002 Workers Online Sports Awards
Judged by Noel Hester, Peter Moss and Steve Mullins
There may have been no Olympics, but there were some stellar performances in 2001, from madass bad boys to terminated talents, these are the big ones.
The Zeitgeist Award - Anthony Mundine
The much-maligned Anthony Mundine gets a gong for giving it a go. While he's no Kostya Tzu, what Choc has done in the ring over the last 12 months is nothing short of amazing. By sporting standards he is middle-aged. Yet he not only managed to swap completely different disciplines but within a year come within a hair's breadth of picking up a world title against a fighter in Sven Ottke who is no slug. The brutal image of Mundine spreadeagled and comatose on the canvas and the glee that went with his defeat shouldn't cloud a reality. The bravery, daring, and athleticism that got him so far, so fast was awesome.
The Good Immigrant Award - Kostya Tsuzu
Boxing gets two awards and not only because one of the judges has been spending too much time in Crown Casino's Sports Bar (the gaudy palace has great screens!). A sport which seemed to be irreversibly degenerating threw up some great moments this year. Bernard Hopkins' slaughter of Felix Trinidad was one of the most compelling sports events I saw all year. Lennox Lewis has put some class and glamour back into the heavyweight division. Then there is the great ocker hero Kostya Tsuzu. His demolition of homeboy Zab Judah to reunify the WBA, WBC and WBO titles was brilliant. Interestingly Hopkins, Lewis and Tsuzu are all into their thirties and taught their younger rivals the primacy of experience, ring cunning, technical excellence and power over fancy footwork and ego. Tsuzu in particular showed Judah the value of a concrete jaw and power punching - all in all a lesson in respect.
The Boathorse Award - Ethereal
With a flattening of the handicap and the annual invasion of the Europeans the typical modern Melbourne Cup winner needs to be of more quality then previously. When Sheila Laxon's Ethereal ran away with this year's Melbourne Cup it seemed like a return to the old days when dour Kiwi stayers with folksy trainers used to have a mortgage on Australia's iconic horserace. Then, a downpour before the race would see a farmyard hack like Van Der Hum grow another leg and some canny Kiwi farmer walk off with a saddlebag of Aussie dollars. The truth is the Ethereal team fits the bill of a class act. A brilliant mare, an astute trainer and an underrated jockey who rode the perfect race. The Brit nags again put in the runs of the race without much luck. Persian Punch, like Vintage Crop, should have its name on two cups. Sooner, rather than later, they'll get it right and win them in a row.
The Titanic Award - the Socceroos
A few harsh realities about Australian soccer post- Montivideo: Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka alone do not make a world class soccer team. Lots of other countries have players just as good as Harry and Mark plus more. A team packed with journeymen from the English First Division is going to struggle at the top level. You can't win a footy game without a decent midfield. Iran was our best chance to get to the World Cup. There are too many Liberals running the game. Jeff Kennett. Soccer Australia is shit.
The Sir Robert Menzies Award - Netball Australia
Netball Australia, traditionally known as a sports administrator, surprised everyone this year by trying its hand at gynaecology. Confronted by the prospect of pregnant Adelaide netballer, Trudy Gardner taking the court, Netball Australia placed a blanket ban on all pregnant women from playing netball. Despite medical advice encouraging pregnant women to pursue an active and fit lifestyle and despite Trudy believing it was her decision, not some paternalistic sports administrator, she took her place on the sidelines. For its commitment to the values of the 1950's, Netball Australia is awarded the Sir Robert Menzies Award.
The King Canute Award - George Piggins
Rugby league's civil war had two faces. John Ribot comes as close as any to the face of mammon. And the inspirational George Piggins is the face of passion. Until South Sydney's court victory earlier this year, George was in danger of going down as the stubborn martyr. So pure he may as well bury himself along with the club colours he swore to retire rather than trade away. But, as a winner, George has proved something and not just about sport. The inevitable is not inevitable. The Super League forces set out to kill Souths - now Souths are poised to bring the game back from the dead.
The Champ and Chump Award - Lleyton Hewitt
Australian tennis has a new champion, but just how proud should we be? Little Lleyton seems to have so filled his head with the game that there's no room left for much else that makes sense. Hewitt's extraordinary focus and mental toughness sees him fall over the line in gruelling five-setters when he is not playing well. When it all comes together on court, he makes the dominant 1990s player Sampras look like a tired old dog. But when his super-competitiveness and aggression spill over into childish abuse Lleyton looks a loser. The first move Hewitt's new coach should make is to insist the little fella gets out more.
The Greg Norman Yipps Award - Essendon
From the AFL penthouse to the pavement and we find self-delusion at both ends. Essendon's performance in real life is poles away from the smug arrogance of the club and supporters. Bombers President McMahon this year stupidly declared the aim of becoming the AFL's Manchester United - rich, elite, dominant and locking out opposition fans from home games. The reality is one flag last year from five years of supreme playing talent. We saw the Bombers lose two preliminary finals and one grand final since 1996. This year Brisbane looked as good in winning as the Bombers ever have. Face it Essendon, you're a bunch of chokers.
The Compulsory Euthanasia Award - St Kilda/Fremantle
At the bottom end of the ladder we find two clubs which really should be taken out the back and shot. St Kilda's slapstick routine of offering supercoach Blight the world to save them, then sacking him mid-season, then letting their key forward escape to Sydney, then selecting an untried mate as 2002 coach - turn off the life support someone. Then there's Fremantle, now revealed to have paid players more than any other club while winning the least, ie two, games. You have to feel for Fabian Francis, forced out of the league for 12 months due to Freo's incompetence.
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