Interview: True Matilda
Politics: State of Play
Industrial: Capital Dilemmas
Unions: Rhodes Scholars
National Focus: Rennovating the Lodge
International: People Power
Economics: A Bit Rich
History: Mine Shafts
Safety: Sick Of Fighting
Organising: Building a Wave
Poetry: Anger In The Bush(es)
Review: The Battle Of Algiers
Culture: The Word On The Street
The Locker Room
Co-operating At All Costs
All Good Except You
The Locker Room
The Name of the Game
"Sport is not cut and dry; anything can happen." - Belinda Halloran, Professional triathlete
YOUR humble correspondent first became aware of a company called James Hardie while standing on the grassy knoll at the Jamison Road end at Penrith Park.
In those days James Hardie was plastered across the front of the Parramatta jumpers and Mick Cronin was kicking goals from everywhere.
A big fella on the hill growled a story about James Hardie and a place called Barygyil up on the North Coast. About an asbestos mine that had killed a town, literally. About how the miners, many of whom where aborigines, had all been given the bums rush.
It was a terrific yarn. especially as Penrith where thirty or so points behind at the time.
The capacity for cynicism about sponsorships is like idiocy - it is how we know the universe is infinite. Like BHP sponsoring the Illawarra Steelers after polluting half the district. Or Caltex sponsoring country rugby league after gouging the bush for decades.
This is not just a purely rugby league phenomenon either. Fitzroy were humiliated by having to run around with "Quit" plastered all over their jumpers for their last few years as only the anti-smoking do-gooders were prepared to jump on board a sinking ship. The ghouls.
Carlton sacked so many players after their wooden spoon debacle in 2002 it was suggested that Centrelink might be an appropriate sponsor after John Elliott went belly up.
Who can forget how Ansett sponsored the Aussie Rules pre-season competition.
Fortunately for the heartless marketeers at the AFL loan sharks Wizard Homeloans stepped into the breach. Just how spirited this sponsorship was became apparent in 2003 when this column, in its capacity as secretary of the legendary Katoomba Lithgow Mountain Lions AFL club approached the Wentworth Falls office for a sponsorship, only to be politely ignored in that mean spirited way that only those little emperors, local branch managers , can manage.
The hugely successful Winfield sponsorship became a hallmark of League for years, with very few people squirming at the juxtaposition of healthy young men and cancer as long as the cash was rolling in. But that was back in the days when Easts was Easts and Wests were Wests.
The midweek TV competition that was such a hallmark of Rugby League's haydays in the seventies and eighties appeared under a number of auspices. The Amco Cup and the Tooths/KB Cup were still how they were referred to long after both entities had shuffled off the stage. National Panasonic Cup never rolled off anyones tongue - apart from Ray Warren - easily.
News Limited are effective sponsors of the Melbourne Storm, ensuring balanced and objective coverage of their efforts south of the Murray.
Harvey Normans have turned the state of origin into a running ad for white goods. Balmain saw the way the inner city was heading when they signed up Saxonvale wines in the early eighties. The ever lovable Canterbury have a proud tradition in this regard with backing from the repo specialists, HFC Finance and likewise Norths with the cuddly Avco crooks.
The most cynical of all sponsorships in recent times would have to be Newtown being sponsored by Max Moore-Wilton's Sydney Airport, who were obviously trying to drown out the sound of 747's over Henson Park. But they'll never drown out Frank Hyde singing Danny Boy at the heart and soul of the Bluebags home.
Not all sponsorships were as inappropriate. Wests looked suburban and workmanlike with Victa plastered across their chests. Penrith's Mark Geyer looked right at home with Dah Dah printed across his chest, he probably thought it was a personalised jumper.
THE idea that the recent fiasco in Athens was a runaway success is still yet to be accepted by all thinking people who agree with the Locker Room.
It was reassuring to see the Greek Communist Party on the box the night after Father McBride decided to enter the marathon himself explaining that it is the ordinary people of Greece that will be slugged for this indulgence for the next three thousand years.
Australia done good, and they'd bloody well want to after dropping something like 700 Million on the world's biggest pissing competition. It gives us bragging rights, but we still can't negotiate a free trade agreement that's going to help us with anyone.
After all the cash we sunk into athletes from government coffers I don't recall one athlete who has thanked the long suffering taxpayer for making their achievements possible.
It stinks the big one that we can plough a bottomless pit of cash into ensuring we finish in the top 8 of the mens long distance hurdle with triple breast and pike, but we don't have the money to even adequately house pensioners or look after sick kiddies.
Bah humbug I say. When it comes to sport we think locally and act globally. Elite sport should never come at the expense of the grass roots. But there's no money in community for network television.
Phil Doyle - hitting the post deep in injury time with the scores level
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