Thursday, April 17, 2008

Drugs bust in AussieLand

Olympian, rugby great's son in drug bust

April 17, 2008 - 6:30PM

Olympic silver medallist Scott Miller and the son of Wallabies legend Ken Catchpole are facing criminal charges after Sydney police raids allegedly uncovered drug manufacturing equipment.
Police allegedly found a pill press capable of producing up to 27,000 pills an hour, and a professional tablet counter when they searched a storage facility in Brookvale, on Sydney's northern beaches, at 11am (AEST) Wednesday.
Officers arrested Miller, 33, and allegedly seized OC (capsicum) spray and steroids after raiding his Dee Why unit at 2pm Wednesday.
Mark Catchpole, 40, was arrested at his Seaforth home at the same time.
Catchpole faced Manly Local Court Thursday on 11 charges, including possession of a tablet press, four counts of possessing a prohibited drug, firearms offences, possessing ammunition, possession of equipment to administer a prohibited drug, supplying a prohibited drug and dealing with proceeds of crime.
Police charge sheets allege that during the Seaforth raid, officers found an Amadeo Rossi brand .32 calibre revolver loaded with five Smith and Wesson bullets.
They also allegedly seized ecstasy, the illicit drug ice and three glass pipes used to smoke it, which are also illegal, as well as cocaine and cannabis.
Police also allegedly seized bundles of cash totalling almost a quarter of a million US dollars, suspected of being the proceeds of crime.
Catchpole elected not to appear in court during a brief mention of his matter, and a bail application was foreshadowed for his next appearance via audio-visual link on April 22 at Sydney's Central Local Court.
Bail was formally refused by Magistrate Andrew George and the former Sydney club rugby player and state representative was remanded in custody.
Outside the court, Catchpole's solicitor Ian Rolfe said his client was embarrassed by the charges.
"He's fine in the circumstances, a little embarrassed," Mr Rolfe said.
Miller has also been charged with possession of a tablet press, two counts of possessing a proscribed restricted substance and possessing an offensive weapon.
He was granted police bail on Wednesday night to appear at Manly Local Court on May 7.
The 33-year-old has gone into hiding and had yet to contact his family Thursday afternoon.
"I don't know anything about it mate," Miller's father Barry told AAP.
"The first I heard about it was on the news.
"I rushed in and tried to call him but he is not answering the phone.
"I expect he's inundated.
"I haven't spoken to him, but if I did, I would advise him to fight the charges."
Miller won a silver medal in the 100m butterfly and bronze in the men's medley relay at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
Mark Catchpole's father Ken played 27 Tests for Australia - 13 as captain - and is widely regarded as one of rugby union's greatest scrum halves.
In 1961, he became one of only nine players to make their Test debut as captain when, aged 21, he led the Wallabies in the three-Test series against Fiji.
A medal in his name is awarded annually to the best and fairest player in Sydney club rugby.
Mark Catchpole won that award twice - in 1994 then in 1998, the first year it was named in honour of his father.
© 2008 AAP

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Take that in Paris

England Rugby ~ What a shambles....

Rugby Has Gone Mad!
Six Nations England
by cwatts81 (U8942103) 16 April 2008

The rest of the Rugby World must be loving this. Its a shambles and we clealy dont have a clear view of where we are going next.Surely we are not going to have a review after every tournament and create this media circus!We are going to have a Manager now? one that chooses tactics and teams but does not play a hand in training? We have an "Elite Director of Rugby" who makes one decision, then goes back on it despite finishin second in the World Cup and second in the Six nations all in less than two years.This is mess and the Rugby World is laughin at us.One man is responsible, not Ashton, not Ford, not Baron......Rob Andrew, get that clown out of there and lets get back to basics....cos this is horrible.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Does Shaun have a point?

Johnson has management mettle, but chemistry with Ashton?

Any euphoria over Martin Johnson's return must be tempered with understanding that management and coaching are very different beasts

Shaun Edwards
March 28, 2008 12:30 AM

Can he do it? Absolutely. It obviously matters that Martin Johnson hasn't managed a side before. A little experience is always helpful. But if you had to pick a man to lead England - not coach them - then I see no problem.
Managing and coaching are different. No matter how good a player you were, you go straight down to the bottom rung again when you choose to coach. The learning process starts all over again, so it's best to be humble, stick to what you know and pick up the bits and pieces as you go along.
Coaches never stop learning. Being with Wales has made me a better coach, no doubt about it. Test rugby is a hot-house environment, but ideas come from many sources. In the early days guys like Brian Ashton and Clive Griffiths were incredibly helpful and I owe them a lot, but one of the best ideas I've heard about rucking and counter-rucking came from a bright young coach involved in junior rugby.
Management is different. Part is about putting things in place to ensure that the team have the best possible chance of success.
Depending on the budget, it's about finding the best medic, physio, kit man, masseur, media guru and chef, and putting them alongside savvy coaches - forwards, back, defence, set-piece fitness, however you want to carve it up - assistant coaches and video analysts. And Johnson had a good teacher in Sir Clive Woodward. England's squad of 30 for the 2003 World Cup - 31 when Simon Shaw was added - were supported by another 18 backroom staff, including a visual awareness coach in Sherylle Calder, a South African who went on to work with Jake White's World Cup-winning Springboks in France last year.
Johnson hasn't been away from rugby that long. In fact he seems to have spent the last couple of years in the international rugby orbit, so he will know the right people. But it's also about setting the right tone and getting the chemistry right.
I've only met Johnson socially, so I've never experienced the man at work. Those that have say he has an uncluttered mind, speaks directly and without the mumbo jumbo that too often confuses messages. In the heat of battle a brooding look often seemed enough and I know a journalist who insists that a Johnson scowl was enough to cut short any idea of asking whether he intended to prolong his international career after 2003.
But go back to the chemistry thing. I've been lucky since I moved into coaching after rugby league. My first boss was Nigel Melville, who knew his way around, had been in place at Wasps since the start of the professional era and was prepared to give me a chance.
Under Nigel I developed my own ideas, but it was not until he brought in Warren Gatland, before leaving for Gloucester, that I had someone to bounce them off and found that we were in agreement about things like the blitz defence and keeping the ball in play longer.
The chemistry was so good that when we independently drew up lists of what needed to be done at Wasps they were frighteningly similar. They were put into action and the result was three league championships and one Heineken Cup before Warren went off to Waikato, to be replaced by Ian McGeechan, very much my rock when Warren got the Wales job and asked me to help.
Ian, above everyone else, understood why I wanted to do it, argued my corner when necessary and had the faith to believe that Wasps would benefit. Chemistry.
That's why you can feel for Ashton. He - and Andy Robinson before him - has struggled with a structure that probably hasn't been right since Woodward resigned. Both men asked in vain for a manager to work with them on matters beyond their obvious skill sets.
Can Ashton now work with Johnson? They did so successfully with England eight years ago, but that was a player-coach relationship. Whether a new manager who has total control can work with a coach who got to the World Cup final only five months ago is something else.
If Johnson's England go one better in New Zealand in 2011 you can bet on one thing: that his first piece of management will have been to get the right men around him.

Can Arsenal win in Europe? YES OR NO?

Big debate: is Arsenal's squad strong enough to win in Europe?

Charlie Nicholas has faith in Arsène Wenger's young guns while Frank McLintock believes they lack experience
April 2, 2008 12:45 AM

Charlie NicholasFormer Arsenal and Scotland striker
The way in which Arsenal beat the champions, Milan, to get to this stage proved to me that this group of players is good enough to win the Champions League. That Milan team are up among the best I have seen since the days of Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit - their players might have been ageing, but Arsenal made them look old. Arsenal proved to themselves and the doubters that they could beat any team on the planet on their day. They have 17 or 18 players in their squad who are all good enough at this level and on the run-in to the season I would expect the likes of Robin van Persie and Theo Walcott to feature strongly, as well as Tomas Rosicky when he returns from a hamstring injury.
These players may be young but they have the experience required to do well in Europe. Arsenal had a team with greater experience in 2006 and reached the Champions League final but were defeated by Barcelona. The squad players from that time have since been groomed in the Carling Cup before being exposed to a higher level of football and that has allowed them to gain an understanding of how to play the beautiful brand of football we have seen this season. The recent poor run did not stem from a lack of experience, rather that the players struggled to adapt when the game went against them.
Criticising Arsenal for relying on one or two players is unfair. The partnership between Mathieu Flamini and Cesc Fábregas is probably the best in European football and Alexander Hleb can produce moments of genius and Rosicky adds that extra threat with the ball at his feet. When you add in the potency of Bacary Sagna and Gaël Clichy the options Arsenal have going forward are enviable. Perhaps there has been an issue in terms of relying on Adebayor as a goalscorer but, with Van Persie back, that will change. There are six or seven players who can change matches intuitively.
Arsenal will go into the tonight's quarter-final with a lot of confidence because they are a better footballing side than Liverpool. Rafael Benítez is very aware of the tactics required to win at this stage of the Champions League but I feel that he will be tempted to over compensate for Liverpool's shortcomings with tactical changes. Arsenal will stick to what they do best, pass and move, pass and move, and if they get caught on the counter attack so be it. They will not be drawn into making changes to the formation, whereas Liverpool could make five or six over the two legs, and I would expect Arsenal to come out on top.
Arsenal got a lucky break at Bolton last weekend, which they probably deserved after their luck deserted them at Stamford Bridge, but to come back from two goals down to win and avoid their worst run under Arsène Wenger can only be a bonus. It allows them to say: "We've come through that, we know where we went wrong and now we can go forward."
Arsenal have a great chance because the four English teams are the favourites to win the Champions League. Barcelona do not seem quite so powerful this season or to have quite such a belief in their system and, with Lionel Messi injured and Thierry Henry being played out of position, they are there to be beaten.

Frank McLintockDouble-winning Arsenal captain
Anything can happen in a cup competition but usually the best team wins the Champions League. Arsenal are probably not sufficiently equipped yet in terms of height, strength and experience in key positions but I have been overjoyed with the way they have played some teams off the pitch this season. They have done remarkably with a squad of mostly very young, unknown players that Arsène Wenger has brought in.
I doubt if they will win the Premier League. When you look at the strength of Manchester United and Chelsea, they have two internationals playing in most positions. When Arsenal have had injuries to key players they have had to bring on guys who have experienced maybe only 10 Premier League games. United brought in Nani for £14m and Anderson for £17m last summer ; Michael Carrick and Owen Hargreaves have been sitting on the bench. There can be no argument that they are much stronger as a squad.
Arsenal do have a slightly better chance in the Champions League. When the competition is about passing and technique they tend to do better than when they come up against players in the league such as Didier Drogba, who disrupts them because they lack a bit of height and strength at the back. However, they have to play Liverpool over two legs in this round and even if they go through they may then draw Chelsea, and Drogba, in the semi-final.
And success in the Champions League at this stage can still come down to the strength in depth of the squad. With so many games, players are beginning to get tired and injuries are more common. Arsenal have already suffered with Robin van Persie out for a few months, and when they lose a player of that calibre it is the equivalent to United losing Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo.
Liverpool look ordinary in a lot of areas but Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano have had a great season. You cannot forget either what Jamie Carragher brings to their side, but overall they have been disappointing and it is defi nitely possible for Arsenal to beat them over two legs. And if they go further and come up against United, Alex Ferguson's team are stronger all round.
Arsenal have perhaps greater longterm potential but they do need to strengthen. The two centre-halves, William Gallas and Kolo Touré, are fantastic players but they are both second centre-halves. At United, Nemanja Vidic is a No1 centre-back and both Gallas and Touré would be wonderful alongside him. When Arsenal's two come up against a player with sheer physical strength they do sometimes get bullied.
There is also a need for greater depth in the wide positions. Abou Diaby is a central midfielder and when he has been played on the left he has been cutting back inside. Emmanuel Eboué is the same. Playing in midfield, he is not going to score more than two or three goals a season; the likes of Robert Pires and Freddie Ljungberg were scoring 12 or 16 so Arsenal lack a bit of threat down the flanks. I admire everything they have achieved this season. What they need to do now is dip into the transfer market in the summer because I don't think the little bit extra will come from inside.