FRIDAY morning, everyone on the Australian Rugby Union’s database – including those who simply have kids playing the game – received the following disgraceful email, representing a new low:



”Hi Peter,

As a Wallabies Supporter, this weekend I’m taking on the Springboks …

And giving you a money back offer. So back the Wallabies now …”

Hi Tom,

Any chance you’d get out of my face? People like me who handed over our details to the ARU did NOT do so to be harassed with brain-dead offers like yours, let alone have our kids exposed to it. And what about a little truth in advertising? What about you add to your spiel, ”I’m prepared to take a little hit, just once, just to get you on the gambling hook, in the hope that I can then shake you down for decades to come!”

Do NOT send me your awful offal again. And shame on the ARU for serving up its dwindling supporter base to the likes of you. It is acting well outside its charter to serve the interests of the game, and will face an outright revolt if it continues. Be told.

Mr FitzSimons, to you.K’S CHOICE

Let’s just say that the women of the St Pauls A2 netball team from Winston Hills are predominantly … ”mature-aged”, boasting lots of mothers whose children are twice as tall as the prams they left long ago. No matter. Playing in the Baulkham Hills Shire Netball Association against frequently much younger opponents, this year the close-knit team gave at least as good as they got, and just that little bit more to make the semis. Alas, in the run-up to that first semi, the team received the news that their ”little general”, Kylie Mulcare, had been diagnosed with breast cancer, with her mastectomy scheduled for the following Tuesday. In recognition of her battle to come, for that semi the rest of the team painted a large pink ”K” on their arms, and with Kylie herself leading the way, Winston Hills indeed had a great win. Last Saturday, without Kylie, it was always going to be harder, but of course they still turned up with their pink Ks proudly displayed. But hang on, what is this? Their opposition in the final, Castle Hills Sports Netball team, were also wearing the pink Ks, as a gesture of sisterly solidarity – something immediately conveyed to Kylie recovering in hospital, which lifted her spirits further. Who won? Who cares? Gotta love this city!A LACK OF CLASS

Yes, I know Bernard Tomic is young, and perhaps should be cut some slack after his lacklustre performance in the US Open last week. But, on the other hand, being hit with a couple of home truths can’t hurt either. Who should deliver it? I thought you’d never ask …

Mate, here is the guts of it.

1. If you want the respect of the Australian sporting public, you need to fight for every point, right to the death, and NEVER just give in, the way you appeared to do against Roddick in the third set. Ask Lleyton Hewitt. He understands it so well, he took an obviously superior Gilles Muller to five sets in the third round, and then publicly spanked him for his trouble. (Tomic was later cleared of tanking by the ATP.)

2. Respect your elders. Start with Hewitt, and then work towards everyone else. Even journalists.

3. Oh. And one more thing. Your performance in the press conference was even more disgraceful than on the court, particularly telling the journo who had the temerity to ask you a civil question that you would – threatening glare – remember his name. Please. On this matter, you’d do well to remember the words of the president of the Scottish Rugby Union to the Wallabies at an after-match function in 1988. ”Always remember in your dealing with the press, lads,” he said in his thick brogue, ”that it’s like making love to a hedgehog. At the end of the day, you’re just one prick against a thousand.”CORRECTION

I got it wrong in my rant on Lance Armstrong, and I do apologise to readers. I should have checked that every syllable of what I wrote was correct, and I didn’t. Specifically, I refer to my words that Armstrong ”subsequently helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars for cancer victims”. For it is far from sure that he does that at all. I had naively assumed that such money as was raised would go to the bleeding obvious: research to cure cancer. Instead, only a very small portion goes to that, while the thrust of the whole ”Livestrong” organisation seems to have the far more nebulous goal of simply ”raising awareness”. A fascinating article published in Outside magazine earlier this year spells it all out. It is well worth googling: ”If Lance Armstrong went to jail and Livestrong went away, that would be a huge setback in our war against cancer, right? Not exactly, because the famous non-profit donates almost nothing to scientific research. Bill Gifford looks at where the money goes and finds a mix of fine ideas, millions of dollars aimed at ‘awareness’ and a few very blurry lines …”What they said

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson referring to one of his players coming off with a hamstring strain: ”We lost another soldier out there today.” No you didn’t, you overblown muppet. One of your highly pampered players, pulled a hammy. No more, no less.

”All the eggs have gone into the basket for this week, and there is a big reward if you come up with the chocolates.” Sea Eagle Brent Kite, on the match against Canterbury, moves to the front of the peloton in the mixed metaphor competition.

Denis Cometti speculates what the West Coast Eagles ruckman Dean Cox’s instructions to the physio might be, after he had been felled by a hit to the groin: ”Ease the pain, but leave the swelling …”

John McEnroe, as Bernard Tomic appeared to throw in the towel in the third set against Andy Roddick: ”It looks like the tank job. This is a shame. You don’t like to see this …” Tomic was later cleared of tanking by the ATP.

Davis Cup captain Pat Rafter on Tomic the Tank Engine: ”I threw out the big D word, ‘disgraceful’, to him yesterday. That’s just the way it was. He’s got to learn. There’s no use sugar-coating something, he has to do the work, and I’m sick and tired of tiptoeing around it, and I think everyone else is as well. He needs to realise, that’s what he needs to do, and he says he does.”

Harry Wells, a rugby league star in the ’60s, in Rugby League Week: ”I know of at least 20 guys from my time who are dead now, or have dementia, and I believe it is as a direct result of all the head knocks we took.”

Jockey Danny Nikolic, to chief steward Terry Bailey – the latter alleges – at the foot of the stewards’ tower before race 6 at Seymour on Tuesday: ”We’ve all got families. We know where yours live.” The weird thing? If proved, it would be classic racing form to suspend him for a month or two, and then welcome him back!

Andy Roddick says the best thing about hanging up his racquet will be the effect on his dog: ”I won’t be a deadbeat dad any more.”

Former Wallaby Clyde Rathbone on his days of depression: ”I never planned to do anything, but I was thinking about suicide. I was getting worse month to month, I thought this could be the end … For me, it has been like a hamstring injury. I needed to address it, and it has taken time to heal but I feel that it is now mended.”

Oscar Pistorius after he was beaten by Brazil’s Alan Oliveira in the final of the Paralympic T44 200 metres: ”We are not running in a fair race here. I’m not taking away from Alan’s performance but I can’t compete with Alan’s stride length.”

Former Carlton coach Brett Ratten: ”I’ve got some things to work on as a coach and how I do things, and I’ll be working extremely hard to get those right. There’s some great sayings, and I’ve got a mate … [who says], ‘It’s not how far you fall it’s how high you bounce.”’Team of the Week

“Tomic the Tank Engine”. Bernard Tomic did it again in the US Open last week, as he appeared to stop fighting in the third set against Andy Roddick. Sadly, this brilliant sobriquet is not from me, but Fitzphile Peter Falson. (Tomic was later cleared of tanking.)

Walcha Rugby Club. The smallest town in the Central North rugby comp, the pearl of New England, will be hosting the first grade and reserve grade grand finals next weekend. RAH!

Alessandro Del Piero. Never heard of him – so shoot me – but there appears to be some excitement that he is coming to Sydney FC.

Maddison Elliott. The 13-year-old from the Hunter who has cerebral palsy has become the star of the Australian Paralympic team, after winning three medals (one of each colour), in S8 swimming. Most wonderful is her sheer delight with every achievement.

Ben Barba. The Bulldogs fullback was a hoover at the Dally Ms, cleaning up every award going, bar best dressed – which I gather went to Benji Marshall’s fiancee, Zoe Balbi.

The “Dubbo Stampede”. The inaugural run had 1500 competitors in either a 5km, 10km or half-marathon.

Wallabies. Big match tonight against the Springboks in Perth, to get their season back on track.

Greater Western Sydney Giants. Finished with the wooden spoon, but at least won two games in their inaugural year. On the strength of it, coach Kevin Sheedy has been reappointed for next year. Meanwhile, the Israel Folau experiment has been a disaster and his fate remains to be seen.

Parramatta Eels and Penrith Panthers. The teams that were meant to lead the NRL charge against GWS finished last and second last.

Nelson Bay under-16 AFL team. After being behind for most of the match, Nelson Bay kicked the winning goal with 20 seconds left to defeat Warners Bay 74 to 72 in the Newcastle-Hunter junior AFL grand final.

Matraville Old Boys Rugby. Is having a reunion on October 13 at the Sands Hotel in Maroubra. Players, supporters and friends welcome. Call Blue Dog.

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