The 2012 Brady Foray Sporting Awards

By Jack Brady

As we say goodbye to 2012, the Brady Foray though it would deliver some awards to those deserving in the realm of sport. To say adieu to 2012, please be enlightened and enjoy the inaugural Brady Foray Sporting Awards for 2012. Have a happy new year.

Messi celebrating his Brady Foray win

Best Sportsman of 2012

Lionel Messi. The FC Barcelona footballer, and arguably the greatest player in the world game at this point in time went further and beyond any footballer this year. Messi, having broken a forty-year old record of most goals scored in a calendar year, scoring 91 for his club and country along with the ridiculous albeit amazing skills that the man possesses deservingly wins best sportsman of 2012.

Runner Up: Usain Bolt

Notable Mentions: Michael Clarke, Cameron Smith, Novak Djokovic, Ryan Lochte

Best Sportswoman of 2012

Two women in two completely different sports, both of whom achieved amazing achievements in 2012. This award could not be split between Serena Williams and Missy Franklin. Serena Williams, after being dismantled in the first round of the French Open came back in true Serena style by winning Wimbledon, the US Open, Olympic Gold and Tennis’s player of the year. Not to be outdone, Missy Franklin became the second most successful Olympian of all-time after winning four gold and one bronze medal at the London Olympics before winning a further three gold medals at the World Championships. Congratulations ladies.

Notable Mentions: Sally Pearson, Anna Meares, Ellyse Perry

Best Female Newcomer

We may be bias when it comes to this award but we couldn’t deny Jessica Fox the “Brady Foray! Best Female Newcomer Award” for 2012.  Fox, in her debut Olympics, won Silver in the Canoe Slalom. The eighteen year old has plenty of Olympics up her sleeves and the illustrious Gold Medal could be very well achieved in future years. Go Jess, Go!

Runner Up: Katie Ledecky, Gabrielle Douglas

Best Male Newcomer

Best Male Newcomer: Adam Reynolds

Glory Glory to Adam Reynolds, the rookie halfback, whose presence in a usual struggling team, saw thousands of Rabbitohs fans screaming from the hilltops of Redfern with joy. In his debut season, Reynolds led South Sydney to their first finals appearance since 2007 and only their second finals appearance since 1989.  Reynolds, in the end, was the NRL’s leading point-scorer this season, the Dally M and RLPA Rookie of the Year medallist, if it wasn’t for a torn hamstring in the preliminary final that derailed his team’s chances against the Bulldogs, Reynolds could just as well have been an NRL premiership winner in 2012.

Runner Up: Roger Griffin III

The James Blunt “Goodbye My Lover” Award

Although wanting to play in the Ashes next year, Ricky Ponting knew his time was up, his last test scores signalling an end to an illustrious career. Ponting ends his career as second only to Sir Donald Bradman as Australia’s greatest cricket player.

Runner Up: Nathan Hindmarsh, Petero Civoniceva

Tell Me I Didn’t Just See That Award

Here I was, sitting on my couch gearing up for the final day of play of the English Premier League for another season. It was simple. If (and too many suggestions) when, Manchester City won against QPR, they would be crowned champions of the 2011-2012 season. But not all went to plan. By the time injury time came around, City were down 2-1. I quickly turn the channel to see that Manchester United had finished their season with a win, and for the time being were perched on top of the table. The stakes were higher than ever. Then, as if the gods had turned all their attention to Manchester, Edin Dzeko equals the scores in the 92nd minute. I sit on the edge of my lounge, nervous for the City boys. (Please note that I’m not even a City fan, I just hate Manchester United). Two minutes later I manage to wake up my entire household with my wild celebrations as I claimed witness to Sergio Aguerro snatching the victory and the glory of a title win from the hands of United with his goal in the 94th minute. I have never seen anything quite like it and probably will never again.

Runner Up: Triple H vs. Undertaker ‘End of an Era’ match at Wrestlemania 28

Notable Mentions: Joey Barton’s rampage, Greg Inglis’s ‘knock-on’ try, Ben Barba’s escapades, James Graham biting ears

Dud of the Year

The Brady Foray cannot go past Olympic swimmer, James Magnusson for the Dud of the Year. Hyped as a genuine Gold Medal contender at the London Games, Magnusson duded out with a single Silver and Bronze. While this anything to throw away, the way Magnusson carried himself on the post-swim interviews was atrocious. This contributed to his award of not living up to his potential in 2012.  Congratulations and see you in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, Jimmy (when swimming becomes relevant once again).

Notable Mentions: New Zealand Warriors, Liverpool F.C., Australian Olympic Swimming Team, England’s Euro2012 Campaign, Ricky Hatton

Bernard Tomic. Wanker of the Year…and probably many years to come

Wanker of the Year

If you follow this blog you’ll know how we at the Brady Foray feel about Bernard Tomic. His well documented ‘wankerisms’ proves that this spoilt brat is nothing to aspire towards but low and behold once the Australian Open comes back around he’ll be the talk of the country, unfortunately. Congratulations Bernard, you well and truly deserve this award.

Notable Mentions: Israel Folau, Anthony Mundine, Quade Cooper, Joey Barton, James Magnusson

The John Sattler Inspirational Award

This award is inspired by South Sydney Rabbitohs legend John Sattler’s inspirational effort in the 1970 Grand Final in which he played most of the game, in leading the Bunnies to victory over Manly, with a broken jaw. The Brady Foray cannot help but hand this award to Paul Woods. Never heard of him? Woods is a front-rower for the Warrington Wolves in the English Super League. In this season’s grand final Woods managed to play on for the final twenty minutes, conduct interviews, and applaud the victorious Leeds players with a wait for it…..ruptured testicle. I guarantee every male reader just cringed. He now only has one testicle. You deserve this award Paul, said every man ever.

Runner Up: New Zealand Warriors hooker Nathan Friend playing 75 minutes with a broken jaw.

“Welcome to the big time, son” Award

Tim Grant wins this award for his rampaging first charge into the State of Origin cauldron by smashing attempting tackler Petero Civoniceva during the second origin in 2012. Ironically, it was Civoniceva who helped develop Grant to the monster he is today during his time at the Penrith Panthers.

Runner Up: Brad Maddox

Biggest Snub of the Year

The Parramatta Eels went to hell and back with the NRL and the AFL’s GWS Giants to help secure the release and then signing of Israel Folau back home to the NRL. Parramatta went to such extents to using their salary cap from 2014 and counting it as a loss when season 2014 comes around but albeit it never came to fruition as Israel Folau decided he wasn’t ready to return home to the code that made him. Instead Folau signed with the NSW Waratahs. This is beyond a snub, Folau betrayed Parramatta, their fans and the code itself.

Runner Up: Olympic promoter, David Beckham, snubbed by Team GB.

Notable Mentions: James Tamou snubs New Zealand, Wayne Bennett snubs Newcastle Knights veterans

The Michael Jordan Award

$onny Bill William$’s 2012 is defined by his Super Rugby Championship success for the Chiefs, Bledisloe Cup winner for the All Blacks, World Heavyweight Champion of New Zealand Boxing while playing for the Panasonic Wild Cats in Japan and moreover soon to be a pivotal part of the Sydney Roosters in the NRL next season, ultimately he could not be denied the ‘Ranging Out’ award for 2012.  While he would be a terrible, unreliable teammate, there is no denying that he is an outstanding athlete regardless if he is yet to fight a legitimate threat of a boxer.

Runner Up: Ellyse Perry

Notable Mentions: Israel Folau, Brock Lesnar

Part Two: Aging Socceroos in Shambles

Future Australian Captain, Brett Holman?

By Jack Brady

Archie Thompson, Brett Emerton and even Harry Kewell, these men should never play for the Socceroos again.

Archie is a 33 year old striker, who has spent the majority of his soccer career in Australia. Regardless of his five years in Belgium and his lacklustre two games for PSV Eindhoven, Thompson has never really reached any great heights in his footballing career outside of Australia.

I am constantly shocked by Australian coach Holger Osieck’s constant selection of Thompson. After all, there really is no great merit in doing so.

As for Emerton and Kewell, both of these men played in the A-League this season with both attributing poor seasons as their respective clubs both went terrible. Kewell now is unsigned and hasn’t played since the start of the year whilst Emerton, come 2016, will be thirty-five and will have, by then, been playing low quality soccer, that the A-League sustains, for the last three seasons beforehand.

Not an ideal prospect.

On a positive note, Osieck has done Australian soccer a favour in their last game against Scotland by finally promoting some young blood into the team.

Jason Davidson (aged 21) and Rhys McGowan (23) both made their debuts last week and while Davidson scored a goal… for the other side, they each showed enough to stake a claim to be a permanent fixture in the Socceroos side for years to come.

With upcoming fixtures against lower nations Lebanon and Jordan coming up, there should be no reason as to why Osieck doesn’t pick players like Davidson, McGowan, Tommy Oar (aged 20), Luke De Vere (22), James Troisi (24), Chris Herd (23) and goalkeeper, Mitch Langerak (23).

Osieck should also consider opening up starting spots for those younger players whom have played in recent games, players like Robbie Kruse (23), Rhys Williams (24), Nikita Rukavytsya (25) and Mark Milligan (27).

Primarily, Osieck should look to two men to lead the Socceroos out these dark days, Brett Holman and Adam Federici.

Federici is a ready-made replacement for aging keeper, Schwarzer. At 27 years of age, Federici, baring injury, has at least two more World Cups in him and will only get better if he continues to play for the recently promoted Reading, in arguably the best soccer league in the world, the English Premier League.

Similarly, Brett Holman has signed on with Aston Villa this season and as Australia’s best player in the 2010 failure of a campaign in South Africa, he will be primed for a massive tournament when it comes around in two years time.

While he may be 30 by Brazil, I can see Holman hitting his prime in the English Premier League over the next two years and will be once again one of Australia’s best players come Rio.

Hopefully Holger Osieck will take note of my “expert” opinions and continue to push the younger guys up into the side over the next two years.

Part One: Aging Socceroos in Shambles

Tim Cahill: Too old for the world stage?

By Jack Brady

Let’s not beat around the bush, the Socceroos are struggling.

Since their 4-2 win against Saudi Arabia on 29th February, the Socceroos have suffered a deep drop in form, losing 2-0 against Denmark and drawing with Oman and Japan.

Last Thursday, the Socceroos slumped to their fourth successive game without a victory by losing 3-1 to the 46th ranked team in the world, Scotland.

The Socceroos, arguably the 24th best team in the world, are on the brink of inevitably falling out of the top 30 best soccer nations. More profoundly, they are in severe danger of not qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro if they continue on with their current form.

Here it be said, the Socceroos are struggling on the back of their aging team.

While some may argue that age is just a number, the Socceroos have too many, dare it be said, elders in the team to contend with all the other countries.

In the Socceroos most recent games against Japan and Scotland, eight players started both games. None of these men were younger than 28.

Key players, in goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer (aged 39), central defenders Lucas Neill (34) & Sasa Ognenovski (33) and attacking midfielder Mark Bresciano (32), whilst solid, are shadows of their former self and can no longer uphold their games as they once did.

Three other men, Carl Valeri, David Carney and Alex Brosque will all be in their thirties by the time the World Cup rolls around in two years, while Luke Wilkshire has just recently hit his third decade of living. These four men have been the other mutual selections for the Socceroos over the last two games.

Socceroos coach Holger Osieck lamented Australia’s showing as unacceptable. From here, he may recall players that may be creeping too highly in the age department.

“We still have Tim Cahill,” Osieck said after Thursday’s game.

“We still have Matthew Spiranovic. Jade North who played solidly in the last qualifiers, Matty McKay will be back.”

To this quote, I both celebrate and cringe.

I cringe because Tim Cahill is 32.  He is coming off a below par season with Everton and has just recently signed on to play for the New York Red Bulls.

The American footballing stage that Cahill will be introduced to this season is a massive drop in quality in comparison to arguably the best competition in the world, the English Premier League.

By the time Rio comes around, Cahill will be 34, perhaps too old to be competitive on the world stage?

Similarly to Cahill, Jade North and Matt McKay will be in their thirties and have never reached great heights as is.

On the plus side, I cheer. I cheer at the fact that Osieck has mentioned Matthew Spiranovic, and put him into calculations to feature in the team in the near future.

24 year old Spiranovic is a rising star of the Australian soccer scene and his inclusion in the starting XI would only be a positive boost for the Socceroos qualifying for Brazil in two years time.

Stay tuned for Part Two of the “Aging Socceroos in Shambles”.