Cricket: Best Spinners In Australia

Ever since Shane Warne retired, there has been heated debate about who Australia's next test spinner should be. Now Nathan Hauritz has taken that spot, with some surprisingly decent returns. The Ritz has assembled a decent record with 15 matches, 56 wickets at 31.7 and an economy rate of 2.99. Not too shabby, especially for someone who has to bowl half the time on Australian, non-spinning pitches. I retain the right to dislike him, but he does a servicable job.

What happens if Australia want to play two spinners, like New Zealand are currently with Patel and Vettori? Currently the backup spinner for the NZ tour is Steve "The Golden Boy" Smith. Smith has had opportunities handed to him on a platter for all types of cricket, primarily on the strength of being a good 2020 fielder and a blond leg spinner.

The Australian contracted players list has no other spinners. So who is the best spinner in first class cricket?

My boy Bryce McGain. Yep, old Brycey boy has rebounded from being given a pasting in his only test on a non-spinning South African wicket to again be the leading shield wicket taker, despite only playing 8 of a possible 11 games. McGain took 26 wickets at 32, well ahead of the Golden Boy Steve Smith (21 wickets at 44). Other notable spinners include 3rd placed O'Keefe (NSW) with 15 wickets at 31, Krejza with 14 wickets at 54 and perennial Rushed Behind whipping boy Aaron O'Brien with 14 wickets at 63. Bryce also was the match winner in the Shield final, taking 4/70 in the final innings to win the game for Victoria.

McGain's career first class average is 35. That doesn't seem exceptional at first sight, but look at some other averages and you'll see that it takes an exceptional spinner to succeed in the Sheffield Shield. Nathan Hauritz averages 42 (driven down by the inclusion of his test figures in the first class stats). Steve Smith averages 49 (so at least he improved this season). Jason Krejza averages 49 too. Stuart Macgill only averaged 31. Hell, Brad Hogg averaged 41.

It is blatantly obvious who the best spinner in the Shield is and yet because of one bad game he has seemingly been banished forever. With the Ashes in Australia next summer, do we really want to risk the whole series on the fitness and quality of the Ritz, with the only backup the good fielding but mediocre everywhere else Golden Boy? And then we have the 50 over World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The Ritz is a capable one day spinner, but on subcontinental pitches we need another spin option.

And for Fred's sake South Australia, don't pick Aaron O'Brien as a bowler. His first class average is 58 and even getting worse.


First Teams For AFL Round 1

The teams for the first game of the season have been announced:
B: Newman, Moore, Edwards
HB: Farmer, McGuane, Thursfield
C: Martin, Deledio, Nason
HF: Hislop, Riewoldt, Tambling
F: Roberts, Morton, Nahas
FOLL: Simmonds, Jackson, Cotchin
I/C: Vickery, Cousins, Connors, Thompson
EM: Polo, Polak, White

Martin, Nason, Roberts and Connors have been named.

B: Thornton, Jamison, Joseph
HB: Russell, Waite, Bower
C: Houlihan, Murphy, Scotland
HF: Carrazzo, Henderson, Simpson
F: Betts, Kreuzer, O'hAilpin
FOLL: Warnock, Gibbs, McLean
I/C: Anderson, Robinson, Walker, Yarran
EM: Grigg, Jacobs, Lucas

Warnock named, Lucas is an emergency.
The Footy Show has announced extended teams for the other games. I don’t know where they are sourced from but it should give an indication of who (particularly rookies) will play in this most important of rounds. Full teams will be announced circa 5.00 PM AEDST all over the internet (Sportal for example). Fanfooty has predicted teams.

B: Warnock, Frawley, Bennell
HB: Macdonald, Rivers, McDonald
C: Dunn, Green, Grimes
HF: Bruce, Miller, Moloney
F: Bate, Martin, Petterd
FOLL: Jamar, Davey, Jones
I/C: Scully, McKenzie, Trengove, Spencer, Strauss, Bartram, Bail, Maric

Scully and Trengove named with Strauss on an extended bench.

B: Guerra, Gibson, Gilham
HB: Brown, Murphy, Birchall
C: Ellis, Lewis, Hodge
HF: Osbourne, Shoenmakers, Morton
F: Moss, Roughead, Hooper
FOLL: Renouf, Ladson, Mitchell
I/C: Duryea, Grimley, Lisle, Suckling, Stratton, Kayler-Thomson, Williams, Shiels, Whitecross, Peterson

Ten man bench has just about every player who isn't injured.

B: Bevan, Richards, Roberts-Thomson
HB: Shaw, C.Bolton, Kennedy
C: Kennelly, Kirk, Mattner
HF: Rohan, Goodes, O’Keefe
F: Jetta, Bradshaw, J.Bolton
FOLL: Seaby, Jack, McVeigh
I/C: Mumford, Smith, Grundy, McGlynn, Moore, White, Hannebery, Malceski

Rohan and Jetta starting. Malceski on extended bench subject to fitness.

B: Gilbert, Dawson, Baker
HB: Gram, Blake, Goddard
C: Peake, Hayes, Dal Santo
HF: Armitage, Riewoldt, Schneider
F: Milne, Koschitzke, Gardiner
FOLL: King, Montagna, Jones
I/C: McEvoy, Geary, Clarke, Heyne, Ray, Gwilt, Stanley, McQualter, Eddy, Pattison

McEvoy should get 2nd ruck spot. Peake starts.

B: Surjan, Carlile, Salter
HB: Stewart, C.Cornes, Krakouer
C: Salopek, Boak, K.Cornes
HF: J.Westhoff, Schulz, Pearce
F: D.Motlop, Tredrea, Hitchcock
FOLL: Brogan, Cassisi, Gray
I/C: Banner, Davenport, Ebert, Harding, Lobbe, Moore, Nash, Stewart, Thomas

Hitchcock starts. Banner and Lobbe on an extended bench. No sign of Trengove.

B: Firrito, Thompson, Urquhart
HB: Hansen, Pratt, Wells
C: Wright, Swallow, Ziebell
HF: Campbell, Jones, Anthony
F: Thomas, Hale, Edwards
FOLL: McIntosh, Rawlings, Harvey
I/C: Adams, Ross, Grima, Smith, Tarrant, Goldstein, Bastinac, Warren

No sign of Cunnington. Bastinac on the extended bench with Warren.

B: Drummond, Merrett, Patfull
HB: McGrath, Staker, Adcock
C: Johnstone, Power, Rich
HF: Sherman, Brown, Brennan
F: Buchanan, Fevola, Collier
FOLL: Clark, Black, Rischitelli
I/C: Proud, Austin, Banfield, Hawksley, Stiller, Leuenberger, Raines, Redden, Polkinghorne, Maguire

No sign of Rockliff. Surely he will make it, but TFS can't fit him on a 10 man bench. Maguire is on this bench with Raines.

B: Mackenzie, Glass, Waters
HB: Nicoski, Brown, Hurn
C: Rosa, Kerr, A.Selwood
HF: Embley, Kennedy, Natanui
F: LeCras, Lynch, McKinley
FOLL: Cox, Priddis, Masten
I/C: S.Selwood, Ebert, Jones, Hansen, Spangher, Swift, Schofield, Dalziell, Butler

No Shuey. Swift, Dalziell and Ebert on the extended bench.

B: Hargrave, Lake, Giansiracusa
HB: Morris, Williams, Gilbee
C: Higgins, Cross, Cooney
HF: Murphy, Hahn, Akermanis
F: Hill, Hall, Johnson
FOLL: Hudson, Boyd, Griffen
I/C: Grant, Ward, Addison, Roughead, Minson, Wood, Everitt, Harbrow, Picken, Moles

Moles on the 10 man bench.

B: Shaw, Prestigiacomo, Johnson
HB: Lockyer, Maxwell, O’Brien
C: Didak, Pendlebury, Davis
HF: Fraser, Cloke, Swan
F: D.Thomas, Anthony, Medhurst
FOLL: Jolly, O’Bree, Ball
I/C: McCarthy, Corrie, Brown, Beams, Cook, Macaffer, Sidebottom, Dawes, Wellingham, Toovey

10 man bench. No sign of Rusling.

B: Hayden, McPharlin, Dodd
HB: Mayne, Tarrant, Crowley
C: Headland, Suban, Ibbotson
HF: Duffield, McPhee, Schammer
F: Hill, Pavlich, Murphy
FOLL: Sandilands, Hasleby, Broughton
I/C: Johnson, Bradley, Clarke, Pearce, Van Berlo, Walters, Hinkley

Whoa! No Barlow? That has to be a mistake. Also no Morabito or Silvagni.

B: Johncock, Rutten, Doughty
HB: McLeod, Bock, Douglas
C: Reilly, Thompson, Edwards
HF: Dangerfield, Walker, Goodwin
F: Hentschel, Tippett, Porplyzia
FOLL: Griffin, Vince, Van Berlo
I/C: Cook, Maric, Mackay, Sloane, Petrenko, Stevens, Armstrong, Young

No Davis or McKernan. Young is some chance for the Otten role, but Stevens will probably take it.

I missed the teams for Geelong vs Essendon. Take these with a grain of salt (No Barlow, WTF!), but have a backup plan ready in the case of players who aren’t named.


AFL Dream Team 2010: Lock and Load

With only 2 days until the start of the 2010 AFL season, you should have your Dream Team locked in by now. If you haven't started your research, then you will be saying goodbye to Mr. Finals this year. Even so, The Rushed Behind is here to help, by giving you some lockable options in each position which most serious players will have.

Luke Hodge ($366,800): Absolute gun and underpriced.
One of Josh Hunt ($164,100), Beau Waters ($152,800) or Tadgh Kennelly ($204,700): Quality improvers who will fill the 7th backline position (Waters or Hunt could be used on the bench if you feel rich).
Matt Maguire ($101,700):Solid bench cover who should play 22 games.

One of Gary Ablett ($522,000), Dane Swan ($523,500) or Jimmy Bartel ($480,200): Lock in captain.
Dustin Martin ($149,500): Will play 22 and score highly. The Rich of 2010.
Michael Barlow ($105,800): Elevated off rookie list and will score highly, playing most if not all games.

Robbie Warnock ($101,800): Should play quite a bit as your 3rd ruck
A $77,800 Ruckman: None of them will play, but you won't need them to. Consider Lobbe at $94,500 for dual positioning if you have Tippett in your Fwds.

Daniel Giansiracusa ($378,500): Gun who is killing it in preseason and was down last year on historical numbers
Lance Franklin ($354,900): Suspended for round 1, but will improve back towards his 2008 form with more supply this year.
Tom Rockliff ($101,100): By far the best performing bench forward in the NAB Cup

To help pick your bench players, Dream Team Talk has put together a guide to rooks for round 1. As for the rest of the team, best of luck and may the Virtualsports servers hold up long enough that you can get in to fix your team during the partial lockout. There are still a few spots left in the Rushed Behind league, so enter the code 192161 if you want a challenge. If you don't know what Dream Team is, check out N00bteam.

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