2014-15 Cricket Guide for Dummies

With a rather successful 2013-14 season of cricket for the Aussies the popularity and the attention on cricket in our nation has increased quite dramatically. With the BBL|03 having crazy ratings and all 5 Ashes Test Matches getting very high ratings as well the odds that many people don’t know whats going on has also increased. So for those Dummies out there here is just one of the things to expect next season!

-ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 –

Currently poised on top of the ICC ODI Team Rankings is Australia. Just behind in second place is India and in third place is England.

28 May 2014
Team Matches Points Rating
Australia 35 4020 115
India 53 5923 112
England 39 4329 111
Sri Lanka 57 6292 110
South Africa 32 3486 109
Pakistan 47 4716 100
New Zealand 31 3031 98
West Indies 40 3744 94
Bangladesh 23 1683 73
Zimbabwe 20 1228 61
Afghanistan 9 304 34
Ireland 9 297 33

Although Australia is clear ahead in terms of rating points, places second to 5th are each merely separated by 1 point. So anything could happen throughout the tournament. Rankings aside here are the players set to take the tournament by storm. Well actually since this is a Dummies Guide I will tone down my cricket terminology and rather make an Solstice Satisfaction’s ICC World Cup XI with explanations as to why I think they’re going to fire this time round in the World Cup.

Solstice Satisfaction’s ICC World Cup XI

1. Hashim Amla (South Africa)

-Solid Performer in all 3 formats. His timing and placement could pay dividends on quick Australian and New Zealand outfields. All you could ask from an opener.

2. Shikhar Dhawan (India)

-Had a fantastic 2013-14 Season. Top Run Scorer in the ICC Champions Trophy last year. Be ready for some

fireworks in the World Cup.

3. Virat Kohli (India)

-Like most players in this list, had a fantastic 2013-14 season. Against Australia in the 7 match ODI Series he performed at his best helping his side chase down massive totals of 350-60 with ease.

4. George Bailey (Australia) VICE CAPTAIN

-Last season he showed why Australia selectors had faith in him and anointed him with the T20I Captaincy and the ODI Vice Captaincy. In the ODI series against India he led by example and although they lost that series since then under Australia have won all ODI Series.

5. A.B De Villiers (South Africa)

-In the form of his life, both in the Test, ODI, and T20 arena. A solid performer for South Africa over the past few years and his experience and leadership qualities alongside his batting make him one of the most in-demand cricketer in the world.

6. Glenn Maxwell (Australia)

-In recent months he has shown why he is called the Big Show. His extravagant stroke-play and absolute dominance over any bowling unit once he has his eye in makes him one of the most deadly players currently playing international cricket. To add to his superb batting he is also a handy off spinner with the ability to get wickets in crucial times.

7. +MS Dhoni (India) CAPTAIN

-He’s done practically all you can achieve as captain. He’s won all the big tournaments and his keeping skills are as sharp as ever. In addition to his captaincy and keeping he is a deadly lower order finisher and a batsman you always want to get out early.

8. Chris Jordan (England)

-Most people wouldn’t know Chris Jordan but he his one of the few shining stars in the England Cricket Team at the moment. His deceptively quick bowling and his lower order striking are qualities you want in a limited overs player.

9. Mitchell Johnson (Australia) 

-Quick, aggressive and accurate. The three qualities you want in your repertoire of bowling options as captain. Not only is Mitchell Johnson’s bowling outstanding but he has the capability to clear the rope when required and his fielding is exceptional.

10. Dale Steyn (South Africa)

-One of the best fast bowlers in modern times and he has been dominating the player rankings for quite some time. He has the ability to swing the ball yet bowl at quite some pace. Like Johnson he has the ability to clear the boundary and is always one not worth taking lightly as an opposition.

11. Sunil Narine (West Indies)

-Along with his unusual action Sunil Narine has been deceiving many batsman at the crease with his off spin. Having a fantastic season both with the West Indies and KKR he has made himself renown around the world as a premier spin bowler that you want to have in any modern day bowling attack. Economical and deceptive he will be one of the lead player in the West Indies team.

12th Man. Eoin Morgan (England)

-His form in Australia in the ODI’s and T20I’s was quite phenomenal and his century at the GABBA personified how dangerous of a batsman he can be once he gets going. His past record in Australia and New Zealand make him a formidable batsman.

– by Hiro Couper

The future looks bright for NSW

For the past eight years NSW have suffered consecutive defeats at the hands of Queensland. This year NSW will try to stop the Maroons from winning their ninth State of Origin series win.

While Queensland have penciled in about 90 per cent of their team, NSW are in all sorts of trouble.

Greg Bird is set to miss the opening Origin match and Mitchell Pierce had some off-field problems over the weekend.

The Blues won't be ruled out just yet! (SOURCE: Michael Sheil's Flickr photostream)

The Blues won’t be ruled out just yet! (SOURCE: Michael Sheil’s Flickr photostream)

While NSW are still yet to determine a number of key positions, they have a lot of options for young players ready to prove themselves in the Origin arena.

David Mead was a surprise call up for country and if injuries occur to Josh Dugan and Jarryd Hayne, Mead could find himself in the number one jersey for NSW. He is surely going to be on selectors’ minds in the near future.

James Tedesco has been unfortunate to not play as much as he has wanted in the past couple of years due to season-ending injuries. Before his injury this year Tedesco was proving a hand full for many teams and was forming a great partnership with Luke Brooks. There’s a certain NSW jumper in the future for young Tedesco.

Matt Moylan has been sensational for the Panthers this year. Molyan’s form has earned himself a City jersey and from the rep round we have seen Moylan really putting a stamp on the game. He is truly an Origin worthy player.

Even though his form has been down on lately, Kevin Gordon earned himself a Country jersey. He has a very friendly rivalry happening between ex-winger, and now fullback, David Mead. Gordon’s a very speedy player and is a great finisher when scoring tries. A bit of work in defence and somewhere down the track he could be putting on the sky blue jersey.

Jorge Taufua and Daniel Tupo have been great this year for their respective clubs. Both have earned representative call ups and have been on the Origin radar for a while now. They have great power, have a lot of speed to burn and are excellent finishers when it comes to try scoring. These two wingers will make memories that are unforgettable in the future during Origin time.

Jack Wighton has been one of the game’s best defensive centres this year. He showed what he can do when being called up into a representative jumper and he took the chance with both hands in the City versus Country game. Playing five-eighth at the Raiders is only going to improve his passing and kicking game. When called up into Origin, he will be remembered as one of the most classiest centres.

Jamal Idris has played only one game for NSW but you can tell that he is hungry for another call up. This year he as shown similar form from his younger days at the Bulldogs. Bench, centre or second row, Idris will take the opportunity with both hands and show why he belongs there. His power and strength, mixed with hiss attacking and defensive plays, for the Panthers and Country have shown why he is on the Origin radar.

Josh Reynolds has had a superb start to the season. Since being moved from bench to hooker to five-eighth he has made the spot his own. His grubby get-in-your-face style of playing is what NSW needs for this position. The last five-eighth that played like this was Greg Bird and NSW won the series. If chosen this year for five-eighth, Reynolds will show why he should stay in the position for years to come.

Aiden Sezar is a player that plays beyond his years. Similar to Johnathan Thurston, Sezar has a cool head and plays with class. Sezar is also excellent with the boot, kicking many 40/20s and an 83 per cent conversion rate. If Sezar is called up to the NSW side, he will bring class to the five-eighth role, something that has been missing since Andrew Johns and Brad Fittler.

Jarrod Mullen has an excellent boot on him too. He had a crack early in his career at Origin and wants another one this year. His form is always on and off but has been very switched on as of late. Maybe no Origin this year for Mullen but the future looks bright for him.

Albert kelly is a cousin to Queensland great Greg Inglis. No wonder Kelly is a freak in the field then. Since being thrown a lifeline by the Titans, Kelly has shown why Inglis had rated him so highly. Kelly has plucked intercepts all over the field, chip-and-chased over fullbacks and poses a great tactical kicking game. He is not ready for Origin yet but some more defensive practice and a few more years at the Titans, and the Blues could be calling Kelly up for some attacking power in their team.

Luke Brooks is way ahead of Kelly, however. Some people are even calling for Brooks to make his State of Origin debut this year. Brooks still needs to work on his game, but he has shown glimpses of brilliance for the Tigers this year. When he is ready Brooks will be holding onto the NSW number seven jersey for many years.

Andrew Fifita in undeniably one of the game’s greatest props. He is the quickest prop that has played NRL and is so valuable to NSW making metres up the front and getting up in the faces of the Queensland defensive line. Fafita has been in NSW for a while now and no player will force him out of the side, there is just no questioning his abilities on the field.

James Tamou and Aaron Woods have both been outstanding for their clubs. Both players have made over 1000 metres in nine games so far. At 23 and 25 years of age, respectively, they are two players who will be there for many years to come. With that much power and strength they are able to gain so many valuable metres for NSW. They could be the reason NSW wins a series in the future.

Paul Carter has shown the type of aggression that has people referring to him as a young Greg Bird. Coming off the bench, he poses a great threat to oppositions with a great running game out of dummy half. He is small but willing to get up in the face of his opponent and that is something NSW will need in the future.

However, Nathan Peats would be in front of him in the running to take over when Robbie Farah retires. Peats has been a great buy for the Eels this year. His performances in the first couple of rounds immediately grabbed the attention of the NSW selectors. With a great passing and kicking game, while being a very smart hooker, Peats is the perfect candidate to take over Robbie Farah.

Second Row
Josh Jackson may be playing for the Blues this year. In the short amount of time he has been at the Bulldogs he has really grabbed the NSW selectors’ attention. With barnstorming runs up the middle and edges of the field, it allows his halves to play. Jackson is a type of player who will put his hand up in the dying seconds of a game to slide in defence and work hard until the end.

Boyd Cordner has played for a premiership-winning side, won the World Cup for the Aussies, won an Anzac Test match and also starred in the NSW side last year. Cordner is one player who has already proven his worth and will remain in the team for years to come.

Tony Williams is one man that needs to regain his form. He has been quiet ever since moving to the Bulldogs, but if he finds form again he will be a menace. He has a big one-armed fend and is very quick and dangerous. Williams runs holes excellently. In his days at Manly he was very dangerous, and maybe a possible move back to the wing would be best. He has similar attributes as Luke Lewis in that he can play in numerous positions and has a wide set of skills. If Williams finds form he will definitely bring impact to the NSW side

Wade Graham is also on the verge of a NSW jersey, with the majority of his games for the Sharks playing off the bench or filling in at five-eighth or lock for Paul Gallen. Graham is a work horse and he is a mobile second rower/lock that NSW love to see on their team. Graham seems like the perfect candidate to take over Greg Bird’s position.

These players are just some of the players who have been on my radar for the future NSW side. I have missed a lot of valuable players but I have picked those that are in better form.

– by Mitch Moore

Tipping for Dummies: Finals Week 1

It’s that time of the year again! No, I’m not referring to some special holiday, but moreso to the finals of the NRL! Apologies for the lack of TFD last week, I forgot the week started on Thursday and after watching the Broncos win their last game for 2013 and send off Princey in high spirits, I realised “Shoot! I didn’t put in my tips!” Whoops. Anywho… welcome to Tipping for Dummies!

Everybody's favourite "Tipping for Dummies!"

Everybody’s favourite “Tipping for Dummies!”

I just love the feeling knowing we are getting step by step closer to finding out the Premiers of 2013! Let’s get this thing started!

Friday 13th September, 2013
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Melbourne Storm
This one, in my sweet and humble opinion, is going to be a helluva game between these two top teams. Both the Bunnies and the Storm have carved through their competition throughout the entire year and it all comes down to this. One notable mention for the Storm’s side is that Widdop has been named on the interchange and, seeing as I have a soft spot for Widdop, this is excellent news! Here’s to hoping he goes well tonight.

SolSat’s Prediction: South Sydney Rabbitohs

This is definitely a very, very difficult one to predict. My decision to tip the Storm is based purely on the Bunnies lackluster performance last week and Inglis’ seeming mismatch against his former team. Ever since joining the Bunnies, Inglis has not beaten the Storm in a game and with those statistics in mind, I’m backing the Storm to take this one on. I also want Ryles to go out in a blaze of glory because he so surely deserves it.

Saturday 14th September, 2013
Cronulla Sharks vs. North Queensland Cowboys
Team no.5 takes on team no.8 at Allianz Stadium as the Sharkies collide with the Cowboys. Both of these teams have had a decent year, nothing more, nothing less. The Sharks have an influx of returns for their finals match with Gallen, Carney, Graham, Bukuya and Tupou returning while the Cowboys regain (my favourite Cowboy) Matt Scott back in his rightful no.8 jersey.

SolSat’s Prediction: North Queensland Cowboys

While the Sharks have been great and the reinforcements back into their squad will help, the Cowboys have proven to be dangerous opponents in recent weeks, chalking up impressive win after impressive win. They have hit top form at the end of the season and that is why I’m predicting a Cowboys win in this one. Go Scotty!

South Sydney Roosters vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Taking place 3 hours after at Allianz Stadium is the Chookies vs. the Eagles. Just like the Bunnies/Storm game, this one is going to be a very hard one to tip seeing as both teams have proven why they deserve to be in the top 4. According to the NRL website, the Roosters still have yet to name a no.8 with Waerea-Hargreaves still under scrutiny from last week’s shenanigans. With rumours that Georgey Rose could be heading to the Storm, this may be his last game as an Eagle if they were to lose.

SolSat’s Prediction: South Sydney Roosters

I’m going with the Roosters on this one based purely on the fact that they are currently on the top of the ladder. In their previous two encounters in the year, the Chookies have also beaten the Eagles so with that in mind, here’s to a Roosters victory on Saturday night.

Sunday 15th September, 2013
Canterbury Bulldogs vs. Newcastle Knights
Wrapping up the first week of finals in the NRL is the Doggies taking on the Knights at ANZ Stadium. Both teams have been great all season with a couple of mismatches here and there but nevertheless they have earned their spot in the top 8. Barba has been named on the bench for the Bulldogs and on the Knights side, this may be the last game for Buderus if they Knights were to lose after having a great home send off last week against the Eels.

SolSat’s Prediction: Newcastle Knights

I know it’s not wise to do so, especially in an actual money-betting environment, but I’m tipping with my heart on this one and choosing the Knights to take the victory. I have a soft spot for Buderus and think he is an absolute NRL legend and I am therefore hoping that the Knights will defeat the Bulldogs just to keep Buderus’ dreams alive – and me happy.

As always, I am keen as mustard for this weekend and will be glued to the TV to watch all of this week’s NRL action unfurl. Here’s to some solid footy!

– by The Black Widow

Satisfashion: Rugby League

In this second installment of Satisfashion, I thought I’d write about something that I am clearly passionate about – that being rugby league, or NRL in particular. I’m doing the darndest thing and combining that with something that is complete opposite to rugby league – fashion. Dun dun duuuuun. Fashion in the NRL? Whatever do I mean?

Well, I’ve seen many o’ fashion mistakes at all the NRL games I’ve been to through the years and decided to help the fashionably challenged at NRL games. In spirit of the NRL finals around the corner – and seeing as my team is out for the season *Sadface* – here we go with the Do’s and Dont’s of fashion at NRL games.

The obvious fashion must at an NRL game (if you’re willingly going to one and support a team) is a footy jersey. These must be done tastefully because there are some blindingly horrendous cases that you shouldn’t wear your team’s jersey. For example, if you support the Warriors and you are going to a Broncos vs. Bulldogs game, please for the love of all that is holy, do not wear your Warriors jersey and call out ignorant things like “GO THE WARRIORS!!” Nobody found it funny the first time so no one will find it funny this time. When people do this, I want nothing more than for them to get kicked out for being stupid. Genuine team jerseys can be a bit pricey unless you know when and where to shop for your team merchandise… or you support the Eels because their jerseys are usually reduced to $60 by the fifth round.

As most nights at a league game are cold, all of the teams have their own scarves, beanies and jackets you can purchase at a relatively cheap price. These are obviously to be worn with your team’s jersey for a full-on supporter effect. Like you don’t mix patterns in an every day outfit, do not mix teams in your choice of clothing. Wearing a Bunnies jersey and a Cowboys scarf and a Raiders beanie is not funny. I repeat, NOT funny. The amount of times I see people doing this thinking they are Kevin Hart hilarious is saddening.

Now, this next one is going to be specific to women – please, I implore you, do not dress as if you are going out to Kings Cross on a Saturday night at a rugby league game. If you’re there to try and pull men, that’s fine, but in extension to that, you are dampening the spirit of the game and in the process bringing your IQ down by fifty points and making women as a whole look clueless. I know lots of diehard female NRL fans who despise the “fakers” for making them look foolish. It is possible to look great at a league game without overdoing it and looking out of place.

League games or any sport match alike is a perfect excuse if you want to go that step further and don face paint and/or something else outstanding like the Blues wigs at Origin games or body paint. There is no such thing as over-accessorizing when it comes to fan merchandise at games and that’s the thing I love. While I personally choose not to don body paint, I love seeing the team spirit in the crowd with the people that do. It’s diehard fans that make sitting in the stands watching a game that much more entertaining.

If you’re not a diehard supporter of a team and are just going to enjoy the environment with friends, wearing anything is fine.

As a Broncos fan, when I go to a Broncos game, I wear the obvious Broncos jersey, Broncos scarf, a normal pair of jeans and boots and I look fine. If I’m feeling patriotic enough, I will even wear my Broncos “cape-flag” around my neck with pride. For extra oomph, I even have a pull-out “GO BRONCOS/TRY” sign to use at the appropriate times. And thus, the appropriate look is created.

Ta da! #bronxnation

Ta da! #bronxnation

So please, everyone, do yourself a favour and dress appropriately the next time you intend on going to a league game. I’m going to watch the Bunnies vs. the Storm in what is sure to be a 5/5 stellar game between the two sides, and I’m not going to do something as foolish as wear my Broncos gear and call out “GO COREY PARKER!” Widow out!

– by The Black Widow