How do I feel about Israel?
I am torn. There are clearly two sides, and they just can’t seem to get on with each other.
Sometimes I think the fighting must stop, other times I am prepared to back my favourite.
Then there is the issue of the constant expansion! I just don’t understand why it is going ahead in West, Bank(stown).
(Enough: this is a light hearted article and the country Israel is a serious issue, particularly today in light of the tragic events on the Turkish flotilla).
So let’s get serious: how should one feel about Australia’s favourite Israel, Israel Falou, joining the AFL’s expansion in the West of Sydney?
First place I always start is to think of the individual. Good on him. Most people will take a new job in an exciting new field; most will try their hand at new challenges particularly when it comes with a (significant) pay increase.
Will he make it? Nobody knows, as there is no data one way or another. So let’s watch with interest.
Is it a big hit to Rugby League? Rugby League was forged when players left one code (Rugby Union) to join another expanding code (Rugby League), so it would be a bit off if people started thinking code-switching was a bad thing. It has always been in League’s DNA to support the working athlete who has a short and risky career.
Can the West really support an AFL team? Not sure that is the question. The real question is “what does the West of Sydney look like with three more very professional teams?” The answer is the next Sporting Capital of Australia.
Three new teams? The Sydney Rovers enter the A-League in 2011, Greater Western Sydney AFL team kicks off in 2012 and surely the West will ensure it gets a Twenty20 franchise when Cricket Australia belatedly joins the Twenty20 revolution (don’t worry CA, it only started about 10 years ago).
By 2012 the West of Sydney will have 4 well supported Rugby League Teams (if you include that part of the Tigers that still represents the West), an AFL team with star recruits and a heap of early draft picks, a Twenty20 Franchise that will have to fight off its fans with a stick, a V8 car race that may be considered the best in that competition and the most exciting A-League franchise in the country.
(I admit my bias: a company I chair, ISFM, has been advising the Sydney Rovers who are building an incredibly solid Club in the middle of the largest catchment of soccer players in this country. There are a couple of hundred thousand people who are determined to help them and they will become a force).
Add to this the region’s physical assets: ANZ Stadium (you can get there quicker from downtown Sydney, on a nice train, than it takes people from downtown NYC, London or most other large organically grown cities to get to their major grounds), an upgraded Showgrounds arena for the AFL to play, Acer Arena, a cricket and AFL training paradise in Blacktown, a world class rowing centre, Sydney International Equestrian Centre, two racecourses (Rosehill Gardens and Warwick Farm), a drag racing track, a white water rafting centre, two athletics centres (Blacktown and Campbelltown), baseball and softball centre at Blacktown and a damn fine competition shooting range. That is a world-class set of facilities.
Sure Melbourne has a much faster car race, a cushier stadium, even one with a roof. And a tennis tournament we can all cheer. Lucky Melbournites.
And good luck to Israel, I wish him and his family well.
As for the West of Sydney, you can look forward to wrestling Melbourne for their (self-anointed) crown as king of all Australian sports.
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