A mixed bag of topics

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There’s a few things on my mind this week, so let’s get down to business with a mixed bag of topics…

Panthers in crisis

Forget the OAK fridge, big sponsorship deals and $1 hot dogs.
The real test of success for the Penrith Panthers in terms of rugby league was always going to be on the field, and it is a test the club is failing at the moment.

A full-blown crisis is developing at the Panthers after two 30-0 losses in as many weeks.

Some will say that’s unfair to say after seven weeks but having attended all but one of our 2012 games, I can safely say that this is a side that lacks creativity, spark and any real sign of getting out of the hole they’re in.

Many will blame a growing injury toll which, to be fair, is indeed a huge issue at the club.

Dig deeper and you’ll get a line relating to a three-year plan.

Such a plan is a good thing if improvements from previous years were obvious, but at the moment, the losing culture that started to develop at the club well before Phil Gould and Ivan Cleary arrived is showing no signs of being erased.

Cleary is a quality coach, and Gould is one of the sharpest minds in rugby league.

Together, they must combine to ensure fans have something to cheer about in 2012 – old sporting tags like “long-term plans” and “re-building” will fail to resonate with a fan base that has been starved of any real success for a decade.

Dump the battler tag

As I was reading, watching and listening to the coverage relating to electricity prices last week, one word kept coming up.

Battler.

Ah yes, it’s a great term to use for us western Sydney folk.

Apparently we’re all battlers. We struggle to put two 50 cent coins together as we wonder where our next meal will come from, waiting to be scared by the 6pm news and hoping to win Keno at the local club on Friday night.

Politicians often use this term as well. Chris Hartcher used it last week in relation to electricity prices and it really made me think what a great contradiction the battler term is.

You see, it suits politicians well when it comes to defending the electorate.

“The battlers shouldn’t have to put up with this,” they scream.

But it also suits politicians to spruik western Sydney as a powerhouse that holds the key to the future of NSW and quite possibly Australia.

Big promises and big money is often spent in Sydney’s west, but what does it all mean?

If governments, big business and the wider community truly want western Sydney to be the regional successful playground that it is often pumped up as, let’s stop using this area as an easy point-scoring exercise when it comes to the word “battler” just because it suits an argument.

Not everyone in western Sydney is a so-called “battler” and if the region is to attract successful business investment and hence successful people, we need to move on from the stereotype.

We cannot in one breath call for major corporate investment in the west, and then pull out “the poor battler” line in the next.  

Living in western Sydney should be seen as a choice, not a necessity.

Until we understand that, western Sydney will never become the powerhouse it is intended to be because from the outside, it’ll always be looked down on.

Logies are a farce

I put myself through some five hours of shaky television on Sunday night to, at the very end, see Hamish Blake win the biggest prize in Australian TV.

Blake’s winning of the Gold Logie has created some deserved criticism this week, given his television show last year was all but a failure and he is much more known for his work on radio.

The problem comes down to the fact that the public vote for so many of the awards, including the Gold.

The Logies need a massive overhaul to ensure they’re not a joke for many years to come.  

Such a potentially prestigious award should be decided by a panel of experts, to ensure that those rightly deserving are given the recognition they have earned.


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