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Bowls In Focus : May 2011
38 Bowls In Focus The Right Stuff Congratulations to all of the players who have been picked in the Australian squads that were announced by the national selectors last month. Just being named is in itself a great honour, while getting the chance to pull on the green and gold to represent your country is the ultimate spor ting experience. Now, there is no insult intended to any of those named in the eight member men’s or women’s squads, or even the two four-player feeder squads, but can someone please tell me why Brighton’s Lee Schraner was overlooked? And for that matter, why no Victorian got a gig in either of the top eights? Sure, Matty Flapper from Essendon and Bundoora RSL’s Nick McIntyre earned spots in the men’s feeder four, as did Carla Odgers from Sunbury in the women’s equivalent, but Leeroy’s non-selection rates up there with Karen Murphy’s omis- sion from last year’s Commonwealth Games team in the insanity stakes. Strangely, Murphy remains in the squad – and so she should - while two silver medalists from Delhi, Julie Keegan and Sharyn Renshaw, have both been axed. I’m not the smartest bloke in the world, but I simply can’t understand these moves at all. There is no doubt that Lee was the standout player at this year’s Austra- lian Open - the toughest examination paper in bowls - winning the pairs and being a quarter finalist in both the singles and triples. And let’s not forget he won the Victorian singles and state champion of champions titles at Wangaratta in the space of two days last month. What more does he have to do? Fifteen months ago, when he made his international debut against the Poms on the Moama carpet, he had a shocker. I know, I was at the other end and wasn’t much better myself, but surely one nerve-riddled performance can’t preclude a super player from future national represen- tation. If that was the case most of those named wouldn’t be there, we’ve all had them. Who’ll ever forget Mike Hussey’s first innings in the Aussie test cricket team, he went out playing a shot that was strictly for the back- yard, but the selectors stuck with him and he became a superstar. Look, the enigmatic Schraner is a bit different, we all know that as does he, but past Aussie heroes Rex Johnston and Paul Richards were also very different, yet still managed to make brilliant contributions to their country’s success over many years. Am I being paranoid or is it sheer coincidence that our national selec- tion panel is made up of NSW and Queensland personnel, and that fifteen of the sixteen players picked represent those states? Frankly, I worry about the capacity of selection groups at elite level, even though the perceived prejudices and loopy logic that appears to go with the occupation seems to be widespread, even down as far as grassroots club pennant level. It is my opinion, and that of many other good judges, that elite level se- lectors should have at least played at the level they are making judgments about, or higher, to qualify for the role. They must have experienced and be able to understand the heat in the big kitchen before they can genuinely as- sess whether a candidate has what it takes to succeed. Imagine a reason- ably good country footballer being in the position of picking an AFL side? It simply wouldn’t happen. Similarly, selectors must rise above outside forces such as personal affections and political interference. Their job is to pick the best teams available to succeed at whatever level they are assigned, be it international, interstate, group or club - without fear or favour. And above all they must be im- mune to the whining of mediocre players who defend a poor perfor- mance by saying ‘I can’t play with the skipper because he/she doesn’t en- courage me enough, etc’, or the silly belief that team compatibility is the key to success. The most successful pairs combination of all time, Ireland’s Margaret Johnston and Phillis Nolan, won three successive World Bowls pairs gold medals together, although it was well known that they detested each other off the green. Closer to home I’m concerned about the slide of our state women’s side who have dropped from second to fifth nationally in the past three years. Likewise, perhaps someone could tell me why former internation- als Gordana Baric and Mary-Anne Spizer, who are still in the top four or five in the state, and clearly young and fit enough to do the job on the national scene, are missing while some very pedestrian players are representing us around the country. Surely it can’t be because of past personality clashes or political pres- sures can it? Successful selectors in all sports are able to put such minutiae aside in their drive for success. They are made of the right stuff. • Brighton’s Lee Schraner during his one and only appearance for Australia at Moama last year. Dougie Dougie Mark Jacobsen SHOP ONLINE www.thebowlsshoppe.com.au 10% to 50% OFF excludes bowls & accessories (03) 9375 4820 firstname.lastname@example.org $10 OFF COLOURED POLOS 15% OFF SHOES ALL VLBA $20 & MUCH MUCH MORE OVERSTOCKED WITH BARGAINS GALORE
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