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Australia vs. West Indies – Hobart Test Preview

So, what’s it going to be? Do we have a whitewash on our hands? Will it be over in two days? Is it going to be embarrassing? These are the questions that all cricket fans are asking. Do we know what will happen, no. We will have to wait and watch it all unfold starting in Hobart Thursday morning.

So, what do we know? The West Indies have far more ‘X factor’ than we are giving them credit for. They have Kemar Roach and Jerome Taylor who bowl fast, very fast. Taylor made some of our batsman really jump around the crease in the recent tour of the West Indies. He swung the ball away from the right-handers at pace taking 6/47 off 25 overs in one innings. They also have Shannon Gibson who by all reports is fast as well, and will no doubt give the batsmen a hurry-up. Along with these three is Jason Holder who is 6’8’’, can hit a length with the ball, bats well in the middle order and is the captain of the team. He will be very important. The Windies are also dealing with a host of their stars being in Australia but who are unavailable for selection as they will be wowing the crowds in the Big Bash League. Along with this they have recently welcomed back their coach who was suspended from the recent tour of Sri Lanka because he spoke out against the selection committee’s decision to not select certain players. Then there is the unavailability of Sunil Narine, one of the world’s most exciting and brilliant spinners who has recently been found to have an action that is illegal. Narine is exciting because he is different, he bowls balls with a flicking type action very similar to a lot of “lounge-room” cricketers who throw mini balls or table tennis balls around inside to impart maximum spin on the ball. He will be a massive loss as he would have created havoc for our batsmen.

The wicket may have an aspect of ‘X Factor’ about it as well. If reports are true, and by looking at some of the photos posted online, there is a fair amount of grass coverage with a green tinge on top. There will certainly be some uncertainty about the toss and whether to bat or bowl first. Therefore whoever performs the better skill with either bat or ball in the first innings on day one will have a major advantage for the remainder of the test.

Am I surprised by the inclusion of Nathan Coulter-Nile? Yes, but only because of a lack of First Class cricket behind him this summer (although, he has played a 4 day Second XI match). All things being even, Coulter-Nile is the obvious choice for the Test team and is very deserving of selection. He oozes ‘X Factor’, bowls fast, takes wickets, is a jet in the field, handy with the bat and has been a standout in Sheffield Shield ranks the last few seasons. He is absolutely deserving of his chance. It has no doubt come a little sooner than most would have thought, however, with the retirement of Mitchell Johnson and then the injury to Mitchell Starc we needed to find the next spearhead and Nathan is the man. I just hope he has enough ‘work under his belt’ to get him through.

It seems as though it may be our strength (batting) versus the Windies strength (bowling) and whoever performs these skills the best may come out on top. With ‘X Factor’ comes unpredictability. There is plenty of this leading in to the series on both accounts, however I am predicting Australia to win quite comfortably but to not have it all go there way at all times!

In parting, a quick congratulations to Nathan Lyon who racks up his 50th Test match for Australia this week. Already Australia’s greatest finger spinner, Nathan is building a career to be incredibly proud of and is known as one of the nicest blokes you would meet in Sport. Well done Nath and may it continue for a long time more!


5 things to look for when choosing an RTO

There has been a fair bit of press recently about the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector. Not all of it has been good. However the vast majority of providers are simply out there day in and day out providing great outcomes for their students.

RTOs (Registered Training Organisations) deliver nationally recognised courses and accredited Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) VET qualifications. There are over 5000’s RTO’s in Australia and not all of them do the same training in the same way. These 5 things to look for when choosing an RTO will assist you or your business in selecting an RTO who is capable and can cater to your training needs.

1. Is it registered?

Before choosing an RTO make sure you ask the training provider if they are a registered training/education provider organisation. When doing this you should ask for their registration number. You can then confirm that a training provider is registered to deliver nationally recognised training by searching the national database on vocational education and training in Australia, is the official national register of information on training packages, qualifications, courses, units of competency and RTOs.

2. Course content and suitability.

You should also confirm that the knowledge and skills you can expect to gain from the course are relevant, and what job outcomes are likely to be available to you after successful completion of the course. Make sure you ask the training or education provider which units of competency or modules you will attain from the training, what jobs the training may lead to and what the job prospects are on completion of the training.

3. Industry Knowledge.

It is important that the RTO you are selecting has a strong knowledge of the industry in which they are teaching. Does the RTO have experience working with businesses similar to yours or a sector you wish to be employed in? Can they provide any testimonials of previous or current work? Does the RTO employ or use trainers and assessors with current industry knowledge, qualification and experience? What will the RTO do to ensure their trainers and assessors have the required understanding of your business needs? These are all important questions to ask when making your decision.

4. Flexibility.

For many people finding the time to complete training can be difficult. Especially when already employed. When speaking to an RTO find out if they offer a flexible training delivery. Will they offer training at your workplace, offsite, at their premises or face-to-face training sessions? Also enquire as to whether web-based training is an option. Some RTO’s will adapt their resources and programs to meet your specific needs.

5 Administration.

Most importantly, when selecting an RTO it is essential that upon successful completion you or your staff gain a nationally recognised qualification or skill set. It is also essential that the RTO will then provide evidence of your participation and assessment.
If you look for these 5 things when choosing your RTO, you will be well on your way to selecting a service provider who can provide you with training that is nationally recognised and well suited to your needs. Good luck.


5 things we learnt from the Adelaide Test

The Adelaide test was a highlight of the series with the very first day / night test on Australian soil.

Jeff Vaughan gives us his insights into the game as only he can.

  1. The Adelaide Oval Test was always going to be a success.
    Even without the new day/night format drawing interest, the Adelaide Test is always well supported, always has a good crowd and also presents well on TV. It is Adelaide’s ‘social event’ of the year and well done to all who attended and represented Adelaide to the world by enjoying all the festivities that the Oval has to offer. It was unprofessional to have the team masseur on the field in a Test match.
    In this day and age where we send the 12th man back to play Shield cricket (which I believe is a correct decision), surely we can be more organised and more professional than to have a masseur take to the field in a TEST Match. It was quite embarrassing to see the ball go straight through the legs of the mid-off fieldsman and race away towards the long boundary at Adelaide Oval only to question who in god’s name is that chasing the ball??? We soon found out that his name was Grant Baldwin and he played Second XI cricket for Victoria back in 2008 and even bowled an over in a Tour match in South Africa. That is all very well and good but please have someone who is ready for action! Now, it was pleasing to see that decision rectified on day three of the match with the introduction of Sam Raphael – who is actually a current professional cricketer for the Redbacks and possesses the skills required to be there. He even created two direct hit runouts in the recent Matador cup v NSW. This was all started by England back in the “05” Ashes series when the substitute fielder Gary Pratt (quality fielder at First Class level) took to the field as the sub for the Poms and proceeded to run out Ricky Ponting who was the dominant player in the game at that stage! That act changed the course of the match for the better for the England team. I am breathing a sigh of relief that our decision to field a masseur didn’t change the course of the match in a negative way for Australia.
  2. DRS and Nigel Llong got it so very wrong with the Nathan Lyon decision.
    I was sitting in the crowd and clearly saw an edge on the bat through the hotspot camera. Nathan Lyon was nearly off the field before he was asked to hold his ground. What ensued was eight minutes, (which actually felt like half an hour), of wasted time while we were trying to get a decision! Not only was it a poor decision to give not out, it was also a poor look for the game that we had to wait that long for a decision. The DRS system must be better than that in the future.
  3. Spare a thought for Geoff Marsh in the stands watching both of your sons represent their country.
    No doubt Mr Marsh would have been the proudest man in Australia that day. No doubt he would have also been the most nervous, anxious and excited man in the country as well. I’m sure parents around Australia would have felt for him when he slapped his leg in disappointment when Shaun was run out in the first Innings. Stay strong Geoff. Hopefully there are plenty more great times ahead for your boys in the Baggy Green.
  4. The Pink ball is here to stay!
    Day night cricket is fun! People want to be there and more are able to go to the match as it is held in far more convenient hours. This increase in crowds and people watching on TV results in higher revenue for TV networks and the game. The players will reap the rewards of this with increased revenue to the game equating in larger contracts for them. Everyone wins, everyone is happy, it is here to stay.

Let’s just hope we don’t overdo it and get greedy. There was a time that we thought T20 would be just a fresh change to the game, generate a bit of cash and bring new people to the game. However it feels a little like we are putting all of our eggs in the T20 basket at the risk of other formats of the game. Please, no greed. One to two day/night Tests maximum per year.


5 things we learnt from the WACA test

The WACA is renown for being unpredictable and there’s always something new it tosses up for test cricket. Jeff Vaughan takes us through what we learnt from the trip to the west.

  1. Well the first session bit AGAIN! Australia won the toss and batted on a wicket that we were told would offer a little assistance early on with the grass coverage and a bit of moisture in it to combat 35+ degree days for the duration of the Test. The Kiwis obliged by bowling too short and too wide and in turn did not give themselves too many opportunities to create early wickets! This was coupled with some strange tactics by the captain Brendan McCullum where he had at times just one slips fielder. I wonder how he expected to take early wickets with a new ball, on a first day wicket at the WACA? And the end result at stumps…… Australia 2/416, one of many records achieved throughout the Test. Although the wicket was considerably flatter than first expected, it was certainly a strange day.

  2. Nice guys finish last! We have seen too many times this series New Zealand players running across to Australian batsman to shake their hand after they had just made a century. Mark Craig even clapped hands at the top of his mark after David Warner had taken him for 13 off his first over, and then it was shown on the screen that Warner had just made his 4000th Test run! Now, I am all for etiquette in sport and a firm believer that we need to uphold all of the gentlemanly aspects of our great game, however, there is plenty of time to pass on your respects and congratulations in the rooms after the days play or over a beer post the game. Plus there are many thousands of fans in the crowd to clap, cheer and support the opposition. They are clearly two teams who respect each other immensely, but Australia are playing for more ruthless and tougher TEST match cricket that NZ right at the moment! Harder, tougher cricket required by NZ between 11.00am and 6.00pm please! Niceties in the rooms over a cold beer post 6.00pm! It was pleasing however to see NZ fight back strong throughout this Test and show some real mental toughness. To enforce a draw and not lose the Test after a disastrous Day 1 was a great result for them and a true testament to their batting prowess and the mental application of two wonderful players in Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor. Well played both, it was great to watch!
  3. David Warner three tons in a row. He has made a minimum of a 50+ score in each his last 8 tests? Averaging 50+ now in Test cricket! 253 off 286 balls! Quality, unbelievable, outstanding. Is he the best batsman in the world right now? Vice Captaincy is certainly agreeing with him and he is leading from the front as all good leaders should!
  4. At the time of writing this, the team for the Adelaide Test is yet to be announced.Personally, I would love to see Michael Klinger be rewarded for his years of run scoring gluttony. He certainly can’t do much more than perform day in, day out, year after year, in all formats of the game and in numerous countries throughout the world. Klinger should be rewarded and would be very deserving of a Baggy Green! However I am tipping selectors to make the logical choice and go for either Cameron Bancroft or Shaun Marsh. This is due to the fact that both were the “next man in” on the recently cancelled Bangladesh Tour. I am a fan of pecking orders and clearly Cameron was at the top of that order only weeks ago. Since then has also made a century in the recent Day Night Shield clash under lights at Adelaide Oval with the Pink ball – exactly the same conditions Australia will be playing in against New Zeland. Bancroft is certainly worthy of selection, a good season last year for WA followed by strong performances for Australia A on the tour of India during the winter put his name on the selection table. He is the one that everyone seems to be talking about and I would be shocked now if the selectors go in another direction other than Marsh. Good luck Cameron or Shaun!
  5. All set for the first Day/Night Test! One thing we can be certain of is that the Adelaide Oval Test will be a success! Firstly it will be popular with spectators, the venue always attracts a large crowd and I expect this occasion to be no different. Secondly it will be popular with the viewer as the match is now shown in prime time. People will be able to arrive home from work and settle in on the couch for a few hours with a cold glass of something nice! Adelaide Oval curator Damian Hough also trialled a slightly different surface during the recent Day Night Shield match between SA and NSW. More on that in the lead up to the Adelaide Test!

5 things we learnt from the GABBA test

Our Sports Program Development Manager and official cricketing guru Jeff Vaughan takes us through his thoughts on the first test between Australia and New Zealand at the Gabba.

Stay tuned for more updates throughout the season.

1.       The Gabba test was David Warner’s coming of age. He was once considered to be reckless, he has developed immensely to now be seen as ruthless. Warner joined Sunil Gavaskar and Ricky Ponting as the only men to score two centuries in a Test three times. This is very good company to be in and statistics show Warner now has a place among the legends of the game. Australia’s new vice captain batted with a sense of responsibility we had not seen before in his very exciting career to date. I am certainly looking forward to the new chapter in Australian crickets leadership panel of Smith and Warner.

2.       The “Gabbattoir” has bitten another contender! Australia has a remarkable history of ruining opposing teams tours in the first match of the summer by bullying them on day one of the first Test of the summer. This occurred AGAIN when David Warner and Joe Burns weathered the early storm against the new ball early on the first day. This helped set their team up to be 2/390 at stumps and to be firmly planted in the driver’s seat of the match. It will be interesting to see if the WACA fares any better for the Black Caps. I am unsure whether they can turn it around in such a short period of time.

3.      Is the “Captain grumpy” tag inevitable? Did anyone else see the change in body language of our new leader Steven Smith? He was certainly more animated standing in the slips region than when he was just a “Player”. This shows the great pride and expectation that he carries when representing our wonderful country in the second most important job in Australia, behind the Prime Minister.

4.       Unheralded Peter Nevill. Unfortunately Nevill didn’t get an opportunity to ply his trade with the bat. However he did a very unassuming and excellent role with the gloves behind the stumps. It is often noted that when you don’t notice or see the wicket keeper that generally means he has done a good job. It is only when we see dropped catches or missed stumping’s that we notice him! Well done Peter!

5.       While the Gabba test showed we are blessed with plenty of depth in the fast bowler department around the country at the moment, there is still some concern of who will become our next specialist batsman. There are the obvious names of Sean Marsh, Nick Maddinson, the younger Cam Bancroft, the even younger Jake Doran or even Travis Dean who made two centuries on debut for Victoria last week. Then there is Queenslander Sam Heazlett who made a century and 78 on debut against Tasmania. Also, remember the name Travis Head, the newly appointed captain of the Redbacks. The 21 year old notched up his maiden First Class century guiding his team to the maximum points against WA during the Shield match this week. It was Travis’ sixth venture into the 90’s at First Class level but the first time he was able to convert into the three figures. Blessed with power, an ability to score through most parts of the oval, a fearless approach to run scoring and a mental toughness that few possess, Trav is bound to be on the selection table very soon and a player who we may be talking about for a long period of time. 


Jeff Vaughan is Gold Training’s Sports Development Program Manager and is a former professional cricket player, playing first-class cricket for South Australia from 1996 – 2003. Jeff has held roles within the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) in the sports administration, game development and coaching structures.