The Moot Point: Hats Off to Channel 10 – so far at least!

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The new home of football Channel 10 is doing a mighty fine job with its coverage on free-to-air television.

The Saturday night fixture of the A-League, and the coverage of the Socceroos and the brilliant Matildas is just superb.

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The commentary team led by Simon Hill, clearly the best in the business, is basically the old Fox Sports crew – I guess it could be termed the same team with a new home ground. A few fresh faces have been added to the coverage to freshen things up for what is generally a superb package.

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For so many years Fox Sports held the reigns but with the baton change to Channel 10 there is now a level of exposure that the game really needed – and deserved. It is difficult to fathom how any code can survive in the modern sporting landscape without some degree of free-to-air exposure.

Sure there are the usual gripes about the complementary streaming service on Paramount+ but, like any project in its infancy stage, one would expect that improvements will be forthcoming. At this stage the whole deal with Channel 10 is the best possible outcome for the A-League which clearly needed to be reset this season.

Aussies Overseas: is it Christian Volpato’s turn to shine?

Christian Volpato is at AS Roma under the tutelage of the legendary Jose Mourinho and receiving game time in the Serie A. Who is he, and is this a case of another Craig Johnston or Christian Vieri? Let’s briefly recap their stories.

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Craig Johnston left Australia, unknown and with no money, but went on to be a Liverpool FC legend and score in the 1986 FA Cup Final. Over 270 games later for the Reds, in an era when simply no one from Australia played in the English Premier League (then called Division 1), he was the original one that got away.

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Christian Vieri was not born in Australia but came here as a toddler when his father Roberto, a former Serie A player himself, joined Marconi. Vieri junior left Australia on his own accord as a teenager to try his luck in Italy – and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

In a funny twist in the Christian Vieri story, keen observers may remember when Frank Farina as Socceroos coach capped his brother Max Vieri in a bid to prevent him from playing for Italy. Unfortunately Max never quite scaled the dizzy heights of his more illustrious sibling and his time in the Green and Gold was limited.

So far in Christian Volpato’s career both Sydney FC and Western Sydney Wanderers academies have turned him away. The 18-year-old however has been impressive enough to earn a place in AS Roma’s squad under Mourinho.

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Let’s remember that Harry Kewell, arguably one of our greatest ever Socceroos, was capped by the late Eddie Thomson in 1996 as a 17-year-old in a game against Chile. He too was then an unknown but thanks to the foresight of the great Thomson when he was Socceroos coach, Kewell was forever link to the Green and Gold.

With the Socceroos not exactly flush with talent at the moment, one would hope that Volpato would be capped for Australia and as such permanently linked to this country. Whether he really is the next Harry Kewell is neither here nor there. He should be capped for Australia to prevent him from being lost in the future.

The ball is now well and truly in Graham Arnold’s court.

Excited for the Women’s World Cup on traditional lands

The recent media release by Football Australia spruiking the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2023 is really a turning point and a major step forward.

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The media release had all the usual information: dates, venues, structure of the tournament etc. However, what really set it apart was the use of the Indigenous and Maori names of the cities.

For instance Auckland was referred to as Auckland/Tāmaki Makaurau and Sydney as Sydney/Gadigal. There was Perth/Boorloo, Brisbane/Meaanjin, Melbourne/Naarm and Adelaide/Tarntanya, and you get the drift.

Well done to all involved and let’s hope that it continues because, as a code, we truly have an opportunity to take the lead and pay the due respect to Australia’s Indigenous and New Zealand’s Maori about the land on which the tournament will be held.

Feature image credit: Jaime Castaneda

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Joe Russo
Joe Russo
Joe is a football supporter who accidentally fell into covering the great game. When he grew up it was called soccer but accepts the modern reality of football. After annoying editors, he was finally given the opportunity of contributing to the famous old paper Australian & British Soccer Weekly where he remained for 12 years. The rest as they say is history; Joe has featured on radio programs, websites, match day programs and Italian language publications covering the sport he loves. And, a quarter of a century later, he continues to chase the dream.

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