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Andrew Dunemann

Vale Phillip Hughes - with Andrew Dunemann

28 Nov 2014

The events of this week have shown how precious life is; no one in their worst nightmares could have anticipated such a heartbreaking incident as what has happened. 

The accident which took the young life of Phillip Hughes is one that has struck at the soul of every Australian and every cricket follower across the world. One minute in the newspaper he is being touted as highly likely to regain his Aussie test cap, the next unfortunately he is no longer with us.  We all play sport for the love of it, the camaraderie gained through it, and to feel a part of belonging. 

There is no better support apparatus than people within sport. In all of the misery this week, a shining beacon of support burnt brightly. From the immediate teammates, opponents, players within other codes, all the way to the Prime Minister, the support given to both Phillip and his family has made some solace, for what at the end of the day is a tragedy beyond belief. Our thoughts go out to Phillip’s family, Shaun Abbott and the others who were out on the field that fateful day.

While we hear many swipes at professional sportsmen on a daily basis, they generally come from those who were either never good enough or are totally misinformed. Whilst it isn't going to war everyday, these athletes fight a war within themselves, both body and mind to gain an edge to be the best. What follows is disciplined training, diet, and in a lot of ways a total disconnect from the rest of society. Inevitably, the biggest test above all this, is the ability to ride out the lows and capitalise on the highs. In no way am I saying that elite athletes are hard done by; as with the stardom also comes a degree of privilege, but what I am saying is everything they earn they deserve and probably much more.

Nothing in life comes easy and that correlates into sport. Again this realism happened to me personally last week when the star mare, Angelic Light crossed the Nullabor to tackle one of Western Australia's great races, the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes. Whilst every man and his dog wanted to declare her the winner all week in the lead up, no prize is handed to you. I can vouch for that having lost 2 Challenge Cup finals, the last one at the shortest odds imaginable. You need to turn up on the day at your peak and then have some luck in the match or race. On all exposed form, she had the rest of the field covered but ran very disappointingly. The wash up was that whilst the track was a good one she didn't handle the hardness of it. All-in-all though, what a return she made after fighting back from a career threatening injury some 16 months prior, in her 5 spring runs. 

This year’s NRL gains and losses player list is as long as I’ve ever seen it. Their are a multitude of reasons, under performing squads have been remodelled, coaches have come and gone, but the big move has been forced by salary cap pressures. The pressure created by clubs, rightly or wrongly back ending deals, have seen them with no money to spend to reshape the roster. So they’ve have had to move on players even if it means they will still pay a portion of their wage which still appears in the cap. Nonetheless it does create flexibility to buy, with the big movers being the Broncos. They go into the season with a more balanced squad with their exceptional young players providing youthful exuberance to complement the hardened veterans in their team.