Malthouse orders more paint. Mick Malthouse wants more markings on AFL grounds
to help umpires better judge 50 metre penalties and how far the ball
travels before awarding marks. Citing the mark James Hird took at the
opening of the third quarter yesterday, Malthouse said too many marks
were being awarded wrongly. You can understand it from a coach’s point
of view of course. If the misinterpretation of a rule costs a team four
premiership points, or even a goal, it’s a problem. But games of
football have often been decided by arguable judgements made by players
or umpires – case in point, Melbourne v Adelaide in round three.
Traditionalists will say leave it alone. Progressive types will want
that doubt removed. Maybe it’s something that could be fixed to
everyone’s satisfaction with better umpire training.

Nadal aiming for Wimbledon.
Pumped after another victory over world No.1 Roger Federer in Monte Carlo, Spanish 19-year-old Rafael Nadal is targeting Wimbledon
this year. It would seem the kid who has chalked up the third-best
unbeaten run on clay in professional tennis history (behind only Vilas
and Borg) has already ticked off victory at Roland Garros next month as
a given, and is planning his calendar of future silverware.The World
No.2, Nadal has entered Queen’s, the traditional grass-court lead-up
event and signalled his intentions to move his brilliant form off his
favoured red clay. He shouldn’t be underestimated, either. In 2002, he
made the semis of the Wimbledon junior event. Then again, his ferocious
will to win probably terrified half the field in the juniors.

Zidane says the road ends in Germany.
French soccer star Zinedine Zidane has announced his retirement
from the game, effective from the moment France either wins or loses
the World Cup in Germany. Zidane says he won’t even pull on the boots
for Madrid, despite having a year to run on his contract. He’s slowing
down. “I am stopping for good and I am stopping everything,” Zidane
told Canal Plus television. “I don’t want to start a third year (at
Madrid) knowing that I won’t be able to do better than I’ve done in the
past.” One question still remains for the Frenchman: can he form an
effective partnership with forward Thierry Henry? The Z Man’s chances
of a fairytale finish might depend on the pair finally connecting
on-field.

Peter Fray

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