Cycling: Evans takes one back from Spaniards to conquer the famous Muur de Huy!!

What a way to come out of training and show your form!
In the first dual of the titans in 2010 before this years grand tours, Evans broke the world champions curse (The rainbow jersey is said to be cursed because all the other riders mark you for the year you wear it, and therefore you don't win a race) to take his first hilly classic, the Belgian Ardennes race "La Fleche-Wallonne"

500m to go. Contador second, Evans third. A Basque rider in orange on the front, curiously looking like an extra hand for fellow spaniard Contador against Evans. It looked like the status quo of the last few years. Much like last year when Spaniard Alejandro Valverde beat Evans in the national tour of Spain, the Vuelta Espana. With similar dubious tactics, or more bluntly, help, from the same orange basque team (in cycling it is illegal for teams to collude and gang up on others, but try proving it). Evans wasn't in the rainbow jersey of World Champion then, but he is now, and set about stopping the spanish armada. And so began the inquisition.

I'll let the spanish commentators in the video below take it from here. It may be in spanish but you only need listen to the excitable tones as the spaniards look for all money to have a winner in Contador. As the riders near the finish the commentator is audibly rejoicing. Then.....from behind......a dash of Aussie class times his attack to perfection, much to the commentators obvious disappointment.

It's priceless.

For the uninitiated, Alberto Contador is at the front of the Peloton (group) in sky blue and yellow. Right on his backside most of the time in the white jersey with rainbow stripes of world champ around his torso is Evans. Contador's dubious partner in crime from another team can't be missed pacing Contador up to the finish in orange.

Played Hard, Done Good congratulates Cadel for a fine victory.
Bring forth the Giro.

Wazza Frompetersham.

welcome... a blog that promises so much sport and should deliver just enough. A blog that will take it one post at a time, will be stoked when read and hopefully sneak into the finals of your favourites list and make a late tilt at the flag that is your
Jack Gibson (right) the greatest Rugby League
coach of them all and the man who coined the
phrase 'played hard, done good!'.

Played Hard, Done Good! will seek to read
between the lines of all things sporting in a valiant and probably naive attempt to find the goodness in sporting achievements while hopefully exposing the ridiculous, tawdry and down right silly side of athletic pursuits.

So who am i and under what authority am i able to confidently write such a blog?

My name is Kurtis J
Ousley from Sydney, Australia. I am a former under age baller of many forms (basket, foot and occasionally net) as well as long time early morning tennis enthusiast. My only other defence in having the audacity to write such a regular spot is owning a copy of the 1992 book of Olympic records given to me by my grand parents at christmas of that year. It was forwarded by the great Bruce McAvaney and was the start of my analytical and statsitical journey. I read the damn thing from cover to cover, marvelling at every remarkable record from Australia's miracle milest Herb Elliott through to Johan 'the boss' Koss, Norway's speed skating equivalent to Usian Bolt.

Oh and i love watching and reading about sport. Especially the absurd bits.

Over the coming finite amount of time i, along with the drafted help of various special guests, hope to enlighten any one who stops by with a fresh, impartial, fun and enthusiastic take on any sporting pursuit that tickles my fast twitch muscle fibres and makes me want to take that 3 pointer in traffic and from way down town. Everything from the NBA, NFL,
WNBA, AFL, NRL, A & W League, IPL, EPL, IAAF, all of the Olympics, cricket and much more is promised to be included. Every week i hope to step up, bring my 'a' game and comment to the best of my ability.

I hope you enjoy Played Hard, Done Good!

Kurtis J Ousley

'ere goes nothin'...

Hard Arse Hall of Fame

A friend of Played Hard, Done Good! Recently sent me a wonderful article chronicling the 5 most ‘bad ass’ athletes of all time. It listed luminaries such as boxer Jack Johnson who, in a horribly racist era, beat white men and screwed white women. Also listed is some baseballer who averaged a ridiculous amount on field, oh, and survived two wars. All of the achievements are impressive and are definitely what we would all refer to as ‘bad ass’ (see the full list here

But it got me thinkin’, seeing as though they are all American it must be well with in my antipodean rights to make a similar list of Australia’s toughest athletes of all time. We’ll call it the Hard Arse Hall of Fame and I think you will find that many of its inductees stack up against our North American brothers.
Here are the first 3.

Clive Churchill - Rugby League Legend and Lunatic

Jesus H. Christ, where do I start. How about with his dimensions, height: 5 ft 8 Weight: 73kg. Any one who knows the game of rugby league will attest that the average height and weight of the men that participate in this psychotic sport is significantly greater than Clive’s stated line (try 5 or 6 inches taller and 20 to 30 kilos heavier). Couple this with the fact that Churchill played in an era where the legendary ‘softening up period’ (i.e. break as many peoples jaws as possible) was mandatory, and his level of toughness is unquestioned. Take the following story as a prime example of the little masters courage/lunacy. (Oh, and by the way, he is also considered to be the greatest and most skilled man to ever play the game, think the Michael Jordon of Rugby League).

In 1955 Manly were playing Clive’s South Sydney at a packed Redfern Oval. Souths needed to win the match in order to make the Semi Finals and were up against the team that had dominated the competition all season. Early in the first half, Churchill’s arm was snapped in two by yet another savage tackle against his threadbare frame. Clive, broken and now seemingly useless, would have to go off right? Wrong. In 1955 nothing healed a snapped arm like an aspirin, a cup of water and CARD BOARD taped around the offending limb! That’s right, ya’ll, Clive instructed his trainers to tape cardboard as a splint around his arm and he continued to play. But wait, of course there’s more!

Clive Churchill - small man, massive testicles

As the full time siren sounded Souths scored. Still behind by a point the Rabbitohs required the conversion to be kicked in order to win the game and advance into the semi finals. And who do you think the teams goal kicker is? You guessed it, our Clive. After remonstrating with his coach and calling all his team mates pansies for suggesting he should not take the kick, Clive calmly placed the ball in the dirt stepped back and slotted the sideline conversion straight between the posts. His blood and sweat soaked cardboard splint still intact, Churchill collapsed with exhaustion and pain. The Rabbitohs went on to win the premiership, and Clive continued to play!*

Jack ‘Captain Blood’ Dyer – Australian Rules Football Nutcase

I don’t know about you, but that nick name says it all for me. However, if you need more evidence to back up my claim of Hard Arsedness, ‘Captain Blood’ has plenty to go around. There are numerous stories about Jack’s legendary toughness and maniacal approach to the game. He would famously use as an excuse his inability to ‘turn off’ or ‘ease up’ after he murderously charged into a crowd of players during a match. Unfortunately the group included many of his own team mates who would subsequently lie prostrate on the ground. Jacks aggression obviously straddled team loyalties.

Need more evidence? How about thinking he had killed a bloke during a match! Its true, not only did Jack himself think he had killed him, but the medical officers at the ground thought as much after they checked the poor blokes pulse then placed a blanket over his prone body (head and all, like in CSI) and stretchered it off. This being the 1940’s (that most sensitive of eras) the game continued, all the while ‘Captain Blood’ thinking he had taken the life of some unfortunate sod who dared get between him and the pil. Luckily at 3 quarter time Jack was informed that the gentleman had recovered enough to be taken to a hospital. ‘Captain Blood’, relieved and in high spirits, knocked out two more players during the final term.

WARNING: Being an opponent, or team mate,
of Jack Dyer can be lethal.

(Similar to Clive Churchill, ‘Captain Blood’ was not only considered an inhumanely tough player but one of the most skillful of his era.)

Rick McCosker - Cricketer and Genius (not really)

If you are Australian and a cricketing fan you will no doubt know the story I am about to regale you with. If you are not and/or not then you're in for one hell of a Hard Arsed treat. Batting in the 1977 Centenary test match versus England, McCosker's jaw was rudely smashed to pieces by a rather fired up English fast bowler by the name of Bob Willis. Rick, bloodied and dazed is led from the field and many thought Australia's chances of success seemingly walked off with him.

Ye of little faith.

During the second innings, Australia were in trouble at 8 wickets down for not many. Cometh the hour, Cometh the Hard Arse. McCosker, with a wired up jaw and bandaged head strode out to the crease to face the fast bowling onslaught (remember, this was in an era before sensible safety equipment i.e. helmets). He ended up scoring 25 out of the teams total of 138 and his courage/stupidity is largely attributed to Australia's remarkable victory.

Another satisfied patient from the
Bob Willis school of dentistry.

*There are so many Churchill stories it was hard to pick one, but honorable mention must go to the following tale. During a test match in the late 40's, Churchill was knocked unconscious in a heavy tackle. Heavily concussed he non the less got up and continued to play. Not wholly remarkable on its own, i admit, until you hear that Clive apologised to his coach after the match for not being able to play due to his unconsciousness. The coach then informed Clive that he had in fact played the entire match. Churchill had absolutely no recollection of being on the field. He thought he had been out cold for the entire time!

Kurtis J Ousley

Rugby League: Red V...where art thou?

Played Hard, Done Good! is unashamedly Red and White territory.

To that end, though this post is Dragons based I think every league fan can apply it to their team.

Watching the Dragons get off to a fantastic start this season, something came to mind. I'd like to ask a question that's a sub-question to the issue and discuss my view on it:

Where has the Red V been this season at home??

Saints have had three home games, all played at WIN. They've worn the Red V in only one of these matches and never the Steelers jersey. To me this is more outrageous than Phil Gould, Danny Wiedler and the obstruction rule put together.

Why can't Saints don the Red V at home or at least the Steelers jersey as an alternate strip? They play on Steelers turf, it makes sense if they don't use the Red V to use the Steelers strip. Right?

I'm sorry but something depicting Liverpool FC's 1993 away goalie's jersey is just not the answer.
I was expecting Darius Boyd to have "James 1" on his back last Friday night, a subtle nod to infamous Liverpool goalkeeper/MerMan David James.

Brisbane don't have a colour clash with the traditional Illawarra or St George jerseys. No team does. To make it more ridiculous Brisbane didn't use their normal jersey either.

Take a trip to and see if you can buy the away jersey of any team. You may be disappointed. Even Rebel know the alternate strips hold no water with fans. Crikey....they are still selling Brisbane's home jersey from 2009 for God's sake!

So what gives NRL and clubs? Well the buck stops with money hungry "Augustus" Gallop.

Call me a simpleton, but I think its as easy as follows:

This with current emblems and sponsors in away games....
And this for Jubilee Oval and WIN Stadium....
And this rubbish never again...

Photo: Andy Zakeli ">

David Barnhill and Graeme "changa" Langlands.
Two Saints legends who permanently lost their voice and wore white boots respectively, set trends for modern day players like Darren Lockyer and Jarryd Hayne while wearing the Red V. All the other former players and Immortals who have worn it must be livid as well.

And who knows what Rod "Tree Trunks" Wishart, a man who has worn both jerseys, and Illawarra's answer to Mark "shoulder pads" McGaw, Brett Rodwell thinks of it.

We dare not ask these men from fear of having our faces ripped off.

Saints today wear Steelers shorts and socks every game, and the Red V part-time as part of the 1999 merger. What a legacy for each club's proud history eh?

Another example.

The Balmain Tigers and the Western Suburbs Magpies. We see the Tig's black V occasionally, but what about the white V of Wests? As a result Tommy Roudonikis now rasps "cattle dog!" every time he walks into the Tigers' Leagues Club. David "Cement" Gillespie is banned altogether since he didn't wait for the front doors to open at all, he walked through them instead.

I won't start on the poor North Sydney and scum-on-earth Manly debacle. Only to say I hope David Fairleigh gets his way and the Bears kick Manly's broken arse in Gosford some day. Greg "Flo" Florimo for Bears coach please.

Some say the jerseys are the result of a clubs "financial contribution" (read: power and influence) in the merges. If the code has a "proud and rich history" as Phil Gould is all too ready to boast, can't self interest be put aside to display the history of each club in the merge? This would best be shown by proudly playing in traditional colours home and away.

The NRL and clubs say "we have no pride in our history" when clubs don't keep their normal jersey for all but the games where colours clash. To the extent "Heritage Round" just takes the p-ss in my view.

Why not just play in original kit each week?!?

Wazza From Petersham.

Cycling: Belgian waffles it as Swiss precision dominates the cobbles of Roubaix.

Tom Boonen will forever rue the second he decided he should eat his Mars bar during this years 108th edition of Paris-Roubaix.

After a fairly docile first two thirds of the race, marked only by a crash claiming one of the possible contenders in Garmin-Transitions rider Tyler Farrar, Boonen lit the cobbles ablaze after clearing the treacherous sector through the Arenberg Forest. As the saying goes you can't win Roubaix in Arenberg, but plenty have lost it there.

Boonen surged like a raging bull in 3 consecutive savage attacks to whittle down the lead pack from some 40 riders to a paltry 12 or so in just 20km of racing. But these 12 were no ordinary riders. They eventually would be the top 12 of the race. And calmly hiding amongst them was an uber confident Swiss man known to the Peloton as Spartacus.

After smashing the field Boonen decided to take in a "Schmoke and a pancackhe" before he finished them off. That's when Spartacus, like the ruthless and cunning Gladiator he's named after, pounced. His enemy was at their weakest point.

With 40km still to ride Fabien 'Spartacus' Cancellara surged off the front of the race like it was standing still. Boonen was the only man with the guile to mount the challenge to pull Cancellara back, while still chugging down the offending carbohydrates.

Before long Cancellara put 3 minutes into the hardest men of cycling......over the cobbles of Roubaix!!! It was then very apparent the race was on for second and third.

Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) rides to a Paris-Roubaix win inside the famous velodrome.
Fabian Cancellara - Undisputed King of the cobbles in 2010.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) sprints around a corner ahead of Bjorn Leukemans (Vacansoleil)
Trying hard as ever, but Boonen's horse had long bolted.

"God of Thunder" Thor Hushovd and an unexpected but fantastic ride by Spainiard Juan Antonio Flecha made up the minor placings. Boonen buried himself for most of the race but by the end he was only able to muster 5th out of pure exhaustion. Unjust reward for an impressive display of courage.

Podium: Thor Hushovd, Fabian Cancellara, Juan Antonio Flecha
The podium for 2010 Hell of the North. Hushovd, Cancellara and Flecha (L to R)