Big news and worried Blues

Matt Burton has made the NSW Blues squad but Josh Addo-Carr still misses out. Photo: AAP.

Lets Talk Sport with Aaron Stevens and Liam Emerton

In this week’s edition of Let’s Talk Sport Gladstone Today and CQ Today journalist Liam Emerton is joined by 4RO’s Aaron Stevens to talk local golf Pro AMs, the banning of trans-athletes in several codes and our final thoughts on the State of Origin.

Pro-AM Golf

Liam: We’ve got a bumper weekend lined up mate but you were out and about on the Pro-AM circuit this week, how was that?

Aaron: This week of course the Pro-AMs came through Central Queensland.

This PGA tour that travels down the coast is terrific for golf in our region.

We had a day event at Emu Park and then a three-day event at Rockhampton Golf Club and it’s just terrific to see top-flight golf here in Central Queensland.

It attracts plenty of interest and fan-fair from people. I played in the sponsors’ day on Monday and that’s as good as it gets for me.

But keep an ear out for the name Mackenzie Wright. He was the pro who played with our 4RO team.

He’s 22, it’s his first year on the pro tour, he’s got a lot of talent and he is just a lovely kid.

I wanted to give him a shout-out because he gave me some tips. It’s funny getting tips from a 22-year-old but he did and they’re going to help my golf.

But just a great kid with a future right in front of him and his dad is a pro too so he’s got good stocks.

It really has given golf a leg-up in our region to experience these Pro-AMs, so congratulations to the Rocky Golf Club and the Emu Park club for hosting these events.

Trans-athletes banned from sporting codes

Liam: The big news this week coming out of Fina, swimming’s world governing body, and rugby league is the banning of transgender women to compete at the elite level.

What do you make of the entire situation because it’s obviously a very delicate topic?

Aaron: As soon as swimming made their announcement it seemed we started to see many other sports jump on board.

There’s been plenty of caution around this. There are a lot of sports that waited for the science on this and what the impact would be.

I think there were a lot of sports just waiting for the first sport to jump on this and when swimming did this they started to fall like dominoes.

I tell you what the big question will be, and we expect these announcements at top-level sports, but how far is this going to travel down the chain?

Is it going to affect junior sports? Is it going to affect community sports?

I’m talking down the track here not immediately but at some point in time those people who are getting into the sports need direction.

Is there going to be a men’s and women’s open competition, is that what we’re going to end up with?

It isn’t immediately impactful but it’s going to be interesting to follow this for the next 10 or 20 years to see where sport ends up on this issue.

Two big questions, are we going to see a similar decision made in the lower grades of these sports or are we going to see open competitions brought in at junior levels and then through the grades.

The big problem we’re going to have at the moment is that we only have one person in the world competing at that level who would swim in that open category, so what do you do about that?

Liam: It is a very interesting perspective to see how many people this will affect and how badly it will.

Obviously it will affect a lot of people in the near future because I think people who have transitioned or are currently transitioning will really struggle to find a category where they can swim professionally.

I think there needs to be a place where we create an open competition or we make a specific trans-men and trans-women categories in those sports.

It’s a really touchy subject. I can understand from both sides where they’re coming from.

Sports want to keep the integrity of their organisations and anything that could bring that into question does truly affect the code.

It is a really interesting topic when you start looking at community sport and different levels and how far does this go down.

In my perspective everyone should be allowed to play community sport and there should be no limits to where someone who identifies as another sex or non-binary plays.

We need to be inclusive. But when we start to get to an elite level where people start to play for money and are being paid for how good they are, that’s when we should start drawing the line.

These two big calls from swimming and the NRL and the future sports that come out on the back of these two organisations’ decisions.

If there are competitions that come around like a trans-men and women comps, it’ll be interesting to see if it does happen and who will be backing these competitions.

Because it is a very touchy and interesting subject that is going to be around for a long time I imagine.

Aaron: You’re right, there’s a lot more to look into for this but at least decisions have been made and guidelines have been in place.

Sport has a lot of things that it will have to address in future years such as the weight for age which is a problem in junior sports.

Drugs in sport are still a massive issue. If we start talking about open categories do we start to open that door to drug-enhanced categories?

Society is answering these questions at the same time that sport is. But from a sporting fan’s view, the landscape of where sport is going to be in 20 years is going to be completely different.

Liam: I think just touching on that, where in sport, particularly men’s sport, we are behind the times.

We celebrated a men’s soccer player coming out as gay for the first time.

That was Josh Cavallo from the A League and that was a huge celebration and proud moment.

But if we’re still there, sport is almost 20 years behind the times Aaron if you look through that perspective.

It’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of discussions but I’m glad there has been a decision made.

It’s nice and clear. It’s going to be tough to swallow for a lot of people out there but I think this is the fairest call we could have made with what we know.

State of Origin

Liam: Well mate I am the Blues’ supporter of us two but tell me your thoughts on the crazy changes that the NSW squad has made.

Aaron: Feel free to hang up now, go to the other room or get yourself a coffee because I’m just going to rant.

New South Wales are out of their mind!

They lose a game by six points and all of the sudden they make wholesale changes.

I’m sorry, NSW just don’t understand State of Origin. The whole stick and pick thing that worked for Queensland for 40 years, NSW just don’t get it.

I don’t understand the changes, I know you’re going to say you like Matt Burton in the centres and blah, blah, blah but one of his massive strengths is his kicking game.

But how do you work Matt Burton’s kicking game into a role where he will be playing out in the centres.

I would be saying and hopefully Billy Slater is reading this, if they do use his kicking game then I’d be grabbing the ball and throwing it to his side of the field because he’s not going to be there.

And Jake Trbojevic, how he missed out game one I don’t know, he’s built for Origin, they are out of their mind, but now they bring him in the front row and I know he’s played there before but you’re taking so many of his strengths away.

I know there’s Isaah Yeo but I think some of Jurbo’s greatest strengths are taken away from him playing in that position.

There’s only a week lead up to this Origin and this is the great challenge of the second game.

Origin one you have a week and a half, Origin two what you hope for is to have a similar team going into the game and they already know each other.

New South Wales have to start from scratch! They have five new faces in the team but they have nine new changes positionally.

Are they going to be ready for Sunday night!

OK, I’ve had my rant, you can come back.

Liam: Alright , I’m back mate, I didn’t listen to a word you said.

There’s a few things that I’d like to say and the first is I like these changes.

I don’t like the amount of changes but I do like the personnel.

You’re right when you said I’ll say I love Matt Burton, of course I do, I’m always proud when a Bulldog is selected.

The idea behind Burton and his selection is for that kicking game that you mentioned.

We know that Luai does not possess the same kicking game as Cleary nor Burto.

To have Burton in there is going to be a very interesting concept because he’s going to have to make his way into the middle which pushes everyone else a step out.

I like that change, I just think a majority of these players should have already been in game one.

Api is a great pick, but I would have started Cook and brought Api off the bench but I understand what they’re doing.

Jake Trbojevic should have been in the team from day one.

The rest of the changes were a bit harsh. I think there’s just too many of them.

And if you’re going to make this many changes, can you bring in the Foxx!

Addo-Carr has been the in-form winger in the comp and he’s left out again, what does he have to do?

But in Freddy we trust, and the Blues to win!

Aaron: No chance! Queenslander!