Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: If I may, if I might New Year wishes to higher sporting powers

Justin Marshall has a lot of potential as a rugby commentator but can't stop talking.  Photo / Brett Phibbs
Justin Marshall has a lot of potential as a rugby commentator but can't stop talking. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Random sports things that 2013 will hopefully bring... from the realistic to the mainly hopelessly impossible.

Justin Marshall talks less

He has a lot of potential as a rugby commentator but can't stop talking. On and on he goes about anything and everything - by the end you feel exhausted. Less is more, Justin.

Pre-game haka gets its throat cut

Time to give the haka the flick. All that Kiwi self-importance, the war-like posturing, is embarrassing. It sends a shiver up the spine, but not a good one.

Ian Jones gets a lift

Is it just me (part one)... Jones doesn't get used enough. The former All Black lock is the best TV rugby analyst we've got - he actually appears to do a lot of effective and detailed homework.

But somehow he gets drowned out on the big occasions.

Nisbo calls it quits

Is it just me (part two)... enough is enough. Grant Nisbett's tired, cliche-ridden rugby commentaries are past the use-by date and his eyesight appears to be letting him down. It's been a good, long innings, old son.

Rugby refs stop sharing jokey moments with the players

The ref is thinking "great, ticked the box marked empathy with players", while the players are thinking "ouch, hope that guy doesn't start inviting me to barbecues". Another pet hate - refs who say "give me this, give me that", as if it is all about them.

The plug is pulled on stadium sounds

Match music - yuck, unless it's an English football crowd is doing the singing.

America's Cup sinks without trace

This used to be fun, with a buccaneering spirit. Now it is a corporate bore that takes place in the middle of nowhere, propped up by subsidised media coverage.

On-field ads get scraped off

Our lives are saturated enough with adverts and even the ball has been commandeered as commercial real estate in some sports. Time has not healed this wound - ground adverts are still annoying and distracting.

NRL referees stop calling players by their first name

The league whistlers know everyone, from Billy Slater down to an obscure bench guy who was digging ditches a week ago. No wonder they don't have time to learn all the rules. The players have to cop this buddy business but you know they'd run a mile if a ref came near them in a nightclub.

The NRL rules rule

There has been ridiculous confusion over obstruction calls in particular. The new hierarchy must sort this out, so that Captain Rugby League Phil Gould and the referees are on the same page, unlikely as this may be.

The ICC grows some balls

The world cricket administration, wherever it might be, has been reduced to a pathetic outfit that puts out rankings. What about issues like standardised decision-making technology - or will Sachin Tendulkar keep running that show?

CricInfo continues to ride tall

The best sports site, from the amazing statistics department through to the level-headed match reports. A gem - hopefully the financial sums add up.

Ian Healy takes a hike

The marvellous history of cricket commentary took a turn for the worse with the former Aussie wicketkeeper's palsy-walsy nonsense. When he heads out the door, Healy can take the smarmy Mark Nicholas with him. Come to think of it, Nicholas is the most annoying of the lot. He takes the cultured Englishman act so far that it curdles the commentary.

Steve Nicol continues to ride tall

The old Liverpool favourite has become the star of ESPN's terrific soccer show Press Pass. Nicol has grown on me to the point I can't do without his cut-to-the-chase analysis, sometimes delivered with a nice touch of cheek. The way he looks at any issue often makes the most sense. Please ESPN, do not lose this man.

- NZ Herald

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Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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