It?s time for sweet Matilda to waltz off

IT'S time to give Matilda the boot.

Waltzing Matilda, that is.

The trotting out of this tired old pseudo folk song before the start of every Wallabies game might as well be accompanied by banjos and the theme from Deliverance.

And before anyone starts spluttering on their breakfast and choking on the words 'unpatriotic' and 'un-Australian', can they tell me what a suicidal sheep stealer has to do with rugby union anyway?

As if the Australian national anthem wasn't bad enough, why are we forced to suffer through the off-key warblings of a country singer and the screechings of a drunk crowd before every Wallabies match?

The whole experience is akin to listening to nails being scratched down a blackboard or watching Wendell Sailor attempt a tackle.

I'm as patriotic as the next Aussie, but my patriotism rests more in the lamington eating instead of sheep strangling stakes.

It used to be vaguely patriotic, an amusing footnote, but it's outlived its time.

RIP Matilda.

What a sight!

Craving some live sport on the weekend, I stopped by Crozier Oval to watch Lismore take on Wollongbar in the local rugby union competition.

Since leaving Canberra and my beloved ACT Brumbies behind, I've taken to watching Lismore City on a semi-regular basis to quench my thirst for live rugby.

On Saturday I was greeted with a sight to warm the cockles of any footy fan ? a big Lismore forward, I think it was the hooker, charging up the centre, untouched and untackled, for what seemed an age.

The opposition flailed for a moment, air swinging in a vague attempt to bring the big man down.

He was eventually brought to ground, but in that brief, shining moment anything was possible and the world was good.

Shallow talent pool

Australia's Davis Cup campaign gathers steam this weekend when Lleyton Hewitt and Wayne Arthurs take on Argentina in the quarter finals.

This daring duo, that's right, count 'em ? one, two ? are Australia's remaining great tennis hopes.

Gone are the days when we could boast Pat Rafter, Mark Philippoussis, the Woodies, Hewitt and Arthurs on the sidelines. With Arthurs threatening to retire at every turn of the tennis calendar and the Poo threatening a return, who does Tennis Australia have waiting in the wings? If something is not done soon, tennis fans could be waiting at least 16 years until Hewitt's sprog with fiancee Bec Cartwright screams his first 'c'mon'.

Shane's shame

Left of Field's favourite cricketer Shane Warne has finally been given some semblance of professional comeuppance for his off-field pants down behaviour ? Channel Nine have booted him from his $300,000 a year position. Shane's eloquent dissertations on the day's play will no longer be heard on television sets across the land.

In the absence of his commentary, Shane's many fans will have to content themselves instead with him plugging (ha! get it?) his hair replacement deal on TV instead. Shane's career over ? yeah, yeah.

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