How’d I end up here?

Get fucked, another blog! I know, I know, brutal, I’ll keep the posts as streamlined as I can and hopefully entertaining. Was a horrible student of English so if my grammar is shitful, blame it on the fact my parents were too poor to send me to private schooling.

Early years; so the story goes, mum came home one day to find me sitting on my father’s knee, folded race paper in hand, yelling “Ya, ya, pssssst, get up you bastard.” That was the final straw for her, they split up when I was nearing three. Lame attitude mum, obviously didn’t understand how much better your horses run if you yell loud shit at the TV. Anyway, in my blood, sign of the future, possibly.

Young know it all; punted on every Melbourne Cup since I can remember. I was the kid at school that took the sweep stakes from the paper in and collected money. Dad was always solid each year, giving me $20 to spend on the race. Remember a nice little heater around the time Rogan Josh won the cup (1999), picked the winner four years in a row. High school, hello girls, all things sport and Texas Hold’em poker. Didn’t take me long and I soon had an edge in the game, eating the best food from tuck shop errrday.

Flown the nest; moved to the Gold Coast, Queensland, been here ever since. On the gambling front, this is where things started to get serious. 18th birthday was spent on the turps the night before, poker all day while still 17, 364 days old, more turps while playing and then walking into Jupiter’s casino at midnight. I remember playing anything and everything, until I don’t remember anything, BLACKOUT. Luckily, my mate had skull dragged me out of the place when I was up, well up. Now it’s not a lot to me, but it’s all relative. Back then for an 18 y.o. living cheque to cheque $3,000 was a big deal. Best part was, now I knew how easy it was to make money, if I’m ever short of cash, I’ll be going to the casino for a top up.

Growing up, a little; the plan with going to Jupiter’s when ever I was short didn’t work out well for me, needless to say. I never liked poker machines, they seemed stupid so I never did any great damage in those early years on the punt. Hold’em comes to the casino, this will be easy, just like at high school. That plan didn’t work out for me either, needless to say. I knew the game, I was actually quite good at it, I had no patience though, too young in the head.

Recent times; I sold my equity in a great little company, with a business partner I have a ton of respect for, 40/40 Creative. Hardest thing I’ve done to date in my professional career. Bottom line, it wasn’t for me. I wanted to pursue a dream of playing poker, so I did and I am. Along with that I’m learning to trade on Betfair and betting on sports where I have an edge. I’ll basically bet on anything if I think I have an edge, simple as that. Living the dream, but it ain’t all rainbows and lollipops, let me tell you.

This blog is going to be full of all sorts, ranging from average shit to good shit, so pick and choose what you like, leave me some feedback or questions, if they are good, I’ll answer them.

Cheers Luke

Honour among thieves

Haven’t written in this thing in fuck knows. Been a long time anyway. Started out as a chance to keep myself publicly accountable when trading and then I got a little bit Day25 with it and was doing holiday updates and now I’ve decided to just write about whatever the fuck I want; I’m turning this whole blog into a steaming pile of mutant shit. But anyway, “honour among thieves”, who are these thieves, well if you’re on the punt and winning, you’re a thief in this story.

I want to take you back to where it all started for me 5 years ago. Sitting at the poker table and someone asks me if I had ever heard of “sports arbitrage”. After getting the run down I realised that I could make some extra cash on the side of poker, relatively risk free. I was signing up (or using past muggy accounts already opened) to do matched betting“. I was young in the industry, naive and I really didn’t know any better that was my edge. I mean my bankroll wasn’t big, I had been shown this low risk way of making extra cash, this is a gold mine that will just go on forever right? WRONG, BANNED!

From there my now wife, her sisters, my brothers, my mates and a few randoms too all also “got into” matched betting. They all followed the same systems as me, all used my laptop and did it under my very watchful eye (wink wink). This was a gold mine for “them” that would continue to go on forever right? WRONG, BANNED! And so I ran out of people to “tell”. It was then that I realised that if I wanted longevity in the game that I would need to bet at places that wouldn’t ban me. I had been using Betfair in matched betting and come across sports trading“, this was going to be my way forward.

Fast forward and I’m asked to fill in for my mates indoor cricket side one week. Here I meet Tristan Merlehan who happens to be the captain and founder of the side. We get chatting later and I find out he owns Topsport; “fuck” I think in my head “I hope the cunt doesn’t find out I used to do that bonus bet shit at Toppy, don’t think the bookies like it”. Anyway, “who gives a fuck, bookies are all cunts” I thought to myself, what does it matter.

Few months go by (I won’t go too deep into my “bromance” developing with Tristan but I’ll leave it at; this guy has to be one of the most thoughtful, generous persons I’ve ever met, that and he loves punt and sport, lad) and we are having a beer after the game as is tradition for our indoor team the “C U Next Tuesday’s”. Tristan tells me a story about a client who stung them big time. This person found a horse mispricing in an ALL-IN market for some upcoming race. The finer details I can barely remember but they aren’t super important, I think the horse won some lead up race and they hadn’t moved the price despite this having happened. So the client finds the error and bets it to win a stack. Now my response to Tristan at the time was “well you guys should have been quicker to move it”, so naive, so so wrong.

As time went on I started to learn that bookmaking relationships like any other are give and take. I was at a Betfair function one year before Magic Millions and Tristan also attended. He wanted to introduce me to one of their biggest clients who we will call Dale because he reminded my drunk mate of Dale Steyn (and he let him know about it too “YOU LOOK LIKE DALE STEYN, STEYN TO WARNER, BANG” he reckoned). Anyway Dale and I got chatting, quite fascinated with his whole operation we talked for quite some time only interrupted when said drunk mate would yell across the whole party at Campbell Brown who was a Betfair guest on the night “OI CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, CAMPBELL, OI CAMPBELL” *Campbell finally acknowledges with a look* “CROWS” *fist pump from my mate*, *awkward laugh and nod from Campbell*.

But I digress, one thing that Dale said to me that blew my mind and educated me was that his relationship with Tristan and Topsport was one of huge mutual respect. Although his livelihood depended on finding value, it didn’t depend on finding it through errors. The value of having Topsport as an “out” vs betting grubby errors was a “no-brainer”. In fact Dale had code of honour with Topsport that if he or his crew saw anything clearly incorrect they would “bet $1 on that runner and that would alert the traders that something was wrong and give them a chance to rectify it. After that whatever they went back up was fair game”. This moment stuck with me forever, here I had a professional punter, wildly successful winning at a big rate against Topsport and yet they both were mates, drinking together, chatting shop, not all bookies are the enemy? They’re not all cunts?

From that day I set out to do the right thing by those books that had done the right thing by me. The list wasn’t very long it had one name on it Topsport (Betfair also been brilliant and have big time for all the Betfair Aus crew, but talking bookmakers specifically here). I made an agreement with Tristan that if I saw anything I too would be betting $1 on it to alert the team. I also became an advocate for their business in the social sphere and I defended them when the opportunities arose. Not only that my best punting mates in the industry (we have a group chat) also started reporting errors directly to me and I would send them to Tristan. We all too, like Dale had started to realise that the offering from Topsport far outweighed the short-sighted snipe of an incorrect price. What happens if Topsport ceases to exist? Where are we then? Frightful thought.

Fast forward to today. I have 3.5 places I can bet to win more than $5; Topsport, TAB (in cash, account is fucked), Betfair and the half is BetEasy who on their day will let me on to win $500. Lets remove BetEasy because really its rare I try there as limits pretty grim and lets remove Betfair because they won’t ban or limit. Leaves TAB (cash) and Topsport; and for me (I can’t speak for other sports in fairness) but this is a mismatch of epic proportions. Take any random cricket game “Toppy” are likely to offer some 250+ markets for you to bet on whereas TAB might be lucky to offer 25. Toppy I can bet in my jocks from home, TAB I have to put clothes on and run to the pub hoping the price hasn’t gone. Toppy will lay me to win $1000-$2000 on the most esoteric markets and main stream its literally nose bleed sizing. I get more on than majority of clients because over a sustained period I’ve built a relationship, they know I won’t snipe them and in return I get on for more than the average bear on 100% “fair bets”, “respect is earned not given, it’s a 2 way street”.

I wrote this piece because lately I’ve seen a lot of filth getting bet in some of my extended circles as well as talk about what makes a good or bad bookie. Each of you will have your own opinions and you’re entitled to them. To me though, if you’re a winner you should be thinking about building relationships with true betting bookmakers, looking after their business means looking after your own. As someone once said to me this game is a “marathon not a sprint” and the thought of running a marathon to the TAB with cash in hand every day, clothed to bet on 25 markets isn’t much fun.

Caveat: I’m not holier than thou, do I love a good palp rort? My fuck, do I ever (probably tried/ been on 5 this week). But pick your targets, think about it, use your fucking noggin! Time and a place for everything.

Betrium – Decentralised Betting Exchange

EDIT: I am not longer affiliated with the project. Whilst it continues to roll on, I am no longer advising on the project. I didn’t leave with any bad blood with the CEO, what I can say is that advice I was giving wasn’t acted upon and thus my time with the project became pointless.

If anyone would like further details I’m available on social media to discuss in private.

Introduction to Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency is designed to remove intermediaries through a “decentralised ledger” and “blockchain technology”, thus create true peer-to-peer transactions. Satoshi Nakamoto released the Bitcoin whitepaper in a way to introduce people to the concept of removing intermediaries using a vehicle we all use in everyday life, money.

At the moment our money is controlled by governments, banks and other institutions, for the “safety and security” they provide, they take their cut on the way through with fees and taxes. The way that we currently account for who owns what are with “centralised ledgers”, that is, the banks keeps track of the movement of the numbers and we must take their word that the ledger is correct. There are many issues with this system, I’ll let you look into the ideas of “fractional banking” to learn more about it. The crux of the issues is someone else is controlling your assets and they take hefty fees to do so.

Bitcoin unlike banks, has an open ledger, to make it easier to understand, imagine a giant excel spreadsheet, on this spreadsheet (without names, just letters and numbers) every every single transaction since the inception of the asset is tracked. Because everyone has a copy of this excel spreadsheet we all agree that the transactions have taken place and we move forward. That is the basic premise of what Bitcoin and furthermore “Cryptocurrency” has done. We all have a copy of the ledger, we all agree the transactions have taken place and we move forward with the assets where they now are. Obviously it’s a bit nerdier how we get there, however that’s the basics to paint a picture in your head.

Next up, Ethereum. The term “Cryptocurrency” probably isn’t the best one as it makes people think all 1000+ are just peer-to-peer cash like Bitcoin, but they aren’t. I prefer the term “Crypto Assets” as it gets people’s mind thinking the right way. Ethereum was created to be a public blockchain that would allow other developers to create “dApps” or “decentralised apps”. Just like Bitcoin, the heart of the idea is to remove the intermediaries but this time they are not banks and governments but companies that take their cut for the cost of transacting with them.

I have to reiterate that its all a bit nerdier and difficult than I explain, just hoping to make it slightly easier to get your head around. Imagine Ethereum is the Apple App Store or Google Play. Inside the latter we have Uber, for this explanation I’ll assume you know what Uber is. Inside Ethereum we have Uber dApp 2.0. Both of them function in exactly the same way, you need a ride, you put in the details, a driver picks you up and takes you from A to B. The only difference is one has an intermediary and one doesn’t.

See Uber, they will tell you they’re a “peer-to-peer ride sharing app” but that isn’t quite right. Uber take ~25% from drivers in order to pay for their costs of running the giant ledger and business that is Uber. Uber dApp 2.0 doesn’t have these costs and instead through “blockchain” and the “decentralised ledger” concept takes a fraction of the ride cost ~0.01% to pay to a miner (people that process the transactions using their computers get a reward for doing so, this is called mining). So without the centralisation and control, we can create a network using our own computing power in order to update the ledger, all agree the assets are where they should be and move forward.



Now with the Uber example in your head, start imagining all the industries, particularly online (but face to face too) that can be disrupted by such technology. Then let me welcome you to Betrium.co. Those of you who know me, know that I gamble. A lot of what I do involves turnover at a betting exchange. I choose to bet there for a number of reasons, mainly because I won’t ever be declined trying to bet there. For those that don’t know, a betting exchange is a back and a lay between two people, no bookmaker involved. “That sounds like peer-to-peer” I hear you say, it is, except for the fact that on the way through the exchange takes a percentage cut in the way of a commission. Those commissions vary from exchange to exchange and user to user.

Betrium is aiming to be a clone of Betfair (the largest betting exchange) but in a “decentralised” way. There will be no premium charge and extremely low commissions, true peer-to-peer. There have been a few Bitcoin betting exchanges already, however most have missed the mark, the token which can nail this market first will flourish, excessively.

In 2014 Betfair generated £393.6 Million in revenue a decentralised betting exchange that can capture market share will lower revenue taken out of the gambling coffers greatly.


The opportunity

In the past 12 months I have turned over $1.3 Million AUD on various gambling exchanges, as a “one man band” that’s fair going. I use a bunch of technologies that plug into the API of those betting exchanges and would be surprised if I wasn’t in the top 5% of users in terms of revenue created, turnover and understanding of the platform. With that knowledge I have been looking for the “horse in the race” that can win the decentralised betting exchange race. I’m not sure it will be Betrium.co, but it is the best one I have seen to date.

They aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel at Betrium like some others have, they are simply looking to make a decentralised version of Betfair. They are exploring relationships with outside software creators that currently plug into Betfair and other current exchanges. They are a very approachable team with some experience from the gambling world on board.

The power of creating a decentralised gambling exchange network comes from users in the end and investors at the start. The opportunity for us is to be either and or both. These platforms have an ICO (initial coin offering) it’s like an IPO (initial price offering) but you get coins instead of stock. Betrium.co is coming up, they are in pre-sale at the moment and have raised $150,000 USD which has exceeded their expectations (there is a definite hunger for a platform in this space). During the ICO you will get 1200 BTRM (Betrium) per ETH (Ethereum which as point of writing is $450 AUD) so roughly $0.37 AUD per token. You can trade these tokens on an exchange (like trading on the sharemarket) or you can hold them and use them to gamble with on the Betrium betting exchange when it launches in late 2018.


Full Disclosure

I was motivated to write this for a couple of reasons, firstly I have a relationship developing with the team at Betrium, I have been in constant contact with the CEO – Maksim Surorov, he sees a mutual benefit in the relationship and has offered me a bonus of 8% for any investments that come through me. That happened organically though as I want to see someone succeed in this space. It is something that affects me directly and an area that this technology can be very disruptive.

I will be looking to work with Maksim and Betrium moving forward both with product development and funding, if you are interested to invest and have questions for me or Maksim, happy to get those answered.

EDIT: I am not longer affiliated with the project. Whilst it continues to roll on, I am no longer advising on the project. I didn’t leave with any bad blood with the CEO, what I can say is that advice I was giving wasn’t acted upon and thus my time with the project became pointless.

If anyone would like further details I’m available on social media to discuss in private.

Punt Pod – Podcast Launched

Been working on some other projects of late, on of them is Punt Pod. As the highly creative name suggests, its a free podcast where we chat sport and specifically punting on it. We do have some guests lined up too, with a focus on those that love a bet and ideally a beer. Some of the guests are famous, some will be and some not at all, but should be some fun to hear their stories. We will be doing our (both co-hosts) best bets each pod and thanks to TopSport.com.au we have $100 each to put on our best of the pod with all proceeds going to a charity each quarter. We’re still looking for the first charity to be the beneficiary of our millions of winnings. If you have a charity that you would like to offer up please contact us at:

Punt Pod Twitter – www.twitter.com/puntpod

Punt Pod Facebook – www.facebook.com/puntpod

Punt Pod Gmail – puntpod@gmail.com

Give us a follow, like, retweet, share, subscribe, all that good shit. Look forward to hearing your best degenerate stories and sharing them with the degen community.

P.s. we’re on iTunes too https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/punt-pod/id1257535384?mt=2

Cheers Mac

I went on “Gold Coast Vs Drew Kruck” Podcast

I went on “Gold Coast Vs Drew Kruck” Podcast

The other week I went on Drew Kruck’s podcast, “Gold Coast Vs Drew Kruck”. It was so much fun. I’ve known Drew personally for 3 years, we shared the experience of Fight Like A Pro, both having gone through the program and fought in the ring under the guidance of Gavin Topp. You all know Drew though, Drew has been in your living room for a decade or more, Drew is the famous son on the Titan shed ad’s “you’ll be lucky you got a Titan” etc. But Drew is so much more than that, Drew is the kind of guy that does things a little bit different in life. He’s an entrepreneur, a music lover, a member of a band and the host of a great Podcast.

I hope you enjoy episode #164 as much as I enjoyed making it.


Cheers Mac

“Everyone should go at least once”

“Everyone should go at least once”

A friend of mine who’s a regular in India says; “everyone should go at least once” and I agree with that wholeheartedly. He doesn’t even like cricket really, but God, if you do, there isn’t a better place in the world to be. This was my second trip to India, but the first to experience cricket, I have to say it was definitely in my top few holiday experiences; cricket loaded adventure. So much is owed to the Aussie Cricket Team as without their efforts early on in the series, I wouldn’t have gone. I booked one way flights months earlier but had intentions to ditch it if we were getting walloped. At 1-1 and right in the contest, the deep buried love for my boys arose to the surface. My excitement fired up “Dave” on Reddit, an Aussie expat living in Saigon. Didn’t think he would actually turn up. That was emphasised by me writing him off when he first mentioned it on the thread:

Reddit thread with Dave Barbeler

No accommodation, no travel insurance, no medical shots, no worries. Bec’s a big planner when going on holidays so I took this opportunity to plan as little as possible. All I had was flights when I left, I booked an AirBnB for Kolkata during my stopover in Kuala Lumpur. The accommodation was basic in furnishings, but a fully self contained top level apartment at only $22 a night, you’d have to be high maintenance to complain. Joydeep the host was a fucking “ledge” too, only 3 levels down in the same building he was extremely accommodating, checking me in at the absurd time of 2.00am. I was up early the next morning checking out what Kolkata had to offer. A 10 INR ($0.20), 6 stop metro ride to “Esplanade” had me in the heartbeat of the city. Being a cricket trip, the first thing I noticed was the big lights of the famous Eden Gardens. As an Aussie Eden Gardens is probably more infamous than famous, regardless, it got the cricket juices flowing. Got some help from a local guy who took me to a little restaurant for breakfast. Told him “I don’t care what it is, I’ll try it, I just want to eat where locals eat”. He didn’t let me down, I had two plates of “Chana” including a couple of “Paratha“, bottle of water and it was all under $2.50.


Being mostly “planless” I wandered over towards Eden Gardens. Wasn’t very far down the road when I saw the mighty “Sukchar U. F. C.” cricket club warming up for their match and ducked over to inspect the facilities. As usual it was fucking dry as a Nun’s cunt and looked like it would rag at right angles from ball one. I bowled a few and whacked a few down the ground before moving on to Eden Gardens to see if I could have a peek inside. The security were nice enough to let me get in there and have a sticky beak. Quite weird being the only patron in the stands of a big ground like that, got to check out the facilities just roaming around until I got the boot. Shame that I couldn’t get to ground level as probably would have pushed the limits and gone out on the hallowed turf.


In the shadows of Eden Gardens there were tonnes of cricket clubs. From memory it was a Wednesday and there were hundreds of young (some school aged) men playing cricket. It wasn’t school holidays, they were allowed to have the day off to play, lucky cunts. I pulled up a chair to watch some 2nd grade “Cricket Club of Bhawanipor” action. The boys were interested to know what I was doing. We chatted for a while as their match was delayed due to a wet outfield. Umpires called an early lunch, the captain and coach offered for me to have lunch with them which I couldn’t turn it down. @Relaxer_ said it looked like shit, that’s because he eats caviar everyday #ballerlife. Personally I thought it was quite good, free feeds always taste that bit better too. I had to head off before the end of the days play but the boys had their opposition reeling after sending them in on dust bowl 5/45, hope they got the job done.


Had a round of golf at Tollygunge Club in Kolkata. Like a lot of things in India it was fuck around just to get on the course. I had to hire cart, pay green fees, hire clubs, buy balls, buy tees and load a food and drink card in 5 different places rather than at one counter. After almost giving up, I got out there with my caddy that I was forced to hire. I found out he was worth the $7 though when on the 4th tee I “shanked” one hard left in the water and he ran off after it, meeting me 10 mins later on the green with my lost ball. I was lucky enough to join with a member of Tollygunge just before my second shot on the 5th. He was an investment banker who spent 3 years in Melbourne. It was excellent to play with him as he knew and had access to members benefits; fresh coconut water on holes 6 and 15, lunch and lemon drink at the halfway club house.


On to the Ranchi and what I came for, cricket! I met up with Dave from Reddit who was already in town and had met another Aussie couple Jay & Ruby. We ate at what would turn out to be our favourite restaurant in Ranchi “Kathi Kabab“. We had a couple of beers down the road to get acquainted with one another but hit the hay early to get up for day 1 in Ranchi. Upon arrival at the ground, it was a fuck around to get tickets (standard) as there was only one box office. If your gate entry wasn’t near the box office you had a bit of a hike each morning. Knowing there was no grog inside, we snuck copious amounts in to mix with our Sprite and Pepsi’s. I thought it was all over when one of the Ushers from the ground said “this is not good” as he watched me pouring Vodka into a Sprite cup from 2 meters away. In the end though, I don’t think he wanted to make it his problem to kick out the white guy.


Being only 4 years old, JSCA International Stadium has very nice facilities, spacious and clean. Winning the toss and getting on top early I was pretty vocal and it wasn’t long before my chanting and arm waving for boundaries had the locals firing back with some very poor banter of their own. Mostly though, they just wanted to sit near us and take not so subtle photos of us to show to their family and friends later. They could have just asked, we would have said “yes” to a photo majority of the time anyway. It sounds fucked, but we found out pretty quick that white skin will get you a long way in Ranchi. Lunch day 1 and a few of us were able to walk through multiple security access points without passes to have a buffet lunch in a corporate box. This became a daily thing on days 2-5 and we barely got a sideways look at any stage.


“I want a photo with Sudhir” was one of my brainwaves. A thrive of activity compared to where we were, the “cheap seats” where Sudhir was frequenting, didn’t stop cheering all day even though we were winning the battle on the field. We were told by guards “its not safe for you in there” upon trying to enter but forced our way into the action anyway. It was so much fun in with the locals, it’s the closest Ruby, Jay, John and I will be to feeling famous. We were mobbed, I reckon I took over 150 selfies in about 15 minutes, it was peaking. Pushing through to get to Sudhir, I got the shot I needed with him and after shouting “AUSTRALIAAAAAAA” a few times to whip the crowd into a frenzy I was out of there.


Next part in Ranchi is best summarised by the still frames I got.


So is this the last part of Ranchi too…


Draw, 1-1 still, on to Dharamsala we go with all series results in play. I don’t think you could pick two more different Indian cities than Ranchi and Dharamsala. One had barely seen any tourism in its time, the other was thriving with jet setters. With the cricket in town it was “Aussie cricket Bogans” meets “Buddhists on a spiritual journey”. I had drinks with Daniel who is a scorer for the BBC after we shared a cab from the airport earlier that day. Mel Farrell, Jarrod Kimber, Arya Yuyutsu and Adam Collins joined us and we cricket “nuffied” it up, chatting all sorts about the game played in heaven. Finding out we both had plans to climb Triund Hill, Adam and I teed up a trip together the next morning. It was every bit as good as TripAdvisor suggests.


Peter Lalor was really the catalyst for this trip after he assured me that “Dharamsala and Cape Town” were two grounds a cricket lover must get to. I’m yet to go to Cape Town but he was fucking bang on with Dharasmala, what an incredible venue to watch cricket. The security was a lot tighter there, no sneaking into corporate boxes, Christ I had to leave my hotel key and coins outside the ground. They tried to make me leave my phone and charger too, but I got shitty and the white skin played its part again as the locals didn’t get the reprieve I did with this issue.


Traveling with Dave was great. He’s one of those people that just talks to randoms and befriends them. It made for having a good crew and in Dharamsala our crew grew by 5 when John, Jess, Mac, Jem & Brian joined the ranks. For the whole trip we had a good crew rolling which definitely made the experience all the more enjoyable. All in all this rates in my top few trips away overseas, I love India, I love cricket and that probably helps, but even if you don’t love cricket; “everyone should go at least once”.


Cheers Mac

“Why would you leave the summer and go to the winter”?

I got asked this a lot and the answer is for love. Makes you do some crazy things. Bec had been offered a marketing internship in Essen just outside of Dusseldorf, I had the flexibility to pick up and go over so I did. You have to remember that for me, seeing snow and experiencing the cold was something new. Growing up mostly in Queensland or 90% of places in Australia for that matter, you can’t have those experiences. Was it too cold? Fucking oath it was, but still, I have fond memories of the experience already.

It was a 12 week trip in all, so I’ll be mindful to keep it short and punchy as possible.

I connected with Bec in Paris as her two week break commenced, shortly before Christmas. Paris was ok, I’m not sure but I think it’s around 20 countries I’ve visited now and Paris was the first time I had felt unsafe. I wasn’t sure why, but it just didn’t feel right and I told Bec to hold her handbag tight. That instinctive feeling was right when 15 minutes later we watched a lady have her phone stolen from her. It was literally taken from her hand, the thief casually walked away. He picked the wrong bitch to mess with though. This woman was 5 foot high, seemingly from a rough part of the US and she staunched the cunt. The thief returned her phone just to shut her up and stop the slapping to the head.

Paris had all the sights and things you expected but nothing really wowed me. When I went to Agra to see the Taj Mahal, I had expectations, but it wowed me. The Eiffel Tower and it’s friends didn’t. The people for the most part were a bunch of snotty nosed tools, with a few helpful, locals mixed in. Also if I’m honest, wine, cheese and bread aren’t three of my favourite things so I couldn’t really get into the cuisine either. One of the funnier times was on the walk to the Eiffel Tower, where a shady looking ‘shell game’ was being run. There were quite a few people playing though, lots of noise and being a confirmed “sicko on the punt”, it peaked my interest. The turnover of Euros and cheering from the people playing seemed fishy. Why would these people keep playing a game where they are likely to lose and on top of that be betting 50 or 100 Euros at a time (then again Pokies players do this in their droves)? 5 or 10 Euros, ok, I understand, but there was big cash being turned over here. Something wasn’t right. What really gave it away was Bec and I could see which cup the ball was under, yet these people at 50 Euros a hit would pick the wrong cup repeatedly. Bec and I have good eyes but how can we both be seeing it and the people paying and playing can’t? I decided to walk away from the game and watch from 25 meters away, almost instantly they stopped playing, until another tourist came along and BOOM, the game would take off again. It was clear that they were all in on it at this point. I later found out that many people have been stung playing this in Paris and other areas of Europe (I thought I was sick, read some of the stories in the comments).

I must give an honourable mention to Palace of Versailles though. Thanks to @armodan for putting us on to it. It was a bit of a shame not to see the gardens in full flight of summer, but still this was certainly worth the 45 minute train ride each way, very cool. Paris overall is one of those places that I can say; “been there, done that”, highly unlikely to visit again though.


White Christmas in Vienna. No, not the “Devil’s Dandruff”, actual snow was forecast which for a couple of Aussie’s was exciting to think about. We stayed in an AirBnB smack bang in the middle of the action. The pebble stoned roads and Renaissance style buildings were quite attractive on the eye. Our options for food were thin night 1 as it was the night before Christmas Eve. In Austria they have their Christmas celebrations on Christmas Eve, weirdos. Additionally we had a Vegetarian out with us this night which made restaurant selection more difficult. We ate at Morris Restaurant & Bar, what a fucking shit hole. There is nothing good you could say about it (see some of the scathing reviews here), not even the drinks were good, well, they just didn’t come at all so it was hard to tell. To the waiter’s credit he came to the table and said “I made a mistake, I’ll kill myself later”, sadly, I saw him the next day serving tables and he wasn’t dead. Other than that culinary experience, Vienna was beautiful. I really loved it and would like to see more of Austria one day.

I had been to Prague once before with four mates. Once I saw the itinerary was missing the “four floors of whores club”, I knew it would be a different trip from the last. News to me that Prague has a castle, was that there when I was here 7 years ago? The castle was a good site to see actually, I get into that sort of shit and we had a great view of the city at the end of our walk through. Pro tip; get the bus up to the top and walk down the hill through the castle, particularly good if you’re lazy like me. News.com.au listed the Astronomical Clock as the worst tourist attraction in Europe and our free walking tour guide said people are often let down by the hourly show. But the most let down are the people who show up at 11pm daily to watch. The clock only does an hourly show from 9am-10pm. Having a sadistic streak, I made sure I was there at 11pm one night to watch the disappointment on the tourists faces, pleasing stuff. Legend has it that Master Hanuš; creator of the clock had his eyes pulled out by the King so he couldn’t make another clock like it. So to fuck them up, he threw himself into the cogs of the clock, broke the clock and committed suicide at the same time. Being the only one that knew how to make/ fix it, the clock remained unused for 100 years I think it was. What a savage cunt. Ate great food in Prague, our favourite was Lokal, place was fucking amazing. We got told “if you eat somewhere where it feels like the waitress is about to punch you in the face and beer is less than 50 korunas then you’re in the right place”. Lokal definitely ticked all those boxes.

Berlin, against seemingly all other points of view, I didn’t rate. One of my best mates lives there so thats a credit to it, but other than that, pretty ordinary joint. I mean the war stuff was quite interesting, in a horrifyingly confronting way. After a while though, it’s like “ok Hitler was a cunt, I get it”. Did spend New Years there which turned out to be a flop because Bec got lost from the group we were with and I spent 45 mins including while the countdown was on looking for her. Fearing the worst, I was running around like Liam fucking Neeson in ‘Taken’, having visions of her being drugged, rapped and organs sold on the freezing streets of Berlin somewhere. Needless to say when she was found, she had all her organs.

Home was in Essen, just outside Dusseldorf. Pretty sure I was the first tourist to come to Essen because the number one thing to do on TripAdvisor was to go to the shopping centre. Fuck me, this place was about as shit as it comes for things to do. There were some good places around to visit, apparently. I didn’t go, I just couldn’t deal with the weather all in all, just wore me down. The whole thing of putting on 50 items of clothing to go get a Döner was doing my fucking nut in. Living in the cold sucks, good to visit, but living there was mostly shit, we have it so good in Australia, made me realise that. Bec and I shared her University accommodation for 10 weeks, I think a good real estate agent would have described the space as “cosy”. It was mostly self contained though, with a shared kitchen. Was good for me as I got to stay rent free as the cost was already covered in Bec’s internship costing. The best thing about Essen was the trips on the Autobahn when we went too and from Berlin each time. Got something with a little more power for the 2nd trip and had it sailing along at 240 k’s which was fun.

Got over to the land of Fosters beer and terrible teeth. Was good fun actually, caught up with a few boys from Twitter. It’s a strange feeling actually, meeting someone you’ve chatted to a lot online, feels like you’ve known them a long time despite never having met. I started out in London where the great man @EWThief145 took me into his home. While there caught up with a few other boys from Twitter including; @ravi_layer@SimUKCricket@Ben_E89 & The Universe Mong @WoakesBravo4lyf . NFL playoffs were happening while I was there, so one night we all got together at ‘The Hippodrome’ in London. They have a filth setup there where you can watch the game on a big screen in a theatre type setup. The view from the top was exceptional, the beers and wings weren’t bad either. After the game, @WoakesBravo4lyf and I hit the Blackjack tables, not sure how he went but I was launching in like any “BIG STRONG AUSSIE” would and did my fucking conkers. HOUSE ALWAYS WINS!

After a few more nights on the town, pissing up around London, I caught the coach up to ‘the Toon’ to see @JM5portsAnalyst. I scored a good deal on a room through @JM5portsAnalyst, a typical truck stop type motel setup, basic but got what you need, bed, bathroom and TV. As we walked off with the key the lady behind the counter said “have fun youse two”, fuck sake, she thinks we’re about to plot each other. @JM5portsAnalyst would be so lucky, believe you me. Ducked up the road later for a few bevies, the drunker this cunt got, the harder it was to understand him. It was like he was speaking another language, later I found out he was, kept talking about “the Ben”, “the Ben” this, “the Ben” that. Not to be rude I’m thinking “Ben” must be his brother in law or a mate he was talking about earlier. I didn’t say anything until I was so lost and asked “who is Ben”? “The Bairn, my daughter, thats what we call a kid up here”. Mental patients these Northerner’s how the fuck do you get “bairn” from “baby”.

Got out to a Toon, FA Cup replay, fuck the city was rocking that night. I quite liked Newcastle actually, was something charming about the place, sort of small town vibe, but clearly very established. The locals turned out in their droves for the match, incredible scenes. We went to a few bars before hand for an authentic night out, cheap piss, no fucking around, genuine experience. Chinese dinner before the game too, but no discount for the work @JM5portsAnalyst  had done at the shop 6 months back had him absolutely seething. No piss allowed at the football, fucking what? Never heard of such a thing, how come all these fights and things happening but everyone is sober? Sniffed some out at half time though down under the stands. Few songs were sung by ‘the Toon’ supporters about Dwight Yorke and his retarded kid and most importantly the home side got the win!

There was one more trip back to Berlin, mainly went back because of my mate who lives there. He wasn’t there last time we visited. There’s not much to say I didn’t already say, shit hole to me, but some would love it.

Aix-en-Provence was an absolute highlight of the holiday. This place was incredible. I absolutely loved it! I’m told the whole southern part of France is amazing, sadly didn’t have much time to explore it this time but I will be back. The way the trip to “Aix” came about was a one in a million really. Hobart, Australia v South Africa, 3rd test, I was there for the cricket and stayed in an AirBnB with 5 other guests. Truth is, the place wasn’t really fit for 7 of us (5 guests and 2 hosts), but there was no room in Hobart. With the test on (and something else I can’t remember), everything was booked. Making the most of it, I suggested that we all go out for dinner together. We all got on great and when Dom and Mon found out I was coming to Europe they said I really should come and see Aix-en-Provence. Fast forward 4 months and we had arrived in “Aix”.

I’m so glad we made it over there on a weekend trip. The whole experience was made particularly special by the fact that Dom and Mon lived in an 18th century mansion. This place was huge and still very much in its original form inside and out. The kitchen had been re-done, but other than that, you didn’t have to imagine how this would have looked when it was built. The garden grounds were beautifully manicured and considering the vacinity to the city centre, quite large. We stayed in our own wing with a bathroom, bedroom and sitting area. It was magnificent. The city itself was beautiful, quite quaint, yet it still had a modern edge. The shopping there was extremely high end, all the big brands there in original architecture. Food incredible and the weather is great 99% of the year I’m told, mind you we did hit one day of rain whilst there. We will definitely be back to explore the coastline in the near future.

Brugge was the last stop before beginning the trek home. It was like a cleaner version of Amsterdam to me. I liked it without being in love with it. I think by this stage I’d seen a lot of similar type cities already. Got to see the first stock exchange ever created, think to this day it still runs out of the same building. Did share an experience with Bec one night where we split a “dip, sip, trip” chocolate drink. Fucking near killed me, the head movies I was having were not healthy. Will never forget it mind you, was quite the “trip”.

It was cheaper to stop in Japan on the way home, having heard nothing but great things, we decided to stay for a few weeks. It was really cool to be able to connect with Bec’s two sisters and their partners on this leg of the trip. Most of them hadn’t left Australia before so it was always going to be great to share that moment with them. We started out in Tokyo and as typically happens when on tour somewhere, everyone got a bit excited early and really gave the piss and karaoke a good nudge in Golden Gai. We got to the fish market and auction which wasn’t as good as I’d hoped, but the exclusivity of the auction gave it some importance I guess. Would have been cool if there was a way to know how much the Tuna was being sold for.

A bullet train (which was an absolute experience) up to Iiyama Station was the next leg of the Japan adventure. From there a bus up the range to our accommodation at Nozawaonsen. Just like everything else in Japan, the snow had been talked up massively to me. Like everything else in Japan, it lived up to the hype. Wow. What a great little city with amazing snow falls. We only had 4 nights and 5 days there but in that time, managed to get an overnight fall of FOUR METERS OF SNOW! Expecting a big fall the night before I remember looking at a 7 meter tree outside our room window with about 1 meter of the stump covered. In the morning I could see around 1 meter of the top of the tree only. The fields were excellent, well maintained and our accommodation had a private Onsen. After a big day on the slopes, come home, put your stuff in the dry room downstairs and then jump straight into your private Onsen, incredible. Nozawaonsen is home to some snow monkeys too which I had to see. Seen tonnes of monkeys in my travels over the years, but never ones that chill in Onsens in the snow.

Honourable mention to Kyoto. Definitely enjoyed it, quite original and authentic in its ways. Got to the Golden Temple (Kinkaku-ji) which was a highlight. Seen so many temples they’re coming out of my “boonty”. But special ones like that are a must see.


Cheers Mac


Physical Start on Minimalism

A few weeks ago I watched “Minimalism, A Documentary About the Important Things”. Unknowingly, I had already headed off down the path of minimalism, I just didn’t have a name for it. Others have given me names when I’ve explained my reservation towards modern Christmas, birthday celebrations; Grinch and cunt swing to mind. Often my thoughts are misconstrued though, its not that I don’t like to give gifts, I love the feeling you get when you give gifts, the look on people’s faces fills me with great satisfaction. What I don’t enjoy is the commercialisation, high pressure, keeping up with the Jones’ type world we’re in. Physical gifts, although pleasant, I’d much prefer to give my time or put my money towards an experience. Something that you can remember long after the latest iPhone or Macbook has been surpassed by its younger, shinier, sibling. Also, when I give gifts, I prefer it to be a significant moment for me to do it, not a significant moment decided by marketers of products.

Obviously this concept isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. A few people throw out that this movement is for “rich white people”. Don’t understand where that comes from, I took different points from the doco than the next person who watches. To me (I’m white, not rich), minimalism isn’t a competition to see who can have the least things, its about removing items or habits from your life that don’t serve a purpose or meaning to your life. On top of that, there are no rules, there is no right or wrong way to approach this. If two new BMW cars provides you with purpose, go for it. If a junk draw with 500 random items in there provides your life with satisfaction, great! Its really just a mindset to me, my 30th is coming up, I’d sooner spend money on a bar tab and food for my friends and family to share in an experience than buy a car, but thats just me. Regardless of how you perceive the concept from the outside or take it on if you pick it up, I think its important to remember that you can make the rules on this concept and I like that.

Before today I had really just been thinking more about the concept. Today though, I tossed a bunch of shit off the balcony to take to the bin. The feelings were mixed, on one hand I felt like I should have been giving the items away to less fortunate. On the other hand, most of the items were faulty in some way. Some completely fucked, others had the whole “you need to know how to wiggle it to make it work” thing going on. Ultimately I threw them out as not to pass on junk. Was very refreshing to throw my almost new Epson printer off the balcony. Anyone who has had to deal with a printer that has fucked you off will know how painful it is. This relatively cheap printer I would have been lucky to print 50 pages from it before it completely shat the bed. Fuck it, its gone, smashed into 15 or more pieces after being dropped from 3 floors up. From now on I will just use Officeworks pre-paid printing system, its excellent and they are everywhere. I just got rid of a few things totally un-meaningful to me today, easing my way into it, lets see where this journey goes.

The whole concept has made me think about the way I live life even deeper. I’m questioning what the really important things in life are to me and making an effort to hold those closer to me and I feel good about that.

Cheers Mac


e-Petition – “Stop banning winning punters”

Its time that the government/ sporting bodies listened to us! Please support our lobbying by signing our government e-petition (click here)

As many of you now know we’re lobbying the government in relation to a  better framework for sports betting with the Interactive Gambling Act (2001). There are concerns about the current sports betting landscape from punters which include but not limited to:

  • Problem gambling
  • Banning winning sports punters
  • Banning offshore sports wagering
  • Gambling advertising
  • Minimum bet laws

Problem gambling, despite my line of work, is something I care about. I’m not sure that in my lifetime we will solve this issue, however, there are steps that both the government and gambling providers could do to make a change. As always there is politics involved as gambling revenue brings in massive money to government coffers. It seems, that unlike cigarette smoking or alcohol which has been attacked by the government (and rightly so), problem gambling is just swept under the rug. The biggest taboo subject is pokie machines with roughly $12 billion out of $22 billion lost nationally each year on those ‘electronic vermin’. The rate at which people lose playing pokies is absolutely horrific and its about time a government did something about it. Its ruining households and communities as people fight to feed their addiction. You would be hard pressed to drink or smoke $1000 a day, but something like that is easy to do on a pokie machine.

Banning winning sports punters is a topic I could write about for pages and pages, but I’ll try to keep it brief. Corporate bookmakers are allowed to ban anyone who wins on sports betting and some racing markets. They are allowed to, pick and choose the bets they accept as well as the clients they keep. This practice was happening in all racing until recently when a group led by Richard Irvine lobbied the racing bodies and had them bring in “MINIMUM BET LAWS”. NSW racing to their credit was the first to bring in the laws (click link for details). Essentially it states ‘if you want to offer our product, “NSW racing”, you need to take a bet from all punters’. Since then Racing Victoria and others have followed suit. What politicians and sporting bodies fail to understand is that many of the above listed topics are interrelated. We’ve let foreign bookmakers breed like rats in the current landscape, allowing them to feast on the weak and vulnerable punters of Australia. Instead of bookmaking in the traditional sense, the lack of regulation has allowed corporate bookmakers to pick and choose their clients. This is not bookmaking, this is a vehicle to print money, where they take from the problem gambler. Our government and sporting bodies have/are allowing it to happen. Both governments and sporting bodies have a responsibility to look after their constituents and supporter base. Their financial well-being should be high on the agenda.  If sharp punters are able to bet with bookmakers, many of the industries current shortcomings go a long way to being resolved.

Banning offshore sports wagering is the latest move to help political relations. Xenophon and Wilkie want reform and rightly so. Whole bunch of reasons why offshore sports gambling should stop; taxes/ fees being the main one. It is mad that a whole lot of money goes outside of Australia without any revenue coming to the government or sporting/racing bodies that provide those products. No argument from me there. But they’re going about it the wrong way, for a start they’re trying to ban IP etc., essentially censoring the internet, really shit idea, good luck with that. I for one will be circumnavigating that block very easily as will all others who wager currently offshore. If the government instead asked “why are people wagering offshore”? Punters would tell them “we only go there so we can get a bet on as bookmakers have banned us from betting in Australia”. This brings us back to the need for “MINIMUM BET LAWS”. Bringing in the need for Australian bookmakers to take a bet from all punters would stop offshore sports wagering almost overnight bringing revenue to governments and racing/ sporting bodies who deserve and need the funds.

Gambling advertising is disgustingly bad. It has reduced in very recent times, however, the way in which we’ve allowed it to infiltrate our sporting culture is horrid. The business model which has been allowed to be practiced in Australia is to; rope in sports fan with promos/bonuses through advertising excessively during the match coverage and ad breaks. Then find the weakest, most vulnerable punters once they are clients and provide them with ongoing promos/bonuses to keep their betting turnover up. Allowing only the worst of the worst punters to continue gambling with them as they turn away anyone who wins. The business model allows for such huge marketing campaigns, bonuses and promotions because the “bookmaker” (I use that term lightly) can never lose. Because of this they can continue to pour more and more revenue into advertising to hook more future problem gamblers. Disgraceful cycle and one that could also be fixed with, you guessed it “MINIMUM BET LAWS”. Bringing in these laws will force bookmakers to change their business models which will force them to decrease advertising, bonuses and promotions.

Minimum bet laws will help with so many issues. Bringing in “MINIMUM BET LAWS” will stop or limit; offshore sports wagering, problem gambling in sports, advertising in sports wagering, promotions and bonuses in sports wagering, banning of winning punters. Take Centrebet as an example, they have just relaunched their brand and have now positioned themselves in the market as “a service for serious punters”. They are now betting to lose up to $10,000 from any punter on some deep sports markets. There are no fancy bonus bet promos, no bullshit marketing ads, no money back garbage. Why? Because they have taken up a real bookmaking model which doesn’t need or allow for such concepts. So immediately by taking a bet, Centrebet have overnight eliminated; advertising, promotions, bonuses, banning of winning punters and offshore sport wagering, incredible isn’t it?

Its time that the government/ sporting bodies listened to us! Please support our lobbying by signing our government e-petition (click here)

Cheer Mac


Twitter Australian XI

There is quite a vocal bunch on Twitter and rightly so. They make income from having such opinions on; players, match situations, conditions amongst other things. Unlike your normal ‘keyboard warriors’ though, this group place their money where their mouth is, placing hard earned cash on the line, to go along with those opinions. Which in some way ranks them slightly higher than those who choose to use their fingers to fight people they’ve never met.

Let’s strip back all the huff and puff though, lets see what the Australian side would look like if selected from his bunch of cricket tragics. Who fancies themselves either in their heyday or currently. A pipe dream surely, but what fun it would be to take on the English Twitter XI under cloudy skies with a swinging Duke, or tour the dry, dusty, bunsen burners of India to take on the India Twitter XI. As a start, lets meet some of these ’nuffies’ and see how the team shapes up.

Australian Twitter XI

(1) @lukeamac – Right-hand batsman. Left-arm slow medium bowler. Much like the coaches son, who was shit, but still opened the batting in u12s, @lukeamac’s selection at the top of the order comes due to the fact he compiled the side and chose to pad himself up early. Starting out his career as a better than handy left arm swing bowler with best figures of 6/9, he grew older, fatter and wiser. Realising how much less running there was in batting, he switched clubs when moving from juniors to opens and told the new club captain he was “an opening batsman who bowled a bit”. Highest score 56 and best bowling 6/9. Retiring after winning his first Grand Final in 7 attempts in the 2012-13 season, this selection atop the order is sure to raise eyebrows considering there are others clearly better than him who missed out.

(2) @johnmillward –  Right-hand batsman. Right-arm medium/ right-arm off spin bowler. John “Funky” Miller, like the great man himself, turned to off spin after an accident on the dance floor of a nightclub where he injured his back. The injury also forced @johnmillward to become a better batsman, spending countless hours in the nets and forcing his way to the top of the order. Playing until the age of 19, big money T20 offerings in the UK lured @johnmillward away from our shores. Head hunted as an opening batsman who could bowl in UK conditions, he was soon “smacked over the fence one too many times” and went back to the safety of being a batsman only. Just the one game since 2012 where at @Beaverbet’s bucks weekend he hit a swashbuckling century in a T20, “it was against 9 fielders”, he asked me to leave that fact out though. Highest score 100no, best bowling 6/16. Greatest moment on the field? “I once dropped a test captain off @beaverbet’s bowling “. Everyone wishes they were there to see that cunt seething, double teapot no doubt.

(3) (wk & vc) @Beaverbet – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm leg spin. A T20 “gun for hire” who has played the game at the lowest level both here and in England. With such a diverse range of skills; leg spin that “doesn’t leave the straight”, wicket-keeper “that doesn’t move his feet” and top order “slogging” its hard to picture a professional that best describes @Beaverbet. When asked to stick his neck out he went with “Craig Simmons, a fat slogger who can hit mugs, but hopeless against proper bowlers”, “I hate that cunt though because he cost me thousands that time he fluked a BBL hundred” he added. Most famous for once playing against Brian Murphy (the great Zimbabwean leg spinner who dismissed some guy named Sachin Tendulkar), @Beaverbet recalls someone (who we now know was @johnmillward) “dropping him off my bowling, which cost us the match but also cost me the wicket of a test batsman, for fucks sake”. Highest score of 104 and best bowling of 3/?, should be a better than handy all round cricketer for the Twitter Australian XI.

(4) @LateMailWA – Right-hand batsman. Left-arm slow bowler. Growing up on the fast bouncy pitches of the West, @LateMailWA decided to come off 2 steps and bowl slow, go figure. With a top score of 117no and best figures of 7/48, there are quite a few strings to his bow.  Still thrashing the ball all parts in the ‘Kalgoorlie Friendlies League’ we asked some of his team mates; which top level player @LateMailWA most reminded them of? “Michael Clarke probably, mostly his personality on the field, he just becomes a right arrogant cunt”. “Would have to be Clarkey, bowls shit left armers that don’t turn, had one good day with the ball like Clarke in Sydney that time, now we never hear the end of it”. But don’t let their negativity cloud your judgement, it’s mostly jealously, with an A Grade Premiership in his trophy cabinet and coming in at four, he’ll need to be padded up early considering the dross coming in above him.

(5) @ruptified – Right-hand batman. Right-arm medium fast.  “Wasted youth” was the catch cry from his club team mates when asked about @ruptified’s cricketing prowess. “He reminds me a lot of Andrew Symonds” they continued “had some promise but used to go walk about and hit the piss”. Its the classic club cricket story of the man who looks back and thinks; “what if I didn’t go to the pub everyday”. Clocked in the 130s in his early 20s but now giving up bowling to focus all his time on drinking, @ruptified gave cricket away just 3 years ago and will need a few overs to blow the cobwebs out from the night before. Highest score 108no and best bowling of 5/37, we have a handy first change bowler here who can clearly hold the willow. Comes with sub-continental experience having opened the batting for his club when they toured Sri Lanka.

(6) @Trooa – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm medium bowler.  An understated player who modelled his game on Lance Klusener, taking it a little too far when in the early 2000s he also wore one of those suspect shell, hippy necklaces like Lance in his prime. Apart from that necklace, the other thing Lance was most famous for was running out the Donald in the 1999 World Cup Semi, but anyway, I digress. Much like the great South African @Trooa is a devastating middle order batsman who can swing the new and old ball. He will do a job for the skipper in the field where ever you need him. With highest score of 91 and best bowling of 7/1, this guy will be a key factor considering there is a distinct lack of talent in the rest of the team.

(7) @tradermatt106 – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm medium fast bowler.  There is some questions around this British born players eligibility. However, hes been recruited for now while eligibility rules are looked over. Theres a lot of Freddie Flintoff about him, mostly because you can’t understand a word the cunt is saying, but also with his “ruggedly handsome look and similar bowling style” I think he said. He enjoys seeing the ball come in front of square off the bat usually fielding at cover or mid wicket. While interviewing him about his selection in the side, he was sitting in a Jacuzzi with the none other than, “The Universe Boss” in his billion dollar apartment building, tough life. Highest score 82no and best bowling 2/7 off 9 overs. With a distinguished career on the pitch he still says his greatest achievement is off the field by being “better than at cricket trading”.

(8) @cjpunt – Left-hand batsman. Right-arm medium fast bowler. Finally, a ‘leftie’! “Ben Stokes like I’d say, minus the red hair”. In other words an arrogant cunt, who sledges a lot, with hair colour other than red. Excellent, because for all the huff and puff about professional cricketers on Twitter everyday from this mob, most have gone into their shell when describing their own “illustrious” careers. Without some arrogant prick on the field carrying on, the sledging will leave a lot to be desired which would be highly “Un-Australian”. Still playing suburban 1st grade on turf @cjpunt will have to carry some filth from this side on his back to get some wins on board. Aggressive with both bat and ball, highest score of 117 and best bowling 6/26. A very handy addition, almost too good to be coming in at 8. Anything else we should know about you? “taken two hat tricks” he says arrogantly.

(9) @leantothewind – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm slow medium bowler. A self described “net bowler” who delivers “more John Howard type deliveries than he should”, @leantothewind is Twitter Australia XI’s ‘Big Strong Aussie Enforcer’. A colourful career that bottomed out around the “Jam Gate” scandal; which involved the use of a banned substance that “was in my mum’s jam, you have to believe me” he says. On the field there has been countless junior level “five fa’s” and the “jungle cat type abilities” in the field. @leantothewind is still bitter about being robbed of his chances at the South Australian Junior Trials by an Afghan player with no passport, a massive beard and chest hair. “Absolutely no way he was under 12” he went on to say, still clearly distraught by the event. With a highest score of 42 and best bowling of 5/30, Twitter Australian XI will be looking to @leantothewind for some off field scandals to take the pressure off the on field performances.

(10) (c) @jpp1811 – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm fast bowling. Shits getting serious now, into the blokes who had great promise, but due to their fathers living vicariously through their cricket careers, turned to alcohol instead. Still playing in a strong 1s competition in country Victoria, a lot of Twitter Australia XI’s success will come down to how @jpp1811 and a few other guns perform on the day. I hope it isn’t too heavy carrying the team on your shoulders, don’t let them down. Another member of the esteemed slip cordon, slotting in at 3rd, 4th or gully, his magic is done mostly with the ball. An opening bowler with a strikingly similar action to Mike Proctor, is it any wonder he takes so many wickets, limbs going everywhere, nightmare to face. A genuine lower order slogger with a highest score of 80 and best bowling of  8/37. Countless cricketing awards and achievements, expectations are high and he will skipper the side.

(11) @MaloneCricPicks – Right-hand batsman. Right & left-arm leg spin bowler. Affectionately known as “Wogg” (Warne x Hogg) for his ability to bowl ‘leggies’ with both arms, this freak show has made most teams in his career just so his team mates can see the look on the opposition teams face. A handy addition to the slip cordon at 1st slip, you’ll generally see him tucked partially behind the keeper and apparently because of this he’s “never dropped one at 1st slip”, sharp. A good number 11 slogger with a highest score of 58, he’ll help the tail wag. Best bowling 4/2 and his greatest cricketing achievement? “Captioning the 3rds last game of the year to a win against a bunch of cheating Indians”.

(12th man) @armodan – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm medium bowler. Boonie once drank 52 cans on a flight to tour England, every team needs a Boonie, meet @armodan. Never one to shirk the responsibility on the turps, regardless of whether he has to stand in the field the next day or not. A self described “superb fielder” you can find this bloke lurking around the point region. His cricket career came to a grinding halt in u17s as he went into a year long preparation for being able to buy his own booze. Pissed or not, with best bowling of 5/12 and a “hatty” in u14s, he’ll be trying to take someone in the first XI out on the piss and drink them under the table to get his chance for his first cap.

(Coach) @DownIsTheNewUp_ – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm fast bowler. Ever the tactician, @DownIsTheNewUp_ decided to pull up stumps on his cricket career at age 19 after realising that “spending Saturday afternoons standing in the sun was negative EV”. A genuine swing bowler with heat in his day, @DownIsTheNewUp_ started by describing himself in the mould of the great “Wasim Akram” before conceding Wasim “was left handed and could bat”. “Maybe more Mohammed Asif” he went on, which raised some eyebrows considering @DownIsTheNewUp_’s connection to the sports betting industry since finishing up his cricket career. Anyway, lets sweep that under the rug and move on. Highest scores weren’t important as he was a “bona fide number eleven”, instead, “facing two ex-state cricketers and not dying or being dismissed” were the lofty heights with the bat in hand. Best bowling 7/28 is very sharp though. Without being asked, @DownIsTheNewUp_ told the story of how “once I was on a hat-trick twice in the same over”. The perfect coach for the Aussie Twitter XI, has plenty of old stories, reminiscing about his playing days and never lets the truth get in the way of a good career story.

(Physio/ Doctor) @BozzaLikesLines – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm off spin. Known mostly in cricketing circles for his uncanny Brad Hodge type looks, @BozzaLikesLines played cricket mostly, as his name suggests; for the Mad Monday celebrations. Never really reaching any great heights on the field, @BozzaLikesLines instead decided to do his best work; back at the club house or out with the boys at the local. Because of his great work off the field, @BozzaLikesLines has been voted ‘Best Club Man’ 6 years running for the ‘East Ballarat Hawks C.C’. “He never lets the boys down, its always great quality” said one of his team members when asked. On the field there has been some successes with a highest score of 54 and best bowling of 4/9. When asked about his best cricketing achievement, he said “thats easy, I once had 20 beers at a day/nighter at the G and didn’t get kicked out”.


(Squad) @chicken_palma – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm slow medium bowler. Every team needs a good cricket nerd, someone who can methodically work their way through an opposing batsman to bring about his downfall or tell the idiots of his own team how many runs are needed from how many balls. The pressure of a calculated run chase gets @chicken_palma’s broth bubbling. Likening himself to the great Michael Bevan, who also used to waste a lot of dot balls early on his innings, just so he could be a hero later in the game, @chicken_palma is constantly running numbers through his head to see how he too can be the man to hit the winning runs. Highest score of 29, best bowling of 4/4 and fresh off a 2016 C Grade Indoor Title. When asked about his chances of making the team; “for someone with limited ability, I’m awfully optimistic of making the XI”.

(Squad) @snowbet – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm leg spin bowler. A cricket fiend growing up, “I was sick for it, all day, every summer, backyard, poolside, proper cricket in the whites on weekends, loved it”. Described by his coaches growing up as a bit of a “Graeme Hick, built for show, not for go” @snowbet didn’t listen to them, instead he saw himself as more of a “Stuart Law, all the class and ability, just held back by politics, never given a proper go”. As far as highlights on field go, it was hard to go past his backyard heroics where at age 15 he carted his 6 year old sister for “four consecutive sixes over the house”. When asked about the bowling that day he said “she was bowling shit at the back end of a long spell and I gave her the treatment it deserved”. Ruthless. Highest score of 72 and best bowling of 5/8. Despite playing his last game in u16s, @snowbet hasn’t given up completely on the highest honours “I’m still available for selection Smithy, call me”.

(Squad) @lenphil29 – Right-hand batsman. Right-arm medium fast bowler*. With structured cricket limited to u12s and u13s, @lenphil29 has forged a solid career in the backyard arena.  You’ll often find this guy who describes himself as a bit of a “specialist fielder” lurking at deep fine leg or as a genuine back stop depending on the quality of keeping. Those that have seen him go around have likened him to Glenn McGrath in the back end of his career, with the bat that is; ” he can generally stay in but no ability to get the ball off the square” said one of his old u12 team mates. Highest club score 29, best bowling 2/9 and highest backyard score of 630no and bowling 20/4, @lenphil29 will be ready to grab his chance in the first XI with both hands if there are any injuries.

*note: never been gunned by a radar, term “medium fast” given to us by his daughter, she also revealed that was on pitch of just 13 yards.

(Squad) @SgtButane – Right-handed batsman. Right-arm slow medium. Known mostly for his fielding under the lid at short leg, his team mates in the Barwon River region describe him as “an above average fielder with a safe pair of hands”. Hardly a one dimensional cricketer though he bowls some quality right-arm “shit gets wickets” type stuff. “Its amazing how important it is just getting it on the pitch in junior cricket” he says as we discuss his greatest bowling achievements. Interesting wagon wheel from his junior days at the batting crease with 97% of his career runs coming on the leg side. Highest score, unknown “averaged 89 in u14s, only out once and I didn’t even nick it”, best bowling, unknown, “but I certainly wasn’t a strike bowler”. Watch out for this bloke running the water with some serious vigour in the upcoming series. A real club man.

(Squad) @tim_2305 – Left-hand batsman. Right-arm leg spin bowler. Like any Australian who bowled anything that resembles right arm leg spin in the last 10 years, @tim_2305 was once described as the “next Shane Warne”. Sadly though, he wasn’t able to fill the massive shoes of the great man, particularly off the field. The weight of expectation around drug taking, smoking ‘ciggies’ in the change room, fucking countless woman behind his wifes back was too much and instead he settled as more of a “Cam White”, “a junk leggie who slogs and “a boring cunt compared to Warney”. A modest assessment of a career that spanned 15 years and peaked when he belted the bowling to all parts with a highest score of 95. Best bowling of 6/24. Going through some old team photos a baby faced David Warner standing alongside @tim_2305 stood out, when asked about Warner the response was “he was a little cunt then, I doubt much has changed”. Anything else we should know about your career? “I once dropped 5 catches in 8 overs”. Strategic drops no doubt.

(Squad) @BigOtrivia – Right-hand batsman. Left-arm fast bowler. A self described “Gary Sobers type”, @BigOtrivia is a bit of an unknown commodity in this Twitter Australian Squad. Considering Sir Garfield bowled slow left arm orthodox, it must be with the willow that the similarities are striking. But again, Gazza was a left handed bat so no idea what hes talking about. When looking a little deeper into his backyard stats though, you can picture a young, white, West Indian slashing it in swashbuckling style to all parts. Highest score 365* and best bowling 8/25*. @BigOtrivia will need to show his wares in the nets before he can be slipped into the XI above some others.

*note: highest score and best bowling came in the backyard.


National Lampoon: New Zealand South Island

National Lampoon: New Zealand South Island

Errrrmm I thought you weren’t writing anymore? I said I wouldn’t be writing about “I won or lost x amount”. I had a great time road tripping around the South Island of New Zealand and decided to put electronic pen to paper. Half for me to remember but also to encourage people to get over to New Zealand. As I have said, the blog will continue, just a different format. I’m trying to think of something cool to do, but as I’m mostly a lazy cunt, I’ll probably just review NRL games.

Twitbuddy of mine coined the phrase “the rorts continue” and don’t they just. Doesn’t matter where you go theres rort after rort going on. We got in a cab out front of Airport at 1.30am, hungry, the only place open was McDonald’s about 500m up the road. After sitting in the drive through for 20 minutes I asked if the cabbie would mind pausing the now $45 meter. He refused and my blood started to boil. After eating half of my ridiculously cold cheeseburger and chips, going another 1.5km up the road to our motel, I forked out $80 for shit food and 2km of travel in a cab, fuck I was seething and THE RORTS CONTINUED.

We got the RV early in the morning and got moving. Stocked up with food and booze and started the 3 hour drive to Lake Tekapo. We had an all kiwi playlist to accompany us around the South Island. No surprises, it mostly consisted of anything involving the ‘Finn Brothers’, but notable mentions also go to Broods, Dave Dobbyn, Evermore and Flight of the Conchords. It’s hard to pinpoint what was more enjoyable, driving to these places or the places themselves. New Zealand is seriously scenic. Had tons of kiwi mates tell me that it’s “God’s country” over there. I mostly thought they were taking the piss as Aussies do with Kiwis and vise versa, but they weren’t.

I was hanging out to hit a hot spring, unfortunately the pools at Lake Tekapo were all man made, chlorinated, hot pools. We went anyway and decided to get a massage and facial at the spa. I can count the amount of massages I’ve had on one hand (excluding the ones in Thailand), facial count is a zero. I had a sore back before we left though and wanted to see if a massage would help it. Fuck it was good, so good in fact that when I was getting the facial, unbeknown to me I was snoring. Bec and the two masseuses were laughing, I don’t remember any of it at all. Ducked back into the hot pool after the massage and while chatting to Bec, we both happened to look down to see mini Mac floating in the hot water through an unknown tear in the front of my board shorts. The whole time, I’d been getting around this complex with no undies on and presumably my todger hanging out at various times. People get put in jail for less, horrific. I got out without cuffs on and our day at Tekapo was finished with wine, cheese and smoked salmon. Eaten overlooking the lake, quality day.

As much as I enjoyed Tekapo, Lake Pukaki was more impressive again. This thing was huge and the water was so still. The reflections from the mountains and clouds in the background were so perfectly symmetrical, if it wasn’t upside down, you would never have known it was a reflection. After camping the night there we packed up the RV and headed up to Glentanner and Mount Cook. Hooker Valley Rd was a 1.5 hour track walk up the valley. 3 suspension bridges and 3 lakes with the 3rd an absolute crown in the jewel. It was incredible,  so quiet and something I’d never seen before. A huge fuck off piece of ice from the glacier sitting in the middle of the lake. Bec and sat, took time to look and listen from the top of the valley we had just scaled. At the water level of the lake the scale of the ice block became much more apparent. I think it was just the fact you don’t see that shit back home, very cool. Out for dinner that night in Twizel to a restaurant called “Poppies”. It must have been the local hang as we met the retiring Mayor of the the local area Claire Barlow. She was out with her council members at her retirement function, full of piss and bad manners (she was actually really lovely, but definitely had a few wines). The meals were fine, nothing to rave or complain about, but the extensive list of NZ craft beers certainly peaked my interest. That night I came to realise that I like dark beers.

Next stop, Queenstown, slightly different experience this time. I’d been here before about 5 years ago snowboarding with some mates, this time around I was with the girl and there wasn’t any snow. The town had such a different vibe without snow, it wasn’t buzzing nearly as much. The iconic “World Bar” wasn’t in it’s prime location on the main road, that place was thriving last time I was here, the town seemed in mourning over it if you ask me. We didn’t waste anytime getting into the fun stuff anyway with Bec booking the Nevis Bungee jump the afternoon we arrived (watch video). She’d been full of bravado for days about it “I’m not scared, I’m going to run and jump off” blah, blah, fucking blah. I did it when I was here last time and although I was a lot more frightened than most (watch video), it still rocks even the most daring of devils. To be fair to her, she was fine the whole way up until she was strapped up and he called her name, at that point she lost all control, her legs started shaking uncontrollably and the tears were flowing. At the crunch time, she jumped with her arms out which is a lot more than you can say for me, I looked like I was shot by a sniper sitting somewhere in the range. The rest of Queenstown was made up of the usual, drinking, Fergburger (you must eat one if you go, is sensational), Queenstown Hill and Gibbston Valley Cheesery/ Winery. Oh, there was one little hidden gem we got put on to by a local. Was about 15 mins outside of town in a place called Arrowtown. The Chop Shop was the name of the place, owned by ‘Chris’ who is the head chef there. Let me tell you, the food was amazing and the service was better than that. We ate the breakfast menu but I reckon they would all be delicious.

Milford Sound was supposed to be the crème de la crème. Everywhere we went, everyone we met “have you been to Milford Sound”, “are you going to Milford Sound”, “Milford sound is amazing”. With all the buzz, expectations were high. Probably the most glowing reference we got was from some scouser at Fergburger. He was by himself and weaselled his way into our convo, God knows how. As he started down the path of being the umpteenth person to tell me about Milford Sound, I expected the standard comment about it’s ‘beauty’. But this football hooligan, beer swilling type character had a different perspective on it. “You get on the boat and and theres a big buffet on board. Now you can load up, I did, I had two full plates and I mean plates”, he said as he finished chewing the last of his Big Al from Fergburger, gesturing with his hands in a dome type shape to show how much food he mounded on his plate. He then proceeded to give me the inside word on the buffet; “I made a big mistake, I paid for it, if I was to go on again, I wouldn’t pay for the buffet, after everyone has eaten, I’d get up and grab some food, save you ten quid it would. That’s what you and the missus should do when you go”. I’m not sure if I looked hard up for cash, but rorting the buffet opportunity wasn’t high on my radar. The next day at Milford Sound, it turned out that we should have listened to the scouser and got on the buffet boat, at least it would have give us something to do. Instead, we sat on our cruise for nearly 2 hours, struggling to see 5 meters in front of ourselves as the rain poured and poured and poured. Who would have known that our friend from Liverpool had the best advice. Moral of the story, is not that you should rort the buffet, just DON’T go to Milford Sound if its pissing rain.

Southern Scenic Route of the South Island. It took us down through Invercargill where we tried to get our hands on some big ‘Bluff Oysters’ but sadly the season was finished. We checked out the ‘Catlins National Park’ and ‘Cathedral Caves’ which were great. The scenery was so alluring that you could have stopped every couple of mins for a photo. We moved up through Dunedin (didn’t stop here sadly, was running out of time) and back up the east coast to our final destination of Christchurch. There was one notable town we stopped in on the last night before coming up to Christchurch, Moeraki. It’s a sleepy, coastal town with a great caravan park on the water (excellent facilities). Fluer’s Place a well renowned dining spot among south island residents and out of ‘towners’ judging by the writing on the walls was suggested to us. Being closed Monday and Tuesday we couldn’t eat the dinner menu as we arrived on a Tuesday for a one night stop over. Instead, we ducked in for breakky. The fit out, cutlery, glassware, writing on the walls from guests and location of this place were very trendy. The food was outstanding which made the experience enjoyable and well worth a look for anyone else travelling through.

There was one non Kiwi song that got a good run. Most wouldn’t know Lindsay Buckingham, but everyone knows The National Lampoons Holiday song. Not a road trip without something fucking up with the vehicle right? Theres never a good time to get a flat tyre, but it could have been worse if we had to fly out later that night. 2 hours after calling road side assistance we were on our way again. We were still 4 hours from where the RV needed to be dropped off which had me a little worried about how I was going to get back in time. In the end, someone stayed back and waited for me to get to Christchurch.

Our final night was spent in Christchurch. We ended up staying in a weird Air BnB type setup owned by this little old Asian lady who looked like she owned a rub and tug. I was pretty tired after driving 1800kms on the trip and when she was telling me the prices of transfers to and from the airport with the line of “I’ll have to suck you dry while you’re here” I couldn’t help but take that the complete wrong way. I knew she didn’t mean it like that, but my brain was so fried I just couldn’t process it any other way. I had picked up a cough on the trip and she was also telling me how to rid myself of it. While explaining her remedy she said “damn I haven’t got anything for you to suck on”, at this point I really didn’t know what was happening so I laughed awkwardly. She acknowledged the interesting choice of words by saying “I shouldn’t talk like that it gets us into trouble”, weird. We went into town for dinner later that night with a friend of mine who now lives in Christchurch. Haven’t seen him for a few years, was good to share some stories, eat and drink. He did put Bec and I onto Hendricks Gin with cucumber, fuck, what a game changer.

Cheers Mac