Blow it up and start again

in anger.

The writing was on the wall after NSW’s first offensive possessions. The Mighty Maroons locked out Woods and Fifita, slowed down the ruck, and made Pearce look like an amateur footballer (the jury is still out on that).

It is time for the executives of NSWRL to scrap the whole team, Laurie Daley included. There are players in the team who are part of the losing virus of the last decade – Hayne and Morris – and there are players who are quickly being infected with that same losing mentality. Hayne continues to underwhelm and is seen whinging to the referees more than making productive contributions to his team’s performance.

There are players who should not be picked and should not have been picked in recent years – Trent Merrin, Mitchell Pearce, Blake Ferguson and Robbie Farah. A bunch of has-beens and a bunch of had-so-much potential. The contributions by Pearce and Farah to NSW during their Origin careers has been, well, also underwhelming. Without failure, however, they continue to be picked. One must spit our their tea when Robbie holds a presser to announce his intentions to be picked for Origin.

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NSW needs to build around the future. In the same we Australian cricket rebuilt after the days of Warne, McGrath, Gilly, Punter and the Waughs, NSW needs to clean the canvas and build around its future stars – James Tedesco and Josh Dugan. Give James Maloney and Tedesco a few years together and you’ll have the same lethal combination we say between Cronk and Slater on the 2017 decider.

And Boyd Cordner – questions need to be raised why the captain’s armband was given to him and even more questions need to be raised over the animosity caused by the media circus when Boyd hurt his leg. Over-running the ball and never a leader on the field the fans just don’t see him as an impact player. An analogy run is making Adam Zampa the captain of the Aussie cricket team or J.R. Smith the leader of Cleveland. These types of athletes are not leaders and should not be given that responsibility. Take Cam Smith off the field for Queensland and you feel his absence. Not so much for Boyd Cordner – leave him on the bench.

NSW must address this disease. Away with Daley. Away with Hayne. Away with Pearce. Away with the politics. NSW and its fan cannot endure another decade of Queensland dominance.

 

 

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Review: BMW 2014 M135i

I had the opportunity to drive a 2014 plate BMW M135i through the winding roads of Mulgoa and Orchard Hills giving it a bloody good squirt while staying within recommended speed limits during this double demerit period. Those of you who have been in my Evolution 8 MR with me know I never cross the line with the law (…).

So what are we driving here? A 3-litre straight six with a twin-scroll turbo producing 235kw of power and 450nm of torque. The body is a four door hot hatch shape with a long nose and short back end. It is a tune down from BMW’s 1M – I think mostly because BMW realised it was too bloody powerful and there was opportunity to fill in the gap between what was a quick hot hatch then and what it is now. This car wasn’t touched by the M  department which is surprising because this car is the ducks nuts for the price ($30,000+ plus cheaper than the new M2).

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I don’t think I could find much wrong with the car in terms of performance and practicality. Jeremy Clarkson many years ago ripped it to shreds comparing it to VW’s Golf GTI but the two are not even in the same class. There is not point comparing a Toyota Hilux to a Smart Car and calling the Smart Car impractical for not being able to store your golf clubs in the non-existent boot.

The straight-6 gives a lot of torque down low when the turbo is asleep and lets you zip around quickly without hitting boost coming out of every corner – although doing this isn’t a bad habit. The turbo kicks in at about 3500rpm and revs long and hard to redline at about 9000rpm. One of the fun things about this car is how revvy the engine is – it almost obliges you to hit redline on gears 1-5 every time. And that leads me to the best thing on the car, and the thing that clinches the advantage over AMGs A45, which is the ZF gearbox. It is smooth and quick and you get an awesome burble shifting at the high rev range. The nice kind of VW burble – not the mechanical sound AMG has been producing for the last few years.

Rear wheel drive lets you get the car playing around out of every corner when the boost kicks in until the traction control kicks your ass back into a straight line. This car has a better dynamic stability control system than the Golf R. The test was conducted in Sport mode. Sport Plus is race mode and after losing a lot of traction with this setting in the past I didn’t dare play with it this time. Switch it back to normal mode and you are back in a tame 3-series-like luxury car.

The interior makes me feel like a driver in the series 6 RX-7 as all the driver controls and feedback mechanisms are driver orientated. You sit in a very snug cockpit which makes you feel like you’re part of the chassis. The leather seats are very nice (likely the old M3 seats re-used) and there are no cheap plastic-like materials used on the dash.

As against the Golf R the M135i presents a wholesome premium product while the Golf R is still a Golf 4 cylinder at the low end. As against the A45 AMG, I think AMG would be a little bit embarrassed having produced the world’s fastest 4-cylinder with a gearbox fit for the T-Model. It shifts fast but nothing like Golf R’s DSG or  M135i’s ZF. You get a bit of a lag in the A45 shift and feel like you’re never in total control of your rev range and it makes it hard to control if you’re racing a fast corner. The Golf R and A45 are also two-tiered in relation to power delivery. You either have laggy 4 cylinder nothing or you have full boost – the point being there is nothing in between. As mentioned above, the upperhand with the M135i is you get great torque down-low without turbo play.

I would say this car is quicker than the A45 around a circuit…but even if I am wrong, this car is a whole lot more fun. I think it is a much better package than anything else in its class and the new M140 would be even that much better.

I don’t know how to explain the feeling of being in an exciting car (it’s an exciting feeling?) but if you’re a car nut you know that feeling of being absorbed by the animation of the car at full throttle – the M135i/new M140i gives you exactly that. If you’re in the market for a hot hatch which are comparable to the A45, GTI, Golf R, or Megane RS, then you should consider getting the new M140i (the M135i is no longer in production).

Having driven both this car, the M140i and the M2, there is no reason why the the baby 1 series Ms should be overlooked (disclosure: I have an M2 on order due in September). I think I went for the M2 only for its badge and that wide body.