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Race to the top

Northern Football 2, WaiBOP 0
New Zealand Development 1, Auckland Football 0
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland, November 22 2015

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I have two great passions – football and politics. When I started blogging seriously, exactly six years ago today, I decided to write about football, in part, because talking politics opens you up to all kinds of abuse I frankly didn’t need in my life. And with that in mind, even though on the inside of me there is a political junkie constantly trying to escape, I try to keep politics out of things here as much as possible.

But some days I simply can’t help myself. And given it’s my blogging anniversary today, I can do whatever I want – right? As long as I tie it back to football somehow…

So here goes.

I’m avidly following two things at the moment – the ASB Women’s League and the United States Republican presidential primary season. With both campaigns now entering their most interesting stages, we are in a great position to assess all the contenders!

Here they are, in the order in which they currently sit:

Rand Paul/Football South – The idealist whose time has yet to come. Will it ever?

It’s tough being a Southerner, as Kentucky native Rand Paul can attest. Political success from that part of the US is just about as rare as football success has been for Football South in recent years. But that hasn’t stopped either from giving it a crack. Rand Paul’s father ran for President twice, polling below the margin of error both times, and now sonny boy has taken over the mantle in every respect. But libertarian idealists through and through, the Pauls will keep trying. And so will South, despite having just picked up the wooden spoon for the fourth year in a row.

Chris Christie/Central Football – The popular provincial leader who hasn’t fired on the national stage

What has happened to these two? Central Football contains the bulk of New Zealand Women’s Knockout Cup finalists Massey University. Chris Christie is a straight talking moderate who is Governor of the usually strongly Democratic state of New Jersey. One legalised Marijuana in his state, the other wears green kits… Both should be national contenders. Neither are. Is there a connection? It’s one of life’s little mysteries…

Mike Huckabee/Capital Football – The heavyweight from campaigns past whose star has faded

One came a reasonably close second to Mitt Romney four years ago. The other won the comp four seasons ago and has been a semi-finalist every year since. But now they are both shadows of their former selves. Languishing in mid-table obscurity. Pining for the glory days. Both in need of some serious reinvigoration if they are going to return to their prime anytime soon.

Jeb Bush/WaiBOP Football – The one who looked good on paper but hasn’t fulfilled his potential

What must it be like to be the Bush that doesn’t get to be president? Ouch. It must be like being the Going brother who didn’t quite make the All Blacks. Like poor old Jeb, WaiBOP have a sibling (Claudelands Rovers) who have reached the pinnacle. Also like Jeb, they don’t look like they are going to emulate that success for the time being. Maybe they both had their chances in years gone by, but left their runs too late… Could it be time for a younger generation to take over?

Ted Cruz/Auckland Football – The possible spoiler

By most people’s measure, Ted Cruz is the most conservative candidate in the race who is polling above 1% (Sorry Rick Santorum, you don’t count). You name the issue – he’s got what would be considered a conservative stance on it. But despite his extreme views he’s doing ok, polling around the ten percent mark and looking far from the least likely victor. Unfortunately for Ted though, close won’t be good enough. The best he can hope for is to knock a few other pretenders out of contention and, at only 44 years of age, set himself up for another run next time. Not unlike Auckland Football really. Their best could be yet to come.

Marco Rubio/NZ Development – The dark horse from the establishment

Now we get into the genuine contenders. Rubio is the same age as Cruz, but looks fresher, more dynamic and is more mainstream in his views. A smooth talking orator, he is one of the leading choices of the Republican base and looks good enough to take the nomination if things go his way. New Zealand Development are also young and dynamic, and not having lost since round 2 they are flying home with a wet sail. Teams above them would do well not to take them lightly…

Ben Carson/Northern Football – The heavyweight coming from behind

Currently polling a close second to The Donald, Carson is a contender no doubt about it. Like Trump, he’s not an establishment candidate and has never held political office. But unlike Trump, he manages to hold some pretty radical views on things (he’s a climate change denier and he’s on the record comparing the US to Nazi Germany) without scaring the horses. The fact that he’s a retired brain surgeon (I kid you not) probably helps to allay any perception that he’s a bit cray-cray. He is, in many ways, the perfect candidate. Appealing to both the base and the centre. Sort of like Northern, who have a team packed with talent, brains and razzle dazzle. The question is, can they finish the job?

Donald Trump/Mainland Pride – The rough outsider come frontrunner

Who would have thunk it, eh? The surprise frontrunners. One a gazillionaire who has succeeded in the world of business but not as yet in the political realm. The other, back-to-back champions who have lost their previous coach, and a chunk of their squad, to the drift north and offshore. Both are big and brash with winning mentalities, little to lose, and everything to prove. Everyone wants to knock them off their perches. Can they do the unthinkable?

Who will ultimately prevail in the ASB Women’s League? And more importantly, will it be an accurate indication of who the 2016 Republican presidential nominee will be??? Keep your Paul the Octopus – he might make a better President than all these guys put together, despite the fact that he’s been dead five years, but I reckon in the prediction stakes I’m onto a winner here…

Categories: NZ Women's National League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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