The Melbourne Gentleman

We live our life by four simple words beginning with the letter F: Fashion, Food, Fitness and Football.

Brownlow bound swan?

I wonder if you know what draft pick Dan Hannebery was plucked at? Top ten? First round surely? Bet you did not realise he was taken at pick number 30. But, whilst other clubs squeal after making season defining errors at the draft table, Sydney unearthed a gem that was a year younger than the majority of the players drafted in 2008. That year, clubs were still able to draft players who turned 17 between January 1 and April 30 of that year. A rule that was removed by the following draft.

I wonder how high he would have gone if he had been ineligible in 2008? With Melbourne taking Tom Scully and Jack Trengove with the first two picks, surely the Xavier College product would have been close to the pointy end?

After stamping his potential to join the game’s elite during last year’s Grand Final (A game where he was narrowly pipped in the Norm Smith medal by teammate Ryan O’Keefe after collecting 29 disposals) Hannebery’s game has gone up another notch in the opening eight weeks of this season.

If the Brownlow votes weren’t kept under lock and key, I think you would find that the Sydney midfielder, who looks more than comfortable in the number four that was made famous by Tony Lockett, would be if not leading the count after eight games then very high up there.

Since his scintillating performance in last season’s decider, Hannebery’s standing in the game has risen considerably. One would not have been surprised if he took his foot off the pedal heading into the 2013 campaign given he has already achieved so much so early in his career. But, it appears that quite the opposite has occurred with reports filtering in over the pre season that Hannebery was setting the track alight in the long distance running testing.

Finally, devoid of post season surgery that has set back previous pre season campaigns, it looks like the left footer is not just going through a rich vein of form. Rather, he is only improving and finding a level of consistency that has him on par with fellow emerging superstars Trent Cotchin and Nat Fyfe.

Hannebery’s phenomenal running ability and gut running ability is reminiscent of the great Ben Cousins. Sydney midfield coach Leigh Tudor recently applauded his running ability saying; “You wouldn’t think someone could run harder and longer after last year but Dan just keeps doing that.”

His ability to get from one contest to the next has seen him increase the amount of ball he’s been able to accumulate. This year Hannebery is averaging 26 possessions a game and more than a goal to go with his swag of touches.

With his penetrating left foot and exceptional decision making by hand, he has been able to carve opposition midfields up with his ball use. And the fact that he has kicked 10 goals in the opening eight weeks is also another sign that he has gone up a notch thus far. His career best four goals last week against Fremantle, including three in the second term, are indicative of his newfound attacking nous.

On Anzac day, in the first game played for premiership points on international soil, Hannebery led a lacklustre red and white brigade over the line against the Saints. His 30 disposals resulted in him being awarded the Anzac Day Medal. Another accolade to add to his 2010 Rising Star award.

If you spend the time to observe Hannebery up close you cannot help but notice how much he loves his football club and how badly he wants to succeed. Both in terms of team success and individual performance.  

After recently signing another three year contract which ties him to the Harbour city until the end of 2016, you would be hard pressed to see him finish his career at another club. Although the lure of returning back to Melbourne must always be present. More so in times of trial rather than triumph.

At the tender of age of just 22, he appears to have a head on his shoulders that belies his age. If he can continue to produce the form he is currently in for the remainder of the year, one wouldn’t be surprised if he polls a few votes on one particular night in September.

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The vanishing effect

With a name as thought provoking as Vanishing Elephant, there’s no doubt a seed of curiosity is already planted in your head. And with five years passing since their inception, the Sydney based fashion label has established itself in men’s fashion in this country.

Vanishing Elephant has built its brand around one word: simplicity. Nothing they create is too complex or anywhere near even borderline formal. Rather, the label provides everyday options that are typically outlandish with a bright colour palette and vibrant prints.

Huw Bennett, Felix Chan and Arran Russell – yes, we know how cool their names are – are the creative weapons behind the label that in just over half a decade has become one of the prominent labels in this countries fashion scene.

You could argue that Vanishing Elephant has built its aura around shirting. They are the staple to every collection. Whilst other focus on t-shirts as their ‘brand builder’, Vanishing Elephant produces bold, distinctive shirts in an array of colours, patterns and prints that push the envelope so to speak.

This is a label that was not created to be adorned by models and paraded down a catwalk Claude Maus style. It is not something that will turn heads in a Ksubi kind of way. Instead, Vanishing Elephant is a label that provides everyday gentleman with well tailored shirting options and high quality, well proportioned pants and jackets. It should be your go to label at any time of year – rain, hail or shine.

And did we mention their sock range? Forget about Happy socks or Richer Poorer, VE socks easily trump these two well known global options. Their wide range of wool knit socks are the icing on the cake, or the finishing touch to your everyday outfit, no matter how formal or relaxed it is.

Vanishing Elephant is having a massive sale on samples and surplus stock this weekend only in Fitzroy.
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The thing about Ramen

Most followers of our website and Twitter account would be well aware of our pho appreciation. At times it can be considered a borderline obsession. Especially during the winter months where a big bowl of Victoria Street’s finest can be just the cure for a sniffling nose that wants to linger around forever, like Geelong in September.

But, whilst it is not relatively new, there is another soup that is gradually building an avid following in our city.

Ramen soup is of Japanese decent and is simply a noodle-based soup with a variety of added extras.

It consists of wheat noodles served in a meat or fish based broth, typically flavoured with soy sauce or miso, and garnished with toppings such as sliced pork, dried seaweed, onions and sometimes corn.

Different cities and different regions in Japan offer their own variation of the popular dish. But as the iconic Japanese dish infiltrates cities around the globe, there are four main categories that the dish can be categorised in: Shio, Tonkotsu, Miso and Shoyu.

Shio is the oldest type of ramen and contains a lot of salt and any combination of chicken, vegetables, seaweed and fish. Tonkotsu is brewed with a pork bone for hours on end until it is nice and thick.

Miso is a relatively new ramen option and is created with copious amounts of miso and is blended with oily chicken or a fish broth. Shoyu is a more tangy option due to its soy sauce base and its inclusion of chicken and vegetable stock.

Melbourne is a slow starter in the Ramen scene but it is making up for lost time with ramen dedicated restaurants popping up across Melbourne.

Little Ramen Bar in Little Bourke Street is setting the benchmark for the delicacy in this town, with hoards of hungry revellers queuing to gain a seat every lunch and dinner time.

Their classic Tonkotsu soup is a crowd pleaser due to its rich pork flavour, which is derived from over ten hours of cooking. The bamboo shoots and BBQ pork that garnish the dish are of particular interest as the flavour they inject is quiet unique.

This little ramen hotspot doesn’t just focus on noodle soup. Their homemade gyoza and tasty wok fried rice provide the perfect appetisers for a bowl of ramen.

If you are a pho devout, and yet to try this Japanese alternative, then take the risk. We have no doubt that you will be pleasantly surprised.

 

Little Ramen Bar

346 Little Bourke Street

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Moving up in class, who is next?

Is it just us, or has the build up for this winter been far longer than any other season in recent memory?

Since the beginning of February, a day has not gone by without a newspaper or talkback show mentioning the ASADA investigation at Windy Hill. Maybe this is the reason why football has already had more centremetres written about it than usual at this time of the year.

But, now can we please get down to talking about actual football. Please, enough of talk about intravenous drips and peptides. Let the games begin.

Our favourite part of this time of year, between the pre season competition and the season proper, is the opportunity to speak up and predict what is going to occur over the next six months. Who is going to stand up and who is going to crumble when the pressure of the four points becomes a weekly battle?

We, like a lot of people, love unearthing summer track stars. It allows you to feel like you have uncovered a Supercoach gem because someone has smashed their clubs 2km time trial or looks like Sonny Bill Williams after a summer spent indulging in protein shakes and dumbbell presses.

Everyone has his or her thoughts at this time of year. And they typically centre on who is going to hoist the cup above their head in September and who will take Charlie home on that special Monday night.

So, with that in mind, we have decided to take a different path with our season preview. Rather than spit out another piece on premiership, Brownlow and Coleman predictions, we have shortlisted a group of players who we believe will make the leap from high quality performers to bona-fide elite footballers.

If we rewind 12 months, there was a Richmond midfielder coming off a season which saw him take home the Jack Dyer Medal, yet there was still a few more gears left in his ascension. We speak of Trent Cotchin of course, the new yellow and black captain. Who is now a bona-fide elite midfielder coming off a career best season which saw him win his second successive club champion award and finish runner up in the Brownlow medal. He was an obvious choice at the beginning of last year to be the most improved player in the competition. But, this year it is a little difficult to predict which player(s) will step up a level.

The five names that we have decided on after some time spent at the blackboard are; Daniel Rich, Luke Shuey, Daniel Hannebery, Brad Ebert and Steele Sidebottom.

Do you see where we are headed with this argument? All five are capable of producing match winning performances, but the question is whether or not they can put in twenty two games worth of high quality performances. Their best is no doubt elite, but the bridge between good and bad games needs to become Robert Harvey like. In other words, barely noticeable.

Daniel Rich is a former Rising Star winner, but since his eye catching debut year he is yet to recapture the form that made him more than just a highlights reel. Having said that, in 2012 he finished runner up to Joel Patfull in the Merrett-Murray Medal. His inconsistent performances costing him his maiden club champion award. Similar to Fremantle’s Stephen Hill, Rich is capable of dominating a game without touching the ball thirty five times. His penetrating left foot can tear games open and he only needs twenty touches to dramatically impact a result.

The rumblings out of Brisbane are that Rich has crafted his best pre season to date. Voss has eluded several times over the pre season that the penny has finally dropped for Rich. He is now well aware of what is required to become an elite midfielder and not purely rely on his god given talent. His rigorous training regime has already paid dividends in 2013 with the Michael Tuck medal being awarded to the Western Australian for his best on ground performance in the NAB Cup Grand Final.

He may be the competition’s leading recipient of head high free kicks, but Luke Shuey is also one of the games most highly regarded young onballers. His exploits over the last two seasons have him standing on the edge of entering the game’s elite midfielders. After injury cruelled his first two seasons at the club, Shuey has now established himself as a hard running, possession accumulating key member of the Eagles midfield. With the retirement of Tom Swift and the departure of Koby Stevens, Shuey’s long-term future at West Coast is now crucial for their success.

For a lot of football pundits, Dan Hannebery was the more worthy recipient of the Norm Smith medal in last years Grand Final. Not taking anything away from Ryan O’Keefe and his phenomenal fifteen tackles, but the 21 year old used the ball to devastating effect.

After winning the Rising Star award in 2010, Hannebery has regularly shown how good he can be, but his ability to string high quality performances back to back has been in question. There is no doubt he can find the ball though with his 2012 average of 24 disposals per outing and with his outstanding performance in the seasons pinnacle, this could be the year that Hannebery steps into the games elite.

Hannebery has finished in the top ten of the Skilton medal in the past three years, so if he can consistently produce performances like in the premiership decider he will no doubt enter the games elite class. His pre season was absent of injury, which has plagued his more recent pre seasons, and his running ability was on show again when he took out the clubs most recent 3km time trial. Could this be his year Hannebery explodes onto the scene?

It was common knowledge that Brad Ebert and his family were gutted when West Coast called his name out in the 2007 National Draft. The Ebert’s are Port Adelaide people and the looks of bitter disappointment on their faces that day, said it all. At the end of 2011, Ebert requested a trade to Port and has since found himself at home at Alberton. Ebert enjoyed a breakout season in 2012, finishing second in the Power’s best and fairest as well as averaging twenty-three disposals a game.

If the former Magarey medalist can continue to improve on his 2012 form then he is on track to raise his game up another level this winter. And the word from Ken Hinkley and co is that the clubs new vice-captain, alongside new captain, Travis Boak, is ready to step up and bring Port Adelaide out of the depths of their recent underwhelming performances.

It is quite difficult to remember how young Steele Sidebottom actually is. At 22, it feels like he has already been around for quite awhile. The 2010 premiership player appeared to be having a big breakout year in the first half of 2012 where he averaged over 28 disposals in the first half of the year. And the way Sidebottom was using the ball was even more damaging than we had seen in the past. However, unlike his comrade Dayne Beams, Sidebottom ran out of steam with his second half output not mirroring his opening stanza, brutally highlighted by his disappointing preliminary final performance where he only found the ball on sixteen occasions.

Like teammate Scott Pendlebury, Sidebottom has the rare ability to make time stand still when he has the ball in his possession. If he can recapture the form of the first half of 2012, Sidebottom will no doubt make the step up in class.

Above are five names that are now more than familiar with even the least dedicated of football fans. All have the ability to dominate games. However, only time will tell how long they will take to enter the elite status. Whose year will it be?


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Who are the M and the L?

If you have ever ventured down Greville Street in Prahran, which I’d assume you have, then you would have no doubt walked past a boutique store which stands out by its bright, vibrant yellow colour. In the space of just over seven years, ML Denim has blossomed into not only one of Melbourne’s prominent fashion labels but rapidly one of Australia’s most coveted denim designs.

In the lead up to L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival I caught up with the M and the L behind ML Denim – Mozez and Louis Costoglou to dig a little bit deeper into their story and to uncover what direction they are headed in. And as it turns out, they have more than completed their apprenticeship in denim craftship and garment manufacturing.

As we sat upstairs of their Greville Street Flagship store, no more than 50 metres away from the buzz and hive of activity in nearby Chapel Street, it did not take me long to work out how they have built a bespoke denim line in the heart of Melbourne that could soon rival the bevy of Scandinavian heavy weights that dominate the world stage.

 

What separates ML Denim from other denim labels?

Louis: It is our unique attention to detailing, our focus on manufacturing small runs and our ability to react to trends much quicker. A lot of people think that ML Denim is European brand, we see where they are coming from, our product does have a very European feel to it. Mozez creates all our male and female patterns from scratch; these skills have been acquired from all the years spent in the factory and being taught by our mum. Our fit, washes and function also separates ML Denim from the rest.

Can you briefly explain how ML Denim was born and your background in fashion? 

Mozez: You could say that we were born in amongst denim rolls. In other words, from the age of 14 we were sewing and cutting complete denim garments. This is all we know.

Louis: You could say that denim is in our soul. We both clearly remember, straight after school or in the school holidays we were in the factory, helping our parents.

Mozez: We both remember from a young age, designers coming into the factory and my mother helping to trouble shoot patterns and fabrics. Everything that we know was taught by our mother as she is a tailor.

Louis: We both completed a diploma of Fashion at RMIT before we launched our label – Mozez/Louis Denim – ML Denim, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in 2006 just to gauge an interest. We have not looked back since.

With overseas interest, do you see the brand expanding to have stores abroad? 

Louis: We see ML Denim constantly evolving and innovating new styles and fabrics washes, with this in mind we are in talks with distributors to license ML Denim in Asia.

The stone abrasion process is regarded as the magic wand to your work. Can you explain how it is used to give your denim its desired effect?

Louis: The pumice stone that we use comes from Greece and it can only be used once. It does not crumble or break up in the wash as other European and Asian stones do. The stones are placed in a tubular washing machine along with about 60-70 pairs of jeans & about 10kg of pumice stones, along with water and other secret ingredients. The machine spins and washes and batters the jeans against the stones. The longer the machine spins the lighter the jeans become.

Where do you derive your inspiration from?  

Mozez: Ideas do not come to me on demand. In other words, I do not schedule a time to sit down and come up with ideas. I have note pads everywhere in my house and most of my inspiration comes to me while I am sleeping and I wake up and write it down. So all year around I am constantly presenting ideas to my brand manger. It is a never ending creative process that comes naturally to me.    

Louis: For me, it’s when I am at the beach or on my weekends away. And also when traveling to my favourite city, Tokyo. The array of street fashion there is just amazing.

Last year you relocated, albeit a couple of hundred metres, what was the decision behind moving the store down Greville Street? 

Louis: It was a natural progression to move from a small store to a much bigger store. This has allowed ML Denim to showcase our collection in a continuous store & it also allows us to bring in bigger posters/visuals to display & to use the store floor as our showroom for wholesale showings.

What do you enjoy most about working in fashion and running your own business? 

Mozez: The satisfaction we all get from our customers and their loyalty towards ML Denim puts a huge smile on our faces. And the fact that we innovate denim styles and produce some of the best washes available on the Australian market.

Outside of fashion what are your main interests? 

Mozez: I’m an avid commercial aviation geek; ask any of my friends where would they find me? At the airport plane spotting. I also enjoy personal development; I listen to Louise Haye, John Holland, John D Martini, Abraham, James Van Praagh, Michael B Beckwith, Yanla Vanzat, and Gina Milicia, just to name few. They have all given me the tools to become a better person and in turn inspire other people in my life. 

Louis: Spending time and relaxing with my soul mate and my family. As well as renovating my house and homewares shopping, and hosting house parties are all very important to me. As they help me along with Mozez, build a stronger brand.

Where do you see the label in five years? In ten years? And beyond? 

Mozez: I see a total of six ML Denim stand alone stores in Australia. We also see major expansion into the Asian market. (I push for more when I notice Mozez grin when saying this – he knows where he wants to infiltrate but won’t give me anymore) We can see a presence in the U.S, mainly on the East coast. And having a distributor in the UK and in Europe.

Our conversation could have gone all day but in the space of less than half an hour, the faces behind ML Denim have provided me with a succinct description of where they have developed the tools and passion for their trade as well as providing me with an inside to their future development. I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this Melbourne born and bred label.

ML Denim’s Autumn Winter Collections will be on show at the Famous for Fashion Runway show as part of L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival.

Toe the line, like a Maverick

When it comes to clothing accessories it would be safe to say that shoelaces don’t jump off the page. But that analysis is pre-Mavericks. Thanks to the brains behind new Melbourne shoelace company, Maverick’s Laces, we now have the opportunity to flaunt our style in a whole new manner.

Mavericks Laces was born out of the realization that there was a gap in the marketplace for high quality shoelaces. So when founders, Jayden Zernich, Luke Schoknecht and Leigh Scholten, all graphic designers by trade, realised that there was potential in this market they rapidly tip toed their way into the project.

Their first collection is available in nine different colours ranging from baby blue, to canary yellow, to ruby red, to subtle lavender. With plans to extend the range through patterned and two-tone laces there is no doubting the fact that they have something to please every pair of shoes.

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With their colour palette not being tacky or distasteful, these laces allow the everyday man to express himself through subtle colour inclusion.

Mavericks Laces are essentially colourful laces for colourful characters. Their philosophy is simple: If the shoe makes the man, then laces make the shoe. It is something that flies under the radar, but laces can dramatically lift your outfit if paired well.

With names like Goose, Bert, Max, Archie and Ernie already part of their product fleet; the laces have genuine characteristics of their own. And all the names are born from people who have impacted the designer’s lives in one way or another.

A maverick is someone who does things a little bit different to the everyday man. They are the bold, dynamic group in society who dance to the beat of their own drum. And this demographic is precisely who these laces will appear to most.

For an everyday functional object, laces appear to have more power than ever before. Thanks to Maverick’s.

Time to get in touch with your fantasy.

While most of us would believe that fantasy sports are only a recent phenomenon, a peak into its background would suggest that they have been around for quiet sometime.

Most football lovers in this country would be well aware of Supercoach or Dream Team which are the AFL’s version of fantasy football. However, whilst these two fantasy versions are nearing the ten year marks of their existence, American’s have been playing these games for decades.

The name Daniel Orkent will mean even less to you than it does to me. But, this is the man who invented the Rotisserie League Baseball which triggered the fantasy sport revolution. Orkent, an editor and writer of The New York Times, developed the concept of drafting players into a team and using statistics to measure the level of success your team achieved. The aim of the game is simply to make educated predictions on which players were going to score the highest scores in each category.

Orkent founded the idea in 1980, but it wasn’t until he wrote an article in Inside Sports in March 1981 titled “The Year George Foster Wasn’t Worth $36” that the concept really began to blossom. Using his influence in the media, it wasn’t long before fantasy analysis became a whole new way of consuming sport. Towards the end of the 1980’s the hobby had spread from baseball to football to basketball and was on the rise. By the time the internet launched in the 90’s all hell broke loose as fans were now able to access real-time statistics and invest more time in perfecting the drafting of their teams.

During the ‘Dot.Com’ era of the new millennium, fantasy sport was no longer a hobby, it was big business. Something which consumed the lives of a lot of sports obsessed individuals. Studies show that over 32 million people currently participate in some form of fantasy sports in America and Canada. A staggering 19.4% of the American male population are members of at least one fantasy sport competition.

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Power bound: 2012 Sandover medalist Kane Mitchell is sure to feature regularly at Port.

Now we all know that America takes things to the next level in just about every category, but Australia is quickly catching up in our love affair with fantasy football.

With Supercoach and Dream Team seasons only weeks away, now is as good time as ever to begin preparation on recruiting the best possible squad for achieving success. Whilst it is hard to go past traditional high scorers like Gary Ablett, Scott Pendlebury and Jobe Watson, you can’t have them all. So, the key is to discover the hidden gems and to do so before everyone else learns how valuable they are. And typically they are not the latest first round draftees, rather they are mature age recruits or even recycled players – who often get brushed aside in favour of glamour high draft picks.

We’ve taken the time to delve into a few groups of players who may be just the key to finding your success this fantasy football season.

Mature age rookies are the cornerstone of any decent fantasy team. Dayne Zorko and James Magner were just two of a handful of examples who proved to be golden pickups in 2012. After the success of Michael Barlow the mature age selection has played a pivotal role in ensuring your success.

Kane Mitchell, Kyle Martin, Leigh Osborne and Dean Towers are four names that you should familiarize yourself with immediately. All four are 22 and coming off brilliant seasons in the state leagues.

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Recycled: Koby Stevens will be looking for more game time at the Dogs.

New Port Adelaide recruit, Mitchell, has become the fourth Sandover medalist in seven seasons to find the carrot of an AFL list waiting at the end of the season. The former Claremont onballer had a stellar season which saw him collect Western Australian Football’s highest individual accolade. After averaging twenty five disposals a game in 2012, Mitchell was on the minds of not only the Power’s recruiting team but also Collingwood’s. Hard to see the long haired ball magnet not finding a spot in Port’s twenty two.

Kyle Martin has gone from suburban footballer twelve months ago to now on the list of the biggest club in the AFL. Quite a transformation for the former Noble Park midfielder whose first season at VFL level saw him take out Frankston’s best and fairest and represent the VFL after less than two months playing at that level. Whilst Collingwood’s midfield is full of class, Martin could be earmarked to fill the void left by Sharrod Wellingham’s departure to West Coast.

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Welcome home: Ben Jacobs appears far more settled in his home state.

Another Frankston Dolphin, Leigh Osborne, has taken quiet a similar path to Martin. Just twelve months ago, Osborne was plying his trade in the Eastern Football League with East Ringwood. In fact, he turned up to Frankston training uninvited and was given a two week trial by coach Simon Goosey. After a dazzling season under Goosey, Osborne finds himself pinching himself on the Gold Coast. And with the list still quiet raw, there’s every chance the skillful rebounding defender might find a regular game.

In similar fashion to Hawthorn’s Isaac Smith, new Sydney recruit Dean Towers has used his athletic prowess to rapidly sprout from country obscurity to VFL sensation. Whilst Smith’s progress was far more rapid, Towers has put together a remarkable season which has seen him not only represent the VFL, and make the team of the year but also win the Fothergill-Round medal for the most promising player under the age of 23 in the VFL. The Swans used pick twenty two on Towers, suggesting how highly he is rated as a footballer and a good indication that he will play some regular football even at the premiers.

After acquiring small forward’s Ahmed Saad from the VFL and Terry Milera from the SANFL at the end of 2011, St Kilda have scoured the state leagues once more. This time unearthing another forward option to plan for a future that will sooner rather than later be void of Nick Riewoldt, Justin Koschitzke and Stephen Milne. And Tom Lee is not foreign to the AFL system, having spent a year at Adelaide as a seventeen year old.

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Seeking redemption: Norwood premiership player is back to Carlton for another chance.

In 2008, the Crows selected Lee with pick 60 in the national draft. However, by the end of the following season they sent him packing with twelve months still to run on his contract. How does he found his way back to the AFL list is something quiet intriguing?

At the tender age of seventeen, Lee lacked the desperation and drive that is usually prevalent in most draftees. He openly admits that a lack of maturity and professionalism were the main factors behind his short tenure at Adelaide. At such a young age he couldn’t cope with the pressure of being so heavily scrutinized and having every move analysed on and off the field. So it was hardly his surprise when the Crows sent him back to Western Australia with a year still remaining on his contract.

Now, at 21, and coming off a seventy goal season in the WAFL for Claremont, Lee is a tantalizing prospect. Now that he is finally living up to his potential, St Kilda were willing to trade pick 12 to get their mitts on the hit up forward with the high leap and flamboyant edge.

Whether he can cope with the scrutiny and rigors of professional football are yet to be seen. But, if he can replicate his 2012 form at AFL level then he is a must have in any fantasy forward line.

Jaryd Cachia is another looking for redemption. Having spent two years on Carlton’s rookie list in 2010/11, the hard-nosed onballer was cut loose. The Blues midfield depth resulted in a lack of opportunity under Brett Ratten and meant that spots were scarce. Cachia took his game to Norwood in the SANFL in 2012 where the Redlegs won every game except for one, running away with the Premiership comfortably. With his work ethic never being in question during his time at Visy Park, Cachia was able to add a couple of strings to his bow during his year in Adelaide. With Ratten out and Mick Malthouse at the helm, the damaging midfielder returns to Carlton with a more outside element to his game. Something which was criticised in the past. He may yet be one of the bargains of this fantasy football season given that he can find the ball after having 31 disposals in the grand final.

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Finally: At 26, Sam Dwyer is at long last on an AFL list.

Arguably the most common category of players that go overlooked when selecting a fantasy side are the recycled players. Now I’m not referring to Ricky Petterd or Sam Lonergan who are now in yellow and black. By recycled I am talking about three players in particular; Ben Jacobs, Josh Caddy and Koby Stevens. All three were originally top twenty five draft picks, and all three haven’t for one reason or another lived up to their pre-draft billing. But that’s where a change of environment could come into play and revive their stuttering careers and by doing so turn them into fantasy football gems.

The common theme with these under-age weapons is that they have all left home and had to go about their game in a foreign state with less than ample support. Injuries have riddled all three of their careers to date with Jacobs suffering from debilitating ankle problems, Stevens from the dreaded osteitis pubis and Caddy had to cope with stress fractures in his foot amongst an array of other injury hassles.

Ben Jacobs was the schoolboy superstar who was destined for the AFL from a young age. His dominance in the National Championships where he averaged 29 possessions a game, including a bout of leather poisoning against South Australia where he had 47 disposals, earmarked him as a ball magnet of the future. Whilst Dyson Heppell, Andrew Gaff, Mitch Wallis and Tom Liberatore have stood out from his draft class, Jacobs has been fighting a losing battle at Alberton. Now, at only 21, and with a lot of football left in him, Jacobs appears in a much better place at North Melbourne. Both in mind and in body. His ankle problems appear to be solved and by all reports his leadership prowess has been lauded by Brad Scott. Season 2013 could well be a year of reckoning for the booming left footer.

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From the clouds: Dean Towers has sprung from no where to be on Sydney’s list.

It has been no secret that former number seven draft pick, Josh Caddy, has been yearning to come back to Melbourne. After a trade to Essendon failed to eventuate at the conclusion of last year’s trade period, Caddy was left to toil for another year on the Gold Coast. Whilst he was able to play all twenty two games in 2012, he has since admitted that he never truly embraced playing for the expansion club. So after failing to secure a return for him at the end of last season, Caddy and his management went for broke and were able to secure a trade with Geelong which saw their Gary Ablett compensation pick head back to the Suns. Whilst Geelong isn’t quite Melbourne, the effect the switch has had on Caddy has been obvious so far. The word out of the cattery is that midfielder is training the house down thus far. The cats are thrilled with Caddy’s dedication which has seen him finishing high in time trials and shining on the track. It is hard to argue that Caddy’s star is not on the rise.

A midfield comprising Daniel Kerr, Matthew Priddis, Scott Selwood, Andrew Gaff, Luke Shuey and Chris Masten is tough for any onballer to find a spot in. Hence the reason why highly rated Koby Stevens finds himself at a second home after three years and only eleven games at West Coast. The Eagles loss is the Bulldogs gain though, as a fresh start and plenty of opportunity in the Dogs engine room should see Stevens fulfill his potential. Eye catching form in the WAFL for East Fremantle didn’t assist Stevens in securing a spot in the star-studded eagles’ line up. Thus, if he can blossom at the kennel then there is no reason why he won’t become a regular player. The tackling machine should add more grunt to support Clay Smith and Tom Liberatore in and around stoppages. Stevens’ game style has been likened to Smith who burst onto the scene last season. In fact, they both grew up in Bairnsdale and their fathers both work at Patties Pies together. With plenty improvement left in the former AFL/AIS captain he is sure to be on a lot of people’s fantasy radars.

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Second chance: Former Adelaide rookie Tom Lee is looking to prove a point at St Kilda.

The final two players we are going to indulge you with are two who would have thought that the opportunity of playing at the highest level had probably gone past them. At twenty nine and twenty six, Brett Goodes and Sam Dwyer, may not have thought the day would come where they would here their name called out by an AFL club. But neither would have been selected by the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood respectively, if they were not a big chance of playing. And playing on a regular basis too. After so many years toiling in the VFL, they have more than proven themselves. However, the gulf between the state leagues and the elite level is substantial so it will be intriguing to see how they cope with it.

After living in the shadow of his brother for the majority of his football career, Goodes now has the opportunity to show that the talent in the family doesn’t just reside in Sydney. And for anyone who has watched the half back flanker from Williamstown dispose of the ball, then you know the Bulldogs have found themselves a readymade replacement for Lindsay Gilbee. Goodes has established a reputation as an uncomprimising running defender who makes quality decisions under pressure. With the Bulldogs going through a rebuilding phase, his competitiveness and physical maturity will ensure that he will see a lot of senior action in 2013.

For Sam Dwyer the draft process has become a constant disappointment. Year in and year out he hoped to have his name read out. But it never eventuated. Until last December’s rookie draft where Collingwood snared the run and carry type player from Port Melbourne. And this time he was not even watching the coverage. Instead he was working as an electrician and had his now former coach Gary Ayres, call him to inform him of his selection. The midfielder/forward has been on the cusp of being drafted for the past three or four years. But the fruitless period never broke him, rather it pushed him more and more. Recruiting a twenty six year old would suggest that the Pies are going to use Dwyer sooner rather than later.

So there you have it. A comprehensive and obscure look at fantasy football. Here’s to a successful season.

The latest fitness fad that is available 24/7

There is a new trend grasping its claw around the health and fitness industry. And it doesn’t appear to be letting go anytime soon.

Unlike supplement and dietary fads such as activated almonds, acai berries and anything and everything that is over advertised by Swisse, this new trend might be here to stay.

In the last twelve months it hasn’t been traditional big names such as Fitness First and Genesis Fitness flexing their biceps. Rather, newcomers Snap Fitness, Jetts Fitness, Anytime Fitness, Plus Fitness and array of others have swooped in for the kill. And they are serving people with something we have never had before.

By offering no lock in contracts, low fees and twenty-four access every day of the week and year, this new beast is now feasting on a certain demographic. Males and females who due to work commitments can’t access the gym during the traditional opening hours of 6am and 10pm.

Whilst it is hard to comprehend that this minority can dictate such a change in fitness trends, someone has to cater for this group of people.

Anytime Fitness is arguably the leader of this new herd and their sales pitch is simply that ‘you hold the keys’ to their gym. It is quiet an inclusive message that would appeal to most people in this sport adoring city. With nearly 200,000 members across Australia and over 200 locations, Anytime Fitness is here to stay and here to change the fitness industry.

Anytime is rapidly building its empire with an average of ten new clubs opening in Australia each month. The benefits don’t purely lie with the clients, with personal training hours also extending outside the traditional 6-10 regime.

Jetts co-founder Brendon Levenson claims that overnighters tend to be predominantly students, hospitality staff and shift workers, such as firefighters and nurses. ”There are more people that are working odd hours,” he says.

With clubs like Jetts and Anytime catering for the time poor, there is now no excuse why you can’t squeeze in your gym session.

A common reason why the modern businessman or woman struggles to fit the gym into their daily schedule is due to starting work at six or seven in the morning. With most gyms opening at six the chance passes them by, not for lack of desire but rather for lack of opportunity. This is no longer an excuse with the influx of early starters beginning their day before 5am in the weights room or on the treadmill.

Why wouldn’t everyone abandon their memberships and join the cheaper alternative you ask? Well just like the difference between Emirates and Tiger, you get what you pay for.

Whilst rates may be lower than half what you would pay at Fitness First or Genesis, this comes without the option of fitness classes, pools and saunas.

If you don’t require these options to meet your fitness needs then maybe its time to save your pennies and invest your health in the latest fitness trend that has people training at three in the morning. 


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Remember when Vietnamese food was not cool?

It is no secret that Vietnamese food has become trendy in the last twelve months. No longer do you need to venture out to Victoria Street, Richmond or Footscray or even Springvale to get your hands on some tasty, fresh rice paper rolls and a bowl of pho.

Whilst those three old school locations still provide the more authentic option, their grungy shops aren’t very appealing for a dinner date of any sorts. That’s where the new rice paper roll revolution steps in.

Hanoi Hannah in Prahran, Roll’d in the CBD and Miss Chu in Exhibition Street and South Yarra provide the best of Vietnam cuisine in a far more appealing setting. And they have an even deeper bag of tricks then their more traditional rivals such as the iconic I Love Pho 264 or Pho Chu The.

With a handful of quirky rice paper roll options, ranging from peking duck to thai beef to the traditional pork and prawn, this fresh wave of options has something to please everyone’s taste buds. The most prominent appreciation of Vietnamese food is in its healthiness. Nothing is deep fried and saturated in fat. In fact, vermicelli salads and big bowls of pho leave you feeling healthier than when you sat down in these tightly fitted food haunts.

For gastronomes in this city, the three venues that I am about to briefly examine have all become go-to places. With all three of them being firmly pencilled into our playbooks.

Hanoi Hannah

In one sentence: Hanoi Hannah is Prahran’s answer to Victoria Street. With typical pho haunts being dirty establishments adorned with minimal décor and even less friendly service, Hanoi Hannah was created to attract to the trendy crowd of Prahran.

There is no secret that Vietnamese food is deliciously simple but the team at Hanoi Hannah, namely Nick Coulter, Simon Blacher and Paul Nguyen, have coupled fresh, tasty food options with an attractive aesthetic and ambience that is sure to be a crowd pleaser for a long time to come.

The shop has been converted from an old DJ equipment store and still holds an old school feel that has been subtly decorated with Vietnamese adorning.

The hawker-style food is similar in style to many restaurants along the pho mile, Victoria Street, although it offers most things with a slight modern twist.

Widely regarded for their Pork Belly sliders, banh mi rolls and peking duck rice paper rolls, Hanoi Hannah has a menu to please everyone’s taste buds. With the prices dirt cheap, it is an option that has people lining up down the street on a nightly basis.

180 High Street Prahran

Roll’d

One word: convenient. In the heart of the city lies an answer to greasy takeaway lunches. It’s called Roll’d and if you haven’t heard yet, this Vietnamese canteen style café has become a thing of legend with lines bigger than outside the MCC before the Grand Final.

With a tight menu, Roll’d focuses on doing the little things right. Its small menu focuses on five popular dishes; pho, rice paper rolls, banh mi or baguettes, vermicelli noodles and salads.

As their name would suggest, the rice paper rolls are the crowd puller. They make a roaring trade with stylish cardboard boxes departing the shop at a rapid rate. Soft shell crab and avocado, BBQ chicken with sesame seeds and lemongrass pork and prawn are the options. Hard to go wrong if you ask me.

With such a frantic following of workers trying to tuck in to something fresh on their work break, it’s hard to be to critical of their quality. Whilst they’re not as jaw dropping as some of the non-city options, they provide a delicious healthy option to the worker on the go in the city.

181 William St Melbourne

Misschu

Not afraid of stirring her main rivals with some eye catching banter, the founder of Misschu, Nahji Chu, has recently brought her Vietnamese tuck shops to Melbourne.

After finding wild success in Sydney, Misschu can be found at one of two inner city locations; Exhibition Street and in South Yarra. And they can easily be spotted from distance due to the constant queues flocking outside these Vietnamese hotspots.

The self-proclaimed ‘Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’, Misschu is like a loud mouth boxer who lives up to the hype - think Anthony Mundine but laden with success stories and not an underachieving, over-hyped chatterbox.

Described on their website as “modern day hawker takeaway with high end food at [a] low price tag” sums them up to a tee.

Misschu aims to please the modern eater who is short on time and who wants to feed their face with fresh, easy to eat options such as vermicelli noodles and rice paper rolls.

Misschu is at the forefront of the mission of transforming Vietnamese cuisine in to a sexy, trendy option. Void of the usual dirty, unhygienic stereotype associated with Victoria Street and Footscray options.

You simply can’t go past the duck pancakes, satay chicken rice paper rolls and wild rice and quinoa with lemon grass beef. Oh, and did we mention their pho has wagyu beef. Think about it.

297 Exhibition St 
Melbourne

276 Toorak Rd South Yarra


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Style Icon #4: David Gandy

We couldn’t think of a better way to kick off the New Year than by treating our readers with another piece on a favourite style icon. If you are a fan of the three piece suit then you will undoubtedly love David Gandy.

Gandy is a British model whose profile has escalated in the past twelve months, mainly due to his sharp appearance. And also the fact that every luxe label wants him modeling their latest collection.

After winning a televised model search competition, Gandy has risen into the success he is today due to his work with Dolce & Gabbana. In 2012 he featured on no fewer than fifteen magazine covers.

Hardly your stereotypical model, Gandy has also proved quiet handy with a pen in hand. He has inked work for British Vogue via a blog, and has written car reviews for British GQ.

Below is a selection of our favourite David Gandy outfits:

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