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Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News

Friday’s Rugby News sees Ledesma rating the Wallabies, a big day out at Bond Uni, Toomua’s dads divided loyalties and, praise from Buck for Squires


 

 

Mario Reckons We’re Alright!

Usually, when an opposition coach tells the media just how good your team is you know there’s some sort of ambush on the way. But when that guy was the long term forwards coach with the Wobs and we may or may not play them in the World Cup, for me, it gets a little more confusing.

For what it’s worth I reckon he rates us. Here’s what he had to say.

“It’s one of the most physical teams in the world and I think the best is yet to come for this team, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Australia go really far in this World Cup,” Ledesma said.

Few know Cheika better than Ledesma.

The Argentine rugby legend was given his first coaching gig by the Australian at Stade Francais in Paris and later accepted an invitation to join him at the Waratahs.

 Three years later, Ledesma informed Cheika and the Wallabies with a heavy heart that he was leaving after accepting an offer to coach the Jaguares.

One season later, he was the Pumas coach and as fate should happen, Argentina and the Wallabies could square up in the quarter-finals in Japan.

“I feel close to the team, most of the players I coached them and shared a lot of good and bad moments,” Ledesma said.

“The staff too and Cheik. I was following with a lot of enthusiasm and the new vibe.

“Obviously they’re playing a much more direct rugby, with a lot of physicality and they have really big boys centre of the field — Kerevi and (Tevita) Kuridrani — it doesn’t get any bigger than that and obviously second-row with (Izack) Rodda playing great rugby, (Adam) Coleman coming back. Back-row with (Isi) Naisarani and Lukhan (Salakaia-Loto).”

Double Header At Bond Uni

This Sunday sees a huge day of Rugby on the Gold Coast and I couldn’t be happier! At 1 pm the city slickers will take on Sydney followed, at 3 pm, by the main event where Queensland Country will play some team from a place called Canberra.

The matches will feature four talented, young flyhalves Isaac Lucas and Tane Edwards going at it in the first game and New Reds signing Carter Gordon testing himself against Viking’s young gun Noah Lolesio. Watching these four play is well worth the trip down the M1.

TEAMS

Brisbane City to face Sydney

1 David Feao, 2 Maile Ngauamo, 3 Josh Nasser, 4 Bradford Kapa, 5 Roberts Puliuvea, 6 Adam Korczyk, 7 Fraser McReight (c), 8 Seru Uru, 9 Moses Sorovi, 10 Isaac Lucas, 11 Jordan Luke, 12 Isaac Henry, 13 Bradley Twidale, 14 Sefa Naivalu, 15 Teti Tela. Reserves: 16 Sean Farrell, 17 Dane Zander, 18 Ruan Smith, 19 Michael Wood, 20 Sam Wallis, 21 Nick Chapman, 22 Hunter Paisami, 23 Maaloga Konelio.

Sydney to face Brisbane City

1 Rory O’Connor, 2 Ed Craig, 3 Shambeckler Vui, 4 Ryan McCauley, 5 Tu’itakau Kioa, 6 Lachlan Swinton, 7 Joshua Kemeny, 8 TBC, 9 Jacob Abel, 10 Tane Edmed, 11 Tailiki Nadredre, 12 Tyson Davis, 13 Cameron Clark, 14 Trent Winterstein, 15 Jaline Graham. Reserves: 16 Declan Moore, 17 Harry Rorke, 18 TBC, 19 Jack Digby, 20 Jordan Goddard, 21 TBC, 22 Ellis Abrahams, 23 Henry Paterson.

Queensland Country to face Vikings

16 George  Francis, 2 Matthew Faessler, 3 Carter Ozanne, 4 Angus Blyth, 5 Harry Hockings, 6 Angus Scott-Young, 7 Dillon Wihongi, 8 Harry Wilson, 9 Tate McDermott, 10 Carter Gordon, 11 Joey Fittock, 12 Hamish Stewart, 13 Patrick James, 14 Filipo Daugunu, 15 Jock Campbell. Reserves: 1 Harry Hoopert, 17 Bronson Fotualii, 18 Gavin Luka, 19 Jeremiah Lynch, 20 Connor Pritchard, 21 Reuben Wall, 22 Tom Lucas, 23 Dan Boardman.

Vikings to face Queensland Country

1 Fred Kaihea, 2 Connal McInerney, 3 Jake Simeon, 4 Darcy Swain ©, 5 Blake Enever, 6 Pete Samu, 7 Will Miller, 8 Angus Allen, 9 Ryan Lonergan, 10 Noah Lolesio, 11 Mackenzie Hansen, 12 Irae Simone, 13 Thomas Wright, 14 Toni Pulu, 15 Andrew Muirhead. Reserves: 16 Lachlan Lonergan, 17  Bo Abra, 18 Tom Ross, 19 Nick Frost, 20 Luke Gersekowski, 21 Seamus Smith, 22 Bayley Kuenzle, 23 Andrew Robinson.

 

Divided Loyalties For Matt’s Dad.

Hot on the heels of being flogged on a tropical island comes the slippery slope that is the last warm-up test before a world cup. We can all remember our last outing against Samoa eight years ago. Rod Davies definitely remembers it.

But spare a thought for the Samoan born parents of some of Our Wallaby players. Matt Toomua’s dad Ieru Won’t be sure who to cheer for.

The Test is against a very strong Samoan team at home, so it’s the last chance for us to play in front of our fans before Japan,” Toomua said.

 “There are five or six guys with Samoan heritage in the squad and my dad will be torn, he’ll be wearing half and half, so if I get a chance to play he will be excited as we have a lot of family in both camps.”

After playing off the bench in all of Australia’s Tests this year Toomua is set for his first start, with inside centre Samu Kerevi likely to be rested.

“I’d love a starting spot,” the 29-year-old said.

“I’m a jack of all trades and filling in where I can but I’ve been getting a fair few minutes so I’m happy filling in where I can, starting or off the bench.”

 

 Buck Praises Liam for opening up on Mental Health.

We’ve all been touched in some way by mental illness. It’s easy to push things down deep inside where no one can see them but that really doesn’t work out in the long run. When big tough boofy blokes like Liam Squires admit that some things just aren’t right it’s like a breath of fresh air in blokeworld. But when one of the toughest guys to ever run onto a rugby field backs him up it gives a lot of people a feeling that maybe it’s okay to tell someone how they’re feeling.

I know that telling someone I had a problem and asking for help was by far the hardest part and everything after that was dead easy.

But I’ve ‘Lee Granted’ (digressed). Squire, who has returned for Tasman in the Mitre 10 Cup after limited playing time this season because of a knee injury, said he didn’t feel “physically or mentally ready for the pressures of test rugby” but the 28-year-old is available to the All Blacks as injury cover.

Legendary All Blacks No 8 Shelford told 1News it was great Squire, who has played 23 tests since his All Blacks debut in 2016, had opened up because it would encourage more people, “especially men”, to do the same.

“One of the things when you have health problems, especially men, is that you’ve got to talk to people. He’s talked to the whole nation and everybody knows now. By telling the media, a lot of other men with the same problems will come out and tell out their mates, rather than hold it in.

“Then we can do something about it and wrap him up with a lot of friends and support him all the way through his journey. That’s one of the big things, with our young people and suicide nowadays, is they’re there alone and they’re not talking to anybody.

“Here, Liam has actually talked about his problem and it’s out there in the media and everyone knows, so we wrap him in that All Black brand and support him in everything he does. We’ve just got to make sure he’s okay”

If you’re having trouble, don’t be a mug talk to someone! here’s a good place to start. https://www.ruok.org.au/ More of us have been where you are than you realise.

 

  • Geoffro

    Did Mario push for the Randwick game just so he could watch his beloved Wallabies go around in the evening ?They reckoned the week in Sydney was so they could get over jetlag and acclimatise LOL. I’ll bet he hasn’t been flogging his charges in the harbour city like buddy Cheik has in NCal.Glad to see Matt Toomua get a start and a chance to build into a game.I don’t see him as a super sub off the bench the same as say KB or Willie G so better chance to show his wares.I don’t think we’re fearing Manu Samoa as much as the Springboks are against Japan who are 1 for 1 against them by rolling out their best XV.Looking forward to a big weekend of rugger.

  • Bobas

    Apart from the Vikings team and a few players here and there the NRC teams have really gone backwards in terms of talent.

    Sefa Naivalu playing Cameron Clark. Where’s players like Hergarty or Rona?

    • Geoffro

      I s’pose a lot of the guys who have their super contracts locked in would rather put their feet up,maybe take a holiday to Japan,have a few biru n watch the wc

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Yeah, I think the reality is that if we want to keep top guys in Aus we are going to have to support there being more flexible contracts allowing them to play in Japan in the ‘off season’, and then have a shorter super rugby season. The NRC will inevitably become weaker.

        However, I think Naivalu and Clarke are as good as Rona as far as wingers go, if not better.

      • Anonymous bloke

        Meakes’ commentary was insightful I thought, and added a lot compared with his partner.

        • Geoffro

          Couldn’t agree more.His co-commentator annoyed the shit out of me.

        • joy

          His Gordon Bray style?

        • Geoffro

          Please dont compare him to Gordy,hes one of the all time greats

      • Max Graham

        Is that fair? These guys are pros – professionals in most fields have some choice as to how much they work. The rugby season is ridiculously long – super rugby season starts In February (trials in January!) and the NRC won’t end until late October. Meakes would have started pre-season training in November last year. They have a few years to make some money and achieve their goals – I’m happy to give them some leeway in how they manage their workload.

        Maybe the NRC concept is stupid. Just saying….

        • Dud Roodt

          I tried that argument with my boss this morning, told him I needed to manage my workload so I was fucking off to Europe for 3 months.

          He made some hilarious joke along the lines of “yeah, and don’t fuckin’ come back!” – haha, classic.

        • Geoffro

          Haha,you need to get a manager.i would but nobody seems to be interested in 10% of a lollipop mans wages

        • Dud Roodt

          Wait… so you’re telling me these discussions should be between my manager, my agent, and my boss?

          I always wondered what I paid those guys for.

        • Geoffro

          “my manager,my agent and my boss”. yeah,I give all my wages to the missus too

        • Dud Roodt

          Haha but how good is allowance day?!

        • Geoffro

          The pokies get that (been married for a loooong time)

        • Geoffro

          I completely agree with you Max.They’ve been hard at work for the past 10 months or so.Dont think the NRC is stupid , it gives the next level of guys a chance to show their worth and with and against a sprinkling of the higher level guys who choose to go around for whatever reason.I’d be having the time off though if I was one of the fulltime SR blokes.

        • Max Graham

          Don’t those guys have a chance in club rugby? That’s where they found players for the other 100 years of rugby in this country. Do we have a better test side since the NRC came along? I won’t keep bashing you guys with my negativity!! :)

        • ForceFan

          ” I won’t keep bashing you guys with my negativity!!”
          Is that a promise?

        • Dud Roodt

          How about we make a deal;

          Max stops being negative about the NRC & Force Fan(s) stop being negative about the Rebels, RA, the Wallabies etc etc?

        • Max Graham

          No deal!

        • Dud Roodt

          Now Max, work with me here.

          How about this, we pick a day of the week where the anti-NRC people, and the anti-everything rugby East of East Perth brigade get to unleash? Let’s say Tuesday?

        • Max Graham

          I lived in Perth for 10 years and still call it home. I used to hang out with a few players. No biggie…. ;)
          I played at Soaks and know WA based former ARU board members. I’m qualified to unleash on WA rugby fans.

        • Soaks…. explains a lot :P

        • andrewM

          Why should we be the only people to not be negative about the Wallabies??

        • Max Graham

          I meant the NRC fans. I can’t make any such promise to Western Australians.

        • ForceFan

          I too was only referring to the NRC.
          Lousy deal offered by DR.
          Speak to my manager re a better offer.

        • Ads

          Stuff’s definitely changed since professionalism. Whereas in a semi-pro/amateur era, shute to state to national worked, it hasn’t really since professionalism. We’ve basically been shithouse for most of the past 15 years (when compared to prior success). So I think the concept of NRC is good, and it replicates successful models in other successful countries.

          What I’m not sure about is would the NRC model/concept have been better served by leveraging existing club branding/loyalties (from existing clubs) to generate the model. You then by definition bring along the randwick and whatever tribalism, but you effectively root all the fringe clubs too. That’s the trade off.

        • Max Graham

          Agree!! That trade off is very real. I’d wager that most league fans would argue losing Newtown and co was worth the cost of what they have now.
          The Broncos smashed the local Brisbane comp, but I’d say it was worth it. Keep with my Apple analogies, they must have known that the iPhone would hurt the iPod. Imagine if they constrained the capabilities of the phone in order to keep the iPod alive. But they didn’t and it’s become the most successful consumer item in history.

          Er…: what were we talking about again?

        • Ads

          It can go both ways for sure. I did most of primary school in Balmain and used to love watching the BALMAIN Tigers at Leichardt oval. When the Tiges merged (with Wests of all clubs – the local enemy!) out of the superleague crap I stopped watching league. There was this other sport with guys like Campo running around the got my interest. But I was lost as a fan. Like I said I dunno what the right answer is.

          Your model is probably better for the fans/regions supported by Randwick and Uni and probably a few Brissie clubs etc (the traditional leather patch “heartland”). The current NRC model might be better in other areas.

          So the question is where is the growth likely to come from? Your Apple analogy might support this argument – the shute shield clubs are the ipod/discman. With NRC as the shiny new iphone? I think that has been the case with the AFL in western Sydney for example.

          The reality is most of the administration is so shithouse they might get it wrong regardless.

        • Who?

          Your last line is so sadly accurate. :-( Except for the ‘might’. :-(
          .
          Your point about merging clubs is also really relevant to the concept of turning a mix of SS and QPR into a national comp. It could easily get to a point where an Eastwood or West Harbour might die as a top level club. Or might need to merge to avoid dying. How would Eastern Suburbs supporters go if they were forced to ‘merge’ with Randwick? Can’t imagine it’d go any better than it did for fans of the clubs who formed the ‘Northern Eagles’.

        • AllyOz

          Actually there was an interesting podcast I listened to about Steve Jobs views on this. He was never keen for the third party apps or internet connectivity and just wanted a phone that you could play music on when he first designed the Iphone. He thought anything else, the next level if you like, would be too distracting and have negative impact. This has nothing to do with your point so sorry for the distraction.

          However, you are correct with regards the Broncos and the local Brisbane Rugby League comp but I am not sure how many club rugby league fans form the fan base for the Broncos. I would think that perhaps they are less of the rugby league diehards who used to follow club games and more “general” level fans, corporates and people looking for some sports entertainment – not so much the players, ex-players and families. I remember the glory days of Queensland just before full professionalism and it was a different crowd that went to the Queensland game than went to club games – there were are lot of players and players families but there were a lot of people who went to the rugby because it was the thing to do.

          In terms of Rugby League in Qld, while the Broncos did devastate Brisbane RL what has now emerged is the Intrust Super Cup, some of the clubs in it are the Brisbane clubs but others are new “franchises” closer to NRC – it’s almost a blend of your club expansion and the NRC. NSW now has similar with its State Cup though its less decentralised than Qld’s. The difficulty though is that I don’t think it stands on its own or could support itself without support the QRL, the NRL TV money and the State of Origin dollars though I’m not entirely sure on that.

        • Max Graham

          Why can’t rugby have State of Origin? Maybe the issue is that the Reds and Tahs are clubs? But can’t we just see what happens if we play one game?? Let Quade open up on Foley…. Pocock in a maroon shirt… I need a cold shower.

          Imagine the quality and interest of North v South NZ Origin!! What’s stopping them from doing that?

        • Who?

          You’ve got it – the fact that Super Rugby was the easiest to establish cash cow prevented Rugby Origin. Super Rugby was the easiest to establish because it was higher quality than club, it was controlled at a higher level (i.e. it was easier to organize than the cat-herding required to draw clubs out of existing comps without destroying those clubs and without setting offside the rest of the Rugby community), and it did have the advantage of existing tribalism. Those teams weren’t Origin teams, they were residency teams (as League had been prior to Game 3, 1980). And they became replacement clubs.
          .
          No question, a Rugby Origin game would be fun. Rough on the states without a team, or with lower talent pools, but fun between NSW and Qld. But the calendar’s already so crowded, and unlike League, Tests are a big deal in Rugby.

        • Max Graham

          There’s one origin. The other states can sit back in awe. It’s not for them.

        • AllyOz

          I think the players are spread about enough now that it would work.

          One point that you make elsewhere is that the bulk of players are still coming from NSW and Qld and that is one way of recognising this.

          I think they should change the names of the two Super teams to Brisbane and Sydney anyway.

          NSW and Qld could still come together as rep teams (on an origin basis) to play touring teams and for a one off origin. The Reds and the Waratahs as they are aren’t what they traditionally were anyway and there are a number of Qld’ers in NSW and vice versa. I think it would be something that would garner real interest and it could, apart from a few native ACT, Victorian and WA players who could form a third team if required, it would be a fair dinkum selection trial.

          I would fly to NZ personally to watch a North v South game. That would be awesome.

          Now be honest, is it Poey in a maroon shirt or Poey “changing into” a maroon shirt that has you excited.

        • Max Graham

          I’m not sure how to answer they last question……

        • AllyOz

          OK Max, if RA come to you and say they are going to run with a 12 team national comp next year and they want you to come up with the design who are the teams. They have put a few provisos in, you must include WA and Melbourne and World Rugby are bankrolling Fiji and Samoa so you have to have them. You have to decide which 5 Sydney club sides and 3 Qld club sides are in – who do you pick? Genuinely interested in who you’d have and perhaps why?

        • Max Graham

          Sorry, you misunderstand me – I don’t want that at all. If I was king and had 30 seconds to think of the solution, I’d scrap Super Rugby and have our 5 sides plus Fiji join the five kiwi teams with perhaps one more (Taranaki?). South Africa and Argentina would be goneski. If that was considered too radical and we had to persevere with the dumbest designed sporting format on the planet, I’d have the Force and Canberra Vikings join the top 8 from the 2021 Sydney comp. Twiggy can pick up the tab for the economy flights. In 2022 I would look to add a Brisbane team backed by some other rich dude with a passion for publicity. That’ll do it I reckon.

          New comp rules would include:
          – ability for fans to buy full strength tins (Force would not be allowed to shut the bar at half time. Wtf is that about??)
          – Tv commentary would be someone not completely shit. In other words, no one who’s ever worked for Fox Sports. Sean Malone can host though – he’s alright.
          – no lame experimental laws

          That’ll do. I didn’t forget about Melbourne either.

        • AllyOz

          I like the first idea. I reckon that NZ would have to supply 7 sides though – they have a least two more sides of that level of talent that we have five of if that makes sense. I think they also have 14 provincial sides so that would make it an easy 2 per franchise/club (it would also mean that one would always fighting with the other internally so it would be better for us).

          I am not sure about taking the top 8 out of just 10 Shute Shield teams and having just one team in Brisbane. If I really wanted to lose friends, and I don’t have any really anyway, I would say 6 teams from Sydney (incl. Western Sydney backed by Twiggy as he was going to pay for them anyway), Vikings and Force as per your suggestion and 4 from Brisbane. Brothers, because everyone needs someone to hate, Sydney Uni, because some people don’t hate Brothers and you need to look after them, Souths (so your mate Quade can come back and play) and GPS Old Boys (because that’s my team and its my post so just suck it up).

          If I had to have a go at picking the Sydney 6 it would be Western Sydney, Randwick, Eastwood (so I wouldn’t have to put up with Pappy’s constant moaning on Talkin’ Sport), Gordon (I like tartan in a jersey) and Northern Beaches and Uni (the hate thing for Sydney people). That would piss off enough people to ensure it never happened (both in Brisbane and Sydney). You could add NSW Country playing out of Newcastle (with the occasional home game around the state).

        • Max Graham

          But my point was that we build on the Shute Shield gradually. Picking favourites to dice up 100 year old comps is very unfair and extremely risky. I think that’s how you lose long-time supporters. If clubs can’t keep up that’s one thing, but there’s no turning back once you start acting like Super League did in the 90’s. League was lucky that the ARL didn’t back down. That’s when I got into rugby for what it’s worth.

        • Alister Smith

          yeah you’re probably right. Some people would leave rugby and never come back once we try to do that. I wasn’t being overly serious as I don’t think it would ever work.

          What might be an affordable starting point would be to replace the NRC (and i am on record for saying it should stay). With a Champions trophy type comp from the end of the Shute Shield onwards. So Sydney’s top six, Brisbane’s top four, two finalists from ACT, and the Force and the Rising. Players not in the top teams can be made available for a draft but only a limited amount for each squad and they have to stay in their states (ie Reds registered players can only play for Qld Club teams). Two Pools of seven with a six game season and then a top 5 finals series for the Australia club championship.

        • Max Graham

          There is some merit in that idea!

        • idiot savant

          Yes that’s the model to keep the tribalism and advance to a higher level. Fremantle, Adelaide Crows, Port Adelaide were all teams in their local comps who advanced to the next level and brought their tribal support.

        • Who?

          Not so sure that the Crows were… West Coast weren’t. The Swans weren’t. GWS weren’t. The Brumbies (still our most successful franchise) weren’t.

        • Who?

          The NSWRU could easily have leveraged the SS. They could’ve run the NSW franchises, had them divided up properly into North/South and Country (or North, South, West and Country), dictating which clubs fed which teams (creating a clear regional tie), and built it as the next step out of Club into the Tahs. But they never did. Typical useless administrators…

        • Who?

          Honestly… I think we do. There’s still coaching issues, but this is the best mix of talent available to Cheika in quite a few years. It’s a better balance than was available to McKenzie, or Deans. It’s possibly our best ever front row talent pool.
          .
          The last big step forward in accelerated player development was (arguably) from the NRC, where a bunch of guys (including Mr Beale) advertised it by telling us all that we didn’t know them yet, but we would. And we did.
          .
          Oh, and doing the same thing in the professional era that worked in the amateur era is hardly guaranteed to work….

        • Ads

          I reckon there are 2 competing issues.
          1) the physical load of playing for 10 months straight. Bodies need proper recovery and pre-season time
          2) the fact that some of these guys are employed as professionals. I would have no problem with them still “working” by running camps for kids (in western Sydney or Perth to keep Hannes happy or wherever) etc while resting their bodies.
          Oh and cos I can’t count they also deserve a proper 4 weeks/month leave like the rest of us.

        • Max Graham

          You’d be happy? I think fans need to understand that we don’t pay these guys. Other than the top 25, salaries are from the super rugby teams. And the salaries are often not that big. They aren’t indentured servants who work for ‘rugby’.

        • Ads

          That’s why I said some of these guys. Agree it’s a very different argument for low paid fringe guys.

        • Max Graham

          So the high paid players – the one who can fetch big overseas money – should have additional duties than being a pro player? I’m not sure you’d get the result you want.

        • Ads

          possibly they should have additional duties yes if they are well paid.
          1) If they play 12 months continually, they never get a proper down time. This means they will probably not be physically 100%. So you are paying them for less than an optimal result. Maybe a Richie McCaw at 90% is still better than most other guys. Some guys (like George Smith) can handle the continual load. Others (most?) can’t.
          2) It would likely help keep some egos in check (again an issue for some and not others)
          3) current players are probably your best marketing tools. So if they are well paid, they are part paid player and part paid brand ambassador etc.

        • Jcr

          My sort of son in law is of to the World Cup to play and I was talking to him about the playing load and what he said was, he can get up for internationals and Super but after that it’s hard to maintain enthusiasm. In his view , rugby is his work now, it used to be his dream and so when he gets home from work he really doesn’t want to watch ,talk or hear about it after hours.

        • Ads

          Congrats to your sort of son-in-law – what an achievement! I get that it would be like work. Same goes for professional musos etc. I get it. But most of us go to work and get paid to do stuff we don’t always enjoy. So (if well paid and looked after) suck it up I say!

        • Who?

          It really does depend on how those contracts are drawn up. I’m not 100% certain, but I’d expect the Rebels, Force and QRU contracts would be pretty clear about their expectations of players around NRC. NSWRU contracts (given there’s no official connection between the NSWRU and the NRC) likely have nothing, leading to the article the other year on the other site about how Tahs players couldn’t be bothered playing NRC (extra work for no extra pay), and senior clubbies couldn’t be bothered because it was too great a commitment for the pittance they received (in NSW).

        • Max Graham

          Additional duties means additional pay.

        • Ads

          Maybe. Depends on expectation and if paid well enough already.

        • ForceFan

          Maybe the NRC is a great concept and some people are too blind to see. Just saying.

        • Max Graham

          Steve Jobs said – “focus on building a great product and success will come”. The public has seen the NRC – if it was a great product it would be successful.

          That analogy seemed better when I started the comment.

        • joy

          Rugby is a complex game, like chess. At the pub rugby fans almost always talk about strategy. Rugby crowds are overwhelming ex players. In comparison other codes resemble drafts, Even league was dumbed down to cater for the masses. When rugby and other footy fans mix (I should say collide) the draft players always want to shift the conversation away from strategy, normally by whinging. If we want to lift the crowds we must expand the player base. The current focus on sevens and woman’s rugby is a good way to go but it takes generations. The new players soon understand rugby strategy and fit in well. For the others it’s FIFO for mine.

        • Max Graham

          That’s a fair point actually!!

    • idiot savant

      With the exception of the Force and to an extent the Vikings, the rest of the NRC franchises appear to be being used by the Super franchises as development and trialling exercises for up and comers and fringe candidates. As evidenced by all the young flyhalves mentioned in Sully’s article. It has the flavour of a next gen competition.

      • Who?

        Probably a good thing – man we need some 10’s!!! Next year, Foley, Cooper and Leali’ifano are all in Japan, aren’t they?!

    • Who?

      Wouldn’t Rona – not having been picked for the Wallabies – have gone over to join London Irish by now?
      Hegarty’s a fair question, but developing 10’s isn’t a bad thing… We’ve got none.

  • Max Graham

    This weekend a monstrous crowd will watch a club team play a test side. Meanwhile, 9 blokes and one player’s new gf will turn up to watch the double-header NRC extravaganza on the GC.
    Just a thought, but can we see what would happen if next year Randwick or whomever trekked across the Nulibor and played the Force? See if the Perth locals care less about playing an actual club instead of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Urchins or whatever other make contrived team they usually face. I reckon the Force crowd would be the same. I reckon it would be cost effective.
    Maybe, just maybe… now hear me out….. club rugby becoming the ‘NRC’ is the answer. Maybe doing exactly what they did in NRL (remember NSWRL?) and AFL (used to be called VFL, right?) with ridiculous success is the answer. Start with the Force next year.

    • paul

      A club based domestic competition has always been the answer to growing the game in this country, the question you need to ask is why has that never happened.

      • Max Graham

        Paul’s with me!!! Good ol’ Paul!

      • Nutta

        It was remarkable that both Sydney Rugby and Brisbane Rugby panicked and retreated when Canberra started coming to town and spoiling their incestuous localised arrangements. In both instances the Canberrans rolled in for a season, kicked the shite out of everyone and were then sent packing…

        • Geoffro

          Bloody ACT.When I was a kid playing junior club rugby (Syd Nth Subs) we travelled there a few times as reigning premiers to play.We always got thumped

        • AllyOz

          I think they kicked the shit out of us for two years in Brisbane.

    • AllyOz

      Twiggy can do whatever he wants with his cash. He started a comp and funds the team so if they want to play against the Nepalese Sherpas then good on him.

      I understand your comments and get that you don’t like the NRC. But I do and I am going to the GC to add to that crowd (and now I am going to take my dog so it will actually be 10 people and 2 dogs – just to spite you ;) ).

      For those of us that aren’t from Sydney, the Shute Shield teams have no more relevance than those that play Hospitals Cup or the Fortescue Cup or Blowes Cup for that matter. Clubs like Randwick and Sydney Uni have great tradition but I think that the people in Sydney overstate what they mean to people outside of that comp.

      When the NSWRL and the VFL were at the top of the game, before the nationalisation of their comps, all the top players from WA or SA or Tasmania moved to Victoria to play in that comp. When NSW RL was at its top most of the Qld players moved to NSW to play for those clubs (which is why Origin was required and why it became such a success). That isn’t the case for the Shute Shield and players have never moved to Sydney (a few may have but not many) because its the sole centre of Rugby Union in Australia. You play in your local state, represent that state and push to make the Australian team.

      Shute Shield or SRU tried to set up a national comp before. They introduced Canberra, Penrith and Newcastle in the late 80’s or early 90’s (Not sure if Southern Districts also came in at this time). (I played against and was flogged by a Newcastle Flames team in a trial game). The competition couldn’t be sustained and the SRU or Shute Shield admin let everyone of those new teams go with Penrith being the last. It was unsustainable then and I can’t see what makes it sustainable now.

      • Max Graham

        Disagree, but that’s a fair argument.

      • Hoss

        Newcastle Flames – WTF ??? it was ‘Wildfires’ Mr Oz, Wildfires. Chance i might have run over the top of you too.

        Do you recall a genetically enhanced, devlishly good looking 8 smashing past you – then pulling up with emphysema-like symptoms shortly there-after ?

        • Nutta

          Flames are a netball team aren’t they? Did you look that good in a skirt Hoss?

        • Hoss

          Spent enough time in my youth trying to fit into them.

        • Geoffro

          Never tried on the kit but spent plenty time courtside with my teenage mates.Didnt know the rules apart from trying to score a hoop ;)

        • Nutta

          ‘fit’ into them or ‘get’ into them?

        • Hoss

          Potatoe / Potarto.

        • AllyOz

          I recall a Polynesian gentleman who hit me so hard I thought all my teeth would fall out. He didn’t hit me high, just across the chest but my whole body hurt but it cured me of running too upright.

          Wildfires….yes that was it…i blame the concussion and/or the alcohol consumption.

          I was playing for Central North and it was a warm up game/selection trial at Tamworth ahead of Country Week – maybe 1995. I had a shit game and thought that was all I would get but I was named number 23 of 23 and got to go to Mudgee or Scone for CW.

          I also recall an albino bloke who was I think i also played against in a carnival at Armidale when we played Hamilton.

          All No. 8’s are devilishly handsome aren’t they? And no I was a 4/5, but i know my place in the food chain.

        • Hoss

          Yeh mate – that would be ‘Snowy’ as we called him. Wont use his real name here. Tough as old leather.

          If Nutta is still haunting these pages today, he wrote some ripping pieces about the make up of forwards a while back. Maybe he could re-post the one about the locks again, help you sleep at night.

        • Nutta
        • Hoss

          I dont care what Briz says – you’re alright in my books. And that piece, my friend is brilliant

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          That’s brilliant

        • Nutta

          Holy $hite I was at Tamworth Country Week in 1994 playing for the old Riverina zone. If you were playing for Blue Bulls we faced off on the Saturday.

        • AllyOz

          No I wasn’t good enough that year – I played half a season for Quirindi after having the previous 12 months off jackerooing in the NT. It was pretty new to things and the area so not many would have known me by Easter. Then I played the other half of the season in Brisbane and then came back down to Quirindi in 1995 and played country week for CN (i think in scone) and then made a Western Division side that played Divisional Championships in Port Macquarie. Steve Merrick was playing for Eastern and I think we won and we also, if I remember correctly, beat Southern but we did so without winning any lineout ball whatsoever from yours truly. In 1994 you would have played against Ian “Keg” McKenzie and perhaps Dave Carter – who I played with at Quirindi – they were awesome to learn from both NSW Country stalwarts and Carts obviously played for the Wallabies too.

        • Nutta

          Dave Carter – that’s Sam Carters dad yeh?

          I played Country Week in ’93 & ’94. I was out of the Waratahs Club in Wagga so it was the old Riverina zone. 93 was in Sydney and 94 was in Tamworth.

        • AllyOz

          They told me there was a bloke in the CN team who got off the bus when it arrived in Sydney in ’93 grabbed his bag out of the coach and they didn’t see him for two/three days until he turned up drunk at the hotel just as the bus was leaving back for Tamworth. I won’t mention his name but he was a prop.

        • Nutta

          Poetry.

        • AllyOz

          Yes Sam’s Dad.

          I just read your piece. Now a couple of things you got wrong, I prefer a dash of water with my scotch and I don’t have patches on my tweed jacket (but I do collect them and currently have 50 – even worked in a tweed factory for two weeks – and yes I know this means any credibility I might have had is gone).

          The rest is uncannily accurate….oh…and I hate you.

        • Who?

          @disqus_vjuclDn4w7:disqus, @HossRugby:disqus, @allyoz:disqus…
          Gold, gents. More please. :-)
          .
          But, of course, it’s all irrelevant, because none of it in any way relates to the Shute Shield. Rugby doesn’t exist west of Anzac Parade, or north of the bridge at Brooklyn. :-P

        • AllyOz

          I guess the country rugby experience is a bit different. I played in St George in Qld too. Fantastic club to play with. And 5 hour bus trips to Warwick or Toowoomba were something to remember….or forget. We used to play Gatton too and the Darling Downs Rugby would schedule our game against Gatton so that it coincided with a Qld game so we would play and then take an extra hour or so down to Brisbane, watch the Reds and then travel back to St George the next day after a very big night. The six hour trip home on Sunday was arduous. Monday’s productivity often suffered.

        • Who?

          I can’t imagine how on earth guys are able to choose to sign up each year with that sort of travel. I did the maths a few years ago, assuming a 0 minute travel time to a home game, a Toowoomba player was travelling an average of 3 hours and 20 minutes each week.
          .
          My club was, for a while, connected with the Black Pigs, who still get out and have a go each year (hard when you can’t have a pre-season because your players aren’t local), and it would be painful to lose junior coaches on the massive road trip to St George, or Roma, or… And I couldn’t understand how they could do it, leaving the rest of the family to figure out how to get home from wherever they might’ve been that day. It’s a huge ask. I couldn’t do that – take that much time away from my family (not with work, etc). If you’re young and single in St George, I get it, but if you’re young and single in Toowoomba, it’s under 2 hours to Surfers, Fortitude Valley, or… Even Dalby, the Toowoomba Bypass opens this weekend, suddenly that trip down is a lot faster.
          .
          I don’t think people who whine about how tough life is elsewhere understand that they’re not the only ones with a difficult sell, or tough job. I had a lady running our canteen who lived an hour away. And no family left playing in the club. But she was committed. Meanwhile, we received pretty well nothing from the QRU, nothing at all from the ARU, and to this day have our teenage comp stripped bare by the Rugby schools in the region, dropping over 50% of players between U12’s and U16’s due to kids changing clubs to play with school mates, making some clubs artificially strong (and dropping their weaker players out – the junior team I coached, there was one club we beat every game between U8’s and U12’s, come teenage, they recruited the A’s from the school that we didn’t have, and started winning GF’s. They developed pretty well none of those kids, most just jumped sideways from other clubs), making some clubs artificially weak (losing some fitter players), and making some disappear (losing enough school players that they no longer have a team). And then the schools tell the kids we developed from U6’s that they can’t play club and be in the Firsts. And then people try to tell me that Rugby schools are a good thing….
          .
          Life’s very different in Country Rugby, and those who live closer to the ivory towers haven’t a clue about the challenges in the real world. Instead they whine that they’ve got even more quality Rugby to watch and support, just down the road.

    • Kiap

      Ah, the 1980s – rotary dial phones, cassette tapes, the NSWRL with cigarette sponsorship, Randwick losing to NZ and, hey, drive-in movies may have still been a thing.

      You can’t go back, boys. Nothing left but boring stories. Gone in the blink of a young girl’s eye…

      • Nutta

        Drive-in still at Blacktown in Sydney’s west. Still a great night out. Still go with a matress in the back. Difference is the kids are on the mattress and the missus and I are outside in camp chairs…

        We were doing some scrum training last night and the locks weren’t binding effectively on the props so when the weight came on they were changing shape and losing flow. So I wormed in on my back under the scrum machine and front-row and showed the Locks how to reach through palm-out to grip and twist the props jersey and pull down into the Telephone Grip with knuckles on your cheekbone. Tighter, don’t lose shape and stay ‘locked on’ the prop.

        The 23yr old lock is looking completely baffled. I say ‘What’s wrong?’ He says ‘How the fk do you hold a phone? You squeeze it and put it on your cheek?’

        Fk I’m old…

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Hahahahaha yes you are

        • Keith Butler

          Gold. In my locking days my prop complained that my grip kept on breaking the waist band on his shorts. He ended up replacing it with a length of rope!

        • Geoffro

          I’d have just explained it could be far worse than a broke waistband if I slipped

        • Keith Butler

          Gold.

      • Max Graham

        Kiap!!! Long time no see. ;)

        • Kiap

          Ha! How you doing man, still up to mischief? Always recall a face (not names of course, but that’s another story :)

        • Max Graham

          I don’t think you remember me at all…. ((

        • Kiap

          Nah, just had to check the photo, being more au fait with your previous moniker. Posting style hasn’t changed though, mate ;) Obviously ‘kiap’ doesn’t exist in RL either, being merely an Arch Vandelay alias – or TBH not even that. :) You in oz these days or euroland?

        • Max Graham

          Still up norf, but back a bit for work.

    • idiot savant

      I have long thought a national club competition would strengthen the game as have many others. However it wont be easy. It has failed on previous occasions. It wasn’t easy when the SRL went national and clubs like the Crushers and almost every version of the GC have gone by the wayside. But its something that could work when the time is right. Its the only way to preserve the Sydney tribalism.

      I think both the Sydney and Brisbane club competitions would need to be broken up and two divisions created with relegation and promotion. Divison 1 could be say, the top 4 SS clubs, the top 3 Brisbane clubs, and 1 each from Canberra, Melbourne and Perth. Division 2 could the rest of the Brisbane and SS clubs and another from Canberra and possibly Perth. It would be expensive and Im not sure the dollars are there at the moment for it to work. It would need major sponsors like Twiggy to kick it off and then hopefully it would gather momentum. But you can rock up to a Randwick game for peanuts now. That would have to change.

      • Max Graham

        Manufacturing tribalism is hard. Looking at rugby, there is little reason to think the Force wouldn’t be successful. The NRL and AFL did well with gradual growth. Can’t we just start with the Force and see how that goes for a couple of years?

    • Patrick

      Max, Max, Max.

      I agree that we should emulate the ridiculously succesful VFL/AFL. IEspecially the parts where:
      1. they took all power from the clubs and left them basically spectators at the AGM;
      2. they took the crap clubs and told them to merge, die, or move
      3. they invested a motza in:
      – Training, for free, and paying, even at U12s, referees
      – auskick every Saturday morning on bloody near every oval in the country these days for a nominal amount
      – setting up in Sydney, Brisbane and Western Sydney
      – Aborigine talent spotting and development pathways

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Thanks Sully,
    Good of Squire to reach out and show that it’s ok to ask for help. I hope it helps other people who aren’t in a good space.
    Looking forward to this game and I really hope Banks and a few others show the selectors were wrong to leave them out. I also hope there are no injuries. It’ll be good to see Pocock back and as Captain and how Foley steps up after being kept back.
    I think some of those NRC teams get better defence this week. Last week was good but I think a good defence will be needed, especially later on.
    Meh! Ledesma’s just trying to make sure there’s options to come back to Sydney when the Argies crash and burn in Japan.

    • Bernie Chan

      Agree KRL…anything that encourages people to speak up and seek assistance is a positive. Kudos to Liam Squires and the great Buck Shelford for backing him up publicly.
      Jeez we have a slow 10-12-13 combo…but great to see Brian back on the field in his #7 jersey!

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        Hey Bernie, yeah that inside centre combo could struggle if the fast Samoans target them. I think if you keep the ball tight and hold into it you’ll be ok but if you give them a sniff they could hurt you

    • Geoffro

      A good understanding in the rugby community over there of mental health issues led by (Sir) John Kirwan.Now,I know none of us wish injury on anyone but its good to see the guys outside the squad included in the mix.Foley better bloodywell step up , he’s been given plenty of trust.And finally,Mario is welcome back at the Tahs anytime in my books.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Thanks Sully. The news from here in Moscow is that the Bears are playing a RWC warm-up match tomorrow night. Against Connacht. No disrespect to a good club side, but it’s still only a good club side.
    Now, it’s true that Russia qualified by doing a Bradbury after Romania, Spain and Belgium were disqualified for fielding ineligible players. But if World Rugby are serious about growing the game outside of the usual suspects who will make the quarters (and let’s face it, in most of the pools the only question is in which order the top 2 will finish), then they need to start exposing the ‘minnows’ to some better opposition – even in the 3 intervening years. It could be a massively popular sport in Russia (147 million people). Some big units here who don’t mind the contact (insert military joke here).

    • Geoffro

      Shame theres next to no chance of a Russia USA game

      • GeorgiaSatellite

        You’re talking about rugby, right?

        • Geoffro

          Used to be a bit of angst in any Russia/USA sporting rivalry.Not so much these days or in rugby I s’pose.

        • GeorgiaSatellite

          Whew! Thought you might’ve been on to geopolitics and election rigging.

        • Geoffro

          Well……I am into it a bit.Another sport I dont mind watching from afar

Queensland Reds
@Only1Sully

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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