Green & Gold Rugby 2016 Wallaby Player of the Year - Green and Gold Rugby
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Green & Gold Rugby 2016 Wallaby Player of the Year

Green & Gold Rugby 2016 Wallaby Player of the Year

Ok so it was a tough year for Australian Rugby fans. Nine losses is never a fun outcome particularly when almost half of them are from the ‘old enemy’ in England (unfortunately, we’re kind of used to the NZ losses).

As Hugh Cavill pointed out on our podcast last week though, it must surely go down as one of the hardest international years of rugby Australia has ever had, such was the quality of the opposition. The lowest ranked team we ever faced was Scotland who was ranked 9th at the time. In fact 11 of our 15 games were against team ranked in the top five teams (of which we only won two…).

Anyway…a tough year for the Wallabies as a collective, but there’s no doubting there have been some wonderful individual performances. We’ve had veterans returning to our shores under the “Giteau Clause”, we’ve rookies emerge as stand out players, and we’ve had many of the regulars busting their gut every  time they pull on the jersey. As per usual, GAGR likes to recognise these players.

For the eighth successive year, the readers of Green and Gold Rugby have banded together to determine our GAGR Wallaby Player of the Year. In what must be the biggest fan driven Player of the Year award in the country, based on performance, we can now announce our 2016 winner.

But first, a little bit about the process.

After every Wallaby test match, over in the forum, our readers provide their old school for 3-2-1’s for that game. That is, they declare their top three performing Wallabies with the best getting 3 points, 2nd best getting 2 points and the third best getting 1 point.

At the end of the match (voting usually stops by about the Thursday following a weekend test) we accumulate the votes and come up with the three highest point-getters. They are then assigned the 3-2-1 for that test and kept in a spreadsheet, which accumulates the points across the season.

Then come season end, sometime after the November tests we name our winner of the largest fan-driven player award in Australian Rugby.

Our readers have time and again showed extreme astuteness in their selections with the list of winners undeniably at the top of their class in Australian rugby.

Previous winners have been as follows:

2009 – George Smith
2010 – David Pocock
2011 – Will Genia
2012 – Michael Hooper
2013 – Scott Fardy
2014 – James Slipper
2015 – David Pocock 

So how did 2016 pan out? Let’s look back at the season test match by test match (sorry) as we count down to find out the 2016 GAGR Wallaby Player of the Year.

Australia v England (Brisbane)

(England 39 defeated Australia 28)

3 points – Michael Hooper

2 points – Israel Folau
1 point – Dane Haylett-Petty

 

Australia v England (Melbourne)

(England 23 defeated Australia 7)

3 points – Samu Kerevi

2 points – Israel Folau
1 point – Michael Hooper

 

Australia v England (Sydney)

(England 44 defeated Australia 40)

3 points – Sean McMahon

2 points – Michael Hooper
1 point – Matt Toomua

Pages: 1 2 3 4

  • StewedP

    Interesting – Dean Mumm didn’t score a single point Was Michael Cheika excluded from voting?

    • Andy

      Neither did Fardy tbf. But agree with most, he needs to be an afterthought next season. Need to blood an up and comer in that position

      • julesie

        Its hard for Fardy to get any points when he’s always stuck behind Saint Dean in the picking order

    • Dalai Ninja

      Does this qualify as a generic, instinctive moan in the face of a good-news result?

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Because he’s shit at flanker. A good lock but that’s all

  • SuckerForRed

    Cream always rises to the top. Congrats Will.

  • Mart

    What happened to Slipper since 2014

    • Rebels3

      Agreed, i used to be a fan but is now very mediocre. As much as i think the reds have a good squad next year, i believe at least one of Slipper, Simmons or Douglas will find their way out of the reds starting xv by seasons end.

      • Ev

        I’d add Stephen Moore to that list

        • Mart

          He started to come good by end of season. Slipper not so much

    • RobC

      Injiured, several places
      Operated this year. Hasnt fully recovered yet it seems

  • Jamie Miller

    In terms of most *valuable* player, Sekope Kepu has to be there. In a position where we have SFA depth, he’s matured from a guy who just a couple of years ago looked like a great athlete who was never going to become a reliable prop, to a truly world class one. Getting him back from France was vital. He’s the rock on which what is now a pretty useful scrum is built, and without him we’d be stuffed.

    • onlinesideline

      agreed – very under recognized

    • Nutta

      Tight Head is the hardest, most physically demanding position on the field. It says so much about Australian rugby culture that we don’t really get that (I believe).

    • Hutch

      100% Agreed. He is the player whose absence would most effect team performance. Although Alalatoa is growing into a very handy backup.

    • mark conley

      Well said mr miller, Ala’alatoa to back up; how many years since we’ve had that position well and truly covered, love ‘em

    • Chris

      We should have forced Exeter to release Greg Holmes for test windows.

  • Huw Tindall

    Worthy results! Interesting how despite all the partisan crap and serial haters you get on some sits GAGR gets it right, or at least very hard to argue with.

    Just look at the top 6 in the votes and they would probably be your first 6 picks in a Wallaby team.

    Well done Sanchez and the GAGR team for another sterling year.

    • AllyOz

      I guess all us haters balance each other out

  • Tomthusiasm

    Shows the value of of Hooper to be constantly polling. Izzy probably had a poor year by his standards but is still there or thereabouts. Good to see Genia make such a difference, and good application of the Giteau law. There is a large chasm between him and Phipps & co atm, and No.9 is such a crucial position.

  • paul

    You have to applaud Hooper for his consistency, and next will be interesting without Pocock around to see the make up of the loosie’s

  • Chunderstruck

    I’m glad Hooper gets some recognition from G&GR users for the effort he puts in every week, reading the comments on this site you’d think he’s widely hated. I remember when he was G&GR’s favourite son, baby baby, where did our love go? Seems like it started when he was named captain in 2014 and apparently wasn’t good at talking to refs or something, and then he copped all the excess flak from the whole #toomanytahs/Di Patston/Ewen McKenzie heartbreak saga. Now he’s just hated for keeping Pocock out of the #7 jersey. Part of me is glad that Pocock is away next year so the same comments won’t pop up every week

    • first time long time

      Come on Chunder, on one hand you say how great the site is because Hooper gets some plaudits for his efforts and in the next sentence you basically ridicule any criticism of him as “excess flak from the whole #toomanytahs/Di Patston/Ewen McKenzie heartbreak saga. Now
      he’s just hated for keeping Pocock out of the #7 jersey” not sure you can claim to be any less biased one way or the other.

      • Chunderstruck

        I’m just happy he got some love on the ratings threads because judging by the comments elsewhere on this site he’s pretty unloved, which I think is harsh.

        His form has been consistently good for pretty much his whole career but some people wouldn’t have him in the starting 15 or maybe not even the 23

        • McWarren

          Mate i’ll put my hand up and admit straight away that I don’t think Michael Hooper should be the Wallaby no.7. I still don’t think he is better than Pocock or Gill as a no.7. I don’t hate the guy, I admire him immensely for his work rate, commitment and ability to stay fit. I think he did a fine job as Wallaby captain as a 21 year old during a really tough time for Wallaby leadership.
          But, I standby my consistent theme, he isn’t a no.7 of international standard. His presence at 7 forcing Pocock to either 6, 8 or the bench means we lack a ball fetching 7 (Pocock) and metre gaining 8 and 6 and ferocity in defence. For what we have to sacrifice to include him in the team it isn’t worth it. And if 9 losses out of 15 games isn’t enough proof that our backrow balance is f’ked then I don’t know what is.

        • harro

          Haha! Yep, we lost nine matches solely to the presence of Hooper and his affect on the balance of the team. Prolly that and the fact that Cooper didn’t get enough match time. Nah…it’s all because of Hooper

        • McWarren

          Of course its not all because of Hooper. I’m not having a go at Hooper as an individual or his ability. What I am saying is, because we persisted with the Pooper it has done neither Pocock, Hooper or the team any favours. Look I don’t shy away from my opinion that Pocock (and Gill) are better 7’s than Hooper, but leaving that aside the balance of the backrow all year has looked at the least peculiar.
          1. I don’t think Hooper is better than Pocock.
          2. I don’t care what combination of 7s you play as the “Pooper”, it is a shit (excuse the pun) selection policy and ignores the attributes brought to a team by a specialist no.8 or 6.
          My second point is why I think we lost so many games this year. Not because of Hooper.

        • harro

          I’d say dropped ball and poor passing in the backs, yellow cards, and our scrum were more of an issue than the breakdown or lineout

        • McWarren

          I agree those things cruelled us as well and missed tackles. They are all basic rugby skills that can and hopefully will be addressed. But Pocock will never be an international standard no8 and Hooper will never be a better 7 than Pocock. That’s easily fixed.

        • first time long time

          I’m with you, I think Hooper would be more effective off the bench for the last 30min. If that makes me a hater then a hater I am.

        • first time long time

          Don’t think he said anything of the sort.
          But hey don’t let rational thought processes stop you

        • harro

          Help me to understand his last two sentences then, because in very plain English he’s said we sacrifice a lot to have Hooper in the team and 9 losses out of 15 is proof our back row is out balance. How do you interpret that?

        • first time long time

          Not all Hoopers fault but yes imbalance in the back row is far from ideal.
          We got smoked at the breakdown in most of the big tests this year

        • harro

          So leaving Pocock out and having Fardy, Hooper and Timani would provide better balance and we’d have won more tests?

        • first time long time

          Ooooh you are fishing now ; )

          Biting……
          Can’t speculate as to changing the past with hypothetical selections.

          I think you need a genuine on baller starting the game and I have said for a long time I think Hooper would awesome off the bench in the last 30min running those awkward angles at the defensive line as it tires.

          The coach thinks differently and I guess next year we will see a back row more like you have suggested above, with maybe a Holloway or Dempsey or someone else coming through.

        • McWarren

          If Hooper was told to play as a no 7. Not a roving inside centre.

        • harro

          What part of his game reminds you of an inside centre? He doesn’t stand there and doesn’t kick. He runs well and tackles well but that’s the job of every player. He’s not on the ball as much as Pocock so that makes him an inside centre?

        • McWarren

          My point, which you insist on missing, is this. I believe, and I accept it is just my opinion, that the core roles of a number 6, 7 & 8 are being under valued by the selection of two number 7’s. My point is that Hooper when he plays with Pocock does not perform the role of a traditional no.7. I believe this is because he is instructed to play that way by the coaches. I believe these instructions are issued because the coaches have asked our no.8 to play his natural no.7 game because they realise he is a better traditional style no.7. This then deprives the team of the attributes and contributions that a regular no.8 or 6 would provide.

        • harro

          I’m not insisting on missing your point. You speculated that Hooper was told to play as a roving inside centre and I asked what part of his game made you think that. You ignored that. I agree with most of what you are saying; my back row would be Fardy, Pocock and Holloway. But I doubt we’ll ever get that under Cheika for a number of reasons. What I disagree with is the comment that 9 losses out of 15 matches is proof that the backrow is f*cked, There’s a lot wrong with our game at the moment and most of it has nothing to do with the backrow.

        • McWarren

          I think he is playing as an inside centre because every time I see him he is standing next to B Foley whether in attack or defense and particularly off lineouts or phase play. Like all good 7’s he chases kicks hard, you always see him beat Pocock, why? because Pocock is at the bottom of a ruck when the kick is made and Hooper is standing at 12 ready to chase.
          As I said earlier to you I agree that a lot of other things were factors in our poor 2016 form. But catching, passing, tackling, discipline etc are all individual skills issues. A backrow that doesn’t bring all the requisite skills because of the individuals chosen (out of position) is a selection issue. In the modern game of rugby I believe the breakdown is where games are won and lost. You can have the fastest, shiniest and most dazzling backline on the planet, but if your backrow gets bossed nothing else matters.
          In the England games in June and November we started the games well. But when we needed a big barnstorming run or some ferocity in defense from a big genuine no. 6 or 8 latter in games we didn’t have it.
          I don’t think the problem lies just in the choice of two 7s, it also stems from the ineffectiveness of Dean Mumm at 6. Perhaps with a more capable and physical 6 the Pooper would still be an option.
          And I can’t believe I have to wait another 2 months before I can go to a game again.

        • harro

          Some valid points mate, I enjoy your passion. The season left most of us down, but it’ll be back before we know it

        • Rebels3

          You do realize England don’t play a fetcher?

          Also the primary reason for my eyes we lost is that we focused far to much come ruck time. Our ball retention throughout the series was superb. We simply got outsmarted by a team that decided to avoid committing numbers to the ruck (aka New Zealand) and fan out numbers in defense, causing turnovers from pressure when kicking, line speed and kick chase. If anything our continued focus on the ruck has been a downfall for us against the top teams, us continually over committing numbers saw us burnt out wide (esp against nz) and continued clamping down on the interpretation around the ruck also saw us heavily penalized (due to the fact we are renowned to focus on ruck time more than any other team).

        • McWarren

          Oh and, Merry Xmas Harro.

        • harro

          You too McWarren

        • McWarren

          I’m saying we sacrifice a lot by not having a proper no 8. And as I would have Pocock as my 7 I therefore believe it is the selection of Hooper that causes our backrow to be out of whack.

        • harro

          Yeah, I got that from your first post. Our 9 losses is proof the backrow is out of whack because every other part of our game is en pointe

        • Kiwi rugby lover

          Mate you need to read what is said. He didn’t say it was because of Hooper, he said it was because of the imbalance of the loosies and there are 3 of them. I’m actually happy for the Pooper and Mumm to continue every time you play the AB’s but I really wish Cheika would go to a traditional combination for every other game. TBH I’d happily have Hooper at 7, I think his main issue all year is about what his actual role is. Pocock has done the 7 role regardless of the jersey he wears and so Hooper has had to try and play the 6 or 8 role that no one else was and he’s just not good enough for that. This isn’t a pick at Hooper it’s about him playing out of position in a role that he’s not suited for.

        • harro

          Mate, I thought what you said was pretty obvious. Some people struggle with rational thought processes :-)

    • Tip

      Considering Hooper played 15 games and Pocock played 8 this year, I think it’s obvious why many can’t understand Cheika’s preference of Hooper in the #7 jersey.

      • Rebels3

        Get off your high horse.

        Pocock played 8 games collected 10 points (1.25 points per game)

        Hooper played 14, collected 15 points (1.07 points per game)

        Hardly showing superiority. Plus who says Pocock would of collected points in the 6 game difference? We’d never know.

        The only thing we know is that we have two world class players in the one position. Well, those of us that don’t harbor a silly grudge towards either player.

        • Tip

          There’s no one on a high horse here, curb your enthusiasm mate.

          Pocock played 647 minutes this year, whereas Hooper has had nearly double the time on the field with 1120 minutes.

          Comparing Pocock to Hooper doesn’t make pretty reading considering that Pocock spent a little over half ( 57%) the amount of time on the field as Hooper.

        • Huw Tindall

          Hooper’s resilience is one of his strengths. He isn’t an injury magnet like Pocock.

        • Mica

          Pocock does a hell of a lot more dirty work and is therefore more often in harms way. This is not to sleight Hooper, just an observation of the different roles they play

        • McWarren

          Mate not rating Hooper above Pocock is hardly bearing a grudge, silly or otherwise. I don’t think Hooper is a better 7 than Pocock or Gill, doesn’t mean have a grudge against him, just means I like my 7’s to play in the traditional 7 role.
          Our problem in oz has always been the inability to make hard decisions. We have this silly notion that we need to get all our best players on the pitch at once regardless of whether they play in their best position.
          Hooper v Pocock
          Folau v DHP
          Foley (at 12) v Hodge

      • Braveheart81

        Considering how consistently well they both perform, it is pretty clear why both keep getting selected. It’s also pretty clear that the numbers on their backs don’t mean a hell of a lot. Pocock is tasked with playing a very similar game whether he’s wearing 7, 6 or 8.

        If Pocock could stay healthy more we’d probably have won more games this season. He played every game he was available for.

        • McWarren

          yes BH they keep getting selected, meaning we play with an out of balance backrow and we lose 9 games in a year??

        • harro

          At least your not blaming Foley

        • McWarren

          The day is still young.

        • Simon

          I’m really struggling to understand this mentality that Hooper wearing 7 somehow sabotages Pocock’s game. I honestly can’t see how it matters if Pocock is wearing 7 or 8 (or 6 for that matter) except for the first ruck in a defensive scrum, when once or twice a game Poey may find it harder to get to the tackle early enough to compete for a turnover. After that first phase, how much does it really matter what number he’s wearing?

          You could argue that they should have Pocock at 7 and Hooper at 8 for those one or two moments a game when it matters, but even then you could argue equally that Hooper should be at 7 because he’s so quick to detach from the scrum and crunch the opposition 8 if he makes a run from the base of the scrum, or put pressure on the halves if they have the ball.

          Pocock’s game isn’t as effective as it was in previous years, but it seems to me that’s due more to the general tightening up of the interpretation of refs around breakdown pilfering and by the attention he gets from opposition forwards to take him out of the contest.

        • McWarren

          sit down and watch Keiran Read, Jamie Heaslip or Toutai Kefu play a game. By insisting on playing Hooper and forcing Pocock to 8 we lose the ability to play a real no.8. Pocock is a better 7 than Hooper, so leave him there and play Timani at 8.

          “Pocock’s game isn’t as effective as it was in previous years, but it seems to me that’s due more to the general tightening up of the interpretation of refs around breakdown pilfering and by the attention he gets from opposition forwards to take him out of the contest.” or because he is playing as a number 6 and 8 and trying to do the things that real 6 & 8’s do.

          All academic now though.

        • Simon

          I never said Pocock was a “real number 8.”

          I’m saying the argument that Pocock’s game is suffering because he’s wearing 8 instead of 7 sounds like bollocks to me. He’s not trying to be a number 8 except at the back of the scrum. And yes, that’s throwing out the balance of the back row due to a lack of a ball carrier, but it’s not making him a less effective 7.
          The argument that the Wallabies backrow is unbalanced by playing dual 7s is a separate issue from the argument that Pocock’s game is suffering because of the number on his back.

        • first time long time

          Pocock also lacks the support over the ball leaving him as the only target for defences to nullify.
          Our back row looked at its most dangerous against France.
          I’m not slagging off Hooper it’s just my observation

  • Pedro

    Imagine Genia was allowed to play more

  • Bobas

    Can someone tweet the result to Lu Lu Chin and Sam Kekovich.
    WE NEED GENIA BACK THIS AUSTRALIA DAY!

    Operation Boomerang 2017, Genia’s coming home to eat some lamb and put on some virtuoso scrum half displays.

  • dane

    Rob Simmons waz robbed!

  • Kokonutcreme

    I’m surprised Kurudrani didn’t earn more votes on the Spring tour as I thought he played well and his defensive display in the first test against England was one of the few shining lights.

    His omission from the top six in place of Folau would be the only one I’d argue in favour of, otherwise your top picks are hard to argue against.

    Genia’s efforts to poll highest in 6 of 9 matches highlight how much his absence is felt when he’s unavailable for tests as well as domestically for the Reds. Australian rugby would be better served to have him play here particularly as neither of his flyhalf partners polled well.

    So if the accepted wisdom is that your captain is also the best in his position, does Moore’s low polls suggest a lack of form, depth in that position or both?

  • RedAnt

    Results at flyhallf kinda interesting too, don’t ya think?

    • Huw Tindall

      Foley had a number of cracking games at 10 while Quade had none. Question is I think people will say Quade suffered because he had Foley at 12!!!! This is probably somewhat true and I think the experiment was Cheika’s biggest mistake of the season. He should have put Foley on the bench and run a proper 12. Would have been a more even contest then.

      • RedAnt

        Yeah, that’s all more or less true, but despite all that, in only 3 full games (I think), Cooper got the same amount of points as Foley in 14(?) full games.

  • Seb V

    Overall, I’d give it to Hooper

  • Andy

    Some pretty good scoring I reckon. cant really argue too much with any of it.

    Well deserved to Will G. Back in great form and based on what’s behind him he’s become our most important player. Hopefully a young, intelligent and skilled halfback can emerge next year and challenge him for his spot because we desperately need a backup.

  • Brumby Runner

    Congratulations to Will, a worthy winner.

    To those who are debating the merits of Hooper and Pocock, I think the method of voting and adding the scores is fine for picking the best of those voted the best in each of the matches. But it doesn’t necessarily measure the overall effectiveness of individual players over the totality of the test season. For that, I think we’d need to take the player ratings accorded to each of the players after each test and total those. The MVP would then be the player with the highest total and would represent (at least according to this particular rating system) the overall effectiveness of each and every player used during the series.

    To illustrate the point, WG scored highly in all 6 tests he played and would probably have rated a total of 48 – 50 points for the season (6 x approx 8/10), while, eg, Hooper might have tallied something like 98 points (14 x 7/10).

    Two systems that could measure different sets of performances. I actually wouldn’t mind both performances being honoured at the end of a test year.

  • Alex

    Great bit of work – again. I have just had a look back over these articles for the last few years and run a cumulative table: Few enough surprises in terms of the individuals who make the top table: Michael Hooper (66), David Pocock (37), Scott Fardy (28), Will Genia (27), Israel Folau (26),Tevita Kurindrani (19), Quade Cooper (17), James Slipper (16), Adam Ashley-Cooper (14), Stephen Moore (14). No one else polled more than 10.

    Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was how far ahead of everyone else Michael Hooper is – well over double anyone except Poey (and then almost double). His consistency and resilience (he never seems to get injured) is truly amazing. Whether you think he should be a first choice pick at 7 or not, his record has been extraordinary. Couple of things from the last five years:
    – Hooper is the only player to poll points in each of the last five years.
    – He holds the record for the most points in a season (20 in 2012)
    – 14 or more points have only ever been recorded 9 times. No one has done it more than once, except Hooper who has done it three times
    – He has never finished the season outside the top three since his debut season (first, third, equal first, equal second, second)
    – His worst season ever he polled 8 points. Only 9 other players have polled 8 points in any season over this period.

    While he cops some criticism on this site (and some of it possibly deserved), Australia is incredibly lucky to have him…..Australia has been blessed with backrowers for many years, but the knowledgeable folks on here seem to think he has been Australia’s most valuable player over this period by a distance – even allowing that a part of his value is his ability to stay uninjured and his choice to remain available (although I don’t understand why some people think those things should count against him).

    • AllyOz

      When I was coaching and got others to do the points I always found the breakaways would score high. Part of the reason was that I had pretty good breakaways but it is also because the job of a flanker is highly visible and when they do something well it stands out – also true of fly-halfs and halfbacks. Sometimes you only see the impact of the tight forwards if they don’t do their jobs. But I don’t say this to diminish Hooper’s performance. He is an extraordinary player who (like Pocock) does things that few others can do (and that is why Cheika has such a hard choice)

      • RugbyReg

        yep, this is the 8th year we’ve done this award and an openside flanker has won it on half of those occasions. On another time, our blindside flanker (Fardy) won and on another (when Slipper won) Hooper tied for first by James won by countback.

        So a flanker has finished top on 6 out of 8 times. The other two times? A scrumhalf – both Genia.

        • Haz

          But perhaps that is representative. Genia is a world class player, as are pocock and Hooper. The tight 5 haven’t been positions of strength over the last however many years and neither has 8. So in the forwards the only contenders would be the flankers.

    • joy

      So what of the claim (oft made on these pages) that Pocock is the worlds best open side flanker?

      I have effigies of both on my Xmas tree.

      • wilful

        Pooper is the best openside in world rugby.

    • Kevino

      I still have no doubt that id Pocock was playing his natural position that he would poll more points than Hooper. It’s amazing he did so well playing out of position all year.

    • Haz

      England would kill for Hooper at 7.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        So would Australia if he ever played that role

  • Bay35Pablo

    As I was reading through I was thinking Genia with Hooper close behind.
    Can’t argue. He played bloody well, and looked in the best form we have seen since 2011. Reinforces to me what Phipps lacks.
    And loved the award photo at the end – a stunning athlete in top form, and Will …. :)

  • McWarren

    Looking at this poll just reinforces to me how much people don’t appreciate the work of players doing there jobs correctly. Case in point is Sekope Kepu. For me he was our most valuable player all year, yet only makes it to equal 8th on 3 points. This just proves that if a player is highly visible they will get the points, regardless of whether they are effective or doing the job their position demands.
    My top 3 for the year:
    1st Sekope Kepu
    2nd Will Genia
    3rd DHP

    • harro

      Yep, just shows that these types of things, even though they take into account everyone’s opinion, aren’t free from biases. Not just biases towards positions but also towards players within a position.

      • McWarren

        Yep and my bias is just as guilty of that as well.

    • Huw Tindall

      When you consider the piggies ‘win’ more games than the backs it’s a bloody outrage! I think it’s that the hard yards the forwards have to get through are just less noticeable than a flashy pass or run yet worth so much more in the context of a match.

    • RugbyReg

      I think Kepu last year was good but I think Kepu this year was rather underwhelming. A couple of decent games, but otherwise I thought he was well away from his usual standards.

      We got owned in the tight five too often for him to be our best player, or even our MVP

      • McWarren

        RR I think we got owned in the loose play as well but still Pocock and Hooper are rated right up there?

        • RugbyReg

          fair call.

  • Brumby Runner

    It is frustrating to see every argumant against using the Pooper turned into a slagging match between Hooper v Pocock. Nearly every one who has posted thoughts against the Pooper are saying that the use of two open side flankers in the team is unbalancing the backrow, to the detriment of the Wallabies’ performances. It is not a question at all about the number Pocock wears on his back. It is purely and simply a matter of having both Pocock and Hooper in the side diminishes some other skills thought to be necessary for an all round performance.

    From my point of view, it wouldn’t have mattered whom of Hooper or Pocock started, but imo only one should start. It is more important to have experienced 6 and 8 players bringing the skills needed to balance the open side flanker, whoever that might be.

    The poor test results this year can be attribuited to the strength of our opponents in many of the matches, but there is a strong possibility that we may have notched up another win or two id we had have had the likes of Timani and Fardy/McMahon playing 8 and 6 respectively and only one of Hooper or Pocock in the side at the start. I think the coaching staff have erred in the way they persisted with both.

    • Twoilms

      Your point is only valid if we had any decent 6 or 8’s banging about but we don’t so it’s moot. Once someone comes in who is actually international test rugby quality in those positions you can ditch the Pooper. Simple as. Fardy is past it and Timani isn’t there yet. Then there’s Dean Mumm.

      • Brumby Runner

        I disagree. Fardy has definitely done something to earn the coaches’ disdain, but he is a much better conventional No 6 than Dean Mumm. I don’t believe he is past it at all. And then, Timani has done just about everything he could be expected to do in his few opportunities at No 8.

        A backrow of Fardy, Hooper/Pocock, Timani would be much stronger imo than the continued use of the Pooper.

        Anyway, Poey is now out of the picture, so the Pooper will cease for at least the time being. Just needs the coach to at last realise there are/will be better options at 6 in Fardy/Holloway/Dempsey/RHP, and to accept Timani as our No 8 and not try to run with both Hooper and McMahon in the side.

    • Kiwi rugby lover

      Agree with you 100%. I think the unbalanced back row was a major factor. I’ve always wondered why it was kept for so long and where the team management saw it providing benefit. Amazingly enough no other team in the world does it and they probably don’t do it for a really good reason. And before someone comes on and says they don’t because no other team has players as good as Pocock and Hooper – what eva! That is crap. We can certainly find 2 open sides as good or better than both and I’m sure other countries can as well. They just don’t because each player has a role and the balance is more important to everyone except the team that had the worst record this last year.
      I hope Cheika and his team take the opportunity to review the year really critically and to start looking at where they went wrong and where they have to go. Unfortunately I’m not sure the collective ego of the management will allow that but if Australia wants to improve they need it.

  • RobC

    Thanks guys, fair reflection.

    Select SeanMc at 7 consistently and he will score more points than Hoops. Ditto LFG, imo. He’s killing it for Toulon. In any case, its a demo of Aussie depth at that position. A nice problem to have.

    Great result for DHP, considering a few opined he was no good earlier in his tenure.

    Congrats to Sanchez. I thought he looked bigger and fitter this year. The picture in the article confirms it.

  • Dalai Ninja

    A great result, and well deserved!

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Pretty happy with that although I still don’t get Hooper’s role with Pocock on the field you can’t deny his enthusiasm and work ethic. Great to see Genia come out on top. He’s been awesome this last year

Wallabies
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The original prop in a prop's body, but thankfully I have the rugby mind of a prop as well.

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