Our Time has Come. - Green and Gold Rugby
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Our Time has Come.

Our Time has Come.

It’s one of my favourite scenes of all time; “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his Brothers Keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, all who attempt to poison and destroy my Brothers.”

It actually isn’t Ezekiel 25:17. But it’s close enough.

Why am I sprouting Jules the fictional hitman from Pulp Fiction with aspirations of evangelical good?

Because the time has ceased where it is acceptable or dutiful to be among those who ‘into the valley of death, rode the six hundred.’ We can no longer be lemmings walking mindlessly along with our cash held out in-front of us in good-faith.

What the hell am I talking about?

I refer to the SMH article written by Georgina Robinson and published in the SMH as at 11 October 2018 at 10:50am. By this article RA and NSWRU have declared they will block Twiggy-Ball into western Sydney until 2020 at least.

‘NSW Rugby Union boss Andrew Hore said on Thursday that NSW supported the positions of RA and NZR, saying it was a case of not “never”, just “not now”, as the NSWRU itself fights to breathe life into the huge but underutilised region.’

If folk needed further evidence of the complete farce that our rugby administration in this country has become then this is it.

Evidenced by this article, here stands proof that RA and NSWRU do not have the fundamentals of rugby as their guiding principles. Here is evidenced proof that their true concern in rugby in Australia is in continuing to prop up the dysfunctional power circles already ensconced that have led us to our lowest ebb in my 40yrs of association with this game.

The fundamentals of rugby are simple:

  • Participation – all shapes and sizes. All back-grounds. All skill-types. And thereby a spot for all and all have a spot. This is the last body-contact team sport which is a game of the players, by the players and for the players. Funnily enough, it’s almost socialist in that aspect that all are welcome
  • Competition – the game doesn’t stop at the tackle. The game STARTS at the tackle where we compete for the ball. This game has always been about permitting competition and thereby a fair go for all in that if you don’t want it then that’s fine because I’ll take it instead.
  • Camaraderie – the worldwide brothers-from-different-mothers family that I have suckled at the breast of until as rolling milk-drunk as the next 6mth old lethargic, gurgling and belching bub (sorry – probably a reference that only parents get)

And by the article I reference, I see all that is good as per the above 3points stripped away in a blaze of smug, self-interest, mutually assured destructive behaviour that is only surpassed in it’s breath-taking myopia by the singularity of its selfishness.

NSWRU has had over 25yrs to ‘breathe life’ into western Sydney. But they steadfastly refused to. They have done nothing. They have let it rot behind a facade of  SRU sub-subservience, tokenism and targeted talent poaching. And RA has permitted it be done in full naked view.

More than that they have stood by as Wanders and the GWS set up shop and now have serious stakes in the area.

Now, after decades of willful neglect, benign avoidance and failure to provide even stability let alone a pathway, when someone else FINALLY wants to do something with it, NSWRU aided and abetted by RA deliberately, willfully block it.

By this action they have not shepherded the weak through the valley of darkness. They are not the finders of lost children. They have bloody well led us into the valley of death and now they make sure we are stuck there. More then that, when someone came with a torch to show a way out, they collapse the mouth of the valley and have bloody well blocked their access!

Don’t get me wrong, Twiggy is a man of business. He’s no the Messiah. He’s probably a naughty little boy. Whilst there is a real community element to this, there is also a real commercial opportunity here to. But what exactly is NSWRU going to do that has not been available to do during the cashed-up Noughties or any other time of the last 25 years? If so, why now? Is it because someone else can use what you ignored? By what legitimate argument do RA and NSWRU stop the youngest, biggest, most rugby-friendly demographic in Australia from getting access and support to decent rugby?

By these actions RA and NSWRU have attempted to poison and destroy my Brothers.

This is a complete, self-interested, self-serving betrayal of the fundamentals of a game designed around competition, a spot-for-all and the idea that all can play.

In that light I seriously call on the rugby public to be heard. We need to speak up louder guys. YOU need to be heard. This is not about eastern versus western Sydney. This is an unmasking of RA and NSWRU far larger then that. This is squarely and unashamedly about protecting the ‘haves’ whilst the ‘have-not’s’ see what we love suffer in the meantime. NSWRU & RA had their go and chose to do nothing. Now they choose to block an alternate. The result is it continues the destruction of OUR game in this country. It is a betrayal of even any sham of a fair go.

I say the stewards of our game have divorced themselves of any claim of legitimacy by this behaviour. I call on Twiggy to set up his venture anyway.

I call on fellow grass-roots lovers of Rugby to declare their disgust with the self-serving mediocrity that currently pretends to represent US as the owners of OUR game – I say US and OUR game very deliberately as we are the ones who pay the subs, who strap on the boots, who mark the lines, who buy the raffle tickets, who pays the Foxtel subs… If not now, then when will enough be enough?

Folks I suggest this is one of those rare times where it’s beyond appropriate but rather necessary to declare a side. As a cash-paying consumer and supporter of rugby, as a lover of what it stands for not just as a game but as an ethos of life, it is time to show your colour.

So I channel now Dylan Thomas and encourage anyone with a will to be heard: Do not go gentle into that good night … Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

My shame is I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know how MAKE this sham change. What I do know is that this breaks my heart.

  • I will support you with another glorious bit of revolutionary rhetoric set to music. “Do you hear the people sing, singing the song of angry men, it is the music of the people who will not be slaves again!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpDbvlAI_A0

  • Kiap

    Spot on, Nutta. These guys are purposefully nobbling rugby’s opportunities in the west. It’s disgraceful coming after their own decades of willful neglect in the same region.

    One thing you need do for this article (because it’s not showing at the top of the main page) is go to WordPress on Gagr where you created the post and, in the Tags toolbar on the right side, and add the tag “news”. I think that will help get your piece get more views.

    • Nutta

      Cheers K. I was wondering why…

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    You are a friggen legend Nutta.
    Like you I don’t know the answer. I think it could be along the lines of Packer and the immortal Vivian “Just Doooooo It!”

    I’m sure anyone who plays in an alternative setup will feel the wrath of the current establishment, but apart from being bannned from playing in a couple of teams that are slowly disappearing up their own arse what can they do?

    The team playing in this competition is going to need players, coaches, support staff and managers. The competition needs administrators, referees, a judicial process and publicity to bring in the crowds, sponsorship and FTA. It needs to follow the current rules and World Rugby guidelines as the closer it is to World Rugby the more likely it can eventually assume into the game when RA, NSWRFU and the others collapse.

    TBH if something came up I’d be willing to put in time for it. I’d certainly go watch it.

  • Brumby Runner

    The “not never, just not now” attitude of the FRA, NSFWRFU and the SRFU needed to be called out for what it is, a smokescreen behind which the establishment seek to entrench their positions and stave off the intruder, WSR. And more kudos to you Nutta for doing so.

    I personally believe both camps could exist and prosper with a WSR team in the Western Suburbs, and that it should happen as soon as practical. But I don’t think WSR, and Forrest in particular, can really come in without the blessing of WR. Twiggy will need to get WR’s support, not just for the series itself, but to establish a presence in WS against the wishes of our present administrators if the move is to be successful. Without it, he runs the risk of being ostracised from rugby on the world stage.

    I hope a WSR team in WS comes about, but with cooperation between all the parties. If that’s not possible, then it must have WR sanction to survive. And that would be almost a declaration of war with the present power brokers if they don’t have a change of heart. I do fear that it will never be the right time as far as they are concerned for an alternative rugby presence anywhere near the WS.

    • Perth girl

      WSR already has WR blessing and will go ahead with or without RA and the NSWRU. As Nutta has said they have done nothing for years but as soon as someone with a bit of vision tries to do something they say no! How are they going to fund any of their plans,by increasing levies again? Come 2020 they may find there is no room for them in WSR!

      • Brumby Runner

        My point, which might not have been well made, is that WSR should not try to set up a team in WS without the support of WR to do so. If they were to proceed as some have posted in the face of defiance from RA, NSWRU and SRU, then WR would probably rescind their support for the new competition.

        • Bakkies

          The IRB don’t need to approve a team in Western Sydney that’s all on the Clown College.

  • Human

    I do not understand why Twiggy needs the endorsement of WR, RA, SRU or anyone other than ‘his’ players, some officials (KRL?), the paying public and some broadcasters. Sure the establishment will blackban the players and officials for a time, just as they did with World Series Cricket, but, just as with cricket, money talks and the establishment will see the light if the public buy the WSR product. Well said Nutta…not just a pretty face.

    • Bakkies

      To play a competition cross border competition or Rugby activity in your jurisdiction you need sign off from the union for registration and insurance purposes. For cross border competitions you need sign off from the relevant unions than the IRB. This came up when the Welsh regions threatened to join the English leagues when the agreement between RRW and the WRU lapsed. Neither party agreed on the PRL led European Cup dispute.

      The WRU wouldn’t agree as they had committed sides to the Pro 12 for x number of years. The WRU said they could field four clubs like Cardiff, Swansea, Neath and Llanelli in the league if RRW didn’t comply. Smart thinking as these clubs are under control of the WRU but feed in to the regions who are run by a separate body Regional Rugby Wales. The RFU wouldn’t comment.

      I said months ago that Twiggy will hold the bellends at the RA over a barrel as every other relevant union will agree to WSR bar

      • Human

        Thanks Bakkies

        • Andrew Luscombe

          Legally Twiggy could run the comp without approval from any current rugby body. Twiggy can organise his own insurance, and players don’t need to be registered with an organisation they aren’t playing under.

          But without approval there are all sorts of issues and risks – e.g. top players would have to give up playing for national teams so it will be hard to attract them. They would risk life bans from playing non-WSR. It would be difficult to work with local clubs and get active support from them because they are all affiliated with national and regional unions. WSR would become a third type of rugby alongside current league and union. It would be very difficult for everyone.

          It’d be cheaper and more effective if he proposed to the state bodies that they vote the RA board out, vote his people in, and in return he put in a lot of money that gets shared across the states.

  • RahRah

    Well said Nutta, you clearly articulate the frustration that most lovers of our game are feeling.
    How do you support it? Do like we do in the West, turn up with your kids and watch the game. Have fun, share in the joy of rugby with everyone who attends. The WSR games over here, although disparaged by some of the establishment, have had attendances greater than any SR game and have been a really great time out.

    And the best part? All of the children who come along with their families to watch, run around and enjoy the evening.
    Spread the word, WSR is rugby how you remembered it when we all did it for the love of the game.

  • ForceFan

    WSR already has a tick from Rugby Australia otherwise World Rugby would not have announced, on 29 September 2018:
    “The proposal for a full-scale, elite Asia Pacific competition was
    considered by World Rugby’s Executive Committee on Wednesday. The
    Executive Committee recommended the concept for approval to the World
    Rugby Council, subject to finalisation of regulatory and governance
    criteria.”
    WSR was NEVER going to be a “Rebel” competition as Forrest is interested in growing the game not tearing it apart. WSR didn’t go to Western Sydney – Western Sydney came to WSR.

    The governance situation in Rugby globally is such that World Rugby couldn’t even give this level of support without RA giving its tick.
    There may be delays in the make-up of the teams but rest assured, WSR will happen.

  • MST

    Time for a Change.org petition? At least it will capture a clear metric of “angry people”. It only needs to be broad and call for what all rugby supporters want; positive change.

    Blocking, cutting and/or delaying any legitimate investment or expansion of the game is unacceptable.

    • Bakkies

      There is already one mate. https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

      One member of Papworth’s committees has already signed it.

      • Who?

        That thing’s rather old now, and we can probably do something better…
        Perhaps we should all be emailing RA en masse? Form letter time?

        • Bakkies

          If you get a reply it will be standard waffle. I have read a lot of the comments that were added to the petition that is addressed to the Vice Chairman of the RA. Some outstanding comments there and the RA are still too stupid to realise how angry the Rugby community are.

        • Who?

          I figure that, but honestly, the reply wouldn’t be the point. If they received several hundred nigh on identical letters at the same time, it’d at least give them some idea that there’s a large groundswell of unrest out here.

      • MST

        Thanks, but that’s just about Clyne and RA rather than encompassing all factions. It misses the mark and the point.

  • Valzc

    Hell nutta, whaddya think we in the West have been harping on about all this time? And the penny is only now dropping as to the crappola of a group of sheisters is the RA? Thankfully Twiggy stepped up to pull WA rugby out of the mire, and as far away as poss from the clowns supposedly in charge. For the life of me I still can’t understand why no one has yet to actually DO SOMETHING about them! Papworth & AJ have tried to start the ball rolling, and everyone continues to spend the time ‘discussing’ it! FFS how much worse could anything else be other than allowing the RA to lead everyone blithely into the valley of death without a fight!

    • Bakkies

      Well said Val. Apparently everyone wants to see detail. To me that is the RA speak for bullshit and shit sorry sit on my hands.

      Well there was opportunity for people to do something about them but gutless authorities like ASIC and the Australian Sports Commission have done nothing about the RA and the goings on at the FFA.

  • andrewM

    He’s not the Messiah said g’day to me at today’s Force vs Drua game, my brush with fame for the year me thinks. I thought about asking him what he thought about all this but as he was spending quality time with the family I thought it rude. Probably would have put him in a foul mood to boot – it sure has hell has left me feeling even more sour towards the ARU. How can someone be so blinded to turn away something most would see as a win-win situation?

    • Kiap

      Comment from JSJ: At the Fiji vs Force game, the Fox cameras picked up images of Twiggy among the kids clapping both sides onto the field and the Fox commentators made very favourable references to him a few times. There were more shots of Twiggy handing out sunscreen and chatting to DHP and others. Contrast for me was the images of Clyne a few weeks ago swanning it in the corporate box at a NRC game in Sydney.

      https://www.instagram.com/p/Bo4Nc4hnT5W/

  • Snowman

    First they came for the ARC, and I did not speak out—
    Because I ARC did not represent my club .

    Then they came for the the academies , and I did not speak out—
    Because the academies did not affect my team .

    Then they came for the Western Force, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not The Western Force.

    Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Nutta fully agree with everything you have said we have had how many reviews and enquirys into the governance of this sport ?
    We need an AFL style commission to run this sport or every union gets 1 vote and does what is best for the game – not just the “heartlands ” and those who are just guarding there own patch
    Its not working and we are in a death spiral

  • Brisneyland Local

    hear Ye Hear Ye.
    President Nutta has stepped forth, and espoused vritues that all should adhere to and respect.
    Well written my good man!

  • Bakkies

    Nutta did you read the horse shit from David Begg and Andrew Hore in Georgina Robinson’s article? We will get all these under age comps in western Sydney including a Shute Shield under 18 comp done by March next even though we have to fund raise to get there. Fund raise get out of here you just turned down investors to gain more control and screw it up more. Grow the game organically says David Begg FMD.

    Penrith already have one of the strongest underage representative teams in recent years. Do dopes like Hore and Begg realise this from their ivory towers? As for Shute Shield under 18s per delusion. Junior clubs struggle to field under 18s teams as it is (and I have never been involved in a club in Sydney) and they want to wire public schools’ students to premier clubs. How about telling the RA to stop wasting money on the Rebels, junkets, lawyers, re-branding, chauffeurs, etc and help the clubs with their own development in attracting public schools to the existing clubs that are struggling to field under 18s teams…..

    As it is the clubs do it themselves while taxed with a levy from the morons in Moore Park and in NSW’s case an additional levy from the state union to make up lost income from fans not attending Waratahs games due to the weather. They are funding development themselves as the Clown College have burnt up the money.

    Just go you two clowns, you just don’t get it. The Afrikaans word for see you next Tuesday is doos, that sums up the pair of you.

    • Nutta

      Yeh it was the a-typical garbage we’ve heard before.

      A club programme for Shute clubs. Great. More spent where it’s already strong.

      A development Officer and hub in Parra. Well that’s handy for Kings I guess. Also interesting that a development officer and hub in Parra is going to somehow cover the 50km to Lapstone and the 50km to Campbelltown, in an area encompassing over 2million people and over 650 applicable schools.

      It strikes me as more of the paper-mache garbage aimed at exclusion and prevention. It’s certainly not growth and development.

      I may be wrong. I hope I am. I honestly hope I’m made to eat my words. But I doubt it.

      Facta non verba.

      • Bakkies

        Exactly how about improving Penrith’s youth development in the district rather than duplicate with funds raised.

        How many Kings old boys end up at Parra?

  • Jack

    Excellent read

  • Patrick

    Well put.

  • disqus_NMX

    Well said Nutta.

  • Nutta

    Thanks all folks for the commentary. But unfortunately that is all we have at the moment – commentary. It’s our only tool.

    Twiggyball was approved by world rugby. This then got RA approval. Twiggyball will roll on because other teams will take west Syd place. I have no doubt Twigg will come back because as a commercial, logical thinker, the opportunity of west Sydney is simply too obvious.

    This is what really scares the ‘haves’ in SRU. They know the power to be tapped in west Sydney would come to dwarf their fiefdoms in the east. Thus SRU twists NSWRU nuts to make them block it a little while longer. Now they will do another half-arsed doomed-to-fail papaer-mâché-job out Penrith way to buy another 2yrs of nothing. And all the while another generation of players slips by.

    It’s crystal clear. It’s such obvious classist gerrymandering to makes the eyes water. And STILL the RA won’t act for the good of the game.

    • Alister Smith

      There is nothing to stop him contracting the same players (particularly the ones from Samoa and Tonga or with Samoan and Tongan heritage) and putting them in one of his other teams. He might find it easier, given the nature of his business and contacts, to secure sponsorship for a Beijing based team than he would for a Penrith based team. The players in the West could still be targeted by Forrest’s comp, still drain away from NSWRU and SRU and possibly, down the track, it could mean those players who have come through the juniors in Sydney’s west choose to play for the country of heritage rather than the country of their birth. Therefore, there is potential that this decision leaves Sydney clubs weaker, NSWRU and the Waratahs and the Wallabies weaker but the World Series stronger.

  • There are issues – Bakkies points them out succinctly – in terms of insurance and representation for senior players.

    But I’m seeing a lot of comments about “needing a broadcast deal.” This is the 21st Century people. Twiggy doesn’t actually need a TV company. You can hire camera operators etc. on an ad hoc basis, and stream via your own internet channel. Although I don’t watch it, major league sport in the US runs a service like this to watch via Facebook. YouTube will let you stream via their servers. You can self-host too – it’s relatively cheap (compared to setting up a rugby team at least).

    One benefit of this would be, whether you do it at first or later on, is that you can charge. I’m not sure how much you pay for your rugby at the moment but if it’s like the options here you probably pay by the month but sign up to a minimum of a year-long contract, or you have an option for a “contract free” daily, weekly or monthly “pass.” Twiggyball could offer a single match, a day, week, month or season pass price once it moves to a charging model. Add an app so you get to see highlights of all the matches and so on.

    Take the Packer model, but update it for the 21st Century, and present RA with a faît accompli. It might be interesting to see what happens, if he goes for it. He might decide that biding his time and doing it after the next RWC with the blessing of RA is worth doing.

  • John Tynan

    I dips me lid, Nutta.

    • Nutta

      The ramblings of a never-was John. The game allowed me to foist my lack of speed, ball-skills and ability on it for so long I feel indebted to contribute something for the greater good in return – even if I’m only to ever play the role of anti-official agitator.

      • John Tynan

        Sounds like similar careers!

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Underfed front-rower with no speed or ball skills. Started playing footy in the 70's and still going. Can't remember the last time I passed on a ball, beer or karaoke mike. Motto - "Meat and potatoes first. Then gravy. And you don't put gravy on the plate first Boy."

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