Podcast 297 - Jamie Miller vs. Alan Jones - Green and Gold Rugby
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Podcast 297 – Jamie Miller vs. Alan Jones

Podcast 297 – Jamie Miller vs. Alan Jones

Get ready to batten down the hatches. The lads are back, and they’re pissed.

After an abhorrent weekend in Aussie rugby which saw a lacklustre performance by the Wallabies, ugly fan backlash, and yet more floggings dealt upon the NSW NRC teams, Rugby Reg, Hugh and Jamie (with a small warm-up cameo from Mr. Rowley) sat down to try and make sense of it all.

Is the game you love hurting you right now? Come join us. Let the hate flow through you.

Warning: occasional coarse language 

The Five Burning Questions

1. What went wrong on Saturday night?
2. How should we react to the abusive fan?
3. Where to from here for the Wallabies?
4. Is the Rugby Championship alive again?
5. Is the NRC dead in the water?

Note: during question five the lads make reference to an interesting article published by a former unnamed NRC player on The Roar. Check it out here.

  • ForceFan

    Thanks lads – I admire your perseverance and tenacity.
    Your comments about the NRC said everything except that the blame sits squarely with Rugby Australia who failed to get a major sponsor and has failed to even get the fixture set up in any sensible manner. It seems that it was just thrown together at the last minute.
    Maybe, just maybe you can also start to understand the frustration of rugby fans in Western Australia.
    The NRC was presented to WA rugby fans as the pathway for rugby players in that State. No professional team, so they could show their stuff in the NRC. You reckon that too wasn’t going to result in players moving elsewhere??

    Thank goodness for Minderoo and Forrest and his team’s persistence in progressing World Series Rugby as it truly is the only initiative that is attempting to change the sorry face of our great game in Oz.
    So much better than any of the dross being handed out by Rugby Australia (including locating a Test in the Gold Coast).
    The Western Force are bagged for promoting the game by handing out a limited number of free passes to the families of young rugby players and limited cheap seats for others yet cheap tickets to Tests doesn’t even get mentioned by the East Coast Press.
    But then again – if we can believe Wayne Smith – everything is the fault of rugby supporters in the West.

    • Ad Tastic

      I’ll reserve my judgement over Twiggy. Give him his due, he’s done more than I thought he would. But it’s yet to be seen whether he is a Frank Lowy style saviour, or a Tinkler or Palmer style Trojan Horse.

      • ForceFan

        Totally agree – the proof will be in the pudding.
        But so far so good.
        Matt Hodgson and team appear to be Making It Happen.

        I have no doubt that Forrest will follow through with his initial $150 Million over 3 years and where it goes after that will be worth watching.

        His WSR initiative appears to have the support of World Rugby and all Unions except RA.

    • BigNickHartman

      But mate this is part of the bad reactions by fans they’re discussing in the pod. At every turn GAGR has supported WA Rugby while maintaining our free thought and independence. I can safely say that while we didn’t blindly support the Force, we did support the Force. However we still regularly got thrown hand grenades in the comments saying that we couldn’t give a rats. You guys have a lot to be proud about – big crowds at games, Twiggy really coming through and shaking things up, and the best player on the weekend was DHP. The negative east coast chat doesn’t help anyone :(

      • Huw Tindall

        Yeah it’s a bit old hat to be honest. It’s not like we work for RA or anything! Just fans who have the WHOLE of Australia’s rugby interests at heart.

  • Kiwi rugby lover

    Great pod guys, a bit rambling at times but then that’s what this is for. The pain you guys are feeling really came through and I think your analysis of how Cheika works is spot on. That mad up the guts and glory stuff is only viable for so long before it becomes old and demotivating. There’s been a few comments about how the dressing room may not be as united as it’s portrayed and that people are scared to speak up because they’re afraid of the consequences. There’s also a fair bit of dissent over poorly performing players being protected by the coaching staff and not being held accountable for their poor play. There actually seems to be a bit of truth about this and maybe the issues in the changing room are affecting the on field play.

    I’m not so sure that there are a lot of coaches who would jump at the Wallabies. Not unless they had the freedom to make changes in both the setup and the players, AND that the expectations of an immediate quick fix were put to rest. I’ve heard Deans speak where he lamented the player power of the Wallabies and that he felt the then ARU protected so called star players – who weren’t, over coaches, management and processes. I feel the same thing exists now and no coach hoping to grow his portfolio with success would be interested in dealing with the bunch of primadonna’s that make up a lot of the Wallabies.

    • Richard Patterson

      Excellent summation as always KRL. I wonder if John O’Neill tunes in to listen to these Podcasts? You know – really puts his ear up close to the speaker to hear the real hurt in the voices. I wonder if he was there in the Gold Coast Saturday night to see the anger from fans that spilled over into an unfortunate incident after the final whistle? How about an observation over the broad level of managerial incompetence that has swept through the sport? He took great satisfaction of screwing NZ Rugby out of a joint hosting role for the 2003 RWC. 15 years later and look at the very sorry state of the code and the sombre feeling of dejection amongst it’s most loyal fans. A victim of flawed strategic planning and misguided arrogance in the Australian sporting landscape.

      The real warning signs for Australian Rugby emerged 3 years ago when a search for the Head Coaching Role for the Queensland Reds could lure no-one of quality. Brisbane with it’s beautiful weather, Suncorp Stadium as the prestigious home ground and the Reds with all their history secured no-one. No coach with any reputation wanted to go near it because it was a toxic place and a coaching reputation would likely lie in ruins in 2 seasons. I sense the Wallabies job sits in the same category. The structures are weak, administration is dysfunctional, financial resources are poor and player attitudes are quite simply allowed to fester. Without any certainty those flaws will change, I fear the Wallabies job sits in the “Avoid” basket for those with the credentials to apply.

      As long as Michael Cheika though remains in that job the road to recovery will remain significant. International Rugby now is a smart person’s game. Old-school motivational team talks ended about the same time as amateur rugby. As skill levels developed so did the intelligence needed to perform them. Test rugby now is cool heads and soft hands — not yelling & screaming. It’s about thinking, and evolving and revolutionising. It’s about getting the micro skills right. It’s not about repeating the same game plan season after season with the same players — many of whom you still don’t know their right position on the field. It’s about accountability and responsibility and ownership. It’s not about blame or excuses or denial. The downfall of Michael Cheika will be his inability to think and evolve. A replacement feels necessary. A willing replacement very unclear.

      • Kiwi rugby lover

        That’s a very well written piece mate and I think you’re touching on some points that people don’t want to face up to. I’m not sure things will change until things get rock bottom and they aren’t there yet unfortunately. While I agree on the current team not meeting the standards required as coaches, managers, administrators and in some cases players, the road maps aren’t there for these things to change. Until this happens I think things will remain and get worse before they get better

        • Richard Patterson

          The saddest reality KRL is I fear Rugby in Australia will continue to become a supermarket for Rugby League and Australian Rules. The best young talent will get picked off and lured by very clear pathways, well resourced coaching & academy systems, financial incentives and a sense of belonging to something bigger. Australian schoolboy rugby needs to align itself with NZ. They need to build alliances with key NZ rugby schools and test themselves annually with tours to NZ that expose them to good learning environments. From there they can learn, develop and build skill sets best equipped to be worthwhile professional players and coaches.

      • juswal

        I wondered where you had got to. Of course you couldn’t hold yourself back for long. You just had to type again, at great length, the same condemnation of Michael Cheika that you’ve posted here several times already.

        It’s weird. It’s unhealthy. Worse than that, it’s tiresome. For your sake and ours, it’s time for you to get this out of your system.

        Why don’t you write a blog post and submit it to GAGR? Seriously: type it up (or copy and paste from this comment, and the ones you posted immediately in the aftermath of the last two Bledisloe Tests), and title it ‘Why I’m Obsessed with Another Rugby Nation’s Coach’.

        Get it all out there, Richard. Once and for all. Then stop posting the same snarky, superior, moralistic lecture as a comment.

        By the way, your effort to hound Jamie off the podcast has obviously failed. Are you ashamed of that one?

        • Richard Patterson

          Really appreciate your response juswal. I’m sorry if I write things that are uncomfortable to read. They are strictly my opinions — you are welcome to take the other side in any thoughts or opinions I share. I would enjoy being enlightened by whatever views you may have. You spend a lot of time here criticising me, but seldom post thoughts that are insightful and well reasoned. Surprise me.

          You see juswal here are the facts. I am a rugby fan, I have been for over 40 years. I have followed Rugby in Australia for those same 40 years. I know that when Rugby in Australia is strong the rugby world benefits.

          Herein lies the problem juswal. Rugby in Australia is in the worst shape I can ever recall it. The problem is compounded because it’s all self-inflicted. Horrific administration, appalling player attitude, unintelligent coaching and disappointing media coverage. It is effecting the game — badly!

          It gets worse though juswal. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets. Now I have fears for the future of Rugby in Australia. I think the sport will potentially capsize under the weight of it’s own mismanagement. Then we all lose. That’s you juswal, that’s me, that’s everyone.

          The worst thing of all though juswal… I see no attempts at improvement. I see the same behaviour continuing to be carried out. The same small-minded, outdated thinking, the same poor preparation, the same inability to adapt, evolve and learn. It’s everywhere. Administration, coaching, playing.

          You think it’s fun when only 27,000 turn up in Brisbane to watch the Wallabies play a traditional, respected opponent? How about when only 16,000 turn up to watch in the Gold Coast? How about when Rugby is the laughing stock for the NRL and AFL? What about when Michael Cheika serves up the same game plan every week of every year — yet somehow his players are neither skilled enough, fit enough or smart enough to execute it. Oh – that’s right it’s always the fault of the referee, or the assistant referee, or the TMO or World Rugby or whoever can be blamed as a deflection from the real fact that Rugby in Australia is dying from self-inflicted wounds to itself.

          So what have we got to look forward to from here juswal? Let me guess… 2 underwhelming test matches in South Africa and Argentina in the coming 2 weeks. We have a 3rd Bledisloe Cup test in Japan which thankfully will be well attended because the majority of the crowd will be there to see the All Blacks. Then we’ll have a NH tour which will disappoint because like most countries now, they will all have worked out to beat the Wallabies. Then we’ll have a 2019 Super Rugby competition where the Australian sides will again be hopelessly uncompetitive — but all the attention will be on the shit format, crap conference system, refereeing — or anything else to detract from the real facts.

          I get angry because it does not have to be this way. Everyone rightly points out the competitive winter sports landscape in Australia — yet somehow rugby continually stabs itself in the back and wonders why the competition is eating it’s lunch. I hope I am wrong. Enlighten me if I am.

  • RugbyReg

    Let me just clarify too the NRC schedule for this weekend too. Obviously the schedule I was reading from hadn’t been updated.

    Once we get past the midweek Round 1 game (Sydney v Eagles @ Concord Oval on Wednesday night at 7pm) we have:

    Saturday:

    Melbourne hosting Brisbane (in Adelaide) at 1pm (East Coast Elite Time / 12:30pm locally)
    QLD Country hosting the Force (on the Gold Coast) at 3pm

    Sunday:

    Eagles hosting Rising (at the Uni of NE) at 1pm
    Sydney Rays hosting Drua (at Concord Oval) at 3pm (Fiji could crack 100 points)

  • Ad Tastic

    The vultures are picking over the bones, aren’t they? Too many vested interests fighting over an ever shrinking pie. Even if there was someone who could sort out this mess, RA probably couldnt pay enough to get them.
    I feel that Rugby in Australia will have to fail totally before anything changes. Similar to what happened with football before the A-League.

  • BigNickHartman

    Hey guys, just wanted to say that in times like this you’re my favourite thing about Australian rugby. Even if you guys don’t want to do it, I think it’s really important we have places like this podcast and the website to find peace. Really appreciate the time you put into this. Cheers fellas

    • Hugh Cavill

      Thanks for the kind words Nick.

  • Mart

    I’m a fan of Cheika But it does seem this team has lacked smarts for a while. You gotta ask the question. Would this exact team go better under a Joe Schmit? He has turned Ireland into one of the smartest teams. And really knows how to play a team to it’s strengths.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Has it? I dunno, I feel like that when we look at Deans’ team and especially Link’s team that smarts was one of the things they had going for them. Not always the best players, but they did smart things on the field.

      • Hugh Cavill

        I don’t think we should reflect too fondly on either Link or Deans’ tenure in the Wallabies gig. As per Reg’s analysis a few weeks ago, both achieved similar results on the whole.

        I actually recall us complaining about Deans complete lack of any game plan (‘play what’s in front of you’), and Link never produced the same innovation with the Wallabies that he managed with the Reds.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          When you look closer at Deans’ and Link’s results it tells a different story. Take out the All Blacks abd Deans win percentage went to 74%. I believe we had win percentages above 50% against all other tier 1 nations except Scotland. His game style in 2012 and 13 left a lot to be desired, but we were comparing it with both the golden era and also his good results from 08-11.

          Link was a bit different as his results started atrociously, but was playing all his matches vs the best All Blacks team perhaps of all time and the last great Bok team in 2013. On the spring tour in 2013 we started our 7 match win streak against tier 1 teams before drawing with the All Blacks, losing another match to the All Blacks by 1 point after bad captaining from Hooper, a very bad kick from Nic White and a very bad tackle Miss from Foley. We were evidently improving. Link’s win percentage was 69% without the All Blacks too, despite how good the Boks were then.

          Cheika’s win percentage only goes 53% excluding the All Blacks, and Wales and Argentina are the only tier 1 teams we have a more than 50% win rate against. Most of his success came in 2015 using the team built by Deans and Link, and the team has been in terminal decline since (the complete opposite to the trajectory of performances we saw under Link). I haven’t ran the numbers but based on the post-RWC cycle I am almost certain Cheika’s win rate against tier 1 teams excluding the All Blacks would be considerably below 50% since the RWC. Cheika’s results are in a whole new level of horrendous compared with Link and Deans I think.

  • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

    Great pod. One of your best (which is really saying something!).

  • Alan Grouse

    Chieka must go, great coach as evidenced by his heineken cup and super rugby titles but i only see regression in the team. Good point where you blokes said opposition coaches dont fear us. Hell even under Robbie Deans are backline was electric, unpredictable and put the fear of god into opposition defense coaches. For years we heard that the Wallaby backline can score from anywhere but with such poor support, players playing out of position, no clear 10 and appalling handling, i am very doubtful.

    What about Joe Schimdt? He has done an incredible job with Ireland and he has made remarks about his longing to return to NZ. We should put out a tender and make moves to secure his services.

    • Hugh Cavill

      The issue Alan is all of these coaches are under contract until after the World Cup. I’d imagine it would be hard to get them before then, but I’m no legal expert.

  • Mikka

    Regarding the Gold Coast crowd of 16000 people –
    per capita the Gold Coast doubles the attendance rates of Sydney and Brisbane easily with 3.2% of the population attending vs 1.6% for the crowds in Sydney and Brisbane (based on 80,000 turning up in Syd and 27,000 turning up in Brisbane at the Springbok game) and the Gold Coast has far fewer corporate troughs in which to wallow.

    Not to mention that if the All Blacks played the Gold Coast it would be a full house as the Gold Coast has the biggest kiwi population in Australia per capita.

    • Will Honeycomb

      Brave defence of the Gold Coast! I take it that you’re being tongue in cheek.

      Equally, if they held a Test match in Oodnadatta and 50% of the population turned up, you still wouldn’t have a hundred spectators.

      The ARU (I’m old school) need to avoid foreseeable crap turnouts, not valiant statistical successes that are only discernible by squinting and tipping your head sidewards.

      • Human

        Oodnadatta is a good thought Will….the Wallabies would at least make the front page of the Oodnadatta Argus.

      • Human

        Oodnadatta is a good thought Will….the Wallabies would at least make the front page of the Oodnadatta Argus.

      • Mikka

        My point was that twice as many people from the Gold Coast turn up compared to Brisbane and Sydney per capita and all of them are paying their own way unlike half of Suncorp that is corporate entertainment or Ballymore debenture holders getting prime seats for free.

        You can’t magic up a crowd from nothing can you? As mentioned if the All Blacks played Cbus it would be heaving with Kiwis who make up big percentage of the population and their interest in watching Wallabies v Argentina is pretty much zero.

        • Will Honeycomb

          I fear I got your point first time round.

          I’m afraid your maths still doesnt mean that there were more than 16,000 people there. Nor that the atmosphere was anything other than deadly, even without the corporate boxes.

          Gold Coast: never again. Even if 4.167% of the population turn up.

        • Mikka

          Just because I love maths I’m going to hit you some more – Suncorp the week before for a more widely followed opponent was at 50% capacity, CBUS 60% capacity. – if the Wallabies were playing decent rugby or had played any of the other teams in the Super Championship and not a country with basically zero support in this country and a crumbling economy which means they can’t travel to see their team then you might have gotten the extra 8000 seats to get to full capacity.

          I was there and the atmosphere wasn’t all that bad (probably helped that there were a bunch of Uni girls behind us who seemed to want to get up and dance the whole game rather than watch the rugby but I digress).

  • Huw Tindall

    The thing that struck me most about this pod (which was fantastic by the way) was the sense of pathos. There was little rage and more resignation or exasperation. At the same time though there was hope and the willingness to continue having the conversations that need to be had, even if it’s just among the fan base. Well done, keep it up and keep reminding people you can donate to GAGR! Few donations here and there must be much better than some ad clicks!

  • Juan_Time

    Ditto what Nick said. I went into the foetal position for a few days, and didn’t want to watch or read anything about it. I think the overwhelming feeling was despair as appeared to be no real answer. So it was good to (reluctantly initially) download the pod and work my way through it with you.
    I had been in the ‘let’s keep the coach’ camp fighting my friends disdain, however, I now concede the analogy the relationship is not working and should walk away. This requires Check to fall on his sword (as RA cannot reportedly afford a severance). At an absolute minimum, Nathan Gray needs to go, and preferably Larkham (as much as I loved him as a player). Maybe getting some genuinely fresh ideas and energy is what we really need.
    We struggled with a foreign coach when Dingo was there, and whether we are more mature, or desperate now, I don’t know, but ideally I would prefer an Australian coach. There are some good assistants floating around that should be considered with potential to take over in 2020. Matt Taylor (Reg has mentioned him previously), and Scott Johnson are both with Scotland. Les Kiss is head coach at London Irish and has excellent experience at Ireland and Sth Africa and would definitely help our defence.

  • GeorgiaSatellite

    Thanks fellas. Maybe before Cottrell, give Jack Dempsey a crack on the tour – given that he was instrumental in our last win against the Darkness and was robbed of momentum in a nothing Barbars game? If he proves fit in the NRC, of course. I’ve been feeling for that bloke all year and I hope he’s got his mind in the right place.

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@Nick_Wasiliev

Die-hard Brumbies/Country Eagles fan now based in Sydney. Author, anthropologist, musician and second-rower trying to kick start a writing career in an increasingly bonkers world...

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