Rebels beat the Waratahs for their first win - Green and Gold Rugby
Melbourne Rebels

Rebels beat the Waratahs for their first win

Rebels beat the Waratahs for their first win

With both the Rebels and the Waratahs coming off the back of two losses, both teams are desperate to record a win. The Tahs have won 15 of the 17 clashes, and the Rebels have been dealt a last-minute blow with Rugby Australia ruling they had named too many international players in the matchday 23, so Frank Lomani was dropped from the bench to bring in Theo Strang. Louwrens was already starting instead of Lomani.

The Match

The Waratahs appeared to be the Rebels bogey team, but even off the back of two poor matches from both teams and the poor win-rate, in this Australian derby most pundits were tipping the Rebels.

The rain had been off and on for several hours in the afternoon, enough to make the ball slippery, even without more rain. And more rain we got, but both teams in the first 20 were prepared to still move the ball around and didn’t engage in a defensive mindset. The first try of the night came in the pouring rain, Marike Koroibete crashing across the line for the Rebels first try. It was a lovely team try with Meakes across advantage line and then the Waratahs were caught without defensive coverage.

The Rebels certainly made the most of quick ball and were prepared to put pressure inside the Waratahs 22, with a disallowed try, lovely crossfield kicks and scrums that put pressure on the Tahs. In the first half, the Waratahs really didn’t look like scoring.

The slippery ball saw errors from both sides, but there was an exciting passage of play in the shadow of half time with the Rebels taking advantage of lost Waratah possession. Isi Naisarani was everywhere as the Rebels put pressure on the Tahs inside the 5m line and Meakes crossed the line for a try, disallowed because of obstruction. Tough and tight call.

The Rebels went to the sheds up 8-3 in the rain.

The Waratahs came out fighting after the break and built lovely phases inside the 5m line to have Tahs prop Harry Johnson-Holmes cross for the Tahs first try of the night, and his second Super try. Harrison converted to put the Tahs in front, 8-10.

The Waratahs clearly had a conversation in the sheds about their defensive efforts, because it was markedly improved in the second half – more players putting their body on the line and closing gaps and backing themselves.

The wet ball added to the drops, knock-ons and turnovers, a bizarre scenario of two intercepts inside 5m and lots of slips. It wasn’t quite Benny Hill, but the soundtrack might have made it a bit more exciting particularly for the middle 20 of the second half.

The last 10 minutes though, that was a different story. The Rebels fought hard and scored a seriously impressive 17-phase try to Andrew Kellaway. He was the lucky recipients, but the forwards, especially Naisarani, and DHP all contributed to the try that sealed the match for the Rebels, and was celebrated at the time like the match-winner it was.

The Rebels were as pumped as you could imagine after that try, and there was nothing the Waratahs could do to hold them out again. Beale was tackled in-goal and the Rebels attacked again, with Kellaway crossing for his second try.

Both teams suffered a few knocks and injury scares and injuries, hopefully just due to the impact of the rain rather than issues with S & C. The bruising match and conditions may have contributed to the early bench/finisher changes, with the Tahs rotating half their scrum by the 50min mark. Their bench didn’t have any more answers, and the Rebels bench fired as they needed to.

The Waratahs were pretty comprehensively outplayed in this match and a 0-3 start to the season from them isn’t great for Australian rugby. They have a bye next week and then are off to South Africa. It doesn’t get easier for them. The Rebels travel to Ballarat next week for a regional match against the Sharks.

This was a crucial, and well-deserved, win to the Rebels. Rah!

The Musings

As a new resident in Melbourne (and an ex-Queensland resident), it is quite comforting to support the Rebels, because there’s a lot of familiar faces in the Rebels squad.  It’s like the Redels.

Maybe I missed something – with Murphy calling penalties, he called them to blue. Who was blue? 30 minutes in, I am still not sure.

It would be remiss of me, for my first review of the year, not to stir our NSW readers by asking how we can still justify Michael Hooper’s exorbitant salary. He is no longer NSW captain, there is no guarantee he will be Wallabies captain (more likely to be a co-captain) and mother-of-all-things, we know Rugby is in a less-than-excellent financial position. And yes, I know we want to keep great players, but at what cost? At what cost of three, or four, emerging players? At what cost of collective responsibility to ensure the game continues in [healthy] state?

Can we please, pretty please, address the coaching situation in Australia for the Super Rugby franchises? Yes, we can debate for days the tradie or the tools, but I would love to see proper pathway development for coaches because you can’t tell me that with the tools these two teams have, particularly the Waratahs, this is the best the tools can do. At some point I want to know the tradie understands how to use them like a master tradie not an apprentice. I think I have exhausted this little metaphor, but you get what I mean.

The Game Changer

The game-changer for both teams probably happened last week – both teams losing made this a must-win and the Rebels were better prepared to fight and keep the foot on the throat in the last 20 minutes. 


It is tough to split Matt Toomua and Ryan Louwrens here, but at a pinch I would say Toomua, but happy to have others argue against. Louwrens should have secured a starting spot though tonight.

Wallaby watch

With no Wallaby 12 locked, there is a gap to be filled there, and Billy Meakes has the opportunity to challenge in this space. Depending, of course, on whether we persist with the ch-ch-changes to the backline we saw during the Cheika era, or name someone and stick with them.

The Details

Crowd: Wet.

Score & Scorers

Rebels: 24
Tries: Koroibete 1, Kellaway 2
Conversions: Toomua 0/3
Penalties: Toomua 3/3
Waratahs: 10
Tries: Johnson-Holmes 1
Conversions: Harrison 1/1
Penalties: Harrison 1/1

Cards & citings


  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Kate, a nice write up.
    The weather certainly played its part but I think the Rebels just wanted it more. The Tahs don’t seem to have their defence sorted and as long as Beale is there they’ll need someone to cover him as well as their own lines.
    I’m not sure anyone put their hand up for the Wallabies to be honest. Some played well at times, I even thought Hooper played quite well at times tonight, but all had those moments when poor decisions and skill fails let them down. I think Rennie will be looking elsewhere for most of his team.

  • Nutta

    Great win for the Scum. Fantastic.

    The scrum was a much closer battle than I thought it would be. Credit to the Tarts there and a huge thumbs up to that young Tarts No1 in putting a good hard nosed 3 like Smith under that amount of pressure.

    I was very surprised at how obviously the Scum backrow outplayed the Tarts. The Tarts had proper quality in Hooper, Dempsey & Holloway but Nisi and particularly Wells had blinders.

    Sauce completely outplayed Beale and whilst the Tarts young 10 clearly has skills, Toomau had one of the best games I’ve seen him play.

    I’ve always been a bit of a Kellaway fan and it was great to see him grab a double.

    Fantastic way to celebrate their 10yrs vs the Tarts. Grand win.

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      I don’t think the Tahs’ back row is quality, with the exception of Hooper.

      • Patrick

        Do you even know what schools these kids went to? They are pure class!

        • Ed

          I am sure there would be a GeeRob article or two that mentions the schools they went to.

          Why is Dempsey at 8 and Holloway at 6? Or is it just a number on their back?

      • Rugby Truth

        Dempsey had 1 good game 4 years ago

    • Patrick

      “Sauce completely outplayed Beale”… like every other match then basically.

      • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

        Hey, Beale had a great game at fullback in Bloemfontein in 2010.

        • Patrick

          Fair point.

        • Who?

          And at Cardiff, too..?

      • Nutta

        I get really frustrated by Horans commentary sometimes. At one point last night he was complimenting Beales sideways running as being ‘best in the world’ and ‘creating space for other players to run off’… now I was not ever any Wobbly or Back but all I could think was ‘Nah, correction, TAKING the space for other players to run off’.

        • Mr Wobbly

          TBF, Beale’s sideways running is the best in the world

        • laurence king

          But Nutter, Beales’ sideways running is the best in the world.

        • Nutta

          Gold. Yes. He is the best in the world at running sideways. Why? Because anyone else in their province/franchise or national jersey doing it that much would get hooked. Yep. Fair call.

        • Brumby Runner

          Very Giteau-esque.

        • Nutta

          Yeh but the difference is that Gits would skip out one or two channels whereas Beale just bloody turns and outright runs forward straight towards the sideline.

        • Who?

          And there’s another issue. It was shown up with Giteau at 12 in the 2015 RWC. It’s coaching. If you have Giteau, Cooper (who loved to drift sideways), or Beale, you need to have straight runners. Under Eddie, that happened. Consistently. The runners would allow Gits to run in front of them, whilst they held their line to hold the defenders whilst Gits skipped channels. The same happened for Cooper under Link. Then Gits or Cooper could either skip into the open channel (if the defenders were held by the straight runners) or hit the straight runner into a gap if the defence was drifting.
          Under Cheika, Gits drifted as hard as he ever did at RWC 2015. And the only try scored on the wing was a try to Giteau, running down the wing against England. At the very end of the match. Everything else was through the defensive line, because the Wallaby attack always pulled the defenders out to the wings. With both Beale and Giteau, no one was preserving the width, they were all stretching the defence. But over time, our backs (in particular) have gotten less and less intelligent, and their coaching has missed the importance of differing angles.
          Under Deans, it was common to see all the backs running sideways at the same angle. Under Cheika, that wasn’t quite as common, but our decoy runners looked less and less likely to be viable runners. Cooper, in his early Reds and Wallaby days, used to hit blokes on the chest and watch the ball bounce off – they were decoys not expecting to receive the ball (even though they were running into holes). Over time (under Deans, and Link), players got better at always wanting the ball. One of the best examples was Rob Horne, who always had his hands up looking to catch anything remotely near him (whether or not he was the intended target, and regardless of whether he was going to try to actually catch it). That has been lost. Now, we far too regularly see our prospective ball runners doing their utmost to stay on the outside of the crabbing ball carrier, helping to congest the outside channels, doing nothing to hold any defensive drift.
          I’m absolutely not saying what Beale’s doing is right – given what’s happening around him, it’s not. But it’s also poor from the support runners, and poor coaching in not using a player’s natural strengths, and not expanding from those strengths (because we’ve seen Beale running straight – even unders lines – off Foley to score tries only last year).

        • Nutta

          Your point(s) are fair. Even as a Jnr we were always told to run the gap and trust the distributer to get the ball to you. So that means if we’re picking crabbers then we only pick one and we pick robot runners to take enfilading lines with clear instructions to run straight off him to both drag defenders but also make options.

        • Brumby Runner

          Only sometimes Nutta? For a player who was at the top in world rugby, he probably doesn’t know much more about the game than I do, which is very little.

        • Nutta

          Good teachers don’t always make good principals.

    • I’m still not picking Toomua in my G&G 10 jersey right now. But after this performance, I’m not ready to rule him out of contention either.

      It’s (not really) amazing what having a functional pack can do. It’s not amazing at all, we’ve seen it so many times before, but it’s startling to see such a stark difference even when the weather was this bad.

      • Nutta

        Fair points. Put Quade Cooper behind a dominant pack and he’s winning titles. But him behind a suffering pack…

        • Mica

          The only real times that I recall a Carter led attack NZ team losing is when his pack was having trouble.

      • Mica

        Purely on form Lolesio has had the best start. Toomua second. Harrison third then daylight. Given how Lucas has played when given the opportunity I am a bit disappointed in Thorny. JOC is not the answer and should be pushing a claim for the Wobbly 12

    • Hoss

      Morning mate. Was keen to get your thoughts on Bell v Smith. From a pure scrummaging point of view I thought Bell towelled him up. Smith used his cunning and tricks (aka ‘cheating’) well, but I thought Bell did proper good. To the point Wells started driving in on Bell ala Matt Todd style to help Smith out. How the ref and AR’s missed the shannanigans was beyond me. Didn’t cost the Tah’s the game, but didn’t reflect on Bells true performance who, IMO should got the Lollies and he is only 19. Your thoughts ?

      • Nutta

        The first couple of penalties went against Bell because he was elbow down. He arguably had Smith beat IMO but he went elbow down and Refs think that’s cheating/collapsing. Now I don’t necessarily agree but watch the reply and you will hear the Ref tell him twice – “I don’t care. You get your elbow up then I’ll look at the rest.” Now I reckon that is plain wrong Reffing but Law 6.A.4 means the Ref is right. Smith recognised/heard that and so made sure he pulled short binds and cranked the shoulder to force the kids elbow down and that was that and the Refs opinion was set. Game over. What an old dumbarse like me may suggest Bell learns is to not ‘big-dick’ it so much and stop lining up so square with watermelons under his left arm. Looseheads coming so square became useless when they outlawed bridging off your knee. Instead, use the natural angle advantage, soften the left shoulder and really reach through long and use a roll-over bind on the pre-bind and there is then no flared-out elbow & shoulder joint for Smith to squeeze and crank on. It can be bloody painful but you can stick it out for a scrum or three whilst it negates the Refs concern. Then his & the Tarts left-side power would have seen them home.

        But they have specialist coaches. I’m sure they will tell him that.

        Me? Old dog. Old tricks.

        • Howard

          I’m sure his dad’s in his ear:)

      • Keith Butler

        Smith got away with murder, again, he leads a charmed life. Difficult conditions but it cuts both ways. Thought the Rebs replacements were the difference in the front row in particular. Some big units and young as well. Bodes well for the future.

        • Nutta

          He stood up twice and twice he was turned-in by pressure but because the Ref had already made up his mind he got away with it.

  • formerflanker

    Thanks for the quick write up Kate.
    This NSWelshman will bite – Hooper is worth his contracted sum for the work and workrate he brings to every game. His speed in re-setting after tackles/ruck involvements is impressive and he’s effectively two players.
    And let’s not even go down the breaking a contract pathway!

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Yeah. He is one of Australia’s best players. Who cares if he isn’t captain anymore, he’s a terrible captain anyway. He’s more valuable now than previous. I just feel bad for Penney being saddled with such a poor squad.

      • Brumby Runner

        ATM Hooper is the one and only Wallaby-standard player in the Tahs. He is most certainly their best player. That doesn’t necessarily translate to mean he is one of Australia’s best players though. I don’t think he is value for the huge dollars in his contract, nor do I think he should have been signed for such a long period.

        I think by the end of 2020, he will be very seriously challenged for his Wallaby spot by either Wright or McReight.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Don’t think Wright is mobile enough. He plays so tight. Looks to me like if he manages to reach his full potential he could develop into a Fardy-type 6 (although I don’t think he is that good).

          McReight hasn’t even played a minute of super rugby yet. Pretty difficult for me to imagine him overtaking Hooper, who has 99 test caps, is rated extremely highly by New Zealand and our other rivals, and who has been nominated for WPOTY.

          Remember how good Hooper was for the Brumbies? I’d back him to kick on extremely well with a competent Wallabies coaching staff. Especially if Fisher is brought in in some breakdown capacity. We just need to pick a 6 and 8 that balance him.

        • Mica

          He’s not going to change into the type of 7 we’re used to and probably need. His game is built on energy and speed and as forward players get older they tend to rely more on strength and guile

          Wright’s an interesting one. I think he’ll end up more like a Sam Cane type 7. I.e. can play 6 too and 8 at a pinch.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I just can’t agree. Think about how good Hooper was at the Brumbies in 2010 or for the Wallabies in 2013, playing tight and with a 6 and 8 who also went hard at the breakdown. Against Wales we scored a beautiful try from him effecting a super fast turnover that no other 7 could make. He just needs to play that role again, which is what Rennie will have him do I think.

          His awful loose running game out on the wings coincided entirely with Cheika’s dreadful tenure as Australian coach.

          I think McReight will overtake Hooper eventually, but he is a rookie at super level. He won’t overtake him this year and I would be very surprised if he overtook him next year also.

          Don’t agree on Wright. He lacks Cane’s low centre of gravity mobility, power in defence and ball skills. He’s a ruck monkey, with a high work rate who makes a lot of tackles and jumps in the line out. Needs to add 10kg of muscle and he could be a very good 6.

        • Mica

          You’re earliest example of his good play was 7 years ago. Gregan was also awesome 7 years before he retired. Wright is still young he has 6 written all over him. In a few years McReight will be the Reds 7 and Wright will be their 6. You heard it here first.
          Also Cane’s ability is down to fantastic technique rather than a low centre of gravity.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          What is ‘good 7 play’ exactly?

          Effecting turnovers? Hooper does this.

          Defending well? Hooper is easily our best forward defender with Pocock gone.

          Linking with the backs? Hooper does this very well.

          Running? Hooper is excellent at this too.

          Hooper has been one of our best players for years. And is rated immensely highly by foreign teams and the best analysts I know, including guys like Nick Bishop and Scott Allen writing from an Australian perspective.

          I agree with you, but didn’t hear it here first. Think it’s the consensus amongst fans that the Reds will have Wright at 6 and McReight at 7.

          Cane isn’t that much of a ruck monkey. I haven’t checked the stats but I think he might be comparable to Hooper in terms of effecting turnovers. Cane is a little slower but is more powerful at the tight stuff. The reason he’s such a big tackler is due to his power.

        • Brumby Runner

          Sam Cane 1.89m and 103kg. Liam Wright 1.92m and 97 kg. Not a whole lot of difference.

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          He’s 6’4” and under 100kg. Can’t remember the top class 7 that was that tall, or that light.

        • Howard

          I have Wright in my fantasy draft based largely on what I’ve heard on GAGR. He really doesn’t have impressive stats (much worse than Hoopers and yes that includes turnovers) He might make a 6, but I prefer Samu and Naisarani is the best 8 for Mel.

        • Brumby Runner

          If Rennie can transform him back to that type of player, then it is conceivable he will remain one of the first Wallabies chosen for some time yet. But, unfortunately for him and for us fans, there is no indication in his form so far with the Tahs that he is transforming. On present form, his spot in the national team is in some jeopardy.

          We do not need another back playing in the forwards, and that is how he plays atm.

        • Who?

          Pretty sure Nick Bishop flagged the possibility of having Wright at 6, Hooper at 7 this year. Because Wright could be that Fardy style 6 – rangey but breakdown-focused. They play a different game. So, if you had Wright at 6, Hooper at 7, and probably Naisarani at 8… Maybe…..?

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Could get away with Valetini or Samu at 8 in that case, as you have a strong jumper at 6. But I don’t think Wright will be at 6 until he bills up.

        • Who?

          Which is another case where you look and think it might be worth pulling the bloke from the odd game, giving him a little time to sit and eat meat and work the weights room (where I’m sure Thorn would be helpful – the weights room), in order to have time to add mass, rather than losing it all on aerobic and anaerobic effort.
          But if he’s not currently big enough, it adds to the need for bulk at 8. Which doesn’t hurt Valentini (though he’s been another needing time to grow into his body), but arguably hurts Samu.

        • RugbyReg

          McReight has played more than a minute of Super Rugby. he debuted last year

        • Mica

          Or one of the Brumby prospects who have a number of quality 7s

        • Nutta

          Dude there are still about 4million reasons he will be both 7 & Capt for a long time to come yet.

    • Patrick

      He is a great player but he was never worth that much to us, and it was an unnecessary slap in the face to the rest of the broader squad to not only make him captain when he was took 30-odd games to grow into it but also to lock him in for years on a fortune.

    • Rugby Truth

      Sorry, just can’t get enthused by hooper.
      his is incredibly inaccurate at the breakdown. the amount of times he misses first up on an opposing player at the breakdown is appalling. I don’t buy into the work rate palaver either. hooper is akin to a dog chasing seagulls on the beach – running around all day, and not really doing anything.
      PS: Official stats has Hardwicke’s numbers superior to hooper’s.

      • Patrick

        He works best as part of a team, and unfortunately he isn’t in one. With a power eight and Fardy/Finegan-type 6 he is great, but he is not so good at the ruck no.

        • Trouble is, while he wears a 7 shirt fans kind of expect him to be good at a ruck. It’s part of the job description in most people’s eyes…

          You can offload that with a good back row. You can (more or less successfully) have unusual combinations. Wales played Tipuric and Warburton for example. NZ played Savea and Cane. Australia had the Pooper of course. But normally someone needs to be doing something in the rucks, and normally that person wears a 7 shirt (or 6 if they play in SA of course)… (supported by others because breakdowns happen fast enough the 7 can’t get to them all these days).

        • Patrick

          If only you knew at what point you were preaching to the converted. I would have dropped him in 17 for Gill, Higgers and Fardy with McMahon on the bench, although I probably would have bought him back in 19 based on his form.

        • Sorry, wasn’t really trying to preach to you, just commenting in support!

          You know me well enough, at least my writing, to know I prefer to write 140 words when most try to stick to 140 characters these days!

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          Hooper is good at the rucks, but as the ‘first man’. He doesn’t have the size or power so unless he effects a quick turnover he tends to get blown off the ruck. That said, against the Crusaders in round 1 he still managed four turnovers.

          Any back row with Hooper in it needs a breakdown specialist at 6 or 8 though.

        • Mica

          This x 100
          He plays like a hard running 12 and would be more effective getting ruck turnovers out wider

    • Nutta

      He seriously needs to change the way he talks to Refs. The action-mike was picking up his constant chipping chat last night with the Ref and I would have penalised him multiple times and likely carded him probably twice.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      It’s funny how people watch the same game and see things so differently. I think he did a couple of good things but for most of it was running around absolutely impressively but achieving bugger all. Still not dominant in either attack or defence and doesn’t link well with the other loosies

    • MST

      You certainly cant fault his work rate or how he applies himself, nor how hard he works for his team. Indeed he has become more of a working dog that does cover off the gaps and in doing that it plays to has strengths and provides him in part an excuse for his deficiencies at 7.

      For me the real question is as he has covered and picked up the work on behalf of many in the Tahs team, has he now become part of the problem as they are reliant in that? If you can get the other forwards to do more can you then get Hooper to relinquish that role.? If so what then would be his key function? Back to a pure 7 which he struggles with?

    • Tim

      Thought he played well. What showed is the Rebels played the conditions in the last 15 minutes and really put the sword to the Tahs. Tahs forwards are not physical enough.

  • Moose

    Tahs… crab juice with a bin juice chaser. Gonna be a long season *sigh*. Well done to the Rebels.

  • Can I just say what another fine example of understanding the laws by the commentators we saw today. As a Rebels fan once the TMO got involved in that disallowed try my only complaint was how long the decision took. That and the “that should be a try, it’s not obstruction” comments. That’s obstruction every day, just like Farrell’s shoulder you’re the head is a card and now the exemplar for it.

    • Mica

      Agreed Koro’s line was in front of Meake’s once he was bumped and stopped Maddocks from getting to him. Ironically it was Hoiles who advocated obstruction in the commentary team.

  • Keith Butler

    I was starting to lose faith in the Rebels but after last night it’s slowly being restored – still a way to go though. Crap conditions which the Rebs adapted better to. Front 5 needs some work but replacements put in a very good shift and imo turned the game in our favour. Naisarani had a monster of a game as did Wells. Louwrens and Toomua worked well and Strang looked sharp in setting up the last try. Don’t get why Lomani was dropped. Should it read ‘overseas’ rather than ‘international’?

    • GoMelbRebels

      Yes, it is overseas / foreign players.

    • idiot savant

      Agree the difference was the Rebels halves playing better wet weather football. And where the f… were the Rebels forwards for the last 8 games? I know the mob tonight had the same names but surely they must be impostors. Their intensity was unrecognisable.

  • Mr Wobbly

    Congratulations on your Rebels debut, Kate!

    My question after the last few games is, what to do about Hodge? He’s gone off early two games in a row and I think the team has benefited both times. I am a Hodge fan, it’s huge plus to have a bloke in the side that can capably cover every position from 10-15 but, I don’t think he is the best in any of those spots.

    I reckon his best spot is fullback but, DH-P.
    He isn’t going to push Koroibete out and I think Kellaway has shown more at 14. I don’t know if Hodge would have scored those trys.
    I would pick either of English or Magnay ahead of him at 13.
    He would be about 4th in the pecking order at flyhalf.

    I think Wessels should move him back to 12 and let him duke it out with Meakes for the 12/bench spot.

    • Brumby Runner

      But perhaps not at 12 if Deegan gets a chance to play 10 and Matt To’omua then comes into the No 12 equation.

      • Mr Wobbly

        I’m sure Deegan will get some chances through the season but, for better or worse, To’omua is the 10.

  • RugbyReg

    I’m sick of QLD losing our talent to Melbourne. Good article Kate! Glad you’re still writing for us

    • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

      Despite Thorn’s expulsion of senior players, Queensland still has, probably, the most naturally talented super rugby squad in Australia. Problem for years has been the coaching letting the players down.

    • JJ

      Reg, Imagine how sick we are here in WA then?

  • Hoss

    EASY there Kate. No wonder Shakespeare named your lot Shrews !!

    Us Tah’s fans are more than capable of hanging excrement on our own team thank you very much – get in line and no pushing at the back thank you. At halftime I was relatively calm and optimistic. Frebs had all the pill and territory and only had a 5 point lead to show for it so I thought ‘game on’. Reality hit second half when Tahs leadership was required and therein lies the rub. Harrison got that ‘glazed over Spanners look’ and went missing, Gilbert played like Gilbert, Gene as captain is a misnomer and Lee Magors chipped away Refs instead of rucks, Hint went missing and that’s all she wrote.

    On a positive I thought Bell was strong, Maddicks needs time at 15 (didn’t realise he could kick so far). The season is done for the Tahs – we will be 0 & 4 at next week and time for Penney to give youth a chance to grow.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      I feel sorry for Harrison it’s pretty obvious that he’s getting ignored in the plays and Gordon and Beale call the shots, then to top it off Beale keeps stepping into 10 anyway. Penney needs to bench Beale he’s a liability

      • Hoss

        Yep on all counts. For all Gilbert’s talent and past deeds Gods Chosen ones Would be better off in the long run had Gilbert chased the Yen at end of Kill Bill.

        He appears to lack the mendullla oblongata required to mentor, instruct, or lead gen-next. The new guys need clear air around them, not the manic sideways panic-ball he drills out. Thanks for the memories KB, but it’s time to bugger off.

        • Brisneyland Local

          Yep he doesnt even have the brains to know what unirform to wear when, and that abusing females is acceptable! Lets hope he buggers off now.

    • Brisneyland Local

      Nah mate it is an equal opportunity workd out there old! You have to compete with us to hang shit on the Waratahs!
      Fuck Beale was. Yes I know I realy dont like the guy, but that performance blew dog!

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Named my lot shrews? As in a rugby supporter? If you mean anything else you can just fuck right off. Your sexism has no place on this site with so many people managing to have great conversation and debates without resorting to insults.

      • Hoss

        Whoa up there. A famous musical based on Shakespeares ‘Taming of the Shrew’ is ‘Kiss me Kate’ – hence the name association. I responded as a Tah’s fan only. I apologies if my humour
        missed the mark, it occasionally does.

        You may want to holster the sexism
        gun for another time. You were pretty quick on the drawer.

        • Kate Elizabeth

          Ha. Got it. My fave paint is actually named that. Sorry for the over-sensitivity.

        • Hoss

          No harm, no foul. I have heard the internet does harbour some unsavoury types. Keep up the great articles and see you back here. Cheers. Hoss

  • Adrian

    Oh dear!

    Not really Hooper’s fault, not even Beale’s, or Harrison’s or Gordon’s.

    It’s two or three things:
    1. Complete lack of grunt and enthusiasm in the tight 5, particularly the the locks
    2. Complete absence of a backing defensive structure outside of 10
    3. No lineout structure, even though they ran on with 4 jumpers
    4. No captain, no leadership

    In the short term I’d drop both locks and put Swinton and Holloway in the 2nd row, and Hannigan at 6.

    I’d restore Hooper to Captain or give it to Gordon or Hunt.

    Keep Harrison at 10, Beale to 12, Hunt 13 (and defence captain), Nawaqanitawase and Feketoa on wings, Maddocks at 15. An experienced centre pairing, especially with Hunt at 13 should be able to keep it’s width, which is the issue really. Of course Hooper to mop-up.

    Medium term try and buy back Skelton, and even TPH.

    Slightly longer term try to get Latu and Nayavoro back.

    God I miss Kepu

    • Who?

      Adrian… I don’t agree with trying to get Taf back (he’s in his 30’s, he’s been a great servant, let him enjoy his time overseas), but agree on Latu and Skelton.
      But I’m wondering… People have long talked up Maddocks as a 10. Do you think he’d work at 12? Ball runner who can kick and pass? Obviously not a huge block crashballing, but he’s no worse in that regard than Beale. And he can’t be worse than Beale defending at 12. Beale at 12 isn’t going to help the defensive line, though moving Hunt to 13 may be helpful in organisation.
      It does seem a lot of the issues here are coaching related, and at least partially related to how late it was all sorted out. With changes to defence coaches, most of the team signed (or not signed) before the coach was announced… Typical Aussie Rugby admin incompetence, really. None of which was helped by Hore disappearing when he did.

      • Adrian

        Yes, Maddocks worth a try at 12 I suppose. I didn’t consider it because he has no experience “in the line” so to speak.

        I think the whole issue is a coaching one really, notwithstanding the horrendous administration that brought it about.

        Other options include Hooper at 12 and Hunt at 13.

        In all 3 games the Tah backs haven’t maintained their width. Not so much missed tackles, as no-one there to tackle. Perhaps Harrison has been too shy to get his outside backs into place. Somehow there looks to be too much hesitancy.

        IMO the best people to learn a backline defence pattern are young enthusiastic guys working as a team, or very experienced guys.

        On a related point, I think that Penny (just like Dean’s) thinks that enthusiasm should come naturally,…but somehow it doesn’t in an Australian Rugby context

        • D. Braithwaite’s The Brumbies

          I can’t agree. He is a lanky bean pole and a terrible defender, even for an outside back. His best attributes are taking high balls and running in space. Not running in tight, defending, offloading or at the breakdown. Hunt needs to play 12 and Foketi needs to play outside him.

          He needs to play fullback for the Tahs and Beale needs to be relegated to the bench until he learns how to tackle or take high balls or run straight. Beale has been so bad for so long. I don’t understand how he keeps getting picked.

      • Howard

        I’d like to see Maddocks at 15. He’s not a proven playmaker and a liability in defence but has a big boot and good in broken play

    • idiot savant

      I thought Staniforth had a real go, unlike Simmons. I think picking a guy who has no real mongrel as captain sends a bad message to the rest of the team. I think there is a problem with all the team’s leaders. Hunt is looking too slow now and Beale still has a too high mistake ratio. Hoops still works his butt off but he’s never been a leader in my eyes (remember the famous they won’t do what I tell them line in 2017?). And poor old Simmo is just too nice and too old. Penney has a problem with the senior players.

      But for all this, if it had been dry the Tahs might have won. The rebels halves had much more experience at wet weather football and it showed. Clearly the Tahs hookers couldn’t throw the wet ball. I think Gordon was exposed – he didnt provide the kind of drive a 9 should in the wet. He’s a good runner but his delivery is slow and at times inaccurate and he runs and then passes too much. So Harrison didnt have a whole lot to work with. Holloway hasn’t come on as I expected and Dempsey has looked a half a yard off the pace all season so far, so the Tahs were beaten at the breakdown. And that worries me in terms of turning things around. The Tahs have been a side that runs the ball better than anyone else in Australia. They are not going to do that with slow ball.

    • Geoffro

      If wishes were fishes eh Adrian…Jackpot be nice too to add a bit of mongre dont think he doing much at the mo

  • Andy

    4th year running that the tahs have no starch in the forwards. Such terrible recruitment. All starting 8 are capable players but none have a real physical presence. They are all the sort of forwards who compliment a good pack with differing skills.

    On top of that they are so poorly drilled. I feel sorry for Harrison playing behind that garbage. I bet he would excel behind the Brumbies pack.

    One last thing, time for Beale to sit on the pine. Amazingly he was made VC. Never been consistent and never been a leader. And he’s playing fucking garbage. Turnover magnet.

  • tex

    Nice review, Kate. I like the musings section. Game changer for me was the Rebels marching the Tahs via mauls for about 30m. Seemed to break the dam wall and it was all Mexico from that point on.

Melbourne Rebels

Arty-farty. Loves rugby. Good cook. Contrary. Is a New South Welshwoman who has never supported NSW. Only has eyes for the Reds. Likes raspberries and that intense mustard-yellow most people don't.

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