Review: Sharks v. Rebels – How To Lose Friends And Infuriate People

Stuart Fazakerley March 25, 2013 17

No GravatarThe Melbourne Rebels ended Sunday in damage control. Unfortunately, their ten-try drubbing at the hands of the Sharks in Durban overnight was only half the story.

hill rebels 516I’ll admit it, I’ve been putting this off. I didn’t watch the game this morning, as I had Run For The Kids early Sunday morning. The radio woke me up in time to hear the sports report, and I learnt that the Rebels had been shellacked. Disappointing, yes, but not particularly unexpected.

The Sharks were wounded after falling victim to the rampaging Brumbies last week. They were determined not to let the slow start that cost them that match happen again, and pressured the breakdown from the whistle, causing Gareth Delve to concede a penalty a minute in. Though it was missed, the Sharks would cross five minutes later, Keegan Daniel taking advantage of a Rebel handling error and Louis Ludik crossing for his first of two tries for the evening.

The Sharks pack dominated, pushing Marcell Coetzee over in the 23rd and Jacques Botes in the 31st. After Daniel crossed four minutes later, the Sharks had eclipsed the amount of tries they had scored in the previous four games, and led 24-0 at half-time.

I’m not sure if you’d call it a classic Rebels second-half fade-out – as you usually need to be faded-in at some point for it to qualify as a fade-out – but the second half only got worse for the hapless visitors, with the Sharks piling on another six tries, including four in ten minutes. Kyle Cooper in the 41st, Cobus Reinach in the 45th, Tendai Mtawarira in the 49th, and Ryan Kankowski in the 51st made the Victorians look stupid, and even made the Sharks’ first-half efforts look a little lazy. It was 50-0 after 51 minutes. For maths geniuses out there, that’s basically a point a minute.

Louis Ludik scored his second in the 55th, and Riaan Viljoen put an end to it just on the hour, grabbing the record with the Sharks’ tenth try. The fact that Delve was held up over the line a few minutes later, and Higginbotham would go on to score in the 70th minute, serves only as the most useless window-dressing possible to a disappointing night for Rebels fans.

Disappointing, I can excuse. It’s part and parcel of following a new club. What I can not, and will not excuse, are the events that followed.

All tweetsAs broken right here on GAGR, there was an altercation between Cooper Vuna and Kurtley Beale on a team bus following the match. Allegedly, the bus was returning from a bar to the team hotel, when Kurtley took his shirt off. After being told to put it back on by Gareth Delve, Kurtley lashed out at the captain. When Gareth was defended by Cooper Vuna, Kurtley threw a punch.

This raises so many questions, I don’t know where to start. Why is the team going to a bar when they’ve just been thrashed by 57 points? They should still be doing laps of Kings Park after that performance. Why is Kurtley with the team if he’s not expected to play, and if he was visibly drunk, why was he not disciplined beforehand and taken away from a group? In fact, why is he even drinking when he’s in the middle of mediation for an assault charge?

The thing that gets me, though – the thing that really gets me – is what I heard later, from a South African friend of mine who met the players in the hotel after the match, where some were, apparently, still drinking. According to them, very few of the Rebels looked like guys who had just lost by nine tries. They were having a jolly old time.

As I said, I’ve been disappointed with the Rebels before, but I’ve always been proud to be a part of the club. Until tonight.

Congratulations, Rebels, you climbed Everest, because tonight, I’m ashamed.

I’m ashamed because I’ve come to the realisation that there are people in this club who don’t appreciate the privilege of representing the great state of Victoria. We are the home of the longest continuous state rugby competition in the nation. We are the state of Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop, of Ewen McKenzie, of Ioane, Elsom and Fitter.

We are not Super Rugby’s Animal House.

If these people don’t care enough about how they make this team, this city, this state and this jersey look, then why the hell should I?

The Melbourne Rebels are suffering from a culture that rewards failure, and leadership that lacks either the power or the will to stand up and defend the club that thousands of ordinary Victorians fought for so long to obtain.

I hope they read this, and realise that they have no right to treat my club, their club, our club, this flippantly. If nobody has the courage to defend what we’ve built, and the foundations that we built it on, then we might as well pack up and go back to supporting the Brumbies.

I thought going to Bruce Springsteen tonight would cheer me up, but apparently it hasn’t. So I’ll leave you with this, in the hope that you can forget this sorry mess a lot quicker than I.

SHARKS 64

Tries: Louis Ludik 7′ 55′, Marcell Coetzee 23′, Jacques Botes 31′, Keegan Daniel 35′, Kyle Cooper 41′, Cobus Reinach 45′, Tendai Mtawarira 49′, Ryan Kankowski 51′, Riaan Viljoen 59′
Conversions: Patrick Lambie 8′ 24′, Meyer Bosman 42′ 46′ 49′ 52′ 55′

MELBOURNE REBELS 7
Try: Scott Higginbotham 68′
Conversion: James O’Connor 69′

GAGR REBEL MOTM = Lachlan Mitchell. Gave his all for the entire match as his teammates were crumbling around him. An honest trier.

Discussion

  • Catriona_A

    Stu I hate the content of what you have had to write, but I love your post – simultaneously brutal and beautiful. Just brilliant.

  • Athilnaur

    Great write up thanks Stu, certainly captures most of my feelings as a member. Not surprised at the thought some of the guys might have tied on a big one laughs and all as it can be a bit of a stress reaction, especially with alcohol, but staggered leadership and management let them out on the town.

    As for the instigator, if true I for one won’t be sorry to see him gone, folks like that are just a ticking bomb that will probably implode when you need them most. In that light better now than during a Lions tour.

    All that said, I believe in the team and we will be there for the Kings game.

    • skip

      I agree. I heard the poms at 2007 RWC had a session to deal with it. they had a closed doors clear the air session followed by a “there’s a pile of piss, no one leaves till it’s gone” booze-up. Seemed to do them (if it’s true) a world of good. They probably had the brains to keep the guys away from the internet for 24 hours as well.

      Getting smashed after taking a hiding is not the end of the world – it might be a good bonding to all go and puke it up at a morning thrashing the next morning.. Doing it in public is dumb, it just asks for some dickhead to mouth off to the skipper and the results to be public inside 5 mins.

  • Polo

    Said it befor Beatle Beal Cooper over rated and I think they know it there time is up,

    • nice guy

      dreamers! why is the negative in the plus for this comment? beale replace by mogg, cooper by toomua and JOC by Folau

    • Queenslander

      Agree 4 people need to be gone from oz rugby. All the wankers in the bungy boys bullshit group. No dickhead policy should get rid of joc, Beale and cooper. They are trouble in my view. Throw in Deans who certainly isn’t a dickhead but just no good as a coach. Flick all of them and I will be happy, plenty of guys around who value their roles and aren’t knobs.

      • Nutta

        Qlder

        Iam responding to the bit on Dingo

        I also preface this by acknowledging Matt Burke and my qualifications to comment

        In my opinion coaching has 3 elements:

        1. Game day tactics. I simply don’t get Dingo on this bit

        2. Talent identification and development. IMO this element has been pretty good during his tenure

        3. Player management. This is where the Kiwi struggles in Oz. He’s gone from The Cru where he was the sole man in charge of the most successful team in the biggest sport of the nation, spoke pretty much only to McAwe & Carter and when faced with any Gen Me shite turfed them for the next kid eager to make a break. He didn’t have to “manage” anyone as his was the top of the tree – get on board or piss off. Now he well struggles in Oz in the 4th biggest sport with more then a fair share of ungrateful miscreants and petty crims who for some reason are molly-coddled and allowed to dictate terms. I would challenge nearly anyone to succeed surrounded by such contradictions in the controlling structure

        I did my best interpretive dance of a coach for 2yrs. I couldn’t do it again. And I sure as shite couldn’t handle the 3 brats he currently has in the shop without being charged with assault myself. So whilst I am not a fan of Dingo and of course as a Wobblies follower I expect more, I have a degree of empathy for Dingo

        But my sympathy doesn’t mean he should keep the job either…

  • Skip

    Somewhere big John ON is chuckling thinking, “at least I don’t have to deal with this Bogan shit anymore”. It’ll be interesting to see how this gets handled but I’d like to echo the sentiments that this is a great write up. The Weary Dunlop reference was especially good – I’ve got his Biography in the Australian section of my book shelf & these two could do with reading it.

  • LRB

    I agree with your sentiments and it is saddening to see a devaluation of the jersey caused by such behaviour. It has always been one of the strengths of Rugby Union of our players comportment off the field.

  • Nick_Brisbane

    What’s Beale doing in SA in the first place?

  • http://www.facebook.com/DoctorDbx Ian Daley

    Rugby’s version of Animal House is exactly what they are, except we’re only 30 minutes into the movie and dangerously not looking like we’ll get to the part where they find some pride in themselves and the group they represent and pick things up.

  • Fatso

    Men against boys in the forwards – were they on the turps before kick-off? Beale you loser if you can’t handle your piss stick to gatorade.

  • gwch

    I agree with your sentiments completely Stu. It’s never great to watch your team go down, but as a member of a fledgling club, you could reconcile yourself to it because of the sense that the Rebels were truly building ‘something’. And, for the most part, you could watch the incremental improvements (both in individual players and as a team) and feel excited that someday, hopefully soon, that ‘something’ was going to be realised. I think we all felt (and hopefully can still feel) that as members and fans of the Rebels, and there was a perception that the players felt it too, so it’s really disappointing to realise that feeling of excitement, collegiality and pride in the team might not be shared amongst the players’ group as a whole.

    That said, I hope this motivates them to fix some of the problems rather than derailing the club’s progress. I want this to be a blip, which provides the swift kick up the jacksy that I think that some of the players, coaching team and management might need.

  • Saus

    Why did Vuna get sent home (apart from going public with his grievance), but more importantly are Beale and him sitting together on the same flight home. ;-)

  • nice guy

    Blame yourselves,all the try so hard rebels fans, endlessly sucked up to and treated these guy’s like kings when they haven’t done anything to deserve the respect, O’connor is an A-grade celeb in Melb it’s all gone to his head, such a sad and dull city

  • Ansell

    I think the root of all these problems can be linked to one thing… the uniform. It looks like a crappy practice jersey made by a schizophrenic, soccer loving tailor in China. How can they, or anyone else take them seriously? I can’t… and I’m going to continue to pretend they they are just a large team of linesmen and ball boys, who somehow, through a clerical misshap, got integrated into the Super 15 round robins, and no-one has the heart to tell them…so we all should just enjoy the spectacle of these ring-ins clowning around and being whalloped each week, as a refreshing contrast to the other real games in the S15.

  • Parra

    Not to neglect the serious side of this article, but just love:

    “I’m not sure if you’d call it a classic Rebels second-half fade-out – as
    you usually need to be faded-in at some point for it to qualify as a
    fade-out”

    I commented last week that the Rebels (as opposed to 2011/12) can now defend for 80 mins – Oops!

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