Stop, please just stop. - Green and Gold Rugby

Stop, please just stop.

Stop, please just stop.

This isn’t going to be a deeply data-driven article from me, but rather a plea. You can’t look at any form of media at the moment without being aware of the massive impact of COVID-19 on the world as we know it, and certainly for many people, the future of their worlds. The impact is enormous. 

Firstly, a little context for my position, and my plea.

The last two weeks have been the toughest of my career. I work in an industry that has been totally (and I mean totally) impacted by COVID-19. There is no revenue in our industry, and we are a not-for-profit. Hundreds of cancellations and millions of dollars of revenue have vanished. This has meant our board have made the absolutely heart-breaking decision to stand down our workforce. And as an exec, it has been my responsibility to communicate this with our team across the country.

Our extraordinary team have dealt with this with grace – checking in to see how we are going, knowing the impact this is having on us needing to make and enact these decisions,and supporting each other. They have understood the need to make these decisions now, and are looking forward to our future in a new normal. They are incredibly impacted and their first thought is for others.

So with every day I receive another press release from Justin Harrison I lose even more patience with, and loyalty to, rugby. And in this instance, specifically the rugby players.

Over the years, my loyalty and connection to rugby has decreased. The Kurtley Beale saga, the departure of Ewen McKenzie, the coaching merry-g0-round at the Reds, the treatment of players – those excluded and those who benefited from a coaching era more interested in favourites than form. For every instance I named, I am aware there are fans who sit the other side of the fence. That’s cool – we all love the sport and can be frustrated and inspired by different things.

But now, with the world on a precipice, with real and extensive impact on billions I cannot fathom the pissing contest that appears to be taking place right now in Australian rugby.

So here’s what I would like.

Pull your finger out

Firstly, I would like the players to pull their finger out.

Let’s remind them of the picture: almost all the workforces of rugby support and administration staff stood down around Australia, a visible impact on the sport aka no matches, a loss recorded in 2019 by Rugby Australia, and the examples set by other sporting codes who have already taken pay cuts.

I cannot fathom the players, through Justin Harrison and RUPA, think they are entitled to 100% transparency before they decide what pay cuts to put on the table.

Stop, please just stop.

Grow the feck up.

This shit is bad and seeing the last cent of the badness isn’t going to change anything.

Put something on the table. Publically. Let’s start with 30-50% for 3 months. While your fans are losing their jobs and being stood down, while the support staff who make the game happen are stood down, my perception is you are quibbling while Rome burns.

My perception is you appear to be so out of touch with your fans you think demanding a full accounting is a position of strength.

My perception is you appear not to be interested in being part of a solution.

My perception that with every demanding press release I receive from RUPA, you think there is a bigger game to be played and won. There isn’t.

And we aren’t going to forget that. We aren’t going to forget you thought this was the time for a pissing contest.

Where is the leadership?

So in all of this, from the players, where is the leadership? We are told sportspeople are role models, but what is this current crop of Australian rugby players modelling?

Stop, please just stop.

Stop the silence and the lack of action. Their silence is damning while others in our sport feel the impact of COVID-19, and while people all around the world feel the impact.

They aren’t leading the way to strength and solidarity. They aren’t leading the way to community and contribution. They aren’t leading the way to a strong rugby future.

Stop with the plotting

To the players, ex-players, commentators, journalists, newspaper and broadcast owners who think any level of plotting is appropriate – stop, please just stop.

Stop with the plotting to bring down Raelene Castle to install your sycophantic-north-shore-inbred-rusted-on-lacking-in-reality-nutjob-puppet-candidates.

Stop with the plotting to undermine rugby to get cheaper broadcast rights.

Stop with the plotting to prove your ‘rugby understanding’ is bigger.

Fans are done. We are done with the plotting and the sniping and the whinging and the sexism and the undermining. We want to like our sport at all levels, and you are making this almost impossible.

Your plotting and rumour-mongering and cheap shots and lies undermine our entire sport, which was already diminished.

And did you see what I did there? I used the word our – because it is ours – the fans. Not yours, never yours.

All the caveats and context

So yes, before you all @ me with the caveats and the context, here are a couple to demonstrate I see the broader context:

  1. Yes, many of these players support their entire families on their salaries (no different to lots of people in other industries)
  2. Yes, players are living to their current salary levels and any cut will have an impact (no different to lots of people in other industries)
  3. Yes, the Izzy Saga contributed to our loss last year; and yes, it would have been better if that hadn’t happened; and yes, perhaps we shouldn’t have re-signed him; and yes, it was perhaps reasonable to take him at his word he would stop being a harmful douche because surely he understood the impact of what he said; and yes, perhaps it was unreasonable to assume someone with demonstrable douche-baggery would stop writing harmful posts

Stop, please just stop

Stop thinking this is something you can get out of without impact.

Stop thinking this is a game.

Stop thinking this isn’t impacting on the brand of rugby – a brand players benefit more from than anyone else.

Stop with the lack of leadership.

Stop kicking our game when it is down.

We want there to be a game when this is all over, and we want to love rugby like we used to.

  • dru

    yes x infinity

    just yes.

  • Bobas
  • Nutta

    I luv you. Don’t tell my wife tho. I can’t luv you if I’m dead.

    But seriously though, the game itself will survive. We are the last body-contact ball-sport left that is still fundamentally about the players. So many guys (and gals) I talk to from ours and other sports love PLAYING rugby and understand why we do it for free. They just hate it on telly and the knobs that go with it. So when it’s all over a few of us will still pull on boots and go for a knock. And we will congregate and find others. And we will grow again. I can’t help but think that maybe, just maybe our game would benefit from a good, proper machine-gunning and clean out. But as per usual that machine-gunning will kill more Troopers than those who deserve it. That’s the bit that sux.

    • Bobas

      ‘We are the last body-contact ball-sport left that is still fundamentally about the players.’

      – not saying I disagree, but I would love to hear how you came to that conclusion

      • Nutta

        Rugby League moved to the tackle count, the distance rules and the depowered scrum for spectator reasons. AFL moved kicking rules, push rules and ruck rules for same reasons. The NFL started by literally having breaks for ads. With the exception perhaps of lifting in the lineouts, our game is still about the player.

        Although maybe I should have considered Calcio but that would be it.

        • Nutta

          Now Calcio. There’s a fkn game to warm the heart. I tried to get a game whilst in Florence. I hung around 2 of the parishes trying to get an ‘in’. No go. Always disappointed I missed out there.

        • Who?

          With the exception perhaps of lifting in the lineouts, changes in our game are about the game itself.

          I’d agree with you fully if not for this line. Because, apart from the scrum engagement sequence change in 2013 (which required no law changes), the law changes this century have been largely abhorrent.
          Our game is still about the contest for possession, and is still a complex, organic game. The fundamentals are simple. If you get tackled as a 3 year old playing some weird game, it’s not to hurt you, it’s to get the ball. And the person wanting the ball won’t just let you stand up and give it to your mate – they’ll chase it on the ground.
          I think it’s pretty clear that the majority of challenges the game’s had have been through unsympathetic administrators… Who are generally old boys.

        • Nutta

          Dude I agree with you – I didn’t say the changes were good, just that they were made with reference to the playing of the game and not about making it more palatable for tv.

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Kate you are a friggen legend girl. Love you to bits and couldn’t love you more with this fantastic piece. I really feel for the game here. These people actually think they are making it better but don’t realise they are slowly killing it more and more. I do feel sorry for the majority of the players but the fact is that in this time of need they actually don’t contribute anything to the situation. They’re a great resource in times of plenty but we ain’t there now and they’re as useless as a pork sandwich at a Muslim wedding.

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Thanks matey! Servant leadership means exactly that and no player has stood up and good journos are churning out tripe for their masters and hurt feelings have been weaponised through media platforms and no good can come from anything that isn’t servant leadership. And the whole system is there to serve fans and grassroots and I think that might have been forgotten.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Selfishness and self entitlement are so prevalent at the moment that they trump over all. I’m confident Raelene will get rugby where it needs to be but I think it’ll take more blood on the floor to do it

  • AardvarkOz

    So well spoken Kate. Thank you. My hope is that they will listen. But sadly I suspect they stop listening the moment they stop talking.
    Thanks for also sharing your personal story. That sucks big time.

  • Bobas

    I love your article Kate but I think in the end that rugby will be fine solely due to its world game status.

    When we get out of this pandemic and the players that are still there for us are playing England, NZ or South Africa, I will be there, cheering those bastards on and partying like it’s COVID 19ninetynine

    • Patrick

      if only, we were really good in 99!

  • Jason

    Honestly, I’ve been a MASSIVE critic of the sport for a very long time. From a place of love — like all of us. But to be completely honest, I don’t see how
    Raelene Castle could have done a better job. She had no choice but to re-hire Izzy, she had no choice but to fire him (or risk losing even more in sponsorship). She had a very small window to sack Cheika, and MAYBE get someone in there quickly, but that was a massive risk for not a lot of reward; best case we ended up with Scott Robertson; we couldn’t have been able to get Rennie or anyone else at that stage. She has transformed the U20’s program for the better, she’s got the Clubs largely in order working together. She’s got a wayz to go getting the Rebels to be a thing — but that’s not her fault, they’ve never been a thing.

    For the first time in a long long time I had friends who were openly hopeful for the Aussie Super teams — the Reds looked really good (much better than their record reflected), the Brumbies looked more dynamic than they have in years. And a lot of that can be attributed to letting the right players go and retaining the right players — obviously there are always going to be some who you can’t keep (Kerevi is a good example). But player development is on song because of the U20’s program etc. And people believe the Wallabies actually have a chance.

    I ask anyone what has Castle actually done wrong, what’s she done poorly? Because honestly, while she’s not the most personable I think she’s doing a bloody good job! And to those who think Kafer is a better offer go back to your North Sydney boys club, you are the problem not the solution.

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Agree with all of this Jason. Exactly.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Bang on Jason. I think she’s doing well with what she has

    • Nutta

      Please purchase 2 tickets – one for Kafe and one for Kearns.

      For my part, I think most of the sickness lies just under the top. It’s in the folk hanging at the edges. The amount of jockeying climbers just under the surface in their logo’d teeshirts complaining about ‘lack of talent’ and ‘shifting demographics’ whilst they jam another sponsors party pie in their gob whilst ANOTHER dozen kids leave for AFL and Mungo drives me nuts.

      Stop it. I have an assignment to write.

    • Xaviera

      I beg to differ – I think she’s extremely personable. Very impressive one on one, and in a room. She’s the complete package – we should celebrate having her at a time like this.

  • paul

    Look nothing is going to change while the game here exists in its current set-up. The top down structure and self interest that runs the game just ensures you are forever in the same cycle, the only thing that masks this is when the Wallabies are winning, this allows you to sweep the issues under the carpet.

    I admire your passion and understand your frustration, but while the code continues to operate essentially as a single team entity through the Wallabies with an artificial level of Super rugby below that then returning to the game you love is just wishful thinking.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      So what’s the solution? I’m not sure where you’re going with this. The game has always needed the Wallabies as that’s the representation of the game at international level. Without the Wallabies it would disappear very fast.
      For the wallabies to be successful they need a pathway for players that gets them into the skill, fitness and mental edge needed for the Wallabies. Currently the Super teams provide that avenue. NPC would be the next level down if the dickheads in NSW ever woke up to it and club rugby below that.
      If this doesn’t work for you, and I’m happy for it not to, what’s the alternative

      • Nutta

        Centralisation argument again…

  • Hoss

    Great piece Kate.

    My scorn for Justin Harrison is limitless.

    One thing I would put forward is a guaranteed minimum payment for players for a period of time. What does M Hooper care (and it’s unfair of me to single out Hoops, it’s simply that I know he is on $1.2m pa, so I use him as an example) if he gets a 50% pay cut ? He would still be on $600.000 or $50k / month. Why not use that $50k from Lee Magors and others like him and come up with a RA ‘Job Keeper’ type package that guarantees ALL players some income certainty UFN – say $1000 – $1500 / week.

    Yes, adjustment will need be made to lifestyles and arrangements made with banks etc – like the rest of us. But we are all in this together – except for RUPA of course.

    Yesterday despite my intentions I made redundant 15 staff and their families, cut the hours of 170-odd others and resigned myself to the fact that there will inevitably be a ‘phase 2’ of similar actions as well. I had been in talks with the ATO – who have been absolutely fantastic in talking to me and assisting – but the reality is for the company I head that a ‘30% downturn in turnover’ which is the KPI for Job Keeper’ will see us close long before the cavalry arrives. Yesterday afternoon and into the evening I received 8 text messages team members I had let go asking if I was ok and whilst it was hard on them ‘it must have been10 times harder on me’. I genuinely wept that this was the caliber of my team and the genuine humanity and decency they possess. Not one of the team demanded to see my books or financials so they can make a decision. Which I wouldn’t have shown them anyway as it’s ‘commercial in confidence’. RUPA’s decision to ask to see financials is akin to me asking to see your poker cards before I make a bet! However, refer to Damien Fitzpatricks comments as player president for an insight to his own views and his inherent decency.

    As for Rod The Oracle’ Kafer. What a slime. Where was the feigned outrage , the indignity and contempt for RA when he stuck his hand out each week for tens of thousands of dollars in consultancy fees to develop Aussie coaching depth. ?? A job I must say he was entirely shit at – or am I missing something.

    I have been a Castle fan early doors and my estimation of her continues to rise even in these events. Rugby is in good hands, it’s just a shame that so many tainted ‘experts’ And former players lack the same credibility and integrity she possesses. As for Goog Harrison, it’s time to have a good look in the mirror sunshine . How does a former cocaine using, Club culture cancer rise to that position – rhetorical question really and a perfect example of jobs for the boys.

    • Nutta

      Shot 20% of my staff in the last week. Same basic reactions – limited over-emotionalism, no threats of retribution, no demands to see company finances, just genuine sorrow and even a couple of sympathetic ‘I don’t envy you doing this’ comments. Mostly it was ‘See you on the other side?’ stuff. We are classified ‘essential service’ so we will be right for a while.

      Hard times call for honesty and integrity. Not self-centred jockeying.

      I echo the sentiment. To the self-entitled ivory towerists I also say get over yourselves or just get out. Or sink with the other imposters on the sick ship ‘Self Entitled self Service’, go bankrupt and clear the landscape and we will start again once you’re gone. My subs can go elsewhere.

      So… is The Republic of Nutta nigh perhaps?

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Mate that’s tough. Hope you’re ok

        • Nutta

          Dude I’m all good. I still have my job!

    • Kate Elizabeth

      Sending you support vibes – can only imagine how tough it was to make the calls you have had to in recent weeks. Stay strong.
      I read an incredible amount of bitterness in between the lines of Harrison’s releases and wonder what happened in his time as head of Classic Wallabies – because this is not what a leader does in a time of crisis.

      • Adrian


        Your article is probably the best article I have ever read in GAGR, and that’s in about 9 or 10 years.

        Well done

        • Kate Elizabeth

          Thanks Adrian. Appreciate the compliment, although I think all I did was just put into words what a lot of us are feeling.

      • voodoo economics

        Just read your article. Well done Kate, well said and thank you for your contributions.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Great post mate. Feel really sorry for you and people like you who have to make some shit decisions in difficult times. Kia Kaha brother.
      I have very little sympathy for RUPA and those demanding more than they should get. To be honest the way people are reacting is demonstrating the depth of the selfishness and self entitlement that seems to be rampant in the higher level of the Australian rugby players and administration. It’s not really surprising they have fallen so far with this poor culture

      • Hoss

        Don’t cry for me Argentina. Truth is we all lose skin in events that we are now faced with. It’s genuinely reassuring though that for all the reports of selfishness, stupidity and fuck-witidness that permeates all media that genuine class, dignity and decency from the silent masses still outweighs it 1000:1, it’s just not newsworthy apparently.

    • Happyman

      Hope you are ok mate nothing worse than letting good people go. These times are going to change how we do business for ever.

      You are correct my scorn for Kafer and frankly his cohort of Brumbies of that era is vitriolic. I could quote the boys from pillar to post podcast but this is a family forum so I will keep it PG.

      I think it is apparent how entitled some of the highest profile players are in the lack of engagement. I bet if Pocock was still on the payroll we would have heard more.

      Everyones world is changing a mate of mine got made redundant and has had to take a contract doing FIFO at about 50% of last weeks wage and is happy to do so.

    • From NooZealand

      I truly salute you on your sentiments for your staff and their circumstances. This piece is as good as or maybe complementary to Kate’s article. Thank you.

  • laurence king

    Great article Kate. As Morrison said the other day, there are no red jumpers or blue jumpers in this, we are all just Australians working together to help us all get through to the other side. Feel for you guys who have had to lay off staff, couldn’t imagine anything worse. Stay safe

  • Xaviera

    Good piece – it needed to be written by someone – well done!

    A few random thoughts.

    Harrison. Complex character, and a smoky for his current role, as I don’t believe he even put his hat in the ring to replace Ross Xenos (trivia question, without using Google – who did Harrison replace?). Before the pandemic, I had a discussion with a former Wallaby intimately involved in business circles and he said point blank he wouldn’t touch Harrison with a barge pole because he was “a lunatic”. Now that was REALLY saying something coming from the one who said it. Seems he was on the money more than we all realised.

    Damien Fitzpatrick. Disclosure – I know him. Fundamentally a good human, and with a broader picture of the world and how rugby fits into that world, for a number of reasons (age, travel, second/third chance, smart etc). I can’t but help think he’s wedged at the moment. Will be interesting to see how he handles it from here.

    Raelene. Huge fan. Sickened by the vitriol that continues her way, as well as the blatant fake news about her. I thought we as a rugby community were better than that. Clearly, a noisy component of our constituency is not. We should be better, much better. Running rugby in Australia has always been a tough gig, and always will be. We should celebrate we have someone of her calibre. It’s not to say she is perfect (who is?), so reasoned, constructive criticism is to be expected. But not beyond those boundaries.

    News Corp and associated entities. Running a propaganda campaign which would make Orwell blush and Goebbels beam with pride. Disgusting. Similar behaviour during the Super League war (I lived in a one paper “town” then, and it was a News rag – unbelievable what they got away with), but they have now taken it to a new level. The sooner they disappear from our game, and hopefully altogether, the better.

    The pandemic. My business now has zero revenue. I hear you. No idea when that will change. I’m not holding my breath though. I feel your pain. Hang in there, and be kind to yourself.

    The way forward. Together, for the good of the game. It’s the only way. But are we capable of that? I really don’t know.

    Missing footy more than I thought possible.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      You’re a legend mate. Great posts and couldn’t agree with you more on the way Harrison and the like are creating a gap between the players and supporters. If this continues I can see more scenes like we saw when the Wallabies lost to Argentina in Queensland with frustrated supporters booing and taking their frustrations on the players who have so distanced themselves from the fans.
      Going to get worse before it gets better

  • MST

    What I am struggling to process right now is that the NRL players behaviours seems to be well above our current crop of players. Thats really hurts.

    Another interesting observation about this pathetic behaviour is while our games cancer is slinging allegations of financial mismanagement and calling out things Larkhams and Folau’s payouts, it what absent from the conversation which is of equal interest.

    I don’t see any mention to the consideration of the cost to pay out Castle should they play their pathetic games.

    I don’t see any mention of significant amount RA payed to get the Shute Shield out of their TV deal.

    I don’t see any mention of the future of the sport at the professional level or any real comprehension that unlike the other codes that have already made cuts, this game has far less at its disposal to help it survive.

    As for the media campaign, leaks, plotting and airing the laundry in public; yes you have a captive audience and plenty will click. But it may be fools gold you have found as right now it’s not the game being judged; it’s those in the media, the pathetic old collective wanting to play power games in the midst of a pandemic.

    To Harrison, the players and the pathetic collective behinds the scenes; congratulations on imposing social distancing between the supporters and yourselves! You may have even taken the next step and self isolated yourselves in your naivety. Bravo!

    To the naive part of the media; you be a little slow in realising the landscape of professional sports, and the broadcast thereof may have also changed for the foreseeable future. The battle your waging is no longer relevant and you are yet to realise your chosen enemy is ally you will need to survive in the future.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Well said MST. Miss your posts like I miss the rugby and great to see your logic and analysis continue.
      Let’s hope the majority of the supporters can keep this game alive here

      • Nutta

        Stop being a nice bugger. Can’t you see we’re all supposed to be hating on each other? Wake up to yourself man.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Sorry mate must be my half and half citizenship fighting for the rights. Not sure which way to go

    • Nutta

      I particularly liked your 1st and 2nd last points – I guess at least we are a good example of establishing a social distance!

    • Who?

      Great post, but disagree with your last paragraph. Because I’m not sure there’s any naïve part of the media. Certainly not around Rugby. It’s all political, and they’re all fighting for their own money. To call them naïve is being very, very generous to them.

    • AllyOz

      To be fair, the rugby league players did come out, both publicly and privately to demand that Greenberg take a similar cut to them. He had agree to a 50& cut and other staff to 30% but then later reduced his cut to 72% to match those imposed on the players.

      I have some concerns about how RA is being run, particularly about why they can’t provide audited financials of the previous fiscal year that ended 31 December at a end of March AGM.

      I am also unsure why RA has taken so long to respond – they were several weeks later than the other two codes. It may have been related to the date of the board meeting and the fact that they wanted the new board members to be part of the decision making process. And on that basis it may be justified.

      I am not a huge fan of Raelene Castle overall. I am a little bemused by the fact that two administrators connected to the Canterbury bulldogs who were both in senior positions during one of that clubs weakest/least successful periods end up in the top jobs of the two major winter sports codes in NSW and Qld. In RC’s case, though not necessarily of her doing, the club failed to meet salary cap requirements, blew out its budget and was left in a position where they have had to rebuild over the last 3 seasons. So someone at Canterbury got something wrong and RC was at the club at the time (along with Des Hasler and Ray Dibb). Many of those issues were around player contracting and again here at RA, there have been issues around contracting for coaching staff (including Larkham) and players. It may not be that RC created these issues (the article I read suggested that Pulver had given the 1 year pay out clause to Larkham) but they are now her responsibility.

      I was never a fan of Harrison particularly. McQueen’s Brumbies christened him “googy” as he was a bad egg. However, I think the criticism here of him and of the players association has gone a bit over the top. They have, at least publicly, signalled as long as three weeks ago, that they were prepared to take significant pay cuts to save the game. RC only announced that she would take a pay cut on Monday and they said they would match that and were prepared to work in partnership with the management to go further to save the game. If fully audited financials had been presented at the board meeting then the players wouldn’t have to request them.

      Yes I would agree the usual suspects have emerged and offered their embittered opinions – I am not sure why anyone is surprised. It would almost be hypocritical of Alan Jones to put away his daggers now and say let’s all get behind the leadership if he has for the last three years criticised them.

      I do agree with some of the criticism that rugby has entered this crisis in a worse position than most other sports. Whether that is the fault of the current administration or a long drift under the administration over the last 15 – 20 years is another thing. Personally I don’t see that changing the executive at this time would do much good. Changing it for Phil Kearns gives me even less confidence. However, I don’t think its fair to blame the playing group at this stage when they have consistently signalled they are prepared to be part of the solution. Harrison has a responsibility to represent the players position and has simply asked for some transparency. There seems to be some suspicion that RA may even have been trading insolvent so I for one, will be more comfortable when the full financials are available.

  • JJ

    I salute your heart felt comments. Also by Hoss, Nutta and others.

    However, as a Western Force fan, over the last 3 years, I have seen the ARU or RA directors do things and make statements, that later turned out to be not true or underhand with hidden motives. I attended one of the days of the senate inquiry and read every word that was published of the other 2 days.

    Dane Haylett-Petty is quoted over on ROAR today as saying:

    “We see no reasons why RA refuses to engage, despite the provision of protection under a non-disclosure agreement.
    “At a time when governing bodies in the other major football codes have been open and transparent with their players RA continues to refuse our requests.”

    DHP as a ex- Force player has been burnt once by the trust RugbyWA put in the words and intentions of ARU directors. In the end he and his brother had to make the difficult decision to move to Melbourne and leave their family and business in Perth. He is now back in Perth temporarily, trying to help the family and their business survive.

    Pulver, Clyne, Eales, Robinson and other directors have now left the wreckage of the RA behind them. I do feel for Raelene Castle who was not there when much of the the damage was done. She also had Clyne as chairman and Robinson as vice-chairman directing her. Twiggy is a bit a Raelene fan and says she is like breath of fresh at the RA.

    Nobody could see this virus coming or plan for it.

    I am a Wallaby and fan and I hope the damage from this virus to rugby in Australia is not permanent and we can emerge re-united and strong again one day. But I think the RA first needs to change from a secret closed society to a more open, transparent and trusted organisation.

    • Nutta

      Fair point and I note you come from a position of actually doing a bit of research as opposed to a pub milk-crate spray. I guess I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic in that I look about for a bit of leadership, a bit of inspiration.

      It’s totally justifiable to be reticent as quite reasonably argued by your post.

      What I fear we are experiencing now is a moment in time where our leaders need to recognise it for the seminal point it is and so lead the way in putting the fear & loathing aside – even that justifiably burned into our memory – and LEAD. Or at least be SEEN to. It’s easier to be an Alan Jones than a Peter Cosgrove. But it’s not Alan Jones and his mob that we need (I’m not saying you’re an Alan Jones though).

      Being a bit of a closet Irishman I look to the likes of Michael Collins to see someone who I believed HATED taking the lead to make peace with the English when the job was half-done, but did what he felt was right for the larger group, put aside the personal feelings and LED. But I also note the irony that whilst it ended one war it then just led to a civil war and ultimately his own death…

      • JJ


        There are always two sides to these arguments or even wars.

        Picking up on your last paragraph, now is the time for Mclean and Castle to show some real leadership. But Mclean has been a low profile ARU director for a long time and I assume agreed with decisions made in the boardroom in his time and their style of doing business.

        Twiggy said a year or so ago ” dealing with the RA was like taking a refreshing dip in a swimming pool filled with glue”. Thats why he registered GRR with World Rugby through the Hong Kong RU, to keep it out of reach and control of the RA.

        • Nutta

          Yes mate and I have to say I’m an outspoken supporter of Twiggyball for so many reasons.

        • JJ

          Cheers. I have grown to really appreciate the Rapid Rugby law variations and really do hope they are adopted by rugby around the world. There are still lots of contested scrums, rucks, line outs, fierce tackles and rolling mauls to satisfy an old prop like me, but there is also a lot more sensational running rugby.

  • RedsFanDan

    Great article Kate. Thanks for putting it out there.

    I’m only one anecdote but I gave up my Foxtel shortly after the World Cup so have only watched youtube highlights of a few games this season. The cheapest bundle that includes sports is $60 a month ($720 a year). Now, I love rugby, it’s pretty much the only sport I watch (every now and then I’ll throw some cricket on, then realise that Gilly and Warne and McGrath and Ponting have all retired and I don’t give a fuck after that) but I can’t justify that amount of cash when rugby is the only thing I use Foxtel for.

    I considered Kayo, but it’s $25 a month, that’s almost the same as Netflix and Disney+ combined. Again, more affordable, but still pricey considering I will only ever watch rugby.

    Maybe I’m an outlier who can never be accommodated, maybe I just can’t afford to watch rugby outside of tests in this country? Either way, I feel like the current and, possibly, future broadcast model excludes a heap of people like me who want to put dollars toward the game from their couch but can’t find a satisfactory way to do so.

    Then there’s all the constant drama by the “professionals” in charge and the insular crowd of private school old boys sniping from outside and an unfortunate amount of bigoted horseshittery from a small number of fans in the comments on any article discussing a predominantly jewish nation state or a medieval fortification that just perpetuates the idea that rugby is a game for arsehole wealthy snobs in this country. To be clear, I don’t think that’s true but there are times I find myself struggling to care about the state of the game or its future.

    The fact some people called for Raelene to be sacked when she didn’t immediately earn a Michelin star for the shit sandwich restaurant she took over…*sigh*

    Anyway keep up the good work.

  • Red Block

    Well said Kate. I keep asking myself what has RC done wrong? She navigated the Cheika minefield as best she could, Izzy left no one with any other option and she stared down News Ltd and they blinked.
    But now RUPA and News Limited (has there every been a more apt name) are circling the wagons around her in ever diminishing circles.
    Hang in there RC!
    If we are to move forward, we need you there not a News Ltd puppy.

  • Reds Revival

    Thank you so much for writing this Kate! I was furious at Kafer the other day when I listened to his childish rant and wanted to vent, but there was no current stories on GAGR at the time. As Hoss said, Kafe was quite happy to take the money from AU and provide sweet FA in return, but now he is pointing at RC and blaming her for things that she wasn’t even involved in. I can’t wait for Fox to be “socially distanced” from this sport – forever. Their behaviour has been atrocious, and there is absolutely no justification for the personal attacks on Raelene.

    I am so glad that my like minded friends on this forum have all voiced the anger and frustration that I am feeling!! We are the people that the game belongs to, and by the sound of it, we want Raelene to succeed, and for the game to move forward again in Australia. Stay strong RC!

  • Lester Spigot

    Can please we quit it with all the north shore shit?

    A substantial number of Aussie rugby fans live in this region, and a great many of us DO NOT support the Mosman clique responsible for the perpetual power struggles and destabilization.

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Perhaps we need to focus it down from North Shore to something else. Unfortunately mate you are being represented by some complete tossers. I’d hope some of the decent people there can get together and vote these dickheads out of the offices they hold. That would be a huge step in the right direction

      • Lester Spigot

        It’s not a matter that democracy or the grass roots has any control over, unfortunately.

        These people are all ex Wallabies and millionaire insiders and other “special” people. They fulfill every class stereotype that non rugby people throw at us as a code in Australia.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          And it’s such a shame because they are such a small percentage of the group. Refereed here and coached for about 6 years and I’ll go on record as saying the average rugby player I’ve met here is as fantastic as the average one in NZ. Such a shame to see such a small bunch of dickheads giving everyone else a bad name

        • Yowie

          At my playing peak (high school 5th IV) I was described as a “very average player” so by your logic above I’m “very fantastic”.

          Cheers KARL.

        • KwAussie Rugby Lover

          Absolutely Yowie

  • Joe King

    How can we write a note of encouragement to RC?

    • Reds Revival

      I’m in for this Joe. Good suggestion!

    • Reds Revival

      I just sent an email to RA Customer Service and asked them to pass my message on to Raelene. They came back pretty quickly and said that they would be happy to forward on my email of support.

  • Happyman

    Great piece Kate

    Says so many things that we are all feeling at the moment.

    Great rant Hope all is well stay safe.

  • Huw Tindall

    Well it’s all been said below so I wont add anything except another congratulations on an articles well written and a point well made. Rugby will survive because we’ve got people like you supporting the game Kate.

  • Who?

    Great article Kate. The only thing better than the article is the consistency and unity in feeling amongst commenting readers. All backing your sentiments.
    It makes one wonder how the commercial media think they have any sort of connection with the common fans, because this is the most supportive I’ve seen the community towards an administrator in a long time, and – before the current health crisis – the most optimistic I’ve seen the community in years. If only the media would wake up and recognise they’re completely disconnected from their customers, perhaps they might not die as companies…

  • Gordon Irons

    Kate – well said. We do need to stop fighting amongst one another and suspend self interest if Rugby is going to return to the position it should have amongst all communities in Australia.
    Where I think the game has lost its way is in living its true values and purpose….which is to bring communities and people of shapes and sizes together. A focus on “elite” players and wrapping them in cotton wool has created a significant divide amongst the Australian rugby community and this needs to stop.
    We have an opportunity to deliver real change now and develop a national approach and operating model that aligns all key stakeholders at every level.
    Players and fans know it so now is the time to make that happen. Once rugby returns to a values based sport that binds communities and people together on a national basis, then the sport will grow and prosper again.
    You only need to look to the AFL to see how this can be achieved – with the support of sponsors, investors and banks.
    A new business and operating model is the first step on the road to rebuilding rugby in Australia.
    Thanks for sharing your views and for your love and passion for rugby. Without it the game will continue to struggle on and off the field.
    Yours in Rugby

  • formerflanker

    The two issues currently concerning me the most about Raelene are her inability to arrive at an audited financial statements, and her treatment of Larkham.
    In my case a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. I was under the impression that auditors can “qualify” financial statements. In the current case of RA, that to me means the auditors could say “these are true records of the 2019 financial year. BUT we have concerns the pandemic could result in zero broadcasting revenue with disastrous consequences for 2020.” There has been no statement from RA that they traded whilst solvent in 2019, before the pandemic crisis.
    Perhaps a qualified person could straighten out any misconceptions I have.

    Re Larkham, RC had no option than to fulfil the contract termination clause erroneously included by Pulver’s team. But to then chase Larkham down with a “bad faith” charge shows less than zero respect for a marvellous servant of the game. It smacks of desperation.

    The self-assessed 72 per cent performance rating for 2019 is also a topic worthy of debate.

    • Who?

      The 72% performance rating is probably not entirely unfair. If it’s just the Wallabies, then a 40% rating would be generous. But if you consider the performance of the Schoolboys and U20’s, the efforts across 7’s… I can see how they think they made progress last year. Because many on here would agree that, aside from the Wallabies (where they were foiled by the contract situation around Cheika), they did.
      In terms of chasing down Larkham about acting in bad faith… It’s interesting that he negotiated that termination clause. Given it’s said to be so unusual. Perhaps he understood Cheika would scapegoat him. Which further looks bad for Pulver. But in a time where the game has been on its knees, to have a guy who’s made heaps off the game effectively paid to float around without much purpose (before heading off overseas) looks pretty ordinary.
      Although nowhere near as bad as it is for a bloke who took a huge paypacket for literally zero benefit in ‘high level coach training’ to come out and whinge about waste in RA. Kafe ought to hang his head in shame, and maybe if he’s that worried about the waste he should hand back the money he took.

  • Hambone

    Well said Kate. This consistent kicking off the man (RA) on the ground during a period such as this makes me sick to my stomach and totally against the values this great game has taught me over the years.
    The world is in a pandemic, people are hurting financially, for fucks sake people are dying, and fox has used this as a pretext to try to install their useless cronnies into positions of power to low ball a pathetic broadcasting contract over the line.
    Every day another hatchet piece, and another sigh of disbelief. These pricks and their merry men of thieves airing their grievances as they jockey for a piece of the pie is not only atrocious it is down right unAustralian and definitely not in the spirit of the game..
    Whilst not convinced on castle, i would back her against the alternatives being put forward from ruperts coin pocket. Clyne gone, bumbies tracking well, youngsters showing some flair, rennie en route, 7s in the Olympics. There is alot to be happy about and i was, until our current predicament.
    As an Australian and a wallaby tragic, here’s a big fuck you to fox and hope you solve your own 3-400mill annual losses by sinking with all your rats still on the ship..
    Go wallabies

  • LED

    Hey completely agree. And I for one believe Raelene is the one to dig us out of this mess. Has anyone with a large social media presence thought of doing an online Petition in SUPPORT of Raelene? Perfect way to break the singular message in the mainstream media each day and show where the real support lies. Right now its the usual plotters who are controlling all the messaging. A petition could change that if we get it out there?

    • LED

      To be clear I’d do it but I have exactly zero social networking footprint. Dont even have a Fb account!


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.

More in Rugby