I didn’t enjoy the game on Saturday night.
The Wallabies played below their best and went down to a resurgent Argentina, with Israel Folau blowing a last-play try that would have certainly won us the match.
But the major talking point happened after the full-time siren, when a boozed-up Wallabies fan waited for the team to do their customary post-match lap of the stadium before giving a number of them an absolute earful.
It came to a head when he had a crack at Lukhan Tui, who clearly wasn’t in a great headspace. Subsequent to the incident, it was revealed that he lost his stepfather just a few days earlier and had family present when the fan started mouthing off.
The footage makes for ugly viewing, and it’s honestly given me pause for thought.
Of course I’d never do that, and I know 99% of our readers wouldn’t either. But is it symptomatic of the way we’ve come to talk about this team, and the way they play? Do we all need to take a step back and remember it’s all just a game?
I’ve certainly said a few things on here and on social media over the years that I wouldn’t be brave enough to say to a player or coach in person. It’s easy to forget that these players are all human beings at the end of the day, and for all their faults they are doing their best in a tough contact sport.
I’m not for a second saying that we should give the Wallabies a standing ovation no matter how they play, or that changes to the team or coaching staff shouldn’t be strongly considered.
This is a game, first and foremost. We watch it because we enjoy it and the range of emotion it brings us each Saturday night. We celebrate the highs and commiserate the lows. But if it’s bringing you such anger that you end up abusing the players, what’s the point?
The incident after the siren has changed the way I view the game, and the way I support the team. Because if I’m honest, I saw a little bit of myself in that abusive peanut, and I didn’t like it one bit.
I’m still going to write articles, and debate selection, and wonder if we couldn’t get a better result with a change of tactics or coaching staff.
I’m still going to call Izzy out for blowing that final play and costing us the match. What a blunder!
But when the game is on? I’m dressed in gold. When a player knocks on? It happens. When someone has a bad game? They are only human, and while they might be dropped, they shouldn’t be put on a boat and never allowed to play for the team again.
And when we lose? I’m still dressed in gold.
I know the comments section is now likely to get stuck into me with both barrels. And Cheika. And Izzy. And Ned Hanigan (what’s that bloke ever done to you?).
But before you do that, I’d urge you just to stop for a minute. Have a think about why you’re doing this. It’s all just a game! If it’s making you froth at the mouth and call for multiple people to lose their jobs because of how they played in a game, have a think about that peanut in the crowd on Saturday. Maybe you need a new hobby?
Go outside, it’s lovely! Read a book or just change the TV channel.
Because at the end of the day this is a fan site. By the fans, for the fans.
And I think I need to be a better fan.
Maybe we all do.