The politics of rugby

The politics of rugby

The politics of rugby

Joe Hockey, a real tight-head

Over the last month I have watched both the Wallabies and our politicians with dismay. It seems that certain characteristics and frailties that some of our rugby players have, our politicians also share – and vice versa.

It occurred to me one night the career trajectories of some of the key players in either field of endeavour are strangely similar and the description that could be applied to one of our Wallabies, could just as easily be applied to our MP’s.

Rocky (Julia Gillard) – The captain of the country who is yet to win the hearts and minds of his followers. Came to power by taking over from a wounded leader but has struggled to make an impact at a national level. Even if he gets a big win in the coming weeks, may not serve out a full term if history is any indicator.

David Pocock (Tony Abbott) – A God fearing fitness freak – there seems nothing he cannot do, or at least attempt. Leads through ‘real action’ and is seen by many as the alternate leader of the country but doesn’t appear to have the numbers just yet. Not afraid to get his hands dirty and stand up for what he believes in. A no nonsense, old style leader.

Berrick Barnes (Kevin Rudd) – The golden boy from Qld who had a stellar 2007 but then struggled after he moved south. Was seen as the saviour some years ago but after a disastrous 2010 was moved to the (back) bench. Still has a modicum of popular support but will more than likely head overseas in late 2011.

Gits (Malcolm Turnbull) – The multi-talented millionaire who was trumpeted by many as a future leader of his country. Has struggled balancing his leadership ambitions with performance. Often appears to be on a different page from the rest his team and has trouble including those around him. Has fallen out with key powerbrokers and looks increasingly likely he too will play off the (back) bench.

QC (Bill Shorten) – A behind the scenes negotiator who isn’t afraid to play one side against the other to get the outcome he wants. A talented performer who has yet to prove himself in top company but nonetheless isn’t afraid to put himself forward. A bit of a ladies man who is yet to tackle anything major but clearly in his own mind is destined for greatness.

Dick Brown (Peter Garrett) – Has presided over many failures and been sanctioned on several occasions. Has been largely anonymous in recent weeks and seems to be holding his position because there are no other options. May suffer from an expected re-shuffle in the near future.

Salesi Ma’afu (Joe Hockey) – The gentle giant of the team. It seems as though there is very little that gets him worked up. Gives the air of being competent but collapses when real pressure is brought to bear.

Dean Mumm (Bob Brown) – Plays in a position of power but despite this shows precious little capacity for the cut and thrust – consequently has very little impact. After years of promise, it is time for him to deliver and start having real influence rather than just being on the periphery.

Sharpie (Simon Crean) – Spent many years in the wilderness after being knifed due to internal politics. Back in favour due to a lack of credible alternatives and some solid performances. An experienced campaigner and a solid team man who doesn’t mind the rough-and-tumble.

AAC (Bob Katter) – No one really seems to know what his position is and he is seen largely as a maverick. A player who charts his own course and isn’t bound by the same restraints as others.

Drew Mitchell (Stephen Conroy) – Gives the illusion of talent but more often than not turns in flaky performances. Doesn’t seem to be across the detail of his position and has cost his team dearly with poor decision making on many occasions.

Luke Burgess (Barnaby Joyce) – One of the more agricultural players in the team as his passing skills attest. Was first choice only through injury and is now struggling for relevance. Doesn’t seem to be able to produce when on the big stage.

Bob Dwyer (Mark Latham) – A former leader who is still seeking to impose himself on a world he long since retired from. Shoots from the lip and lets the chips fall where they may. A self styled journo who seems to hate all in equal measure.

  • Scotty

    Brilliant Juan, just brilliant.

    Article of the year for sheer creativity and effort.

  • That is just brilliant. Love Barnes = KRudd; Gits as Turners; AAC for Bob; Dwyer as LAtham. Oh boy. All of it!

    • RedsHappy

      Agree, just terrific!

      Only disappointment is that you did not seek or find match ups for Deans, Williams and Graham as the Wallabies’ coaches….that would have got your imagination firing….perhaps JC you’d consider an addendum for us?

  • sammy

    Im very happy to be living abroad cos from what I can tell, australian rugby is still in better shape than australian politics.

    You’ve missed the mark on Pocock though – noone would mind if he took over and I wouldn’t rush to extend my visa!!!

  • Berg

    Fantastic Juan.

    The similarities are quite scary.

    Pocock doesn’t seem to have the same propensity as Abbot for shoving his foot in his mouth though!!

  • ula

    no mention of genia

    • sammy

      he should be gillard…cos he’s shit hot!

  • Pete

    I feel insulted on behalf of David Pocock. And for that matter Rocky Elsom, at least Rocky is capable of being amazing, and is usually honest about the failings of his team. Think that says more about how much I hate the two politicians than the two backrowers.

    Good article though, Barnes/K-Rudd parrellels are uncanny!

  • Barbarian

    I would add:

    Matt Dunning = Phillip Ruddock. A tired old has-been, but is still considered by a lunatic minority to be worthy of a front line position. This can also work for Bronwyn Bishop.

    Alan Jones = Paul Keating. Bitter old ex-leader who still thinks he is more talented than those currently in charge. Offers his opinion on everything, despite the fact no-one ever asks.

    Benn Robinson = Steve Smith. One of the team’s best performers, but most people wouldn’t know him from a bar of soap. Rarely makes appearances in the press, just goes about his business.

    Richard Graham = Mark Arbib. One of the few ‘kingmakers’ behind the scenes, yet no-one quite understands why. Both are touted for a promotion sometime soon, where maybe you will finally see their face.

    And I know this isn’t federal politics but…

    Robbie Deans = Christina Kennealy. Speaks with a foreign accent, and came to power a few years ago in dubious circumstances. Has made a succession of blunders since assuming the job, and whilst possessing an air of efficiency there have been questions raised about their ability to lead the side to the big showdown next year…

  • Top work Juan, the parallels are uncanny!

    Though I don’t agree on Conroy giving the illusion of talent. He’s an incompetent hack severely unqualified for his position, who makes regular gaffes in the press trying to justify his ridiculous policies and holds his job due to factional alliances. Sounds more like Pieter De Villiers than Shmoo.

  • Cutter

    I’d say Phil Waugh = Tony Abbott

    Muscular player who uses brawn rather than brains. Unfortunately, the game has passed him by and he has neither the speed of thought nor mobility to adjust to the modern game. Whilst a respected leader within his team, it is beyond doubt that his conservatism restricts tactics leaving him defending ideas more progressive leaders have long since recognised as flawed (climate change denial and the tight game Waugh prefers).

  • Roland

    Ok people can we not turn this into a political debate. It was a bit of fun. PS. Gillard is more like Peter devilliers. Fucking incompetent in every facet of her role

    • punter

      Couldn’t agree more Roland, love your work.

  • Dally M

    Peter De Villiers = The Reverend Fred Nile. Good for outlandish but hilarous comments.

  • Searsy

    George Gregan (John Howard). A former leader who had a fairytale run partly due to skill and lack of decent competition. Waivered late in his career and probably held on a bit long but whose leadership skills are missed with the advantage of hindsight. Was not the most exciting of public speakers but could verbally burn an opponent in the heat of battle.

    Steve Larkham (Peter Costello). An absolute mastermind who would ghost through opponents and score before they even knew what had happened. The first to run into any melee and would play on hard despite some poor service from his leader. Snuck off to the back bench after the last election and has finally made transition into retirement.

  • Skip

    “is yet to tackle anything major” was the classic line for me. A genius article.

  • Ruggo.

    Van Humphries (Bob Hawke) All heart, passion and loved by many. Doesn’t mind foul lanuage to gee the team up. Is now considered to old for a job at the top.

    Great article Juan.

  • drop kick

    Julie Bishop = Backies Botha

    A thug with very little brains, wears shoulder pads.

  • RockyElboa

    Does this make JON the Queen?

  • Dingo

    I know it’s not rugby but:

    Matthew and Joey Johns = Milton Orkopoulos. Ex-key players for New South Wales and appointed Aboriginal affairs minister, and Labor frontbencher Milton was found guilty on 28 sex and drug counts in 2008.

  • Patrick

    Shame no-one can even imagine a political Genia ;)

    And shame on searsy for comparing Larkham to any politician, let alone one most famous for lacking bottle!!

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