Tuesday's Rugby News - Green and Gold Rugby
ACT Brumbies

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News

Tuesday’s Rugby News looks at the Ballymore redevelopment, Jake Gordon’s ankle, a Trans Tasman Bubble and, the travel burden for some teams.

Ballymore Update.

A good crowd was in attendance for the final at Ballymore


As a country boy all my early memories of rugby in Brisbane involved Ballymore, the hill and the McLean stand. On the day that Super Rugby AU 2021 started demolition started on the old McLean Stand and, I guess, in a way, work started on the new modern McLean stand. While a few have tried to cling to the past and ‘save’ the stand having worked out of it professionally (pfft) I welcome the redevelopment.

This from the press release.

More than 90 per cent of the old stand will be recycled or reused, with the aluminium bench seating donated to local clubs. The old wooden benches will be reconditioned and auctioned off to the public support the Queensland Rugby Foundation.

During the next 18 months we will build the Ballymore National Rugby Training Centre and New McLean Stand – a $35 million project which is the first stage of the redevelopment of Ballymore.

This new facility will be the new national headquarters for women’s rugby and the Buildcorp Wallaroos, a new training base for the Reds and a 21st century home for our academy and education programs.

It will include an integrated 3010-capacity grandstand which will allow more major events and elite rugby games to be held at Ballymore.

It will be the start of a new, reenergised community sports precinct which will be a crucial part of providing training and matches for major events such as the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour and the bids for the 2027 Rugby World Cup and 2032 Olympics.

This project is jointly funded by the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments.

This is an exciting time for Queensland Rugby and I look forward to keeping you up to date with the progress at Ballymore.

David Hanham
Chief Executive Officer
Queensland Rugby Union

Jake Gordon Ankle

Jake Gordon


If there was one guy in Rob Penney’s Waratahs squad that the coach didn’t want to get injured it was probably his halfback Jake Gordon. But that’s exactly what happened 65 minutes into their game against the Reds last Friday.

Waratahs coach Rob Penney said Gordon had suspected syndesmosis and was on crutches after the match.

“Jake has a bit of an ankle injury. It’s hard to say, it looks like a high ankle sprain, but it’s too early to tell. He’s on crutches. He’d be a big loss. It wouldn’t be great for us, he’s our new captain. But someone will step up,” Penney said.

Penney couldn’t say how long Gordon was expected to be out of action but a similar injury to Reds captain is expected to take ten weeks. A similar timeframe for Jake would end Super Rugby AU for him.

Add inside centre, Joey Walton with a similar injury and the suspension of Izaia Perese, and it’s looking like an entirely new midfield for the Tahs next game… Against the Brumbies… Away.

In recent years, Penney would have been able to choose from one of Sekope Kepu, Tolu Latu, Bernard Foley, Adam Ashley-Cooper, Israel Folau, Kurtley Beale, Nick Phipps, Ned Hanigan, Tom Robertson, Karmichael Hunt, Rob Simmons or Michael Hooper to lead the way.

But those experienced heads have departed over the last few years. The decisions to let those players go can’t all be attributed to Penney, as he’s only been in charge for 15 months, but at a time when the Waratahs needed to keep their last remaining greybeards, the Kiwi and the organisation have not managed to stop the bleeding.

Penney said wouldn’t do anything differently, however. “Don’t regret it. Don’t regret the discussions we had and the decisions we made there,” Penney said. “We have people in the organisation that will do a job (as captain), yeah.”


Trans Tasman Bubble?

Andy Marinos is chatting to the NZRU about the possibility of all games being played in the same location if things go pear shaped virus wise. Word is the Kiwis are already planning for a third round of Super Rugby Aotearoa, and it’d be crazy to think RA aren’t doing the same.

However, RA has not given up on the competition and Marinos told reporters in Brisbane that “all options on the table”.

“One thing we’ve learnt out of last year is that we’ve got to be adaptable,” Marinos said.

“We’ve got be able to pivot quite quickly, so we are engaging with the Kiwis are looking at how best we can put this together.

“We are largely beholden to what government regulations are going to be at the time, but there is certainly an emphasis from both sides to make sure that it happens.”

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has indicated that she is in no hurry to establish a trans-Tasman travel bubble, even after the rollout of vaccines.

The challenge with an Australian bubble for Super Rugby would be a 14-day quarantine for everyone when they returned home. This of course would hamper the player’s preparation for the Rugby Championship and another 14 days after that.

Perhaps the best option would be to have bubbles in one city in each country.


Rebels Travel Burden


Rebels coach Dave Wessels has questioned why his side and the Force have had to carry the burden of COVID-19 restrictions so far. The Rebels will have to fly into Brisbane on Friday to prepare for that nights game against the Reds.

The Rebels escaped the lockdown in Melbourne and the subsequent 14-day hotspot quar­antine imposed on the greater Melbourne area by the Queensland government only hours before they came into force.

Interstate flights out of Melbourne had been cancelled, buses weren’t available and the Rebels players were forced to make the seven-hour road trip to Canberra in their own cars, some of them leaving so hurriedly they were unable to say their goodbyes to their wives and children.

 In many respects, the Melbourne franchise again saved the Super Rugby AU competition, just as it did last year when it was forced to spend three months away from home. And that was only part of the story. Those Rebels players chosen for the Wallabies were then required to go inside the bubble for a further nine weeks.

But while their sacrifice will enable the Reds-Rebels match to proceed on Friday as scheduled — and not, alternatively, at a neutral venue at, say, a country town in NSW — the time line meant the Melbourne side couldn’t fly from Canberra to Brisbane on Thursday, which Wessels wanted to give the Rebels a chance to prepare properly.

Had they escaped Melbourne a day earlier, there would be no problem but then the Victorian government had not announced a lockdown at that stage. Still, if last season’s competition is any indicator, any team forced to fly and play on the same day almost invariably loses.

“The frustration is that if the Queensland government has an issue with the game then it should be a problem for the Queensland Reds to sort out, not the Melbourne Rebels,” Wessels said.

“The broader points is that we — and the Western Force — have been the ones who have been inconvenienced significantly by this and it is happening again. Why is everybody in the competition not sharing the load?”

The answer to that is that the hotspot occurred in Melbourne. None of that was any fault of the Rebels but they are the ones paying the price for it. It would not have been possible, for instance, to switch the Reds-Rebels match to Melbourne’s AAMI Park this week because that could have jeopardised the entire competition. Nor could the Reds have approached the Queensland government for a dispensation for the Rebels, not when Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk has imposed a uniform hard line on any relaxation of quarantine regulations, even in matters of life and death.


  • Keith Butler

    Looks like the Force and the Rebs are going to get the shit end of the stick travel wise – again. Mind you I wouldn’t have fancied our chances against the Reds even if the team had had normal prep time. Stranger things have happened though.

    • Kevino

      Yeah, but the issue stretches further than this week, Rebels might have to change the fixture with the Brumbies and play away so they are allowed into WA the following week.

      • Keith Butler

        Too complicated for my addled brain. Too many beers and playing at lock for 20 odd years does that to you.

  • Jason

    Why do Melbourne have to bare the burden — because that’s where the outbreaks are… And unfortunately the Force are rather isolated. NSW and Queensland like it or not are the biggest Rugby playing States, if Melbourne want’s to enjoy the treatment that NSW and Queensland get then they are going to need a lot more rectangular stadiums and a lot more support of the sport.

    I mean why is everything with Rugby in Australia ‘Sydney First’ because that’s where the money is, it sucks for Brisbane, but that’s the truth. Why does the Lions Tour go to Sydney and Melbourne — then MAYBE Brisbane or Perth, because that’s where the money is. It sucks but that’s the way sports work.

    • Who?

      I agree on the Rebels. It’s just a shame for them that they come from the Covid-incompetent state. The state which has consistently had the harshest outbreaks and harshest lockdowns.

      The Force, their setup isn’t their fault. They come from a Covid-competent state which is maintaining unnecessarily isolationist policies. They’re not locked out by anyone, they lock everyone else out even when there’s no justification for it.

      And Jacinda… She’s not keen to rush to a Trans-Tasman bubble? Why should she think she’d get to make the call? After all, NZ has had more cases, deaths, and more outbreaks than Qld. With a smaller population. If we’re talking a hotspot regime, then NZ is the hotspot, not Qld. And not WA. Kiwi exceptionalism around Covid has worn very thin…

      • Jason

        Yeah, the other thing with the Kiwis, is they are overly cautious similarly with WA. But NZ isn’t quite as good as QLD (or WA). Alas.

      • Perth girl

        More than happy to be in a State who’s priority is to keep the people safe and McGowan has done that.

    • Hannes En Brianda Barnard

      Not true. The game that most likely made the most money for Rugby Australia is the sold out test in Perth between the Wallabies and NZ. Not only did the WA government spend $5 million to host the test, it also set the stadium attendance record for a sport event. Games are awarded to half full stadia in Sydney and Brisbane because RA is controlled by NSW and QLD.

  • Yowie

    The bigger question is, why are front-line health care workers getting the vaccine before professional rugby players? A fully vaccinated top tier of Australian rugby would simplify the competition admin.

    Apart from administer life-saving care in difficult conditions for not enough pay, what have front-line health care workers ever done for us?

    • Missing Link

      Have you ever seen a front-line health care worker jink their way through the oppositions defensive line and skin the fullback on the outside to dot it down in the corner?

      • Yowie

        Perhaps in the days before rugby went professional – there were plenty of doctors etc. in state & national representative teams, but we digress.

        As it currently stands, front-line health care workers don’t have the silky razzle-dazzle skills to make televised rugby the attractive spectacle it needs to be.

        • Missing Link

          Indeed it was a different game back then, boots came up around the ankles and were available in any colour you like as long as it’s black

        • Just the East being backward ML. We had black with white highlights option years ago.

        • Keith Butler

          I like a bit of reminiscing ML. My first pair rugby boots when I was 11 or 12,Johnny Haynes extra specials with leather studs and nails. Finally graduated to the best at the time in the 80s imo, Adidas Cap with the extra stud in the toe. All basic black, as they should be, apart from the luminous yellow sole, so if you ‘accidentally’ trod on the opposition when they were lying on the ball they knew who exact retribution on.

        • Yowie

          I tried to look that up by google searching “leather studs” and now an ex-Waratah is sending me hate mail.

        • Keith Butler

          Probably took you to an S&M page you naughty boy!

        • Who?

          Don’t the Force have a doctor in the starting side..? Dr Robbo?

        • Yowie

          Tom Robertson the prop with the medical degree (or part thereof)?

          I’d love to see a prop do the following:-

          …jink their way through the oppositions defensive line and skin the fullback on the outside to dot it down in the corner

        • Who?

          I remember Bray talking about how Robbo could’ve diagnosed himself when he did his knee the other year. Pretty sure he’s a doctor.

          And regardless of whether or not that’s true, it’s ALWAYS awesome to see a prop jink through the line, skin the 15 and dot it down in the corner. :-)

        • Damo

          “… but we digress.” I snorted my afternoon cuppa Yowie.

        • Yowie

          Haha cheers.

          Now that I think about it, Graham Chapman’s army colonel can probably take some credit there (“Now, nobody likes a good laugh more than I do… except perhaps my wife and some of her friends… oh yes and Captain Johnston. Come to think of it most people likes a good laugh more than I do. But that’s beside the point.” )

        • Damo

          Many a silly sketch put in its place by the Colonel.

        • Yowie

          You know when the Colonel wraps-up that “camp hermits” (or camp cavemen?) sketch and John Cleese is just outside of shot in full costume but hasn’t had a chance to come on, the back-story involves a small argument between John Cleese (team “why bother?“) and some others (team “because it will be funny if you were obviously ready to come on but the sketch gets binned before your bit“)

      • Mike D

        Tom Robinson?

    • Reds Revival

      The aquaducts?

    • KwAussie Rugby Lover

      Hahahaha ouch!

    • Custardtaht

      I think you mistake being paid makes them professional….history has shown our rugby players are paid rank amateurs.

  • Crescent

    I hear the Rebels pain – unfortunately the issues stem from Public Health Orders by respective State Governments, not the heads of the game. Contrary to the belief of some, the game does not drive government decision making, so the code needs to adapt. Would be interested to hear Wessels suggestions on how to get around various state responses to outbreaks that would minimise the travel impact. Genuinely interested, because I don’t know there is whole lot that can be done as a code to accommodate the travel burden on such short notice.

    The Force seem to be more focused on getting on with the job than stressing about travel impost – would love to see a side that has a powerful mix of experience and youth do well this year.

  • Happyman

    Thanks Sully.
    It’s 2020 and rugby has a new beginning for rugby. Unfortunately Ballymore had to go. I still believe it could have been redeveloped retaining the ground as a stadium but the government were never going to let that happen as Suncorp would then only have one tenant being the Shetland Ponies.

    Let’s be honest the ground he’d turned into an embarrassment with its lack of Maintenace.

    I will always remember watching the Argies play there ina 3 pm test and leaving at midnight when the bar closed.

    I just hope it retains the feeling of being the spiritual home that it retains today. When my son played a final there he felt it was a special place and tests or the Reds have not been played there for 25 years.

    • Sundown

      was that the Argies test in about 83 when Hugo Porta did us in

      • Happyman

        No mate would have been about 93 ish we won but I have very little memory of the game. Only that the day was exceptional day and I think I got in quite a bit of trouble from my now wife.

        • Damo

          French test in the 70’s- featuring the incomparable Jean Pierre Rives- had a crowd of approx. 20,000. Someone at the QRU thought is was appropriate to announce the next day that the crowd had consumed 50,000 cans of beer!! I was responsible for a few of them. Also the word Lite had not been invented back then.

        • Damo

          On reflection I think it was ’80 or ’81.

        • Reds Revival

          If you lost a decade, then you did consume quite a few beers!

  • KwAussie Rugby Lover

    Thanks Sully, I don’t have any skin in the game with Ballymore but I do think a modern well built structure using today’s technology is a good idea. Let’s hope it works out.
    Sux to be the Rebels but when you’re travelling to the state with Australians version of Trump running the show what else do you expect?
    NSW depth is going to be tested and maybe now they might be ruing the lost chance of doing some development work in the NRC instead of keeping players in a small low grade club competition. Stupid decisions coming back to bite them on the arse and very little sympathy from me I’m afraid.
    Maybe a hub similar to the TriNations last year would work but it’d suck to be the teams that were away from home. Perhaps 2 hubs with one in Australia or NZ and the other following on in the other country from the first might be a good idea. I just hope something works out as I think playing extra games against each other would get boring very fast.

    • Yowie

      Sux to be the Rebels but when you’re travelling to the state with Australians version of Trump running the show what else do you expect?

      Wow. Annastacia with a playboy model is not the mental image I was expecting today.

      • KwAussie Rugby Lover

        Happy to expand your visions mate

        • Brumby Runner

          Please do KRL. I just don’t get the comparison between a complete idiot who denied the existence of the virus and let it run rife through his country, and an ultra-cautious Premier who does everything possible, and maybe more, to stop the virus from entering her State.

        • Who?

          I’m guessing that perhaps it’s the whole Qld/America first, build a wall thing..? Maybe? Trump was a populist (let’s hope we don’t have to change the tense of that verb back to present tense), and the border closures were populist decisions as much as medical decisions (because there’s argument from epidemiologists that borders could’ve re-opened sooner, especially if working a hotspot model. Though on both counts Palaszczuk is well behind McGowan).

  • Moz

    I’m down in Perth in quarantine, getting out at the start of next week. I have ticket for the Force v Rebels match…. So all I can say is “Get your sxxt together guys, because I want that game to go ahead”. I’m heading back home a couple of weeks later, so only chance to see a Force match! Coincidently I was last down in Perth last March, and saw the only GRR Force match before the season was cancelled. So, lets get this March 12th match going, and then take it from there!

  • Reds Revival

    I watched the Suntory Sungoliaths game on Stan last night. While it was great to see some top names in action (Beauden Barrett is just pure class, Tevita Li scores tries at will, and Samu Kerevi is always good for a tackle bust or two), I was disappointed to see young Harry Hockings be one of the best forwards on the field. He played exceptionally well. I know that as a rugby professional he can go an ply his trade anywhere he wants. It is just disappointing that he left the Reds in the manner that he did, and he left when he was finally starting to pay back all of the work that had been put into his development. Definitely Australia’s loss when we have a shortage of good locks…

    • Geoffro

      Wonder where he had gone.Not surprised he is doing well , personally thought he was destined for big things.Still pissed at him and Rodda though.

ACT Brumbies

Just another Rugby tragic. Shane "Sully" Sullivan has been in man love with the game since high school in the 70's. He inflicts his passion on family and anyone who will listen. He can't guarantee unbiased opinion but he can tell you the Reds are Awesome! To read non-rugby content head to http://www.onesully.com.au

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