Dancing Digby and Rene’s Revenge:
Red’s fans will struggle to remember much of the immediate hours that followed their final win but one thing they wont forget it was their impressive turn around. After years of poor performances the Reds went from 2nd last in the Super 14 two years ago to the inaugural SupeRugby champions, an impressive feat. For this reason, I’ve not included the Reds in this review, but rather a moment that will be forgotten.
Bulls vs Reds – Week 9. After a break down the left hand sideline by the Bulls, big lock Adam Wallace-Harrison snaps an intercept and puts it on the boot from within his 22. A race for the ball ensures and after a taking the lead a flying Digby Ioane kicks the ball again and then picks up and plants it over the try line in the same motion. Digby then does the ‘turtle’ and Marto proves he’s whiter than Tin Tin by calling it the caterpillar… Entertaining? Sure, but it is what happened the very next week that took the cake.
Blues vs Rebels – Week 10. Rene Ranger beats a couple of would-be tacklers and scores a beautiful little try in the corner within the first 2 minutes of the game. He then proceeds to brace his hands on the ground as two of his team mates hold his legs in the air and spin him around, effectively imitating the ‘turtle’ finished off with the one knee salute in tow. Wonderfully taking the puss, Ranger reminds us that there’s nothing wrong with a bit of cheeky banter. I love stuff like this.
Halley Appleby (by Cat):
While Halley was being treated on the field, the Uni players were standing tightly arm-in-arm in the centre of the field. They didn’t move for 45 minutes, holding up their mates beside them. This was shown as a brief shot on the TV news, but if there is one image that symbolises the rest of the season it is just that: the team stood up only because everyone was holding each other up.
The weekend after the GPS game was one of the most beautiful experiences I have ever had. I would give up literally everything I have to go back in time and change what happened to Halley, but the experience of the next weekend was life-changing. The day started for us, as usual, at 8:30 strapping 4th grade. The first player to be strapped gave me a really big hug, which ended up being a pattern for the rest of the day. I’ve never before experienced so much love and genuine care as I did that day (or that week). I lost track of the amazingly nice things people did for us, but the overwhelming feeling of love surrounding us was truly humbling.
The Appleby family arrived to present the jerseys to Reserve Grade and Premier Grade. Their strength to even show up to the game was inspirational in itself, but what struck me is how concerned they were for us, when every single one of us would’ve laid down our lives to spare them the pain they were feeling. Forevermore, Gary, Sue, Josh and Bek will be my examples of inspiration, strength and courage.
The Reserve Grade boys won that day, and instead of standing in a huddle to sing the club song, they opened their arc and sang it directly to the Applebys and the full grandstand. The tunnel for the Premier side to run through formed and extended to halfway. At the end of it was Halley’s family. The lone bagpiper played the Lament, and the Premier boys took to the field. Photos show the Premier players standing with their arms tightly around each other, once again holding up their mates beside them.
But what wasn’t captured was the entire bench, Halley’s family, the coaching staff, and the training staff facing the players, once again with our arms tightly around each other, holding up our mates. Although it’s against QRU regulations, that day his family sat with us on the sidelines, just as Halley would have. At the end of the game, his family joined us in our huddle, which was that bit tighter.
I’ve never been so proud of a playing group in my life as I was of our boys that day, and every day since. I’ve never seen a group of people as selfless and caring as the Appleby family, whose courage is astonishing and it makes us all want to be better people.
There are very few people I know who could inspire so many people to reach out and care for the person alongside them, to tell them they care, that they love them, that they are there for them. But that is Halley’s legacy: he loved his life, he loved his family, he ADORED his Bek, he would always selflessly help a mate. Every single person who was touched by him is now committed to living a life worthy of Halley.
He’s left behind hundreds of people who genuinely care for their mates, who don’t ask if something is wrong before offering to help. We didn’t manage to win the Reserve Grade or Premier Grade premiership we desperately wanted to give Gary, Sue, Josh and Bek, but the club took away something more valuable than any trophy or award. There’s not an hour of a day where we don’t think of Halley. Sometimes it makes us sad and sometimes it makes us smile. But every time it reminds us to love life and live in honour of Halley.
Other notable mentions:
Drew Mitchell’s return from injury, Parramatta Two Blues first win in 2 years, Chris Ashton getting punched in the face by England team mate Manu Tuilagi, England’s spectacularly abysmal world cup campaign, France bringing back the flying V and our cousins from across the ditch finally joining us on 2 world cups a piece – first to 3 wins…
I’m sure there’s more memorable moments out there, please add your favourite ones below in the comments.
Cheers and have a great 2012 filled with spectacular rugby,
Many thanks to Cat for the Halley Appleby section.