Good evening, good morning, g’day & goodbye.
It’s my last Friday’s Rugby News for G&GR for the year as I return to the electronic shadows from whence I came and frankly, where I belong, somewhere in between ‘fake news’ and Kardashian waxing videos. So wipe the tears thou hast and join me on a season ’22 recap and look at what Australian rugby’s ‘tomorrow’ tantalises us with. Let’s start the farewell tour with ‘The Season we had to have?’. I offer admiration, acknowledgement and deserved respect to my fellow G&GR Crapparazi in ‘The Best of G&GR 2022’. Preview the 2023 Super squads in ‘The battle for second place’. Embrace the Christmas spirit with ‘A RA Christmas Carol’ and say fare thee well with ‘Fridays Goss With Hoss’, the perfect stocking filler for those you despise.
THE SEASON WE HAD TO HAVE?
I don’t want to talk win rates, selections, game plans, ‘if only’ losses or game plans today. I really don’t want to end the season on a negative with tears of bitter regret welling up. Nor the unpleasant aftertaste of ‘near but yet so far‘ sliding down my throat. Hell, I’m even prepared to forget (but never bloody forgive) that French
turd ref who shafted us in Melbourne. So to that end, what are my key takeaways from season 2022? What can I hang my hat on as Wallaby ‘proof of life’ for 2023 and beyond?
So instead, as a Wallaby fan and indeed I reminded myself that I am actually a fan who cares deeply about the Tahs international travelling side, the Wallabies, I’ll take morale boosting wins and green shoots of
hope life where I find ’em.
If indeed ‘necessity is the mother of all invention‘, then surely this year injury is the coitus that leads to the inception of new careers? A horrid injury run (with questions yet to be answered for how & why) has flung open the door of opportunity for ‘fringe players, gen-next, the tackle bag holders‘ to lay a marker down as contenders for more permanent roles. Forget the results up north, for we saw the emergence of Mark NowherenearTallahassee from Waratah waffler to world cup ‘lock’. Jock Campbell finally got his run in orange after being Oz’s best fullback in SRP 2022. Langi Gleeson got some valuable exposure to the coaches and serious minutes in the jersey. Sam Talaki had a brief, but impressive, cameo (and the guys ‘got scrum’) and Elsa Frost is the most exciting lock prospect we’ve had since ‘Nobody’ graced the paddock.
Equally the tour raised some ponderous, but ultimately positive questions for those charged with trimming the orange squad to RWC size in 2023. For while the injury gods certainly did plague the Wallabies, as a result depth was built, new faces were discovered, old faces perhaps ‘faded’ from the selection spotlight, while some, a few, maybe several, will have a line put through their names. Some of them are capable of redemption, others not so much. But for the first time in a while, genuine choices and discussions must be had across any number of positions.
Behind The Lip, who is our second #9? How soon before Lonergan gets a look in? Rightly QC will be 10 but is with age and his body on the ‘retirement side’ of playing he is only one warm-up twinge, one awkward tackle, one untimely twist away from being put out to pasture, so who assumes control for the implementation of our entire game plan? Spanners has shown it cannot be him, equally JOC’s value to the team is diminished now as ‘cover’ for a number of spots across the backline, with Hodge (whose boot must be a deciding factor), or for that fact, Jordan of Nazareth seemingly better options.
With Lee Majors no longer captain, who is our best starting #7? Charlie ‘Kenny Rogers’ Gamble soon becomes eligible and the form of Pete ‘The Pornstar’ Samu from the bench imperious (but he’s never nailed a starting spot when given the chance for mine). Where does Dirty Harry slot in? Surely he’s one of the country’s best loose forwards, but just where? Holloway seems to be the #6 we’ve craved since ye olden days of Fardy & Sideshow Bob is world class and will always start when fit, but should shelf his kicking game and by ‘shelf’ I mean have his leg amputated if he ever does it again at test level (unless we score from it of course)
Anyway, you get my point don’tcha? A squad dedicated to its coach; a squad forced by events to expose many to the rigours of test match rugby and perhaps by doing so ‘forging’ these fringe players into something more. So away from the cut & thrust of ‘wins and losses’ and in the calmer light of day, it would indeed seem the 2022 season could yet prove to be the ‘season we had to have’.
Bring on 2023.
THE BEST OF G&GR 2022
OK, so I may give my fellow G&GR Crapparazzi some ribbing about their bits on these hallowed pages in 2022. But the truth is, the effort that’s required to generate the content (and it does take some doing – well except Yowie’s & KARL’s, some of Charlie’s and most of Happy’s, but Nutta’s, his is first rate) is also time spent away from loved ones, hobbies and life outside of rugby. In Charlie’s case, that means a significant disruption to his highly regimented masturbation program. It’s little known outside of the Queensland courts that Yowie also has ‘weekend detention’, so his time is very precious. KARL’s tertiary education in NZ equates to a solid Year 3 primary level in Australia, so his literacy battles are well known and his articles take 6 days to prepare. Happy is constantly putting the ‘F’ into FNQ and well Nutta has evidently endured one scrum collapse too many, so their sacrifices & challenges for our rugby edumecation and general work avoidance is substantial, tangible and to be rightly heralded and celebrated today.
To honour the team this week I have trolled through the offerings of 2022 and genuinely the hardest part was limiting how much I put in here, as there was simply so much quality, thought-provoking, insightful & humorous content to choose from.
To my colleagues, my thanks for your friendship this year, the effort & expense in getting to Brissie for the Pommy test (and your inability to shout), but also your counsel and company on back channels. To all on G&GR who read, comment, read, don’t comment and all in between, to you all I say ‘thank you’ for giving the site its pulse, its rhythm, indeed its digital existence and self-regulating & unofficial ‘code of conduct’.
To the Crapparazzi, here’s to a job very well done over the year and my tribute to the very best of G&GR in 2022. The best of G&GR 2022
THE BATTLE FOR SECOND PLACE.
The Tahs and those sides who will finish from 2nd – 12th have named their squads for 2023 Super Rugby Pacific. Some names are familiar, some are returning and some will forge their own destinies. Can’t wait to see what SRP 2.0 offers, especially in a world cup year.
The Farce will be worth watching with Simon Cron at the helm, likewise season two for Tahs mentor Gary Coleman as some of his troops will need to hit the ground running to avoid ‘second season syndrome’. The Communists’ coach, The Padre, needs to finally realise/unleash his team’s potential and beat Kiwi sides consistently, all this without injured prop Taniela ‘The Abattoir’ Tupou. The Rebels, well someone has to finish last don’t they? Which leaves The Puppy Killers, The ACT Brumbies. No doubting their consistency, but to me they may just be one
rolling maul trick ponies and struggle in 2023.
I wish players, coaches & management a safe and relaxing off season as a prelude to an absolute bell-ringing 2023 competition as players battle for ‘wins’ and higher honours. Besides there’s no shame in coming second……………
All squads courtesy rugby.com.au
A RA CHRISTMAS CAROL
‘Twas the night before Christmas
And all through Rugby House
Not an executive was smiling
As Hammer prowled about.
‘Farging 5 from 14‘.
‘Players dropping like flies‘
‘And this coach wants an extension‘?
‘Well there’s a bloody surprise!’
‘As for the Cup‘?
‘Well we’re no bloody chance‘.
‘Reckon it’s a complete waste of time,
‘even sending this lot to France‘
‘It’ll take a bloody miracle‘,
‘we’ll surely need a ‘Bradbury’
Then reality cut deeply:
‘Farging hell, we’ll probably lose Cadbury.‘
The staff kept their heads down
While Hammer thrashed about
‘get me the executive’ he screamed
‘We need to sort this shite out‘
So filing into the room,
trotted the trusted and few.
And in a just few minutes,
they would surely know what to do.
CEO Lex was first one to speak,
and was authoritative and clear.
But it soon became obvious,
he had no farging idea.
Something about ‘Eddie’
and reviews and other stuff
Hammer thought to himself:
‘Who hired this guy? I’ve heard enough’
One after the other,
learned voices were cast
After each one Hammer would internalise
‘They’re all talking out their arse’
‘We need wins, we need mongrel.’
‘We need to be number one‘
‘And I’ve got just the person to help make it happen‘
‘Someone grab Nigel Williamson’
In walked young Nathan,
fresh from washing their cars.
‘Got a challenge for you Nige,
‘Reckon we go home or go large’
‘Need you to do your thing
and put something on ‘SEEK’
‘National Rugby coach wanted‘.
‘Must be able to start next week.’
It seemed Hammer had listened,
thought and pondered enough
And the thought of another campaign like ’19
Was simply just too much.
Hammer had decreed a new order
and had instructed the many.
Until silence fell over the room,
as in walked Dave Rennie.
Polite, yet imposing,
he was a man with a vision
To get RA to yield to his will,
or beat them into submission
So it came to pass
on that robust December night.
That Hammer & his team
were never really in the fight
Moses had won
and not only an extension.
But he walked from RA that night
With a ‘healthy’ future pension.
For when it mattered most
when fate was on the line.
Dave Rennie stood firm
and told RA time after time:
‘We are close you lot’
It’s nowhere near as bad as projected‘
‘But move on me now
and this will end as it did with Cheika’
‘Our pool games are easy‘.
‘We’ll barely face a threat‘.
‘We’ll surely hit the quarters‘,
‘Without even breaking a sweat’.
‘From there its quiet simple
‘the big four can’t all get through‘.
‘A hop a skip and a jump
and we make semi final number 2‘
‘Some skill, clever plans
and a wee bit of luck’
‘Then all you doubters at HQ
can simply go & get ………..
So out into the night sky,
strode our Wallabies coach ‘Moses‘.
Battles already waged,
RA left with bloodied noses.
His plans remained in tact,
His future now secure.
He made his case & stood his ground,
including the end of that farging Giteau Law.
As I sit at here The Ponderosa
enjoying the sights
It’s Merry Christmas from me.
And to all a goodnight.
FRIDAY’S GOSS WITH HOSS.
Good read from Georgina Robinson of the SMH suggesting Eddie could be canned but DR will be safe and the moves and permutations surrounding such decisions by the respective bodies. Who’d be a coach huh?
Shown me the money?
Same article from GR also suggests perennial tight-wads & mutton molesters, the NZR may have ponied up more cash to RA with RA locking in 5 Oz teams until after the women’s RWC2029.
Regrets? Hansen had a few.
Nearlies former coach Steve Hansen bares his rugby soul and the regrets he had over selection that fateful RWC2019 match against The Soap Dodgers. More from stuff.co.nz
Concussion? What concussion?
In a sport where the knowledge base around CTE grows daily, HTF was The Lip allowed back on the field? Even when he returned you could tell he was was concussed. Player welfare in action? Bugger me. More from rugbyworld.com
Super Rugby today, Global Club Championship tomorrow?
I like it. More from stuff.co.nz
Well folks, that’s all from me and my time on G&GR in 2022. From me & mine, to you and yours. Have a Happy Festivus and be good to one another, be safe, be merry and be here in 2023.
Take it away ol’ blue eyes
Hoss has left the stadium.