Melbourne Rebels thou doth protest too much

Melbourne Rebels thou doth protest too much

In the Seventies it used to be the ‘Whingeing Pom’ who copped a hammering for supposed incessant whining. In the new millennium it now seems to be the Melbourne Rebels who have adopted this moniker.

I’m getting a bit sick and tired of how hard done by this new franchise continually says it’s being treated. Crikey, why can’t we rape and pillage the Reds and other established Super 14 sides before 1 June? Quelle horreur!

And now after threats of legal action the ARU has given in to these whingers and brought forward the date to 15 March. Nah bugger all the other Super 14 teams, let’s have a free-for-all.

That’s the Pandora’s Box they’ve opened up with their selfish attitude. They’re just another business who are only interested in the bottom line and certainly not the good of the game.

Well, I suppose you shouldn’t expect much more in these days of ‘professionalism’.

And what was the ARU trying to avoid with this strategy? Remember the disruption that this open slather policy caused during the 2005 season.

Remember Nathan Sharpe when he was the Reds captain and he was agonising over whether to sign for the new Western Force franchise?

The speculation when the Reds were touring South Africa was rife and the negative effect on players palpable. And when he did he was dropped as captain and replaced by John Roe.

The pillaging was out of control and exacerbated to some degree by the poor state of the Reds. How many current Queensland players are unsigned for 2011?

Rapacious managers flogging their cattle around the grounds whilst their ‘clients’ are supposed to be concentrating on playing rugby is not conducive to winning Super 14 titles.

The current franchises will be falling all over themselves to sign up any of their (or other) players not committed beyond this year. I think it’s going to be ugly.

Late last year the Rebels whinging reached a crescendo when the ARU didn’t roll over and hand the franchise over to the VRU and their fellow travellers.

Crikey, isn’t that unfair? What…..unlike the National Broadband Network recruiting policy there’s actually a selection process to go through?

And the VRU wasn’t the first choice selection?  Gee, perhaps their business plan was written on the back of a beer coaster.

Interestingly, we only hear one side of the argument. I guess the ARU Board had a good look at the preferred tenderer and no doubt all the other applicants and initially decided that the Rebels/VRU weren’t up to it. Oh well, business is business.

Fortunately for them, the preferred tenderer VicSuper15 couldn’t reach agreement with the ARU over funding and pulled out of the process. This essentially left the Rebels as the last man standing and eventual winners of the bid.

These business processes involved a little bit of argy bargy and those with delicate dispositions shouldn’t get too excited by the way the outcome was achieved.

Central to the Melbourne whinge was the Rebels campaign to elicit our sympathy and put pressure on the ARU being vicariously driven by a national daily newspaper.

The ferocity of their attack on the ARU and the process makes me think that some sort of agenda was being played out here. To accuse the ARU of wanting the Melbourne Rebels to fail in this venture is downright bizarre.

Surely there needs to be some balance introduced into this situation. Unfortunately the Rugby Union Players Association, struggling to appear relevant in this day and age, jumped on the inflammatory bandwagon. Restraint of trade – all out bruvvers. Feck off Neville.

You’d expect an organisation operating within this new paradigm to have its teething problems. That’s expected but it’s time for the whinging to go the way of the dinosaur and to pull back your attack dog.

As for the signing of flyhalf (or fullback) Danny Cipriani, that seems to me to be a fairly risky venture.

Despite the fact that during his brief career he has played for England on seven occasions, he’s certainly had his highs and lows.

The highs are punctuated by a precocious talent and ‘breath of fresh air’ feeling amongst the stodgy and conservative English setup.

The lows have been well reported and relate to his character, or alleged lack of it. By all accounts he marches to the beat of a different drummer and is not a team player.

The Posh and Becks lifestyle is neither here nor there. However, this guy reportedly ain’t a popular dude amongst his fellow players. Former Army Officer Josh Lewsey will tell you that.

Nothing antagonises Australians more than Hooray Henry prima donnas.  They’re trying to set up a unique culture in Melbourne – I think part of it was called a ‘no dickheads policy’.

I’m struggling to see where this fellow fits into it?


Roscoe Tims (aka @LanceFree): A nasty, opinionated little man whose views are indeed narrow with a capital 'N'. Favourite Sport: mungo bashing. Does he ever have anything positive to say?

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