There are many changes to the sporting landscape that come with the advent of professionalism. One, that the NRL has consistently struggled with, is the impacton their brand of player ‘misadventure’. Sporting bodies such as the ARU can spend millions on marketing showcasing the positives of their sport, their ‘brand’ and all it takes is a couple of dodgy photos, or a 3rd hand news report, for it all to come crushing down.
Take the NRL, please(….boom tish). Yesterday it was revealed that their 2010 marketing campaign would focus on the action and fans rather than their ‘star’s in order to avoid the disaster that was last year when faces of the game Greg Inglis and Brett Stewart were caught up in off-field dramas. So what happens? By the end of the day reports start coming in of two Sea Eagles players (again) having been caught up in more dramas. Now, apparently the two players were bashed for no reason, but regardless it is not the start of the season that David Gallop (of the NRL) would have wanted.
And now we have this….on the day that Wallaby stars Rocky Elsom, George Smith and Matt Giteau arrive at Brumbies training, photos have begun to appear in the paper which threaten to disrupt the start of the rugby season.
Take a look at these photos, if you dare:
Have you ever seen so many people in one spot having such a bad hair day? It’s like they all have a massive case of bed head? Is it any wonder Drew Mitchell didn’t join the Brumbies? His hair is his life! It looks like the Cosmo Kramer fan club met the Yahoo Serious fan club for a few pre-meeting drinks. Brumby fans should take some joy from the fact that it appears as if coach Andy Friend has been getting the team up and out of bed nice and early to start training. I say Andy Friend only because, really, can anyone imagine Owen Finegan and Bill Young being there first thing? Tony Rea and Julian Huxley maybe, but not Melon and Youngie. And that last pic. The bloke at the front. Pat McCabe isn’t it? Looks like he’s developed the art of sleeping standing up – a handy skill if these early training sessions continue. The human cow!
Check out Matt Giteau though. Short hair – means no bed head – means clean cut appearance maintained – means the sponsors love him – means he remains the highest paid rugby player in Australia. He’s a smart man Mr Giteau!
A look through some of the other pre-season photos makes for interesting interpretation. Firstly, these two:
The first shot is simple enough. Returning Wallabies George Smith, Matt Giteau and Adam Ashley-Cooper, ummmm, running. Now the second shot of George Smith with Gits over his left shoulder in the background looks innocent enough…but is it? For this I must refer to a tweet yesterday by @BrumbiesRugby in which Ashley-Cooper states “Coopy is happy he lapped George Smith in the 2km time trial this morning. George obviously enjoyed his Christmas ham!”.
I feel a little like Kevin Costner now, as Jim Garrison in the movie JFK. If you look at the first frame you see the three Brumbies on level pegging, in the second frame however Gits now appears to be on the charge ready to lap King George as well. That’s him, back and to the left. Back..and to the left. Once more. Back…..and to the left. So perhaps Coopy is right. George has had a bit too much Christmas ham over the break, but as our very own @Matt_Gagger replied, “Legends don’t need fitness!”
A couple other shots now.
This one is, if you didn’t know, is of Ben Hand. Me? I didn’t know. I thought it was Phil Waugh with a crew cut at first. Until I looked closer and realised it was really that demon photo guy from Ghostbusters 2. You know? This guy? I think his name is Vigo.
And what about Justin Harrison here? Do you reckon he’s throwing in the white towel already? Pfft.
Which brings us to our last shot. And let’s have a bit of fun with this one hey? Perhaps a caption competition? Please tell us, in the comments section below, what the hell is going on with Christian Lealiifano here? Are the Brumbies getting ahead of themselves and spending the pre-season planning out their post-try celebrations with Christian cracking out his version of the Michael Jackson Thriller dance? Let us know what you think.