We need a ‘Chilla’ not a character killer

I read Clothhead Fitzsimon’s article in the Clever Chronicle this week with interest.  It went beyond his normal fare of good journalism, reheated jokes and sideswipes.  A solid writer, amusing after chicken dinner speaker, who slopes in the coffee shops of Mossman crafting columns moated by his laptop and a sling of surl.  This weeks spray was a very effective, well-considered iron fist in glove piece on the very scrubbed and increasingly pinker Alan ‘Bloat’ Jones.  It appears that Bloat has been smacking his thick pursed lips at the thought of being a very important part of the new Wallies.  Like an autograph hunter who is buoyed by the chase of just another signature, Jones still believes he is of the time rather than out of it.

Some credit Jones as being the mastermind behind the Grand Slam win in the early eighties.  I don’t.  He simply had the horse power.  Any bozo with a vocabulary of twenty words and a lettuce whip could have shoved this talented bunch of boofs across the line.  What Bloat is very good at is taking the gold and leaving the tailings. He is great at the black board of history where he arduously scrubs out any other contributors as he underscores and bolds his “struggle street’ credentials.

Of course, Bloat is loved by those inside the tent, however as many have learned if you don’t toady to the Bloat then your stay in the tent is terminated.  Of course this is an extension of the ‘pick and stick’ philosophy that has spawned a rotating bunch of men who come under the spell of a very, very clever man.  Of course the price you pay for being part of this hubris hurdy-gurdy is that you apparently get the flick if you don’t stick.

FitzSimons article mentions Bloat’s criticisms of John Eales.  In a spurn on Triple M, Bloat allegedly called Eales an “overrated player” and admonished him for having both a media commentator role with Schlock Sports and being an ARU director.  Why so Mr Bloat?  Why the need?  Well it is interesting that John Eales was called to give evidence to support John Coates in a defamation case against Bloat some years ago.  I’m not sure whether this may or may not have had any influence on Bloat’s attack on Eales.  However given his ‘p&s’ philosophy one suspects that it could have influenced his words just a wee bit. The ABC reported back then:

A court hearing has begun in Sydney to hear defence arguments and decide damages in a defamation action brought by Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates against radio broadcaster Alan Jones.

Mr Jones commented on an incident in the women’s eight rowing finals at the Athens Olympics, in which one of the crew, Sally Robbins, stopped competing.

The jury found Mr Jones implied that Mr Coates had ordered a cover-up and bullied Robbins’s crew into saying what he wanted them to and that he was incompetent in the way he handled the matter.

A Supreme Court jury has previously found Mr Jones defamed Mr Coates during three broadcasts on 2GB radio in December 2004.

Mr Coates’ lawyer has told the Supreme Court that Mr Jones repeated the allegations, despite being told by former Wallabies captain and women’s rowing team mentor John Eales that they were not true.

FitzSimons also writes in the ‘Clever’ about Jones’s possible ambition, “one of your former charges called me on Wednesday and said it seemed as if you were going to get the Wallabies manager’s role.” Oh dear, how could that be true – you have so, so much on your plate Mr Bloat?  It is interesting to read the wonderful Mark Ella’s comments on the Tour Manager in 1984, Charles ‘Chilla’ Wilson.  Of this former Wallaby captain, Ella said:

“I couldn’t think of a better manager. I played for Australia for six years. Thank God I had Chilla Wilson for three of them. With Jonesy up there dominating everything, Chilla was the perfect foil. He was quiet, unobtrusive and didn’t make a lot of noise.”

So should Jones, the highly successful media man be brought back?  Oh don’t, please don’t bring him back or I’ll be forced onto the Drambuie Drip ..again.  We don’t need this dated windfarmer’s view of Wally World anymore.  We need more ‘chilla’ rather than killer and we need to be fairer and firmer with errant players.  Mr Bloat seems incapable of either.

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Checks and the Flaming Edgar…

I knew Michael Cheika was cut from a different cloth than the normal Rah Rah Royal Blue.  My heart soared when he bounded up onto the podium after the Waratahs’ win wearing beautiful bone slip-ons, baggie trakkies and a winter coat.  It was a strong statement. It was Gold Coast meets Lazy Bones.  It said it’s not what I look like, it’s what I do.

‘Checks’ obviously does not believe in the corporate camouflage stuff unlike some within the rugby hierarchy.  You know the stuff – the herringbone harrys and the busted brat boating hoes that seep of privilege without performance. These winter wonder skids that self-proclaim and herd together in a congratulatory conga line whenever the team comes out to play.  As these chinless charlies enter into never-ending spiral of pretentious conceit our man “Checks’ has no need to pretend.

This fella is not a one-trick pony.  Due to his language skills (French/Italian) he landed a job with Cullottes Dinnigan and later started his own business called ‘Live Fashion’. Yeah right.  I mean if anyone had a chance to put on the Armani it was Checks.  But he didn’t.

Born to Lebanese parents between Redfern and Coogee he cut his teeth playing for NSW and had coaching stints in France and Italy.  He is considered a thoughtful coach – a man of passion who can sometime border on the highly emotional without the Bundy drip. He is up now for Coach of the ‘Wallies’ and no doubt will head off on Friday.  He will not only make a fist of it but he will put his whole, thoughtful and honest body to the wheel.  However there is a lot of cleaning to do.

Bill ‘The Pill’ Pulver spoke of the “core values of our game” on Saturday night after the resignation of Ewen McKenzie. Oh please spare me the syrup.  I wrote some time ago that Ewie didn’t seem to be the man for the job. However I take no pleasure in his demise as I believe he has been treated shabbily.

While ‘The Pill’ blamed the media for all of the mess there is something very wrong here within ARU world. There is a ‘flaming edgar’ simmering at the door of the ARU.  The Pill and others have sat on their hands for far too long and have refused to put it out.

There are no ‘core’ values in the game if players can completely dictate the terms of engagement.  The petulant performance of Hooper and others within the team who blindly supported the disgraceful acts of text treachery by Beale need to be sent packing.  I don’t give a flying fruit bat about who may have or has not been converting behind the sheds nor do I care for those allegedly talented dicks who spoil then demand preferential treatment by the panderers.

Beale, Hooper and anyone else who cares to can toad-off overseas and play for any team that has the ego and cash capacity to contain them. These ego-enlarged players have lost the right to play for our country because they considered themselves to be more important than the team.

Good luck Checks and don’t lose the ‘bone beauties’ fella.

 

Rugby Union – never heaven mainly boring

So this is the game they play in heaven is it?  In that case the concept of heaven must have been drawn up from plans taken from Hieronymus Bosch’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’.

The glimpses of this special heaven have been on show for the last month or so  – though it seems longer – with the British Lions tour of Australia.  This rugby team representing the cream of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales came to us via a piss poor match against a sad, disheveled bunch of Barbarians (Baa Baas in rugby speak) who looked medicated in Honkers.  This match was staged before a braying bunch of Hooray Henrys and pissed expats at the request basically of HSBC who paid a shit-load of money to have the boys stop-off on their way to the colony.  You will not see a bogan beer sponsor anywhere. Rugby union sponsor land is the land of the wealth generators who hope to trap the high net-worth individuals who crave so dearly their dose of this incredibly dull game.

There is a sense in every aspect of rugby to suggest that this is a game for those who have attended St Bede’s of the Bleeding Buttocks or other such clannish private sector schools that nourish the inner child’s desire to be a merchant banker.  The old English saying, “Football is a gentleman’s game played by ruffians, and rugby is a ruffian’s game played by gentlemen” tends to suggest the sense of entitlement that drips from the game’s followers.  Say that the sport is an elitist light for attracting like-minded must-have moths brings scorn from the rugger-buggers who cite the number of Polynesian players now playing the sport as evidence that this is the game of the people.  The reality is somewhat different.

The record of indigenous players in Rugby Union is poor.  As the wonderful ex-Wallaby, Mark Ella commented in his Australian article in May 2013;

“Watching other sports speak so proudly of their indigenous athletes makes me feel disenchanted about rugby union. My sport likes to talk the talk but fails to deliver.

Rugby makes very little effort to encourage participation from those outside of the private school sector.”

What has been overlooked is that this Lions tour has simply highlighted the major emerging weakness of rugby union.  It is fundamentally a highly technical game and it is getting worse.  The stubborn refusal of the IRB to actually have rules that make sense and that can be consistently interpreted by referees is astonishing.  In the early 1800s, when William Webb Ellis attended the Rugby School, the alleged starting ground of the game, there were no formal rules.  Little has changed.  As Rob Gibson wrote in the SMH Rugby Heaven, “Casual viewers of last Saturday’s Test will have been baffled, as so many have over the years, at the constant packing and repacking of scrums by South African referee Craig Joubert, and his random allocation of blame for its repeated collapses and other misadventures.”

Of course the ‘purists’ will bang-on about the phases, the rolling mauls and other subtleties of the game as they clutch their moist groins bemoaning that we mere mortals cannot see the real game.  But I say bull fuck to you boyo – I see the game that could replace Mogadon.  You and your Gucci gang are like P76s – you are disappearing from the earth because you no longer have the capacity to be relevant in a time when fast, open, skillful play is what people want.

If you look at the statistics from the Second Kickathon played in Melbourne last Saturday night as stated in greenandgoldrugby.com you will find sobering stats.

“The Wallabies also carried the ball 459 metres to the Lions’ 140.  Israel Folau was a standout on attack once again. 90 metres from 11 carries with 6 defenders beaten and 2 clean line breaks.”

It tells the true story of heaven doesn’t it?  Heaven is a place where you really cannot run free unless you have had a grounding in less controlled sports.  Heaven is a place of constant whistle blowing – arh the bells the bells.   When you compare the 1328 metres made on average by a rugby league team in the NRL in 80 minutes you start to wonder whether union will end up a curio enjoyed by a smitten few over a tincture of sherry.

But still the smugness of the Barnacle Bill Pulver who now heads the game is somewhat overwhelming.  Pulver’s comments about NRL/AFL convert Israel Folau were like a cheap perfume that strangles reason after a brace of golden throat charmers.  Pulver was quoted in the press as saying that Folau would become a very good player once he understood the “nuances” of the game.  What “nuances” do you speak of Barnacle?  Catching the ball cleanly? Scoring tries?  Running the ball? Taking on the man and beating them?  All the things that most rugby players have forgotten about.

This is the sort of talk you would expect from the head knob of a game played in heaven as he looks down on the unwashed.  It is also the attitude that will continue to see the game serve the elite few and bore the majority of us into an atheist’s stupor.