Mike Carlton June 09, 2012
Joseph Tomane of the Wallabies is tackled during the International Test match between the Australian Wallabies and Scotland. Photo: Getty Images
Traitorous I know, but I was thrilled to bits that Scotland beat Australia in the rugby Test at Newcastle on Tuesday. I'm hoping Wales will do the same in the Brisbane game tonight. By a whopping margin. Twenty-plus points would be good.
Before you string me up, here's why. Australian Rugby is in deep crisis at every level, national and state. The game is sick. It's viral, possibly terminal. After years of false promises and dashed hopes, I'm finally convinced its only salvation must be a string of defeats so disastrous, so humiliating, that it brings on a blood-soaked revolution. Both on the field and off, from top to bottom. Heads must roll.
The Waratahs are the worst. NSW, the richest and biggest rugby province, should be the powerhouse of the code nationally. Instead, it has one foot in the grave. The other foot, of course, is kicking the ball away to lose possession. The Tahs do it time and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. They don't seem to have another idea in their heads.
Amazingly, nor has it occurred to anyone, coaches or players, that their opponents might have worked this out and developed tactics to beat them. Guess why they've lost six games in a row this Super Rugby season and 10 all up, the worst result in yonks.
And it's why the crowds are staying away in droves. It wasn't the lousy weather that saw a miserable 13,000 fans turn out for the game against the Hurricanes last Saturday at the cavernous Allianz stadium. There was only rubbish on offer and that's what they got: a horror story of wayward kicks, dropped balls and simple schoolboy opportunities missed through sheer incompetence.
It's just as wretched back at the office. Who on earth was the marketing genius who dreamed up the idea of one free ticket to an NRL game for every Waratah ticket you buy ? Would the Coca-Cola people give you a free Pepsi for every Coke? Not until hell freezes over. To willingly drive rugby fans into the arms of the Mungos is beyond madness. The great Dally Messenger must be up there somewhere laughing his head off.
Things are not much better with the Wallabies. Yes, there's an injury list. But a tryless 6-9 loss to the Scots, the whipping boys of northern hemisphere rugby, is a shocker. To achieve it twice in a row, as they did, is a disgrace.
How I long for the golden era that began back in the late '80s. The glory years of the master coaches, Bob Dwyer and Rod Macqueen. With the likes of Nick Farr-Jones, Tim Horan, Jason Little, Phil Kearns, Michael Lynagh, Matt Burke, David Campese and John Eales on the park.
The backs ran the ball then. Boldly, exuberantly. Whatever his faults as a tackler, when Campo got going, ball in hand down the sideline with that legendary goose step, you could feel your stomach muscles clench and your hair stand on end.
But those days are long gone. They ended , I guess, with the retirement of Steve Larkham and George Gregan. The party's over. Now all you get is dour grind and slog, boredom piled upon monotony, with just the occasional flicker of excitement to lift the pervading gloom.
So, go Wales, tonight, O Bread of Heaven. Let the revolution roll.