An open letter to John, Robbie, Rocky and Berrick
Dear Messrs. O’Neill, Deans, Elsom and Barnes: On the eve of the first Grand Slam tour for 25 years, and having attended all four games in 1984, I write this letter to offer you my personal support for your efforts, and to galvanise the other Wallabies supporters behind you and show you just how much support you have from the grassroots.
As a Wallabies supporter for more than 40 years, I write to express my gratitude for the courage you have shown in accepting the challenge of reinvigorating the Wallabies over the past 18 months.
I appreciate that such a major cultural change in any organisation is not normally within the remit of a specialist football coach, even in light of Robbie’s remarkable record as a coach.
I also realise that it is extremely unusual for men of such a tender age, 26 and 23 respectively, to be asked to lead a team in the process of such change while still being expected to compete on the international stage.
I offer you my complete support at this difficult time and encourage you to stay courageous, decisive, keep sight of the context and follow your instincts.
If I may be so bold to comment, I see in all four of you a natural steel that is ideally suited to the task at hand.
Despite the apparent vitriol and angst, most of it well meaning and constructive. The Wallabies still have much in their favour, and are not far from success if you continue to back yourselves as leaders and galvanise this sufficiently skillful and gifted team. We all know that international sport and business is won by the team that wants it most.
All four of you have shown that determination, and it is now a matter of letting that determination infuse the rest of the players.
The Wallabies are well placed. They:
1. Remain the 3rd ranked team in the world.
2. Possess, in their DNA, the Australian spirit that, when unleashed, makes them a never say die outfit.
3. Have a competent pack of forwards and a potentially lethal back line blessed with natural speed.
4. Have the most successful coach in the professional era.
5. Have a “back office” led by the most experienced management team in world sport.
The Wallabies can return back to being Australia’s team.
I encourage you to continue on your path of finding sufficient “good men” to administer the code and representative bodies, to win matches and tournaments, but, most importantly, to change the outdated and corrosive team and code culture of the past nine years that puts the individual ahead of the team, and some players views ahead of those of the management and coach.