How about some trans-Tasman sporting co-operation?
Wallabies wing James O'Connor is tackled during the IRB Rugby World Cup Semi-Final between Australia and New Zealand at Eden Park, Auckland, Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011. The All Blacks defeated the Wallabies 20-6. (AAP Image/AFP, William West)
The time has come. The ANZAC spirit needs to be remembered. Australia and New Zealand, in a sporting sense, can help each other and remain rivals.
There have been times when the rivalry between the two countries has been such that vindictive levels of upmanship have blurred the complete comradeship of each.
It has been said that, “put a Kiwi and an Aussie in a bar and within two minutes they will be at poking the lights out of each other. However, let any third party interfere and suddenly both are blood brothers who will take on the world together.”
Basically, this is true, for no matter how much stick and mud we sling at the other, when the chips are down, we really do watch each other’s back.
It is illogical therefore that we should not be taking advantage of the relationship that exists. Neither of us will admit that one country has better sports competitors than the other, yet by fact, we each have.
Australians have great swimmers and great cricketers with great competitions, all who excel at world games, and New Zealand has the same with great rugby talents from schoolboy to All Blacks and other sporting competitions.
There are sports where both countries share the accolades and where one country also has its nose in front of the other from time to time.
By training and participating cooperation, each country could and would benefit on the world stage, save millions of dollars each, and still retain their inter-Tasman rivalry if they only learned to cooperate with each other.
The Black Caps would certainly learn from their Australian counterparts if they were integrated in the off season into Aussie state teams and taught the games finer skills by being with master players.
The Wallabies on a contra arrangement integrated into teams during the NPC competition in New Zealand would get the benefit of professional trainer’s expertise that is given young New Zealand players up to and including All Black level.
Coaches included into the mix from both countries would enhance the performances of their own teams from the knowledge they would obtain by this interaction.
Cooperation can only boost both countries performances and provide better returns to both on world stages.
Whatever the sport, let us both look to removing the constant arrogant, “we have more medals than you” mentality and openly display the inter-relationship both countries have forged from brotherhood by our forefathers at Gallipoli.
We could then arrogantly declare to the world, “We have more medals than we used to have.”
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