Wallabies leave fans in pain again
The Wallabies couldn't keep up with the All Blacks in their 27-19 loss on Saturday (AAP Image/Paul Miller).
Wallabies, you owe me big. Do you have any idea what you did to a poor soul down here in Adelaide last Saturday night, let alone what you inflicted on a naive crowd of adoring suckers in Sydney?
I swear to you there has never been a more dedicated Wallaby fan than me. When I turned traitor against the All Blacks circa 1978, I was subjected to all manner of cruel insults from my family and friends back in New Zealand.
I was pretty well ostracised; some refusing to speak to me for years in the aftermath.
I did not care, not much anyway; I had made a choice to proudly support the vibrant green and gold of my new land rather than the dour black-and-white of the country in which I grew up.
I was like the insufferable, rabid reformed smoker or a zealous convert to Catholicism
I often went mad during telecasts of Wallabies versus All Black games, charging the television on all fours, roaring like a madman on methylated spirits, giving the bird to behemoths like Richard Loe and other thugs in black, almost climbing through the screen to get at them.
My poor wife and children (and the cat) invariably sat well away from me for their own safety.
For years I have instructed my kith and kin to make sure I am buried in a Wallaby jersey clasping a Gilbert to my poor dead chest – that is how deeply my loyalty ran. ‘Ran’ – note the past tense.
The malaise began last year during that Australian disaster otherwise known as RWC11. In the aftermath, my interest in rugby in all things rugby had for the first time since the age of five waned to almost zero leaving a ragged, vast gaping black hole in my life interests.
I tried growing herbs but they died. I vainly tried to watch cricket; I went walking a lot – hard for me because I have one stuffed knee so in a way I walk on only one leg – I drank more wine that usual, but the malaise kept returning like a spreading cancer.
I began thinking that my days were surely numbered; that God was preparing me for death. I kind of looked forward to it: no more suffering, certainly no more rugby hell.
To my pleasant surprise I went into remission during the Welsh series earlier this year. In fact, I thought I might have been cured.
Indeed, I even began mentally salivating about last Saturday’s first Bledisloe Cup and sensed in my waters that the Wallabies would ambush the All Blacks in Sydney.
All the omens were there. I even put $10 on the Wallabies and with absolute conviction advised my loveabet sister to do the same (so she went and put bloody $50 on them, the fool).
We all know what happened: one of the worst rugby matches ever played, not least by the Wallabies. I was so shattered and sickened by it – and I have never done this before – I turned the television off and went to bed two minutes before the end of the game.
Winters can be bleak here in Adelaide; my Tuscan courtyard, my refuge from the world, is lined with birches.
They all looked black and dead against the freezing grey sky of last Sunday morning as I sipped mournfully on my coffee at my outdoor table. A bloody crow squawked ominously somewhere in the distance as if mocking me, adding to my depression.
I went back to bed with all of my clothes on, boots and all. They are black, duckbill-toed, zippered boots, Florsheim Comfortechs.
I could see them sticking out from under my doona and knew I should take them off, but frankly I could not be bothered; let the undertakers do it when they came.
It was clear: my Wallabies were not who or what I mindlessly hoped they were. I felt like a man marrying a veiled arranged bride who, when the ceremony was over, raises her veil to reveal cross-eyes, a beard and a toothless smile.
Honestly, last Sunday was one of the lesser days of my recent life; thank you Wallabies, thank you so very, very much.
I am, however, known for my uppishness; it’s hard to keep a good lunatic like me down. Thus by this morning I had recovered sufficiently to want to continue living just a while longer yet.
Besides, there is another Bledisloe in Auckland this Saturday and, I cannot believe I am going to write this, but I hope Quade Cooper will be playing.
The Kiwi press is already getting stuck into him again: the ‘Tokoroa Turncoat’ they are calling him. But I think we need him, twitwit that he can be.
I also believe that he paid a wicked price for his shortcomings in New Zealand last year and that everyone should have a shot at redemption, even QC.
The one thing I do know about the Wallabies is that after a humiliation like last Saturday night, they do bounce back probably just to prove a point it seems.
Wouldn’t it be something if they actually win…