Kangaroos vs Kiwis: Is there a care factor?
Australia's Greg Inglis races away for a try during the New Zealand Kiwis v Australian Kangaroos Centenary test at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. Sunday Oct. 14 2007. Australia won the game 58-0. AAP Image/Hagen Hopkins/PHOTOSPORT
On one hand, we hear Jonathan Thurston cautioning his team-mates about commitment. On the other, coach Tim Sheens is concerned about his players’ motivation.
My question: why is Saturday’s one-off Test between Australia and New Zealand being played at all?
This game may well be a sell-out in tropical Townsville but seriously, does anyone really care if it takes place or not?
I think that, at best, interest in such a ‘nothing’ game is moderate.
The players aren’t up for it. It’s two weeks after the grand final, a time for holidays after a long and gruelling NRL season spiced with three tough Origins.
Sure, I’ll watch it. League is my favourite sport and if it’s on the box, I feel obligated to flick the switch and see what eventuates.
But I am not exactly hanging out for it. If there were a blackout, for example, I doubt that I’d go hunting around for a battery-powered radio to keep up with the action.
A power failure might seem like a good time to take the cocker spaniel down to the park for walkies. Such quality time might be much more beneficial for both parties.
Can someone please tell me why this game is taking place? Is it a Channel Nine thing, a staple offering stitched into the network’s contract? Is it giving coaches Tim Sheens and Steve Kearney something to do after their club teams failed miserably in 2012?
If you could ask the players the meaning of such a late, late show – with nothing really riding on the outcome – would they answer with any level of passion that it’s what they play for, and could become one of their career highlights?
I guess some purists may declare that this one-off Test is necessary to help keep the flame of international rugby league flickering.
Well, the Kangaroos played the Kiwis in the annual ANZAC Test and fulfilled their end of the bargain with a convincing win.
If there is a blowout victory to either team on Saturday, I believe that would actually cheapen the concept of Trans Tasman battles, causing more harm than goodwill.
Overriding all of the above, a major injury or two to superstar category players could prove disastrous for a club (or State) team in season 2013.
While I am on the subject of ‘nothing’ games, I’d like to see the World Club Championship games between the NRL and Super League premiers given the heave-ho.
Playing a pre-season game in the northern hemisphere is clearly a tough task for any Australian outfit, premiers or otherwise.
The financial benefits are negligible, the logistical problems of getting to and from England are immense.
And the results almost always go to the home country premiers. It has become a no-win situation for the Australian clubs.
Am I alone with my thoughts or are Roarers enthusiastic/fired up or disinterested/ambivalent about watching the Kangaroos and Kiwis at play?
And should the farcical WCC continue or be canned?