McKibbin: “Deans urged me to stick around”

Hayley Byrnes Roar Guru

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    Wanna know something about me? I’m a believer. And no, I’m not referring to one of those awful Justin Bieber nut-job fans, I’m talking the kind of woman who is adamant that any one of us, if we put out minds to it, can in fact achieve whatever it is we desire…

    Now my Tony Robbins moment is over, I’d love for you to maybe take away a little inspiration from Brendan McKibbin.

    In an era where most young union players are poised with the financial conundrum of nutting it out here in club rugby or going abroad, McKibbin represents a cluster of young men who are willing to buckle down in the hope for a Wallabies jersey because for these few, there simply are no other options that will ever compare.

    It’s taken 27 years, numerous weeks sitting on the sidelines and robust mental strength for ‘Kibbo” to finally get the call up that he deserves, and although he didn’t get a run on yesterday, it’s only a matter of time.

    “It has been tough at times sitting on the bench and not playing many minutes or seeing I guess higher profile players come into the squad.

    “You always back yourself to get that starting roll and having such a competitive nature, giving the game up or the dream was never an option”.

    Slotting in to where Luke Burgess left off, McKibbin still holds Easts’ solo point scoring record with a whopping haul of 46 points in one game, as well as the prestigious Ken Catchpole award for the NSW Shute Shield’s best and fairest.

    Easts’ captain Pauli Taumoepeau was pumped for McKibbins selection and believes the former teenage number seven has all the ingredients to continue wearing the gold jersey.

    “Dedicated hard work is always rewarded, that’s the reason why his selection was no surprise to me, he drives people around him. His inclusion into the national side brings happiness to a lot of people who know him, I’m so proud of him.”

    Apart from McKibbin’s obviousness cheekiness upon meeting him, the first thing anybody would notice would be his signature bum-taps and spirited on-field chat that he brings to a game.

    “Being a half-back it’s my job to provide energy and direction. I get excited when our players pull of big hits or score tries, all teams need to feed off that. It started back when I was playing for Brothers up in Brisbane. Our entire team would run in and celebrate a try. It gave us a huge boost and we gained confidence from it.”

    This is of course is the exact psyche that the Wallabies would have relished in camp after copping a public scathing over the previous months.

    “It’s hard for me to comment on what the team has been like throughout that period as it’s still quite raw since I joined the squad, but the atmosphere leading up to this final test and Sharpie’s last game was fantastic.”

    Not to be left out of the famous allegiance debate, McKibbin was very close at one stage to play for country of birth, but after securing a two-year extension with the NSW Waratahs and a chat with Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, he was now on the verge of cracking into international rugby.

    “The fact is that I love playing for the Waratahs and when talking to Robbie over the years he has always urged me to stick at it and an opportunity could present itself and I’m glad I did.

    “After the jersey presentation from Peter Cosgrove I just couldn’t wait to sing the National Anthem”.

    Now heading back to Australia with the focus back on his pre-season for Super Rugby, I question McKibbin on the structure of the current ARU, with my key focus that it is my belief Australia are now more desperate than ever to re-hash another third tier competition.

    “At the moment the Super Rugby teams can only pick from their squads unless there is an injury in a certain position.

    “I’d like to see that rule lifted so that if players were performing at the Shute Shield level that they too are eligible to be picked for their state on any given week.

    “I would also like to see the players from the Super squads split up throughout the clubs instead of having one or two sides dominate once the Super Rugby is finished which would result in better competition and closer games.”

    As a self proclaimed believer, I believe this to be true.

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