Quade’s baaaccckkk!!! And his Wallaby mates aren’t happy

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    Quade Cooper with manager Khoder Nasser (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

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    Roy Masters has the best sporting contacts in Sydney. Wayne Smith is a virtual spokesman of the Queensland Rugby Union. On Saturday both these well-informed journalists wrote about the case of Quade Cooper and its side-kick, the Israel Folau issue.

    The main conclusion that can be drawn from the articles published in The Australian and The Sydney Morning Herald is that Australian rugby has created a fine mess for itself.

    Everyone involved seems to be leaking like sieves on these matters. Putting all the articles and leaks together we get a picture of a wilful, untrustworthy (in my view) and egocentric Cooper playing off the various parties involved with his rugby contract in a manner that insults the code he makes huge amounts of money playing for.

    Let’s start at the end, as it were. Cooper’s contract with the Reds and the ARU ends on December 31.

    It is the biggest of any current Wallaby mainly because when it was negotiated Cooper insisted that he be granted $1 more than Matt Giteau, who had been the highest paid Australian rugby player.

    With a December 31 deadline in mind, the ARU back in April (note the date) put an extremely generous offer for 2013/2014 on the table to Cooper and his manager Khoder Nasser.

    Cooper refused to sign the offer and during his infamous interview on The Rugby Club maintained that the offers to him were totally unacceptable. The April offer was actually over-generous given the fact that Cooper had played a very poor 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament.

    Ironically, Robbie Deans was criticised by many people (including numbers of Roarers) for playing Cooper in the semi-final against New Zealand.

    Cooper, too, was out injured, knee damage suffered during the 2011 Rugby World Cup third place play-off.

    There was also the juvenile twittering throughout 2011, the stupidity of kneeing Richie McCaw in several Tests, boorish and trash behaviour with Kurtley Beale and James O’Connor, the self-styled ‘Three Amigos’ and the matter of police action involving two laptops.

    Given all this, the ARU showed terrific good faith and, indeed, some compassion in making its generous offer to Cooper in April.

    This good faith and compassion was met with a surly arrogance that reflects poorly on Cooper.

    Instead of accepting the offer or negotiating in good faith on a few minor details, Nasser (presumably acting on Cooper’s instruction) start to make a series of unacceptable demands.

    One of the demands was for an arrangement allowing Cooper to have boxing matches during his rugby season, a sort of small man’s Sonny Bill Williams option. A frustrated ARU told Cooper and his manager that he could have his boxing option when he learns to tackle. Gotcha!

    It was clear to everyone involved with the contract negotiations that there was little good faith involved in their deals with Cooper and Nasser.

    Cooper himself talked about wanting to play rugby league with his mate Sonny Bill. This is hardly the sort of talk any code wants to hear from one of its highest paid star players.

    When Cooper finally got back on the field, he played adequately for the Reds and poorly for the Wallabies. Again, Deans was criticised for restoring him and retaining him in the starting line-up.

    The frustrating negotiations between the ARU and the Cooper/Nasser pair continued.

    Cooper played poorly for the Wallabies and, apparently, was criticised by the Wallaby coaching staff.

    Now injured Cooper began a campaign to unseat the coach who had first promoted him into the Wallabies, who had stuck with him during the 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament and who had restored him to the Wallabies this year despite lacklustre form after a long time out of rugby because of a leg injury.

    During his infamous interview Cooper bizarrely called the gold Wallaby jersey ‘yellow’ and said that the atmosphere in the Wallabies was so ‘toxic’ he couldn’t see himself playing again for the team with its current management.

    This totally unacceptable behaviour forced the ARU to withdraw his contract. Cooper was fined and then offered a greatly reduced contract which relied on incentive payments from playing for the Wallabies to enhance the $400,000 contract he’d already signed with the Reds.

    Now here is the crucial information that has not been revealed. Senior Wallabies (including Queensland players) informed the ARU they didn’t want Cooper back in the Wallabies squad.

    The push to get the ARU to upgrade Cooper’s contract came from the officials at the Queensland Reds. And why? The SMH reported at the time: ‘Cooper’s supporters within the game believe the situation would change dramatically if Wallabies coach Robbie Deans were sacked and replaced by Reds coach, Ewen McKenzie, with whom he has a good relationship.’

    Rugby politics now comes in to provide a conclusion of sorts to the unedifying saga.

    Earlier this year the ARU commissioned a report into a new governance structure for ARU which is needed for the organisation to receive government money to finance the Sevens Rugby men and women’s programs, particularly, in the run-up to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

    The structure recommended ends the veto power of the NSW and Queensland unions.

    Masters and Smith hinted at the truth about how the politics of the new governance structure was used by the Reds officials to force the ARU to come to heel to stop the Cooper barking.

    The Reds told the ARU it would not sign the new governance proposal until the ARU signed up Cooper. The chairman of the ARU, Michael Hawker, dealt with Nasser in a one-on-one negotiation.

    Cooper was given every thing he wanted, including a boxing match in early February, and about $800,000 from the ARU and Reds.

    The outcome was a total capitulation by the ARU, and a repudiation of the advice from senior Wallabies and senior officials at the ARU.

    We now get to the stories last Saturday by Masters and Smith.

    Masters reported that Israel Folau not only signed a deal with the Waratahs. He also was given a secret $400,000 top-up from the ARU. It was this top-up making Folau a $650,000 plus rugby player, rather than any weakness in the NRL negotiations, that tipped the player into the Waratahs camp.

    And how did the Waratahs get the ARU to front up with the extra massive amount of money? By refusing to sign up to the new governance structure unless the ARU delivered Folau to the franchise. Anything the Reds can do, it seems, the Waratahs can emulate.

    An important point needs to be made here. In 2008, the ARU was paying a Wallaby top-up to over 50 Super Rugby players. In the years since then it has been the policy of the ARU’s board to cut back on these top-ups (the money isn’t available to service them in the future).

    There has been steady progress to putting players on incentive payments based on the number of Tests they played.

    But this progress has now been slowed down, if not entirely stopped. For immediately after the Cooper final deal, managers of prominent Wallabies were in contact with the ARU looking to Cooper-ise their clients’ contracts.

    In The Australian, Wayne Smith suggested that there is a growing belief in the ARU that Michael Cheika, rather than Ewen McKenzie, should take over as the Wallaby coach if Deans is forced out. There are concerns, Smith reports, that the Cooper/McKenzie push is being seen as part of an attempted Queensland takeover of the ARU.

    Finally, here is a par from Danny Weidler’s sports gossip column in Sunday’s Sun-Herald that gives the flavour of the delusional Cooper/Nasser world:

    “Quade Cooper is taking his boxing debut more seriously than he’d like anyone to know. He has been training three times a day for his February 8 debut. He finally got the respect he was after from the ARU. His deal will be worth close to $1 million a year.

    “If the promises that Cooper has been made come true, his detractors at the ARU should be looking over their shoulders. It all points to Robbie Deans being shown the door.”

    UPDATED: Response from Waratahs Rugby

    Waratahs Rugby wishes to categorically confirm that there was no connection whatsoever between the signing of Israel Folau and the ARU’s Governance Review.

    The NSW Rugby Union and Waratahs Rugby are completely separate entities. Under the licence agreement between NSWRU and Waratahs Rugby, NSWRU has no influence whatsoever on the recruitment, appointment or selection of the HSBC Waratahs team, its staff or players.

    Whilst the ARU’s Governance Review reduced the votes given to NSWRU from five to three, these changes have no impact on Waratahs Rugby, who continue to receive one of these votes (in line with all five Australian Super Rugby teams).

    Waratahs Rugby and NSW Rugby Union have written to The Roar to correct the factual inaccuracies contained in Mr Zavos’ article. As a well regarded and experienced rugby journalist, we believe The Roar readers would expect Mr Zavos’ articles to be factually correct and point out that, as with all journalists, he is always welcome to contact us for clarification on any matter should it be required. We look forward to hearing the thoughts of Mr Zavos and the rest of The Roar’s excellent panel of rugby writers as we approach an exciting season of Super Rugby and The Lions action in 2013.

    Spiro Zavos’ response:
    Waratahs Rugby and myself are at an disagreement here. Waratahs Rugby have refused to ask their chairman Roger Davis whether he and the chairman of the ARU, Michael Hawker, discussed the ARU’s Governance Review when negotiating an ARU salary top-up for Israel Folau.

    I specifically asked Waratahs Rugby to put this question to Mr Davis and publish his reply. They refused to do so.

    If there was ‘no connection whatsoever’ between the signing of Israel Folau and the ARU’s Governance Review, why wouldn’t Mr Davis confirm that this matter was NOT discussed during the Folau negotiations?

    I would make one further point that goes to the heart of this issue. The ARU’s Governance Review, which required 75 per cent of members to vote it in, and which substantially reduced the voting power of the NSW Rugby Union on the ARU board, was voted in within something like 30 minutes. This is unprecedented for the implementation of governance reforms in the history of
    the ARU. Victoria was the only dissenting rugby union.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (418)

    • December 10th 2012 @ 7:17am
      mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:17am | ! Report

      this is another case of the ARU mismanaging its player roster. this is similar to the leagie era where sailor, tuqiri, rogers, walker were all brought over for big amounts. the amounts meant they had to be played in the wallaby’s to justify getting paid so much.
      now coopers been pampered thru out his rugby career and its now not enough and he wants more, and more and more and more etc.
      then he loses what little brains he has , tweets himself into trouble and still the ARU offers him a contract.
      and now these rumours of the QRU and NSWRU dictating to the ARU. no wonder aus rugby is a mess. u have the tail wagging the dog.
      wow cant see aus ever dominating the AB’s for the next 10 years if this keeps up. AWESOME

      • December 10th 2012 @ 7:49am
        mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        whats really funny is that quade is amongst the highest paid of all wallaby’s.
        even funnier is the NSWRU saying they got folau for a deal with no top ups from ARU and yet its all BS.
        how can u expect your players to act with honesty and honour when those in charge dont?

        • December 10th 2012 @ 12:13pm
          Drop Kick said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

          Who knows what the deal is with Cooper?
          There is so much spin coming from Cooper’s camp and the ARU are staying silent.

          Jim Tucker in the Courier Mail said yesterday “Cooper said after re-signing for a revised deal which can earn him $800,000-plus next year if he plays all 14 Tests” which sounds like an incentive based contract which he had previously rejected as unaccaptable.

          In other reports it sounds like he is getting a straight out $800,000 contract no matter how his poor (or good) his form is.

          Ditto with Folau. Roy Masters says ARU top-up is $400,000 quoting no sources for his claim. Again the ARU says nothing.

          Usually I think it is sensible the ARU refuse to divulge details of contracts, but in these two cases I think it would be sensible if they let the fans know what was going on.

          • Roar Guru

            December 10th 2012 @ 1:29pm
            PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

            Masters is ASSUMING the top up was the same as Tuqiri etc got, if you read his article carefully. No one has told him any amount. Just another league journo justifying anyone turning their back on NRL the dirtiest game of all.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 2:38pm
              Drop Kick said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

              Yes agreed, that is why the ARU would be best off letting us know some details, otherise the spinners are/will have a field day with innuendo.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 4:09pm
              Big Time said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

              Wow, you people can always find a way to have a crack at the NRL. League are sitting back laughing at the whole situation.

              Folau was a League winger, hardly a real player like Thurston, Cronk, Smith or Slater. Most recently he has been an unsuccessful AFL player. Unlike Union, League has again proved they will not let blokes like this hold them to ransom. Folau will take a pay cut and come back to League, they all do eventually.

              Cooper is what keeps Union in the papers, you need him, otherwise there will be nothing to write about.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 4:48pm
                ThomasCrown said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Big time 100% agreed. Folau will be back to the NRL with his tail betweeen his legs like the rest of them.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 5:13pm
                PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:13pm | ! Report

                Tuqiri and Sailor were SACKED.

                Yes NRL took the drug taker Sailor back, kudos for that.

                Rogers was the only one who turned down an existing contract.

                Thorn went back BUT then left the NRL again and will finish in Rugby. Same with SBW.

                Blacklock, Tahu etc just were not good enough to cut it so they went back to the simple game they could handle.

              • Roar Rookie

                December 12th 2012 @ 2:09pm
                Damn Straight said | December 12th 2012 @ 2:09pm | ! Report

                Yeah right, rugby union is so much more complex and difficult to master than rugby league? You are delusional.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 2:12pm
            Harry said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

            Fully agree.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 1:06pm
        BetterRedThanDead said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

        QC needs to be handled with care and I think that the reason that the ARU struggled with both him and JOC is that they are not managing the generational shift in the player base. The ‘me’ generation, complete with its sense of entitlement, general lack of respect for authority, willingness to share views to a wide audience without forethought… These features set apart Gen Y from Gen X. This is a reality, however some of these Gen Y’ers are also highly skilled (amazingly!) and have significant contributions to make – and with the proper management this is eminently acheivable. I recall that the rugby establishment also struggled with the ego and mouth of one David Campese also. And as he has discovered blogging, and Twitter, they continue to.

        However, as we have witnessed, when institutionalised arrogance meets monumental ego, the results can be explosive.

        • December 11th 2012 @ 8:44pm
          Malo said | December 11th 2012 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

          he is already wrapped up in cotton wool, maybe we should build specially modified training facilities to satisfy QC. Have a cheer leading squad awaitin him as he gets off the plane and go to his 5 star hotels. Does he think he is Beckham or a Messi. WTF

      • Roar Guru

        December 10th 2012 @ 1:27pm
        PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

        Walker was never paid that much. He easily earned his stripes.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 5:55pm
          Minz said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:55pm | ! Report

          I loved to watch Walker play… if only he’d done more of it 🙁

          • December 10th 2012 @ 7:48pm
            sledgeandhammer said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

            and Walker was a rugby player who defected to league, not the other way around. He just came back to rugby eventually.

            • December 15th 2012 @ 5:32pm
              Malo said | December 15th 2012 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

              Exactly he played unreal for Randwick. Randwick was a great nursery for wallabies who learnt from new creative players and old heads as well as experience. Removing or distancing clubs like these from international rugby is what is causing real problems. I still remember when the All Blacks played Randwick at Coogee oval in 1988 awesome game.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 8:12pm
        Hightackle said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:12pm | ! Report

        Bwaaahahahaaaa!
        The ARU dont even want Cooper but have been FORCED!

        Seriously though, this is bad news for Australian rugby. I cant see the Wallabies or Aust rugby doing well with this sort of stuff happening.

      • December 11th 2012 @ 10:19am
        R said | December 11th 2012 @ 10:19am | ! Report

        Even if this was half true it would illustrate very poor management.

        Didn’t Hawker use to run an Insurance Coy which bought everthing and then floundered under poor management.

        What a mess O’Neill and Hawker have left Aussie rugby in!!!

      • December 11th 2012 @ 11:21pm
        Hightackle said | December 11th 2012 @ 11:21pm | ! Report

        QANTAS is from QLD.
        Nucifora is from QLD.
        McGaghn is from QLD.
        Graham is from QLD.
        Cooper, Genia, Shipperly, Harris, Higgs, Gill, Ioane, A.Faingaa, S.Faingaa, Slipper, Morahan, Tapuai, Horwill and Simmons play for the Reds.

        Yeah they are soo afraid of QLD and completely bias against them.

        P…FFFFFFFFFFFFFFT!!!

    • December 10th 2012 @ 7:32am
      Johnno said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      NSW have always had the power in Aussy rugby, or should i say sydney-centric has always controlled aussy rugby. Just ask knuckles connolly not getting the job in favour of George Smith in 1996, when it was obvious knuckles was the best candidate at the time.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 7:54am
        mark said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:54am | ! Report

        so George Smith coached the wallabies when still in school and later went on to be a wallaby great? cool

        Greg Smith mate

        it wasn’t that obvious and Connoly eneded up leading a very good wallaby side to a QF failure at 2007 RWC. On a bright sunny day in the south of france he had us playing wet weather rugby for a reason he is yet to explain.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 9:10am
          formeropenside said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:10am | ! Report

          wasn’t obvious? Connolly had just won back to back super rugby titles, both being away finals in South Africa. What NSW coach has ever done that?

          • December 10th 2012 @ 9:40am
            Ryan said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:40am | ! Report

            No Australian Coach has won back to back Super Rugby tiles FOS unless your omitting the titles won by the Blues and Crusaders inbetween the Brumbies two titles. I
            f so this is still not back to back titles as can be seen other teams won titles between the Brumbies successes.
            The correct statement would have been Conolly had won two SR titles preceding the WC in 2007

            • December 10th 2012 @ 9:47am
              Markus said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:47am | ! Report

              The Reds won the Super 10 competition back to back in 1994 and 95, then were minor premiers in the first Super 12 in 1996. That record should have had Knuckles hands down the top choice for the Wallabies job in 1996.

              You’re either being deliberately facetious or had absolutely no idea this even occurred.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 10:07am
                bill said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:07am | ! Report

                testify markus

                ryan is clearly from sydney – Spiro – to claim that cheika should be Wallabies coach show’s how one sided and sydney centric this article is, J White would be second in line at least.

                And all this revisionist history in the article – Quade did deliver a Super Rugby Title on his current contract. You only need to have been a reds support for the last 10 years to know that 30 000 + people a week at Suncorp is this currents reds side delivering on their contracts – 5 years ago 12 000 was a big crowd. Rugby has never been stronger in QLD and its because of McKenzie, Genia, and Quade – if the ARU wants the Wallabies to be strong they should follow suit.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 10:10am
                Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:10am | ! Report

                TBF to ryan I believe he is from NZ and genuinely didnt know FOS was referring to pre-professional era super rugby.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 1:34pm
                PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:34pm | ! Report

                nor who the brumbies coaches were when they won the titles.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 5:30pm
                Rob from Brumby Country said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:30pm | ! Report

                bill… Spiro did not give an endorsement for Cheika to be Wallabies coach in this article. He did not even suggest that Cheika should be chosen ahead of McKenzie. As far as this column is concerned, he did not offer an opinion as to whom should be coach.

                All you Queenslanders can stop with the victim complex. It’s embarrassing.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 8:16pm
                Hightackle said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:16pm | ! Report

                When are people gonna learn that the team wins the title NOT THE DAMN COACH.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 8:33pm
                Hightackle said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:33pm | ! Report

                35-40 players used on a super season by any one team and the credit goes to none of them.
                SERIOUSLY! THE COACH DOES NOT WIN THE TITLES.
                Put the “great” G.Henry in charge of Namibia and do you think they will win a WC or win 85% of their games?
                FFS its the TEAM not the coach. How do people not get that? Its so obvious anf demonstrated time after time. For example, Hansen is a great coach right? With Wales he helped win 35% not 90% or whatever it is with NZ. McKenzie was sacked by his last 2 clubs for poor results but now with Reds he wins a title. How does this happen? BECUZ ITS THE F@(KING TEAM NOT THE DAMN COACH. To say that any coach deserves a role becuz HIS TEAM won a title is completely wrong. Its the team that deserves the credit and the coach may have actually been a negative influence compared to another.
                We dont yhink the hooker, prop, fullback or wing are the best based on a title win but for some weird reason we think the coach is.
                France made the WC final and admitted that they were coaching themselves for half of the WC.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 8:43pm
                Hightackle said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

                When Namibia, Fiji, Romania or Portugal start winning WCs, I will start thinking that the coach is the person responsible. Until then I think we will see the big teams with the best players winning like NZ, SA, Aust, Fra and Eng winning.
                Just a theory…backed up with 7 WCs, rankings, results and much more.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 9:02pm
                Hightackle said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

                G.Henry, everybody in NZ seems to think the sun shines from where the sun dont shine with that guy. This year he assisted Arg. Everybody was saying “you can se G.Henrys influence” during their draw against SA etc. They didnt say it when Arg fell to a record home loss to NZ or when Ire and Fra put a record score on them.
                They had the worst defence of any top 10 team in 2012 and only scored 1 try per game on ave.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 11:05pm
                Lippy said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:05pm | ! Report

                Why do reds fans always bring up pre 96.
                Super Rugby as it is known officially began in 1996

      • Roar Guru

        December 10th 2012 @ 1:32pm
        PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:32pm | ! Report

        If sydney centric has always controlled Aus rugby then why has a Qld coach EVER coached the WALLABIES? Why did Connelly get the job after Eddie Jones.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 2:42pm
          Markus said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

          Because then-Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie chose not to apply, despite everybody in the ARU wishing he had.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 3:04pm
          Wally James said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

          There have only been two Queensland coaches of a Wallaby side. Two – can you believe that? Templeton and Connolly.

          Both times no New South Welshman stood against them. That is how Queenslanders get the job. Each and every time a New South Welshman has stood against a Queenslander, the Queenslander has lost.

          In other words, if a New South Welshman wanted the job he got it (unless he was standing against another New South Welshman – as happened to Dwyer when Jones got the job). If a Queenslander wants it he has to hope a New South Welshman doesn’t want it.

          Let’s hope the new governance gets rid of this insiduous New South Welsh bias.

          • Roar Guru

            December 10th 2012 @ 3:15pm
            Jiggles said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

            The Irony is that Link isn’t even a Queenslander. He is a Victorian who played for NSW and has coached both NSW and QLD and been assistant coach for the Wallabies under Rod.

            I really don’t understand how they can be so paranoid about “Reds under the Bed” like they were with Templeton in the 80s and Connolly in 1996, when Link has clearly shown he doesn’t have any allegiance to any State or Union.

            I agree that the sooner the reform of the ARU gets pushed through, where all unions are equal, the better. The NSWRU is the cancer on Australian Rugby and has been for years.

            • Roar Guru

              December 10th 2012 @ 3:23pm
              Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

              Alan Jones is also a Queenslander. Born and raised on the Darling Downs. My information is that Bob Templeton got the Wallaby job for the 1981/82 tour of Great Britain and Ireland he did get it unopposed as the NSW candidate Peter Crittle withdrew from availability for personal reasons. Crittle would have been a good Wallaby coach as he had proven success with Sydney and NSW yet we never will really know if he would have got the job over Tempo – but Tempo appear to have done a ‘Bradbury’ to get the job on that occasion.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 3:38pm
                Jiggles said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

                Thats true. Connolly did a Bradbury after Jones in 2005. No one wanted the job, Connolly finally got his chance to coach the Wallabies and I suppose the ARU saw it as a ‘sorry’ to make up for 1996 although he had very little support trying to make the changes that were needed to the Wallabies pack.

              • Roar Guru

                December 11th 2012 @ 6:33am
                Wally James said | December 11th 2012 @ 6:33am | ! Report

                Quite so Uncle. It is not as straight forward as I suggested when it comes to Jones.

                He also taught at Brisbane Grammar and Downlands as I recall. However by the time he was appointed he was part of the NSW clique having coached Manly to a premiership the season before. Notwithstanding it must be conceded he was a Queenslander.

            • Roar Guru

              December 10th 2012 @ 3:45pm
              Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

              Then O’Neill worked the shadows to get him ousted. I thought ‘Knuckles’ deserved a much better run at it than he got. Sure RWC 2007 was a kick in the guts – but I reckon it was a done deal as O’Neill and Deans were well in talks at the RWC – Dead man walking was Connolly.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 3:52pm
                Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                I thought knuckles already indicated prior to the WC that he would step down after the tournament. And I also though deans threw his hat in the ring only after he wasnt given the AB’s job?

                But your right about knuckles not getting much of a fair go, 2 years to turn around the mess jones had left the team in was always going to be a tough task however he didnt do himself much favours by sticking with alot of the deadwood from the jones era that should have been given the boot.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 3:57pm
                Jiggles said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:57pm | ! Report

                I think Connolly actually did a pretty good job and he tried anything and everything to get the pack right for that world cup. It didn’t help that Greg Holmes was injured in the Canada game as he was a far superior LHP to Dunning who got smashed by Vickery.

                I also find it amazing that Wallabies ‘hardmen’ like Vickerman, Palu and Elsom, and a good player like Moore escaped with absolutely no criticism after that 07 RWC defeat to England. Those 4 players, along with Sharpe, put up the white flag when the going got tough in that game.

                You can say what you like about Knuckles, but every team he has coached end up with a fantastic pack and I think he was getting there with Australia. If he had been given half the latitude that Deans has been given I think he would’ve got there.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 3:58pm
                Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                Hi Justie,

                my information is that the Connolly – O’Neill relationship was a turbulent and fractured one. Its rumoured O’Neill had little control of Connolly that did not suit him. Its my understanding Connolly – who also is a polarising figure saw the writing on the wall and walked. It is also my understanding O’Neill was told he was leaving the ARU but was allowed to walk out and the whole nature of his departure was hidden in the shadows.

                Deans went with the ARU after missing out with the All Blacks. Yet that ARU seed was planted long before according to my sources. Pretty sure O’Neill and Deans were photographed together in Paris…..brushing up their French? No my information is that O’Neill worked his contacts very well to dismantle Gary Flowers and then John Connolly. I could be wrong but that’s what I hear from credible sources.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 4:08pm
                Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:08pm | ! Report

                Cool thanks for the info UA, I was a 23 Y.O. on a working holiday visa in the UK during 2007 so my memory of that period is quite hazy 😀

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 4:22pm
                Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                Justie – at 23 I was living in Ireland – playing rugby – my diet consisted of Guinness and Abra-kebabra – can I report at 33 it was not much different 🙂

              • December 10th 2012 @ 4:41pm
                Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

                Lol my diet was kronenbergs and fried chicken wings with chilli sauce.
                The only downside of living in london in 2007 was losing to england in that QF, maybe thats why Im not a big fan of knuckles, I hold him responsible for the amount taunting and insults I copped!

              • December 10th 2012 @ 5:26pm
                Wispy said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                Having been in the middle of it on the inside…Uncle Argle is spot on with his intelligence!

          • Roar Guru

            December 10th 2012 @ 3:31pm
            PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

            Clearly wrong.

            DES CONNOR (1968-71) was the Wallaby coach before Templeton, he was a Qlder.

            • Roar Guru

              December 10th 2012 @ 4:36pm
              Jiggles said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

              Nah Des Connor is a Kiwi…. 😉

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 5:15pm
                PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:15pm | ! Report

                born in Qld

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 6:55pm
                sheek said | December 10th 2012 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                Des Connor (b. 1935) was a true blue Aussie born in Qld. Played 12 tests for the Wallabies 1957-59.

                When it became obvious the selectors were going to prefer young gun Ken Catchpole (b.1939) in 1961, Connor took off across the ditch where he played another 12 tests for the All Blacks 1962-64.

                Connor then returned to Australia to coach the Wallabies 1968-71. In 1968, he incurred the wrath of the Kiwis by introducing short lineouts, which was considered a breathtaking innovation back then.

    • Roar Guru

      December 10th 2012 @ 7:35am
      biltongbek said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:35am | ! Report

      If I was Deans I would pack my bags and send the ARU an email from back home.

      We may have problems in our administration, but no player has this amount of influence in our rugby.

      I thought this was a team sport.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 11:15am
        mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:15am | ! Report

        agree fully biltongbek , just another indication of why aus rugby is as bad as it is. no single player would get away with this kind behaviour and remain on the books in most rugby countries. i thought if a union were to bend over backwards like this it would be for a much better player.
        quades brilliant sometimes but pretty woeful most times. cant believe people singing his praises so much

      • December 10th 2012 @ 12:52pm
        strupper2003 said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:52pm | ! Report

        u r absolutely right. no player should hv this amount of influence in a team sport. i dont care if the player is from qld or nsw.

      • Roar Guru

        December 10th 2012 @ 1:35pm
        PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

        If ONLY Deans would fall on his sword, that would be wonderful.

        Deans though wants to keep receiving his paycheck.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 3:55pm
          biltongbek said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

          Well you might just get your wish.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 11:41pm
          Ra said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:41pm | ! Report

          and the players who just toured with him, love the guy, eh PeterK but all you stupid ozzies salavate over another little kiwi boy who just ripped you off for $800 000 without even pulling on a green n gold – should yourselves a VB you lot

          I hope Deano does go now, if a guy who slings off at his buddies on tour can pull in that sort of money, then Deans should be worth triple that in pay outs. He’s still well loved back home and Kiwi Roarers would like nothing better than to see him come back and stick it to your SR teams.

          Amazing that none of the “toxic tourist” have come out in support of the outspoken side-stepper??? And dont tell me any rubbish about signing contracts of silence. If that was true, then one player should be paying $800 000, not receiving it.

          I asked the question before;and here it is again: how come the guy who hasn’t stepped on the paddock gets more “hits” in The Roar than the brave guys who guts it out and did a great against the odds job on tour?

          You guys have strange ways of supporting your heroes.

          • Roar Guru

            December 11th 2012 @ 12:06am
            PeterK said | December 11th 2012 @ 12:06am | ! Report

            RA you have no credibility as a r_a_c_i_s_t specifically against QC.

          • December 11th 2012 @ 11:05am
            Rob from Brumby Country said | December 11th 2012 @ 11:05am | ! Report

            Yeah, I can’t understand it either, Ra.

            Given all the $hit that people said about our touring party, you’d think they’d be over the moon that we managed to come away with three wins from four matches. But no, they have to focus on the negatives: the for-and-againsts, the lack of tries, the style of gameplay…

            It seems to me that Australian rugby fans have no backbone. If they did, they would back their team up in times of difficulty and even embarrassment. It’s no wonder the Wallabies can’t perform on a consistent basis when their own supporter base is reactionary and cynical. How could anybody perform consistently when the people they rely on for support have wild mood swings between euphoria, vituperation, and catatonia?

            I guess what I’m saying to the average supporter of the Wallabies is this: it’s not them, it’s you.

            • Roar Guru

              December 11th 2012 @ 3:15pm
              PeterK said | December 11th 2012 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

              then explain how AB supporters are not satisified with just winning? Nor their coaches or the NZRU.

              They are expected to win, AND to play well. If they play poorly but win then that is not considered good enough.

              The striving for continual improvement.

              If the Wallabies want to be no 1 they need to take a leaf from the AB’s book in regards to this.

              • December 11th 2012 @ 7:48pm
                Hightackle said | December 11th 2012 @ 7:48pm | ! Report

                PeterK. No the ABs are not just happy with winning altough they were against Fra in the WC final.
                If NZ were to lose Carter, Cruden, Dagg, Read, McCaw, Messam, Woodcok, Kepu, Nonu, Jane, C.Smith, A.Smith, Whitelock, O.Franks, Romano and B.Smith for large parts of the season or the entire season they might be. Yet when Aust loses Mitchell, McCabe, Barnes, Beale, Genia, Pocock, Horwill, Kepu, Palu, JOC, Cooper, AAC, Alexander, Lealiifano, Timani, McCalman, Higgs, Simmons and many others you expect see razzle dazzle rugby.
                Umm NO CHANCE.

              • December 13th 2012 @ 1:03am
                stillmatic1 said | December 13th 2012 @ 1:03am | ! Report

                amen to that peterK. the striving for continual improvement is what makes good teams, great, and great teams stay there. doesnt mean they wont have howlers, simply means that a “win” should not gloss over the imperfections.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 3:49pm
        WQ said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:49pm | ! Report

        You are on the money biltongbek Deans is being dragged down every day that he remains in this ‘toxic’ environment!

    • Roar Guru

      December 10th 2012 @ 7:37am
      B-Rock said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:37am | ! Report

      If true, this QC deal is an unmitigated disaster. Folau is overpaid at $650K but has done none of the damage QC has done to the sport over the past year.

      Spiro – the key on field issue is the players reaction which you allude to but don’t elaborate on – as I would suspect, some of the hard working players which have kept their heads down and toiled away for the ‘yellow jersey’ would be livid at QC. He questioned selections during his toxic interview and is now being paid far more than most of them.

      Unless his form improves rapidly back to where it was at his peak, this will be an incredible waste of money and detrimental to team harmony/morale

      • December 10th 2012 @ 7:51am
        mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        totally agree b-rock and the basic fact is ARU are giving the message, be an unruly petulant child and u can hold the ARU and ransom…and win. awesome, another decade of the AB’s holding onto the bledisloe.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 9:57am
        Blue Blood said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        There would only be a handful of Wallabies paid over $500k. The vast majority of honest, hard working Wallabies get around $200k from their Super clubs and around $150k from the ARU. How can the ARU justify any of this with a straight face?

        The ARU created this mess by giving so much power to NSW and QLD in he first place. How can the other states have an even playing field all these years with 1 vote for the 3 of the two power states? All decisions favour the two and the funding floods towards the power and directly out if the pockets of the others.

        All of community rugby in WA last year got $250k to develop and promote rugby in this massive state. Cooper’s top up alone is nearly double what WA gets.

        The message is clear. Two men are bigger than the game and this is not a team sport any more. If their team mates welcome them in after this BS then they are no better than their corrupt management. The crowds should shun these players not celebrate their talents. You want to know why rugby tickets are so expensive to normal families? Just read this article.

        Well put together article articulating what we have been saying since day one of this Cooper fiasco.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 10:45am
          Mantis said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

          You’re right. The favoritism NSW and QLD get over the other 3 super rugby sides is ridiculous.

        • December 11th 2012 @ 5:05pm
          formeropenside said | December 11th 2012 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

          because th ARU grew out of the NSWRU and QRU, basically.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 10:09am
        bill said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:09am | ! Report

        B-Rock – what damage has he done to teh sport? he’s got massvie crowds showing up at suncorp week in week out – Spiro can claim what he wants about the way quade played but the team lifted when he came back and we went to the finals (again). The Reds out drawing the Bronco’s in Brisbane shows that quade is worth every cent.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 10:33am
          Justin2 said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Bill – agree somewhat. More harm is being done to the sport with the dreadful football the Wallabies are playing than anything Cooper has said.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 11:56pm
            Ra said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:56pm | ! Report

            your guys just come home from winning three games out of four on a toxic tour Justin. Have been down and told them personally how disappointed you are with that result. And while you’re at it, could you tell Bill to check the Queensland crowds again next season, not last season. There will be 800 000 embarrassing reasons why Queenslanders will stay away, and Im expecting they will suffer their most humiliating defeat ever at the hands of NSW next year, thanks to Deans – want a chocolate fish bet on that one????

            • December 11th 2012 @ 6:26am
              Justin2 said | December 11th 2012 @ 6:26am | ! Report

              🙂

            • December 11th 2012 @ 6:58am
              Justin2 said | December 11th 2012 @ 6:58am | ! Report

              So you think they have been playing good football do you? I bet if you asked the players how they felt, they’d be relieved more than anything. They would know they got away with some ordinary football.

              Thumped by France, played ok to beat a naive England and then scraped to wins over the 9th and 10th sides in the world.

              Crack the champers Ra, all is right with the world. The tour was a pass, no more.

              • December 11th 2012 @ 8:29pm
                Hightackle said | December 11th 2012 @ 8:29pm | ! Report

                Deans was on the grassy knoll wasnt he Justin.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 10:47am
          Mantis said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:47am | ! Report

          ‘he’s got massive crowds turning up at suncorp week in week out’ – thats a slap in the face to the rest of the side…

          • Roar Guru

            December 10th 2012 @ 3:58pm
            biltongbek said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

            Agree, but according to some wehave established the Reds and Wallabies only require THE ONE, the rest are only there to make up the numbers.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 9:04pm
            GWS said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:04pm | ! Report

            Well they ain’t turning up for the scrum resets

        • December 10th 2012 @ 10:49am
          mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:49am | ! Report

          bill – so dont the crowds turn up to watch anyone else? isnt digby and genia in that team?

          • Roar Rookie

            December 10th 2012 @ 12:22pm
            Comrade Bear said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

            The forwards, Genia allow Cooper to operate – put Digby through gaps etc – thats how rugby and the respective positions work??

        • December 10th 2012 @ 10:58am
          linz22 said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:58am | ! Report

          Could not agree more, the whole cooper fiasco is nothing compared to the damage the current wallaby playing style is doing. And yes, Quade has made a right mess of everything, but i have a lot of league friends who have actually started watching the reds because of cooper and you cant say that about many other wallabies at the moment. Though i think all the league supporters he attracts are being reminded why they prefer League every time they see a wallabies game.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 11:12am
          linz22 said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:12am | ! Report

          nitpicking guys, you are choosing to interpret his comments that way. Quade is a massive crowd drawer, but that is not to say that Genia and others aren’t as well.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 11:32pm
            Malo said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:32pm | ! Report

            For how long. RIP Australian Rugby Union. You are soft jokes. Di d you consider that you signed Australias most pathetic World Cup performer ever to put on a Wallaby jersey to such a sum. He now is an automatic pick for the wallabies. If the wallabies and QC don’t fire the crowds will no longer pay $150 for a ticket. Israel Folau may be the resurrection time will tell. Precarious times. Just think how much Mark Ella , Tim Horan or Willie O would command now, they would eat these gen y s alive.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 11:20am
          mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:20am | ! Report

          linz22 – nitpicking how? several bloggers saying ppl are turnin up to solely watch quade. i’d prefer to go watch genia and digby than quade. in fact i’d quite happily not go to any games involving quade but as this isnt an individual sport then thats hard to achieve without skipping a lot of rugby i do want to see

          • December 10th 2012 @ 11:33am
            linz22 said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:33am | ! Report

            You used the word “solely” Mania, Bill never did. In fact he says “The Reds out drawing the Bronco’s” not Quade outdrawing the broncos, which is how you seem to have decided to interpret his comments. and we are talking about Suncorp crowds here, not whether you want to watch Quade. personally i have seen the worst and best of cooper and am a bigger fan of Genia, but Quade has played very well for the reds and does draw a lot of people.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 11:39am
              mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:39am | ! Report

              linz22 – yes sorry, my bad but now your nitpicking . no mention of any other player in bills blog and when a line like ” he’s got massvie crowds showing up at suncorp week in week out” then that is inferring a one man show and also lines like “but the team lifted when he came back and we went to the finals” makes it sound like QLD cannot play or win anything without quade.
              linz22 your distracted from the overall argument to pick at a single word.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 12:11pm
                linz22 said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                Fair enough, needless to say that what was stated can be interpreted in a couple of directions, but i think the overall argument that Quade is a big crowed drawer is accurate. Whether you judge him based on his stupid off field antics or inconstant on field performances, there is large proportion of reds fans who turn on the TV or buy tickets in the hope of seeing some Quade cooper magic. I just wish he would pull his head in, keep his mouth shut, delete his twitter account and focus on becoming a more consistent all round player. He has the ability to be great, though could do with some of Larken’s brains, and that is why the ARU have re signed him.
                They should have made deleting his twitter account a part of the contract, for everybody’s sake.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 12:18pm
                mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:18pm | ! Report

                linz22 – i just dont see the attraction of quade. as a coach i’ve come across players like this and have had to let them go. no single player is as big as the team. as good as quade is (and he’s not even that good) he’s nothing without his 14 other team mates yet quades on the pedestal getting paid the most. he’s not even a forward ffs.
                i dont buy it that its quade thats putting all the bums on seats. i reckon he’d be responsible for a small fraction of a percent but it’d be sweet f all. i’m sure rugby fans are clued up as to what constitutes a good player worth watching and quade doesnt come close.
                i think aus should be ashamed of the fact that this is your best 1st5 and that the ARU is willing to pander shamefully to his ego. all this money wasted and yet the grassroots of australian rugby for yet another year goes begging. awesome priorities aus

              • December 10th 2012 @ 12:40pm
                linz22 said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:40pm | ! Report

                i agree that he does not deserve the contract he has received, never said otherwise. He has generally played very poorly for aus and deserves a contract more commensurate to his wallabies performances. However, i do believe he puts a lot of bums on Suncorp seats and can therefor understand why the reds have fought to keep him in the code.
                Also, if your a Digby fan, perhaps you should watch some Digby highlights, its Cooper that puts him through most of his holes, and consider how he plays when copper is not on the field.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 12:44pm
                mania said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

                overly simplified linz22. digby contributes so much more to the team positively than quade does.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 12:55pm
                linz22 said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

                Agreed, he has a great influence and never stops running hard but he isn’t half as effective when Quade is out. Just my opinion, though i think if you looked up the stats you would see a dramatic decrease in Digby line breaks and tries when Cooper is not on the field, and i agree with bill in that the reds did seem to lift when cooper returned this year. Its just a pity he does not have the same influence on the wallabies.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 1:42pm
                PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:42pm | ! Report

                mania – No doubt the Reds play more attractive and better attacking rugby with QC than without. Look at stats like tries, linebreaks, and win / loss with and without QC.

                The best way to judge the difference is when he does not play how they go, and even with the other stars like Genia and Ioane they lose more without QC. He obviously makes a big difference.

    • December 10th 2012 @ 7:44am
      nickoldschool said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:44am | ! Report

      A very insightful article Spiro.

      Australian rugby seems like a banana republic, with the ARU at its top, giving top ups to some, nothing to others, based on reputations and politics. To have the ARU oligarchs offering a top up to a guy who has played a few rugby games as a teen (Folau) is a disgrace. I want Folau to succeed in union with the tahs and wallabies but also want this success to be based on results rather than reputation or negociation skills.

      Like in every corrupt socitey or organisation, the dice are loaded; it all happens beforehand, behind closed doors, rather than on the field or after matches. The core values of rugby, honesty, mateship, transparency and fairness, are being ridiculed.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 8:32am
        Red Kev said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:32am | ! Report

        You call this insightful? This “article” is scurrilous gossip and makes Danny Weidler look like a Pulitzer Prize winner.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 8:48am
          nickoldschool said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:48am | ! Report

          RK, the amounts mentioned might be exaggerated, i dont know and dont care tbh. in my mind, its all about principles. If you have read Masters piece on the smh, we know for sure that the aru offered a top up to Folau to convinve him to sign with the tahs:

          “The Waratahs chief executive, Jason Allen, said: ”The ARU have definitely assisted us but don’t declare the amount with us. It’s their choice to talk about salaries.”

          I think the oz public has been deceived. Of course Weidler, Spiro and others tend to exaggerate or anitcipate situations/numbers at times. Yet, the whole QC/ARU saga, the NRL/ARU/Folau one, JOC being quickly forgiven after not turning up at the wallabies presentation etc, did happen and arent open to interpretation. I stick to what i said about the ARU being run like a banana republic.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 9:27am
          WOLF said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          Unacceptable post removed. Thanks, Roar mods.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 9:42am
            Markus said | December 10th 2012 @ 9:42am | ! Report

            Any bias RK may have is irrelevant.
            The premise of this piece is that Spiro has heard two different rumours from two different sources, that both not only somehow manage to confirm the other, but prove the existence of an overall ARU conspiracy.

            It’s hardly Pulitzer Prize winning journalism.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 10:31am
            Mals said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:31am | ! Report

            Red Kev & FOS are the two Ronnies of QLD rugby 😉

            Btw Steve Kefu was a gun player – should have had more Wallaby caps 😛

            • December 10th 2012 @ 10:43am
              Red Kev said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:43am | ! Report

              I like to think of myself as Gareth Hale to his Norman Pace but I guess I can take Ronnie Barker as a compliment.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 12:30pm
              formeropenside said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

              Mals, whatever my faults to your southern eyes, I never talked up Steve Kefu. I mean, he was an adequate Super Rugby 12, but that was about it.

              You would have also not seen me talking up Va’aulu or Henari Veratau. Or Guy Shepherdson over the last two years, or Jack Kennedy before that – and they all had Reds contracts.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 3:31pm
                Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                Cameron Trelor, Tom Court, Caleb Brown, Ben Wakerly perhaps? Brandon Va’aulu was affectionately known as Brando Calrisean as he actually did look a touch similar to the Mayor of Bespin City from the Empire Strikes Back flick.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 3:50pm
                Jiggles said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:50pm | ! Report

                Wasn’t Brown a disappointment. He had so much potential.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 4:05pm
                Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:05pm | ! Report

                Caleb Brown was a stand out at times in an average era of Queensland rugby. There were a number of good players in that team but it just didn’t gell.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 4:14pm
                falcore said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

                I’ve been run over by steve kefu, will happily talk him up… 😉

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 4:25pm
                Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:25pm | ! Report

                Falcore,

                Ive got a mate who had a fight with Mike Teague. According to my mate he was doing OK until Mike realised he was actually being hit, about 30 seconds into my mates flurry of hay makers, then it all went pretty south from there. 🙂

          • December 10th 2012 @ 11:08am
            post said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:08am | ! Report

            As an outsider to all the interstate rivalries going on, red kev seems a lot more realistic than the bunches of nsw-centric bs I see from spiro, lord, and some commenters here. Particularly when articles like this refer to cheika as the new favorite over Link to replace Deans it loses all credibility.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 11:13am
              Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:13am | ! Report

              • December 10th 2012 @ 2:12pm
                Rob from Brumby Country said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:12pm | ! Report

                Jutsie stop putting your facts in the way of a good whinge!

              • December 10th 2012 @ 4:23pm
                post said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

                I realize that, but the overall message of the article appears to support this line of thinking while dumping on anything relating to the reds, including a coaching appointment of Link. The reds are clearly the superior Australian side of the last two years, yet I get the impression that the ARU would resist additional queenslanders in the rank because they are queenslanders. This is an ongoing message in articles by both lord and zavos, and is totally ridiculous.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 7:46pm
            Halleys Comet said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:46pm | ! Report

            Sorry Wolfy, you have just been voted out out, RK is only telling it like it is..

        • December 10th 2012 @ 11:14am
          Dan said | December 10th 2012 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          It’s always a good idea to read articles about players you have a heavy bias for with more than just one eye…

        • December 10th 2012 @ 1:17pm
          Handles said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

          Agree RK, and what’s more it also contains a typical Spiro invention:

          “When Cooper finally got back on the field, he played adequately for the Reds and poorly for the Wallabies. Again, Deans was criticised for restoring him and retaining him in the starting line-up.”

          Deans was criticised for NOT restoring him in the first game, atr home, despite excellent form in the Reds games. He was then UNABLE to retain him, as he was re-injured in his second test match back.

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 2:35pm
          Argyle said | December 10th 2012 @ 2:35pm | ! Report

          Did you know Roy Masters actually lives in Melbourne.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 5:39pm
          Ben said | December 10th 2012 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

          100% right kev. This article is gossip and conspiracy theories.

      • Roar Guru

        December 10th 2012 @ 1:46pm
        PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:46pm | ! Report

        NEVER has Aus rugby been transparent and fair, so how it can be a core value is beyond me.

        The elite have always ruled the boards and they have always made self interest decisions.

        That said there is no proof to Spiros gossip.

        At best the only factual statements can be made are that Folau DID get some top up, and QC’s contract was revised, (not how much was left as incentive, or the contract sizes).

      • December 11th 2012 @ 12:08am
        Malo said | December 11th 2012 @ 12:08am | ! Report

        Agree great article Spiro and agree with nickold school. I am a converted All Blacks supporter as they have pride and integrity in the jersey I hope they smash the wallabies especially QC, JOC and Beale who have shown contempt for the jersey. I will see what Gen Zs are like may come back to the wallabies then. I will definitely not go to pay for a wallaby ticket again. I have previously supported the wallabies at two world cups and been to about 30 test matches.

    • December 10th 2012 @ 7:45am
      Sailosi said | December 10th 2012 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      This is the ridiculous situation that a moronic central contracting system creates. Players should only be contracted to franchises and paid a match fee when representing Australia.

      • December 10th 2012 @ 12:12pm
        Stripes said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:12pm | ! Report

        Then watch all our best players head over for greater security and money.

        • December 10th 2012 @ 12:19pm
          Markus said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

          There is already greater security (lower risk of injuries in lower quality comps) and much much better money available elsewhere for our best players, and even for our average players.
          Packing up and moving your life elsewhere is just not something everyone can do.

          Take Ioane for example. There was big talk last contract of moving to Japan, but the guy was so homesick in Perth they released him to QLD, so I severely doubt he’d have been able to manage in a foreign country.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 12:32pm
            formeropenside said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            They did not release him, he signed with the Reds. They were pretty unhappy about it, since he verbally said he would stay West, but could do nothing about it (since they poached him in the first place).

            • December 10th 2012 @ 4:31pm
              sittingbison said | December 10th 2012 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

              thats BS FOS and you know it. The Force released him from final year of his contract

              • December 11th 2012 @ 3:31pm
                formeropenside said | December 11th 2012 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

                No, my honest recollection is that the Force wanted to keep him, thinking he had signed, but he had not in fact signed, merely said he would (and did not).

                Sharp practice sure, but after the 2005 raids the Force could hardly complain.

      • Roar Rookie

        December 10th 2012 @ 12:49pm
        Comrade Bear said | December 10th 2012 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

        So what is the point of a Salary Cap? The ARU top up system totally circumvents it? I just don’t get it – what am I missing?

        I would have thought the ARU would give each state the same amount of money to allocate to their ‘best’ players to keep them. Done.

        With Match payments being just that …

        • Roar Guru

          December 10th 2012 @ 1:53pm
          PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

          how the salary cap is supposed to work is a player negotiated with the various states / franchises how much they will pay him.

          THEN regardless of which franchise they go to the ARU negotiates what they think he is worth to them to retain him.

          Cooper negotiated a good contract with Qld, Folau with NSW. If they had been with other states the ARU would not have cared but offered the same top up, in theory.

          That all said I totally disagree with a salary cap when it is only on the aus sides.

          • December 10th 2012 @ 3:54pm
            Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

            yes it is such a silly concept that 5 teams out of a 15 side completion have to not only deal with restrictions on foreign players but also the salary cap.

            • December 10th 2012 @ 8:35pm
              Jerry said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

              The NZ sides effectively have a salary cap too though – they’re dependent on the NZRU providing the funds for player salaries and every team gets the same amount.

              • December 10th 2012 @ 8:54pm
                Jutsie said | December 10th 2012 @ 8:54pm | ! Report

                I didn’t realise that, thanks for the info. Its probably a bit better then but I still think it should be across the board rule or not implemented at all.

              • Roar Guru

                December 10th 2012 @ 10:44pm
                PeterK said | December 10th 2012 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

                So the NZ franchises pay exactly the same for player salaries? They are not allowed to contribute anything above and beyond what the NZRU supplies or obtain 3rd party payments for players?

              • December 11th 2012 @ 5:02am
                Jerry said | December 11th 2012 @ 5:02am | ! Report

                I don’t think there’s any 3rd party payments, or certainly nothing significant.

                They’re all given the same amount for player salaries, yeah. I believe all the franchises account for their entire wage bill except the Highlanders who’ve had a fair bit to spare in recent years (as they’ve usually had a bunch of young, unproven players – they’ll probably use the entire amount what with Jamie Joseph’s successful recruiting tactics).

        • December 11th 2012 @ 9:54am
          Blue Blood said | December 11th 2012 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Agreed. It would also stop some teams having all the Wallabies and others having few. If the real money was in the hands of the clubs do you really think the Reds and Tahs would be able to afford so many Wallabies? This would lead to a far more even distribution of talent across all Aust Super clubs and even up our competition. It would be better for crowds and remove the QLD and NSW dominance.

          How can the struggling clubs compete with lists under the current system? NSW and QLD have the same salary cap but then a large proportion of the team is given significant top ups from the ARU. Hard to get someone to move to isolated Perth (for example) for the same money. Especially as you can’t legally offer 3rd party payments to entice a player to come, only to keep players you already have. So you add this to the clubs who already have the Wallabies as a 3rd source of money and one not available to new clubs and the system is designed to stop players moving between clubs.

          Hard to see how the current system will ever lead to an even competition. And please don’t say that the other areas just need to develop their own talent and stop poaching. For that they would need equal development money and that won’t happen soon, if ever. $250k for the year in WA is hardly going to develop local talent. Especially with no local academy any more as the finding was pulled for that too.

          Big changes are needed. I wonder if the new CEO wil be up for the task or in the pocket of NSW and QLD power brokers?

          • Roar Guru

            December 11th 2012 @ 3:18pm
            PeterK said | December 11th 2012 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            it would even up the aussie teams. They would ALL finish in the middle of the table.

            I team makes due to the conference system and gets bundled out 1st game.

            What is the point of that.

            I would prefer 2 to make the finals with a chance of winning, 1 in the middle, and if that means 2 towards the bottom so be it.

            • December 11th 2012 @ 3:29pm
              Jutsie said | December 11th 2012 @ 3:29pm | ! Report

              thats basically what happened this year though without the salary cap. And if you ignore 2011 its happened in almost every other season too for the best part of a decade.

              • Roar Guru

                December 11th 2012 @ 3:32pm
                PeterK said | December 11th 2012 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

                Not true. Tahs made the top 4 finals quite often.

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