Will Genia must stay fit for Japan 2019

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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    The Wallabies proved conclusively on the weekend they won’t win games of any importance unless Will Genia is on duty.

    Not only was the 29-year-old halfback the tearaway man of the match against Wales at Cardiff, but his leadership was vital.

    There was no better example when captain Michael Hooper was binned for repeatedly being penalised with 13 minutes to go.

    Only minutes earlier, referee Glen Jackson had warned both captains the next penalty was a yellow.

    Hooper was stupid enough to be the next, and departed.

    The Wallabies were leading 29-16 at the time. but Wales were hammering with plenty of possession. They were camped in Wallaby territory.

    Two converted tries for a one-point win was a distinct possibility, especially with the Wallabies a man short.

    But Genia’s generalship denied them.

    Not only did he read the play so superbly, he pulled off many telling tackles all over the park.

    In short, Genia saved the Wallaby bacon.

    Will Genia Wallabies Australia Rugby Union Test Championship 2016

    The (AAP Image/Richard Wainwright)

    Even though both Gena and Bernard Foley had (vc) after their name on the team sheet, it was crystal clear who was the senior when Hooper departed – Genia.

    The gobful he gave Foley during the Hooper binning didn’t miss.

    Why coach Michael Cheika nominates two vice-captains makes no sense, even moreso when both are backs and play side by side.

    It’s no secret I’ve never rated Hooper as a captain.

    But Genia comprehensively proved his worth by leading a man-short Wallabies to defend against wave after wave of Welshmen during those vital ten minutes.

    Sure, Wales scored at the death, but Genia had safely seen the Wallabies home by then.

    There are two other aspects of Hooper’s rugby that don’t cut the mustard.

    He’s the captain, and must set the standard for the squad, but he’s penalised more than most.

    And he’s the only Wallaby who plays with his socks down, a shabby example for his coveted position.

    Importantly, he’s a hog in possession, rarely looking for support, and rarely passing – constantly seeking the hero play.

    In the 41st minute yesterday he took on three defenders from five metres out with Reece Hodge unmarked outside him.

    Hooper never looked to his right, he just put his head down and plunged for the line.

    Luckily he landed on the line, going within centimetres of bombing a certain try.

    But to be binned late in the game after a warning was inexcusable.

    But Cheika will stick with Hooper. Hopefully Will Genia will be around to keep picking up the pieces.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (83)

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:26am
      Connor33 said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:26am | ! Report

      Genia was immense. But, as you know, you don’t win a WC with 1 C next to a name of 23, you win it with 5 Cs: Genia is one of them, Coleman another. Foley and Beale others–and the silent one is TPN. He, too, must be there in 2019.

      Though I wonder: Why shamelesslessly have pot shots at Hooper when he always puts in such consistent performances? If only more would see what he does off the ball, let alone what he does on it. But again, I guess click-bait reporters want to prey upon the odd negative, which is fine. I guess I took the bait. The odd balanced positive would provide some context next time…

      **With sliding defense, Hodge was no certainty. On a slippery surface there was always 2-3 yards of sliding to be had. Right decision. It’s on the scoreboard.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:47am
      Buk said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

      Hooper plays with tremendous passion & commitment. Its that passion that makes him push himself & his body to the utter limits & makes him a great player in my book.

      But agree some decisions need a cool head rather than passion as the main driving theme.

      • November 13th 2017 @ 8:12am
        nugget said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:12am | ! Report

        Yes and as David says, he doesn’t pass. Not passing to Hodge was wrong, even if he got away with it. I love his passion, but agree he’s a hopeless Captain. He’s often rude or dismissive of the ref. Dumb stuff.

        • Roar Guru

          November 13th 2017 @ 6:13pm
          El Gamba said | November 13th 2017 @ 6:13pm | ! Report

          And he plays with his socks down

          Hahahaha

          • Roar Guru

            November 14th 2017 @ 3:41pm
            Adam said | November 14th 2017 @ 3:41pm | ! Report

            Anything worse than socks down? urgh

    • November 13th 2017 @ 7:57am
      Fionn said | November 13th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

      It just baffles me how our captain can be the equal highest yellow carded player in history. Not certain this is a good thing.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 8:52am
      bigbaz said | November 13th 2017 @ 8:52am | ! Report

      The pass showed his class.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 9:03am
      RM said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:03am | ! Report

      Look, I’m no Hooper apologist but..he .plays with his socks down? Come on, now. You’re really scraping the barrel for complaints at that point.

      Regarding the try he scored, the team-first thing would have been to draw and pass but at the end of the day he backed himself and scored the try. The scoreboard says it was a good decision. Agree about the appallingly stupid play to get sin-binned though. That was not the play of a captain.

      It is great to see Genia finally finding his form again. He might never get that brilliant running game that he had 2010-2012 back again, but even without that he is still Australia’s best halfback by a considerable margin. Not sure who is the heir apparent in number 9 either. Tuttle was very good in the NRC and showed excellent leadership and composure in the Final, but I’d have to see a lot more from him for the Reds next year to say he could step up any further. Phipps is simply not a halfback.

      • Columnist

        November 13th 2017 @ 9:57am
        David Lord said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        RM, I’m not scraping the barrel about Michael Hooper playing with his socks down, far from it.

        I’ll make you another prediction, there will never be another Australian cricket captain like Michael Clarke who is covered with tattoos.

        There’s a social responsibility and standard associated with being a national sporting captain, especially cricket and rugby.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 10:22am
          RM said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

          Interesting. So would you say playing with your socks down is worse than having tattoos? Are there factors to consider in number of tattoos or their placement?

          Also, what are your thoughts on the fact Will Genia has tattoos? Should this rule him out of consideration for the Wallabies captaincy based on social responsibility and standards?

          My argument would be “of course not, this is silly” but I guess it takes all sorts.

          As I hinted above, I’m not Hooper’s biggest fan. But if he wants to play with his socks down that just isn’t an issue.

          • November 13th 2017 @ 10:25am
            Fionn said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:25am | ! Report

            RM, I get what you’re saying, but I sort of feel like as a captain you should be the most professional player on your team—for example Richie telling everyone in the All Blacks to wear black boots from what I’veread. Whether it is intentional or not, playing with one’s socks down isn’t the right image and doesn’t send the right message in my opinion.

            But hey, surely all it takes to solve this one issue is for Cheika to say ‘please play with your socks up.’ There, issue done.

            Tattoos are less of an issue, in my opinion.

          • Columnist

            November 13th 2017 @ 11:02am
            David Lord said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

            Tattoos are an integral part of Will Genia’s culture from PNG, not a problem.

            Michael Clarke’s culture is simply he likes tattoos – lots of them.

            • November 13th 2017 @ 11:16am
              bigbaz said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:16am | ! Report

              Agree, unless they are sailors white men with tats is not on as far as I’m concerned, but I’m an old white fella and things are different. I always wondered what tribe Clarke belonged to.

              • November 13th 2017 @ 4:24pm
                nutter said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

                The Norse were white blokes with tattoos 1000 years ago.

              • Roar Rookie

                November 13th 2017 @ 4:36pm
                piru said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                They were also sailors, which Baz already covered

            • November 13th 2017 @ 4:40pm
              Larry said | November 13th 2017 @ 4:40pm | ! Report

              Some of your best ramblings yet champion. Back to the bar Lordy!

            • November 13th 2017 @ 10:40pm
              GKeith said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:40pm | ! Report

              David Lord, I haven’t seen your past criticisms of Hooper, but I agree with what you’re saying here to some extent. However, I think the team has really lifted since he’s been captain. I think his body language and commitment are great qualities, even if he didn’t pass to Hodge (which he should have). Compare the general on-field temperament of the team since he replaced Moore – it’s chalk and cheese. I thought Moore was the lacklustre captain – no field presence, trotted around lazily after the play, and had no impact on the referees, they just ignored him. Hooper beats him in all these areas.

              I think the thing with Michael Clarke and tattoos was that he was seen as a bit of a Gen Y pretty boy following the fads,and was booed by his home crowd for this, but he showed his mettle in telling James Anderson to beware of some impending fractures, and by playing with a broken shoulder, and scoring a ton. His body language on field developed really well, and was in obvious contrast to Ponting who would look physically defeated when things werent going well, and he (ponting) could never bowl a side out.

              In summary, I think you’re being unfair, the Wallabies are better with him in charge than with Moore. He is still young and fresh in the job. He will develop more leadership qualities and hopefully temper his passion with a bit of rugby smarts and wisdom

            • November 14th 2017 @ 7:50pm
              ScrumJunkie said | November 14th 2017 @ 7:50pm | ! Report

              I judge a man by his character… everything else is story telling.

          • Roar Guru

            November 13th 2017 @ 11:54am
            Timbo (L) said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

            When Our Lord and Savior Ritchie McCaw was the AB’s Captain, He enforced that all players wore the same colored boots and socks were to bulled up.

            There is a certain psychology, some of it military, around wearing a uniform and being part of a team. It is more than identifying who is who on the field. There is a Band Of Brothers thing going on as well.

            The Captain should lead from the front and by example.
            Wear your Gold with Pride and Respect its image.

            If the Socks had “Seiko” emblazoned on the backs of them, I am sure he would keep them pulled up for his sponsor.

        • November 13th 2017 @ 10:33am
          () said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:33am | ! Report

          Please explain to me how having tattoos is “socially irresponsible”. We’re in 2017, not 1957.

          • Roar Rookie

            November 13th 2017 @ 11:26am
            piru said | November 13th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            I’m not telling you anything until you tell us your name

        • November 13th 2017 @ 10:25pm
          scubasteve said | November 13th 2017 @ 10:25pm | ! Report

          KH also plays with his socks down the fiend

        • Roar Rookie

          November 14th 2017 @ 1:10am
          ChrisG said | November 14th 2017 @ 1:10am | ! Report

          I agree with you on this David. It’s about pride in the jersey and looking the part. The Captain needs to set the standard and Hooper doesn’t do this.

    • November 13th 2017 @ 9:16am
      Handles said | November 13th 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

      Pretty sure that Jackson didn’t warn both captains that the next offence would be a card! Just Hooper.

      I don’t think the Welsh conceded a breakdown penalty all game.

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