Scott, the highest compliment I can make about your rugby analysis on The Roar is that I learnt something from every one of the 125 articles you wrote for the site. I am sure that all your readers on The Roar have the same opinion about your work as I do.
You gave us an inside view of the tactics, strategy, planning and know-how that goes into creating a strong rugby side. Your analysis showed us how complicated and yet how simple the great game of rugby is.
The way you did this with the three dimensional models and the astute use of running photographs provided all of us with an education about the game as it is played on the field and planned off the field that has been unmatched by other writers, on The Roar, or on other sports sites, in my opinion.
I say this as someone who has written about rugby for decades and read and studied it for even longer. I have never come across anything as logical and as fascinating in explaining plays and why they worked or did not work as your articles on The Roar.
I have always believed that a major part of the opinion writer's task is to be an educator in the area he/she is writing about. You have certainly been that on The Roar.
So there is an element of the bitter-sweet for the rest of us in your decision to hang up your boots regarding your contributions to The Roar. You will have a lot more time to get on with other things in your life, family and coaching. That is a gain for you. But we will have to get used to not having your explanations and diagrams about the past games to reinforce our understanding of what happened on the field. That is our loss.
When The Roar was started there was the intention to make it a great sports site, the best of its type anywhere in the world. We also had a vision that to achieve this ambition we had to give a forum to talented writers and thinkers about all the aspects of sport to bring their knowledge and insights to a wide audience in Australia, especially, and other parts of the world.
It has been a pleasure to host your columns. They stand now as a terrific body of rugby writing and commentary that will stand the test of time.
As I have said several times on The Roar, the Wallabies could do with someone with your clarity of thinking about what works and doesn't work on the rugby field. All the best with your coaching, and thanks for gracing The Roar.
On the contrary Des. I believe you have identified yourself as the secret chapel farter.
The ancient Greeks had a myth about Achilles who was told by the gods that he could have a long and boring life or a short and brilliant life. Achilles choice was the short but brilliant life, 'the crowded hour of glorious life that is worth an age without a name.'
Phil Hughes' destiny it seems was to follow the same path.
I remember rushing down to the SCG to see him play his first first class innings. He batted through the first session against a lively Tasmanian bowling attack. I wrote a piece for The Roar suggesting he was destined to be a cricket great. We will never know if there was to be a middle bloom to his batting career that would take him to such an exulted level.
He gave glimpses on many occasions of a prolific run-making future but never conclusively fulfilled the early promise.
He might have been short of runs from time to time but he was always long on class, on and off the field. He was a country kid with a perennial smile on his face and an amiable bustle in his step and manner. He was a perennially likeable person who just loved to play cricket, to help his side win matches and to give pleasure to spectators around the cricketing world.
He joins Archie Jackson, another NSW cricket prodigy, who was taken from his life, family, friends and the game before he could fulfill the sun-drenched ambitions of his aspirations.
Rest In Peace