He hasn't been the worst Red forward but I guess it's fair to say he hasn't lifted the performances of the Reds around him the way some might have hoped.
Chivas is being very cheeky but he makes a good point: The best SHORT TERM solution for the Reds probably would be to use an import slot to get a good 10 from NZ, SA or elsewhere. But I think that would be really short sighted. Queensland does produce good rugby players... but they continue to lose them to other teams. And why should a player show loyalty to the Reds if the Reds themselves adopt a mercenary approach?
In a nutshell there is the most fundamental issue in rugby in Australia: We don't have enough or good enough the development pathways that create players that are ready for the next level. Without nurturing the base of the pyramid, we don't get good enough players ascending to the top. Instead we try to fill the gap with someone from another code or a star of the past or a foreign player. All of which further stifles the aspirations of those trying to climb the rungs in lower grades.
I can only hope that there is a change in this focus from the ARU over the next few years - that more investment is made in school, club and NRC levels and less paid to 'stars' who are really stop-gap solutions whose value is more in attracting publicity than delivery on the field.
The same goes for Australian coaches and refs.
Jeez. Will done Spiro. Another good drop-the-tinder Monday morning article. :)
I have to say I'm in two minds on the Skelton thing. On the one hand, I have no doubt that if things had been the other way around and Kaino had done these things to Pocock (for instance), I'd be calling for some suspensions.
On the other hand, comparing what Skelton did to some of Bakkies Botha's antics seems a bit more of a stretch. Bakkies was a dirty player - you could see him looking to hurt players in off the ball stuff. Skelton was rough and careless but it seems a notch down from eye-gouging, bottom-of-the-ruck dirtiness. To me at least. It was also different to the senseless niggle stuff we've seen from players like Quade Cooper in the past.
Finally, though Skelton needs to learn to channel his aggression, I'm a little over seeing a string of locks like Simmons, Mumm and Dennis in Australia. I'm sorry that there is this thuggish part of me but I have to admit that part of me likes to see someone channelling a bit of Ray Price.