Not being involved in the 2014 Super Rugby competition puts me in the unfortunate position of missing out on the genuine excitement and anticipation within the camp in the lead up to a big game.
On the other hand, it gives me the comfort of being able to watch from a distance and jump on whichever bandwagon seems to pushing forward with the greatest momentum.
There is no doubt what I say will be tinted with blue, yellow and white-coloured glasses however – after all, the only bandwagon I plan to be weighing down this year will belong to the Brumbies.
The Brumbies are an odd group of humans – there is absolutely no doubt about that. This is probably why it felt so much like home to me.
They have players like Sam Carter who has been known to forget that breathing is a necessity to staying conscious, and thinks the colour blue makes any piece of cloth a viable clothing option.
Then there are people like Robbie Coleman, one of my favourite Brumbies, who persistently smudges the line between being an Aussie bogan and a gangster rapper.
The Brumbies have in their employ the godfather – Fotu Auelua – and his devoted followers, whose daily hobbies generally involve regular strolls back and fourth from kitchen to beanbag.
The cross-section in the coaching and administration ranks is just as broad.
New head coach Stephen Larkham’s pedigree speaks for itself and his mentor Laurie Fisher adds some spice to the coaching room – not only with the dress sense of a tie-dying hippy, but with a genuine passion and knowledge of the game.
Add to the mix people like media manager Elliot Woods and the Ninja Turtle-esque analyst Warrick Harrington and you are beginning to assemble a group of oddballs that somehow just works.
The Brumbies flag was flown very proudly last season, ultimately ending in a narrow grand final loss to the Chiefs in Waikato.
I understand a season of such success is going to be hard to back up – there will be no flying under the radar this year, the Brumbies’ scalp will be one of the most prized in the competition.
So, why do I think this group of misfits can go one step further in 2014?
Apart from quality coaching, professional standards that would rival any in the rugby world and a relatively consistent playing roster to previous years, there is a value within the Brumbies organisation that is vital to the success of any team.
The ‘no-dickhead’ policy is generally well known in rugby circles.
Regardless of skill set, your average, everyday dickhead is enough to completely derail a season. If you were to speak to any player, or support staff, who has been involved in successful organisations, they will echo this opinion.
Winning a game of rugby does not require intervention from a higher power, nor do you require the best players in the world. It is paramount, however, to have everyone on the same page, working towards a common goal – dickheads certainly don’t help this process.
Is it possible to be successful if the ‘no dickhead’ policy is broken? Of course it is, but it is a hell of a lot harder.
Dickheads come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are undercover, some of them stand out from the crowd, but all of them are poison to the team environment.
Good organisations are able to identify and remove dickheads but great organisations can cure dickheads. Great teams create a culture that immunises a group from dickhead-itis.
I’ve got every confidence the Brumbies of 2014 can build on the success of last season without being infected with this debilitating disease.
Given the amount of ex-Brumbies here in this part of France, there will be no shortage of support for our weird and wonderful friends in Canberra.