In the past, I’ve wondered about the substance or the perceived lack thereof of Generation Y.
This opinion was fuelled by the antics of the ‘Three Amigos’, their focus on their ‘brand’ and their belief their brand placed them above others – to a point where they could just please themselves.
Eventually their journey ventured a bridge too far, but much water has now flowed under that bridge.
Quade Cooper has finally understood what it is to be humble and has reaped the rewards in the process, which has included the vice-captaincy of the Wallabies, no doubt being assisted by sage advice from Ewen McKenzie along the way.
Kurtley Beale has been separated from his partner-in-crime, James ‘The Brand’ O’Connor, and settled back into Sydney surrounding himself with ‘good people’. He is clearly happy, which is being expressed by his adroit performances with the Waratahs this season. Indeed, Michael Cheika’s no-nonsense style of coaching would have set some very clear boundaries for Beale to operate within, both enjoying success in the process.
The jury is still out on O’Connor, as he plies his trade in the relative anonymity of Europe. It will be interesting to see where he is at once he returns to Australia and whose tutelage he will come under, which will have a significant bearing on his performance both on and off the field.
What has been inspirational has been the recent interviews conducted by Fox Rugby HQ with Aiden Toua and Henry Speight – two impressive, young, humble men.
Particularly impressive was Speight, who recently spent time with a touring Fijian boys team. Henry travelled with them, shared their accommodation, even purchased football boots for them!
What has been at risk with the move to professionalism in rugby has been its core values of friendship and selfless acts of camaraderie, which set the code apart from others and made it special, in the process defining its spirit.
That spirit is still alive in Generation Y, along with a little help from the rugby tribe’s elders.