Being a Wallabies fan is hard, it requires a certain level of dedication. There is no such thing as a fair weather fan, as there is not enough sunshine for them.
Yet we hold onto the hope and belief that the Wallabies will again reach the lofty heights that most of us remember.
I am a relatively young fan of rugby, having grown up in the southern-most state where I was not exposed to the game.
It wasn’t until I was 11 that I had my first experience of rugby in all its glory. It instantly made a big impression on me. I had personally never been a big fan of Australian Rules, preferring football over the preferred code in the southern states.
Looking back now, it was a stroke of luck that the first game of rugby I ever watched on TV was the 2001 Bledisloe Cup match in Sydney. If ever there was an easy Wallabies team to follow it was that one.
The following year was the last time the Wallabies won the Bledisloe. This fact alone shows that the Wallabies’ stocks are falling.
Watching the games from this golden era of Australian rugby is a reminder that the Wallabies can be Australia’s national team.
Over 90,000 people attended the game that year and the crowd was a sea of gold at full voice. But alas, since 2002 it has been hard being a Wallabies supporter. Forget all the stupid things that have happened off the field, it is what happens on it that counts.
The 2003 team can be easily forgiven because they almost won a World Cup that they had no rights to. Since those golden years the Wallabies have been an off-again, on-again kind of team and I use the ‘on-again’ term generously.
There have been a few highlights on the field, sure in 2010 ‘that guy’ kicked a game-winning penalty from 48 metres out in Bloemfontein, and sure the Wallabies somehow put 49 unanswered points on South Africa in 2006.
But somehow the Wallabies need to capture the hearts and minds of all the non-rugby purists (and many jaded rugby-purists). The way to achieve this is to consistently perform on the field. This is easier said than done, and I can acknowledge that having success on the field is not as simple as one fan’s desire and will.
The Wallabies attaining success means more players playing rugby, more fans watching at home on TV and more fans though the gates. It is important that the Wallabies are successful for the good of the game here in Australia.
The Australian sporting audience is too spoilt for choice to tolerate a mediocre national team. Worse still is a national team that does not show discernible improvements from game to game.
While the last Bledisloe Cup match of 2014 ended in yet another win for the All Blacks, there was at least something in that match to warm the hearts of fans.