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ARU madness! Pocock earns three times more than McMahon for not playing

Spiro Zavos Columnist

By Spiro Zavos, Spiro Zavos is a Roar Expert

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    Early last year, at the finish of the Randwick Rugby Club’s meeting to launch the new rugby season, I approached Bill Pulver, the chief executive of the ARU, to ask him an important question: “How much is the ARU paying David Pocock for not playing Super Rugby or for the Wallabies in 2017?”

    Pulver and the chairman of the ARU board, Cameron Clyne, attended the launch at a critical moment for the ARU. The heartland of rugby was up in arms against the ARU’s high-handed, secretive and incompetent handling of the important issues facing the game in Australia.

    The charge was being led by Brett Papworth. His argument was that club rugby was being denied resources and money that were needed to continue the growth of the game at the grassroots level.

    As well, Papworth and others made the case that it was the clubs who provided the Super Rugby players and the future Wallabies. For his pains, Papworth was subjected to nit-picking attacks from Pulver who refused to deal with the substance of the complaints.

    How could quality players be developed if the clubs, the nursery of these players, were deprived of the resources to do the job? That was what Papworth wanted to know.

    Pulver’s reply to this (which was never repudiated by the ARU chairman or other board members) was that the clubs “pissed away” the ARU money and that, presumably, there were better ways to spend what funds the ARU had at its disposal than essentially wasting it on the clubs.

    At the launch, Bob Dwyer made the case, knowing that Clyne and Pulver were in the audience, that the club was keeping its part of a bargain with the ARU by producing five of the Australian under-20s squad, numerous Super Rugby and Test players and the last two Wallabies coaches.

    There were impressive presentations from club officials about the way the activities of the club away from the rugby field were helping the players in their life off the field, including support for their university studies, apprenticeships and finding work.

    Neither Clyne nor Pulver, who seemed to be unrecognised by most of the people at the launch, responded to the matters raised in the presentation. In fact, there was no response as far as I can remember at any time after the launch to the matters Dwyer raised.

    So as the meeting broke up, I spotted Pulver sitting by himself. I went up to him and quietly asked him my question about the details of the Pocock package.

    Pulver looked at me and, as if he were talking to an ignorant child, replied: “These matters are confidential. I’m not going to tell you the details.”

    Bill Pulver at the NRC launch

    (Photo: Karen Watson)

    There was a sort of under-stated “how dare you question me about this” in his manner.

    For me, this reply summed up everything that had gone wrong with the Clyne/Pulver administration of the ARU.

    They were running the show as if they were the only stakeholders. Other stakeholders like the clubs, supporters, the players and the rugby media trying to ensure that news and information about the game reached as many people as possible were to be ignored and even disparaged.

    We know now, but were kept in the dark about it then, that the ARU was under enormous financial stress when I asked my question.

    Yet I was told, even though I was a long-standing writer about rugby in Australia, that it was none of my business even asking the question about the Pocock handout.

    By implication, Pulver’s silence was an indication of his belief and practice that the rugby public, including the great clubs like Randwick, have no right to know how the game’s finances were used, or abused (in my opinion), with the Pocock handout.

    You could call this a decisive moment for me. I formed the opinion that the ARU board, its chairman and the chief executive did not have a clue about how the game should be managed, how the resources of the ARU should be used and what had to be done to keep the game relevant and vibrant in a tough commercial market.

    The ARU, it was obvious to me, were obsessed with secrecy.

    They wouldn’t discuss the facts about the Pocock handout. We never knew, either, when they have board meetings, or what was discussed and decided at those meeting.

    So I started writing a number of articles on The Roar about the need for the board, its chairman and its chief executive officer to go.

    When I started on this series of articles, there was a lot of resistance among some of the other influential rugby writers.

    I felt when I was writing these articles that I was something of a lone wolf who the pack hoped would slink away into oblivion.

    Some hope. The fact is that the pack has now joined the lone wolf. This is one of the more significant developments in the governance of rugby in Australia. It is, too, about time that the pack came to its senses on this issue.

    What has happened with the ARU over last weeks or so, with its incredibly inept handling of the Melbourne Rebels/Western Force Super Rugby franchise saga, which concerns the team to be dropped from the 2018 Super Rugby tournament, has validated all those articles.

    The interesting aspect of all this is that virtually every section of the rugby game in Australia now supports my argument that the ARU board is incompetent and totally out of touch with the crisis facing rugby in this country.

    Bill Pulver Cameron Clyne press conference

    (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

    Last week any veneer of support for the ARU board, its chairman and its chief executive was smashed like a canon ball ripping through a defensive wall of tissue paper.

    The Sydney Morning Herald ran a story by Chris Dutton, headed ‘Senior Wallabies headlock ARU into special general meeting,’ which reported that the “Wallabies captain Stephen Moore, NSW star Bernard Foley and Western Force skipper Matt Hodgson were part of a unanimous decision to back the Victorian Rugby Union’s fight for the future of the Melbourne Rebels. The ARU says it will set a date for the meeting within the next seven days … It is unclear if there will be a motion at the meeting to move a vote of no confidence in the board or the chief executive Bill Pulver.”

    So senior Wallabies, together with two of the Super Rugby franchises, have joined the heartland clubs and schools in saying that enough arrogant, secretive incompetency is enough.

    Joining them, it seems to me, are two influential rugby writers, Wayne Smith of the Australian and Paul Cully of the Sydney Morning Herald.

    Both of these journalists scolded me (by inference) in the past for my attacks on the ARU board, its chairman and the chief executive. Both of them, it is fair to say, have been until relatively recently stalwart defenders of the ARU board and its decisions.

    Indeed, when I had a fiery private interview with Bill Pulver a week or so after I asked the David Pocock question, I put it to him that he maintained a secretive way of dealing with the media because he could leak favourable stories to Wayne Smith.

    Pulver did not deny this.

    On Saturday, Paul Cully wrote a damning column in the Herald, the title of which gave his game away: ‘It’s time for Australian Rugby Union chief executive Bill Pulver to go‘.

    Here are some searing paragraphs from Cully’s column:

    “It is more than two months since Pulver attended a SANZAAR meeting in London to decide Australia’s fate in Super Rugby and here we are today, not only none the wiser but angrier, more confused, or perhaps just apathetic …

    “And this is written from a viewpoint that is broadly unsympathetic to the Australian players’ wishes and supportive of the ARU to cut a team …

    “So it is not the decision itself that is now the issue, it is the terrible way it has been handled and the doubts about whether it can ever be even be implemented. Those are the charges the ARU and Pulver must answer …

    “It all brings us back to Pulver. The job has never seemed like an easy fit. There were too many silly statements that were divorced from reality and an inability to attach Australia to rugby’s rise globally. It is true the ARU faces headwinds but if accountability is still relevant then the outcome is clear. Australian rugby is floundering. It is time for Pulver to go, and go soon.”

    This brings me back to the David Pocock question and its relevance to a player who should have been his successor, Sean McMahon.

    I had suggested to Bill Pulver that the ARU were paying David Pocock about $800,000 in his gap year of not playing rugby in 2017, and $1 million plus for each of the other two years, 2018 and 2019, through to the Rugby World Cup tournament in Japan.

    Someone like Sean McMahon, I would guess, would be paid about $250,000 at most for playing rugby this year for the Rebels and, presumably, for the Wallabies.

    No wonder Pulver didn’t want to divulge any information about the Pocock deal. It was the deal of the century for the player and possibly the worst deal of the century for Australian rugby.

    The point here is that McMahon, if he had been born in New Zealand, would have been regarded as the successor of Brad Thorn, the tough man in the pack.

    Sean McMahon of the Melbourne Rebels is tackled

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    There is everything about his play (like Thorn’s), his fearlessness, his physicality, his inspirational surging power, his animal spirits and his love of contact, hard and meaningful contact, that the Wallabies desperately needed.

    After the final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, the great Fred Allen said to John O’Neill, then CEO of the ARU: “If you blokes had a Brad Thorn in your side, you could have beaten us.”

    The Wallabies, for the last couple of years, could have had their “Wallaby Thorn” but no one in the hierarchy of Australian rugby has had the sense to realise this.

    There is no doubt in my mind that McMahon is the future of Australian rugby.

    Last season, according to the statistics provided by Fox Sports before the Waratahs versus Rebels match, McMahon made 56 tackle busts (second best in the Super Rugby tournament), ran for 987 metres (second best) and made 135 runs a match (third best).

    He hasn’t been able to replicate anything like these statistics this season because he has missed most of the games through injury. Wearing the number seven jersey, which is not his right position, he was out-played by a rampant Michael Hooper against the Waratahs on Sunday.

    He was strong early on and then faded.

    But if Michael Cheika has any sense he will pair Hooper and McMahon as the two breakaways for the Wallabies, perhaps playing them as right and left flankers as the Waratahs did with Hooper and Ned Hanigan on Sunday with some success. This was the traditional Australian system until it was superseded by the New Zealand open and blind-side system.

    This could be a deadly combination for the Wallabies.

    Pocock’s greatest days were years ago, in the 2011 Rugby World Cup tournament probably. Occasionally, as at Sydney when the Wallabies defeated the All Blacks before the 2015 Rugby World Cup tournament, he was capable of a great performance. But he was out-played by Richie McCaw in the final of that tournament.

    McMahon, on the other hand, hasn’t really been given a chance to launch what should be, or should have been, a fabulous Test career. McMahon as the Brad Thorn enforcer type for the Wallabies is something of a fantasy for Australian supporters.

    These thoughts were prompted by an article written by Wayne Smith in the Australian headed: ‘Japan deal would rule McMahon out of Cup‘.

    “It is unlikely Melbourne Rebels and Australia backrower Sean McMahon will be available for the 2019 World Cup if he decides to accept a contract in Japan …

    “It is understood McMahon has been disenchanted with Wallabies coach Michael Cheika, who handed him (McMahon) his Test debut against Wales on the 2014 Spring tour. Although Cheika raves about McMahon’s ferocity in training, hailing him as a model for the physicality he wanted in the Wallabies, he has started McMahon in only ten of his 13 Tests of which he has been in charge of the Australian team.

    “But it is believed that Cheika and McMahon met over lunch recently as the Australian coach tried to persuade him to put the Australian jersey ahead of the rumoured $1 million a season Japanese contract.

    Money is a factor but with David Pocock being paid $4m for three years by the Australian Rugby Union and Michael Hooper also being paid a hefty fee, there is only so much money Cheika can allocate to another backrower …”

    Australia's Sean McMahon

    (AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

    So there we have it. The money that is being spent on David Pocock for his gap year is money that can’t be spent on keeping McMahon in Australia.

    The Japanese offer to McMahon, according to Wayne Smith, is around $1 million a season, about the same amount that is being paid to Pocock not to play in Australia this season.

    To sum up, the ARU, with Bill Pulver doing the negotiations, agreed to pay a veteran loose forward in Pocock three times more than a player who could be the catalyst to lift the Wallabies with his physicality and intensity on the field.

    This was irresponsible madness on the part of the ARU.

    It was also a preview of the muddle-headed, inept incompetence displayed by the ARU this season over a range of issues that is leading stakeholders to call (correctly) for the board and its chief executive to be booted out of their offices.

    Spiro Zavos
    Spiro Zavos

    Spiro Zavos, a founding writer on The Roar, was long time editorial writer on the Sydney Morning Herald, where he started a rugby column that has run for nearly 30 years. Spiro has written 12 books: fiction, biography, politics and histories of Australian, New Zealand, British and South African rugby. He is regarded as one of the foremost writers on rugby throughout the world.

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    The Crowd Says (265)

    • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:42am
      Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:42am | ! Report

      How many times does this myth need to be dispelled? Pocock is not being paid for a gap year, they split his $2.1 million contract over three years, rather than paying him $1 million twice with a gap year.

      As to your second point about Pocock’s best days being behind him, that is possible, but he is still the best 7 in Australia. As good as Hooper was on Sunday, Pocock’s only chance to play 7 in 2016, against the French he was the best player on the park and won the match for the wallabies playing with Australia’s young (alleged “B team”). He should still be playing 7 for the Wallabies, and Hooper should be on the bench.

      And poor McMahon, only $250,000. If $250,000 + the right to play for the Wallabies isn’t enough to keep him in Aus then he should go. I understand the Rebels’ future most concern him, but even if they were cut he would instantly be snapped up by another team.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:49am
        riddler said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        i agree fionn.. pocock is our best 7..

        have no idea of his financial contracts.. but good luck to him..

        i am also a fan of mcmahon.. sad if he goes.. but understand, the career can be short.. one bad angle on the knee and it can be all over..

        would love to him stay and fight for the green and gold jersey but i will never have a go at anyone who wants to maximise their earning..

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:20am
          Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

          I love McMahon, but we don’t even know what this is about. Wayne Smith says isn’t primarily a money issue, but that McMahon is unhappy about his treatment by

          I’d take McMahon + Gill over Pocock any day (if one would come to the Brumbies ?),

          I’d hazard a guess McMahon is also angry about the ARUs elongated process regarding cutting a team. The argument that he’s leaving because he’s only getting paid $250,000 is complete conjecture for all we know.

          • Roar Guru

            May 22nd 2017 @ 12:04pm
            PeterK said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            McMahon is way over rated.

            A very good / excellent super rugby player.

            But one who can’t translate that form into intl play.

            Sure Pocock may be past his best but not in of 13 McMahon’s starts has he been very good or dominated. His best game was good that’s all.

            He fails to make an impact against NZ, SA and England.

            Pocock still had very good games last year, Spiro just likes to push his agenda and say a big I told you so.

            I would NOT have McMahon start with Hooper , one or the other but not both.

            In Hoopers and Pocock first 13 starts they performed a lot better than McMahon has.

            The sad part is Cheika will probably start both and not learn that 2 small mobile forwards is not the way to go.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 12:08pm
              Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

              We don’t know if Pocock’s best days are behind him, he isn’t given the opportunity to play at 7. The one time that he did, against France, he dominated.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 12:38pm
                Who? said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

                You know, I used to think that opensides couldn’t play that long. Phil Waugh retired young. Then I looked at McCaw. Then I looked at some bloke who debuted before him, who I wrongly wrote off as being past it when a young bloke replaced him in the starting team for a Test against Wales in 2009 and absolutely blitzed the Welsh (until coming off at half time, having dislocated his finger, and had it popped back in on the field – one tough unit!). And this ‘old bloke’ is still one of the most influential players in his team this year. Admittedly, the Reds haven’t set the table alight, but that can’t be blamed on George Smith.

                Richie and George showed that old opensides – the great ones – don’t stay static and rely on a huge engine or other physical attributes to get through games. They get smarter, pick and choose their efforts more intelligently, and have equal impact for less effort.

                What’s to say that Pocock can’t join them? After all, his play over the last season developed new aspects that hadn’t been required since schoolboy days (passing, running, etc). Pocock’s best days may well not be behind him. I thought they were behind him after his second knee reconstruction, but he showed clearly over the past 2 years that we were no hope of winning without him…

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:50pm
                PeterK said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:50pm | ! Report

                oh I agree, hence the word may, I should have said EVEN IF his best days are behind him (with no evidence of this mind you).

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 1:00pm
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:00pm | ! Report

                Smith was still just as good as Pocock in the second half :P. Two best performances by Aussie 7s in years.

                I agree, I think Pocock is smart enough to reinvent himself. However, I don’t think he will want to play in Aus forever, he is too much of an internationalist and has too many interests. Smith and McCaw just love the sport so much.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 1:18pm
                Bakkies said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:18pm | ! Report

                McMahon and Pocock worked well together both doing the dirty work on the deck. However it must be remembered is that France were also experimenting in that test going beyond Cheika’s madness in fielding three out and out 8s across the backrow.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 3:38pm
                DaveR said | May 22nd 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

                @Fionn, @PeterK these are all valid comments about agreat group of back row forwards. But Spiro’s comments are about the next stage of Australian rugby, and both Pocock and Smith are getting on, and probably cant have a big part in it.
                In my view Spiro is right.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 5:31pm
                Red Block said | May 22nd 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

                Agree Fionn. The same could be said about Liam Gill. He may be a world beater at #7 but it doesn’t matter because no one else will ever be tried while Hooper is around.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 12:22pm
            Crazy Horse said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

            You’re welcome to McMahon and Gill. Just send Pocock back to the team he was poached from with the active connivance of the ARU.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 12:26pm
              Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:26pm | ! Report

              Absolute rubbish.

              Pocock was a first choice starter when he left the Western Force. When Pocock signed with the Brumbies in July 2012, Hooper had not even started a test match. At the time Pocock was an unquestioned starter with zero legitimate competition for the position.

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 4:14pm
              Clelo said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

              Hear hear!!! C’mon the Force

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 6:38pm
              Rebellion said | May 22nd 2017 @ 6:38pm | ! Report

              Queensland certainly would have enviable depth at openside if players returned to their respective states of origin:

              1. Pocock
              2. Gill
              3. McMahon

              Still think the biggest miss was Rocky Elsom (pre knee injury after Leinster) being picked up by Bob Dwyer when he was playing reserve grade for the Canterbury Bulldogs. As a Brisbane GPS Schoolboy rugby star the Slack/Miller era really did drop the ball figuratively speaking.

              Dwyer and Eddie Jones really do have an uncanny ability to spot talent.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 22nd 2017 @ 6:41pm
                piru said | May 22nd 2017 @ 6:41pm | ! Report

                Pocock is from Zimbabwe

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:06pm
                rebel said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:06pm | ! Report

                Thats in Qld

              • May 23rd 2017 @ 9:39am
                Akari said | May 23rd 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

                Sorry rebel but the Zimbabwean Embassy (territory) is located in Canberra and so he is Canberran and one of ours. So, Pocock was born in Canberra.

          • Roar Guru

            May 23rd 2017 @ 12:19pm
            Timbo (L) said | May 23rd 2017 @ 12:19pm | ! Report


            I have mentioned this before but I think you are being a little greedy.
            Alcock and Butler are both terrific number 7’s in their own wright, and a darn sight cheaper than Pocock. They may not be quite at the Gill/Pocock level yet but watching Alcock’s interception on the highlights reel and his sneaky try around the back of the maul a few weeks back makes me think you guys might be onto Australia’s future number 7.
            Hardwick is already in Cheika’s sights but I think he needs a year or 2 in SR and some time Cheika’s SS squads to fully mature.

            • Roar Guru

              May 24th 2017 @ 9:49am
              Hoy said | May 24th 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

              Hooper is the future Australian 7 for the next 5-8 years +. And you can’t criticize him, or his play. But there is no future for any other 7 in Aus, while Hooper holds the jersey.

              • Roar Guru

                May 25th 2017 @ 1:33pm
                Timbo (L) said | May 25th 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                I can and I will,
                A back rower with zero Ruck, Maul and Lineout stats including runs in traffic is a 12, not an international Openside.
                Look at any other world ranked #7’s and they all have good stats in and around the ruck.

                Is having 2x #12’s on the field worth having gaping hole left in the forwards. I say no, I want a full service 7 like Pocock, Gill, Smith, Alcock, MacMahon, Butler, Hardwick, Hodgeson, Reid, Faieng’a…
                Look at where the Rebels made their breaks – Through poorly defended rucks. Hanigan was working his hide off trying to plug the holes but it wasn’t enough, they needed a 3rd defender.

              • Roar Guru

                May 25th 2017 @ 1:38pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 25th 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

                So then Hooper leading the comp for ruck turnovers and 3 on the weekend would not be a 12 then?

                Also few 7s are judged on line out jumping ability and would be expected to be your weakest jumper.

                And also it’s not a 7s job to defend at the ruck. A 7 is supposed to defender wider.

                It may be difficult to comprehend, but tight forwards are selected to play tight. Loose forwards a little looser.

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 10:21am
          Jokerman said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

          Well said, Spiro.

          Some of Australia’s selections are wayward. No momentum with Cheika, he makes initial selection errors and then continues to mix and mash, and you’re left with instability. Because he’s building on an initial error.

          Dean’s was such a better coach than what you’ve got now. If only he wasn’t a kiwi and expectations weren’t so high.

          All Blacks are flying and just keeping everything simple. A simple beast with a bit of magic, ya have to love it eh!

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 11:40am
            Xiedazhou said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:40am | ! Report

            Cheika’s not great, but neither was Deans. Deans was coach when some of the most gifted rugby players to ever wear Wallaby gold were available for selection but he squandered that opportunity with woeful selections and tactics. Deans mismanaged the so called “3 amigos”, he prematurely ended George Smiths Test career, he played favourites at selection time, and his tactics and teams at the 2011 WC were best charitably called “a missed opportunity”, as were his teams and tactics against the Lions. Deans had his chance, and didn’t match the hype that came with his appointment.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 1:29pm
              Jokerman said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:29pm | ! Report

              Deans did have a weakness where he could stop careers too soon. The blend between old and new was something he didn’t seem to master. Compared to Hansen where after the RWC ’11 he found the newness and kept the old stars. It was the best injection of old and new that I’ve ever seen.

              ‘3 amigos’ were awesome talent and maybe Deans didn’t have skills to manage them. Look at the new Crusaders coach and you just get the feeling he would understand his players so well. If conflict arises between players and coach performance is going to go down.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 4:48pm
                Rhys Bosley said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:48pm | ! Report

                Deans getting moved on had very little to do with him being a Kiwi. He had been in the job for five years and the Wallabies weren’t improving, so it was time to give someone else a go. In some ways he was a technically better coach than Cheika but was a woeful man manager who could not tolerate anyone around him with an opinion of their own. Even McCaw said so in his book. He also had his loony selection moments, James O’Connor to fly half against the Lions was especially unique.

                I’d rather have the man manager thanks, he is the one who got the Wallabies through the pool of death and to the final, not Deans.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 6:59pm
                Rebellion said | May 22nd 2017 @ 6:59pm | ! Report

                Agree with the above.
                Deans blew the Wallabies chance to make the most of a batch of once in a generation players however he did coach against a team who would go on to become the best of several lifetimes. Doesn’t mean we couldn’t have given them stiffer competition though

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 7:37pm
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

                Rebellion, you’re primarily referring to the amigos + Pocock + Moore + Genia I take it?

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:02pm
              mzilikazi said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:02pm | ! Report

              Xiedazhou, I could not agree with you more re Deans…very overrated……..Can never understand why he was not removed post World Cup. Took defeat by the Lions to finally send him away. I find it interesting that he was not picked up by an NZ Super team…..very wise to let him wander off to Japan IMO

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 9:08pm
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:08pm | ! Report

                Small correction, the decision to cut Deans was made before the Lions series even began.

                But I agree, he shouldn’t have had his contract extended until after the WC, and after that fiasco no chance would he have had it extended. Had a decent year in 2008 and another very good one in 2010, other than that, very average.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 5:39pm
          Stephen C said | May 22nd 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

          I am with Spiro here – Pocock’s best days are way behind him. He has the capacity to pull out a blinder, but these are few and far between, partly because of Cheika’s obsession with playing him at 8, which sacrifices height and line bending ball running.
          If David is to have any future impact with the Wallabies (two knee reconstructions are a worry), then it must be at 7. That is his position and the team should not be compromised by playing him elsewhere.

          The same rules that apply to McMahon should apply to Pocock – if you don’t like the money, then go overseas. The problem is, Pocock gets the best of both worlds, with the ARU so fearful that we will lose a once in a generation player, that they neglect the very thing seek – a fearsome, fearless freak of a ball runner who changes the outcomes of games.

          It’s a damn shame.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:57am
        Rhys Bosley said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

        “And poor McMahon, only $250,000. If $250,000 + the right to play for the Wallabies isn’t enough to keep him in Aus then he should go.”

        So why don’t you apply the same logic to Pocock?

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:00am
          Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

          I think Pocock is being paid more than he is worth, I would prefer the money to be spread more evenly over more players. I especially don’t think Folau is worth $1.5 million.

          Pocock is taking a one year gap year after staying in Australia for about 10 years first. McMahon is about to leave for an extended period of time after only a few years because, according to Wayne Smith, he’s unhappy about his treatment by Cheika, not due to the money anyway.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:04am
            John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:04am | ! Report

            Enjoy the Tahs game yesterday Fionn?

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:09am
              Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

              Not particularly, I wanted to see them lose. It was nice to see Folau show some form after 12 matches of rubbish though, since Cheika will pick him at fullback over much better options.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:19am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:19am | ! Report

                At least you’re honest.
                2 tries and 3 try assists – another performance no other fullback in Australia has in their locker.
                Perhaps send to Perth and Brisbane for DHP and Hunt to study for professional development?

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:24am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

                He had a great game, and probably one that no other back in Aus bar Kerevi could match. Did you conveniently forget Hunt making Folau look awful in the Reds-Tahs match?

                He can’t only do it once every 13 matches though, and against poor teams. Which is what he has currently been doing. He can’t perform against the Kiwis, which is what matters.

                He still doesn’t have the positional play or kicking to play 15 internationally though. Good teams kick him out of the game and keep is in our 22.

                Folau’s greatest strength is running and attacking. Playing him at fullback limits his ability to do that and score tries internationally, and robs the Wallabies of a 15 who positions themselves well and kicks. It also means we have to play a second playmaker at 12, which will mean someone like Beale who can’t defend in the front line.

                I want Folau in the team, be fullback isn’t his position.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:24am
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:24am | ! Report

                He did not have 3 try assists

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:25am
                rock said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

                One game during the year, and he is the best – no he’s not. His positioning is still rubbish and his kicking is probably the worst from a fullback in the whole comp.

                He’s not a fullback, full.stop.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:40am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

                Haha unlucky boys.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:48am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

                Folau wouldn’t even make fullback for a NZ Suoer Rugby team.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:57am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

                Oh Fionn. Always good value!

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 9:14am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

                He was outplayed by Toua, let alone by Hunt.

                The fact it took you 13 rounds before you had a chance to defend Folau as deserving the 15 jersey should tell you something, John.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:37am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

                Haha don’t need to defend Folau, he’s a walk up start in any team he plays in and always will be.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:18am
                Kane said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:18am | ! Report

                I thought Folau’s second try was very good.

                I was very surprised that he managed to put his winger away when he made the break in the second half. He threw several passes to ground prior to that outing his team under unnecessary pressure.

                We must remember that this was against the team that has scored the least points, has the worst points differential and are sitting second to last on the table. Only one point higher that the Sunwolves.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 9:47am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                Is that why most Australian rugby fans outside of NSW think that DHP, Hunt or Beale would be better fullbacks?

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:57am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

                Not sure champ, would take a considerable amount of time to talk to most Australian Rugby fans.
                Actually, maybe not.
                Have you asked them all?

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 9:59am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:59am | ! Report

                Have you heard many people in the Aussie media or even on GAGR rugby (Tah stronghold) or on here clamouring for Folau to play fullback?

                It’s just you and Jock Cornet who say he should be 15.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:11am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                And the Wallabies coach…

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 10:14am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

                Who in 2016 continued to select Dean Mumm, Nick Phipps, Will Skelton, Robertson despite him doing nothing and a horribly out of form Bernard Foley and Stepehen Moore, and at the 2015 RWC selected an injured Folau who could barely play over an in-form Kurtley Beale who was electric whenever he was on the field.

                Michael Cheika is clearly a brilliant example of good selecting.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 11:08am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                Beat those highly regarded drums a bit louder Fionn, you might get the call up.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 11:12am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:12am | ! Report

                Let’s just continue with the same strategy used in 2016, or in SR with the Tahs this year.

                Seems to work brilliantly for the Wallabies and Waratahs.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 11:29am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:29am | ! Report

                Keep beating, Bill is listening!!

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:13pm
                PeterK said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:13pm | ! Report

                Fionn – Wallaby backline could be intersting now with Beale out injured.

                IMO Beale was a walkup start at 12 (not 15) from what Cheika had mentioned on various shows and media interviews.

                With DHP also being injured and Hodge performing poorly at 12 last year and maybe being out injured.

                Personally I would select Kerevi at 12 , TK at 13, Folau wing, and Hunt at 15 now.

                However I know Cheika will play a second playmaker at 12 so Hunt will probably play 12.

                If Hunt is at 12 then Kerevi needs to be at 13. I would then probably select Folau at 15 since there are plenty of wingers Naivalu, Koirebette, Speight , Navavaryo (sp?) to select but no f/b’s left.

                I would consider Hodge since he has a big boot , is fast once he gets going, but he is not good in the air, doesn’t support that well, has poor hands.

                The obvious selection is Morohan but he is leaving for Bristol.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:49pm
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

                Is Beale seriously injured? I heard he might be back next week for the final. DHP should be back by June too, right?

                I think we need to acknowledge that Beale and Folau will start, that is step number one. Folau is unbeatable under the high ball, but (and I know you disagree somewhat) his kicking is rubbish, and he was outplayed by Toua and Hunt at fullback. His best position is wing.

                Beale can’t defend so he shouldn’t play at 12, but he is an excellent attacking fullback and can kick, even though I probably prefer Hunt and DHP defensively and as being cool headed, they can’t produce the magic that Beale can in attack.

                Cheika prefers the second playmaker at 12, I think, even with one at 15.

                That means that we will probably need to have the following team, given Cheika wanting to play both of them in the starting 15.

                9. Genia
                10. Foley
                11. Speight/Naivalu/DHP
                12. Hunt/Hodge
                13. Kerevi/TK
                14. Folau
                15. Beale

                It is harsh on one of DHP and Speight having to miss out, as I think DHP has performed much better than Folau at fullback and Speight is the form winger, but Folau will at least be given the June Tests to demonstrate some international form by Cheika.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:59pm
                PeterK said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

                of course Folau should start, intl form is what counts.

                Considering outside backs he was better than Speight and Kuridrani last year, Kerevi being the best, and DHP only slightly better.

                Sure not close to his 2015 rc form so not as good as he should be but better than the competition.

                I agree wing is his best position.

                Beale if he has done his hamstring would be at least 3-4 weeks out IMO.

                If Beale is available Cheika will select him at 12, Folau at 15 and Kerevi at 13.

                Hodge seems to be given a lot of chances so will probably be on 1 wing (also for his defence alah Horne so Beale can drop back).

                So many things wrong with not who he will select but what position he will play them.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 1:02pm
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

                I thought Folau was pretty average in the EOY internationals tbh, and for much of the RC, and I still maintain he cost us the first England Test. I thought TK was really good once Kerevi was injured and he came back.

                If international form is what counts then Folau and DHP should be the wingers, not Speight.

                I really hope he doesn’t go for Beale at 12, surely he won’t.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 5:00pm
                Cadfael said | May 22nd 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

                Maybe Hunt would be a better option at 15 but there aren’t any others with H-P being injured. Who else would you play there? I;m a Tahs supporter but I would play Hunt at 15 in the tests. He is a good running fullback and kicks much better than Izzy.

                I’ll go against all and sundry here and say that Hooper is our best 7. I would prefer Higgers at 8 and McMahon or Fardy at 6.

                The Tahs will get creamed next weekend unless they fix their discipline problems and eliminate their unforced errors.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:23am
        rock said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:23am | ! Report

        I wouldn’t bother Fionn, some people just don’t get it.

        Argue all you want whether Pocock is worth his actual contracted playing amount – $2.1m over 2 years – but if you think he is being paid ‘not to play’ you are quite frankly deluded.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:33am
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

          Exactly. Is $1M+ a year too much?

          If it’s not, it’s a moot point.

          This is a case of the ARU being creative to try and compete with Europe.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:49am
          Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

          I’d prefer to see less money on Pocock and more money spread over Gill and McMahon, but, as you say, saying he is being paid not to play is deliberately misleading.

      • Roar Guru

        May 22nd 2017 @ 8:36am
        sheek said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:36am | ! Report

        Give me Price & Shaw; Roche & Cornelsen; Poidevin & Codey; Miller & Ofahengaue; Wilson & Finegan; Smith & Cockbain; even Waugh & Elsom, any day, over these modern-day mostly pretenders.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:40am
          Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

          Elsom? Are you kidding?

          I’m going to be prettt disappointed if McMahon leaves. I thought he was more patriotic about Aussie rugby than that.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:24am
            Browny said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

            How can you blame him if he does leave though? The ARU offer is some $650,000 lower than what the Japanese have on the table. That’s a staggering amount of money for a young bloke who’s newly married and in a career that has maybe 8-10 years left in it.

            Six hundred and fifty thousand dollars a year. Think about it. If that were me my bags would already be packed.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 9:29am
              Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

              I don’t blame him, Browny. If he wants to broaden his horizons and live overseas for a couple of years then power to him. The experience of living in Japan would be incredible, I would be disappointed but I would understand him.

              However, the way the rest of the working world works is that you work for a lower pay for a number of years until you are promoted to a more senior position, then you earn more. The fact is that, currently, McMahon is behind Pocock and Hooper. Pocock will likely leave after the next RWC and then it will be his chance. Unlike Gill McMahon is actually consistently playing for the Wallabies, whereas Gill basically admitted the only reasons he moved abroad was because he wasn’t getting a look in for the Wallabies.

              I think the ARU has the model wrong and would personally prefer if the ARU paid the top guys (like Folau especially) less, and guys like Gill and McMahon a bit more, but it isn’t as simple as the ARU paying Pocock not to play.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 9:35am
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:35am | ! Report

                I doubt McMahon expects them to match his offer.

                I’d imagine it would be seeing to so much comparatively lower than others.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 9:39am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:39am | ! Report

                Wayne Smith said it wasn’t even about the money for McMahon, Smith alleged that McMahon was unhappy with his treatment by Cheika.

                If Spiro’s point is that the ARU pays the top guys too much relative to the lower level Wallabies, then I agree, but singling Pocock out for allegedly being paid not to play isn’t true. Why are we paying to get Beale back but ignoring McMahon? Was does Pocock get $1.5 million a year, which someone told me doesn’t even count towards the Tahs’ salary cap (unsure if this is true)?

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:57am
                Browny said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:57am | ! Report

                I think that’s closer to the way the world used to work, Fionn. Start in a business at the bottom floor, do some time, eventually move up through the ranks, you know the story. These days I think it’s probably more common to jump across and change ladders in order to get up a rung or two. My boss is about 8 years older than me, there’s no way I’m going to hang around waiting him him to move on so I can move up, I’m shopping myself around like no one’s business. McMahon is in a very similar position, stuck in a medium level role behind someone in that senior role who is also very young. Effectively, McMahon is being offered a more senior position with a better pay packet at another company. Why shouldn’t he make the jump?

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 10:02am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:02am | ! Report

                Perhaps you’re right and I’m referring to the ‘good ol’ days’.

                I’m not saying that he shouldn’t leave. And in fact, I think we should be paying McMahon more to keep him. I wouldn’t blame him whatsoever for moving. However, I would still be disappointed that he left, and I won’t feel sorry for someone earning only $250,000.

                Perhaps he wants to go overseas and come back after the next RWC when Pocock will probably have retired. I don’t see why he can’t get a two year contract in Japan though, so he can play in the RWC.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:08am
                John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                Why do you continually try to correlate “the rest of the working world” with professional athletes operating within a 10 year free market window?

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 10:12am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:12am | ! Report

                Well, John, the market is only offering him $250,000 in Australia, so what is your point?

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 11:45am
                Xiedazhou said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

                The loss of Gill is the real pity. watched him play on the weekend, and he was magnificent. He’s a real 7, and looks to have added some bulk and power since he started in France.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:21pm
                PeterK said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

                Gill is a lot bigger loss than McMahon, that is where Cheika went wrong. Gill should have been given those opportunities.

                Pocock doesn’t play for the tahs why should it count towards their cap? You mean Brumbies.

                Wallaby tops ups don’t count.

                Beale is taking a significant pay cut coming back to australia so that should be recognised.

                Of course Folau should be paid what he is since that payment was negotiated 2 years ago mid 2015 before the rwc nd his injury, when he was at his top, best f/b in the world, playing very well in the rc. Players won’t take 1 year contracts.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:43pm
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:43pm | ! Report

                I agree Gill is a bigger loss than McMahon. I think Gill would have overtaken Hooper and Pocock within 2-3 years. That being said, based on interviews I’ve seen Gill is definitely open to coming home I think, and if McMahon goes to Japan then Gill might just have an incentive to return.

                Sorry, I meant Folau, not Pocock.


                I don’t think he was ever the best fullback, I wouldn’t have picked him over Dagg or Ben Smith, but I agree he was a much better play before that injury.

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 8:45am
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:45am | ! Report

          Much like many modern players may not have done well in the amateur era, I doubt many of those players would have the same impact today.

          Phil Waugh would seem one dimensional.

          Many of those players would be too small for the modern game lacking the height to be modern 6’s and breakdown skills of 7’s.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:22am
            simmo said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

            Huh? That is effectively the missing link in Oz backrows since Eddie Jones, two fetchers at the expense of height and a third lineout option, seeing Hooper jumping at two is a band aid measure employed by Cheika that has ignored our lineout requirements a part of the game which consistently ebbs and flows. Id say those old back row combinations are much more balanced.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 9:46am
              Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:46am | ! Report

              All of those players that I said were too small would not improve our line out.

              Which is my point.

              None of big enough to offer the 6/8 line out option.

              None are good enough at the breakdown to be picked at 7.

              What would they help?

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 3:51pm
                MitchO said | May 22nd 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

                I would have thought the McMahon has the physicality to play 6 with question being does he do enough in line outs and does the person chosen at 8 do enough. Fardy is a genuine line out option and is good around the ground. Neither Simmons nor Carter shone in opportunities at 6.

                I think the future is to pick Timani and 6 and all things being equal sub him for McMahon at 50 to 60 minutes. Have to develop an 8 but in the meantime Higginbotham will probably have to be the man. There is a lot of job specific skill to playing 8. Especially controlling messy ball at the back of the scrum. If Timani is going to play 8 in a test match he needs more practice in Super Rugby.

                Not sure what happens when Pocock comes back.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 3:45pm
        Hannes said | May 22nd 2017 @ 3:45pm | ! Report

        Just a reminder that the best paid Wallaby player Pocock was a product from the Force development squad. He is a special individual and player, jus sorry that the Brumbies poached him when we needed him most.

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 3:58pm
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

          Geez that’s disingenuous at best.

          Pocock was recruited as a highly rated player who was a Queensland and Australian Schoolboy in 2005.

          He made his Super Rugby debut in the 2006 season and by 2007 represented Australia A.

          It’s ludicrous to try and claim him as a product of the Force system. The fact was that with David Croft locked away at 7 and slightly older guys already signed (AJ Gilbert and Tom McVerry) when Pocock hit his schoolboy year, the Reds couldn’t offer him a contract for the 2006 season.

          I’m sure at the time they would have gladly gone for Pocock over Gilbert or McVerry, but not much you can do if you signed them 12 months earlier.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 5:26pm
          Utah said | May 22nd 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

          He’s not the best paid Wallaby player

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 6:12pm
            Hannes said | May 22nd 2017 @ 6:12pm | ! Report

            Interesting, who is?

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 7:39pm
              Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:39pm | ! Report

              Folau, if I’m not mistaken.

      • Roar Rookie

        May 22nd 2017 @ 4:09pm
        Kirky said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

        Fionn! He may be the best for Australia, but that’s as far as it goes, the last period of time Pocock played in Australia he was well below what’s required of a so called top player on form, what’s more he plays the old and since replaced style of loose forward game~ he was getting well and truly found out in his last few gallops in Australia and it’s not hard to see why people are up in arms about the most ludicrous amount of money for not playing at all!

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 4:12pm
          Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:12pm | ! Report

          Even assuming what you say about him being past his best is true (which, needless to say, I don’t agree with :P), the fact is that he is the best option Australia has. Or, if you a Hooper fan, the second best option Australia has.

          He was a star at the 2015 WC, had one average season at the Brumbies, and then was consistently the Wallabies best player despite being played out of position (he got more votes for the JE medal than Hooper on a per game basis).

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 6:40pm
        Jock Cornet said | May 22nd 2017 @ 6:40pm | ! Report

        It’s insanity what the ARU have done.

        • May 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am
          PiratesRugby said | May 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Hooper is a prolific tackler but there’s nothing special about it. He has a big motor and churns out a mountain of work. He’s not very astute at pilfering like Smith is. Nor is he dominant over the ball like Pocock is. He’s seems to get knocked off the ball very easily. He’s supposed to be fast but you don’t see him running down a line breaker. He kind of just jogs nearby as they score. I can see why NSW fans like him but Pocock was the best player of the RWC and Hooper was just lucky to be his sidekick. Pity Pocock isn’t allowed to play 7.

          • Roar Guru

            May 23rd 2017 @ 1:49pm
            Fionn said | May 23rd 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            Pocock was the best player of the RWC and Hooper was just lucky to be his sidekick. Pity Pocock isn’t allowed to play 7.

            That’s the crux of the issue.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:53pm
        mzilikazi said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

        “he would instantly be snapped up by another team.”………..Qld. would be a good home for him….or should one say a return home would be good.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:34pm
        superba said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:34pm | ! Report

        The bottom line is that Pocock is being paid $760000 in 2017 .

        • Roar Guru

          May 23rd 2017 @ 7:57am
          Train Without A Station said | May 23rd 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report


          That’s not the bottom line. Unless you are a simpleton who can’t understand the concept of spreading his payments over 3 years rather than 2.

          • May 23rd 2017 @ 8:26am
            Browny said | May 23rd 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

            I wonder if there would be the same uproar if he was being paid $1.1M a year across the two and wasn’t having the sabbatical year in the middle… They could spread the payments of $2.2M for two seasons over 22 years at $100k annually and it wouldn’t matter, in the end he’s still getting paid $1.1M a year. You’d think in the era of ‘after pay’ and all those other payment programs (or utilising some basic math) that people would be able to understand it. The only question about his pay that’s justifiable is the question of ‘is he worth $1.1M a season?’ and that has to be followed up by questions regarding Folau and other marquee Wallabies. How they’re paid is irrelevant.

            • Roar Guru

              May 23rd 2017 @ 8:40am
              Train Without A Station said | May 23rd 2017 @ 8:40am | ! Report

              Spot on.

              Is he worth $1M a year?

              That’s the question.

              Personally I don’t think so. But plenty of others will.

      • May 23rd 2017 @ 8:21am
        PiratesRugby said | May 23rd 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

        McMahon only gets $250k because he’s a Rebel. Like Hodge, Timani and Naivalu, he only got a crack due to injury of other Wallabies. How much of a top up do Mumm, Skelton, Horne and Nayaravoro get? McMahon could captain the Wallabies one day. Those guys shouldn’t even be in the squad. Imagine what it would do for rugby in Australia’s fastest growing city if the ARU stopped stifling the progress of our club and our players? It would require an end to underwriting the Waratahs’ salaries.

      • May 23rd 2017 @ 1:43pm
        Noodles said | May 23rd 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        Spiro is probably right about Pulver. But as he often does, the strident and singular argument about selections is silly. McMahon is terrific in all but size. Size matters at Test matches. Pocock is very clearly the standout player in Australian rugby – present tense. Spiro’s remarks are unfair to Pocock and unfair to McMahon. He should know better.

        • May 23rd 2017 @ 8:44pm
          PiratesRugby said | May 23rd 2017 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

          Good post.

      • May 26th 2017 @ 4:20am
        30mm tags said | May 26th 2017 @ 4:20am | ! Report

        Fionn , good to read your viewpoint, especially that if $250k can’t retain McMahon then let him go. Salary jealousy in all activities reflects management who bid higher to buy a star and prefer to spend money , not their own, on poaching or retaining stars , executives, CEO’s, rather than the longer road to develop, identify or promote new talent. Consider 3 examples of relatively recently unearthed talent that are likely to achieve, Isaak Rodda, Blake Enever and maybe the next Chris Latham , Tom Banks. The NRC is doing a great job and for all Bill Pulver’s recent failings his determination to get the NRC off the ground against many nay sayers will be his legacy. In the corporate world of paying excessively,look at the executives who were head hunted, paid millions and lost shareholders a fortune . AMP, floated at about $22 now $5.50 and the various stars who were headhunted squandered the assets. Same in Rugby. Develop our juniors and if they want to go to France or Japan let them. In fact buy them a suitcase.

        • May 26th 2017 @ 8:32am
          Browny said | May 26th 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          Is it salary jealousy? I’m not sure if he’s sitting around screaming out “Pocock gets more than me!”. McMahon is in a position where he’s got the option of a job he loves here in Australia (particularly the representative side of it) however there’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty to it and where he’ll be posted next year. Alternatively there’s an easier job, one he’s probably not as crash hot on – no representative opportunists and it’s overseas – but it’s got stability and it pays three times as much. Comparing CEOs and executives to athletes doesn’t quite match up, your comparing a 40 odd year career to one that rarely lasts 10 years, anything over 5 is a good spell. All it takes is one serious injury, something that could happen at any game or training session, then it’s all over. A stint in Japan and he could set himself up for the future. What would you do in that situation? I think too often we judge athletes on their loyalty as they switch clubs or go after a bigger pay check when we do the same chasing promotions and applying for better jobs elsewhere. Unless you’re still working in the same place you got your first job for 30% of the salary you’d get elsewhere due to a sense of loyalty I think it’s pretty hypocritical to make calls on McMahon or anyone else in the same situation.

    • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:48am
      John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:48am | ! Report

      Spiro, Spiro, Spiro.
      Pulver didn’t say Pocock’s salary was none of your business.
      By your own admission, he said it was confidential, which it is.
      Here’s a scoop for the long-term writer of rugby in Australia…he’s not the only one who looks at you as he would an ignorant child.

      • Roar Guru

        May 22nd 2017 @ 8:14am
        Shop said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:14am | ! Report

        Yep, regardless if it is a good or bad deal it isn’t Spiro’s business. A typical spiteful Spiro rant that also includes some very pertinent points.
        I think his lone wolf theory is a little far fetched also. There have been plenty in the media and across the rugby community condemning the Pulver ruled ARU.

        • Roar Rookie

          May 22nd 2017 @ 4:24pm
          Kirky said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:24pm | ! Report

          Shop! You’re wrong, it’s a he’ll of a lot of his business ~ He is a rugby Journalist and can ask what he likes, particularly when it’s about a has been rugby player who is being paid ludicrous amounts of ARU money for doing nothing when that money could have been well and truly utilized for more productive rugby reasons than a high flying has been!
          As far as fronting up to the Boss of the ARU is concerned, He spoke to the appropriate guy and was given the type of reply that we all by now realise and expect from a defunct and about to be. Put down the road ARU Boss! ~ Onya Spiro!

          • Roar Guru

            May 22nd 2017 @ 4:30pm
            Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

            There is no reason why individual player salaries should be disclosed.

            Unless you want to compromise other negotiations.

            The ARU has no reason to comment on a private salary matter. Just like any other organisation.

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 6:02pm
              John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 6:02pm | ! Report

              Even when Spiro asks, TWAS?
              After all it was a “very important question” and he is a “long-standing writer about rugby in Australia.”
              The absolute gall of Pulver upholding the confidentiality of contracts, can you believe it?

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:10am
        jameswm said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:10am | ! Report

        I know – Spiro, what on earth are you thinking? You do realise that these contracts have confidentiality clauses don’t you? Pulver is not allowed to tell you what Pocock’s package is.

    • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:49am
      Rhys Bosley said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

      All I can say is “yup”, I was in fact going to write an article on this myself Spiro, but you saved me the trouble. I suspect that players like Pocock, Folau and Hunt are payed extra because of perceived marketing value to the code. Pocock for instance is great for selling Landrovers to virtue signallers in the leafy inner suburbs.

      However, I happen to think that the best way for the Wallabies to market themselves is to win games, and with Australia’s depth problems that isn’t going to happen by paying one player for the price of keeping two far younger and less injury prone ones, who are already nearly as good. I would see Aussie Rugby trade Gill and McMahon for Pocock any day of the week.

      Just another problem resulting from the business trumping the rugby.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:02am
        Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:02am | ! Report

        I agree with that, but the fact is that getting paid $250,000 per year is something most Australians can only dream of .

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:05am
          Alan said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

          While I tend to agree with much you comment – “the fact is that getting paid $250,000 per year is something most Australians can only dream of” – Except for talented footballers of any of the 4 codes Fionn so that comment’s a nonsense.

          I started my apprenticeship on $37 a week why should these punks expect so much…

          They have, at best, 10 – 12 years of earning potential? barring serious injury which can happen at any second. I begrudge none of them for seeking to secure whatever they can.

          • Roar Guru

            May 22nd 2017 @ 9:16am
            Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:16am | ! Report

            What most guys do is “slave away” art only $250,000 for a few years. McMahon’s salary will go up if he stays injury free and keeps improving, and then he can go to the NH and earn the big bucks when he retires, or after 60 caps + 8 years of Aussie rugby.

            It is McMahon’s choice if he goes, power to him, but we are supposed to feel sorry for him because he’s only earning $250,000?

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:04am
              Browny said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

              Or his syndesmosis gets really bad and his career is over in 2 years. You take the cash and get yourself sorted for super, etc. If it was a small difference between the Australian and Japanese offers you’d stay. I reckon McMahon would probably stay for a decent pay differential, but what’s on offer is not a decent differential. If I’m on $35 an hour at a job I love and a direct competitor comes and offers me over $100 then I’m giving my 2 weeks notice that day. You can’t judge McMahon any differently because there’s a gold jumper involved.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 10:08am
                Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

                Browny, I’m not judging McMahon. I would be disappointed as I really like him as a player, but I would completely understand why he left.

            • Roar Rookie

              May 22nd 2017 @ 4:31pm
              Kirky said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:31pm | ! Report

              Fionn! It could be a had more logical if Pocock was playing for any other Country but Australia as we all know that rugby in this Country is in it’s death throes at this very moment and if Pocock came back tomorrow and played for any rugby outfit whatever it may be, it wouldn’t make one iota of difference!

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 4:33pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

                So why pay any players?

                May as well just go fully amateur hey?

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:35pm
                Jock Cornet said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

                The players pay is way over what they are worth. How much would Horan or Eales get if Pocock gets paid $750 for saving the walruses

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 9:50am
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

          I don’t think what “most Australians” earn is relevant.

          What is the market paying? What are his competitors earning?

          If I am in a much more lucrative field than you, should I just take less because you don’t make much money? Or probably more likely vice versa.

          • Roar Guru

            May 22nd 2017 @ 10:04am
            Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:04am | ! Report

            You’re right, it is down to the market. Unfortunately for him, the market in Australia doesn’t need him so much as Pocock and Hooper are present.

            Does he take the higher salary and being able to live in Japan, or accept less here in Aus and play for the Wallabies? That’s his choice.

            And for what it’s worth, as I’ve said I would pay McMahon more if I were the ARU. I think they’re being short sighted, or, perhaps, they’ve been too short sighted and overpaid other players.

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 12:30pm
              puff said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:30pm | ! Report

              Fionn, agree professional sportsmen are a prostitute to market forces including their worth to a team and the bigger picture. Whether we agree with Billy P or not is only part of the riddle, as receiving Cheika’s concurrence regarding such payments would have also been part of the mix. One of Cheika’s biggest problems as Wallaby coach, he expends more time looking backwards than forward. Therefore it is not relevant what we think players are worth as we are not paying their salary. But if such players don’t perform then someone needs to be accountable and perhaps that time is upon us.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:10am
            John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

            Ding ding ding.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:09am
          John said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report


    • May 22nd 2017 @ 7:50am
      Mark said | May 22nd 2017 @ 7:50am | ! Report

      A fish rots from the head as the saying goes. Bill Pulver looks completely out of his depth heading up the ARU. How many serious and not-so-serious issues have there been over the last three years where Pulver has mishandled or simply not handled at all? Compare him to Steve Tew who very quickly gets out in front of any issue that might affect New Zealand Rugby at any level. Pulver is not a leader and nobody takes him seriously anymore.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:22am
        Akari said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:22am | ! Report

        Mark – the issues Spiro raised are re-hashed and rather tiresome. A lot of the issues are Sydinee and NSW centric and not national, eg, club funding – that’s a Sydney rugby union issue and should be addressed locally. If they can’t because of poor management, Spiro and the clubs should be going to the NSWRU to have those issues addressed. But no, lets make the clubs poor management of funding a national issue. Ridiculous!

        Pulver and the ARU are not responsible when “the clubs “pissed away” the ARU money”. Spiro is however correct when he says at the end “that, presumably, there were better ways to spend what funds the ARU had at its disposal than essentially wasting it on the clubs.”.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:24am
        simmo said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:24am | ! Report

        A good CEO is one you never hear about, how long since Oz rugby had that?

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 9:52am
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Just as long as the other 3 football codes in Aus.

          There are examples of Greenberg, McLahclan and Gallop being heavily criticized in the press in the last 12 months.

          They can’t all be f—ed at what they do.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:49am
        jossoc said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:49am | ! Report

        * Letting Di Patston romance with EM too long, and mishandling the disciple to KB
        * Keeping Robbie Deans one season too long
        * The whispers of promise to Jake White
        * Pocock (as Spiro interjects)
        * the WF MR culling debacle, including the unclear, non-transparent criteria by which the Brumbies were saved
        * the neglect of grass roots, contrary to Clyne’s chat with Alan Jones

        • Roar Guru

          May 22nd 2017 @ 11:14am
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:14am | ! Report

          * Letting Di Patston romance with EM too long, and mishandling the disciple to KB

          One is a rumor. The other was given an independent tribunal to avoid any bias.

          * Keeping Robbie Deans one season too long

          Robbie Deans coached 3 tests after Pulver’s appointment.

          <em* The whispers of promise to Jake White

          Pure rumour. Zero substantiated there.

          * Pocock (as Spiro interjects)

          There is nothing to suggest Pocock is overpaid.

          * the WF MR culling debacle, including the unclear, non-transparent criteria by which the Brumbies were saved

          Possibly fair when we see the outcome. Criteria has been communicated however.

          * the neglect of grass roots, contrary to Clyne’s chat with Alan Jones

          A lot gets neglected when you are losing money.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 12:32pm
            Crazy Horse said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:32pm | ! Report

            Very few have any idea why the Brumbies were excluded but the Force and Rebels included. Why? Because of a lack of transparency.

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 12:44pm
              Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

              The criteria was communicated.

              The individual assessment was not.

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 12:57pm
              Darkhorse said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:57pm | ! Report

              I guess lack of transparency applies only to the Brumbies.
              I’d like to know also why the Tahs and the Reds were excluded (heard nothing about that) , but that does not seem to concern you.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 12:58pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                If you think that on any of the criteria that these two regions would not be at the top, you are delusional.

              • May 22nd 2017 @ 1:43pm
                Darkhorse said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

                Leaving gratuitous name calling aside, is wanting complete transparency about all franchises “delusional”? Beg to differ.

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 1:44pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 1:44pm | ! Report

                It’s delusional to think that there are any metrics other than “growth” which does not consider overall support and participation, where QLD and NSW are the most integral parts of Australian rugby right now.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 22nd 2017 @ 2:05pm
                piru said | May 22nd 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report

                If you think that on any of the criteria that these two regions would not be at the top, you are delusional.

                Agreed, so then what’s the problem with releasing it?

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 4:01pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                The criteria has been communicated.

                The poster seems to raise an objection to the fact that the Reds and Waratahs haven’t been run through it, knowing they are the most compliant.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 22nd 2017 @ 4:09pm
                piru said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:09pm | ! Report

                You know what they say TWAS

                “When you assume…”

                When / where was this criteria communicated?

              • Roar Guru

                May 22nd 2017 @ 4:14pm
                Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 4:14pm | ! Report

                “(The Brumbies) met all the criteria: financial, governance, high performance outcomes, future sponsorships, a range of issues that indicated they would be a sustainable presence and therefore would not need to be considered for elimination at this point,” Clyne said.


                So Financial, Governance, HP, Sponsorship, and Sustainability.

              • Roar Pro

                May 22nd 2017 @ 5:25pm
                Crazy Horse said | May 22nd 2017 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

                A statement was made that the Brumbies met these very vague criteria. That is all. The Rugby community was never told exactly what those criteria were and what would constitute an acceptable or unacceptable rating against each criterion.

              • Roar Rookie

                May 22nd 2017 @ 5:37pm
                piru said | May 22nd 2017 @ 5:37pm | ! Report

                Financial, Governance, HP, Sponsorship, and Sustainability

                Sorry TWAS but without any parameters or measurements, these are just words.,

                Is financial a simple black vs red, or does it take into account past and future success and failure, potentials?

                How do you measure governance?

                Is sponsorship based on potential future sponsors?
                Current sponsors?
                Sponsorship amounts?
                Amount of sponsors?
                Both? Neither? What?

                Same with performance; are the Rebels going to be compared like for like with the Force?
                Will they take into account that the Force have been around longer?
                Is it wins vs losses? Points for and against? Number of Wallabies provided?

                As a former auditor this scope is ridiculously broad, to the point that it’s meaningless.

                perhaps that was the point all along

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 10:15am
        zhenry said | May 22nd 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

        Tew, from AU’s point of view, has helped the ARU, no doubt.

    • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:00am
      Scrumma said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

      What about the ARU $300,000 bet that the wallabies would beat the Allblacks in the final of the 2015 World Cup, money that could’ve been spent elsewhere.
      Doesn’t bother me, I’m a kiwi.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:05am
        riddler said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:05am | ! Report

        is that true?

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:09am
          Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

          Surely not. Surely that would mismanagement of funds worthy of a media storm.

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:26am
          Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

          They took out an insurance policy to cover the winning bonuses to players if they won the RWC.

          • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:35am
            riddler said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:35am | ! Report

            that is a given..

            intl teams do it in all major sporting events..

            there is a big difference to that and having a punt of 300k..

            • May 22nd 2017 @ 9:28am
              Browny said | May 22nd 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

              …and they did it because if we somehow won the world cup the ARU would have gone broke trying to pay the players their winning bonuses….

    • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:11am
      Redsfan1 said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

      It’s ironic that Pocock likes to portray himself as this social crusader- chaining himself to mining equipment etc. He was quite happy to take money from mining sponsors at the Force and the fact he is getting paid so much now for arrogantly taking a year off is a joke.

      • May 22nd 2017 @ 8:16am
        Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 8:16am | ! Report

        So caring about the environment and discrimination doesn’t count l if you decide to take a gap year and help your uncle’s organic farm?

        • May 22nd 2017 @ 11:23am
          Redsfan1 said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

          “caring” means social media posts to promote his profile while at the same time taking a massive salary that hurts his code while putting his feat up.

          And save me the discrimination debate. Why doesn’t he refuse to take his salary while he isn’t playing to help the code? Guess $$$ always wins.

          • Roar Guru

            May 22nd 2017 @ 11:27am
            Fionn said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

            I don’t see the fact that he take a large salary offered to him means he doesn’t care about the environment? What is he supposed to do, he’s a professional athlete, he tries to raise awareness for environmental and social issues, and he only ever buys properly organic produce and ethically raised meat from the farmers markets in Canberra. Tall poppy syndrome at its finest.

            He is not being paid not to play, his $2.1 million contract was to play two seasons, he simply took a break in the middle, and it was paid over three seasons rather than two seasons with a break in the middle. Do you think Pocock is overpaid at $1 million a season? If you do then that is your subjective opinion and I won’t disagree with you, as it is a reasonable position to hold, but he isn’t being paid to take a holiday.

          • Roar Rookie

            May 22nd 2017 @ 11:52am
            piru said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:52am | ! Report

            Pocock does more for the environment and the causes he believes in than most.

            Argue all you like, but this is the guy that got himself arrested after chaining himself to mining equipment, he’s not just making comments on social media

            • Roar Guru

              May 22nd 2017 @ 11:54am
              Train Without A Station said | May 22nd 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

              And you can do more if you allow yourself to get a profile first than if you stick to your principles and prevent your career from progressing.

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