The Roar
The Roar


Promising signs, but Aussie rugby's drought continues

Bernard Foley of the Waratahs. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
Roar Guru
5th May, 2018
1473 Reads

What are you doing to me Tahs? I’d already gone and half bloody written this post as the drought breaker.

Had got the calculator out, punched in 37 x 80 to equate the end of 2,960 consecutive miserable minutes of Aussie Super rugby losses to Kiwi teams.

I was going to do something clever like compare it to the culmination of a 50-hour famine. Time for Aussie rugby fans to finally dispense with the barley sugars and get a decent sirloin down their gullets. Or suggest the government not needed after all to pile in with a drought relief package in Tuesday’s federal dudget.

But you went and stuffed all that up by getting beaten at home (albeit a new home) by the hapless Blues, the perennial Kiwi cellar dwellers.

To tick this absurd streak over to a 38th game and 3,000th minute.

That’s a hell of a lot of time running around rugby fields losing.

The worst of it was you were your own worst enemy.

Bernard Foley

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)


Visiting halfback and skipper Augustine Pulu, in his first game back from a six-week injury layoff, stabbed a kick deep into your territory that flirted tantalisingly close to the left-hand touch.

When your fellow injury (and social media insult to injury) returnee Israel Folau eventually realised the ball wasn’t going over the sideline he shovelled it on via a horrible bounce pass to Bernard Foley metres in front of his tryline. Foley repeated the dose with an equally horrid volley to Kurtley Beale who secured it then coughed it up in contact for Rieko Ioane to pounce and motor over for an eventual seven-pointer.

At the other end of the match you were thundering towards what your raucously voiced Brooky faithful dared dream was a victory-snatching grandstand finish.

With just a couple of minutes left on the clock and in arrears by just one scoring play at 21-24, you had the packed house on its feet as raid after raid inched you to glory.

After their massive defensive shift, ten minutes of it with a man down, the Blues were tottering on jelly legs with the knockout only one decent blow away.

The smart play for you was to keep doing what you were doing. Rumbling it up. Asking questions of a defence too exhausted for many more answers. But on the 19th phase Beale elected for the miracle wide-range kick-pass to Folau hovering on the far-right extremities of the pitch, only for it to sail over his head and into touch.

Momentum lost as was the game a couple of minutes later.


In fairness both Beale and Folau had largely been superb for you for much of the match. Their ability to keep themselves alive in plays and put each other into gaps after double touches led to many of your most promising attacking moments.

On top of this, a key feature of Beale’s play was his educated and well executed boots out of hand, many of them wipers that turned the Blues around and won you acres of territory. While Folau was imperious in the air, diffusing the opposition’s bombs and winning ball back from your own team’s kick offs on a number of quite breath-taking occasions.

So, I guess it made sense for Beale, in the extreme heat of that moment, to combine his kicking prowess with his mate’s peerless ability to pluck high balls out of the air. But in the cold light of Monday morning video analysis, with reality of golden drought-breaking opportunity set hard in his gut, maybe not so much.

Still, it was a cracker of a match. And how fantastic was that crowd, packed into that fabled suburban venue?

So refreshing to see you playing in front of a packed house sent into delirium in those final frenzied minutes. Even cutting loose with a fevered “NEW SOUTH WALES, NEW SOUTH WALES” State of O-type chant when the game was so finely in the balance near the end.

It was certainly not lost on your skipper, proud Manlyite Michael Hooper, speaking in the post-match interview:

“Playing down here at Brooky was fantastic. Really good Super Rugby atmosphere, crowd was really noisy, haven’t heard that for a while.”


Here’s hoping your powers that be in NSW rugby heard it too.