The Roar
The Roar


Boyd Cordner and Michael Hooper have lost the right to captain

Michael Hooper is one of the Wallabies' best, but he's playing the wrong role. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)
16th May, 2018
3352 Reads

NSW Origin captain Boyd Cordner and his Wallaby counterpart Michael Hooper have both passed their used by date.

If Cordner was an inspirational leader Laurie Daley would still be the NSW coach, and the Blues the proud holders of the Origin trophy.

Cordner kicked off his NSW captaincy career with a mighty impressive 28-4 victory at the Maroons’ fortress at Suncorp.

It doesn’t get any better than that.

And the green lights were glowing when NSW led 16-6 at half-time in Origin 2 at home in the comfort of ANZ Stadium and in total control – just 40 minutes away from a series success.

What happened in the next 40 defied description.

Queensland skipper Cameron Smith comprehensively outplayed and out-thought Cordner to pile on 12 unanswered points to win 18-16, and return to Suncorp for the decider with a thumping 22-6 series victory.

Boyd Cordner State of Origin NSW Blues NRL Rugby League 2017

Boyd Cordner of the NSW Blues. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

The stark difference between the two captains was clearly shown in two 120-minute grabs.


In the first 120 minutes, NSW won handsomely 44-10, but when push turned to shove and the title was on the line, Queensland won the last 120 minutes 34-6.

Daley got the sack and Cordner must follow suit.

With Cameron Smith, Johnathan Thurston, and Cooper Cronk all retired from Origin, now is the time for NSW to strike back.

Cordner had his golden opportunity and blew it, it’s James Maloney’s turn.

He’s the NSW playmaker, and the captaincy would sit well with him.

And the same applies to the Wallabies. Will Genia must be captain.

When he speaks, everyone listens – and reacts.

Michael Hooper rarely speaks, and when he does, not many are listening.


He had the perfect chance last Saturday in Christchurch when referee Ben O’Keeffe was chewing up the Waratahs and spitting out the pieces.

Where was Hooper?

He was as quiet as a church mouse as the Waratahs turned a 29-0 lead into a 29-31 defeat.

Michael Hooper Australia Rugby Union Wallabies 2017

The Wallabies are in desperate need of a leader. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

But it’s not only Hooper’s lack of leadership skills, it’s his track record.

Great Wallaby captains establish great track records.

Rugby World Cup winner John Eales led the Wallabies to 55 wins from 74 caps, with a win ratio of 74.55 per cent.

The Wallabies only Grand Slam skipper Andy Slack won 14 of 19, for 73.68 per cent.


The only other Wallaby World Cup winner Nick Farr-Jones won 23 of 36 for 63.89, Stirling Mortlock 18 of 29 for 62.07, Stephen Moore 15 of 26 for 57.69, and Rocky Elsom 13 of 24 for 56.25.

And where is Michael Hooper in the pecking order?

He’s way down the list with 11 wins from 26, for a lowly 42.31 per cent.

So when the Wallabies run out to meet Ireland next month, Genia must be at the front.

If he’s still injured, behemoth lock Adam Coleman will do the job and he certainly won’t be swanning among the backs.

Cordner and Hooper will both regret not making the most of their gift-wrapped opportunities in the top job.