Rugby Australia, you can’t be serious?

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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251 Have your say

    There’s no point in Michael Hooper trying to win Lotto, or Powerballl, he’s “won” without buying a ticket.

    Yesterday he signed a five-year, $6m contract worth $1.2m a season.

    What the?

    How can Rugby Australia possibly justify such an amount?

    Hooper is not the best Wallaby captain, nor is he the best No. 7 – David Pocock is both.

    In fact, if Pocock hadn’t suffered an early season knee reconstructions in 2013 – when he was captain and No. 7, both for the long haul and spoken of in the same breath as All Black legend Richie McCaw – Hooper would never have been given a look-in.

    It was even worse for Pocock on his return in 2014, when he suffered another early season knee reconstruction on the other knee.

    avid Pocock and Michael Hooper

    David Pocock is better than Mike Hooper. Simple. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

    For two successive seasons, Pocock was in rehab, watching the Wallabies from the stand or at home on television.

    He has skippered the Wallabies six times for four wins, a win-rate of 66.67 per cent as an inspirational captain who led from the front.

    Hooper has been a proven worst Wallaby captain among those who have led the side at least 19 times.

    John Eales shows the way with 55 Tests as skipper for 41 wins – a 76.36 per cent win rate.

    Next is Andrew Slack – 19 Tests for 14 wins – 73.68 per cent.

    Nick Farr-Jones – 36 for 23 – 65.27.

    Stirling Mortlock – 29 for 18 – 62.06

    Stephen Moore – 26 for 15 – 57.69.

    George Gregan – 59 for 34 – 57.62.

    Rocky Elsom – 24 for 13 – 56.25.

    Michael Hooper – 29 for 12 – 46.55.

    If those stats are bad enough, they get worse with Hooper the most ill-disciplined international rugby captain in history.

    He’s been yellow-carded eight times, the most of any tier one rugby country.

    Italian lock Marco Bortolami, and South African winger Bryan Habana have been yellow-carded seven times.

    Quade Cooper, and South African backrower Schalk Burger, are among those binned six times.

    So why is Michael Hooper still Wallaby captain? Why is he still first choice No. 7 pushing the best open-side flanker to No. 8?

    With Michael Cheika a man of his word, he’s said he’ll pull up stumps as head coach if the Wallabies don’t win the Rugby World Cup next year in Japan.

    If his replacement doesn’t have the same supportive streak towards Hooper, or Darryl Gibson’s eventual replacement for the Waratahs is the same, Hooper could well be like Quade Cooper – playing club rugby on $800,000 a year because Brad Thorn doesn’t want him in the Queensland Reds squad.

    Only Hooper would be getting paid $1.2m a year.

    Hooper said last night it’s exciting to be signed for the next two Rugby World Cups, but added – “I’d better lift my game”.

    That’s a fair call, and so would staying on the park where a captain should be, and being an inspiration captain like his No. 8.

    Then, and only then, will Michael Hooper be worth anything like $1.2m a year.

    Right now he’s won the lottery without a ticket, and both the Wallabies and rugby fans deserve a whole lot more than that.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn't get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world's great sporting spectacles

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    The Crowd Says (251)

    • August 11th 2018 @ 6:30am
      Fionn said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:30am | ! Report

      I suspect you’ll generate a lot of discussion, David, in both directions.

      For me, I recognise Hooper is a wonderful player, but like you am concerned about the length of the contract in a position which is traditionally one with our greatest depth given the likelihood of injuries in rugby.

      Anyway, it’s done. Let’s just hope for no injuries to Hooper going forward and for him to maintain his level as a player, and even improve.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 9:39am
        Tooly said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:39am | ! Report

        You don’t grasp it ; Hooper doesn’t do his job at seven or as Captain . Pocock does both jobs for him . It has nothing to do with his keenness or enthusiasm it’s his ability to do his job .

        The Hooper for Captain idiocy was another of Pulvers failed cunning plans ; it was to done to attract the young . How cool a ball boy Captain flicking blonde hair for 80 minutes .

        Unfortunately Pulver drove them away from Rugby with costs and Chekko drove them away with failure and his behaviour .

        • August 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm
          Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

          Tooly yeah agreed David is not attacking Hooper as an individual he has attacking the brain dead individuals in the RA led by Cameron de Clyne that throw away money and the term insolvency like confetti. Someone mentioned the Tahs who aren’t well off either (coaches had to double job this year to save money) footing part of his salary well their salary cap comes from the RA’s Super Rugby allocation.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 5:07pm
            Noodles said | August 11th 2018 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

            Hooper looks like he will last the distance. He’s also an extremely capable player in the modern game. A very solid and consistent guy. Pocock is four years older and clearly doesn’t want to go for too much longer beyond the rwc.
            I’ve no idea what this deal compares with or for that matter who is paying it. But it’s nice to see that we are turning the tide on exporting our core experience.
            Lord as usual seeks to attract attention with a bucket job. Nice guy.

            • Roar Guru

              August 12th 2018 @ 1:12pm
              Bakkies said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:12pm | ! Report

              Solid and consistent guy at giving away penalties and cards.

      • August 12th 2018 @ 9:55am
        PiratesRugby said | August 12th 2018 @ 9:55am | ! Report

        David is absolutely correct. Hooper is not the future he is the failed immediate past. RA is locking in 5 more years of failure. We have the best captain and 7 and we don’t use him. Instead we indulge Hooper.
        One thing David doesn’t mention is the extent to which RA funds the Waratahs. So many Tahs getting top ups from RA.

        • August 12th 2018 @ 10:59am
          Redsfan1 said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:59am | ! Report

          I think this price tag is too much for Hooper and another in a list of dumb deals by RU Aus. But come on he’s a good footy player, not deserving of all the keyboard vitriol.

          • Roar Guru

            August 12th 2018 @ 1:13pm
            Bakkies said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

            Agreed and players have been willing to take reduced pay to help their team and/or union not go broke.

          • August 12th 2018 @ 2:13pm
            PiratesRugby said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            Hardly vitriol.

    • August 11th 2018 @ 6:42am
      Max danger said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:42am | ! Report

      To use winning percentage as captain as a stat is meaningless when trying to claim who was better
      Eales team members were a lot better than the current crop

      Fail

      • August 11th 2018 @ 12:56pm
        Cynical Play said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:56pm | ! Report

        Lord is no scientist and misses the points of stats. Good at logical fallacy though.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 10:35am
        Reality Check said | August 13th 2018 @ 10:35am | ! Report

        Hooper can`t play rugby. Have you seen how bad he is against opposition sevens ? Do not compare him to the Great John Eales who dominated his opponents. What an Insult.

    • August 11th 2018 @ 6:54am
      Bodger said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:54am | ! Report

      Disrespectful article. Young man at 26 who has played over 80 tests and gives his all and certainly a very professional person, much the same as David Pocock. The more Michael Hoopers and the fewer David Lord’s and this world will be a better place. Folk like you haven’t done anything to criticise any rugby player that has represented their country with pride, so much disrespect for our rugby players these days. Hats off to any player that represents their country, what ever country it’s an honour. Sick of reading this tabloid rubbish from folk who’ve never achieved any level of sporting accomplishment….

      • August 11th 2018 @ 8:35am
        Buk said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:35am | ! Report

        Whether you agree with David Lord or not, that’s fine, its an opinion site, but in terms of promoting fair pay to players, David has achieved a lot on behalf of professional sports.
        Ironically a lot of his efforts were the precursor to Hooper and others being offered these sorts of contracts.

        No he has never played rugby for Australia (to the best of my knowledge), but I dare say a lot of players can be thankful that he and others of his ilk pushed for greater reimbursement of players.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 11:03am
        Felix Sirimanne said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:03am | ! Report

        HEAR! HEAR! I could not believe that “meaningless “STATS” will prove whether a player is a better player/Captain than the other!!! Its way the coin drops David!! You should know better than these “silly” remarks of yours!!

      • August 11th 2018 @ 12:02pm
        Cliff Bishkek said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:02pm | ! Report

        And you too, do not get it. Hooper is not the best No. 7 in Australia and is also a very bad Captain. Sorry, the stats are not the best. But follow his rapport with referees, his decision making, his own YCs – enough to go back into the bleachers.

        Is he a good player? Yes! Is he a Duracell Battery as a player? Yes! Is he motivational, No. Why? Because his motivation does not result in the correct decision making.

        Is he worth the money, in fact Yes but only if Pocock is paid more!

    • August 11th 2018 @ 6:55am
      Jimbo81 said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:55am | ! Report

      Utter madness! NSW rugby Mafia at work. They knifed McKenzie; now we watch as Hannigan, Foley, Phipps, Hooper occupy the Wallaby spots even though they aren’t the best players in their positions.

      Totally agree David.

      In Hooper you compromise leadership, lineout, rucks and mauls. Madness. Pocock should start 7 and captain. Now that is locked in for five more years only Hooper will get older and slower each one.

      Phipps is not the best 9 at the tahs! His pass is too slow or wildly inaccurate. You get fast and wrong, or slow. Never fast and accurate. Powell, Gordon, Tuttle: vastly superior players than Phipps and we still have Genia. When I see Phipps on a team sheet, I nearly don’t watch.

      Hannigan is a boy playing against men. Rag doll. No possible justification for being on a rugby field let alone playing against the All Blacks!

      Foley can’t kick, can’t unlock defences and makes many unforced errors. No long pass, no vision. He just plays Cheika ball. Beale is the play maker. No point continuing Foley: it hasn’t worked since 2014 bar one game in 2015 vs England. Wallaby backline has never been so amateur as it is with Foley.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 12:09pm
        Max Danger said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        yeah blame it on nsw, gee thats convincing

      • August 11th 2018 @ 8:18pm
        double agent said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

        Another one with a NSW chip on shoulder. What with Aussie Non NSW State Chips and the NZ Chips I’m feeling completely unloved.

    • August 11th 2018 @ 6:58am
      Micheal said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:58am | ! Report

      What a ridiculous article. Firstly, the ARU is not fronting the entire 1.2 million per year. The Waratahs will be paying a hefty part of that, and it is rumoured that third party money is being utilised.

      Otherwise, Hooper is the heart and soul of both the Waratahs and the Wallabies at the moment,

      He’s only 26, and is on track to be the most capped international player of all time. If he remains as injury free as he has been thus far in his career, it’ll be by some margin.

      He is growing massively a leader (as shown by stories of him working with Latu and his personal investment in extra curricular leadership courses) and, whilst he’s not as good at the breakdown as Pocock, Pocock isn’t as good at other things relative to Hooper. No one ever comments that Hoopers running game greatly outstrips Pococks, or that he links better with backs, or that he’s quicker off the defensive line, or that he isn’t made of porcelain.

      Pocock is also 30 years old. He indicated that he thought about retiring from professional rugby 18 months ago, but the Wallaby group under Cheika made him reconsider. If you think he is staying around after the RWC, you’re sorely mistaken. He’ll disappear to Japan for a season or two, and then retire completely.

      Once Pocock retires, who is behind Hooper? Richard Hardwick? Liam Wright? Will Miller?

      These are not players that would walk into any international XV, as both Hooper and Pocock would. Nor do they have the marketability that Hooper has. Behind Folau and Beale, Hooper and Pocock are possibly the most recognisable faces in Australian rugby, and Pocock won’t be around for much longer.

      Do you want the ARU to offer him sub-market rates? Do you think he couldn’t demand an absolute fortune in France?

      What else do you propose? Would you have been unhappy if he left Australia? If not, this is the reality of keeping him here.

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2018 @ 9:57am
        Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:57am | ! Report

        I don’t care if he is the heart and soul of the under performing Wallabies, he is not worth 1.2 million a year full stop. George Smith couldn’t get close to that in the dark old days of the ARU over paying backs and Smith is a far superior player to Hooper.

        Over paying players while slashing development pathways got Australian Rugby in trouble financially in the first place.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2018 @ 2:56pm
          Train Without A Station said | August 11th 2018 @ 2:56pm | ! Report

          Rugby salaries are higher than 10 years ago. What a shock.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 4:39pm
            soapit said | August 11th 2018 @ 4:39pm | ! Report

            does oz rugby generate more cash than it did 10 years ago?

            • August 11th 2018 @ 5:05pm
              Malo5 said | August 11th 2018 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

              But the players are rubbish as will be confirmed by the ab thrashing’s. Why not develop players thru pathways . I suppose they will give q.v., hut and slipper massive top ups as well. She does not know what she is doing. A complete amateur but yeah she is a woman.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 4:29am
                Peter said | August 12th 2018 @ 4:29am | ! Report

                “She’s a woman.” And you appear to be a self-proclaimed jerk.

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2018 @ 6:52pm
              Train Without A Station said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:52pm | ! Report

              Absolutely.

              TV renevenue is more than double for example.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 1:01pm
                soapit said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:01pm | ! Report

                thanks (was a genuine question)

                thats surprising its so much more given perception of how the game is travelling. wouldnt have thought costs/wages in general society have gone up that much in that time?

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 2:16pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Rugby salaries have gone up on huge amounts. Mostly driven by the market – NRL and Europe.

                We can say we want to pay whatever, but if the NRL and Europe are paying considerably more we either try and compete somewhat – or end up like the A-League.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 8:06am
                soapit said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:06am | ! Report

                yeah was more thinking it was surprising how much tv revenue has gone up seeing how much it seems to be on the nose with broadcasters.

                competing is obviously better as long as its affordable.

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm
                Bakkies said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

                Soapit Super Rugby and the 4 Nations has barely gone up enough compared to the European competitions. The same broadcasters since 1996 have got in pretty much unopposed so there is no incentive for them to increase their bids. The competitors like BeIN, ESPN and Eurosport are there in the Australian and NZ markets but I have never seen them mentioned in regards to putting in bids to challenge Foxsports.

                The last few rights deals in France have gone up due to the threat of BeIN sports (Hong Kong Hutchison backed Orange Sports was another competitor) to established broadcaster Canal. They have also packaged off the Pro D2 separately with some Top 14 games televised on terrestrial tv. There is something that needs to be considered as an option.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 4:17pm
                soapit said | August 13th 2018 @ 4:17pm | ! Report

                all makes sense baklkies, surprising revenue has doubled in a decade despite this.

                i suupose it may have to do with the changing tv landscape as well with live sports being one of the few things people will sit through ads for these days

      • August 11th 2018 @ 1:16pm
        Crash Ball2 said | August 11th 2018 @ 1:16pm | ! Report

        “Hooper’s running game far outstrips Pocock’s”, “He links better with the backs”.

        2018 Super rugby per match:

        Hooper: 6 runs / 39 metres / 0.6 offloads / 6.1 passes
        Pocock: 6.4 runs / 33 metres / 0.4 offloads / 6.1 passes

        Comprehensive?

        No.

        Don’t ask for their head to head defensive numbers, doesn’t read well for Australia’s 6 Million Dollar Man.

        • August 11th 2018 @ 6:44pm
          Utah said | August 11th 2018 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

          What are they Crash Ball? Genuinely interested.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 8:35pm
            Crash Ball2 said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:35pm | ! Report

            I alluded to a few a little further down Utah.

            Tackle effectiveness: Hooper 75% / Poey 90% (Hoops was the 2nd highest ineffective tackle maker across the entire 2018 Super Rugby competition despite not playing since June – he’s been in the top 2 for the last three seasons).

            Pilfers: Poey makes twice as many straight steals (add forced turnovers and forced ruck and maul pens and that figure is closer to 2.5 more per match). No surprises there. And of course, there are no broadly available breakdown metrics for slowed opposition pill / harried halfback distribution / opposition attackers committed to the rucks-cleanouts etc. But obviously not even the staunchest supporter would suggest Hoops sits within amplified barking distance of Poey in terms of ground game currency.

            Hoops attempts 2 more tackles per match but, persuant to his inordinate miss/ineffective rate, actually completes less successful tackles per match than Poey.

            Hooper is incongruously, universally hailed for his defence and yet, has about her same tackle effectiveness rate as Kwagga Smith (who is constantly panned for his poor defensive prowess).

            • August 11th 2018 @ 9:43pm
              Utah said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:43pm | ! Report

              Cheers! Good stats

              • August 11th 2018 @ 10:12pm
                jameswm said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:12pm | ! Report

                Misleading, but hey…

              • August 11th 2018 @ 10:36pm
                Crash Ball2 said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:36pm | ! Report

                The numbers? The interpretation? Or is it just the general “vibe” of the thing?

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2018 @ 10:59pm
                Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

                Crash it is Mabo, it’s the vibe.

            • August 12th 2018 @ 9:32am
              Ed said | August 12th 2018 @ 9:32am | ! Report

              CB2,

              Where are these stats, please? I tried to find SR tackle effectiveness on Sanzaar and Foxsports but to no avail.
              I’d take it some of the worst percentages for tackle effectiveness will be wearing gold in the starting backs next Saturday.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 10:09am
                Crash Ball2 said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                These are Fox Sports numbers Ed. T/E is part of their proffered metrics.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 10:22am
                Ed said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:22am | ! Report

                Thanks CB2.

            • August 13th 2018 @ 8:08am
              soapit said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:08am | ! Report

              how does he fare on total tackles attempted? just asking as the perception is that he runs around harassing more than others and that will have a higher rate of misses.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 10:25am
                Crash Ball2 said | August 13th 2018 @ 10:25am | ! Report

                Pretty well as you’d imagine Soap – around 13 attempts per match. No one questions MH’s industriousness. But I’ve actually been a little kind in relating his outcomes as 1 poor or missed tackle in every 4. In reality, the stats count an “ineffective tackle” 1/2 a miss. Which means Hooper actually affects either a poor or completely missed tackle closer to 1 in 3 attempts. This can’t be passed away with the standard “oh, but he shoots out of the line lots” argument. Most of Hooper’s misses are straight bump offs. Pocock attempts about 11 per match. So by comparison, Hooper attempts 18% more tackles but executed around 300% more poor or missed tackles.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 4:19pm
                soapit said | August 13th 2018 @ 4:19pm | ! Report

                cheers cb, thats exactly what i was getting at.

                i will say that a lot of the shoot out of the line ones doesnt matter as muchas it forces people inside and effectively ends their planned move. still, would be much better if he shot out and stuck the tackle.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 7:20pm
                Crash Ball2 said | August 13th 2018 @ 7:20pm | ! Report

                Yep. I don’t have any issue when Hoops shooting out on the flyhalf / first five as a defensive strategy. He’s got great timing and execution. Mind you, this is also where most of his “dominant tackles” also come from – flat footed, hospital pass awaiting, bantamweight inside backs.

                The issue is that unspecified “quick shoots” or cover tackles are then often used to excuse Hooper’s inordinate number of poor and/or missed tackles when in fact the vast majority are straight, one-on-one bump offs he shouldn’t be missing. I counted four in one test match alone (against the Pumas) last season (2 by the centre, 1 by a flanker and 1 by the hooker). All head on, shoulder poised, just timing and technique slightly out and, bang – @rse, tumble, elbow.

                It is not an uncommon scenario. The bloke is good, gutsy defender. But he is not a great defender by any stretch.

        • August 12th 2018 @ 10:40am
          Fin said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:40am | ! Report

          CB2,

          Any idea on Poeys number prior to his sabbatical? The reason I ask is I believe the role of a modern day 7 is changing and aligning with Hoopers style of play. It’s not just Cheika that sees it. You don’t get this far this young without a lot of coaches/selectors believing in you. IMO Pocock can see how the game is changing and is developing his game to suit.

          • August 12th 2018 @ 11:12am
            Fionn said | August 12th 2018 @ 11:12am | ! Report

            I personally don’t agree. To me, Richie McCaw and George Smith remain the gold standard of professional era 7s, with Pocock close behind.

          • August 12th 2018 @ 12:38pm
            Crash Ball2 said | August 12th 2018 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

            Thanks Fin. I generally look at FS and Vodacom / All Out Rugby stats when not analysing games directly but I don’t think that these metrics are accessible beyond a season or two hence.

            Subjectively, I think you are correct in saying that Poey appears to have been working on augmenting his emphatic defensive game with more pronounced running and linking skills. Indeed, this was one of his stated goals for playing a stint in the faster, more backline oriented Japanese league – and that investment has clearly paid off since his return.

            Don’t believe the hype. The “modern” versus “traditional” player argument has become an unhelpful narrative often perpetuated by those attempting to distract the conversation from team capabilities and focus on specific personalities. Games styles and strategies are constantly evolving of course, and the key question should be: what are the key competencies this particular team requires most to be successful?

            For the Wallabies team, would I be prepared to sacrifice leverage, weight and height in the set piece for fleet footedness in the three quarter channel? Power and impact in the mauls and breakdowns for general industrious metronome? Currency in the central collisions and tight running for extra support play? In each of these questions, very specific to this Wallabies team, I would say “no”. And that is what this Wallabies team sacrifices each time we turn out with our best openside flanker displaced to a position in which he is physiologically and stylistically unsuited to accomodate the “bonus” skills of a less forward-battle-capable loosey. We cede the fundamentals to incorporate the extras. In the suffocating opening exchanges of test match trench warfare in particular, this ongoing folly has cost, and continues to cost, this Australian side. The inherent skills tapestry will be completely different for another rugby team. But this Wallabies forward pack doesn’t have hands to spare.

            The standard retort from the great unwashed then becomes: “but we don’t have Kieran Read or Duane Vermeulen and Hooper is a better player than our other 6 or 8 options”. In reality, neither out 6 or 8 needs to be a better individual player than Michael Hooper or even be that most subjective of all measures “world class” to be a better Wallabies starting option. They just need to be better able to execute the core capabilities required of this Australian forward and backrow group: set piece, breakdowns, mauls, central collisions, tight running, backline linking (as opposed to extra backline running). If speed in the wide channels, support play and midfield backline defence are issues – half of the team are designated backs – sort out those selections as well.

            Yet, there seems to be scant accountability for these patent long term lack of results in Australia. Whilst Fleet Street wring their hands in bloodlust over the possibility of scything off the head of an 80%+ winning English head coach, over the same period Australia’s unflinchingly partisan clipboard holder boasts a win rate in the 40%’s whilst the Fox Sports and SMH cheerleaders of this world administer endless embarrassing hyperbolic verbal and broadcast reach arounds that would make a Williams Street street walker blush.

            This is not a comment on the commitment, effort or attitude of an exceptional and deserving international player, which is what Hooper is. He is in the top echelon of rugby players in the country. But he isn’t the best player or even openside flanker in Australia (and wasn’t even the best loose forward last season prior to our best returning this season). He has just sustained an injury that is traditionally a recurring, long term one and one that tends to eat away at both speed and agility (an obstacle for some players, absolutely terminal for one solely reliant on those factors as his key point of difference).

            Rather, it is a comment on the blinkered parochialism of an embarrassing Wallabies coach and the keystone cop administration that enables him. This eye-wateringly ill considered contract is a blatant indictment on the stunningly flawed abilities of an organisation making stupid decision after disastrous mistake.

            • Roar Guru

              August 12th 2018 @ 1:17pm
              Bakkies said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:17pm | ! Report

              Couldn’t have said it any better myself. Australian Rugby has fallen in to the malaise of accepting mediocrity.

            • August 12th 2018 @ 1:41pm
              concerned supporter said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:41pm | ! Report

              Great posting Crash Ball 2

              There is no doubt that Michael Hooper is an outstanding Rugby player, no doubt at all. But contracted for 5 years at

              AUD 1.2 million per year.

              He may be worth that for one year, but 5 years? Anything might happen. Weren’t the ARU/Ra Board giving Western Force savings to grassroots?

              Has RA CEO been involved? You would think so, but you would worry about her judgement when Canterbury Bulldogs have problems with back-ended contracts taken out when she was CEO.

              One that stands out is Aaron Woods. They signed him this year from Wests Tigers, but let him go mid-season to Cronulla?

              Between seven and 10 Bulldogs players are on back-ended contracts for next year, while the club is also paying five players, including James Graham and Sam Kasiano, to play for rival clubs

              Of course, Ms Castle denies she is to blame, but she was CEO for 4 years, she must have been consulted.

              RA has been close to insolvency for the past few financial years. For example, Financial Year ended 31 December 2017, they have been kept alive by their sponsors, mainly Qantas physically paying their 2018 sponsorships before the 31 December 2017.
              From the RA Balance Sheet 31 December 2017,

              ”Cash & Cash Equivalents $17,786,000
              Which included Deferred Income (Sponsorships paid in advance) ( $10,874,000 )
              Bank Balances without Qantas & others paying before 31 December 2017 = $6,912,000

              Trade Creditors + Employee Benefits Current = $13,024,000

              RA deficiency as at 31 December 2017 =( $6,112,000 )

              verification. Page 57, ”http://issuu.com/australianrugbyunion/docs/rugby_au_2017_annual_report?e=24291087/60015407

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 2:17pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

                For every year that passes, that $1.2M is a better deal as wages rise around it.

                For the risk of 5 years they gain the rate that is better year by year.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 3:06pm
                Crash Ball2 said | August 12th 2018 @ 3:06pm | ! Report

                Cheers for the info CS. Pretty sobering stuff. Good post.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 4:18pm
                Bakkies said | August 12th 2018 @ 4:18pm | ! Report

                If that was the case the RA should have back ended it. Oh wait.

                The other alternative would have been offer a three year with a two year extension option. That gives both parties flexibility that a straight five year deal doesn’t.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 8:43pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 12th 2018 @ 8:43pm | ! Report

                Well no. It gives one party flexibility. The party with the option in their favour.

                In which case it’s a less desirable deal for the other party. Why would Hooper want to cap his earnings for 5 years without the security of it?

              • August 13th 2018 @ 8:11am
                soapit said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:11am | ! Report

                assume she didnt orchestrate it but at the very least castle should have been aware of what was happening at the bulldogs and shouldnt have allowed it.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 11:09am
                Boggles the Mind said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                An Absolute debacle. How are RA going to pay the many players that are worth more to the Wallabies and are more popular and likeable than Hopper ? Will they get 1.2 million a year ?

            • Roar Guru

              August 12th 2018 @ 1:45pm
              eagleJack said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:45pm | ! Report

              Interesting that when people point out that we don’t have a decent 8 we are labelled the “great unwashed”.

              I was excited to see Timu get a crack. As I was with Timani. Neither impressed but happy to see Timu develop further. Timani got the hint that he failed in the core requirements and has moved on. Apparently pointing those out early in the piece led to being part of the “unwashed”.

              CB2 – I’d hate to see how much time you’ve spent obsessing over Hooper. Very little new ever added. But, hey, we all have to put our minds to something in our spare time.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 1:56pm
                Fionn said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:56pm | ! Report

                eagleJack, in what way did Timani fail at the core requirements of a number 8?

                People make nebulous comments about him not having the necessary impact, but when I looked at him closely in a few tests he played well. In fact, he played better than he did for the Rebels consistently I think. He made meters in tight, he linked well and he made his tackles.

                Maybe he didn’t set the world on fire but to claim he failed and then moved on seems pretty unfair to me to a guy who did his best and arguably deserved more opportunities than he was given.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 2:16pm
                Crash Ball2 said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Easy now eJ. Dial the indignity quotient down to “AM radio talk show host” for a second.

                “Great unwashed” isn’t a derogatory term. Rather, a playful reference to the general public i.e. those without a notable sporting or journalistic profile. It includes me.

                And if the rule for posting on The Roar was: “never repeat yourself”, why, we’d miss you greatly.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 2:31pm
                eagleJack said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:31pm | ! Report

                Yeah perhaps a little unfair on my part Fionn. Timani is a very good talent but just struck me as inconsistent and somewhat lazy. You’d rarely see him come up with a second effort when defending. He’d hit hard then shy away from the next phase. He had outstanding hands, but they were also the source of great frustration too. I don’t think he ever forced the selectors hand with repeat quality performances.

                In the early days I was a fan of his brother Sitaleki. But, again, we saw a big man who just couldn’t quite provide the impact. A number of years ago (around 2010 I think) when I was in NZ visiting my now wife’s family, her uncle asked me about any up and coming Aussies to lookout for. Her uncle is chairman of one of the Super franchises. I said Sitaleki Timani. It is now a source of much amusement whenever I see him as he says with a wry smile “Anymore Sitaleki’s to watch out for”? 😆

                For what it’s worth when I was in NZ this year I said to keep an eye on Caleb Timu. Of course he was already well and truly on their radar, but I have a bit riding on him now doing well. So I was disappointed to see him drop out of the Wallabies squad named today. I see him as providing great impact off the bench with a starting spot not out of the question. But now we’ll have to wait a little longer. I hope he develops into that 8 we are looking for.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 2:38pm
                eagleJack said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

                Haha fair call CB2.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 2:54pm
                Fionn said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                I agree he never really lived up to the potential, but I still thought he played well. I would have been happy to see more of him in gold actually.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 3:07pm
                Cliff Bishkek said | August 12th 2018 @ 3:07pm | ! Report

                EJ, have you seen that Timu has been cut from the squad of 26. The Pooper it is by the look of things. Also Rory Arnold has been cut. Hanigan remains.

                Cheika selects the same expecting a change in outcomes. Sorry, the Clown continues to show that he is not an International Coach of any standing.

                He has kept Banks and Maddocks, a good thing but maybe, and it is a bid maybe, one will be a bench option.

              • August 13th 2018 @ 11:17am
                Reality Check said | August 13th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                EJ you know it ,we know it, Hooper is not worth 1.2 million a year over 5 years .He runs with the ball. That`s all he does, and he gets 1.2 million a year ?. FFS

                Now we see this talent punted Arnold Timu Timani, White, Fardy, QC, Higginbotham, Gill, Mowen, Jones, etc etc the list is a mile long, but Clown keeps selecting continual underperformers Hanigan Foley Robertson and Phipps ?

            • August 13th 2018 @ 12:33pm
              Boggles the Mind said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

              Crash Ball2

              Wonderfully written. Exacty my thoughts .

              Bravo, What daring! What outrageousness! What insolence! What arrogance! … I salute you.

      • August 12th 2018 @ 4:42pm
        Matt said | August 12th 2018 @ 4:42pm | ! Report

        Hooper wouldn’t walk into any of the top 5 international XV’s.

        • August 13th 2018 @ 12:37pm
          Boggles the Mind said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

          Hooper wouldn’t walk into the top 10 international XV’s .

    • Roar Guru

      August 11th 2018 @ 7:02am
      eagleJack said | August 11th 2018 @ 7:02am | ! Report

      Not sure why, in Australia, we very rarely celebrate excellence. At 22 years of age Michael Hooper was deservedly handed the Wallabies captaincy by coach Ewen McKenzie. Even then he was mocked and ridiculed by those who struggled to make their schoolboy 3rd XV.

      Australian rugby needs more Michael Hoopers. And David Pococks. Blokes that would die for the jersey. Blokes that give their everything when they step on the field. We clearly don’t have that, and haven’t for years. And why would we? When you are an extreme talent you get hack journos looking at captaincy win percentage as some kind of meaningful barometer. Or that Hooper only got his chance due to injury, one of the most common scenarios in any sport.

      If I’d had any rugby talent I would have headed overseas myself. Live a fruitful, fulfilling life playing the game I love. Not put up with the “Australian way” of trying to bring down those that are elevated above us.

      Well done to Michael for committing to the basket case that is Australian rugby. And putting himself out there for further ridicule from the couch potatoes.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 7:51am
        Clifto said | August 11th 2018 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        +1 EJ

      • August 11th 2018 @ 8:27am
        Rob said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:27am | ! Report

        +2 EJ

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2018 @ 8:38am
        Machooka said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:38am | ! Report

        +6 million EJ 😉

        • August 11th 2018 @ 10:58am
          riddler said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:58am | ! Report

          as a very proud maroon..

          cheers ej!!

      • August 11th 2018 @ 8:39am
        Fionn said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:39am | ! Report

        I think this is a pretty fair comment, EJ, unfortunately.

        I still have some reservations about RAs wisdom in terms of this contract, but Hooper as a player and a man has earned deserves nothing about praise.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2018 @ 10:37am
          eagleJack said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:37am | ! Report

          Gday Fionn. I think debate about the merit of long term contracts is a worthy one. And whether or not RA have erred in this instance. However, I despise attacks on players as though Hooper doesn’t deserve such a contract. He has been immense for Australia, captaining them at 22. Just being in the leadership group, or Wallabies at that age is a significant achievement in itself.

          Bringing Pocock into it is irrelevant. Sign him up to a long term contract too. The more who commit to Australian rugby the better. However, I’m sure Pocock’s body means signing him long term is a risk.

          And no doubt Pocock is well aware that you limit your earnings potential by being locked in for an extended period. No short term stints in Japan for Hooper. Where I imagine after the 2019 RWC the corporate dollar will explode with the players being the huge beneficiaries.

          So there are positives and negatives for both parties. Let’s discuss that. Not mock an extreme talent in Michael Hooper, who leaves nothing in the tank whenever he represents our country.

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2018 @ 11:17am
            PeterK said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

            My main issue is the length of the contract in a contact sport and Hoopers age.

            I would only consider 5 year contracts for 18 or 19 yr olds.

            Players get injured , lose form and so on.

            Specifically with Hooper his major asset is his speed and that has peaked, he will be a fair bit slower at the end of this contract. The flip side players will be paid even more in 5 years time and this contract won’t seem so much by then.

            The point is in 3-5 years time there is a good chance Hooper won’t be able to command a starting position (on merit) but will be paid as such.

            The second issue I have is that retention should be aimed at positions that have the least depth (biggest difference in ability with the incumbent and the replacement), ie the biggest impact if that player leaves. Open side flanker is not in that situation. After all if Hooper left then with the money available McMahon of Gill could be enticed back worst case , or Hardwick could take the position.

            The other reason to focus on retention is if they are genuinely very marketable and thus draw more interest and people as is the purported case for Folau and Beale.

            I would only offer 3 year contracts for mid 20’s players and honestly less for Hooper , not because he isn’t a good player, but he is easily replaced with small impact.

            • August 12th 2018 @ 10:30am
              timber said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:30am | ! Report

              I’ve never understood the myth that Australia has so many class no.7 options.
              McMahon has been inconsistent at test level, Gill has shown nothing at test level and Hardwick has yet to show much at Super level.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 10:38am
                PeterK said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:38am | ! Report

                Hooper is inconsistent at test level as well.

                McMahon was better than Hooper last year.

                Pocock is always better.

                So no need to make sure Hooper is retained, the step down to a replacement is not much.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 11:15am
                Fionn said | August 12th 2018 @ 11:15am | ! Report

                I think McMahon was consistently very good last year. After Polota-Nau I persoanlly think he was our best forward.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 11:17am
                timber said | August 12th 2018 @ 11:17am | ! Report

                Then will have different definitions of consistency.
                Hooper has shown he’s a good test player, if not very good, over many years. McMahon has been average for most of his tests with a few good ones. Vastly different sample sizes, meaning that McMahon still has big question marks over his ability to perform at test level. Given he has gone overseas he’s not prepared to prove anyone wrong either.

              • August 12th 2018 @ 12:54pm
                Crash Ball2 said | August 12th 2018 @ 12:54pm | ! Report

                Not prepared to prove anyone wrong?

                Perhaps he was just tired of being asked to carry the can displaced in a role he was physiologically unsuited: “The way I’m playing, lasting until I’m over 30 is probably not on the cards.”

                Perhaps the reality of Cheika’s unrelenting partisanship and unwillingness to allow open competition for key positions become glaringly obvious: “I’d love to really keep focusing on and working on my over the ball skills as well, so I can get a bit more specific to that No.7 role.”

                McMahon can play as hard and as well as he likes. Cheika still selects the team. I’d go collect the Yen, Euro and Pound as well. All MC has done is consign the generation after McMahon, Gill, Faingaa et al to do the same.

          • Roar Rookie

            August 11th 2018 @ 12:27pm
            Kirky said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:27pm | ! Report

            Eagle Jack, ~ Michael Hooper is a good player but he’s certainly not extremely talented as you say, and Australian Rugby is still very likely to be that very ”basket case” you speak of as their rugby teams have done nothing of note whatsoever to justify them to be anything else but that ‘basket case!

            After the debacle of the last couple of years we should wonder as to where the AR, got the Five million big ones from!

            That is a huge amount of money and no one player in Australia is worth that figure, not one!

            • August 11th 2018 @ 8:27pm
              double agent said | August 11th 2018 @ 8:27pm | ! Report

              Eagle Jack – fairly sure that Kirky would be one of those you describe as ” who struggled to make their schoolboy 3rd XV.” What with the limitless depth of NZ rugby it’s hard to imagine a number that would accommodate Kirky’s talents.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 12th 2018 @ 1:49pm
                Kirky said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

                Eagle Jack ~ Doubtful if this ” ray of sunshine” who has taken umbrage to my opinions on the Million Dollar Man, one Michael Hooper, I could suggest he’s never played rugby in his life, it shows, and he’s be far better served being honest with himself and spare the rest of the sensible rugby followers rubbis the type he has put on here!

                Furthermore he’s given me a Character reference, mentioned my ability as a rugby player at College, and everything else!! ~ But seeing as he has taken the opportunity to mention the paucity of any team that could accommodate my talent in New Zealand, and the fact that I don’t really like to mention my own prowess on any rugby paddock that I ever played on, because it’s a long time ago since I ever did that, somewhere in the early 1960s, ~ but you didn’t get paid to play in those olden days when the game was played properly but, if it was the case at the time that money was splashed around ridiculously as per Michael;s case, I doubt that any team in the Shaky Isles would have had the necessary folding stuff in their Salary Cap to be able to afford me! ~ Just saying!

                Enjoy the game next weekend when the All Blacks foot still clearly hard down on the Aussie throat!

      • August 11th 2018 @ 9:46am
        Tuc Du Nard said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:46am | ! Report

        +1 EJ
        Not sure why $1.2m is seen as too much.
        Market value could have been higher in NH…Wallaby captain and he can only get better at this role. Good deal I think.
        Different player to Pocock.

        • August 11th 2018 @ 9:52am
          Fionn said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:52am | ! Report

          Not sure why market value in NH is relevant? Market value for all players are higher in the NH.

          The issue is that Australia cannot compete with NH salaries and so have to be strategic.

          • Roar Guru

            August 11th 2018 @ 9:59am
            Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:59am | ! Report

            Agreed Fionn that’s one of the reasons why the RA are skint.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 10:01am
            Tuc Du Nard said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:01am | ! Report

            Fionn, perhaps RA see more value in what this represents eg Wallaby captain hanging around and is taking less money, it’s a good look to all young players.
            You can’t just say RA is crap at all contracts just because of the QC fiasco.
            What would be a good deal in your eyes?

            • Roar Guru

              August 11th 2018 @ 10:03am
              Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:03am | ! Report

              He isn’t taking less money. He will be getting double the amount of money that Peter O’Mahony receives and POM is a far better player than Hooper.

              • August 11th 2018 @ 10:15pm
                jameswm said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:15pm | ! Report

                Different player.

                Far better? Disagree.

              • Roar Guru

                August 11th 2018 @ 11:01pm
                Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 11:01pm | ! Report

                Of course you do as O’Mahony actually competes at the breakdown and is a better captain.

        • Roar Guru

          August 11th 2018 @ 9:58am
          Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          That’s way over market value in Europe and he is a poor captain. The RA stupid as stupid does.

          • August 11th 2018 @ 10:18am
            Steve said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:18am | ! Report

            Don’t be ridiculous, that is not way over market value in Europe. He’s the national team captain as well as club captain. He’d be expected to commit to much more off field activities than a regular international player.

            • August 11th 2018 @ 12:37pm
              Bakkies said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

              It is not market value in Europe. No openside flanker is earning 1.2 million equivalent. O’Brien, O’Mahony, Tupiric and Warburton the 7s the Lions fielded last year don’t earn close to €500,000 (AUD 780k) a season. George Smith wasn’t on huge money when he played at Toulon compared to the rest of his star studded team mates.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 2:21pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:21pm | ! Report

                None of those players have been nominated for World Rugby player of the year for a start.

                Also it’s hardly shocking that Smith wasn’t on huge money almost a decade ago.

                Player salaries weren’t nearly as high combined with the fact that at the time he was closer to the age that Hooper will be at the end of this deal.

              • Roar Guru

                August 12th 2018 @ 4:22pm
                Bakkies said | August 12th 2018 @ 4:22pm | ! Report

                ‘None of those players have been nominated for World Rugby player of the year for a start.’

                That award is a joke for a start. I take it as seriously as the John Eales’ medal awarded to a Wallabies player after winning six out of fifteen tests for the year.

                Player salaries aren’t going up in Europe any time soon. The French and English clubs don’t want an increase in the salary cap apart from Bath and Saracens who run unsustainable businesses in any case.

              • Roar Rookie

                August 12th 2018 @ 10:11pm
                Kirky said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:11pm | ! Report

                Bakkies! ~ The best Number 8 playing the game and the Captain of the All Blacks I doubt very much if he was on much more than $800,000 and in the light of ability and monetary worth, one would think he’d be worth a hell of a lot more than that for the quality player he is and what he brings with it.but the NZRFU are like most rugby Unions Australian Rugby included, they have very little spare cash (apart from the English Rugby, in that they tell us, they have plenty!) ~ so as good a player the All Black Skipper is, he’s very likely never going to crack a Million bucks!

                It’s been said right through this very thread and elsewhere that Michael Hooper is a good player but never outstanding, certainly not to the tune of the amount he’s been “gifted”!

                There is no one Player in the Australian Rugby International side worth that sort of money!

                I liked his statement in the News today when he said quote: ~ “I’m thrilled that I’m now locked in to a contract which will afford me the playing in the next two World Cups, particularly when I’m representing my Country in the yellow Jersey that I love”, ~ What else would he say? and I bet he said it with a wry smile on his face at the same time while speaking with a ”forked tongue”.

                That amount of money is obscenely ridiculous and a lot of that would be better served being used elsewhere!

              • Roar Guru

                August 13th 2018 @ 12:04pm
                Train Without A Station said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

                Really?

                Read would be on around $285,000 from Super Rugby, Mitre 10 Cup and Mitre 10 Cup availability bonus.

                That’s before the All Blacks pay him a cent.

                The NZRU spend about $80M a year on employee benefits, salaries being the primary one. So I’d say that leaves $500,000+ for their captain.

                Funnily enough nearly 2 years ago it was reported that Read was about to become the first All Black to earn more than $1M a year…

                https://www.sport24.co.za/Rugby/nz-rugby-boosts-all-blacks-pay-packets-20161214

        • August 12th 2018 @ 10:34am
          timber said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:34am | ! Report

          Don’t think he’ll get better at his role. Speed and agility are his hallmarks and they will deteriorate with age.

      • August 11th 2018 @ 10:52am
        Pinetree said | August 11th 2018 @ 10:52am | ! Report

        + 5 years EJ, good post. (you stole my line Chook!, I thought of it, then saw your post!)

      • Roar Guru

        August 11th 2018 @ 12:19pm
        Mark Richmond said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:19pm | ! Report

        And how did Hooper and his mate reward McKenzie for the faith he showed in him? Undermined him and knifed him in the back.

        • August 12th 2018 @ 1:20pm
          Ruckin Oaf said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:20pm | ! Report

          Yeah and hasn’t Australia Rugby been reaping what was sown ever since ………………

        • Roar Guru

          August 12th 2018 @ 1:30pm
          eagleJack said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:30pm | ! Report

          Link and Donald Trump. Innocent victims subjected to unfair witch hunts.

          • August 13th 2018 @ 8:24am
            soapit said | August 13th 2018 @ 8:24am | ! Report

            tenuous comparison ej. maybe time to start considering that it may never get traction

        • August 12th 2018 @ 1:39pm
          bigbaz said | August 12th 2018 @ 1:39pm | ! Report

          Ahh, the elephant in the room, the character test , the fail that should have precluded him ever having a leadership role, a decision that cost Australia many many supporters and continues to do so.

          • August 12th 2018 @ 10:56pm
            Fin said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:56pm | ! Report

            not real supporters

        • Roar Rookie

          August 12th 2018 @ 10:29pm
          Kirky said | August 12th 2018 @ 10:29pm | ! Report

          Mark Richmond! ~ Robbie Deans also, Hooper was in that very ”inner circle” of a few in the Wallabies that caused his demise!

      • August 11th 2018 @ 12:31pm
        Jono said | August 11th 2018 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

        +++++a million EJ

      • August 11th 2018 @ 4:43pm
        soapit said | August 11th 2018 @ 4:43pm | ! Report

        geez are we really so up the creek that players are invaluable just because they care about the jersey and would do anything for it? i would say that all of them should have that aim and most would

        hooper qualities are because of his talent and skills, not because of some magical well of passion for the jersey.

      • August 12th 2018 @ 7:44am
        John Johnson said | August 12th 2018 @ 7:44am | ! Report

        Yes Australia needs more hoopers and pococks, but not at the expense of the next generation. I don’t agree that he’s not an inspirational captain, you can’t fault his effort and passion when on the field, he just isn’t in the same league as the other possible or past captains, and isn’t even close to pocock as a 7. A perfect comparable example is Phil Waugh. An amazing player and inspiration captain, who played off the bench for most of his wallabies career because George Smith was better. Perhaps we need Rod McQueen back to coach our coaches and RA board members on team selection and contract negotiations.

      • Roar Rookie

        August 12th 2018 @ 2:22pm
        G-Reaper said | August 12th 2018 @ 2:22pm | ! Report

        I reckon the money is an investment in an attempt to lure more players to rugby. Whilst my rugby heart is Black through an through (same colour as my lungs) Hooper is a good player, with longevity, energy and minimal lost time injuries. This investment shows sportsmen that there is a pathway to riches in rugby. Can’t wait for the game next Saturday-go the Blacks!!!

      • August 12th 2018 @ 6:20pm
        Deborah Buckley said | August 12th 2018 @ 6:20pm | ! Report

        You’d think if he loved the Jersey and Aus rugby so much he wouldn’t be taking so much money.

        • August 12th 2018 @ 6:29pm
          ken gargett said | August 12th 2018 @ 6:29pm | ! Report

          really? he is not entitled to get the best deal he can for his career? of all the comments in this thread, pro or against, that really is the one most beyond comprehension.
          because that is what every other player is doing, isn’t it? and in every other sport.
          whatever one thinks of hooper, surely he is entitled to get the best deal he can, as is every player.
          no one put a gun to those making the decision on behalf of australian rugby.

          • August 12th 2018 @ 8:18pm
            Crash Ball2 said | August 12th 2018 @ 8:18pm | ! Report

            In negotiating the deal, MH and his agent have done zero wrong. It is what any smart player would try to do and indeed, what I would do if my own burgeoning professional rugby career wasn’t prematurely derailed by the combination of a lack of speed, power and general talent.

            Hooper’s market value is at a premium whilst he enjoys the unblinking protection of Michael Cheika’s tenure. Hence, with this nearing it’s end, Hooper’s management obviously pushed hard for the longest contract humanly possible. The parochial Cheika Forcefield has subsequently been artificially extended beyond his already expired used by date – the final insult from an extraordinarily partisan coaching regime.

            MH bears no blame for being continuously picked in a position in which he is obviously not the best, signing a contract that far exceeds his value to Australian rugby or accepting a tenure that unfairly favours his future selections within the national team.

            All of these things are the shared fault of Michael Cheika and Rugby Australia.

      • August 13th 2018 @ 12:36pm
        Boggles the Mind said | August 13th 2018 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

        Then Hooper stabbed Mckenzie in the back 6 months later.

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