I’m not usually one to flog a dead horse, but in light of Israel Folau’s intention to appeal the termination of his employment with Rugby Australia I’ve been reminded of the pertinent words of a friend.
This friend spoke to me on the day the Western Force played their final game of Super Rugby – 1 July 2017, a 40-11 victory over the Waratahs. On that day a man affectionately known as Twiggy took to the field and promised the battered and bruised men of the West that he’d make sure they had a place to ply their rugby union trade.
My mate turned to me in the immediate moments after his rousing speech and said, “This is the type of bloke we need at the reins of Rugby Australia”.
This statement has really stuck with me through the dark and tumultuous times of the last few years of rugby union in Australia. It has me asking whether a person like Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest is what we need to change the fortunes of the sport in Australia.
He would do a stellar job. At very least he couldn’t make things any worse. He’s a successful businessman who would have a reasonable handle on financials, being a billionaire and all. I’d imagine a man like Mr Forrest would be able to manage the funds and distribute them more effectively throughout the grassroots and Super Rugby, club rugby and NRC competitions.
Twiggy also seems to have his heart in the right place as far as he appears to care less about the money he can make and more about the success of code, its growth and its success. A person like that – a person who puts personal gain on the backburner for the overall success of the sport – would be a blessing.
Twiggy didn’t have to support the Force or create a new competition for them to play in off his own back, yet he did. Meanwhile the organisation that was meant to manage the issue stood idly by as livelihoods were cut. The actions of the likes of Cameron Clyne, Raelene Castle and others seemed unprofessional and resulted in a poorly managed mess. Need I remind you of the 51-second press conference late last year regarding Wallabies performance?
Twiggy’s efficiency is something the governing body could benefit from.
So this got me thinking: with the potential for financial ruin seemingly on Rugby Australia’s horizon, could Andrew Forrest waltz his way into head office at Moore Park and take it for free to build it back up from the ground? I mean, this financial year RA are set to make an $8 million loss – potentially more if Folau gets paid out – so why not?
Probably not, but there’s a thought!