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Reilly O'Brien: Time to walk the walk

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Roar Guru
9th July, 2020

Reilly O’Brien – or, if you believe the ‘explanation’, O’Brien’s iPhone – delivered one of the highlights of the 2020 season today, and it’s hopefully a sign of things to come.

In the somewhat apologetic words of the braggadocious Adelaide ruckman, “My phone’s decided to cark it and I’ve had an absolute ‘mare’ on my social media today. It tweeted some of my game notes … I make a few things up, as you can see on the notes, to try and give myself confidence”.

For those who missed it, the ‘offending’ tweet noted, among other things, that upcoming opponent Nic Naitanui is “lazy and unfit … [I] will have a field day getting ball and marking everything”.

It’s the toppest of top-notch trash talk.

O’Brien’s clearly fairly new to the trash-talking scene, as his follow-up note was less of a boast and more of a logically thought-out game plan: “Get to front and have grunt around ground, and get ball on deck, beat him in this area”. He’s learning. though.

Now, some might say that calling an opponent “lazy and unfit” falls more under the crude BASEketball-esque line of psych-outs and isn’t befitting of a professional athlete. Those people have a somewhat valid point. But who doesn’t love to hear athletes come out and publicly say they’re ready to dominate their opponents?

Think back to the glory days of Australian cricket when Glenn McGrath claimed he’d dismiss [insert opposition batsmen] at least four times per innings to match his predictions of an Aussie whitewash no matter who the opponent.


Think of Floyd Mayweather delivering an all-time pre-fight confidence-crusher to Ricky Hatton, with the 50-0 money-making machine stating: “When I retire, I’ll get Ricky Hatton to wash my clothes and cut my lawn and buckle my shoes … He ain’t good enough to be my sparring partner”.

Think Larry Bird exclaiming in the lead-up to winning the three-point contest at the 1986 All-Star weekend that: “I’m just looking around to see who’s going to finish second”.

Think NFL maverick Chad Ochocinco writing an open letter to the NFL in 2012 noting that: “It is against NFL policy to cover Chad Ochocinco man to man … Please note that he is still the most uncoverable receiver in the league. This rule is for the safe of embarrassment to all defensive backs”.

And of course think Muhammad Ali predicting his demolition of Sonny Liston by saying he was “going to build myself a pretty home and use him as a bearskin rug … I’m going to give him to the local zoo after I whup him”.

Of course those listed above thoroughly walked the walk to back up their arrogance. O’Brien recognised this himself, noting that he “really put the pressure on myself now”.


Nevertheless, if the talented young ruck does happen to enjoy a particularly successful outing against the dynamic Nic Naitanui, the public will no doubt be keen for O’Brien’s phone to ‘leak’ match notes admonishing his upcoming opponents.

Or perhaps even mixing it up and (sarcastically) predicting his own downfall at the hands of a fellow ruckman. Wouldn’t that be something?