I was reviewing the Waratah’s team selection prior to tomorrow night’s game at Suncorp Stadium, savouring a pre-game gloat about the obvious superiority of the Queensland Reds.
Not many pundits are giving the rejuvenated Tahs much of a chance and I think the Reds have the ability to get the job done at home, but from their player list it is clear that the Tahs aren’t going to be a foe for the Reds to underestimate.
Of the Tahs backs we can see from last season showed that their halves partnership is very good, and their outside backs can slice and dice any team given a whiff of space. Furthermore, they have picked up former Red outside centre Izaia Perese, an aggressive player who always played out of his skin for the Reds and who has the skills, strength and speed to back the effort up.
In the forwards, they boast a couple of up-and-coming Wallabies props, with a couple of grizzled old veterans in on the bench together with some excellent risers at hooker and on the flanks. In the engine room, the Tahs appear to have bought with muscle in mind, with monster Kiwi lock Sam Caird and the experienced Jack Whetton.
None of this indicates that the Reds are up for a walk in the park, particularly since influential players like Lukhan Salakaia-Loto and skipper Liam Wright are not available for this game.
(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
However the man wedged at the rear of the scrum, a most appropriate description for reasons about to become apparent, should be of the most interest to the Reds this game. This is of course none other than Jack Dempsey, the Waratahs player who unleashed the dreaded atomic wedgie on the big friendly giraffe of Queensland rugby, Angus Blyth, when these teams last met in Sydney last year.
Dempsey, whose namesake was an American boxer, former heavyweight champion of the world from 1919 to 1926, may have demonstrated a similar willingness to maul his opponents in the ring in 2020. However, in 2021 he appears to have contemplated payback by the Reds and but for seeing out his contract with the Waratahs, is skulking off to France at the end of the season.
Perhaps Dempsey, whose name would be passable for a pirate, thought Queenslanders would forget his cheeky act? Good luck with that Jack, Queenslanders never forget an injustice inflicted by a New South Welshman, much less one where the scurvy dog causes one of our favourite sons to go “Arrrrrrrrrrgh!”
It is clear that Dempsey must experience justice Queensland-style with an atomic wedgie in return, in the two Reds-Waratahs games before he is sitting too comfortably, sipping champagne on a flight to Paris.
(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
It would have course be poetic justice if Big Angus were to have the satisfaction himself, he is after all five inches taller than Dempsey, which means that Dempsey’s y-fronts would find their way five inches further north than he was able to inflict on our man. If that hasn’t wrecked him by the end of the game, it is hard to know what would.
However, given the limited time remaining, perhaps Blyth would settle for offering a bounty to the player who manages to do the deed on his behalf, a bottle of decent Scotch or a donation to a favourite charity perhaps? There are no ifs or butts, by whatever means the Reds must exact revenge on that bum Dempsey. It has been said that rugby isn’t tiddlywinks, but it also isn’t quoits and since experience is the suppository of all wisdom, it is up to Queenslanders to step in again and help the misguided kid learn the error of his ways.
So go forth Queensland Reds, don’t forget to play your hardest because these Tahs may be better than they are given credit for, but also have a crack at Dempsey and win the booty if you get your chance. But if Blyth gets a whiff of his target then get out of his way, because his surname also has some nautical history behind it and there would be nothing better in this game than for him to make Dempsey go “Arrrrrrrrrrrrgh!”
The Reds’ 41-7 victory over the Waratahs on Saturday night at Suncorp Stadium was a promising start for Brad Thorn’s values-based coaching project at Ballymore, one that the Reds faithful all fervently hope will lead to rewards in terms of silverware.