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Brett McKay

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Joined September 2008

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Brett McKay is one of The Roar's good news stories and has been a rugby and cricket expert for the site since July 2009. Brett is an international and Super Rugby commentator for ABC Grandstand radio, is the voice of ACT club rugby, has commentated on Under-20s Championships, Women's Uni Sevens and National Rugby Championship coverage, and has written for magazines and websites in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and the UK. He tweets from @BMcSport.

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In fairness, Nate, the suggestion was made – or at the very least alluded to – at the end of last year about the Kookaburras being permanently adopted, but that certainly hasn’t happened and nor has it been explained why something that seemed likely last year suddenly wasn’t this year…

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Bakkies this whole “it is very difficult for those who are to be attached to what is supposed to be a representative team playing in a brand and a jersey of a team they despise” came up the other week, and so I’ll say the same thing now as I said then (and which drew no response from the Roarer making the claim).

It’s true I’m not attached to any ACT club, but I’m out and around all of them and plenty of people know of my attachment to the NRC coverage. I’m yet to have anyone tell me they actively avoid the (NRC) Vikings because the Vikings Group are running the program. I’m yet to have anyone express even mild annoyance that the Vikings Group are running the NRC program.

I have had plenty of people say they hope player X gets a run in the NRC, because everyone wants their club reps involved in the highest level possible.

I’m sure there is some mild annoyance that the Vikings Group run the program, for what it’s worth, but I don’t think it’s anywhere near the stumbling block you’re suggesting here.

In fact, I’ve really only seen you and (strangely) Sheek continue to trot this line out, and I have to say it amuses me, simply because of the sheer lack of evidence…

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

You could’ve said something nice about the Vikings and completed the set, mzil!! 😆

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

I said it last week Chookman, I actually don’t mind not having too much skin in the game, because it lets me enjoy the comp as a whole..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

I get the sentiment Dwards, but with Bond Uni ploughing funding into Qld Country, they would want something back. Country went to Townsville and Mackay this year though, when in some seasons Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast is as far north as they’ve gone. With only four home games, they can’t go everywhere – like NSW Country, it’s much better to have too many regional centres asking for games, than the other way around…

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

(the clarify: every year bar 2014 has seen first and second separated by less than one win… apologies, lack of edit, etc..)

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

We have had that pretty much every season, though, Selector. It’s only 2014 – when Melbourne went unbeaten for eight regular season games – where first and separated by more than one win.

Last year, 1st and 2nd were equal on points, and 3rd-6th were separated by just two. In 2016, there one point between the top two, and three between 4th and 6th. 2015 saw Brisbane City and Canberra split by only their head to head game, and again, only two points split 3rd-6th.

That’s actually been a pretty consistent thing about the NRC, being a short season with (mostly) even teams taking points off each other..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Certainly Arnold knows nothing Wallabies camps yet, Thugby, talking to him down here today. I’m not sure if the Spring tour squad will be named before or after the semis are played, but I don’t believe there’s any issue as regards to Wallabies playing.

The question about the Final is a good one though, and if you remember, Banks (and Taniela Tupou, from memory) was allowed to remain in Australia and play the NRC Final last year, linking up with the tour squad a few days later.

Saw the Jones news. Re RHP, I thought I’d heard a whisper suggesting he might be heading back to Perth? I’ll happily stand corrected..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

I understand the need to work within limitations Dwards, and I even agree that it’s appropriate to operate with smaller budgets for the NRC, to ensure costs don’t blow out. But I’ve also no doubt the NRC and it’s clubs can get more bang for their limited bucks..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

It’s been great to see him open up in space Piru. He’s certainly lost none of his wheels!

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

The game was always going to be Saturday, WCR, because of the not playing on Sunday issue, regardless of where it was played. But the broadcast issue is such that the semi has to go smoothly from a TV front to ensure the Final remains in Fiji. Conversations I’ve had today suggest nothing is locked in yet, and the possibility of the Final not being played in Fiji is real..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

It’s entirely plausible that I’m judging 2018 harshly, WCR, and I’m certainly not going to try and talk anyone out of their thinking that this year is at least on par with previous seasons. It’s actually great that we’re trying to think critically about the playing quality.

And to remove any shred of doubt, I’ve again loved the rugby on show.

Absolutely agree about your ‘next step’ points…

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

the system does work…

Vikings prop Vunipola Fifita was today confirmed as the Brumbies’ last piece of the 2019 puzzle, signing a one-year deal.

Fifita jumped at the chance to come down to Canberra and play in the NRC after not hearing from either NSW side, three weeks in he’s having a meeting with Brumbies coach Dan McKellar, who he’d not spoken to at all and actually thought he might have done something wrong when called in, and now a month later, he’s signed their last contract for next season.

Can’t wait to start learning from and training with Sio, Ala’alatoa and Slipper, already making arrangements to move his family down from Sydney..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Oh, it will be FF. Force-Drua and City-Vikings last weekend was a great warm-up for the semis, I’m quite sure…

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

What are you thinking now, John?

I’m genuinely torn, for what it’s worth. Could make a strong case for all four teams winning this weekend..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Yeah, I didn’t have error numbers either, unfortunately, RahRah. It was a pretty basic set of numbers.

It’s an interesting point about Andrew Forrest, and he did make the offer to be the naming rights sponsor. I wonder what a consolidated WSR/NRC could look like in 2021? Be interesting, wouldn’t it…

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Good that the Drua have been allowed to host the semi in Fiji, too, Oscar. There were genuine concerns about the quality of broadcasts coming back, and even their ability to handle the quick turn around with logistics. A good outcome that these have all been resolved..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

reckon I might aim for the same number by FT..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Reckon it all comes down to how they start, Fionn. The last thing the Vikings will want is to chase the game in the first half..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

Jamie, it’s certainly not and there has certainly been regular improvement over the first four season, undoubtedly.

Interestingly, I’ve only just this week been thinking that maybe 2018 hasn’t quite got to 2017’s level – but that’s more for the fact that the top four was pretty clear this year, whereas last year there were still six teams in contention going into the final round. The rugby’s been great again, but I’m not quite sure the overall competition got to the same level this year.

Reckon the talk of Samoan/Tongan sides joining the NRC will remain talk for a while yet. I’ve actually thought for a while Samoa might end up joining the M10C in NZ, and maybe one of them or Tonga still could. If World Rugby is talking to RA about the idea, I’m sure NZR is part of the conversation, too..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

The Vikings are feeling pretty good about their performances in pretty ordinary conditions two games in a row, now, too. They certainly feel the best equipped to drag the Drua into the type of contest they actively prefer to avoid..

The four we always suspected are through, but who makes the NRC final?

OK, so my suspicion was right – before Hawera on Sunday, Cooper kicked 2/2 PGs in Rd.5 v Qld Country, and missed one the week before. 9/10 PGs in 2018 to date.

In 2017, we saw 21/26 PGs kicked, though only Tayler Adams (NSWC) and Bryce Hegarty (SYD) kicked more than one in a game (both 2/2). The Drua’s Apisolome Waqatabu missed two PG attempts in the final round.

Here’s something, too: last year, and pretty much the first four seasons, the goal-kicking competition-wide was at 70% (69% for conversions).

In 2018, it’s up to 75% – and with three regular kickers in the 90% +/- range. Finally, an improvement!!

The Wrap: Truth the first casualty in rugby’s propaganda wars

Geoff, I’ll confirm this later tonight, but I’m sure Quade Cooper kicked two penalties in a game only a couple of weeks ago. And last year, there were around 20 PGs kicked across the 39 games, so fair chance there were two kicked in the same game last year too.

All up, I think we’ve had ~10 kicked this season..

The Wrap: Truth the first casualty in rugby’s propaganda wars

Interesting discussion, guys.

Rob, I think I can see where you’re coming from, but my immediate response is to simply say that the NRC doesn’t have to be an either/or thing.

There’s no reason why the competition can’t engage new and existing fans more (and it probably wouldn’t take a lot, which Andy quite right outlines was my point here), AND for the competition to then become a revenue-generating product, even if any gains are just ploughed straight back into the comp in terms of higher player payments and increased marketing.

I don’t see the two as being mutually exclusive.

In fact, no only do I not see it as either/or, but a direct link from one to the next. A greater fan engagement will result in increased interest, which drives higher crowds and TV ratings, which then generates more TV ad revenue and TV rights values.

If Super Rugby is viewed as being the international provincial comp it is, then the NRC is by default the highest level of rugby played in Australia. That’s absolutely something that fan engagement can be pinned too, and from there, there’s no reason why revenue growth and turnover – even staying at a smaller scale compared to Super Rugby – can’t be achieved..

Another great NRC season, but we know it could be better

HA!! Great comment, 15 hours and 80-odd comments after being published, what scything insight!! 😆

Another great NRC season, but we know it could be better