The Roar
The Roar


Roar Guru

Joined February 2008







Rugby Tragic, love all facets of the sport.



Roar Guru
Roar Guru

An update on my rugby tribe

I wrote an article on this site a few years ago entitled ‘The anatomy of the tribe‘, and while I thought it was one of my best pieces – and I still do – it attracted only four comments, and one of them was mine.

Thanks all – 11 comments this time.
It’s an interesting reflection that when we write about grassroots Rugby only a few seem interested. We all seem to be able to commentate on the big issues, but not the smaller ones.
It always reminds me of an old joke that I heard – 2 guys talking about family, etc, and one says to the other ..”in my house, my wife makes all the small decisions, like which school the kids should go to, what sort of car we should have, buying all the clothes, and running the household budget, etc etc and I make all the big ones, like whether America should go to war with China, and how the policitians should run the country..”
Kind of encapsulates it.
Yet grassroots Rugby is the heart and soul of our game. I get way more fulfillment out of spending a Saturday at my club watching my team(s) go around than I ever will writing or reading or commenting on this website.
Gentlemen, if contributing to this eminent website is your only Rugby involvement can I encourage you to get down to your local club, whether it be Premier, or Subbies, or a bush club and enjoy a Saturday of watching young blokes running around.
Put your hand up for a job – there is always room for one more volunteer. Then you will truly get the sense of it

An update on my rugby tribe

My sentiments, entirely.

Oh to be a fly on the wall at Rugby Australia

Disagree with several of your points and I am not saying that the players or coaches are doing it wrong – womens and under 20s’s going gangbusters – its the management decisions that need to be looked at. The whole concept of going back to our roots may well be forced on us and we should be prepared for it.

Oh to be a fly on the wall at Rugby Australia


I was really throwing out a broad philosophy, and my draft was heavily edited.
For example I made the comment that some Wallabies pull on the Wallaby jersey more times in a year than they pull on their club or state jersey.

Like you I have always advocated for a national top down and bottom up approach. With each state fielding a team in a Sheffield Shield – style arrangement.

Bring the Country teams into the Shute Shield and the Hospitatl Cup, maybe expand the Premier competions to the likes of Newcastle, Central Coast, Sunshine Coast and Townsville.

That way you streamline the structure and get closer to a national club competition. Build up that way and get local sponsors in, be semi-pro and build it into something where ultimately at least the state teams are fully pro and the clubs semi-pro. Then people will chase contracts to the “weaker” states.
The problem with Rugby people is they always want change, but they always want it NOW!

Give it time, and let it develop.

In the current climate, Rugby in Australia is on its knees, financially and as the old saying goes: ..”If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got”.

The current system is broke and we need to fix it, and all ideas should be on the table

I understand everyone’s concerns, but the point is that now is a great time to be testing alternative theories.

Oh to be a fly on the wall at Rugby Australia

Your point that “change takes courage” is very true, Brett to which I would add .. “Rugby people always want change and they always want it NOW!”
They killed the ARC after only two seasons and already the NRC, which I think is a brilliant comp has it naysayers. As usual there are the old trusted furphies that the Brumbies must merge with just about anyone else, and the armchair experts of the east coast continue to postulate that there has to be a club competition that protects the Sydney and Brisbane clubs, yet those competitions have been running for over 140 years, and they have never come up with a workable solution.
There are too many Tests and interstate games, but the quandary is that RA depends on them for their revenues.
It seems to me, Brett, that we all need to take a deep breath and really work out what it is we want out of all this and we all know that a crisis creates opportunities.
A great time to throw all ideas on the table and start from scratch.
My personal preference is for a bottom up approach – juniors, clubs (subbies and premier) leading to state selection, leading to Wallabies selection, with a State based (Sheffield Shield-style) comp leading to nationsl selection.
Encourage Free to Air participation, or do what they are doing in the US Major League Rugby and streaming via Facebook. With a structured competition, entrepreneurs will get on board, so we need to come up with a uniform way to encourage those enterpreneurs to come out of the woodwork and do what they do best – think outside the square and innovate. Start a dedicated Rugby channel. Whatever.
At the same time, you could have an interstate challenge trophy which could be the national club championship that people want – the top club side from each state coming together every, say four weeks ,with a bye round in the normal club roster.
Of course, people will say that that would never work as the Qld and NSW club sides are just too strong – well that gets back to my original point that you have to take time – maybe five years, by which time, if we work hard at it, the top clubs become semi-professional, then fully professional, and then players will move around and chase contracts.
PATIENCE is the word.
Cricket has T-20 – we have 7’s so I would absolutely encourage the growth of sevens tournaments, with local sponsors, and prize money. Same with 15’s with lots of local sponsors coming out of the woodwork. Don’t rely on RA to save the game – we need to take charge and innovate.
If NSW and Qld feel aggrieved, then by all means, let them, maybe expand their reach to include clubs from larger regjonal centres, such as Central Coast and Newcastle or Gold Coast, Sunny Coast and Townsville.
Find a way to provide a country base for the NSW and Qld country sides, and include them in the club setup, rather than looking at them as a Rep team. Theyt should be feeding into the state setup just like everyone else.
Finally, more Barbarians games.

What really is News Corp's rugby end game?

That is sad news about Rugby USA – hopefully they have filed for protection and can get back on their feet, at the end of it.
You are right in saying that everything is on the table. Right now, at HQ, I’m guessing that they are in survival mode and not really thinking outside the square.
If Rugby is smart it can play on its tribalism, just as Rugby League and Aussie Rules have always done, but we are coming off a lower base and have a great opportunity. Whatever form it takes, we can fill grounds, Free to Air TV and even live streaming services can promote the game. Put the responsibility on the Clubs to get out there and really sell the game in the community. This may be forced on us, because, if the virus really stuffs everything up we could all go back to being amateur sports and if that was the case I would back Rugby and Soccer to emerge as winners.
If there are no big stadium games for the League faithful, will those folks support grassroots Rugby League? My guess is not. That’s where we step into the vacuum.
We may also see a contraction of inbound and outbound Test tours, and maybe that’s not a bad thing. We have gotten to a position that Tests are almost just a super club comp, whereas they should have “rare and special” status.

So, I could see a structure where you have your club competition creating champions, then maybe a competition between States (maybe even State of Origin style), then annual Tests, but not too many of them, and then once the coffers start to fill up, some real Test Tours.

Also a great opportunity to make Barbarians Rugby something special, …… and of course Sevens – more grassroots comps, then a pyramid, leading to state champs, then National Champs.

A few ideas to get peoples’ creative juices flowing.

Everything will be on the table when rugby eventually returns

..and apologies to WA – I forgot to mention Perth. With any luck, Twiggy will buy out RA and the Force will become a force to be reckoned with,

The rugby calendar of the future

Oh, yeah, here we go again..

“Possible others” – Canberra, Melbourne

Get with the program, Sunshine! Who is leading the Australian conference? Who has won more Super Rugby and NRC titles? Not NSW, and definitely not Qld.

Hang your head in shame mate – a couple of years ago, I watched a team of blokes picked out of Sydney clubs get an absolute flogging from the Brumbies Runners.

When are you people going to work out that a lot of very good and high standard Rugby is played outside of Sydney and Brisbane?

How are the Waratahs going so far, this season?

If you want to have a proper club competition, pick the best 2 or 3 clubs from every city, even including Darwin, Newcastle, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast and Townsville, then we will see an interesting standard of Rugby. There are clubs in the capital cities that do not deserve to be included.

Anyway, who is going to finance it post Covid-19?

The rugby calendar of the future

How about merging the Reds and the Waratahs?

RUPA encouraged before Rugby Australia meeting

You’d have to concede that, with AFL stuttering to a stop, it less likely than not that RA’s hand will be forced

Will the new Super Rugby even get off the ground?

Might even be possible to bring back some of the NH players who aren’t playing at present – such as Coleman and White, which would then make them eligible for test selection, travel bans of course, being a bit of an obstacle

Force to make comeback as Rugby AU announce domestic comp for remainder of Super Rugby season

Details, as yet are virtually non-existent, but an analysis of the remainder of the season showed that each Super Rugby team has at least four local derbies still to be played and that is why the Western Force would slot in perfectly.

Given that the Australian government has decreed that all games must be played behind closed doors, with no crowds, it would make sense for all teams to relocate to one city as their training base and play all matches at one venue.

At the end of the day, this is being done for TV audiences, so it would make sense that there is one central TV setup for all games.

They could play doubleheaders, say at 5 pm and 7 pm, as Perth, the home audience of Western Force is two hours behind the eastern cities,

It gives them the opportunity to play in smaller stadiums, use special effects, crowd noise etc. It means the various media outlets can all be represented with their correspondents all in the one place.

Makes complete sense and cuts down on a lot of travel.

Force to make comeback as Rugby AU announce domestic comp for remainder of Super Rugby season

By my reckoning:-
Brums have 4 local derbies left;
Rebels have five;
Tahs have six;
Reds have six;
Sunwolves have five.
Maybe a plan for the next 4 weeks could be worked out (by a better mathematician than me)

Brumbies hopeful of continuing Super surge despite corona threat

Great news! You can see that Slips is clearly enjoying his time there, and giving back
Even though I now live in Brisbane I have a very soft spot for Canberra, where I lived for 16 years, and I am a rusted on Brumbies fan, and always will be. Every interstate player comes to Canberra for a chance and the tight knit community takes them in.
When the Brumbies first got going, all of those interstaters lived in one apartment block in Manuka, the Oakton Apartments, known affectionately as “Melrose Place” and trained nearby at a suburban ground in Griffith that was open to anyone. Their headquarters was the old Easts clubhouse next door, and they were frequently seen around the coffee shops of Manuka, and accessible to the public. They were very quickly adopted by the locals and the wider community, so much so that they often got the prime “real estate” on the back page of the Canberra Times and forced the Raiders off it, but there is no less love for the Raiders because in a ‘one team’ town for both codes, most people supported both.
The private schools in Canberra play in the Saturday club comp (which means that the clubs lose them as juniors, so no Rugby on Sundays, which is when the Junior RL is played, thus, a good many of the kids play both codes on a weekend.
The Brumbies squad players not picked in the match day 23 are all required to play for their local clubs, which is a move that Jake White instituted so the local John I Dent Shield is laced with Brumbies and Academy players.
The Brumbies administer the whole of southern NSW from just south of Nowra all the way to the border – an area known as Southern Inland, and the Monaro region, which also means that, in the juniors there are great trips to Jindabyne to play the Bushpigs, Broulee (the Dolphins), Bungendore (“the Mudchooks”), Cooma, Goulburn and Yass (with the obligatory stop off at the wineries on the way home).
Great days and a great Rugby town – can fully understand James’ enthusiasm.

Slipper gets two-year extension with Brumbies and Rugby Australia

I share your sentiments – punish the player but not the team, or the crowd, who pay good money to come and watch – I wrote about it here 2 years ago and I still think my ideas are relevant –

How to fix another red card ruining rugby

Hooper has been the best in his position so far this year and should be about the only Tah picked. As far as kickers go, you would have to include Hodge in the squad

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

I think Toomua is improving every game, and will be first pick.

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

Rangi is going well enough to be included at No 2 – Neville is playing better than anyone expected and has seamlessly replaced Arnold. Hard to leave out Samu. Is JP Smith eligible?

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

A good round up.
As far as a Wallabies forwards coach goes, you could do a lot worse than Laurie Fisher, who, I suspect is the real forwards coach at the Brumbies. Surprising that his name is not in the mix.

Half a dozen rounds in, here are six Super Rugby takeaways for Dave Rennie and the Wallabies

Leaving aside any questions about which way his swing, I think he was just trying to milk a red card. Too bad for him that the camera got him, a slightly different angle and he was home free!
Wynn Jones was probably too surprised to overreact!

Marler cited for squirrel grip on Jones

An absolute travesty last year and just reinforced why Cheika had to go – imagine if he was coaching this year with all the new talent – would they get a run?

Anyway, as they say – what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Tommy only has Dane Haylett-Petty as his most serious challenger and even though I am a one-eyed rusted on Brumby fan, you cannot deny that DHP has probably shaded Tom in the last couple of weeks.

What will be telling is how Noah Lolesio organises his backline and how Tom’s new found freedom to “pop up” (which I think was always there) will work.

Tom Banks busting his way into Wallaby gold

I put a lot of it down to the Pulver – Cheika era – Rugby was flapping in the breeze, Cronyism was rife in selections and fringe players looked overseas to better their chances- for example, it’s interesting that you have Ben Meehan in the starting side for London Irish with Nick Phipps coming off the bench), and who is Dave Porecki?
In literally one sentence on one day a couple of weeks ago, Mr Rennie made it clear that there would be no favourites – we’ll have to wait and see how that plays out, but it must have given every Super Rugby player hope.

That, couple with teh exodus of many senior players, being replaced by the incoming mob of Under 20’s and the NRC unearthing talent, I think things are on the up, personally

The Wrap: Lazy thinking reinforces rugby’s negative narrative

Great article, Nick – someone raised the question “is he too small?” – I don’t think size matters, but he, like many good number 10’s has a low to ground, forward leaning running style and is reminiscent of Larkham and Lynagh in that. Coupled with being quick off the mark, he has that ability to slide through and then power out of a hole, and free his hands.

I think that the other aspect of the Brumbies game was that when they did kick, it was into the grandstand, thus depriving the Chiefs of the ability to counter with broken field running.

Finally, their ball handling at pace and preparation for contact show just how well they are coached.

Can Noah Lolesio be Australia’s triple threat at No.10?

It seems to me that she has manouevred them into a situation where they now have to win a competitive tender – all this stuff about free-to-air, national club competition, televising the Shute Shield seems mere puffery.

They have taken onboard everything the Roarers, and we mere mortals, have been ranting about the last year or so, and are using it to guage popular opinion. Doesn’t mean any of it will be implemented and at the end of it all, they will march to the tune of the successful bidder.

It seems to me that the only way a National Club competition could work would be as a Challenge Cup with, say, two or three clubs from Sydney, two from ACT, Melbourne and Perth and, say, one from each of Darwin or Townsville – with no guarantees – in other words, the top 3 or 2 or 1 in that city, in that year. They have a champions league in Europe but there they can fill stadiums. If you are not one of the fans or the tribe of participating clubs, you probably don’t watch it.

Unless you do it that way, all that happens is that some clubs become strong and rich, at the expense of the others, who go into decline.

Personally, I think that the answer is to expand the NRC, and with Free to Air programming it will eventually get traction, and let players move around from state to state. 12 teams – 3 teams Qld, 3 from NSW, 1 from ACT, 2 from Vic, 2 from WA. 1 from NT – play 6 rounds in 2 conferences with a finals series.
I don’t understand why tinkering with a newish competition is wise – can’t we just let it evolve into something meaningful?

RA boss expects Fox Sports broadcast bid

You’re right about one thing, Carlos – you are definitely a pessimist.

Wrapping up Round 1 of Major League Rugby