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The Roar

Luke Ringland

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Joined November 2012

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Yeah, exactly, something like this. I’m open to a rest of Aus third rep team if a viable model could be established. But to me, one of the main points of this between NRC and Wallabies tier is to try and fill stadiums, and basically be a cash cow, and show piece for the game.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Based on, or built upon?

But this is perhaps where we differ. I see rugby as more analogous to the regional AFL teams like the Crows and the Eagles. These are built ON the grassroots strength of the game in those cities, but there was recognition of the value of coming together for a national comp, which required some consolidation.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Please help me understand what elitism are you talking about.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Not sure I understand what you mean. I’m talking about leaning into the national footprint of the game by making the NRC the heart of rugby in this country. What we need is for the Shute Shield and it’s equivalent in Brisbane to really get behind it instead of clinging to the past. So I think we agree…

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

“Melbourne people don’t care about global”.
Disagree. They care a lot. They LOVE their AFL, but I detect a nagging insecurity, or perhaps just a feeling of lack, that AFL is not an international game. They generally jump all over international sporting fixtures. There is also the fact Melbourne is full of ex-pats from rugby countries. League doesn’t scratch that itch.
Why do I think League in Melbourne has probably hit it’s high watermark (this of course does not mean it will fall off a cliff into the abyss)? Simple really. How can they possibly top the current era of success? They love winning, doesn’t, and so they love the Storm. Can they maintain this run? Doubtful.
I just had a little google. Couldn’t find much accept that there are apparently 26 union clubs in Victoria versus 13 league clubs.
Finally, when I lived in Melbourne, I encountered open hostility from locals towards rugby league, but not to rugby. Anecdotal of course, but still

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

On the face you make a strong argument. But I still see rugby having more potential for the reasons I outlined. Rugby is global, and so is Melbourne.

Firstly, the Storm have been extremely successful, and this helps a lot. They have had the full and extensive market machine of the NRL behind them, had enormous success and had talismatic stars. The Rebels haven’t come close to that. If they had, you never know…

Secondly, and most importantly, I’d be interested to see player numbers. There’s a thriving club rugby seen in Melbourne. League, I just don’t see the potential. I’d say it’s more or less highest watermark now. Decline is probably coming.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

I agree with you about the main thing being public schools.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

Thanks for your thoughts mate, very interesting and informative.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

They won’t be super level. They’ll be representative teams probably playing no more than half a dozen games a year, where international based players will be expected to show for. There’ll be no Waratahs/reds development squads, no academies, no preseason. Under this plan that’d all be done at NRC level. The point that this is where the heart of rugby development needs to be in Australia, precisely because BECAUSE rugby is not just Queensland and NSW. But, they are, whether you want to admit it or not, L much much bigger markets, and so they need rep teams to take advantage of this.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

In hindsight it’s interesting to me that I didn’t include the private schools as a strength. Their dominance is such a feature of the rugby environment you’d think obviously we need to lean into that. So what does that look like? Twist the arm of the GPS and CAS to play more games against public schools? I’m not sure. But the point of a strengths based analysis is you focus on making the most of what you have.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

I agree.
The Brumbies pains me, because in their time and place they have been EXTREMELY valuable to Rugby in Australia. And I don’t mean to minimise that. But a national competition is the right place for the organics, for want of a better word, of that market and player base. Raiders fans were bummed they didn’t win the NRL, rather than the absence of an ACT going toe to toe with the Blues and Maroons. Melbourne fans aren’t yelling out for a VIC. They have their teams in the national competition. I believe Rugby is stronger than league in Melbourne in particular, and certainly Perth, so who knows what a decade of a successful NRC could harbring.

A strengths-based plan for rugby in Australia

The Brumbies game was by far the midst frustrating. It reminded me so much of many recent Wallabies performances against the ABs. Critical errors and turnovers at basically the most inopportune moment possible. The best example was 22-8 Canes and the Bunnies have just defended really well, won a scrum and then a scrum penalty. Simone fails to find touch. As with such moments against the ABs, I just KNEW there was absolutely no chance they were going to win. The Hurricanes are just too good for that.

It was dissapointing, but also enlightening as far as player prospects, to see the Brumbies so tactically exposed in the kicking duel. Banks in particular looked flustered and as though he lacked the instincts to know when to kick and when to run. The result was a hodgepodge that ultimately resulted in his side losing ground or turning it over. I for one am hoping that we get to see some of Beale at 15 for the Tahs this year, otherwise it is pretty clear that DHP is the most reliable 15 in Australian Rugby.

A note on Quade. He’s still not doing it for me. Some beautiful touches, but that’s what you expect from him. I want to see him string some games together where I don’t find myself saying “absolutely dumb moment to try that”. It wasn’t that he pushed some passes that didn’t come off, it’s that he did in at times when the opposition was on the the ropes and composure and execution of basics was needed. IMO the risky stuff needs to be tried when the game needs breaking open, not when a break has been made and they’re in the opposition 22. It strikes me as a lack of composure that will certainly loose big matches. It is early, but to me, the signs are not good. That Rebels team should have won that game by much more.

The 2019 challenge: Creating front-foot ball when the back foot isn’t moving

I’ve heard the “Beale is no good under the high ball” narrative a lot, and I just don’t see it. He’s not the best around, but I would not say he is weak. Surely he wouldn’t have been considered one of the best in the English Premiership playing 15 if that were so? Cold, wet, lots of kicking…
And since he came back from England he’s been playing mostly 12, and even some 10 for good measure. I personally think he is Australia’s best broken field playmaker, and the thought of him operating in the backfield with weapons like Folau and Banks is mouth watering. His kicking game is good enough, too.
Anyway, time will tell. I should think Gibson’s hand will be forced in terms of putting Hunt at 12 for the Tahs, and moving Beale to the back.
Anyway, my point is that this article is a veiled long rant about Foley, which is based on long running frustrations about his Wallaby form. It’s a dog whistle for those on here who highly critical of the selections of Hannigan and Phipps, the latter of whom hasn’t played yet!
Just a poorly timed and toned article all around.

The Wallabies need to drop some of their Waratahs stalwarts

There is a lot of hot air going on. Cheika clearly likes both Kerevi and Petaia, and that was before their performance against the Chiefs this week. Rodda was one of the best for the Reds pack and Cheika likes him too. If I’m not mistaken Steward has trained with the Wallabies and has clearly been earmarked for higher duties in the not too distant future.

His time at number 12 could be up, and not before time, but I don’t hear anyone really calling for Beale to be out of the Wallaby 23. Beale the super sub is a minimum, given his PROVEN game breaking abilities. The speed of Banks on weekend was really very impressive. Personally, I don’t see any problem in picking him in a starting back three unit for the Wallabies that also includes Beale.

So really, this is all about Foley. And fair enough. But hopefully the Wallaby 10 will be picked on Foley’s form over a season, particularly in big games, and who of the others has done enough to usurp him. Time will tell.

The Wallabies need to drop some of their Waratahs stalwarts

Ha ha, double desperation maybe.

Handscomb and the spotlight on being different

There have certainly been batsman in the past with deceptive awkwardness in one area of their game, who didn’t actually get out that way much. A good example of that would be Steve Waugh. Rarely ever played a pull or hook shot and generally looked terrible against the rising ball into the rib cage. But yet, it wasn’t actually a weakness, it just looked bad. Bowlers bowled short at hime in lieu of focusing on what was his actual weakness, which was the big waft outside the off stump. The approach of the then great West Indies fast bowlers is the prime example.
Contrast this with Michael Bevan. Many would say that he was harshly dealt with at test level, and I would agree. But it must be said, he looked awkward against the short ball AND he got out to it a lot. The perception was he had been found out, and this was fatal flaw he would never overcome. It didn’t help that there was a LOT of quality Australian batsman in that era.
And so to Handscomb. He looks awkward against the in swinging full ball AND he gets out to it. He makes it way too easy for top class bowlers to have a plan against him. As Warnie likes to say, having a plan is one of the most important things for a bowler, and you would extrapolate from this that one of the most important things for a batsman to is a way to either nullify a bowler’s plan, or make him scratch his head about what the plan should be. At the moment, Handscomb is seemingly powerless to do either.
So for me, the writing is on the wall for him unless he is able to somehow turn what will forever be the plan of bowlers against him into a liability. If he can work out how to nullify this plan, bowlers will forever be wasting their time bowling there instead of staying in the corridor, which as many on here have pointed out, is essentially the ultimate “weakness” of all batsman.

Handscomb and the spotlight on being different

I don’t think the problem is “boundaries and power” as a focus per se. Rather, I think it’s about the hot blooded way in which we applied ourselves them.

Our batsman seem to have two speeds. Block and tonk. Too much blocking ends up leading to a rash shot.

To help myself feel better after the match I was watching some YouTube clips of Ricky Ponting in his prime. The clips were were of course highlights, but boundary after beautifully hit boundary was on show. On one occasion something was very telling when he brought up his 50: it had come off about 80 balls. This means that there must have been a lot of blocking and leaving, and powerful, aggressive batting.

What is key is that the power and aggression was controlled, and to a degree, cold blooded. He waited for the right balls, and then wasn’t afraid to absolutely punish them. Too many times in this test I saw our batsman play timidly to balls that were much worse than the ball they ended up getting out to playing a rash stroke.

Obviously the batsman in test history who can command that cold-blooded aggression with Ricky Ponting at his best aplomb are few and far between. But my amateur psychologist instinct tells me that it is has to do with the fear of getting dropped. Too many of our guys are playing for their spots at the same time. They ignore opportunities to get aggressive, but eventually they can’t help themselves.

The comparison with the tail is stark (ha ha!). This was what decent batsman could do to the Indian attack (and I will grant you they were more tired bowling to our tail than at the beginning of each innings) when they didn’t fear getting out. If our top order guys had given themselves this freedom, sure, some would have got out, but I think we win this test. 30 runs in controlled aggressive boundaries would have been easily had.

In the end, it’s the hope that kills you…

Yes, all a bit baffling isn’t it. I still think the now trite but nevertheless pretty spot on reflection about white ball cricket being the culprit is spot on.

It wasn’t that long ago after all that we were talking about Steve Smith being the only Aussie who could leave the wide ball!

I think it must just come down to instinct. The boys are out there nervous, and in that situation it seems the “throw the bat at it” program was just too dominant for the “leave it” one to overcome.

In many ways they did it right. If you’re gonna go go hard. On another day Kohli gets four runs and goes on with it. But I think ultimately its about the ratio of leaves to swipes, and then the need after a few early wickets to put it to bed entirely for a while a la Pujura.

India thought they were batting in India. But they were not. It was Adelaide

I really hate that I agree with so much of the saturating cynicism about these selections.

I really hate Foley at 12 so so much. And whilst I don’t share the intense derision of Phipps, Gordon played well. He’s the future. Surely he deserves the bench spot?

Haylet-Petty. Surely he’s fullback or bust?

The one area I disagree with the crowd is Maddocks. I actually rate him a lot. The love affair with Banks is way over-the-top, though I do agree he should have had a few runs by now.

Pocock passed fit for England showdown

For a while now I’ve felt as though there has been a certain amount of disrespect shown to the inside centre position. Rarely, if ever, have the top sides from recent years just picked a straight up 10 to play there. It is more common that players who are better suited to 12 are picked at 10.

Even in the best Waratah performances with Beale at 12, I’ve thought to myself that he is not a real 12. He doesn’t defend at 12 and often plays first receiver. Beale’s role has been to basically be a hybrid 10, 12, 15. Foley was supposed to be a what exactly?

Great rugby teams have had great out and out 12s. It is an important position that has, or at least should have, it’s own attributes. Even when calling it “dual playmaking”, it is still the case that someone has to have the ability to truck it up and engage defenders inside. The important ball carrying of Crotty and Aki was on show against Ireland, that’s for sure.

A note on Ireland. Take nothing away from what was a fantastic performance in the conditions. But it was a wet, cold, greasy night. My question is, could they have won that game in better conditions? My answer would be “not if that’s all they’ve got on attack”. I actually thought their attack was quite one-dimensional, which of course was right for the conditions, but do they actually have more? Remember that in better conditions the ABs would surely put on a couple of tries. Could the Irish have stayed with them? I’m not so sure….

Wallabies defeat Italy, but the RWC 2019 cause still looks hopeless

One thing I noticed was how deep Foley was standing. There is no doubt that the quality of rush defences in test rugby is very high at the moment, but surely the way to deal with that is not simply to stand deep and shovel?

There is definitely something not working well between the 9-10-12 spine of this team, and hasn’t been for a while. Could shifting Toomua to 10 help wtih this? Maybe, but not if the coaching team aren’t providing the direction.

Beale’s natural instincts only compound the issue. If Beale is to be our 12, then it makes it only more imperative that our 10 be willing to stand flat.

The upshot of course is that it is hard to take much out of the performances of anyone from 13 outwards, as there were VERY few moments in the game where they received the ball in anything other than a situation of pressure created inside them.

The issue of slow ball is also something the forwards must address. It’s like the overly structured nature of our play means players are loosing valuable seconds with that “where should I be standing thought?” The physicality of basically all 8 forwards, perhaps barring Pocock as usual, was surely lacking. Hooper made a number of missed or ineffectual cleanouts today.

Seven talking points from Wallabies v Wales

This is a strong team, and close to the best we can field on attack.

Personally, I’d have Beale at Fullback, Kerevi at 12 and AAC at 13 (holding it warm for Kuridrani), just because I’d really love to see them abandon the moving parts approach to defence, which oppositions have seemingly learnt to exploit.

I’m really looking forward to Kerevi really stepping up and proving my doubts wrong with a strong display against Davis, arguably the smartest 13 in world rugby since Conrad Smith retired.

Go those Wallabies!

Jack Dempsey confirmed in Wallabies team to face Wales

I would have thought the Argie wingers try against the ABs would have got in there actually, cracking stuff.

WATCH: World Rugby reveals try of the year shortlist

Yeah I agree. This was not at all clear from my comment, but I was actually being sarcastic. Whoops, gotta watch that in type format. The calls for certain players seems like a clarion call on these comment threads sometimes.

The NRC has shown us how to improve the Wallabies. Will we listen?

Indeed. Here is my contribution.

“A ferocious cleanout would seem critical to the game plan of any Michael Cheika coached team, yet, the current Wallabies seem to struggle massively in this department. It would appear Cheika believes we have no ready made number six — one of it not THE key clean-out merchant in any side — that possesses both the physicality and mobility required of the job. This is evidenced by the selection at blindside flanker of Ned Hannigan, mobile but lacking physical presence at attacking breakdowns, and Lukhan Tui, clearly well endowed with the ability to smash people but lacking the speed required to be effective in the wider channels.

Where is the Jagues Potgeiters of Australian rugby? And come to think of it, where are all the people who maligned the likes of Wycliff Palu, one of the hardest hitting Wallaby defence and cleanout merchants of recent years?

Who of the next crop will fill this void? If such a player were to emerge — and could jump well in the lineout — one wonders if the anti-Pooper brigade might loose some of their key criticisms of that setup.

Bring back Fardy! Bring back Luke Jones! Sean McMahon? Or is it to be someone new?”

The NRC has shown us how to improve the Wallabies. Will we listen?