The Roar
The Roar

Will Knight

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Joined February 2008

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Sport is so simple yet often so complex. Sometimes black and white, more often colourful. I try to make a bit of sense of it - mostly cricket, rugby union and rugby league - but try harder to have a laugh along the way. "We’re going to turn this team around 360 degrees” - Jason Kidd

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Yeah interesting times. Can argue that if players get paid more, then drain to Europe and Japan may lessen. Balance should be better with four SR teams.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

The Waratahs lost to the Southern Kings. At home. At full strength.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Who brought mental health into it? I’ve just plucked that from thin air have I?
Turinui on May 17:
“How the ARU is handling it is an absolute disgrace,” Turinui said.
“We have genuine issues and worries with our players and we’ve been pretty focused that their wellbeing is paramount and this has made that situation really hard for our guys.
“The ARU are putting them in a situation that puts them under extreme stress; it’s not acceptable.”

Yes, mental health is a genuine concern. How can this “extreme stress” be alleviated? Drop the legal action, the ARU makes a call. We move on. Players have clarity.

My argument is simply offering an alternative direction on how to break what seems to be an impasse.

The clubs initiate legal action, but apparently “the ARU are putting them in a situation that puts them under extreme stress”. Remember the ARU wanted to make a call within 48-72 hours.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Nah, Turinui, Cannon raised mental health. Not me.
Nothing to disguise regarding number of Aussie Super Rugby teams. Needs to go to four.
Force season finishes: 14th, 7th, 8th, 8th, 13th, 12th, 14th, 13th, 8th, 15th, 16th, currently 13th
Rebels season finishes: 15th, 13th, 12th, 15th, 10th, 12th, currently 17th
All five teams have been bailed out over the last 6 or so years.
Crowds are down, TV ratings are poor.
Got 12,000 to a Wallabies Test in Melbourne last Saturday.
Haven’t beaten a NZ team this year. Tahs got beaten by the Southern Kings.
Everything is fine. Five teams it is.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

It’s an opinion piece. I’m not representing the Rebels, Force, ARU, RUPA, Waratahs, anyone. I don’t have to be neutral. I can support whatever and whoever.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

What’s more important than mental health? You say a job? Well Cannon talks of the indecision affecting players’ wives and their jobs, kids and their schooling, parents and their care etc. If this uncertainty is as toxic as it sounds, isn’t clarity more important than potentially hanging on to one’s job? RUPA can encourage a quick resolution if the Rebels and Force players can’t wait.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Yes agreed. ARU wanted to make a decision within 48-72 hours. Legal action and threats have lengthened that out to a ridiculous two months. Who knows when the call will be made. But the reason it’s been drawn out has been the legal issues and the potential for the ARU, who have bled cash propping up an unsustainable five Super Rugby teams for years, to be up for millions in legal bills. The PR fallout might prove more costly.
The clubs started the legal action – why is Turinui blaming the ARU for the indecision and uncertainty?! Not down to them only. But to bring mental health into it raises plenty of questions – and arguably makes RUPA’s role more prominent.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Turinui on May 17:

“How the ARU is handling it is an absolute disgrace,” Turinui said.

“We have genuine issues and worries with our players and we’ve been pretty focused that their wellbeing is paramount and this has made that situation really hard for our guys.

“The ARU are putting them in a situation that puts them under extreme stress; it’s not acceptable.”

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

To be fair to Turinui he said this last month:

A former board member of RUPA, Turinui said it needed to do more to represent the players.

“RUPA have been non-existent,” he said.

“They’ve put out a petition on social media and said ‘let’s keep five teams’ but they’ve got 40 per cent of their members under extreme duress and extreme risk of 20 per cent of them losing their job so RUPA need to step up.”

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

… the PR war or the court room battle I meant to say ?

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Great Crazy Horse. Love that attitude. Rip in and settle in for the fight – the PR or the core room battle. I’d just ask that mental health isn’t brought into the debate as some kind of bargaining tool. Otherwise I’d suggest RUPA needs to show some leadership and call for a quick resolution.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

OK – let’s dismiss mental health as an issue in young Aussie men like the Rebels and Force players. Nothing to see here. Turinui is soft or full of it. Either he’s up for the fight – for as long as it takes and as stressful as it gets – or he should move on. Do you think it’s poor form for Turinui to bring mental health into it?!

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

All good points Machooka. I’m all for the Rebels and Force fighting tooth and nail for their survival. And yes, the ARU and SANZAAR have plenty to answer for.

A key point I’m making is bunker down for the scrap – whether that be the PR war or in the court room – but don’t bring mental health into the fight to be used as some kind of quasi bargaining chip if it’s not genuine. And if the stress is too significant – and RUPA should be able to gauge this – then nothing can be more important than young men’s mental wellbeing. Dropping legal action to bring about clarity and clear minds is arguably more important than anything else.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Turinui wants clarity. Remove the roadblock and he, the Rebels and Force will get that.

If he’s happy to wait for the ARU to make their decision – a decision that’s based on financial logic and sustainability – then I’d suggest players leave the mental health aspect out of it then. Otherwise it’s belittling a very serious issue. Fight for your lives. But don’t get bitter because you can’t re-sign your lease.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

IT’S NOT ABOUT BLAME (I agree the ARU and SANZAAR have botched it) – this is about MENTAL HEALTH (although if RUPA can’t see that a $28 million loss over four years and poor results equals an unsustainable business model for its members well that’s another article right there).

What’s more important than mental health for young men faced with this “extreme stress”?! If it’s a job – tell Turinui, Hodgson, Cannon and all the Force and Rebels players they’re disingenuous.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Missing the point Brett. This article is specifically related to MENTAL HEALTH. Turinui, Cannon, Hodgson have raised this as an issue. Not me. What have RUPA got to say about the players’ mental welfare through this?!? It’s hurting them. Legal action and legal threats are central to the delay on making the decision as to which team should be axed.
I’m offering a direction that would expedite the ARU ‘s call.
Are you saying that Turinui’s pleas aren’t worth addressing? That mental health doesn’t take priority?!

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Well I didn’t see any reports specifically relating to mental wellbeing. Again – Turinui, Hodgson, Cannon etc have brought this into play. So I’ve just offered a way that this mental crisis can be resolved. Otherwise can RUPA sincerely vouch that they represent the welfare of Australia’s professional rugby players? Tell me – what’s more important than mental health?! You may say a job – I’m only suggesting mental welfare may sit above all that.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

I suppose it comes down to priorities Paul D. What’s more important than mental health. Rightly a big focus these days. RUPA can play a part in expediting a decision. Drop legal action. Or what about they start paying for extra counsellors and psychologists?! Easy to be reactionary when you’re RUPA and snipe ARU. Why can’t they show leadership?!

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

As mentioned above Cato – this article isn’t about the blame game. It’s about MENTAL HEALTH – an extremely important issue for the young men at the Force and Rebels. What would you do if you were CEO of RUPA?! Ignore it?!? The players raised it as an issue.

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Don’t deny it’s been woeful Sheek. But what do you say about the players’ fragile mindset as it all drags on?!?! RUPA can get on the front foot here if they are truly representing the players and their welfare. What can be more important than the players’ mental wellbeing?!? Turinui, Hodgson, Cannon etc are the ones that brought this issue into it. What has RUPA got to say about mental health relating to this delay?!?

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

Good points. But how do you address the “extreme stress” being felt by players – they’re Morgan Turinui’s words not mine?!? Do you ignore their pleas that the current delay is hurting the players psychologically?!

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

It seems the point has been missed here.

Of course the Force and Rebels have a right to take legal action.

Apportioning blame is largely a debate that’s done and dusted. Yes the ARU and SANZAAR got it wrong.

This article is about what’s to be done about the fragile mental state of the Force and Rebels, as passed on by Matt Hodgson, Morgan Turinui and others. It’s not me making that assumption.

If the players’ welfare – their psychological wellbeing – is being severely affected, then the issue needs to be brought to a head. How can that be expedited? Well the ARU are baulking mainly due to the legal action and threats. So here’s a solution for RUPA is they’re serious about their membership’s mental health – ask the clubs to drop their legal action!

RUPA and player welfare - it's time to rise up and represent

A bit early for Larkham I suppose. Jake White one to bear in mind. He had a lot of fans from his time with the Brumbies. Can we rule out Eddie Jones?!?! Incredible how he’s got the best out of England. Can’t he wriggle out of that contract if things go awry for the Wallabies this season?!?! Homesick or something?!?

Cheika's Wallabies future shaped in September

White has done good things wherever he’s gone. A good option if Cheika moves on. Gets results. But hopefully Cheika sharpens up the Wallabies and he settles in until the 2019 World Cup!

Cheika's Wallabies future shaped in September

Ouch!

Cheika's Wallabies future shaped in September