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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Ha. My wife does! Xxx

Why did Cheika go public with Wallabies' fitness concerns?

You reckon the Wallabies coach should be about to dicate fitness levels at Super Rugby teams from January to July, El Gamba? I reckon that’s a bit heavy-handed. I struggle to believe the fitness levels are that poor at the Aussie SR teams that it becomes a big issue. Feels like a red herring to me. Shift the blame after being horrible in the June Tests.

Why did Cheika go public with Wallabies' fitness concerns?

Yes desire alone won’t get you over the line. It’s a bit simplistic. But you’ve got to work with what you’ve got as a Wallabies coach. Be better using your bench is probably the most obvious fix.

Why did Cheika go public with Wallabies' fitness concerns?

Yes agreed it’s mysterious this desire thing. It’s grey. It’s nebulous. But you know it when you see it. The Lions in the second half of the recent series against the ABs! Mostly in defence.

Why did Cheika go public with Wallabies' fitness concerns?

Ha. I’m cheap. But I don’t think they’ve got any money.

Rebels have only one win to stand on, so stop moaning

Rebels and Force have had some pretty good cattle in the past. Some established Wallabies – Pocock, O’Connor, Beale, Giteau, Mitchell etc. But aint been contenders.

Rebels have only one win to stand on, so stop moaning

Inman brought up the uncertainty being a problem. An AFL draftee faces enormous uncertainty – firstly, will he get picked up at all and if so, is he going to Queensland, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne? Why isn’t that a decent reference point for a position of uncertainty? And guess what – if the situation is truly unbearable, there are other SUper Rugby teams in Australia, a huge number of clubs in Europe and Japan etc. It’s not like it’s the Rebels or bust.
The ARU have fumbled the process but head office isn’t missing tackles on the weekend.

Rebels have only one win to stand on, so stop moaning

Hmm. At the Crusaders, Israel Dagg, David Havili and George Bridge move around the back three all the time. And deliver wherever they move. This is true across a few of the NZ teams. Beauden Barrett and Aaron Cruden often go to No.12 and fullback. And kill it.

Rebels have only one win to stand on, so stop moaning

Mental disruption?!? I’d argue as a professional sportsman you should be able to roll with a bit of adversity. These are fit, tough guys with plenty of psychological strength. They wouldn’t be at that level without it. Inman saying the uncertainty is “showing in on-field performances” perhaps proves their approach is sub-professional.

Rebels have only one win to stand on, so stop moaning

2011 – 15th
2012 – 13th
2013 – 12th
2014 – 15th
2015 – 10th
2016 – 12th
2017 – 17th?!

My “logic” is this has been going on for a long time. Get the results and you’ll sit pretty. Pile up the loses and don’t expect sympathy. That’s sport. Its simplicity – win or lose – is arguably its greatest virtue. Don’t offer shallow excuses if you don’t deliver.

Rebels have only one win to stand on, so stop moaning

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