Australian Super 14 Team of the Year

Moving right along...

Now that the international selection trials are over with predictable results, the Rolling Maul can do the hard work for Robbie Deans by selecting the Australian Super 14 Team of the Year that the Australian Rugby Community deserves:

Matt Dunning - Dunning's star continued to rise during this year's Super 14, and the season ended as last year's did with him doing laps behind the goal posts while the Waratahs battled it out on the field. Somehow Michael Foley, the Waratahs forwards coach, refers to him as the best tight head in the country. Wasn't Robbie Deans hired to put an end to such nonsense?

Rodney Blake - Last seen on a flight to Japan, Blake was the Next Big Thing in the Australian Rugby Front Row. He's still big but the hype was about as useful as his mullet and unfortunately he started to believe both of them. Won't be missed.

Saia Faingaa - Faingaa was the last hooker standing for the Brumbies after retirements and injuries found him in the starting line-up. Until he got injured. But he gets his spot in this team because the missus thinks he's cute.

Second Rowers / Locks
David Pusey - Nathan Sharpe is the heart and soul of the Western Force forward pack, not to mention an inspirational leader. David Pusey has a great beard in his publicity shot.

Al Kanaar - Two seasons ago Kanaar was the great hope for the Waratahs. Last year Kanaar was the great hope for the Wallabies. This season, Al Kanaar retired before the first match with chronic injuries from the bearing the weight of such hope.

Number 8
Scott Fava's sideburns - Fava's sideburns retain their spot in the Super 14 team of the year after leading Fava astray for another season. The Quokka Shokka kicked off the greatest season in Force history in terms of headlines and ensured Fava's elevation to the Force Hall of Fame AND Team of the Century which are to be announced on Rottnest Island in 2106.

Breakaways / Flankers
Not Ben Robinson, the other one - Beau Robinson, not to be be confused with Ben Robinson, the prop in the same team, spent plenty of time on the bench watching Cliffy Palu and Phil Waugh run rampant. That's until David Lyons regained fitness and Robinson, not Ben, the other one, was shuffled back to grade footy. Until Lyons got injured again. Robinson, not Ben, the other one, learnt plenty from watching Phil Waugh go round, mainly in the hairstyle Department though.

Peter Kimlin - The so forgotten man of Australian Rugby no one even knew he existed in the first place. He is listed in the Bumbies Profiles as a Flanker but for a team that was decimated by injuries to the extent their water boys were on the bench, how can the Rolling Maul not be aware of him getting any game time?

Matt Hanjak - A tough choice. Josh Valentine excelled himself by starting the season as the Waratahs first choice halfback and ending up in grade Rugby. Josh Holmes was the great hope of the Brumbies after they poached him for the Waratahs but he was last seen backing up George Gregan's long time understudy Patrick Phibbs. But Matt Henjak is the perfect choice. Expectations were pretty low to begin with for Henjak but he managed not to meet even those after beating up teammate Haig Sare. He was last seen giving boxing lessons to Nick Darcy.

Five-Eighth / Flyhalf
Lachlan Mackay - The best chin in the business, Lachlan Mackay left the Waratahs for the Force to great acrimony after seemingly solving the Waratahs five-eighth blues. Two years later he'd still barely played a game after injury followed by more injury. He finally cracked the starting line-up in the centres this season after Scott Staniforth got injured and when Matt Giteau got injured he was back in his most familiar role - getting injured again and missing the remainder of the season.

Haig Sare - Matt Henjak's punching bag deserves his place in the Super 14 team of the year after being the catalyst for ridding the game of Matt Henjak.

Berrick Barnes - Wallaby five-eighth one day, second fiddle to Quade Cooper the next. And if that's not bad enough, Barnes was the only Red not chosen to captain the team at some stage during 2008.

Clyde Rathbone - If you thought The Rolling Maul reserves pride of place in this Super 14 team of the Year for those players who spend more time in traction, plaster or in rehab (of the physical kind, not the Henkjak kind) than playing you'd be right. King of the Hospital Ward kids is Clyde Rathbone, who has now spent two entire seasons (minus 20 minutes of footy) nursing various knee, leg and groin ailments. He's still on the payroll and is planning on playing at least a half a game next year.

Andrew Walker - Walker spent most of the season representing Australia around the world in his capacity as World's oldest sevens player. His level headed leadership of a bunch of kids saw the Aussies fail to achieve anything of note. He finally received another Super 14 call up to replace an injured Chris Latham, scoring a match winning try, but one match later was dropped back to obscurity where he can be expected to remain. Unless...

Clinton Schifcofske - 2007 was a massive year for Schifcofske, his first season in Rugby. Australia A representation and an outstanding kicking and try scoring record had him mentioned as an outside World Cup chance. This season his radar boot was off target, he rarely crossed the tryline and he's signed a contract to play Rugby overseas. Nice knowing you.