Monday, 29 March 2010

More Rugby Jargon

Being a Rugby blogger or journalist is easy if you know how. Rugby is a simple game played by simple people and with this guide to Rugby Jargon (the sequel to the original 'Rugby Jargon') you too can write Rugby articles as simple as a referee's interpretation at the breakdown...

Determination
The effort required to overcome incompetence. Good players don't require determinination. They use skill.

Persistance
The ability to hang around and wait for things to fall in your lap. Good players don't need persistance, they just go and get the job done. For example: "We required determination and persistance to win this match". Translation: "We should have won by 40".

Spirit
The sense of mateship and camaraderie felt only by winning sporting teams. Winning breeds spirit, not the other way round.

Licence to Thrill
Desperation. When all hope is lost a coach will give a struggling player a 'licence to thrill' in the forlorn hope they'll remember how to play and thus trigger some club spirit.

Dangerous
A dangerous player is just as likely to run into his teammate and cause a serious injury as he is to injure himself.

Free-running
Has no idea what to do and is extremely dangerous especially when given a licence to thrill.

Plan
The result of hours spent pouring over videotape and compiling of statistics. Usually takes the form of one word: 'kick' or 'run'.

Execution
The killing of a well-laid plan.

Attack Focussed
A plan involving lots of free-running by dangerous players.

Playmaker
The player in a team best equipped to execute a plan.

Foundation
The ability of a forward pack to tie the ball up in rucks and barely moving rolling mauls for minutes at a time.

Group
Franchise is to Club what Group is to Team.

Space
The upper tier of the Sydney Football Stadium when the Waratahs play.

Recycle
The employing of a washed up old Rugby player from another country by desperate Super 14 teams (eg Carlos Spencer, Andre Pretorius, Danny Cipriani...).

Blindside
Where recycled players hide from the action in the hope no one will see them taking a breather.

Maturity
The wisdom that comes with the experience of past failures that ensures that recycled players know where to best take a breather.

Grinding
The noise made by a coach's teeth when he realises where his expensive recycled players are taking a breather.

Long-term Prospect
The opposite of a recycled player.

Challenge
A difficult task that is best avoided.

Playing Ugly
Not giving the punters what they want to see. The way most Rugby teams react to a challenge.

Expansion
Ewen McKenzie's waistline

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Melbourne Rebels Recruiting Showing a Distinct Lack of Imagination

The Melbourne Rebels have been making a lot of noise lately as quitely as possible. They're playing that old recruiting game perfected by Rugby League players of hinting at everyone you're supposedly talking to in the hope it will drive up your bargaining power.

While never confirming or denying it the Rebels have been linked with just about every washed up ex-Wallaby playing overseas and every former Rugby League player who's gone to Europe because they were poison back home.

But why stop there? Why even stop at the egg-shaped sports?

Surely there are enough washed-up crap poisonous players at home running around in the minor leagues and media circles of soccer, cricket, swimming, darts, chess and just about any other sport with a minimum of hand-eye coordination and a Mad Monday every year.
Cricket is an obvious recruiting ground. If it's publicity you want and you have enough money to throw around to send your team broke in three years then Shane Warne is your man. More controversial than Tiger Woods on a bad day and more expensive that Ian Thorpe's jewelery, Warnie will bring the crowds flocking through the gates. He's built like a breakaway and doesn't mind a scrap. A few years in a scrum and he'll be as pretty as Phil Waugh. It will do him the world of good. His hair may struggle to last the distance though.

Speaking of Ian Thorpe, there aren't enough tall pretty gangly players of unknown sexual persuasion running around the world's Rugby fields, Justin Harrison excluded of course. Thorpie's reach is well known so he'd be perfect in a lineout and his knowledge of fashion and hair will ensure he'd fit in well with the young modern player who doesn't mind a bit of faux-hawk (Matt Giteau) or other metrosexual accessories (Quade Cooper, James O'Connor etc).

Spot the difference - there is none (almost)

Tennis is rife with washed up ex-players whingeing about the 'State of the Game'. Indeed recent rumblings in the tennis world would make you think David Campese had made the round of 16 at Wimbledon. Pat Cash in particular has been a loud-mouthed boofhead since the day he retired.

Pat Cash telling a referee, err umpre, where to shove it

Much like George Gregan he doesn't mind telling authority figures what he thinks of their rulings and while he was OK, on grass get him out of his comfort zone and his delivery was slow and he was generally ineffectual. Much like Gregan again. So stick him in at halfback.

Of course front row is always the hardest place to find talent. It's getting harder and harder to find large no-necked meatheads with a taste for dirty work and a death wish. Fortunately Mike Tyson is at a bit of a loose end. In and out of jail and broke, he probably needs the work.

So there you have it. If only the Melbourne Rebels put a bit more thought into their recruitment policy they would realise there are a world of options out there. They may not win many matches but they'll win every fight and every fashion show.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

The Power of Negative Thinking

When it comes to winning Rugby matches, if there's a beautiful way to lose or an ugly way to win then the Waratahs will find it. And as a Waratahs supporter, hopes are best left in the dreams Department of your local sporting mindstore where they are bound to be dashed by a two-year old who finds them all shiny and sparkly even though Mum knows they're worthless so the kid may as well play with them till they die.

It's better to look at the negative side of life with the Waratahs. It's easier that way. No expectations to meet, no plans to make, nothing to get excited about for no reason. Certainly the on-field the attitude of the players is negative. Good ball is there to be kicked away. Slick passing movements are as rare as a successful Kurtley Beale kick and regather or a crisp delivery from the scrumbase by Luke Burgess. And when there is a passing movement why go forwards when you can go sideways and why go sideways when you can simply knock-on?

This negative thinking is a powerful force inside Camp Waratah. It ensures that bonus points are as rare as home victories for the Western Force or the Reds winning a game they should win. As fas as deliberate ploys go (and it must be deliberate because you wouldn't play that way accidentally) it's an interesting tactic designed to bewlider oppositions into a true sense of superiority. In the unlikely event that the other team feels that the match is lost the Waratahs drag them to their feet and ensure a tight finish. The Waratah hierarchy may feel that tight matches are good for Rugby, but just once it would be nice to see the Tahs win by 50.

Nonetheless credit where credit's due. This negative thinking concept has a lot to recommend it in daily life outside Rugby too. For example, pin your expectations on your kids to grow up uncoordinated with the personality of cardboard (not the shiny type) and the intelligence of pond scum and when they turn out to be be able to catch (the bus), occasionally initiate a conversation about sport and earn enough marks at school to be an entry level clerk in the Public Service then you will have something to cheer.

Expect your house to leak, your car to break down in traffic and your partner to run off with a member of the same sex and when nothing of interest at all happens you can feel moderately pleased. This is a much better result than hoping for career success, wealth, world peace and the Waratahs winning the Super 14, none of which are likely to ever happen.

So congratulations to the Waratahs for discovering the path to contentment. Happiness lies not in a bowl of cherries but in a kick downfield straight to the fullback or knocking on at a restart.