Tom Carter is The New Matt Dunning

Every team needs one - the endearing but flawed character whose value is so much more than his on field performance, who can inspire players through deeds and supporters through sheer weight of performance (or sheer weight), who engenders a cult-like following and whose every move, good or bad, is amplified to the extent that even their mistakes only add to their legend. The Rolling Maul presents Tom Carter, the Waratahs new Matt Dunning.

Matt Dunning
Hard running, hard headed cult figure
Tom Carter
Cuddly figure of fun

Matt Dunning was a Waratahs legend even before he became infamous. A long time Rolling Maul fave (if only because he made coming up with content easier), Dunning's red faced bursts to the tryline (he'd always be caught short of the line), circular shape (even his head was round), teammate and taxi fisticuffs and booze inspired antics ensured he was a constant focus of attention and amusement. And then there was that field goal (worth watching again below if only because it's been put to music).

But when Matt Dunning moved to the Western Force part of the reason for supporting the team went with him. There was no ready made chubby replacement to kick when he was down. Sure Totafu Polata-Nau has that hair but he's also a very good player, too good to take the piss out of. Most of the backline are too good looking and the forwards are all industrious, well spoken, and largely good at what they do (ie dull).

And then along came Tom Carter. Surprisingly, Carter has been with the Waratahs since 2008 and has played over 60 Super Rugby matches for them. While he's a Sydney University institution (assuming that institutions can have institutions) it's only been this year that his true worth to the team has been universally recognised. It's not just that he's exceedingly average, one-dimensional (well two actually in the sense that he only runs straight lines), visibly loves what he's doing, doesn't mind going the biff and managed to get Adam Byrnes a 10-week ban for eye gouging (subsequently overturned but Carter's damage had been done).

Carter possesses what the Tahs lack in spades - personality and mongrel. It's no coincidence that when coach Michael Foley benched Carter the team's fortunes went into a tailspin. One match back into the starting line-up and the bandwagon is once again being loaded up for a one-way voyage to final glory. And one-way (straight and hard to the tryline) is all that Carter knows.

It's certainly reaped its rewards this year (and last year for that matter) - a rich try-scoring bonanza that has resulted in plenty of Carter patent celebrations (such as the Standard and Inverted Ebola Monkey Cloud and last weekend's lawnmower start-up, or maybe it was an uppercut), with none of the showboating narcissism Danny Capriani style.

Alas only last month Carter was openly discussing the possibility of retiring. And just when he's peaking. Sure the body aint what it used to be, the missus is on his back and his business partner and mate Daniel Halanghu is being pushed to retire (it's just not working out with the Tahs let's face it), but in the unlikely event that Tom Carter ever reads this post;
Mate, don't go. The Waratahs need you and we, the supporters, need you. Who else is there to attract our devotion and inspire us to laugh at the Waratahs as much as we laugh at ourselves for supporting them? Berrick Barnes? Dean Mumm? Rob Horne? Give us a break. You have more personality in your buggered wrist than they have in their entire bodies. OK, so Benn Robinson has a nutty sense of humour and Sitaleki Timani just looks odd, but it's not the same thing. For the sake of all concerned, give it a go just one more time. Please.
Leave a comment to show your support and if there's enough comments the Rolling Maul will request an interview with Carter to plead the case (The Rolling Maul has a media pass so probably should put it to good use).


Bailey said…
That vid always makes me smile. Dunning's reaction is so funny. Clearly he didn't think it was going to go over haha.