Make Smoking History Experts Cup entries so far in no particular order:
Civil / Tatnell
Brandt / Doe
Nowell / Nowell
Oxley / Wood
Markovic / Feaver
O'Dowd / Shiel
Iddles / Marquet
Steele / Dewhurst
Macara / Macara
Vlad / Nicoli
Harmer / Anyan
Harmer / Gray
Griffiths / Hynes
Perrard / Parish
van Kann / Esterbauer
Jodd / Logue
Flood / Flood
Gratton / Harris
Ludlam / Joubert
Courtis / King
Hughes / Smith
Hollingsworth / Hollingsworth
Bowley / Wade
Nicoli / Adams
Clarke / Clarke
Stringer / van Saarloos
Regional Sports News
Readers who were around in the late 1960s might remember the Easybeats singing their hit song Friday On My Mind. 50 years on, followers of the Australian Super Rugby saga should also have Friday on their minds.
That’s because this Friday is when the ARU is scheduled to hold its mediation talks with the Rebels. And as your columnist will explain, those talks might be pivotal in determining the outcome of the Australian Super Rugby saga.
Mediation sounds a lot like arbitration. But there is a significant difference between the two terms which is perhaps best explained by the positions taken by the Rebels and the Force as they seek to avoid the Super Rugby axe.
Arbitration is the process the ARU and the Force have pencilled in for the week starting July 31 in an attempt to resolve their legal differences – and thus avoid a full-blown court case.
Rather than arbitration, the ARU and the Rebels are going down the mediation path. This is because while the Rebels have huffed and puffed about taking legal action against the ARU for unspecified damages, they haven’t actually initiated any court proceedings at all. So there is nothing to arbitrate.
So what will happen on Friday? Who knows – but one potential outcome is that the mediation talks could flush out the true position of Rebels owner Andrew Cox. And in particular, what price Cox will sell his Super Rugby licence to the ARU for and whether that asking price is acceptable to the ARU. When the time comes to talk turkey about price on Friday, Cox’s representatives at the mediation conference will no doubt be holding some fingers up. This will be to either (a) signal their selling price, or (b) to give the ARU the two-finger salute.
As we have repeated many times in this column, Cox has plenty of reasons to sell. He is burning money on his investment in the Rebels with nothing in sight to extinguish the flames. His Rebels co-owner Peter Sidwell is, from all accounts, even less enamoured with the thought of throwing good money after bad. To Cox and Sidwell, the ARU is a gift horse.
Your columnist has referred to the arbitration between the ARU and the Force being pencilled in for the week starting July 31, rather than being set in stone, because any agreement reached between Cox and the ARU during Friday’s mediation talks could eliminate the need for the Force-ARU arbitration conference.
Perhaps that’s just all wishful thinking. Just like it would be wishful thinking for the private owners of the Rebels to expect the ARU to axe the Force and then provide financial assurances to keep the Melbourne team from folding a season or so down the track.
Stay tuned, as always…
According to rugby folklore, it was back in 1823 that young William Webb Ellis picked up the ball and ran with it.
And just like that enterprising young Rugby School student, the eastern states media is now picking up your columnist’s Super Rugby prophecies and running with them.
Regular readers will recall that last week, your columnist was the lone voice in highlighting the subtle clue that Bill Pulver threw out about how the Super Rugby saga might be resolved when the ARU chief executive told Fairfax Media: “I am in multiple discussions at the moment, which I am not at liberty to discuss.”
We went further by disclosing that the discussions Bill was not at liberty to discuss in public were with the private owner of the Melbourne Rebels, businessman Andrew Cox, to buy back the Rebels licence.
And while Sydney’s influential Daily Telegraph has advocated from the very outset of this sordid saga that the Force, and not the Rebels, were in line for the Super Rugby axe, it seems they too are now seeing a different picture emerging.
Consider this published yesterday in The Daily Telegraph’s Payto & Panda column under the headline which screamed: NERVOUS WORDS FOR REBELS
“MELBOURNE types weren’t focused on the part of Pulver’s media interview this week where he said he’d resign.
They were more nervous about this line regarding cutting a Super Rugby team: “I am in multiple discussions at the moment which I am not at liberty to discuss.”
It has poured fuel on rumours that the ARU are still in talks with Rebels owner Andrew Cox. Cox, you’ll recall, declared last month he wouldn’t sell the club.”
To paraphrase former Kiwi commentator Murray Mexted, what we are seeing here is another shift in the psychic energy of this game.
For those of you who missed last week’s instalment, your columnist also suggested that Cox might be motivated to conclude those discussions with the ARU ahead of the arbitration hearing set for the week starting July 31 to avoid losing negotiating leverage when – as is hoped and expected in equal measure – the ARU-Force alliance agreement is shown to safeguard the Force’s participation in Super Rugby until 2020.
The clock is ticking. Stay tuned.
Round 11 saw Neddies move to the top of the premier grade table, with the RugbyWA Cup still on the shelf. But if you thought that left any room for complacency, think again.
That’s because at this time of year, the hardest game to win is always the next one. No matter who the opposition happens to be. It’s the time of the season when the depth of each premier grade club is tested and nothing can be taken for granted.
It was another brilliant day down at The Foreshore on Saturday when the premier grade took to the field after wins in reserve grade, thirds, fourths and women’s (and Scotland) and a loss in colts.
By halftime Neddies had raced to a 26-6 lead after tries to Tane Manga, a penalty try credited to big lock Aidan Laxton and a pair to the competition’s biggest winger, Zac Makavilitogia. While the second spell yielded a further four tries to Neihana Christian, star back Kauri Cudd and fellow former colts David Bailey and Alasdair Henderson, the highlight was undoubtedly the return to the premier grade front row of Damo “the Italian Thor” Pacecca for the first time in about four years.
Kauri managed to slot all but one of the eight conversions for a final scoreline of 54-20. The bonus point – coupled with an upset win by Uni across the river at Tompkins Park – was enough for Neddies to nudge Paly aside on percentage at the top of the ladder. Things are getting very congested at the top…
Round 12 looms as one of those banana skin games as Neddies heads to Allen Park to take on Soaks, who held Neddies to a draw in the first round. It will be a test for the true club rugby followers, with the game clashing with the first test between the All Blacks and the British, Irish and Pacific Island Lions.
Be there. Be loud. Be proud. GO NEDDIES!!
So here we are, 72 days into a process of culling an Australian Super Rugby team which was meant to take less than 72 hours.
What’s more, there’s still about six weeks or so before the ARU and RugbyWA are scheduled to start their arbitration hearing on July 31. That arbitration hearing will of course focus on whether the alliance agreement between the ARU and RugbyWA safeguards the Western Force in the Super Rugby competition until 2020.
But through the haze of bluff, bluster and outright propaganda, your columnist sees the signs of a resolution ahead of the 31 July arbitration hearing.
It was probably lost on most, but amid all the noise ahead of tomorrow’s ARU extraordinary general meeting, embattled ARU chief executive Bill Pulver gave a subtle clue to how the Australian Super Rugby saga might be resolved.
Mr Pulver told Fairfax Media: “I am in multiple discussions at the moment, which I am not at liberty to discuss.”
Take it from me, what Bill is not at liberty to discuss in public is that the ARU remains in active discussions with the private owner of the Melbourne Rebels, businessman Andrew Cox, to buy back the Rebels licence.
And despite the public denials, Cox has every reason to conclude those discussions with the ARU before 31 July.
Why? Because being the shrewd businessman he is, Cox realises he will lose all his leverage in his discussions with the ARU if the July 31 arbitration hearing ends up supporting the view taken by pre-eminent West Australian silk Malcolm McCusker that the Force are legally bullet proof – courtesy of the ARU alliance agreement. Will Cox roll the dice and let that arbitration hearing takes its course? Yeah, nah.
As we have stressed many times in this column, Cox – despite his poker face and the support of a parochial eastern states media – is a seller all right.
As Chrissie Hynde sang in the Pretenders hit Hymn To Her, Some things change, some stay the same. What stays the same here is that Cox, as owner of the Rebels, continues to lose money, sponsorship and crowd support – not to mention his coach. And there are no obvious signs of a turnaround for Cox on or off the field.
As was the case from day one, the solution to the Australian Super Rugby Saga comes down to dollars and cents. My tip is that Bill Pulver will be at liberty to confirm that before 31 July.
The post The Super Rugby Saga: Why the Rebels Owner Won’t Roll the Dice appeared first on Nedlands Rugby Union Football Club.