Just when you thought Growden couldn't make himself look like anymore of a tool....
It's Tah Man and Timana to the rescue
Greg Growden | February 18, 2008
AFTER the Matt Henjak debacle, thank heavens Tah Man and Timana Tahu reminded us that rugby can still gladden the soul. There are grand entrances, but none better than the first appearance of the Waratahs' new mascot Tah Man. The caped crusader appeared from the heavens, and with the aid of a flying fox, glided onto the Sydney Football Stadium turf on Saturday night.
The crowd pointed, and mouthed the words: 'Look up in the sky. Is it a bird? Is it a …"
The moment was dripping with drama. Were we about to see a re-enactment of the SFS rugby league grand final debacle when the on-field stage collapsed? Was this going to be the latest mid-air sporting event disaster?
Would it be like at Ballymore, where there was a run of bizarre supernatural moments, including parachutists mistiming their arrival and landing either on top of the players, the grandstand or even the goalposts? Or when ground sprinklers would mysteriously turn on in the middle of games, or fireworks displays would go crazy - one time even falling over and igniting during a Brisbane junior rugby march-past, turning the ground into a scene from Apocalypse Now.
But no - Tah Man was above all that. He landed safely, proudly showed off his pecs, and gave high fives to everyone. As the Waratahs ran out, there was Tah Man showing them the way.
Then, sadly, Tah Man wandered down the tunnel, and to the disappointment of the Waratahs players, was not sighted until much later. He was obviously doing his best up in the Members Bar. However, that won't continue, as several players were yesterday lobbying NSW team officials, demanding Tah Man be with them the whole match, scaring off intruders along the sideline for the full 80 minutes.
Their delight in having Tah Man by their side was evident when, after following their mascot's lead and muscling the Hurricanes out of the game, they met their man during the post-match warm-down.
Tah Man strode over, and, in his Duff Man voice, bellowed: "Yeah boys." "Good on ya Tah Man," replied Al Baxter.
Typically, the old fuddy duddies have already been whingeing over email to the NSW Rugby Union that Tah Man is an unnecessary distraction. But the Waratahs should ignore the moaners. The players and kiddies love Tah Man. And that's what rugby needs more of - good players and kiddies at games.
The other main Waratahs attraction also lived up to the build-up. Not much came Tahu's way on the wing. But when it did he usually did something productive. His flick pass to put Lachlan Turner away for the first try of the game will be shown regularly in highlights packages.
His bulldogging of Hurricanes fullback Cory Jane over the sideline was over the top, but had the desired effect. When Tahu had ball in hand, or in a one-on-one situation, he looked poised. No wonder there are those at Waratahland who believe Tahu will be the best of those who have come across from the league ranks.
And even Tahu could soon find himself part of the pre-game entertainment. In the match program was the most revealing fact about the league convert. Tahu is Yo-Yo Man. "You wouldn't know it but I'm good at yo-yo," Tahu explained. "Rock the cradle, round the world, walk the dog. My kids usually think I'm lame but the yo-yo gave me some respect."
Pre-match entertainment has been lame since the Pal Superdogs disappeared. So why not Tahu enthralling the crowds with his yo-yo?
And the Australian Rugby Union should think about using him and Tah Man as a tag-team rescue act. Maybe the best way to get errant bad boy Henjak back on track is to have Tah Man monstering him, and then Tahu doing round the world in the Western Force halfback's general direction.