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Thread: Official Alan Jones thread

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    Official Alan Jones thread

    Castle’s welcome mat was stained from the very beginning
    Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle. Picture: AAP
    Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle. Picture: AAP
    ALAN JONES
    The Australian12:00AM May 25, 2018
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    Last week I wrote about the need to address the crisis in Australian rugby by calling a “summit” of the best minds.

    Beside my piece was a published article by Raelene Castle, the CEO of Rugby Australia. I thought today I should address both those issues.

    In relation to Castle, I note a story this week by the respected sports writer, rugby league writer and former coach, Roy Masters in which he said, “NRL officials are unhappy that Raelene Castle escaped scrutiny over the Bulldogs’ salary cap mess”.

    As I’ve said previously, if the board of Rugby Australia did no due diligence on Raelene Castle and by that I mean if they made no contact with the Canterbury Rugby League Club, before appointing her, then they have betrayed our game.


    In her piece last week, Raelene Castle said she’d been in office for four months and she’d been welcomed by the rugby community.

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    I’m not sure where she’s been but she would not be welcome at grassroots, the clubs or the schools as she’s done nothing to help them.

    And I was interested to note that in the press conference yesterday in relation to James Slipper and his personal problems, Raelene Castle admitted she hadn’t spoken to him.

    An “issue” worthy of calling a press conference about a senior player to whom she hasn’t spoken!

    Last week she claimed improved participation growth rates.

    Of course it all depends who collects the data.

    It was only 12 months ago that a Roy Morgan study reported a 63 per cent decline in Rugby participation since 2001.

    So forgive me when stats are thrown around about our game. There are stats on everything. Even when the Titanic was going down, they were counting deckchairs.

    What we should know from the Australian Sports Commission’s most recently published stats in 2016 is that 14.7 per cent of Aussie kids play soccer; 8 per cent play AFL; 2.8 per cent play Rugby League and 1.2 per cent play Rugby Union.

    What is being done to reverse this participation catastrophe?

    I don’t know who wrote this piece for Raelene Castle but she didn’t even know her own policy. She argued the “size for age” policy was for eight to 13-year-olds. It’s actually 10 to 15-year-olds.

    But it’s not the simplest way of dealing with the problem.

    When I went to school, we played according to weights. There was a 7 stone 7 competition, an 8 stone 7 competition, a 9 stone 7 competition and then open rugby.

    Those who were under 7 stone 7 played in the competition, no matter their age.

    Such a policy would address, for example, the issue of bigger Polynesian boys who would, in such a system, play according to their weight, not their age.

    This was addressed in New Zealand many years ago. We’re playing catch-up and even then the policy needs refining. But will such a policy placate the mums who are worried about concussion? When you have commentators of the game on television telling us that the Waratahs or the Reds “can win tonight if they win the collision,” what mother is going to admit her son to such a game?

    In rugby we should be coached to run into space, not into people. With the current “pick and drive” mentality, one shouldn’t be surprised at a very recent Rugby study by Dr Izzy Moore in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showing two staggering details: the first is there will be a concussion in almost every match, one concussion every 1.3 matches; and the second conclusion was that after a concussion, players are 38 per cent more likely to sustain injuries to ankles, knees and shoulders et cetera. This is a huge challenge for our code. Those who say they’re running the game have no public response to these disturbing statistics. Raelene Castle wrote about the national schools strategy run by Paul McLean.

    Paul was one of our greatest ever players, an ornament to Queensland and Australian rugby.

    But the so-called “strategy” is not fair dinkum. Rugby Australia has to take control of the pathways for our 16 to 20-year-olds. Schoolboy rugby should be a huge part of this. There are a lot of NRL clubs who are putting their talented players into rugby schools. They’re doing this because the rugby schools are investing in coaching and conditioning and most importantly, their cultures produce quality people.

    If Rugby Australia were more proactive in developing talent, they should be targeting these good rugby league kids to keep playing rugby union.

    Our current pathways are a shambles and if you speak to the parents of our kids, they’ll tell you that Rugby Australia have cut programs like the Junior Gold program and our kids find it easier to progress in rugby league because their pathways are clearer and more consistent.

    Some of our best schoolboys are voting with their feet and will continue to do so, regardless of whatever Paul McLean does.

    Then Raelene Castle dropped in the World Cup in 2027. I nearly fainted. Let’s hope the game is still relevant in this country by then. I’m not sure she’ll be around if and when we get the World Cup.

    It is immensely disturbing to rugby fans that Raelene Castle was, in part at least, the architect of the Canterbury Bulldogs ridiculous back-ended contract policy. Her involvement in this shows that she’s either naïve in contractual matters or what would be worse, doesn’t care about the mess she leaves behind.

    Can we trust Raelene Castle to build a World Cup treasure chest like John O’Neill did? So far after 120 days she’s rubber-stamped a size-for-age program that was already on the slate. She attended the launch of Super W or women’s rugby but forgot that she might have to pay the women for their time, but this project was already on the slate. The only thing she’s done is to deal with the Israel Folau issue, which she claimed was the toughest thing she’s ever done. Raelene, are you serious? I’ll tell you something.

    Life’s about to get a lot more challenging. Have you re-signed Israel Folau? And if you can’t retain one of the greatest players in the world, I think you’ll find life even more uncomfortable. Come on, Raelene, we need a strong, proactive leader with ideas and a capacity to sell them and implement them. The drums are beating.

    I suggested last Friday a Rugby summit. Last Tuesday Rod Kafer announced such a summit to design “the player of the future”. Well I’m glad Kafer has found an idea because he’s been in the job for almost 12 months.

    When he got the job they said, “He will supervise an elite coaching development program aimed at improving the capabilities of Australia’s top coaches with the intention of generating winning teams at Test and Super levels”.

    Things haven’t really gone to plan. In almost a year in the job, we’ve beaten the Kiwis once in Super Rugby. What has Rod Kafer been doing with the Super Rugby coaches? But now he’s going to lead a coaching summit to design “the player of the future”.

    And all the notable coaches in Australia are going to hold hands while apparently Rod Kafer directs the rugby traffic.

    Rod Kafer is not qualified to lead a coaching summit. His total coaching experience lasted one season and he was a failure. The Shore School in Sydney with a magnificent rugby tradition recently announced that Rod Kafer would be assisting their rugby program in 2018. Not sure what he’s been doing but in the last two weeks Shore’s First XV have been hammered 82-0 by St Joseph’s College and 73-0 by Barker College. His track record at Saracens in England and at Sydney’s Shore School would suggest he’s the wrong man for the job.

    All this stuff about players of the future! The players of the future are here in front of us. Our problem is not a problem of talent. They certainly don’t need Rod Kafer’s questionable coaching input. Our players need experienced and successful coaches, not rookies. We basically have the same playing pool which won the Super Rugby championship in 2011 and 2014.

    Our players are good enough. They need quality coaches and good man managers. For example, Quade Cooper is like Cristiano Ronaldo — both may be high maintenance but surely a good coach would get the best out of them.

    Australian rugby has a coaching problem. We cannot return to the top of the world by persisting with “pick and drive” rugby.

    We were told the skill issue would be resolved when Mick Byrne, the All Blacks’ skills coach, arrived a couple of years ago. I understand Mick Byrne is doing a good job. So there must be a faulty part in the rugby machine somewhere.

    One is left with the conclusion to which I have alluded in past weeks. If you don’t know the problem, you have no hope of offering the solution. Nothing coming out of Rugby Australia has yet addressed any of rugby’s appallingly urgent concerns.

    Alan Jones is a former Wallabies coach and is host of the Alan Jones Breakfast Show on 2GB and the Macquarie radio network and is host of Jones & Co on Sky News at 8pm on Tuesdays.

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    Champion SPaRTAN's Avatar
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    Excellent, we needed a thread like this!

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    I wonder if Pulver got him the coaching job at Shore?

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    Legend Contributor fulvio sammut's Avatar
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    I must be going mad.

    The Parrot is talking something that strangely sounds to me like sense.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fulvio sammut View Post
    I must be going mad.

    The Parrot is talking something that strangely sounds to me like sense.
    He is. But in true parrot fashion he keeps repeating the same lines.

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    Totally agree with Jones' comments about Kafer.
    When he left the job at the Saracens his comment was something like: "I've realised that coaching isn't for me....".
    I s'pose were all entitled to give something a go.
    The unholy alliance between all aspects of RA and Shore School continues.........

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrewg View Post
    Totally agree with Jones' comments about Kafer.
    When he left the job at the Saracens his comment was something like: "I've realised that coaching isn't for me....".
    I s'pose were all entitled to give something a go.
    The unholy alliance between all aspects of RA and Shore School continues.........
    The stupid thing is as an ex Canberra Grammar student he has no connections to Shore.

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    https://omny.fm/shows/the-alan-jones-breakfast-show/cameron-clyne

    Link to Senate Report http://www.aph.gov.au/senate_ca

    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Kafe was also heavily involved in coaching, during his final years at the Brumbies and at Saracens, following his stint at Leicester, where he seized on the opportunity to take up a full-time role as Head Coach. A lucky break, and a chance to continue a career within the game, but like many professional career prospects, it was something that didn’t end up meeting his needs.

    “I always thought coaching was a pathway because I was always heavily involved in the coaching side of things. I thought it was something that would therefore be a natural career choice.

    “What I found though was that it was actually the antithesis of all the things I particularly enjoyed about rugby.

    “I no longer had the things that I was passionate about in rugby, which I am very passionate about, so coaching didn’t fulfil that for me at the time,” Kafe said.


    Rod Kafer to Rupa - July 2015

    http://www.rupa.com.au/rupa-news/sto...d-kafer-part-1

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    Champion SinBin's Avatar
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    Can someone link that on Jone's twitter feed. It's pretty damming.

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    Veteran Bakkies's Avatar
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    The Parrot hits the nail on the head and calls out the cowards in NSW and Qld

    Alan Jones: Decline of once-proud Gordon shows what’s wrong
    Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is up against it under current conditions. Picture: AAP
    Wallabies coach Michael Cheika is up against it under current conditions. Picture: AAP
    ALAN JONES
    The Australian12:00AM June 1, 2018
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    Each week, the debate continues, with the focus on Super Rugby and the continuing failure of Australian teams to make any impact of note on the competition.

    I will have something to say about the whole Super Rugby concept at a later date, but to put it in the most succinct way, and from a purely selfish Australian Rugby point of view, the Super Rugby competition has to go.

    The manifestations of the kind of problems I’ve been articulating are everywhere and the Super Rugby competition won’t assist in resolving any of them.

    On the contrary, without urgent changes, the problems and the results will get worse.


    You have only to take the once-powerful Gordon Rugby Club in the Sydney Shute Shield competition.

    After eight rounds, they have lost seven of their games. They have had 443 points scored against them, an average of just over 55 points a game. Last week, they lost 97-14 to Northern Suburbs.

    Their only win was against Penrith, who’ve since been dumped from the Shute Shield for bad performances.

    Gordon’s lower grades have been similarly dismantled. And they were flogged by huge margins in 2017.

    This is a famous club, which has been a powerhouse of Australian rugby since 1936.

    They have won eight first grade premierships, 12 club championships.

    They have produced 34 Wallabies, including four captains — Trevor Allan, Bob Davidson, Peter Sullivan and Stirling Mortlock.

    And they have produced other great Australian rugby names — Jim Phipps, Arthur Summons, Rod Batterham, Laurie Monaghan, Steve Cutler, Andrew Blades, Tony Dempsey.

    Rugby Australia hasn’t a clue about these issues, nor does it offer any solutions.

    Just keep drifting along.

    But where are future NSW and Wallaby teams going to come from if clubs such as Gordon are fighting for their very future.

    Or is the answer to send them into the same rugby oblivion that has been dished out to Penrith.

    I had a note from a regional headmaster in relation to a recent Sydney club game between Easts and Parramatta. They played at Orange.

    He writes: “The crowd was incredibly disappointing. No one knew it was on. Solution for a huge crowd? Give a free family ticket and post it to every school kid in Orange and include a sausage sandwich and a free can of drink. They bring mum and dad. Mum and dad will pay for theirs. It would barely be a $500 exercise. It’s not rocket science. It would only need Castle and co. to donate 1 per cent of their wage to pay the bill. I keep the faith, but I fear rugby union in Oz is getting close to terminal illness time.”

    Another reader writes: “I was at the Brumbies v Rebels game on Saturday night and, dear God, what a world of hurt Australian rugby is in. There was no atmosphere. I mean none. The game was on the line and, honestly, nobody cared.

    “The issue isn’t isolated to Brumbies games. It starts at the top and filters down. Having said that, it did seem that the Brumbies organisation had lost interest … I was so disappointed and saddened at what I saw on Saturday night as I remember packing out the mall at Canberra to watch them on the big screen not that long ago. How far from that we now seem.”

    And, of course, on the eve of that match, rugby administrators in Canberra were warning the rugby public if they don’t turn up, the club might go under.

    Oatley Rugby Club is a little outfit in Sydney, but, writes a lawyer and donor to the club: “The club, like many rugby clubs, is devoid of sources of funding and is facing the reality of years of inept administration of the code by Australian Rugby and NSW Rugby.”

    He writes: “I, like many lovers of rugby, am disillusioned by the approach of the administrators of the code in Australia. They are continuing to alienate the true supporters of the code and unless something is done to change this, rugby in Australia will continue to be weakened. It’s not a question of lack of support, as there is a great deal of support for club rugby and subdistrict rugby if the code is properly administered. But that requires proper recognition of the fundamental importance of such clubs and also the need to ensure they are properly funded.

    “The failure of the Penrith Rugby Club is just one stark illustration of the real problems facing the code of rugby. One of the most important points made by Alan Jones is the huge increase in the bureaucracy of the administration of the code. It must be kept in mind that these bureaucrats are paid enormous sums of money. The costs involved are such that running a club such as Oatley is not properly addressed with the resultant negative impact upon such clubs.”

    All this is easily addressed, by simply ousting the failed Board of Australian Rugby. Put people there who know, listen and want to address these grassroots issues. From the grassroots grows the harvest.

    Rugby is owned by its members. The board is elected by its members. What has been done by members can only be undone by them.

    If the two big member unions, NSW and Queensland, wanted to, they could convene an extraordinary general meeting, the purpose of which would be to move a vote of no confidence in the Board of Rugby Australia. Then install a new board. Not hard.

    But it’s quite clear there is no one within these two powerful member unions with the fire in the belly or the courage or the political nous to marshal the forces. They’re cosy and compliant.

    They sat on their hands and allowed the Western Force to be executed. Why? Self-interest.

    They thought they’d be the beneficiaries of the demise of the Force — that’s what Rugby Australia told them. More money, more players.

    But as one of my correspondents said: “Guess what, no money, no players …”

    A revolution is needed, but the members have to bring it on.

    By the way, New Zealand did just that in 2002. The incumbent New Zealand Rugby Board lost the co-hosting rights for the Rugby World Cup 2003 to Australia.

    They absolutely stuffed up and tried to brush it under the rug. The member unions in New Zealand convened an extraordinary general meeting and sacked the lot.

    There are many people in Australia who would make terrific directors.

    There are capable and knowledgeable rugby people who have been there, done it and are ready to do it again.

    As one young person wrote to me, a young fellow who loves his rugby: “If Donald Trump was an Australian rugby fan, he’d probably be pretty angry. He’d rightfully point out that we don’t win anymore, that we send in weak negotiators. But most importantly, he’d point out that New Zealand and South Africa are ‘nasty guys’ and we should not be nice to them.”

    Pretending that SANZAAR has any relevance to Australian Rugby at the moment, given the mess we’re in, and that Super Rugby can continue in its present form, is the ultimate proof that we have weak negotiators and have lost the plot.

    Now, in a week’s time, we face Ireland. The “scoreboard” indicates the difficult prospect in front of us, though not impossible. We do have talent.

    But the backdrop against which Michael Cheika has to deliver is, at best, unpalatable.

    In 2013, Ireland published an outstanding document entitled A Strategic Plan for Irish Rugby.

    It was labelled: “Irish Rugby — from grassroots to international success — One Ireland, One Passion, One Goal.”

    The report determined that Ireland would:

    • Win a Six Nations Championship once every four years — and they won this year’s title, undefeated

    • Win the European Championship (the Heineken Cup) by 2018 — they did that this season with Leinster

    • Win the Pro 14 European Competition every two years — they did with Connacht in 2015/16 and Leinster this season

    • Increase the number of rugby participants to 180,000 by September 2017

    • Spend 109 million euros a year on grassroots and provincial rugby

    • And that rugby should be based on respect, integrity, inclusivity, fun and excellence

    Ireland are now the No 2 side in the world and they copied, of course, what New Zealand’s summit did, as I have written previously, after New Zealand were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in 2007.

    So the simple, positive point is success need not be elusive. If Ireland, with a small playing population, can do it, so can we with our abundance of playing talent.

    Only one thing stands in the way. And increasingly, I think, everyone knows what that is.

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    https://www.change.org/p/rugby-australia-petition-for-cameron-clyne-to-resign-as-chairman-of-the-rugby-australia-board

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    Player UAUdiver1959's Avatar
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    Love and look forward to his column every week. It’s simple sensible and logical stuff. Glad he is now poking NSW and QLD and their powerful combined voting rights.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UAUdiver1959 View Post
    Love and look forward to his column every week. It’s simple sensible and logical stuff. Glad he is now poking NSW and QLD and their powerful combined voting rights.
    The down-side of his wanting to sack the current, pro-Wallaby/Waratahs/Rebels board is that he wants a install a more Shute Shield friendly board. Alan Jones' idea of grassroots often seems to only extend ~50 km from the Harbour Bridge.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sheikh View Post
    The down-side of his wanting to sack the current, pro-Wallaby/Waratahs/Rebels board is that he wants a install a more Shute Shield friendly board. Alan Jones' idea of grassroots often seems to only extend ~50 km from the Harbour Bridge.
    Damn - I miss it by 9.8kms.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bakkies View Post
    The Parrot hits the nail on the head and calls out the cowards in NSW and Qld

    Alan Jones: Decline of once-proud Gordon shows what’s wrong

    You have only to take the once-powerful Gordon Rugby Club in the Sydney Shute Shield competition.
    After eight rounds, they have lost seven of their games. They have had 443 points scored against them, an average of just over 55 points a game. Last week, they lost 97-14 to Northern Suburbs.
    Their only win was against Penrith, who’ve since been dumped from the Shute Shield for bad performances.
    ...
    But where are future NSW and Wallaby teams going to come from if clubs such as Gordon are fighting for their very future.
    Or is the answer to send them into the same rugby oblivion that has been dished out to Penrith [and to rugby in WA].
    The highlighted sentence is the correct answer, of course.

    The "RA/Cameron Clyne" model for Rugby in Australia has a solution to the problems at Gordon - cull them and redistribute their players among the remaining Shute Shield clubs.

    Simples.

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