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Thread: Nathan Sharpe always there at the pointy end

  1. #1
    Immortal Contributor
    travelling_gerry's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    Perth, Western Australia, Australia

    Nathan Sharpe always there at the pointy end

    Nathan Sharpe always there at the pointy end

    Physical ... Nathan Sharpe. Source: Getty Images

    WEEK after week, Nathan Sharpe would front up after a Western Force loss and the thunder on his face gave all the answers a TV interviewer needed.

    As the injury-hit Force accrued what would be six losses on the trot, Sharpe’s emotional ride was so raw the FoxSports guys even started apologising for the inconvenience.
    Put together the look of a bloke who had his dog, his car and his wife stolen by different people on the same day, and you’re getting close to the fire in Sharpe’s eyes.
    “Mate, that is a tough moment,” Sharpe reflects.
    “You don’t feel like it at all but that’s the job. You get on with it.”
    Troops returned and the Force’s drought eventually broke. The pain was out behind them but if there was a positive to salvage from the early season wreckage, it was Sharpe “getting on with it”.

    Leading from the front on and off the field, the 32-year-old turned in one of the strongest seasons in his 10-year career as he battled valiantly to keep the injury-hit Force afloat.
    Their season was largely over by the time they won a game, but the example set by Sharpe helped the Force rally late and finish with four wins.
    It was not only a season that helped define the spirit of the Force, but also helped re-define the character and reputation of Sharpe.
    Sharpe was the first lock picked by Robbie Deans in 2010 and the way he led his troops through tough times at the Force had plenty to do with it.
    “The way we were injury wise…,” Sharpe explains.
    “People who play sport at a professional level hate losing. There was added responsibility of wanting to play well and making sure the team got that way.
    “Those were the cards we were dealt and we had to play them as best as we could. Until some big names got back, plenty of had to lift and some of the young guys did bloody well.”
    They had to do if they were to keep up with the old guy. At 32, Sharpe entered the season refreshed “mentally and physically” after the disappointment of missing the Spring Tour with a shoulder injury.
    Where once Sharpe was criticised as not physical enough in the contact zone, the big lock said a focus on “winning collisions” over the last 18 months had helped him become a far stronger tight forward.
    His ball-carrying was always good but defensively Sharpe now carries much more whack as well.
    “I’ve adapted to a more direct method of play,” Sharpe says.
    “With the impact of the new law interpretations, advantage line play is so important. If you can get across it and get quick ball, it is very hard to defend. And obviously defending you want to stop that happening to you.”
    Sharpe’s physicality was outstanding last week against the Fijians in his 62nd Test, winning him a deserved man of the match award.
    He set a high standard that will need to be matched by the rest of the Wallabies forwards against the traditionally physical English.
    The Australian Barbarians took 20 minutes to realise the English focus was dominating the breakdown on Tuesday night and Sharpe is aware that can’t be repeated on Saturday.
    “As the season goes, the guys have to step up each and every week,” Sharpe says.
    As the only Wallaby over 30, Sharpe is the now the sole exception to Deans’ youth-driven push towards the World Cup.
    It is a far different scenario to just two years ago when Deans left Sharpe, a mainstay of the Wallabies, out of his 2008 Tri-Nations squad altogether.
    It gutted Sharpe but, just like the Force’s difficult season just passed, he now understands how much the snub helped him.
    “It showed me when you miss out on something, you realise how much you want to be there,” Sharpe says. “I wanted to get back and when I did, I have really started to treat each week like it could be my last.”

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  2. #2
    Legend Contributor blueandblack's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Nathan Sharpe is a champion, which we already know.

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    "12 Years a Supporter" starring the #SeaOfBlue

  3. #3
    Immortal Contributor
    Burgs's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Country WA
    Meanwhile, the national Captain was riding the coat tails at Real Madrid...

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    "Bloody oath we did!"

    Nathan Sharpe, Legend.

  4. #4
    Veteran Contributor hertryk's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Devonport Tasmania
    Quote Originally Posted by blueandblack View Post
    Nathan Sharpe is a champion, which we already know.
    Grave mis-carriage of justice he is not Wallaby captain!!!

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