Other Sports

The boy from the bush.

merrick

“…Steve Merrick, the coalminer plucked from the bush to become a Wallaby, and when asked to name his price, didn’t have one.”

While this website predominantly chronicles my and my friends’ love of AFL, I’m also a huge rugby union fan. I was absolutely obsessed with the game as a teenager and would spend hours cutting out newspaper clippings to stick into scrapbooks and recording test matches to watch over and over again. I still adore it though thankfully my behaviour has calmed down significantly since then.

I was only thinking the other day about Steve Merrick, an unassuming bloke from the Hunter Valley, who was seemingly picked out of nowhere to play two tests as scrum half for the Wallabies in 1995. It was in that moment right before rugby imploded and turned professional and after just those two tests, he walked away from representative football. It was – and still is – an incredible story.

Earlier tonight I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed a friend had posted the link to an excellent piece by Patrick Skene in The Guardian about Merrick. It’s an amazing read and took me back to my youth, the days of VHS tapes and pocket money spent on newspapers. Rugby is such a beautiful game to watch and no matter how much of my time AFL takes up these days, union always feels like home.

You can read the article on The Guardian website here – even if you’re not a rugby fan, it’s a brilliant story.

“Having missed his first Wallabies training session due to a previous commitment – ‘I had to bring a mate back to Singo’ – a strange thing happened to Merrick after another session he did make it to. He was pulled into a side room to be met by players sitting at a table who wanted to discuss a rebel union competition. They were offering $100,000 to sign as a professional and if it didn’t go ahead he could keep the sign on fee. Easy money.

Merrick, however, burst into laughter.’I can’t believe I’m hearing this,’ he told them, ‘I play footy because I want to play footy. That’s it.'”

 

Advertisements

You can take the girl out of NSW but you can’t take the NSW out of the girl.

MCG state of origin 2015

Friends origin

That moment when you sit with the good mates you’ve made since moving interstate 10 years ago and you’re watching your home team play the game you grew up with and they defeat the old enemy in front of a record crowd at one of the best sporting grounds in the world and some bloke you don’t even know sitting in front of you turns around and high fives you and life is just great.

91,513 at the MCG for game two of the 2015 State of Origin. Go you mighty Blues!

63 not out.

hughes

What a desperately sad, awful, tragic day. There were more than a few glassy eyes in my office when the horrible news came through that cricketer Phil Hughes had died. The Australian batsman was struck in the head by a ball earlier in the week and despite a collective crossing of the fingers from everyone, his life support was turned off this afternoon.

25 years seems like barely enough for someone who was so loved by those who knew him and liked by so many who watched him from afar.

Hopefully the immense outpouring of love and support from not just Australians but cricket fans worldwide will go a long way towards helping his family, friends and team mates through this incredibly difficult time. I also hope that the media give those who knew and loved Phil the space to grieve privately.

There were many, many beautiful messages posted and pieces published this afternoon about the much loved test player – this is my brother‘s, which sums it up beautifully.

Sometimes in your life, you hear of something happening – something tragic. It reels you, it knocks the wind out of you. You take a deep breath and think to yourself that what you’ve just heard couldn’t be real – that it just couldn’t happen. It numbs you and renders you senseless, upon the realisation that it is in fact reality.

Today was one of those days.

I never knew Phillip Hughes the person – but I admired and respected him as an athlete and a role model – as someone who made cricket a better sport.

Digesting this tragedy as a die-hard cricket fan is difficult enough – but I can’t comprehend what Phillip’s family, team mates, friends and supporters must be going through.

Spare a thought, too, for Sean Abbott.

Thanks for so many wonderful cricketing memories, Phillip – to watch you bat was just amazing. What a shame that those memories have been cut so tragically short.

Rest in Peace.