This article has been replicated from Oz TV Reviews
Melbourne Saturday 31st July 2010
OK I’m going to start with my usual gripe about the Channel 7 Rugby coverage. This game was shown at five past midnight in Perth, over six hours after the game was played. I have complained to Channel 7 before about the timing of their Rugby coverage and their excuse is that it does not perform well when up against AFL coverage on Channel 10. Well this was hours after the AFL coverage had finished probably after most interested parties had gone to bed. It’s only any use for night owls and insomniacs like me, or anyone who records the game. Recording has the obvious advantage that you can skip their annoying repetitive advertising, but this certainly does not benefit them.
The one thing that recording can not beat is the awful commentary of Gordon Bray, filled with his irrelevant stats and painful anecdotes. There is a very good case for the ARU moving this coverage to another network to better serve the Rugby fans of Australia and Perth in particular. My preference would be SBS after the bang up job they did with the Soccer World Cup. Channel 10 did OK with the last Rugby World Cup but they did rely on overseas commentators, which would be difficult for the Wallabies home games. But undoubtedly there is someone out there that has the requisite knowledge of the game and would be easier to listen to than Gordon Bray.
That’s the rant over. Well sort of. The game was obviously painful to watch for Wallabies fans. They say that the most dangerous time in a match is just after you have scored and Australia proved this time and again, conceding almost immediately after each of their own tries. Australia scored first through Drew Mitchell, who later disgraced himself by receiving two yellow cards and being sent off. In my opinion both of these yellow cards were border line. The first was for a spear tackle, where I believe he pulled out just as it went over the horizontal. The second was for time wasting, when he knocked the ball from an All Blacks hands, just as he wasn’t going to take a quick line out throw. It was a stupid thing to do and I hate spoiling and time wasting in a game, but to leave Australia to play almost the entire second half with 14 men was very harsh on the Wallabies. I have seen some calls to change the rules to allow multiple sin bins without going to a red card for technical fouls and leaving the sending off for violent play only, this may not be a bad idea.
Many would have thought that the sending off would have put the result beyond any doubt and maybe it did. But the Australians seemed to come back harder after this and fought really hard, especially for their third try, at one stage having 16 uninterrupted phases of play within 10 metres of the All Blacks line. Eventually Rocky Elsom barged over the line. But once again the Kiwis replied with a try through Corey Flynn.
Let’s hope the Wallabies can improve on their performance in Christchurch, but even the most dedicated fan couldn’t see an Australian win there. I would like to see James O’Connor moved from the Wing to Full Back or Centre. I think he is wasted out there and was often out of position on Saturday. If Quade Cooper is back for the next game then there will be no vacancy at Centre, as he will come in at Fly Half and everyone will move across by one position. So a straight swap between Adam Ashley-Cooper and O’Connor would be the logical move to me. They are both very good players but I think Cooper would cover the wing better and O’Connor would be more use at Full Back.
Special mention must be made of Richie McCaw who was undoubtedly man of the match and Dan Crowley in the Channel Seven commentary thought he made a million tackles. It sounds a tad high, but I believe him.
By Max Power