It’s amazing the difference six years makes. On this day in 2016, Wallabies fans were reeling after England had claimed their first ever win in Brisbane against Australia.
On the work front, former colleague Stephen Hoiles and I were being thrown under a rather large bus which was being driven by almost everyone tied to England rugby.
The men from Twickenham had us covered on and off the field in every way imaginable and it would only get worse. But valuable lessons have been learned and we now have a live series against Eddie Jones’ crew. Life is good again.
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FROM FOURS TO THE FRONT LINE
Cadeyrn Neville made his Wallabies debut as a 33-year-old on Saturday night and did not miss a beat.
The kicker for me is that he didn’t even start playing the game until he was 21.
His first foray in rugby came via fourth grade at the Manly Marlins with a number of his early days teammates proud as hell of his debut in Perth.
This from club pest and much-loved team manager Leif Olson, who attempted to prop for Cadeyrn way back then.
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“When he turned up, he was just too fit, strong, fast and, well, big for us,” Leif said.
“I was only good for one, maybe two lineout lifts per game so I just said, ‘mate, you’re a lifter now, no more jumping.
“So, Cadeyrn spent most of that year throwing a five foot Irishman named ‘Danny Boy’ into the early morning sky.
‘We never lost a lineout, but, Cadeyrn never jumped. Good to see someone else taught him for Saturday night’s win.”
Porecki’s emotional interview with dad
DAD AND DAVE
I was lucky enough to catch up with yet another debutant from Manly in Perth with Dave Porecki turning in a near flawless game.
Porecki’s old man Dorian made a hastened flight to be on hand for a night many, many years in the making and shared his thoughts in a memorable interview post-match.
Unfortunately Dave’s partner Shani couldn’t make it, stuck at home looking after his crook dog Frankie and baby boy Luca.
If his opening Test is anything to go by, there’ll be plenty more chances for them to be on hand to watch DP do his thing.
I’m told by most that the precinct around Optus Stadium was HEAVING in Perth.
There were activations everywhere with some terrific fan engagement.
The most popular of all was the pop-up barbershop where punters of all ages were lining up to get their hair shaped like their favorite Wallabies.
Options included ‘The Valetini,’ ‘The Leota,’ ‘The JOC,’ and ‘The Tate’ among others.
McDermott’s mullet was hands down the favorite style, with reports of thousands getting their hair hacked to look like the Reds captain.
The clippers will be snipping again on Saturday at Suncorp with Stan Sport freebies also proving very popular in Perth.
You know what they say: “build it and…”
Samu’s dazzling try seals famous win
The Wallabies copped some stick for their late arrival into Perth, but it must be said they were fully engaged with the fans a long time after fulltime.
Each of them circled the stadium posing for photos with punters, signing jerseys and just chatting with adoring attendees.
Jake Gordon went one better, putting away a celebratory cold one with the folks at ground level. Well done all.
JP vs GOOG
As mentioned last week, Rugby Heaven has undergone a rebranding of sorts on Wednesdays which now includes a studio audience.
The biggest laughs in episode one came when popular Wallabies hooker Jeremy Paul squared off with good mate Justin Harrison.
‘Goog’ told the story of JP’s first car purchase at the Brumbies where he mistakenly bought a converted ambulance thinking it was just an oversized ute.
JP sparked back and said: “well, do you want to know what ‘Goog’ did in his first car?”
The crowd roared ‘yes’ before producer Ollie wisely pulled the plug.
“Tell ’em next time, JP,” was the call from the control room.
See you tonight for a very special episode of Between Two Posts from the Steyne Hotel in Manly.
Mehrts is particularly excited about this one.
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