It has been decreed from on high that these awards are no longer to be called the ‘best and fairest awards’ but the ‘those who made the most impact awards’. Now that the Bledisloe Cup for 2019 has been decided, the winners can be congratulated, in terms of their contribution to the All Black victory:
1. Three points to Raelene Castle. Her contribution to the All Black victory was invaluable. Having left Bulldogs in her wake, she now leaves Wallabies in the same condition. At times her profession and her accent seemed to indicate a divided loyalty but when the chips were down, she nullified the Australian attack with a superb display. It is not given to many players to create something out of nothing, and make so much of it. Yet she made the hard yards time and time again, sometimes with fleet of foot and sometimes with deft deception.
2. Two points to Peter FitzSimons. It has become a commonplace to note the effect that the sports psychologist can have on the outcome of sporting contests in the modern world. Fitz only had one chant – rather like a joker with one joke – but he maintained the rage ad nauseam. After initial doubts about his capacity to cooperate with Ms Castle, he proved to be the perfect foil. Every footballer needs a readily identifiable gimmick, and the red bandana is ideal for the one who is incapable of much else. Well played, Fizzed, – er, sorry Fitz.
3. One point to the crowd of one, Alan Joyce. He played a significant supporting role, or the lack of supporting role if he did not get affirmed and loved by all, without exception. If only the climate change fanatics were not ruining sales, he may have been in a position to make a greater contribution.
There were some slightly disappointing performances. When Ms Castle makes a break, Cameron Clyne needs to learn to support more. Innovative players need back-up players around them, but if they remain silent, how can the game’s great stars know who is with them? When he did offer support, he was rather prone to dropping the ball. Another to miss out was coach Michael Cheika who seemed to be rather foggy as to whom he was supporting. Every time he had a great idea, he had to run it past the super-coach, Alan Joyce. This detracted greatly from what authority he thought he possessed. Given this performance, Cheika’s plan of attack can only get better.
Others who contributed to the Kiwi win included, surprisingly enough, some Kiwi players, although their roles have tended to be overrated by the media. T. J. Perenara followed his superb display at the Wellington Pride Parade with another sterling effort. With his every touch of the football, and even more without it, he took the moral high ground, and gave the Wallabies nothing.
So there it is, ladies and gentlemen, another Bledisloe Cup, and another loss for the Wallabies, maintaining their consistency since 2002. Congratulations to those who made the most impact on this year’s cup and we look forward to yet greater efforts in the years to come.