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Wednesday November 29, 2017

SPORT

British support for Onslow Cricket Club

Sports talk

with Jacob Page

Kiwis fail to take flight and blame everyone but themselves

By Julia Czerwonatis

The Onslow Cricket Club has been boosted this season with their new player from the UK. George Rhodes is batsman for Worcestershire, one of 18 first-class county clubs around England and Wales, and George uses the winter break on the northern hemisphere to gain experience overseas. “This is my third year doing this,” George explains. “The previous two years I have played in Australia, one year in Adelaide and one year in Canberra. “It’s a good to see how other nations play and also to keep busy while we’re off-season in England.” George has only been in New Zealand for four weeks, yet has already explored a large chunk of Wellington, climbing up Mount Kaukau, kayaking in the harbour and exploring countless coffee places. And – more importantly – he has already played several games for the Onslow premier team. “It’s a good team; I enjoy playing with them,” he says. The team won against Petone on Saturday and George made 87 runs. Onslow premier also scored against Naenae on Sunday – that’s seven wins out of seven games played. When not training with the premiers, George is coaching the juniors team as well as a team from Onslow College and is keen to “offer a fresh pair of eyes” for their training sessions. The English man is playing cricket in the

George Rhodes joins the Onslow Cricket Club for the 2017/18 season. PHOTO: Julia Czerwonatis

third generation – his father used to play for England, too. George says Kiwi cricket had a good reputation overseas which is why many cricketers liked coming here. “I will be playing with Onslow until early March, and then I have to go back to pre-season training with Worcestershire.” But until then, George is excited to swing bats alongside Kiwi sportsmen.

The Kiwis Rugby League World Cup campaign has been a PR nightmare from start to finish. The best spin doctor in the world could not have saved this shambles which was punctuated by a 4-2 football score quarter final exit to lowly Fiji. What happened post match was blood-letting of the highest order. Captain Adam Blair, who is headed to the Warriors next year on a multi-year million dollar deal gave a bizarre interview where he said the result on home soil was a good sign for international rugby League and that his team had given it everything. Halfback Shaun Johnson took aim at the Kiwi supporters, saying they had to shoulder some of the blame for being negative towards the team throughout the campaign. Then there was coach David Kidwell, who gave a rambling radio interview where he defended his players and joined the firing squad aiming insults at the fans. Last time I checked, the fans didn’t drop the ball, concede the penalties or miss the tackles that saw them exit the tournament after a loss to Tonga the previous week. Johnson has since apologised for his comments and Kidwell has still yet to decide whether to reapply for the role. It’s an easy decision - he shouldn’t. The team played with no passion or

heart. They gave up a 14 point lead to lose to Tonga and they weren’t relatable or approachable. Fans need a reason to buy in to a team and this Kiwis’ team was not able to produce anything but frustration. Rugby league is in mediocre heart in New Zealand. A lot of key former players want board level, widespread change. An independent review is now underway. Fan support is a privilege not a right and New Zealand Rugby League took it for granted and Tonga stole their thunder. Fans want to see the top players performing at their peak. They also want to see a winning culture or at least a team that is striving to be winners. The fact is, this 2017 Kiwis team didn’t even come close to it. Confusing public statements, poor selections and poor performances on the paddock led to the demise of any positive outcomes and the NZRL has missed its opportunity to capture the imaginations of the next generation of rugby league players in this country. To sum up - much like the Warriors, the Kiwis promised so much and delivered so little and that’s a shame that cannot be swept under the carpet.

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Independent Herald 29-11-17  

Independent Herald 29-11-17

Independent Herald 29-11-17  

Independent Herald 29-11-17