Message to Eddie: Go all in on these X-factor players who show zero fear


Here’s the thing. If we are going to win the Bledisloe and the RWC, there is one constant. No fear!

I’ll say it again, but louder – NO EFFIN’ FEAR!

OK, so Duhan Van de Merve from Scotland is not available – bummer – that was exactly the type of no fear running that we need, but we actually have it, if we look in the right places.

But in order for that type of open play to occur, you firstly, need someone who can act as the “can opener”.

Apart from that everything starts with the “Cutter” – a term that I have only just heard, recently, but pretty apt, and as far as I am concerned, the only real cutter that we have in this country is Quade.

Hands down.

Lots of talent in the number 10 ranks at the moment, but show me one of those guys who can throw caution to the wind and be a true “cutter”.

I cannot believe, in my wildest dreams that Eddie would be looking anywhere else.

We were all mesmerised when Quade came back into the squad against the Boks and it was no accident.

He is poetry in motion.

He is the quintessence of Aussie Running Rugby – Ella style (are you listening, Eddie?)

He knows how to get his outside backs moving down the right lines and the right channels. Once he gets bodies in motion, he knows exactly what strings to pull, and he creates the options. Of course, it helps if you have Samu Kerevi running down the next channel and Marika in the wide channels. How much would Dave Rennie be ruing the day that he lost those guys, before they got the chance to make him look good?

(Photo by Kenta Harada/Getty Images)

The bloke has the X factor and that is what Eddie will want to see. He is the only natural pivot that we have amongst our ranks. Maybe others will be up and comers, but not yet.


Because he has conquered the fear factor. Throws caution to the breeze and sometimes gets injured in the process. OK body is a bit older, but still a joy to watch. Not to mention that he has matured to the point of being an elder statesman of our great game.

So, let’s analyse who else in the team has that X factor.

Let’s be clear – I am not picking a Wallabies XV, just cherry picking those blokes that would be in my team virtually every day of the week, and it names players from outside the squad, because when you are theorising, you have that licence to go where you like.

I know that this little article is going to offend a bucket load of Roarers, but, hey isn’t that what we are here for?

So, gentle people, if you don’t like it, then, respectfully, suck it up.

Front Row

I would say that my first pick would be Taniela Tupou. Talent to burn and not yet restricted by doubt.

Jimmy Slipper – just playing his natural game and loving every day that he has left. NO FEAR.

AAA – same and a great leader. Will never let you down.

Dave Porecki – honed by great European experience, sure of himself and putting in the work.

Tola Latu – natural talent, and needs to play outside of himself.

Loz Lonergan – calm and self assured, and, as we saw in the Wales game, will take his chances when they are on offer. A real competitor. Possibly described as a quiet assassin.

Second Row

My first pick is Nick Frost – a great athlete and still does not appear to have worked out his boundaries, yet. The bloke, himself, probably doesn’t know how far he can go.

Darcy Swain – raw and more – and when he learns to tone down his agro, will very likely step into a new place. You have to love his attitude, even if it needs a bit, or a lot, of work.

Adam Coleman – I’d bring him back, tomorrow, but he just needs to think like a littler guy and stop getting red cards for head contact.

Will Skelton – not particularly a fan, but what would I know? Everyone else rates him, whereas I think he is a bit of an underachiever, but what would I know?

Rob Simmons – a true workhorse and playing so well for London Irish – he would not be out of place back in the squad – he gets a run on spot, virtually every week at Irish and he is always influential on the game, and appears to work for the full 80. Maybe playing within himself, but fronting up every week, so you have to think he still has fuel in the tank.

Ollie Hoskins – a 1 cap Wallaby, also plays for London Irish – tough and uncompromising and needs to come home if he wants his 2nd cap. Sorry, I’m a bit Irish biased, but if they were all eligible, I’d pick then all! Ollie will never let you down. He is an imposing workhorse.

Back Row

I love the look of Langi Gleeson – he has so much more to learn, but probably so much more to give. Reminds me of a mix of Willy O and Toutai Kefu. Raw but worth the work and he looks to me like he has a great work ethic.

Harry Wilson and Fraser McReight – as a member of the Brethren, I may be a bit biased, but those blokes are definitely going places. They both have X-factor.

Liam Wilson – a steely look in his eyes – a bolter.

Rob Valetini – no comment required.

Pete Samu – the quiet assassin – never plays a bad game and more often that not, pulls something special out of the hat. X-factor in spades.

A bolter? Keep your eye on Rory Scott at the Brumbies. A unit.

Hoops – goes without saying.


Nic White – never met the bloke but he comes across as an annoying pest – the perfect CV for a 9 – and he does play for the Queanbeyan Whites – lots of Eddies pests at that club. Abrasive and that is precisely what we want in our 9.

Tate McDermott – the apprentice abrasive pest – only a cigarette paper between him and Whitey. Actually, I think they complement each other.

Ryan Lonergan – precise and a great kicker – can’t pick up much about him off the silver screen, but he is a Brumby – therefore good bloke. I would have him in my squad.

Joey Powell – again, I am biased because I watched Joey all the way through school at Marist, Canberra. Unfortunately, had his Brumbies experience behind Nic White at the Brums, so headed down to the Rebels, but now, one of my faves at, you guessed it, London Irish – so proud of him and he is starting behind the Scottish 9, Ben White, but when he gets on, and has had plenty of starts, he is impressive – I really hope he comes back to Oz in the near future. I would be especially thrilled if he finished out his career at the Brums.


Covered. Quade, Quade and more Quade. Some good young guys coming through, but it is too soon to bring most of them on, even Noah.

It will be interesting to see how some of the unknowns go – Debreczini, Pasitoa, Stewart, Gordon, Gordon, Lynagh, Jorgensen? Who have I forgotten?

Then to see now the nearly established guys go – Donaldson, Lolesio, Edmed, Creighton.

12 – Samu Kerevi, first, daylight second, but Simone, Perese, Petaia, maybe Sapsford (but we don’t know enough about him, yet).

13 – No idea who to choose from, just so many.

11 & 14 – Too many to name at this stage, but you have Marika, Dylan Pietsch, Filipo Dauganu and Marky Mark on the left wing, Tom Wright, Andy Kellaway, Andy Muirhead, Jordy Petaia on the right, (and I deliberately leave out Vunivalu – sorry mate, you have not worked out how to play the roving role of a winger and I would probably suggest that you go back to the NRL, where you are a superstar, and rightly so).

15 – Too many to name, and I sincerely hope that Jesse Mogg comes into contention, but for the moment, you have Campbell, Hodge, Petaia, Nawawanitawase, Mogg, Wright, Debreczeni.

I am bound to have left good people out, but this is not meant to be an exhaustive list, just one that get the creative juices of you impressive Roarers going and just let me reiterate – this is not about picking a Wallabies team, but identifying blokes with the X-factor that Eddie might be looking for.

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