McLean: It's simple, Australians just hate losing

Last updated 05:00 02/12/2013
Cameron Smith
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WORLD CHAMPION: Based on Cameron Smith's performance in the World Cup Final, pre-match claims that Isaac Luke had displaced the Kangaroos captain as the best hooker in the world were premature, to say the least.

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As a nation, Australia are the great innovators of sport.

OPINION: When they find themselves on the wrong side of the ledger, they are generally not afraid to experiment to find a winning formula.

After being dusted up by England in three successive Ashes series, they have decided to use the biggest asset they have - home advantage.

Australia coach Darren Lehmann knows if his players get as down and dirty as they can towards the opposition on the field, then they are not going to take a pasting in the press.

Australian cricket crowds are not going to get quieter in their response when things turn ugly and Lehmann knows that.

A fourth Ashes series defeat in a row would be too much to bear for the Australian psyche, so they are prepared to go as low as they can if they think it's going to be to their advantage.

While Ashes series have a history of being ugly, think bodyline, they might not have had the level of hatred we are going to see over the coming weeks.

England know they are going to have to face the verbal fire coming their way and simply stand up to it.

While super sledging might not be regarded as very innovative, Australian rugby lead the way in finding ways to get around their shortcomings.

The weekend's test against Wales was the perfect case in point.

What do you do if you scrum with the efficiency of a torn sail? You avoid having scrums.

They did that against the Red Dragons, avoiding the set piece until the 46th minute, which must be a record in itself.

While they are great at shooting themselves in the foot at times, think Quade Cooper's failed attacks and Richie McCaw, as well as most of the squad hitting the turps in Dublin, they don't stay down for long and can genuinely win any game they play, providing things go their way.

In Israel Folau, they have a player who has the potential to be the best in the world and much better than our Israel, the Dagg type, whose star is waning as he struggles with form slumps that have plagued his 2013 season.

The Kangaroos probably knew they didn't have to be too innovative to win the Rugby League World Cup.

Deep down they knew the Kiwis fluke of five years ago was a blip on the overall scheme of things that could really be traced back to Billy Slater's mind explosion rather than the New Zealand side being the better team.

Nevertheless, they were innovative in the way they developed their kicking game which simply stretched the Kiwis to breaking point in the weekend's final.

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There is a reason why you can count the number of Kiwi wins over our neighbours since the turn of the century on one hand - they are simply a lot better than us.

That is why there will be no national mourning at the thumping handed out to the Kiwis.

As for Sonny Bill Williams, yes he might have been judged the world's best league player, an award which does seem generous after the weekend, he has to get used to the feeling of not winning a trophy.

It's rare, really rare for him. I wonder, as he walked past the World Cup after receiving his losers medal, if he wished he was heading back to rugby a year earlier?

- Taranaki Daily News


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