READER REPORT:

Come on Australia, the Wallabies are back

DANE ELDRIDGE
Last updated 09:00 23/10/2012
Mike Harris
Photosport
ON SONG: Kiwi turned Aussie Mike Harris did the job on Saturday night.

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When you're famished after trying to survive on nothing but basic rations for a while, it's tough to muffle your excitement when someone unexpectedly hands you a ham sandwich.

That's why after reaching some long-awaited parity with the All Blacks on Saturday night, I'm declaring with a sound mind and a gutsful of delirious bravado that the pesky storm supposedly hanging over Australian rugby has now transformed into a beautiful rainbow sporting all the trimmings of a hopeful future.

Yep, you know where this heat-of-the-moment rant is headed. In the words of Frank Costanza (if he followed rah-rah), I'm saying the Wallabies are back, baby!

Holding the rugby sovereign to a try-less draw in a unimportant dead rubber Bledisloe match was the endorphin-shot the team required to pump up the faith in Robbie Deans' system and finally get the country feeling good about our first XV again.

Let's get real. One swallow definitely makes a summer and you're only as good as your last game, so lets hang the hat on the solitary 80 minutes from Suncorp and celebrate the good times that are ahead.

After Saturday's 18-all stalemate, our injury-riddled outfit has proven they can avoid defeat with the best of them, so put a welding mask on because the future is bright.

The re-awakening started up front with the Aussie forwards predatory at the breakdown, proving within 80 minutes that they've finally turned the corner in the intensity stakes. Led by the anti-pensionable Nathan Sharpe, the man who won't be around for said good times, an a-grade performance of passion and desire was produced which gave the impression that matching the All Blacks in the ruck will now be par for the course.

Add the prospect of unearthed youngster Michael Hooper combining forces with the inspirational David Pocock upon his return from injury, and BOOM, you've got yourself a Richie McCaw antidote. Advantage!
And what about Mike Harris? It was a super-steely showing from the true blue Aussie-Aucklander with his competent punching of anxious penalty goals and assured play at the back when the pressure was immense.

He's got the look of a long term marksman, and to add further gloss, he even keeps the traditionalists happy as a pawn in Australia's continuing procedure of pinching anything of value from the Kiwis and passing it off as our own.

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I'm not going to stop the dangerous predictions there, so let's add the always-welcomed burden of expectation on young buck Ben Tapuai, who looks the business as a rampager in the centres. And Kurtley Beale's move to 10 appears a less catastrophic option than Quade Cooper, even allowing for his pang of dropsies on the weekend.

A draw has never been so flaming enlightening. It's got the spring tour looking more like something that has the potential to be actually enjoyable and encouraging rather than four possible banana peels seen on a shocker of a time difference.

I know I will feel a lot better rising at 1am knowing there should be a fierce and proud performance like Saturday night's dish.

OK, I acknowledge that you may all be wondering how one can be so cock-a-hoop after a sister-kisser result in a dead rubber of a series that Australia were defeated in. You may also think that I have run out of medication.

Well, my response is as follows: it wasn't just the rousing display from the XV that has me whistling. There were mini-factors which seasoned Saturday night's game that confirmed for me that Australian rugby was feeling like a cosy security blanket again.

With a Queensland-based Wallaby reverting to the dark arts in a daft attempt to rough-up McCaw, Sharpe again retiring and Eddie Jones featuring in the tabloids with controversial comments on Sunday morning, all seemed right with Australian rugby again. Pure Nostalgia.

C'mon Australia, no time for rational judgment and cool heads, it's time to go off early and get back on the bandwagon.

We're back!


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