Shhh! Just between you and me, Ned’s on a secret mission to the northern hemisphere. I’m not saying that Shag is involved, but let’s just say that it involves secret caches of Maketu Pies behind enemy lines. To cover my undercover moments, I’ve selected a few choice moments from the Road To Redemption.
Originally published 27 December 2010
Although I hate the genre as shallow and flatulent journalism, we do need to clear the decks for next year, so here’s my end of year awards.
Try of the Year
Mils Muliaina against Wales. It exemplified the Graham Henry style of keeping the ball in play, running the other team ragged, before surgically inserting a try.
The Welsh played into our hands with a couple of kicks that didn’t go out, or didn’t go out far enough so we took a quick throw-in – but really, how were they to know? The composure of the All Blacks in swinging from defence to attack is unnatural, and when they had finally kept the ball in motion for five minutes and the Welsh defence was in disarray, Mils looked up to see he was facing a couple of puffing wee fat po-pos, put the gas on, a bit of hip swivel, and he was through into the sunlit pastures of an undefended Welsh back yard. Poetry in motion.
Look Away Moment
Piri Weepu’s foot points the wrong way as he plays for Wellington against Taranaki in the ITM Cup. The cruelty of sport, for a guy who had put in all the hard yards and was shaping up as a unique squad member able to cover halfback and first-five. Pring Pack Piri.
Coach of the Year
A joint award to Graham Henry and Peter de Villiers for demonstrating the critical importance of the coach: Ted, for all the right reasons, PDV for all the wrong ones.
Player of the Year
Actually, it was me. Honest.
Christmas Day on the beach, the touch game where the old fullas get to show the young bucks who’s who and what’s what and how it used to be. Tied 1-1 with the bangers burning on the barbie, JB the nephew makes an intercept on our own goal line and sets off up the sand before he’s tagged just short. BrotherDoug puffs up the centre, takes the feed and – miraculously – hears me screaming on the left flank, and – even more miraculously – flings the ball in my general direction. As I remember it, I took it with a one-handed scoop while at full pace, jinked to my left, and scooted around about a dozen young fullas who collapsed in exhaustion. The victory dance was something to remember.
Give me a call Ted, and we’ll talk numbers.