The essence of professional sport is competition. Maybe also beer consumption. But no amount of beer washes down the bitter taste of paying to see part-time fighters beat up haplessly mismatched opponents. That’s if you can even afford a cold one after shelling out forty bucks on the pay-per-view (PPV).
With Wallaby Quade Cooper announcing this week that he will put his rugby career on ice to moonlight as a boxer, it seems the Australian public will be subjected to yet another painful, expensive mismatch. Cooper, who is set to make his professional debut (with no amateur background) on the undercard of Sonny Bill Williams’ February 8 fight in Brisbane, is only one of a parade of footballers who’ve soured the sweet science with their presence in recent years.
Williams, who shares manager Khoder Nasser with Cooper, is a case in point. Since his debut in 2009, he’s fought five times against opponents whose combined record was 18 wins, 19 losses and a draw. Three of those five wins have come within two rounds.
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The $40,000 fine dished out to rugby player Quade Cooper for calling the Wallabies setup “toxic” is a huge penalty. It really is a massive slug for what was essentially a thought crime.
Wayne Carey was never fined $40k for screwing a team-mate’s wife. Rugby league player Nate Myles was never fined $40k for pooing in a hotel corridor (though his club copped a hefty fine), and Simon Katich was never fined $40k for questioning the manner of his dumping from the Test team.
There’s actually a strong similarity between the situations of Katich last year and Cooper in mid 2012. Both were echoing the sentiment of ordinary fans across Australia that the goons running the show were stuffed. In Katich’s case, that meant cricket’s national selection panel. In Cooper’s case, it mostly meant Wallabies coach Robbie Deans.
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Beleaguered and hopelessly out-of-form Wallabies fly half Quade Cooper is currently suffering a barrage of hate of the sort usually reserved for criminals and lying politicians.
He doesn’t deserve it. He deserves a healthy dose of public scepticism after two truly terrible World Cup performances, but he doesn’t deserve the sort of bile being poured out across the internet today.
Before the Cup, Cooper was widely hailed as Australia’s great hope. Rod Macqueen, who coached the 1999 Wallabies to World Cup glory, said he was the one player with the “X-factor to make the difference”. Fairfax scribe Spiro Zavos called him “the Picasso of the pass”.
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The Queensland Reds are into the Super XV Rugby final - the first Australian team to make the final since NSW lost to the Crusaders in 2008.
The Brisbane-based team will now meet the Christchurch-based Canterbury Crusaders, in what will surely be billed as the battle of the two cities which nature attacked, or some such.
Speaking to friends on the weekend, both in person and on social media, a disturbing trend emerged. People who normally support other teams, like the NSW Waratahs and ACT Brumbies, were actually cheering for the Reds. Former Puncher and current news.com.au editor Paul Colgan was just one such turncoat.
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