The Growden Report
Do ostriches sit at Australian rugby's top table?
Greg Growden
November 3, 2014
The ostrich is only ever one step from putting its head in the sand © Andy Withers / flickr

In late breaking news, Australian rugby has nominated long-time mentor and ever-sweaty right-winger Richard Milhous Nixon to join its Hall of Fame. And after spending almost half-an-hour getting their secret handshakes down pat, the board then made another startling decision. They resolved the only way their organisation was to overcome insolvency was by running an ostrich farm as a tourist attraction.

In documents leaked to their chief media apologist - codenamed 'Yes Boss', who was specially flown in for the meeting, one board member was quoted as saying: "Well, why not? Ostrich farms are right up our alley. After all, we do know a thing or two about ramming our heads in the sand."

The board then called in the heads of its Thought Police Department - Inspector Plod and his loyal sidekick, Inspector Clouseau - who were told they had done a "spiffing job" in sorting out this silly text imbroglio involving staffers, coaches and players.

Plod and Clouseau looked somewhat sheepish, and then asked timidly: "So you don't mind that we have absolutely no idea why text messages have disappeared, and some photographs can't be explained, the most crucial witnesses don't have to appear at our Inquisition, and our tribunal has no power to compel witnesses to attend?"

"Of course not," came the reply from their rulers. "That's just minor details. Look, we don't even mind that your lie detector machine has suddenly gone missing. Don't you understand nothing should get in the way of a good old-fashioned shoeing."

With it came a promotion, a crown of thorns even, for Plod and Clouseau, plus the directive that they must keep this case closed until the great unwashed, otherwise known as the pesky media, eventually lose interest. Or as one board member put it: 'For as long as it takes until the heat is off us, as this is the junket season … London, Paris in November is absolutely jolly. What ho. Just checking: after customs do we turn left or right to get to the Captain's Lounge?"

Barbarians 36-40 Australia (Australia only)

Outside the board meeting, there was an enormous racket. The board members eventually fell out of their hammocks to investigate.

The head honcho decided to show he was a true leader. The Lord clambered off his throne, peered over his vast kingdom to exclaim: "Oh, be quiet you rabble. My old buddy Biggus boy is doing a brilliant job. Show some respect. He is my Emperor. In spite of your mumblings, this gravy train will not be derailed. Pfffft in your general direction."

So there.

For a second, the rabble stopped throwing stones at the Lord and his Emperor, because they were completely confused over what they had heard. Was the Lord talking that ancient rugby language that hails from the mystical land known as Alickadoo? Or was he just simply reciting what some spiv in a suit wearing an enormous 'Media Guru' badge self-written in crayon was babbling in his ear?

The Emperor is doing a splendid job? Oh, come on. Next you'll say the Wallabies this year had been united behind their former coach. Smoke and mirrors stuff. Truth serum time.

So the rabble just scoured the ground for larger pebbles, and began hurling them even harder at the Fortress. One mischief maker, codenamed 'Trotsky' who gave himself away by having a tattered notebook peeking out of his back pocket, beckoned the troops around him to explain in a sarcastic tone: "Good on you, Lord. Protecting those who protect you and diverting the blame onto the media… the media which you have so readily detested even since that horrid, horrid man Evan Whitton scribbled something in that disgusting bolshie rag called the Sydney Morning Herald that questioned your footballing prowess.

"Oh, the temerity of that cad called Whitton … what would he know? Damn it, like all those other folk in the media, he never even played Test football," the mischief-maker continued. "That's why the Lord's told his colleagues over the years that he never ever reads newspapers … won't even look at them. Hate to tell you, Lord, but newspapers actually still exist, even if some are gasping for air, but dear oh dear oh me they continue describing you in less-than-flattering terms. One even said over the weekend that you were in denial. Even that you and your Emperor 'just don't get it'."

Just don't get it? Denial? Now, really. Fair suck of the sauce bottle.

The Lord tried to ignore the endless grumblings from below, but he couldn't. He puffed out his chest, flung his middle finger skywards and scowled: "What do I care? There are riches elsewhere to be made. Up yours … we're off."

And so with the board meeting now finalised, arm-in-arm the Lord and and his Emperor rode off into the sunset, laughing uproariously. "We showed those peasants. Let them eat rock cakes," they screamed in unison.

But it was soon apparent that the two ostriches on which they were perched were struggling appreciably under the weight of these mighty administrative legends. The ostrich heads were moving in a familiar direction. One almighty stumble was just seconds away.

Watching from afar, Inspector Clouseau exclaimed: "There is a time to laugh and a time not to laugh, and this is not one of them."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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