Surprising reveal: Are losing teams just like MAFS with a football?

·Contributor
·3-min read
Seen here, Waratahs captain Jake Gordon in action against Fijian Drua in the Super Rugby Pacific competition.
Waratahs captain Jake Gordon is seen here in action against Fijian Drua in the Super Rugby Pacific competition. Pic: Getty

Losing teams aren’t supposed to be happy teams.

That's not the way it generally works.

The convenient script has them at each other's throats, back-stabbing and spitting venom and looking for someone, anyone, to blame but themselves.

Think MAFS with a football.

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The NSW Waratahs, if anyone needs reminding, did not win a game of Super Rugby in 2021.

Thirteen starts for 13 losses, many of them by embarrassingly large scorelines.

Fans started booking vasectomies on match days because it was less painful.

Incoming coach Darren Coleman was half expecting a basket case when he walked in for his first day on the job.

These blokes MUST hate each other, he thought, when he sat down for player interviews.

Surely they're gouging each other's eyes out after the season from hell?

"I was super surprised (they hadn’t turned on each other). I've been in losing camps and cancers get in," Coleman said.

"I noticed (their solidarity) specifically when I had on my one-on one chats with them (before the season).

"I caught up with every player for an hour and prodded a little bit on that and laid a few traps on who was irking you, who was getting on your nerves or who don't you rate and they're all rock solid.

"They're a good bunch of boys that genuinely like each other."

That was on show on Friday night when the Tahs won their first game in 538 days, beating Fijian Drua 40-10 in the opening game of the Super Rugby Pacific competition.

One win does not make a season, and tougher tests await NSW.

But it puts to bed, just a little, that a winning team is a happy team and vice versa.

Pictured here, NSW Waratahs players celebrate their Super Rugby Pacific win against Fijian Drua.
The NSW Waratahs kicked off their Super Rugby Pacific campaign with a win against Fijian Drua. Pic: Getty

Losing an important learning experience for footy sides

Plenty of successful sporting teams feature players who can’t stand the sight of each other but get the job done when the whistle blows.

So, it stands to reason a losing side doesn’t automatically mean a club becomes a full-blown prison riot.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart hates losing more than anyone but sees some upside to a disappointing season.

"It's a matter of how you deal with it. I am very, very happy with how we all got something out of last year," he told Sky Sports Radio on the weekend.

"We're better for it today."

You may put that down as a coach trying to deflect, but Jake Gordon knows exactly where Sticky's coming from.

Speaking after the win over Fiji Drua, the Tahs captain reflected on last season's poor record before declaring: "We learnt how resilient the group was and how many actual good blokes we have in our team.

"There was no back-stabbing."

We might just have to put that vasectomy on hold….again.

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