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Friday, July 25, 2014

The Call of the Wallaby - Episode 1

The Call of the Wallaby is a short documentary feature that over the next six weeks will give us a fascinating look into the minds and souls of Australian rugby fans. Made by Fox Sports and featuring fan favourite Sean Maloney, the show follows a new initiative, called the Gold Brigade, as they hunt down the elusive Bledisloe Cup.

Devised by director Ryan Smith and featuring Andrew Swain and Mr Top 5 Maloney, episode one of the Call of the Wallaby gives us an insight into the fickle world of Australian rugby, in a land where the great fifteen-man sport competes with League and AFL. Wallaby fans all too regularly switch.

There are a devout group that stick with their side through the good and bad, and this show sets out to get those fans back to the games, following passionately and making their voices heard, all in the name of getting the Bledisloe Cup back from arch rivals, the All Blacks.

It's perhaps indicative of the level of expectation in Australian sport that shortly after beating the French 3-0, and while ranked 3rd in the world, this is considered a poor period. It's about the passion and love for the national side though, that as you'll see, seems eclipsed at club level.

A lot of fans around the world aren't aware of the challenges Rugby Union faces in Australia, so as Sean, Andrew and the Gold Brigade do their bit to create something great, the Call of the Wallaby will be a way for those around the globe, and indeed in Australia, to follow their progress. 

It's nearly 30 minutes in total, but well worth watching wherever you're from. If you enjoy and want to see more, we've just been told that Episode 2 will be online from Sunday, so we'll get it posted.

Posted at 4:29 am | 8 comments

Viewing 8 comments

BarryM July 25, 2014 12:37 pm

Great show - really enjoyed it and hope the GoldBrigade has success. Anything that brings passion back into watching international rugby has to be a good thing. Looking forward to watching progress over the next few weeks.

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Devon July 25, 2014 3:39 pm

Great show. I'm a Bokke supporter all the way, want rugby to grow and want to beat the best teams at their best, so go Wallabies.

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10stonenumber10 July 26, 2014 11:35 am

Union has a lot of competition for fans in Aus, a bit like Ireland with hurling and gaelic... except those are strictly amateur.

To be fair, with the time difference State of Origin leaves me in a drunken mess on kebab-seeking missions before lunchtime, Rugby Championship usually puts me back to sleep. Maybe it is the promise of a bit of old skool 'how ya goin'. The AFL/GAA is very exciting too, to the uninitiated it looks like basketball with kicking, played on a cricket outfield, but the hits, "speckies" and accuracy is unbelievable. GAA is a bit crazier as it is on a smaller pitch, like rugby but less tackles, more blindside hits and shoulder charges.

League is a higher standard because of Origin. Aside from missing a few 'foreign' players, it is like a Wallabies Probables XIII vs Possibles XIII, and players used to playing at a standard between domestic and international will make the step up to international honours seem a lot smaller.

Let's face it, fans love a bloodsport. All the fury etc. is there on the pitch rather than in the stands, which is probably why we all get along and can have a pint up in the £10 nosebleed sections. I've said it before in a few posts, a huge hit lifts a team far more than a touch kick.

I don't know if it is the media's picture of aussie sporting culture, but the sledging is legendary. Losing cricket teams would start talking like they were in the pub on a friday night, and were so ashamed of losing they started accusing the opposition of cheating, whether it is fielders eating sweets that also polish the leather, or special super secret government spec thermally invisible bat tape.... yeah, right, let me just get onto the MOD for the next shipment, we're so obsessed with beating you by any means we're willing to drop 10 grand on a roll of sellotape. Success or give up and complain.

Good on the lads, this sport needs more support. Hopefully players like The Badg and Israel Folau with his code hopping will increase the draw

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larry July 26, 2014 5:10 pm

There is some irony in the fact that when rugby union was still amateur Australia got on top, as they were on the upswing in the 80's and on into the early 90's with the 1991 RWC championship. Sure, the 1999 RWC was in the new era, but since then, well into the professional era, Australia hasn't done as well as the other top rugby nations. So did League counter Union going professional, one-up it if you will? I'm really curious about this, as it seemed rugby union was really going well in Australia before this past decade. It's been nearly 30 years since I visited Down Under. This web site is one of the only ways I can keep up with what's going on, since I dropped my Fox Sports World subscription a dozen or more years ago, as they were showing less and less rugby, more and more soccer, at the time here in the USA, and it wasn't worth the money to keep it on my cable TV subscription.
Believe it, rugby on TV here in the States was much more available between 1995 and about 2002. It's now only on premium channels, and they aren't always showing games in pubs at really good times, and I'm not spending over $200/month just to see some rugby matches. Sometimes NBC Cable Sports has rugby, like some recent 7's and last months Japan/US and Canada/US matches. That's rare!

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Juggernauter July 27, 2014 2:10 pm

Excellent documentary. Really interesting to get a look at the mind of the Aus rugby fan... i was in OZ last year and was amazed at how union could only get the back pages while league got sick coverage, I mean it was EVERYWHERE. Let's hope it gets back on track, and with guys like Hooper and Folau on the pitch, Cheika and Mckenzie in the coaching roles, Pulver at the ARU (an institucutio than had to be heavily cleaned) and a guy like Maloney on the mic it looks in a good position.
How awesome would it be if the Wallabies won back bledisloe eh
Chhers

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larry July 27, 2014 4:30 pm

So you are suggesting that newspapers and the media in general are more prone to cover league over union. I guess then that's just what has happened historically. League just has more of a fan base, especially in Sydney. Union still looked upon as a schools sport for the upper middle class. I got that from the documentary, regarding the single mom who has a kid going to St. Joseph's.
So winning two RWCs hasn't had the sort of knock-on effect that one would think would happen with that kind of success. Again I see some irony here too, because the union game in the last decade or two has changed so much as to have so many similarities to league. Maybe the average casual fan of rugby has it in his mind, in Australia, that with the two codes having become somewhat similar, why not just be focused on league, especially if coming from a family of league club supporters.
An uncle of mine who lived in Sydney was a Balmain Tigers fan back in the day. He died a few years back. Yet he always knew who was on the Wallabies, and certainly watched the internationals when they were on the TV.
Being an American, from California, I only will comment that rugby here in the States is never, ever going to be very popular, though it's past being a "cult" sport. There was some interest developed with the telecast of the 1995 RWC, but most games were on an night. Next year it will be interesting to see how much ESPN gives to its coverage on TV. My point is that interest is lower for rugby than soccer, which has recently peaked with the WC in Brazil. High school rugby is still rather spotty. It's been eclipsed by la crosse, as American boys have been attracted to playing that sport if they aren't into football, baseball, and basketball. Soccer is very popular with youth here. Ask Americans on the street if they've ever seen a rugby match, and most will still say no.

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Canadian content July 27, 2014 6:14 pm

Sorry, but it appears that league is entrenched in the ozzie sporting mind. I've been to oz twice and was fascinated with the attraction to league over union. Queensland was in the super rugby final and I found it tough to find a bar showing it in kings cross.

I truly believe that on-field success will equal more support, not the opposite. The way League is presented sorta reminds me of how canadians see hockey, everyday guys who are superstars. Too bad the badger is leaving cuz he certainly would have connected with oz fans and he certainly was in perth. I can see an ozzie resurgence on the rise however and I see them finishing 2nd this year.

btw, I find league really boring and predictable to watch. the only excitement is on the 5th tackle. even the nfl has more variety to its game.

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07015678 July 29, 2014 10:18 am

"Let's get behind them".... Let's not.

We can certainly say that all other rugby nations other than Australia, despise the typical Australian rugby fan. They are incapable of winning with modesty, maturity, or grace. It has been somewhat of a relief to see the Wallabies dwindle this past decade, raising the tone of international rugby union supporters world wide.

Sean Malony reckons Wallaby rugby fans are lying dormant. He's kind of right, rather the typically unpleasant Australian hasn't got any pro rugby to shout about just now so they'll crawl back under the rock.

Australian rugby is a breeding ground for loutish wankers which humanity is better off without.

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