So fans, yet again we find ourselves lamenting another season of what-ifs… It could have, nay, should have, turned out so differently this year.
There will be the usual, endless rounds of recrimination – most of them started by me, no doubt! There will be soul-searching, there will be a top-to-bottom dissection of the team, the coaching staff, the management, hell – even the ball boys. We will draw some conclusions and leave some mysteries unsolved but at the end of the day there is only one thing that cannot be argued.
The Sharks simply did not want this as much as they thought they did.
You can say what you like, but the team has looked like a rag-tag bunch simply going through the motions ever since the Hurricanes game. Clearly they all started to believe their own hype at that stage and accepted that all they needed to do for the rest of the tournament was simply rock up. Here come the mighty Sharks, let’s give them the log points on a platter.
Any emphasis on team work, on structure and on basics went right out of the window as virtually the entire attacking core of the team went walkabout on a self-serving glory boy mission. The captain and coach paid the appropriate amount of lip-service, of course, but you could tell that they didn’t really mean it – they also thought that the job was already done. Or maybe they weren’t quite strong enough to get that message across to the rest of the team?
So now we’re right back where we started, right back to our 2006 level, just missing out on the semis. The team of raw youngsters has matured and many of them are now seasoned internationals. We can no longer claim that we are waiting for this team to click – we just need to keep them together for a few seasons. The fact is, we have stuck with them through thick and thin and they have failed us – no, they have failed themselves. They had this thing on a platter and they threw it away like something that had no value. Shameful.
So what now? We, as fans will stick by them, of course, because that’s what we do. Sure, we’re angry now and some of us are making crazy statements about supporting the Bulls this week, but that ain’t really going to happen – not deep down anyway. It’s black and white for us – and nothing else matters. The players and coaching staff need to realise that and ask themselves whether they’ve really done the jersey any justice over the last few weeks? What do they need to do to atone?
I fear that, for some at least, the answer lies in accepting a fat European payday. Let’s hope that the real Sharks men will stick around and try, yet again, to atone for this failing in 2010.Tweet