My name’s Rob and I’m a Sharks supporter. I’m disappointed as hell today, but it’s not like I’m not going still be a Sharks supporter tomorrow, or every other day for the rest of my life…
Right, had to get that off my chest. Let’s talk about the game last night. Not easy to really give any perspective, since I didn’t see it, but from what I’ve heard, it wasn’t a great performance. Certainly, the scoreboard would suggest that the Sharks got pumped. Four tries to nil is pretty damning, isn’t it?
Sounds like we weren’t particularly good at doing anything last night – hell, even the jerseys were ugly. But Charlie pointed out something interesting. We’re still in exactly the same spot on the Super 14 log, aren’t we? Nobody got injured and we didn’t give away any of our best moves (assuming we have any). That’s already three things to feel positive about. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s pretty counter-productive getting all morose and depressed because we lost a warm-up game. The Sharks clearly approached this one as a glorified bit of full-contact practice and Plum even said beforehand that he wasn’t too concerned about what the score would be.
The Bulls lost all their warm-up games last year. Hell, some idiot on this site even wrote an article about how they would tank in the Super 14 as a result. Not 4 months later, Vic Matfield was holding the trophy and that nameless writer was having his intelligence questioned all over the internet!
So does this mean that I’m not at all concerned about our prospects for the season? Do I think the loss last night was a good thing? Am I convinced that all is right in the land of the Sharks? No, no and hell no. I am worried and I certainly don’t like the way the guys (seemingly – remember I didn’t watch the match) didn’t do the jersey any justice last night. I know there are problems in the squad and in the management structure. I’m also not daft enough to think that the poor gameplan that cost us last year has now been shelved because, by all accounts, we made the same mistakes last night. Don’t get me wrong here, guys – I have not suddenly revised my thinking on where the Sharks will finish. That doesn’t mean, though, that I’m not still incredibly hopeful that we’ll sneak the semis and that I won’t be giving every single guy in that team my full backing, all the way.
Spare a thought for the players, too. They’re not stupid and they’re not all that thick-skinned either. They know they let themselves down last night and they’re feeling pretty low about it. They failed as a team and we should acknowledge that and apportion blame fairly. Getting the knives out for poor bloody Monty Dumond isn’t going to accomplish anything and is quite simply unfair. Show me a flyhalf that can shine when the rest of the team is getting hammered. There isn’t one in the modern game and I’ll call you a liar if you say there is!
The forwards will come right – we know this. We have too much talent in that pack to be pushed around by the likes of the Force a second time. It was the first game and we came into it with some niggles and lots of rust. We KNOW what guys like Beast, Wolla, Smittie and Sykesie are capable of in the tight loose, not to mention the new guys like Mostert and Vic Alberts. I expect a much better showing up-front against the Stormers and I think we may just be surprised to see how much better the backline looks as a result.
Mental coaching remains an issue and I won’t stop banging on about this point until the management sees sense and brings in a specialist. I fear that Tim Goodenough may be lost forever to the Lions, but if the Sharks brainstrust can see sense, they’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse, to rejoin the team that he loves. Talent is one thing, conditioning and fitness another, but if you haven’t won the game in your head before you run onto the field, whatever happens in the next 80 minutes is completely beyond your control.
So let’s keep the faith and try not to get too carried away just yet. It doesn’t say very much about us as supporters if we give up before the bloody competition has even started, now does it? We have a great squad and they’ll do their best for us. We have the best captain in the world and he is aching to get his hands on the one trophy that’s eluded him to date. It’s pretty clear what we have to do. Get behind the black and white, because nothing else matters!Tweet