Reds row: Sailor jokes wear thin
By Greg Growden
Tuesday, February 7, 2006Â Â Print this article
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Queensland yesterday intensified their campaign to target former Reds winger Wendell Sailor, believing that by undermining him he will lose his way during their Super 14 clash on Saturday night.
Although the Queensland Rugby Union has denied it has called on the Brisbane crowd to boo Sailor during the teams' first game of the season, it is still clear they want his first visit north since joining the Waratahs to be as uncomfortable as possible.
Apart from the QRU focusing on Sailor in its pre-tournament publicity, including using his picture in advertisements which query why he turned his back on Queensland, Sailor was the butt of the jokes at yesterday's traditional interstate "hillbilly" luncheon in Brisbane.
The luncheon was more subdued than usual, probably because NSW finally defeated the Reds last year. But it didn't mean that one of their past players was let off lightly. Former Queensland and Test prop Chris Handy was at his comic best when he asked the audience for "some quiet" because he had an important announcement.
"The state of Queensland is about to be overrun by invaders from Planet Dell â€¦ fresh from their bonding session at a secret training camp on Brokeback Mountain," Handy said. "The aliens come in all shapes and sizes and many wear diamond-stud earrings. These creatures are known to puff out their chests and make a lot of noise. But believe me, they are totally harmless. :lol:
"Be on the lookout for the insignia worn on the front of their uniforms, near where their hearts should be. They have tried to disguise themselves with letters on their backs. But it is the letters on their front which taunt them: HSBC. This stands for Huge Score By Crusaders and refers to a historic event where they came within 80 points of beating a rival tribe." :lol:Â :lol:Â :lol:
Handy then stressed how, on Saturday, Queensland would enjoy "one of our greatest victories". Usually it is Queensland who throw all the barbs before the match. But this time, the Waratahs and Sailor have been eager to join in.
Sailor has in the past week upset the QRU on numerous occasions, in particular when he explained one of the prime reasons he left the Reds was because of the "state of administration in Queensland rugby". He was deeply critical of QRU chief executive officer Theo Psaros.
Then, in the official 2006 Waratahs season guide, Sailor questioned the motivation of several of his former Reds teammates. He said Queensland would "start the year well in the trials and move the ball around, but as soon as a bit of pressure would come on, we'd go back to 10-man rugby".
He added: "To me, it seemed like there were a lot of blokes at the Reds who didn't believe in what they were doing and weren't pushing in the one direction.
"Too many people up there were playing for themselves, and the culture of the place went downhill once the guys from the Western Force were putting offers on the table. I've never seen anything like it, and I felt really sorry for blokes like Chris Latham and David Croft, who wanted to play and win while others were worried about everything around the periphery."
The Waratahs team management has also been throwing grenades over the Tweed. When they released the Waratahs' weekly schedule to the media on Sunday, it included the reminder, "Queensland is one hour and 25 years behind Sydney". Within minutes, the Waratahs were receiving nasty replies from members of the Queensland media.
The Waratahs will name their line-up this afternoon but it will not include Mat Rogers, who returned to training yesterday.
At a private team training session, Rogers practised separately, with NSW officials explaining it will be several weeks before he is fit and considered for selection. Rogers will not travel with NSW to South Africa after the Queensland match.
The only NSW player unable to train was back-up halfback Brett Sheehan (neck), but he is expected to be picked on the bench. Ex-Test winger Ben Tune (knee/hamstring) is unavailable for the Reds.
its gonna b awesome when they clash...wooooooooooooooooooooo cant wait for this match to happen...