Introducing Brand O’Connor

Hi rugby lovers, I’m Brand O’Connor. I am one of the most exciting rugby players in the world.

Some might know me as James, but that does lend itself to ‘Jim’ or ‘Jimmy’ and frankly I have moved on: ‘Brand’ it is and it’s here to stay.

Call me Brandy for short – which I am actually, short that is. And baby-faced; really I look about 15. And of course, they say I look like Justin Bieber. Let’s get something straight: Justin Bieber looks just like me – except, and I say this modestly,  I’m prettier. I wear short rugby socks because they show my muscly little calves better and I put my mouthguard in – in! – when I’m kicking goals, not out like every other kicker in the world. It sets my brand apart, you see.

The ARU threw me out of last week’s Tri Nations decider for not turning up for the Rugby World Cup squad annoucement. Okay, okay, so I slept in after a night out on the turps with Kurtley Beale; it’s not a hanging offence, is it? Just slept in and really, I was seriously still too trashed to go anyway; what was the point?

O'Connor took Business 101 at TAFE W.A.

I thought the ARU and Eddie Deans, sorry Robbie Deans, might be a little filthy but seriously, to throw me out of that game and fine me $10,000 suspended until the end of next year . . . were they for real? Turns out they were – can you believe it?

Of course I had to make a public statement apologising for it and say that I was ‘gutted’ but really, I didn’t give a stuff; it was their problem, not mine, especially when without me playing they were on a hiding to nothing against the All Blacks.

Yes, I know the Wallabies won but the point is they would have won by more had I been playing, heaps more. Anyway, after the game I managed to get my pic taken with two of my player mates holding the Tri Nations trophy to make it look like I was sort of part of it.

It’s good for the brand, you know, winning: Brand O’Connor is a winner, always associated with W-I-N-N-I-N-G.

W-I-N-N-I-N-G...

I’ve heard on the grapevine that a number of old Wallabies are filthy on me after my no-show. They’ve been calling the ARU and Robbie Deans demanding that they dump me out of the World Cup Squad altogether.

These old geezers are calling me James NO’Connor – fully cut sick, dudes! – and they are also blaming my father, Warren, for driving this Brand O’Connor thing too far, too fast because I’m just a naïve kid who doesn’t know any better. They’ve started comparing me to Luke McAllister, who’s managed by his father, Charlie. When Luke didn’t get picked for the All Blacks RWC squad this year he and Charlie got the shits BIG, packed up shop and hopped off to play rugby in the UK.

I might do the same; that’d teach them. Yeah, maybe I will! I think my hairstyle would go down a lot better in London, anyway. Better salons there, too.

By Leonard Lee

The month of September

We’re in September now.

It’s an awkward month. Hay-fever kicks in for the more delicate of us. Some senior retail executives begin bracing themselves for a tough FY12 after less than spectacular annual results. And like an 18-year-old test tube baby knocking on a sperm donor’s door for the first time, cricket makes its nervous return to the back pages – a section currently engorged by various forms of rugby.

Meanwhile, athletics hovers there and thereabouts, ditto tennis and golf. It’s something that sports fans have to get their heads around every year: the transition from traditional winter sports to summer sports.

Usually, September means one thing and one thing only. And that’s finals football. Carlton fans in Lygon Street cafes discuss “Juddy’s groin” in hushed tones over their morning macchiatos, while conversations on Sydney’s CityRail trains tend towards whether the “Tigers can pull a ’05.”  Entire cities move into states of apprehension as The Big Game fast approaches.

Chris Judd's groin will be a big conversation topic this month

But this September sees a new bedfellow emerge. The Rugby World Cup will add some 44 extra days of oval-shaped mayhem to an already saturated football calendar. You can almost hear the sound of Herald writer Spiro Zavos’ knuckles cracking in preparation for various RWC-related columns. Come next week, Rebel Sports will be fresh out of IRB-approved Wallabies paraphernalia.

Holy fuck, how will we cope?

Here’s the truth: some of us won’t.

While most Australian males will back themselves to watch every single match and every minute of every code, it’s inevitable that sleep deprivation will kick in and sick days will be taken. Add to this the extra number of beers that the average guy will consume over the next month and a half and it is almost a given that bar/nightclub violence will escalate as a result.

What is the government doing about this?

Nothing. By sitting on their hands while a veritable avalanche of sport is about to hit our screens, Australia is about as prepared for the resultant chaos as northern Sumatra was for the 2004 Tsunami.

And once the rugby fest is over, the clean-up will begin. But how will we adjust to the new landscape, once this epic tidal wave has run its course over mainland Australia?

We must be better prepared than this...

There will be a few months of sporting bewilderment – especially if we somehow happen to win the Rugby World Cup. We will not know what to do. Will it be too early to embrace state cricket? Can we suddenly turn our attentions to the A-League?

ThePublicApology has campaigned for federal and state government intervention in regards to a number of schemes in previous editions. But in all honesty, nothing can be done to seamlessly transition sporting fans from the rugby to cricket seasons. People will adjust at their own rate; some will be unwilling to let go of the football season, others are already eager that that chapter be done with.

Australia’s win in the first test against Sri Lanka has gone some way towards raising national awareness that, yes, cricket has resumed normal practice. But it is still far from the national consciousness. Additionally, Sally Pearson’s  110 metre hurdles victory at the World Championships is a gentle reminder that the London 2012 Olympics are less than a year away. However, these achievements still sit firmly in the shadow of Football Fever.

But eventually we’ll hit full-stride. Once the football ends, conversations about the Big Bash league will no longer seem ridiculous. Our Australian cricketers will return to Australian soil after engaging in test matches on the Subcontinent in mainly unpronounceable cities. And once the Boxing Day test kicks off at the MCG, it’ll be like its round 10 in the NRL again. But for cricket.

Then, we’ll be ready. But not now. There’s too much fucking football on.

By Dave Edwards