If politics were played like rugby (i): Michaelia Cash drops the ball in the First Test

When Malcolm Turnbull replaced Tony Abbott as playing captain, a selector and coach of the Australian Wallaby Parliamentary rugby team, he made it quite clear that he had a plan. There would never be a better time, he told fans, to be a Wallaby supporter.Hopes were high, he had been a very successful player at club level and was particularly well known for his after match speeches. Some of the hard heads doubted whether he had the goods to play at the highest level.

He had an opportunity to rearrange the team for the upcoming  to buy England and the Four Nations competition. A number of the old team had either moved on to accept lucrative contracts to play overseas (Joe Hockey playing for the Washington Diplomats in the US), decided to play in the minor-league (Tony Abbott now playing for the Warringah Dolphins)  or simply couldn’t get a game with anybody any longer (Kevin Andrews and Eric Abetz).

In a reshuffle of the team, Turnbull decided to play Michaelia Cash at the important position of inside centre/Minister for Employment.

It was a brave decision to a appoint the 52 kg Cash who has a dodgy hammy and a nasty nasal twang to a position where she will be consistently marking the likes of 105kg Julian Savea, affectionately known as “The Bus.”

She had her first run over the weekend in the disastrous test against the All Blacks and demonstrated she isn’t quite on the plan whatever the plan might be.

No one told Michaelia Cash that you don’t take the plan on the field with you, you are meant to get it right during practice. So when the pressure came on, Michaelia was busy trying to find a cross-reference or a highlighted section that told her what to do. By the time she found it, which wasn’t too often, it was too late. She had missed The Bus.

One of the problems for Cash, apart from the fact that she probably hadn’t read the plan before she ran on for a major test match, is that the plan probably isn’t a very good one. With losses now in the series against England and a fairly significant defeat in the first Bledisloe cup match, continuing with the current plan will probably be a mistake.   Term bull’s problem is that changing the plan may be a problem for a slow reader like Cash.

It was also quite clear on the day that her ball handling skills were not up to scratch particularly under the lofted punts that seem to come her way with increasingly frequently.


Michael Cash demonstrates her technique for handling the high ball.

 The problem for playing captain, selector and coach Malcolm Turnbull is whether he can get someone with Cash’s ball handling skills, to start doing this.

 Is going to be a big ask and a very long Bledisloe Cup campaign.


If politics were played like rugby

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