The way the modern game is played, the government will normally have more players on the field than the opposition. Julia Gillard didn’t and she needed to make sure that the cross bench was always kitted up and ready to run on and play for her side. But generally speaking, the government should always have the numbers to bulldoze the ball across the line.
But Malcolm Turnbull the player-coach/selector and captain of the current federal team doesn’t have great weight of numbers. So he needs to have everybody on the field all the time.
Last night, a few of his key players decided to head for the showers early. Opposition skipper Bill Shorten took advantage of a couple of large gaps in the government’s defensive back line and ran in a couple of quick tries.
They then tried to introduce your own football emblazoned with the motto “Royal Commission into banking”.
It is not normal for the opposition to bring their own football, usually the government side will decide what ball they will play with. But Bill Shorten tried to take a quick tap kick and score under the posts while the federal side was three men down. Given that the opposition had the cross bench packing down with them, they very nearly got the ball across the line.
Playmaker Christopher Pyne, who was responsible for ensuring everybody is on the field, did a quick trip to the change rooms and hauled a couple of members out of the bath.
They had to run on clad only in a towel. It wasn’t a pretty sight but it gave them the numbers.
The media was not allowed to attend player-coach/selector and captain Malcolm Turnbull post-match address to the team.
“You’re a family newspaper,” he said. “You can’t print this kind of stuff.”