General MEATHEAD SCHOOL

AmeriKiwi_old

Guest
New Zealand Herald - Graham Lowe

Graham Lowe: What was Faumuina thinking?

Friday August 4, 2006

Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky but is it just me or is the sporting world going mad?

In the past fortnight we've seen Justin Gatlin, the world's fastest man, and cyclist Floyd Landis allegedly tickling up their testosterone levels in all-consuming bids for fame and glory (not to mention money).

Ex-All Black Stephen Bachop is handcuffed and marched off an international flight for his drunken antics in mid-air.

Australia's spinmeister, Shane Warne, has an estimated aggregate of 1000 between the sheets to go with his record-breaking efforts on the pitch.

By comparison then, the shameful behaviour of Warriors second-rower Sione Faumuina at a testimonial lunch last week for one of the game's genuine nice guys, Awen Guttenbeil, should pale into insignificance.

Faumuina has nowhere near the ranking that any of the above have reached in their chosen sports, and his crude outburst during the function demonstrated to many that he never will have.

But this was not the first sign of the young man's troublesome behaviour, and I wouldn't bet on it being the last.

To exacerbate the situation, Faumuina saw fit to have a swipe last weekend at not only his club coach Ivan Cleary, but also the Kiwi coach Brian McClennan over his non-selection in last year's triumphant Tri-Nations Kiwis.

Am I missing something? If you want to make a career-ending statement, this was probably as close as it could come.

In years gone by, players attracted the attention of national selectors by showing skill, and character, not by telling them how good they thought they were, and how much they believed they deserved to be selected.

On that basis, if I was a Warriors or Kiwi coach, I'd be only too pleased to help Faumuina out by sending him straight back the same way he came in.

Whoever is giving the young man advice on presentation needs to go back to How To Avoid Being A Meathead School. And Faumuina should take his injury-enforced, season-ending break to contemplate his future as a footballer and a person.

What's more, he should be thanking his lucky stars that Warriors chief executive Wayne Scurrah and Cleary have kept a place open for him at the club next year.

Because if I was the coach, Faumuina would be kissing Mt Smart Stadium goodbye for good.

For mine, he's become a serial pain in the proverbial for the front office.

Footy teams don't need players of doubtful character - they'll almost certainly let you down at crucial times.

You'd have to conclude anyone who doesn't know how to conduct himself properly at an occasion to honour one of the best of New Zealand footballers - and in front of an audience that includes two others in Mark Graham and Hugh McGahan - is an ongoing risk to the club.

I'm no bleeding heart when it comes to coaching. I want the best players ALL the time. But I have been around long enough to know that character flaws are usually magnified when it comes to the tough times in a game.

It's a constant dilemma for coaches to make up their minds on players and whether or not they have the character required.

I'm not for a moment suggesting you need to pick goody two shoes. In most cases, those types can also be a pain in the backside.

I well remember when we signed Mathew Ridge at Manly. I had plenty of people wanting to tell me bad stories about him and a few certainly caused me to raise my eyebrows.

So we put Mathew under plenty of pressure when he arrived at the club and, to his credit, he came through with flying colours. And I must say, he never ever once let me down on or off the field.

I agree he wasn't everyone's cup of tea (a fact he is honest enough to admit himself) but he delivered the qualities I was looking for in a player.

The Australian cricket team has proven itself to be consistently one of the best sporting teams in the world.

But even their selectors have shown they are prepared to overlook any need for their players to have good character off the field, when they choose their team.

Excusing behaviour that is unacceptable in society because someone has a natural sporting talent is, in my opinion, no different to condoning drug cheating.

Superstar spin bowler Shane Warne's career is littered with behavioural problems that would probably rule out a club cricketer from his local side.

But Warne is not a local club cricketer. He is a spin-bowling genius who spearheaded the Australian bowling attack for a long time.

Because he is a great player in the test arena his off-field behaviour is overlooked. Why? Because he can just about guarantee a test win on his own.

All coaches are faced with the dilemma of whether to choose a player of good strong character but with maybe not quite the ability or another of questionable character.

Talent in most cases takes hours of training to develop but some are blessed with a natural talent.

But a coach needs a player he can rely on and it is those of strong character who usually come through.

I've seen glimpses of genuine talent in Sione Faumuina. It's a talent his club could use next season.

But he has stepped over the line too often with the Warriors and needs to find a club that will take a long hard look at his promises to behave.
 

AmeriKiwi_old

Guest
Anyone who overlooks Faumuina`s actions must be drunk, too.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
If there happened to be better players then Sione in the eys of Bluey and he went for some one else then good. WHen it comes to any team sport it always comes down to how well you perform on the field. Lets put aside Sione's piss up for one minute. He's got a heck lot of skill and talent we all know and can see that. But, there are times when he just is hot and cold and you really can't be sure which side he'll turn up as. A mistake that Tony Kemp made last year was keeping players in the side because of their 'reputation' instead of taking into consideration their form. Ie Francis Meli. The guy's great,he can hit, score and defened unlike some wingers but that was part of his rep and NOT on the form which he had been lacking. The same's got to be said about Sione really. When he performs he's unstoppable really and is so exciting; but like Toopi he has the days when he's just not worth giving the ball to.
To me, Lowe's probably made some good points about this as well. (Gee it does seem all the writers are having a field day aren't the?).
 

AmeriKiwi_old

Guest
Graham Lowe hit the bulls eye with this one. There`s no place on any club for a malcontent who drags everyone down with his own personal problems. Only spreads like a virus throughout the whole team as a unit.
 

commonsense_old

Guest
i dunno why sione is trippin. it was his decision to go to hull and play and withdraw from the tri-nations. doesnt matter if his club advised him not to go or not...
take a look at a guy like sonny bill williams. the bulldogs do whatever they can do prevent sonny from playing. but if sbw think he can play there is no one stopping him from putting on the black and white jersey.

sione let bluey mclennan down and now he is paying the price.
 

-Dr.J-_old

Guest
Sometimes the best defence (for stupid actions) is a good attack (threatening to pull the plug).

Maybe he just can't admit he was being a dick. Again.
 

Sinbad_old

Guest
Lowie has put into words what alot of the league fraternity are thinking but too polite or not in a position to say.

Sione is history. To redeem himself he will need to lift his game 5000% and be THE best player around.

I think he has lost all credibility and just needs to stop drinking.
 

Northern_Union

Guest
Sioni is dumb plain and simple!

he is also a coward blaming everyone else for his **** ups!

I've seen these sort of players bring good teams to there knees because they tend to destabilise teams and create ill feels and factionilise members within the team, we (Kiwis/Warriors) would be better off without him.

Undoubtedly he has talent but he so offen fails to deliever this for the Warriors.

Also anyone remember him having the dropcesy in the ANZAC test in Newcastle a few years ago? Perhapes this had an effect on his international career.
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
RS_Dragon said:
Sioni is dumb plain and simple!

he is also a coward blaming everyone else for his **** ups!

I've seen these sort of players bring good teams to there knees because they tend to destabilise teams and create ill feels and factionilise members within the team, we (Kiwis/Warriors) would be better off without him.

Undoubtedly he has talent but he so offen fails to deliever this for the Warriors.

Also anyone remember him having the dropcesy in the ANZAC test in Newcastle a few years ago? Perhapes this had an effect on his international career.

Had a giggle at your post RS_Dragon, but I think you're quite right too. We really don't need players of his off field character carrying on like this. Perhaps if he went somewhere and re-asseses himself he might be a better person. I've always seen a bit of arragonce in him but this time around it's a bit too much.
 

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