Hugh McGahan is a former Kiwis player and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Hugh McGahan: Opinions... we all have one

Alex McKinnon of the Knights is carried off an a stretcher. Photo / Getty Images
Alex McKinnon of the Knights is carried off an a stretcher. Photo / Getty Images

Sport divides opinion like few things in life and we have seen a handful of stories recently which have polarised people.

None more so than the reaction to Alex McKinnon's injury. The debate has raged over myriad things, like three players in the tackle, lifting in the tackle, McKinnon's contribution to the injury, the length of the suspension and who else should have been charged.

The seriousness of his injury prompted many to comment but most who have weighed in and made judgement on what needs to change in the sport are unqualified. People who are not league fans or even sports fans felt strongly enough to comment based on the attention it has attracted. No one has escaped it.

Sonny Bill Williams is another who polarises opinion. Remember when he arrived in New Zealand to play rugby and had the goal of making the All Blacks? What a reaction that was.

Everyone in this country seems to have an opinion on SBW. What is it based on? Most New Zealanders have never met him but consider themselves experts on his character and values.

Benji Marshall captured the attention of the sporting public from the moment he was linked to the Blues. He doesn't polarise opinion to the extent Sonny Bill does, but many have a view on Benji's form at the Tigers, his profile, his obvious rugby league ability and his burgeoning profile in media and the distraction it may have been causing.

The shoulder charge has also caused considerable debate with the "old school" brigade feeling aggrieved it was banned.

The Warriors, too, will never escape diverse opinion. The frustration of many is borne out of a desire for them to succeed.

We take a side because of loyalty, obligation, personal experience or hate and emotion. This is personal and varied but, without real balance, these extremes will maintain their distance and will never be resolved.

- Herald on Sunday

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Hugh McGahan is a former Kiwis player and current columnist for the New Zealand Herald

Hugh Joseph McGahan MBE was a renowned rugby league player and coach who represented New Zealand in no less than 53 test matches, captaining 17 of them. Beginning his career in Auckland he later moved to Sydney where he played over 100 matches for the Roosters, finishing his career in 1991 as captain-coach of the eastern Sydney outfit. Accolades were never far away from the impressive Kiwi lock and in 1987 McGahan jointly won the prestigious Golden Boot Award, the first row forward at the time to win the award. Hugh McGahan’s international career was similarly impressive coming to the fore in 1982 after scoring a remarkable six tries for the Kiwis against Papua New Guinea in Auckland. Hugh Mcgahan ended his career with distinguished honours as he was awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire for services to rugby and later inducted into the NZRL Legends of League. He continues to write sports columns for the New Zealand Herald.

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