Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: If Dan Carter gets one more award, I'll scream

Dan Carter with wife Honor at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. Photo /
Dan Carter with wife Honor at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards. Photo /

Enough is enough.

If they give Dan Carter one more award I'm going to scream. Oh no, he's in line for a Halberg.

The retired All Black got another gong this week, from the good old rugby writers, and I cracked. All this adulation is a distortion.

Look, to get obligatory but genuine admiration out of the way, the man is a legend, a sporting God, a genius. Happy?

But his best stuff, the stuff that went for an entire season and then another season, was a very long time ago. Carter was given a long piggy-back into the World Cup, and took a while to hop on his own two feet when he got there.

In all seriousness, the Carter Award Train is getting out of control, considering the bloke only had a handful of top games in the entire season.

Yes, he was excellent in the cut-throat World Cup clashes especially when his cool control shone in a nail biting semifinal against South Africa. But France were rubbish, and Australia buggered by the final.

This is what bugs me. If you looked at all the awards and nominations you would think that D. Carter had stormed through 2015, squashing all before him. We all know that isn't true, and even at his best it was done on fading legs.

Blokes like Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock and the indestructible, sensationally modest Richie McCaw were the ultimate heroes of the season and the World Cup, not Dan Carter. He had big blokes like Ma'a Nonu and SBW riding shotgun for him. And here's why acknowledging his true role is important.

Rugby is hurtling towards a point where nothing really matters except a couple of games every four years. The over celebration of Dan Carter represents what is wrong with the game - he was deliberately nursed to the final peak while cruising over stepping stones that are becoming increasingly un-important. This is the guy who is rugby's international player of the year.

His man of the match award from the final was probably deserved, but when a rugby writers union announced him as the personality of 2015 this week, it felt like PR meets a bandwagon.

Actually, the most surprising award came from the BBC, who named him Overseas Sports Personality of the Year. Really?

Maybe the Beeb got blinded by nearby Twickers and had trouble actually looking overseas. Maybe it was a vote against Americans, because golfer Jordan Spieth had a season of absolutely stunning proportions and teenage freestyler Katie Ledecky is so amazing you need to check under water for a motor. The Beeb must have got bored with Usain Bolt and Novak Djokovic.

Before getting off this high horse here's one last shout - for Kane Williamson in the Halberg sportsman section (not that I really care about the apples-and-oranges Halbergs). He is not only the best batsman we've ever had, but close to being the best in the world and capable of holding the number one spot for some time. That's ground breaking for New Zealand cricket. But if it came to a Halberg bet, the money would go on Carter. That bandwagon and the All Black brand is unstoppable.


Congratulations to All Whites coach Anthony Hudson, for getting a few headlines for football. It was a highly calculated move from Hudson, who approached the media. Whether it was a cry for help and/or an attempt to get some excuses ready for his CV, who knows? But it got a football debate going, hooray.

In all sadness and honesty, it's hard to see a solution to one of the obvious problems he highlighted. The way world football is set up and the way Oceania has been turned into a ghetto means finding regular and quality opposition for the All Whites is nigh on impossible. A solution is for New Zealand to join the Asian zone, or for a new Oceania-Asian zone to be formed. But there is no will for that outside of New Zealand.

As for a perceived lack of desperation among our young players, here's an idea. Take the game out of our schools - I'm talking Auckland schools here - and give it back to clubs like Auckland City who truly, deeply care about the game and the development of skilled footballers.

From what a lot of us can see in Auckland, "leading" schools have become ego-fuelled businesses and sporting success is a big part of that. Rather than being a united community of educators, schools are out to bash each other. Any shortcut to victory will do.

Turning schoolkids into little sports superstars doesn't work in this town. Look at rugby - Auckland can hardly produce an All Black from out of it's show-pony schools system. Look at Konrad Hurrell, a school star who blows kisses off his hand while his league career and huge potential goes down the drain at the Warriors.

Back to football which is a club sport where older players, coaches and officials with a love of the game can keep kids in line and share their life and football knowledge. Mentor relationships can be life and career changing. In other words, rely on the school of hard but caring knocks rather than a school.

- NZ Herald

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Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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