Remember when we used to take delight in the All Blacks hammering the Wallabies?

There was the banter: "Four more years," goaded George Gregan.

There was the Match of the Century, when Jonah finally put the Wallabies to bed after we led 24-0 in next to no time.

There were the times John Eales and Co broke our hearts.


Those were the days when the All Blacks-Wallabies was a test to be cherished. Outside of the Silver Ferns-Diamonds, there was no better transtasman contest.

It flowed down to Super Rugby, where Stephen Larkham, Gregan and Joe Roff ran the Brumbies with clinical efficiency. The Reds and Waratahs also tasted Super Rugby glory.

So I read with interest this week Australian fans firing back on social media at proud Kiwi supporters for taking joy out of the seriously sad state of Australian Rugby.

Yes, that may have been the case last year, when we owned their franchises. It was the source of many jokes. But now we know last year was not a one-off. I'm missing the niggle, but most of all, I'm missing the contests.

I want to see the likes of the Brumbies compete. Instead we watched these former heavyweights get blown off the park by the Hurricanes last week, conceding 42 unanswered points in the second half.

Graham Henry made the point on my radio show last year that he fears for the future of Australian and South African rugby. Last weekend, he went further, wondering if either nation would ever fully recover. These are dangerous times for rugby.

As much as we savour the success of the All Blacks, where is the next genuine contest coming from? Yes, we lost to Ireland but I still wonder if our players' hearts and minds were truly there that day in Chicago.

Sure, the Lions are on their way, for a tour Henry and many others are calling "suicidal". What happens if there's a repeat of 2005 and the Lions are outclassed?

Watching the All Blacks take rugby to another level has been a thing of beauty. Beauden Barrett, Dane Coles, Brodie Retallick, the Smiths, Ben and Aaron - they're all players for the ages.

But I still miss the old days when my mates gleefully texted me from Oz when we fell over at the World Cup or choked in Bledisloe deciders.

I may have to hand in my passport for saying this but the best thing for the global game would be for the Lions to win the first test at Eden Park.

Confounded by Warriors

Great news, everyone - the Warriors are getting better. Did you see how close they came to beating the Storm on their home patch on Tuesday night?

They were in the contest and if a couple of things had gone their way, they could've left Melbourne with arguably the two toughest competition points in the NRL.

Now for a reality check - close enough is not good enough.

I hear so many fans saying "sack the board, change the front office, get some decent, hard-nosed Aussies".

But the club has already changed its coaching staff, off-field facilities, culture, board, ownership model and chief executive. Name one thing important to the success of a professional club and the Warriors have addressed it.

Even Graham Henry is still working as an unpaid consultant, trying to feed the things that make the All Blacks so good into an organisation entrenched in failure.

Yet as much as the club tries to change, at least from the outside, things appear to stay the same.

I'm so confounded by this club, I'm not even sure what constitutes a pass mark this year. Making the eight and losing in week one of the playoffs? Is that the best we can hope for?

I believe in those running the Warriors but, even as the on-field performances improve, I wonder if that's enough any more.

How we ever got to the point where we are commending a professional footy team for showing passion and not giving up is beyond me. Maybe that's a sign of how bad this rollercoaster ride has been the past six years.

Fans can do without hype

I put out an SOS call for Duco boss Dean Lonergan last week. I couldn't fathom why his publicity machine had faltered two weeks out from Joe Parker's next WBO world title bout.

Of course, that all changed with a frenzy of activity after Hughie Fury sensationally pulled out of the fight. The bigger picture is yet another black eye for boxing.

Now Parker will take on some Romanian giant none of us have heard of.

Out comes the rhetoric to sell tickets and pump up a fight that shapes as a lemon. Razvan Cojanu is more "powerful and devastating" than Fury. The days of the Kiwi sports fan buying into this type of hype are long gone.

The sad thing about all this is the impact on Parker. He has enormous support in New Zealand and is one of those people you just want to do well.

But I'm left wondering what's next for Joe. We're told this will be his last big bout in New Zealand as he continues his climb up the world rankings. If that's the case, it's a sad end to what's been a fun ride so far.

I can only predict the pay-per-view numbers for this fight will be awful. Joe may have needed this hit-out, but as for the New Zealand sporting public - no thanks.