There was an opportunity to go big-picture here. A theme as broad as Southern Hemisphere rugby was considered before that was winnowed down to Australian rugby, to the Wallabies, to Dave Rennie before settling on the unfortunate Hooper.
All of the above lost in a gruesome night for the sport in Sydney, but it was a look on Hooper's face in the first half that will remain with me when I think about that game during the week.
Even at the trickiest of times, Hooper has always appeared a defiant soul. Far more often than not he has been on the losing side of the transtasman rugby equation but retained an irritating habit of carrying himself like he's the one on top.
I used to find it irritating. Now I already miss it.
When his teammates disappeared into a void in Sydney on Saturday night Hooper had a look on his face that appeared somewhere between plaintive and lost. He was like a character in a Christopher Nolan movie who has just learned he's been left in an eco-bubble on Mars and the rescue mission to come and get him has failed.
It provoked in me a feeling I never believed I would associate with the nuggety openside flanker: Pity.
CONCUSSION IN SPORT GROUP
A day of reckoning is fast approaching for this compromised group, and "compromised" is about the kindest word you can use there.
For those who are unaware, the CISG is a hugely influential collection of doctors who every four years write and deliver the Consensus Statement on Concussion in Sport.
It is a piece of drivel but hugely influential and underpins many of the head injury policies of sports administrations. Importantly, the following passage from the statement has also offered some legal protection.
"A cause-and-effect relationship has not yet been demonstrated between [CTE] and sport-related concussions or exposure to contact sports. As such, the notion that repeated concussion or subconcussive impacts cause CTE remains unknown."
Of course, there are many things about CTE that are unknown but it is a fast-evolving science and one thing the CISG knows but chooses to obfuscate on is this: The only commonality among the populations most prone to CTE is they get hit in the head a lot.
The CISG was founded by the International Olympic Committee, and is sponsored by Fifa and World Rugby, as well as the international ice hockey federation and the international equestrian federation. The interactive at the bottom of this piece shows how hopelessly compromised the group is. Its cherry-picking of studies from which to base its opinion is brazen.
It is facing dissent from within, but more crucially, it is being exposed from the outside.
If you have any interest in athlete welfare or sports administration, keep an eye on this space. It's ripe to burst.
Who'd be a spinner in New Zealand?
The glorious Plunket Shield season has started as it usually does – on wickets that are often only distinguishable from the outfield due to the white lines painted on the long grass to mark out the creases.
When and if the game goes into the scheduled fourth day, the day when spinners are meant to feast, the wickets resemble a normal day two pitch in the rest of the western world.
So you have a situation like we do now with two completed rounds, where the seamers have 154 wickets between them at an average of 22.5, and the spinners have 20 wickets at 40. You have a situation where some fairly ordinary up-and-down seamers look like a cross between Malcolm Marshall and Sir Richard Hadlee, while some decent spinners look like outdoor furniture.
It begs the question, where is Players' Association boss Heath Mills in all of this?
Rumoured to be a straight up-and-down seamer himself in his playing days, does he not even care about what is clearly vicious and targeted persecution of one of cricket's noble arts?
Great attacking performance. Sublime. But it might pay to hold off on the Perfect 10 banners until he gets a firmer grip on the other 50 per cent of sport – defence.
That minor quibble aside, Mo'unga's rise these past two tests has been mighty impressive.
A monster at Super Rugby level, Mo'unga's first 19 tests were largely underwhelming affairs highlighted by a semifinal loss to England where the All Blacks' vaunted twin-pivot strategy was reduced to borderline irrelevance.
Perhaps understandably, given the fact he was sharing the playmaking duties with a bona fide broken-field genius in Beauden Barrett, Mo'unga too often appeared to defer to his senior teammate. Following the collective Bledisloe One misstep, Mo'unga has taken over.
He'll have tougher tasks than ripping apart those woeful Wallabies, but it's going to be fun watching him try over the next four years.
It wasn't just the spectacular hattrick that lit up a crowd of 12 at Eden Park Outer Oval, though that's one for the scrapbook.
It's more the way Jamieson has taken the unrefined promise of last season and turned it into something approaching weapon status.
You never know with these selectors (see Tim Southee, Sydney), but Jamieson looks impossible to leave out of the team for the first test against the West Indies. A pace-bowling quartet of Jamieson, Southee, Trent Boult and Neil Wagner is something to salivate over.
The combined skillset is fantastic on paper: Southee's outswing, Boult's inswing, Jamieson's bounce and ability to move it both ways, and Wagner's stamina and old-ball aggression. Throw in Colin de Grandhomme's ability to wobble it around and hit the strings and it's hard to see a spinner getting a look in (see Losers section).
Talk of them being pretty crappy and yet comfortably winning a series reminds you about how far they have come in a couple of years.
I agree that Scott Dixon is well up there with motorsport legends but don't think his record compares to Ivan Mauger's on a global scale. Do you agree? - Jason Keown, Torbay, Auckland
Tricky, very tricky. At the risk of offending those who love the smell of fresh methanol in the morning, I think Dixon's achievements ever-so-slightly supersede Mauger's for this simple reason: Open-wheel racing has more global prestige than speedway, therefore I take Dixon's six IndyCar titles over Mauger's six world championships.
The point to remember is they're both brilliant at what they do, they have both enjoyed careers of remarkable longevity and consistent success and both have had to do it by leaving home and fending for themselves.
And if you feel really strongly that I've got this wrong, I'm okay with that too because as much as I rate Dixon, on a personal level I'd rather watch a speedway meet than an IndyCar race.
Couldn't agree more about the one- eyed drivel that vomited out of Phil Gould's mouth. Channel 9 should do themselves a favour and push those two clods [Gould and Ray Warren] off the balcony. Give some young blood a chance. I'm turning down the volume for State of Origin. - Mike Furber, Blenheim
It's a real skill to use all your accrued knowledge and wisdom to keep informing viewers in a way that makes the game fresh and exciting. Gould, like many others before him across a range of sports and media platforms, has instead fallen into the grumpy-old-man trap. It's boring and a miserable advertisement for the sport.
Outside magazine always delivers quality longform journalism that deeply engages you in subjects you wouldn't normally give a passing thought to. This piece is no exception.
The Wales wing died last week aged 72. One of the pioneers of the cultured chip and chase – as opposed to the more manic footrush – Williams scored 17 tries in 37 tests for Wales (30) and the Lions (7), and was part of the most powerful era of Welsh rugby.
A Bridgend and Llanelli legend, Williams was one of the most strident agitators against the strict amateur rules of the day.
Before a test for Wales an administrator approached him about a £5 expense claim he had made. Williams, Christian name John, the same as fullback JPR Williams, explained that he had travelled by his own car from Maesteg to Cardiff twice that week for training and it was a claim for petrol. The administrator informed him that the committee had calculated the petrol used to be worth £3.80 and that Williams must reimburse them £1.20.
Williams succumbed to brain cancer.
The Toothless Tiger is yet another in an increasingly long line of England's 1966 World Cup heroes to have died with dementia.
Stiles, who died last week aged 78, was a niggly player most famous for marking the legendary Eusebio out of the game when England beat Portugal in the World Cup semifinal.
These days he'd be described as dirty, but football had a different aesthetic back then.
The Manchester United midfielder joins Jack Charlton, Martin Peters and Ray Wilson from that team to have died with a degenerative brain disease. Bobby Charlton, perhaps the greatest of them all, is also suffering from dementia.
You could get up to watch it live on Sky at Wednesday, 3am, or you can just wait for the replay. Either way, it's a biggie for Kane Williamson's Sunrisers Hyderabad (such a bad name), who need to beat Trent Boult's Mumbai Indians to qualify for the Indian Premier League playoffs. Mumbai have already qualified, so might look to rest players, while the Sunrisers' (name doesn't get any better on second reading) net run rate is good enough to ensure that a win will take them to third – unless Royal Challengers Bangalore (another terrible name) and Delhi Capitals tie overnight. Even just reading over this myself, I can tell I haven't done a great job of selling the IPL.