Second-rate rabble ... the Waratahs. Photo: Getty Images
It doesn't get any more depressing than this. Amid threats of coaching changes, player walkouts if the hierarchy make alterations and a head office that struggles to come up with answers, the Waratahs organisation last night confirmed it is a second-rate rabble.
For a province with the most player numbers and resources, a record sixth straight loss is the most damning of statistics, and emphasises the Waratahs, on and off the field, have completely lost their way. Major personnel changes are required all over the organisation because, judging from their substandard play and an abysmal 13,373 crowd figure last night, they have lost the heartland. The Waratahs brand is on the line.
After about 10 minutes, the brave few who went to the ground must have wondered why they bothered. Before the ball became a soaking mess, the Waratahs had several reasonable chances to do something positive, being well-positioned in midfield where they could have deliberately attacked the gain line with purpose. But instead, you guessed it, they belted it down the other end of the field, or tried a chip kick.
Four times in the opening minutes they tried it, and four times it went nowhere. Soon most of the crowd realised it would be far wiser if they just headed home, because there was not much heat or nourishment being generated out in the middle.
The Waratahs also cannot say luck went against them. In the first half, the Hurricanes had at least three or four chances after breaking the Waratahs defence, only for the final pass to slip through the grasp of one of the visitors. The Waratahs were saved time and again, so it was no surprise the first try went to the Hurricanes when their wily winger Julian Savea snuck in the corner after several wide attacking manoeuvres, where some of the best passes were produced by their forwards.
And what hope has any team got when it endlessly loses the ball in the opposition quarter. Sure the ball was saturated, but it was still embarrassing how often a Waratah would lose it, often when an opponent was nowhere near him. All around there were exasperated looks and moments of disbelief. Still, nothing new for this flawed organisation.
For some time it has been desperate at Waratahland – both on and off the field. The NSW marketing gurus are trying to lure the punters in by enticing them in with a two-ticket deal, which included last night and then allowing them to watch a rugby league match next weekend involving the Roosters and the Broncos. Rugby league? Is this a joke?
This campaign may be a public service to stop more people being affected by the Waratahs disease, because enticing them to a league game is not a bad way to lure punters away from your code – especially if they discover it is far more exciting.
Countless Waratahs players, officials and fans from past eras – who recall the intense battles to keep the marauding mungos at bay after luring rah-rah's best talent for years on end – would be fainting in the streets just at the thought. They certainly weren't at the ground last night.
And who could blame them for staying away. This wasn't the night to expect much entertainment. Instead it turned into a tedious slapstick comedy routine. Endless thrills and spills.
It wasn't all gloom though. Thankfully, the Waratahs won't be sighted for a month because of the June Tests followed by a bye.
Considering the agony and frustration NSW fans have had to endure all year, you won't see too many Sydneysiders in tears over the next few weeks, or publicly complaining of Waratahs withdrawal pangs. More a feeling of overwhelming relief.