Rudderless, frazzled Wallabies simply lost for answers

The only compelling moment in Rugby Australia chairman Cameron Clyne's public endorsement of Wallabies coach Michael Cheika a few weeks ago was when he admitted his organisation was 'financially challenged.'

In other words, RA is running low on dough.

So here's one easy solution for your money woes. You have vacant space right under your nose, which you could easily let. Why not rent out your office's trophy cabinet in your over-the-top spanking new office in Moore Park? There's oodles of spare room. The cabinet is now virtually bare.

RA have only themselves to blame for this vacant cobwebbed space and deserve no sympathy. The RA board had the opportunity recently to give their embarrassing showpiece a proper shake-up- by either getting rid of an under-performing Cheika, dismantling a failing Wallabies coaching staff, or put players on notice to pick up their act, or have their salary shaved.

Instead the RA board again grovelled to King Michael and his court jesters and did absolutely nothing about the Wallaby team management. Then they continue to sign up substandard Test players to over-long, over-exorbitant contracts. The mind truly boggles.

So against Wales -- for so long Wallaby easy beats -- we had to endure another pathetic, unintelligent performance from a once proud, once organised, once disciplined national team. We also are left pondering how an ever-stumbling management group that has only enjoyed a 40 percent success rate (16 wins from 40 Tests) since the last World Cup and just three wins from their last 13 internationals continue to get away with it.

There is now no doubt that the team are like those in charge - frazzled, lost for answers, lacking a realistic plan, relying on emotion rather than proper self-analysis. They are simply rudderless.

Their skills are not improving. They are getting worse. Their game plan is impossible to comprehend. Is there one? They lack any form of rhythm. Their attacking alignment is bewildering and doesn't work. For a coach brought up on a successful Randwick flatline attack, to have your backline sometimes set 15-20 metres behind the advantage line defeats the purpose. What a surprise that the Wallabies are averaging this year just two tries per Test.

Player selections must also be seriously questioned. Serial offenders keep getting picked. No wonder the players supposedly adore their head coach. It's money for jam. B-graders -- and plenty of them -- don't have to do much to keep getting paid. There's no edge to this mob; it's a cozy, self-protective gentlemen's club, with too many payroll hangers-on.

This Australia team also continue to waste the big moment. At least Wallabies captain Michael Hooper was honest enough to admit he blundered in twice ignoring second-half penalty goal opportunities for lineout drives -- which both failed.

It didn't work because Hooper is surrounded by too many other blunderers, who somehow continue to avoid the selection axe. One of the most crucial moments came in the 54th minute when Australia was awarded a penalty about 30 metres out. Will Genia immediately pointed towards the goal-sticks but was overruled by Hooper.

So we go to the lineout. All was required was a proper, accurate throw. Instead Tolu Latu threw long and high, missed his lineout jumper, and the ball landed at the feet of several Welshmen in midfield who took the play to the other end of the field.

Then again, you shouldn't expect much more from Latu. He has shown in recent Tests he cannot handle the big moment; being sent to the sinbin in the final minutes against both Argentina and New Zealand for moronic acts of aggression.

After such inexplicable moments of ill-discipline, Latu then gets promoted by Cheika to the starting line-up against Wales. It was not a good look, indicating that the Wallabies culture has deteriorated alarmingly in recent times. It is now more arrogant than aesthetic.

And who was behind the Australian tactics of ridiculously kicking away so much possession? I'd imagine no-one in the coaching staff will be rushing to put their hand up over that fiasco. Australia -- through Bernard Foley, Kurtley Beale, Will Genia, Israel Folau, Matt Toomua and Dane Haylett-Petty -- kicked 21 times in general play, and only eight of those were effective. In the second half, just four of 15 kicks were of any use. The rest were dreadful, either going straight to an opponent, charged down, disappearing over the dead-ball line, or gave Wales easy possession.

Beale's kicking was appalling. He kicked the most - eight times, and only one of those was effective. It wasn't surprising that after one depressing Beale second-half kicking effort that television commentator and a pretty handy kicker during his days in the Welsh No 10 jersey, Jonathan Davies, spluttered: "The kicks have been poor. I'm not sure what the tactic is."

No point asking the Wallabies what they were. By that stage of the game they were clueless. Confounding the whole issue is that the Wallabies skills coach is a former AFL player Michael Byrne. Let's hope he is trying to teach them how to properly kick a football. You wouldn't be convinced of that from observing recent Test matches.

In the final minutes, a hopeful close-out degenerated into a car-smash. Tatafu Polota-Nau had a brain snap and with one over-long and ill-directed lineout throw acted as if he wanted to hit a spectator in the top tier of the grandstand on the other side of the field.

Then the serial offenders again came into play. Rob Simmons allowed a Welsh attacker to virtually run through him, followed by a soft carry in his own 22m where opposing forwards had no problem reefing the ball off him. Then Ned Hanigan, who had his chance when replacing an ineffective Jack Dempsey, once again ruined it all by sprawling himself over the loose ball for the easiest of Welsh penalties that enabled them to end a 10-year, 13-Test drought against the Wallabies.

This Test was turgid and forgettable, as the playing standards were so low, but it was an international an average Wallabies line-up would have won, as there were countless second half chances. But this team is well short of even an average category.

Who's to blame?

Nothing's changed. You know who....

Hey Raelene... Hey Cameron.... Is there anybody out there?