I was recently sent a link to a news story by an astute reader. Have a read, and see if you think anything is out of order…
Kelleher is a brilliant player. He can tackle well, has an excellent pass, is quick, physically strong, never takes a back step, and is passionate. I thought he was a good All Black, and who wasn’t a little moved seeing him with tears in his eyes during the national anthem, or at the front performing the haka with exaggerated arm swings? In fact he is many of the things I love about the All Blacks, and typifies the respect I have for all those that play for them. But was Kelleher an “All Black great”?
Just because you must be a ‘great’ player to become an All Black, and because being an All Black is ‘great’, does not mean that if you are an All Black you are automatically a ‘All Black great’.
To quote directly from Kelleher’s profile on the All Black homepage:
“But [Kelleher] never quite established himself in the top echelon of New Zealand halfbacks, alongside the likes of Des Connor, Chris Laidlaw, Sid Going, David Loveridge, Graeme Bachop and his contemporary, Justin Marshall.”
“Many of Kelleher’s tests were as a substitute from the bench or when he started there were several when he did not play out the full 80 minutes.”
Time may prove me wrong (it is not too late for a 2011 World Cup comeback keep in mind), but I think in years to come Kelleher will be remembered for the aforementioned traits he displayed, and not necessarily as an “All Black great”.
It seems strange that some people in the media want to celebrate recent sportsmen above recognised performance. What is thier motivation?