AlphaBeta Australia director Andrew Charlton snaffles Bellevue Hill trophy for $16.1m at auction


101 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill. is the house where Mamamia co-founders Mia Freedman and Jason Lavigne were famously evicted as tenants after a dispute with the owners.


AlphaBeta boss Andrew Charlton has bought a Bellevue Hill trophy home — where Mamamia co-founders Mia Freedman and Jason Lavigne were famously evicted — for $16.1m at auction tonight.

Ray White Double Bay principal Elliott Placks and Ashley Bierman had six registered bidders line up for the incredible six-bedroom, four-bathroom home ‘Fintry’ at 101 Victoria Road.

On the balcony off the master suite, which had beautiful harbour views to the left and an ocean outlook to the right, Charlton and his wife — regular bidders at trophy homes across the east in recent months — looked like they’d finally found the one.

The sales agents had been careful not to reveal their identity, but others recognised the power couple.

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Hot Auction - Bellevue Hill

Auctioneer James Keenan and Ray White Double Bay principal Elliott Placks as the gavel fell at 101 Victoria Road Bellevue Hill, tonight. Picture: John Appleyard


The view from the sunroom off the master suite at 101 Victoria Road, Bellevue Hill.


Charlton was certainly cashed up, having in February sold his highly successful boutique consultancy that advises organisations on how to respond to technological, economic and social change to Accenture.

But he took his time at tonight’s auction, only entering the race at $15.4m.

It had been a slow start, though five of the six registered bidders ended up having a go.

After auctioneer James Keenan called for an opening bid, Placks managed to convince a couple to offer $14.5m — which was well below the $16m guide.

Even they looked astonished at the low-bidding opportunity, and during the long pause that followed, another couple, sensing a chance for a bargain, urged agents to register them.

Hot Auction - Bellevue Hill

Auctioneer James Keenan advises the crowd on social distancing at tonight’s auction. Picture: John Appleyard


The property had beautiful open-plan living areas and sensational views of both the harbour and the ocean.


They then offered $14.6m, and Keenan advised the crowd: “Now, we’ve got an auction!”

Soon after, Placks announced: “I’ve got the vendors on the phone from overseas, and we’re selling!”

The strategy of lowering the reserve to encourage bidding worked: the $100,000 and $50,000 bids were soon flying.

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Given the couple’s enthusiasm on the terrace, I wasn’t surprised to see Charlton enter the race late.

Hot Auction - Bellevue Hill

Elliott Placks of Ray White Double Bay used a smart strategy of lowering the reserve price to encourage bidding. Picture: John Appleyard


The home attracted six registered bidders to tonight’s auction, with five of them competing.


By the end he was exchanging $100,000 bids with the opening bidders.

As the gavel fell, Charlton kissed his wife.

And soon after, Placks could be overheard telling his vendor — Somna Kumar, wife of investment banker Joseph Jayaraj, who had the row with their tenants Freedman and Lavigne who’d hoped to purchase the property — “We got to the number!”

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Freedman and Lavigne instead bought a house in Point Piper for $12.75m in October.

The dispute had been over a leaking roof.



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Daly Cherry-Evans turns sights to lifting trophy in different shade of Maroon


“There are still things I want to tick off as a player,” Cherry-Evans told The Sun-Herald. “It’s not until you become a captain you dream about moments like Wednesday, lifting the shield. I’ve been captain at Manly now for three years and that goal is to be a premiership-winning captain at Manly.

“I’d also love to be involved with the Australian side moving forward, and if the opportunity ever popped up to captain the Kangaroos, that would be special.

Maroons half and skipper Daly Cherry-Evans celebrates the series win.Credit:Getty

“Captaining Australia and captaining Manly to a premiership are two things high up on my list.”

Cherry-Evans and Foran reuniting for the first time since 2015, with the duo forming arguably the most-experienced halves pairing in the competition.

Should Tom Trbojevic – and Foran – remain fit and his brother Jake maintains his own lofty standards, the Sea Eagles will win a lot more than they lose.

“I saw ‘Foz’ in Manly colours the other day and it definitely got me excited to see him back in the maroon,” Cherry-Evans said.

“I won’t be back until after Christmas but I’ll be popping my head in to see all the boys and re-connecting with Kieran. He will help us become a bit more of a balanced side.

“I believe we’re in that premiership window. There isn’t a year where we’ve started and I’ve thought, ‘we’re not a chance this year’.

“I like our roster, I like our coach, a lot of things go into a premiership season, but we’ve got all the right ingredients at the club.”

Cherry-Evans led the fight for the players in their pay dispute with the NRL when COVID shut down the competition. Like every other player he sacrificed precious family time.

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On Friday night, Cherry-Evans enjoyed watching his eldest daughter play touch football, a simple pleasure made off-limits to him all season.

The hardest moment for Cherry-Evans, he said, was after Origin II at Suncorp Stadium when he was unable to cuddle his wife Vessa and three young daughters at ANZ Stadium because he had to rush back on a plane to the Gold Coast.

“I love footy so much, but now I’m out of the bubble, it’s time for me to let my guard down and spend time as a father the next six weeks,” Cherry-Evans said.

“Everyone in the NRL sacrificed so much this year. As a father of three kids, I’ve missed out on a lot as a dad. I just can’t wait to be there for them now.

“The hardest part was seeing the girls after games one and two and not being able to touch them. It nearly broke me after we lost in Sydney. To be down and out and then see your daughters tear-eyed and not understanding why they can’t comfort dad, that was the hardest part of it all.”

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Origin sees Brigginshaw lift second trophy


Queensland captain Ali Brigginshaw toasted her team’s State of Origin success with an orange juice rather than champagne after suffering a head knock late in the 24-18 victory over NSW.

Brigginshaw got to hold aloft her second trophy of the year after also steering Brisbane to the NRLW title with a grand final win over the Sydney Roosters.

She was again one of her team’s stars as the Maroons ended a four-year dominance by the Blues in the Origin arena to the cheers of “Queenslander” ringing out around Sunshine Coast Stadium.

Broncos fullback Tamika Upton scored a double and player of the match, five-eighth Tarryn Aiken, crossed for a key second half try on their Origin debuts.

Brigginshaw wasn’t carrying any obvious post-match scars but said she had failed a HIA test late in the game.

It came when the Blues were clawing their way back into the match, closing in on Queensland’s 24-6 lead to set up a thrilling finale.

“I was in HIA telling the doctor to speed it up a little bit, trying to remember my words.

“It was disappointing not to be there for that final siren but I could hear the roar in the sheds so it was great to have the Queensland crowd there.

“I failed my HIA so that might interrupt the party – I’ll have an orange juice.

“I’m buggered but that’s what we said to the girls, don’t be able to walk off the field, you want to leave everything out there and I think we did that.”

Brigginshaw felt the breakthrough win could be a turning point for the Maroons.

“I think this is the start of something,” the 30-year-old said.

“We want to keep this team together – nine debutants and a couple in their first year and one being only their third game so I think this team needs to stay together and build from this.

“We will come together next year and we’re a great team and we have a long future ahead of us.”





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Is this the thrashing the Queensland Maroons had to have against the NSW Blues to win the trophy back?


Many first-choice players were missing from both sides, and it did look as if Queensland reached the bottom of their reserves first, especially when Munster failed to return from his concussion. It wasn’t so much his absence that did it, as the news of his absence.

In the 10 minutes after Munster went off, Queensland scored, thanks to a sumptuous Daly Cherry-Evans cut-out pass, and took the lead. They still led while Munster had his head read. In the five minutes after word filtered out that Munster was done for the night, the Blues scored twice and were flooded with self-confidence.

Dane Gagai and Queensland were well beaten on Wednesday night, but never discount the bounce-back factor in Origin.Credit:Getty

Specifically, it was Nathan Cleary who woke from his mini-slump. After being outplayed in the grand final and Origin I, Cleary could finally look across the field and not feel he was being monstered by Munster.

The Penrith youngster sliced through for a half-break, then held up a pass to put Cody Walker over. He gave James Tedesco the space he needed for the second try.

His kicking game, previously mediocre – it was a poor Cleary kick, ironically, that resulted in Munster’s concussion – became close to perfect, repeatedly pinning the Queensland back three behind their line, winning valuable tactical metres, while, off the tee, he was a lot straighter than Donald Trump and converted more close chances than Joe Biden.

Cleary’s confidence was helped enormously by forwards who went forward. All of the NSW big men pushed across the advantage line, and when the Queenslanders were recovering from Payne Haas they had to contend with Junior Paulo. When they were putting their pieces together after being tackled by Tyson Frizell, they would get chopped in half by Jake Trbojevic.

For NSW, this was all part of the blueprint – only it was meant to happen last week. “The losing team learns more than the winning team,” said Phil Gould, and the Blues had been well schooled a week ago.

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Which means that Queensland will have learnt a lot from this second game. Serenaded onto the field by Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, they were deaf to the warning signs and blind to the numbers, losing count of the New South Welshmen arrayed on both sides of the field and letting in try after try through a basic lack of perception.

In the second half, there were some Queenslanders who appeared to have consigned this match to memory even before it was over. A couple of them looked like they’d remembered it was Remembrance Day and were already on their off-season. Or so it seemed when they started an all-in brawl.

So badly beaten were they in Sydney, then, Queensland will probably start favourites for the decider next week in Brisbane. That’s the perverse logic of Origin. It looked, as NSW streaked away to a 34-10 win, as if the fabled transformative properties of the Maroon jersey and the mystical powers of Wayne Bennett might finally have reached their limits.

Which is just what Queensland will want everyone to think.

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Indian Premier League 2020: La Liga Congratulates Rohit Sharma As Mumbai Indians Win Trophy





Spanish football league La Liga took to social media to congratulate their brand ambassador Rohit Sharma after he led Mumbai Indians to the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 title. Mumbai Indians beat Delhi Capitals by five wickets on Tuesday to claim their fifth IPL trophy. Rohit Sharma was their captain in all of their title triumphs. “#LaLiga congratulates Brand Ambassador @ImRo45 on winning his 6th Indian Premier League title as captain,” La Liga tweeted from its official account. “A big congratulations to all the @IPL fans out there!” it added.

Rohit Sharma was appointed La Liga’s brand ambassador in December, 2019.

Apart from the five trophies won with Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma had also won the title in 2009 with Deccan Chargers as a player.

After being put in to field by Delhi Capitals, Mumbai restricted their opponents to 156/7 in the IPL 2020 final in Dubai.

Rohit Sharma then anchored the chase with a 51-ball 68 as Mumbai won with eight deliveries to spare.

“I’m quite happy with how things went the whole season. We said at the start that we need the winning habit. We couldn’t have asked for anything more, right on the money from ball 1 and we never looked back,” Rohit said after the match.

“I think a lot of credit goes to the people who worked behind the scenes — often they go unnoticed. Our work started long before the IPL started, and we wanted to make sure we filled the gaps in previous seasons,” said Rohit, praising the efforts of Mumbai Indians support staff.

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With five titles in the last eight years, Mumbai Indians are the most successful IPL team. Chennai Super Kings are behind them with three titles, while Kolkata Knight Riders have won two.

Mumbai Indians, who also won the coveted trophy in 2019, became only the second team to defend their title.

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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie must unearth four champions to accompany Jordan Petaia in trophy search


Dave Rennie needs to unearth five world-beaters in the next four years.

Without that, he won’t win the Bledisloe Cup or the World Cup.

In his quest to find the quintet of matchwinners, he is ruthlessly punishing every mistake made by his Wallabies squad members, in order to create a culture of unrelenting excellence.

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At present, Rennie has one genuine global superstar in his Wallabies squad; Jordan Petaia. If the young centre’s body holds up, he will be Australia’s 2023 World Cup linchpin.

The other four? That’s unclear.

Rennie won three successive under-20s World Cups with New Zealand, from 2008-10, though had a mountain of talent at his disposal.

It isn’t so with the Wallabies, but nor was it the case when he took charge of the Chiefs in 2012, one year after they’d finished 10th in Super Rugby.

What Rennie did successfully to lead them to back-to-back premierships in 2012-13 was bring through rising champions, while reinvigorating proven performers, and squeezing the best out of players who had been left on the scrap heap by others.

In 2009, a young Aaron Cruden helped the New Zealand under-20s win the World Cup under Rennie. While he’d make his Test debut the following year, Cruden was floundering at the Hurricanes.


Rennie signed him for 2012.

He also signed a proven performer, Sonny Bill Williams, from the Crusaders.

Williams had played in the Super Rugby final in 2011 alongside Dan Carter, Richie McCaw and Kieran Read. Few expected that he, and not the legendary trio, would be holding aloft the trophy in 2012.

Cruden and Williams carried the Chiefs backline for their maiden premiership.

But it wouldn’t have been possible without a dominant forward pack.

Rennie had an established champion at his disposal in Liam Messam.

He was then able to cultivate two youngsters, Sam Cane and Brodie Retallick, into competition-leading stars.

Cane and Rettalick, members of New Zealand’s 2011 under-20s World Cup-winning side, stepped up to Super level with ease.

So, Rennie had his big five; Cruden, Williams, Messam, Cane and Rettalick.

Around them, the squad thrived.

Grizzled lock Craig Clarke was made co-captain alongside Messam, allowing the dynamic backrower to lead with his deeds while Clarke was measured in his communication with referees.

The unlikely championship front row was Sona Taumalolo, Mahonri Schwalger and Ben Tameifuna. You couldn’t have given them away to other Kiwi franchises before 2012, with questions about their weight, work ethic and ability under pressure answered comprehensively under Rennie’s tutelage.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence to see James Slipper, playing his 100th Test on Saturday at Suncorp Stadium in the dead-rubber fourth Bledisloe Cup Test, thriving in the Wallabies’ No.1 jersey.

Slipper was second-fiddle to Scott Sio in the Brumbies, yet has started every Test under Rennie.

After Sio missed a tackle on Jordie Barrett off the bench last week, leading to the All Blacks’ final try in their record 43-5 win, he’s been dropped from the squad altogether.

“We’ve been trying to put a bit of pressure on Scotty to bring more impact off the bench, through carry, through defence, he’s been scrummaging pretty well,” Rennie said.

“(The Barrett missed tackle) was more about urgency to connect with defenders around him, and he was slow to come forward and got exposed. It was a tough lesson.

“Belly’s been applying a lot of pressure, and we’re asking for more from some of those experienced boys. Scott’s paid the price this week.

“Having said that, it’s the best training week he’s had; carried really well, defended really well, so it’s helped create a little bit of edge around his game, which is what we’ve been looking for, for the past month.”

Rennie also indicated that had Dane Haylett-Petty not succumbed to injury, error-prone winger Filipo Daugunu would also have been left of the 23.

“Filipo needs to treasure the ball a lot more, the consequence of that is him being on the bench,” Rennie said.

And, without saying it in black and white, Rennie explained why replacement hooker Jordan Uelese has been replaced on the bench this week by Folau Fainga’a.

“We defended really well after halftime for about 25, 30 minutes, we’d defend well for five or six phases, get a penalty, get down there, turn it over immediately,” Rennie said.

“That cycle happened three or four times, and eventually the All Blacks kicked a penalty and then punished us from a turnover on the lineout in the 70th minute, so they’re tough lessons.”

So this weekend Lachlan Swinton, Tom Wright and Angus Bell get first chances.

Daugunu and Noah Lolesio get second chances off the bench.

Fainga’a, Liam Wright and Tom Banks get chances for redemption.

Reece Hodge and Hunter Paisami get chances in new positions.

Around them, Michael Hooper, Harry Wilson, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Matt Philip, Nic White and Marika Koroibete must step up from consistent to proven performers.

Among this team, and those in the wider squad, four must join Petaia as capable of being named in any World XV.

They won’t scale that height anytime soon.

But Saturday gives an opportunity for some to take that first step.



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All Blacks hungry for rare chance to lift trophy on Wallabies soil


A 19-year-old James O’Connor started at fullback for the Wallabies that evening, alongside captain George Smith and Matt Giteau.

Barrett and his teammates, with a point to prove after their World Cup semi-final exit, would love to rub salt on Australia’s wounds in their own backyard.

Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett and Shannon Frizell celebrate a try in game two.

Ardie Savea, Beauden Barrett and Shannon Frizell celebrate a try in game two. Credit:Getty

“Of course it bothers us [to not win both games in New Zealand] but we can’t be too arrogant and assume we’re going to win every game at home,” Barrett said. “We do respect Australia and we are up to the challenge that is presented this weekend.

“We haven’t won the Bledisloe Cup on their soil for a long time, so we’ve got an opportunity to do that for the first time in years. We’re pretty excited.”

New Zealand’s last Test in Australia was an unmitigated disaster. After Scott Barrett was red-carded in the 40th minute, the All Blacks capitulated as Australia ran away with a 47-26 win and in the process, piled on more points against their Kiwi counterparts than any other side in Test history.

It was the All Blacks’ equal biggest loss to any nation, on par with a 28-7 defeat in 1999 to the Wallabies.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and assistant Scott Wisemantel watch on at training in the Hunter Valley on Tuesday.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and assistant Scott Wisemantel watch on at training in the Hunter Valley on Tuesday. Credit:Stuart Walmsley/Rugby Australia

The response was swift in the form of a 36-0 reverse at Eden Park, which sealed the Bledisloe Cup in a two-match series.

Barrett, who started at fullback that night at Optus Stadium, said it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

“It’s important to remember how we felt in the changeroom or in the game during those moments and use that as fuel,” Barrett said. “[It was a] reality check as to maybe we didn’t prepare as well as we should have. Essentially we don’t want it to happen again but each Test is different.

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“I think that win really showed their strengths when everything goes to plan and when we don’t physically and emotionally.”

From that victorious Wallabies team, roughly 10 players will line up again this weekend and while plenty of water has gone under the bridge since then, the magic of that evening shouldn’t be totally discarded.

“One of the things you remember from good wins is the feeling you have post-win in the sheds in particular. We’re looking to get that feeling again,” said Wallabies second-rower Lukhan Salakaia-Loto. “Our goal is to give something back to our fans.”

Another starting member of that team, Allan Alaalatoa, said a fast start helped in a big way.

“The intent was there from the warm-up and that carried through to the game,” Alaalatoa said. “I think a lot of that comes down to the energy and emotion that is poured out from our fans.”

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Copeland Trophy 2020 | Taylor Adams claims medal as Scott Pendlebury makes it 12 top-three finishes


Adams was a runaway Copeland winner with 100 votes, 29 ahead of Pies captain Scott Pendlebury. Even at 32, Pendlebury remains a marvel. His runner-up finish made it 10 top-two finishes in the award, and 12 top-three placings.

Dashing defender Jack Crisp repeated his 2019 finish of third spot, where he also placed in 2015. Crisp has played an AFL-high 141 consecutive matches for the Pies since being traded from the Brisbane Lions at the end of 2014.

Having been named All-Australian for the first time, key defender Darcy Moore finished fourth, while fellow backman Brayden Maynard rounded out the top five.

The much-improved Josh Daicos was sixth, ahead of Jamie Elliott and Brodie Grundy who tied for seventh on 47 votes. For Grundy it summed up a year in which he struggled to reach great heights on the back of signing a seven-year contract extension.

Out-of-contract forward Brody Mihocek was equal-ninth while also winning the Bob Rose Award as the club’s player of the finals.

The diminutive John Noble provided a great advertisement for the mid-season rookie draft, tying with Mihocek having not even been on an AFL list until picked up by the Pies from South Australia midway through last year.

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Second-year defender Isaac Quaynor’s solid season led to him being named the club’s best young player. Injured backman Jeremy Howe was selected as best clubman while Nathan Murphy won the best VFL player award, despite the fact the VFL wasn’t actually held this year.

2020 E.W. Copeland Trophy top 10
1. Taylor Adams 100 votes (E.W. Copeland trophy)
2. Scott Pendlebury 71 votes (R.T. Rush trophy)
3. Jack Crisp 63 votes (J.J. Royce trophy)
4. Darcy Moore 62 votes (J.F. McHale trophy)
5. Brayden Maynard 59 votes (Jack Regan trophy)
6. Josh Daicos 50 votes
7. Jamie Elliott 47 votes
7. Brodie Grundy 47 votes
9. Brody Mihocek 46 votes
9. John Noble 46 votes

Gavin Brown Award (pressure): Taylor Adams

Bob Rose Award (player of the finals): Brody Mihocek

Gordon Coventry Award (leading goal-kicker): Brody Mihocek (25)

Harry Collier Trophy (best young player): Isaac Quaynor

Darren Millane Perpetual Memorial Trophy (best clubman): Jeremy Howe

Joseph Wren Award (best VFL player): Nathan Murphy

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Sale win first trophy since 2006


Sale Sharks have staged a late comeback to beat Harlequins 27-19 in the re-arranged Premiership Rugby Cup final on Monday, lifting their first silverware since 2006.

South African brothers Dan and Rob du Preez concocted a fine finale to deny Harlequins in the final stages of a competition which took more than a year to finish because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sale, who last lifted a trophy when they won England’s Premiership 14 years ago, started well in a competitive first half.

Curtis Langdon got over the line well and Rob du Preez kicked the hosts 10-0 to the good.

Harlequins last won the Premiership in 2012 with Chris Robshaw in the side and he had a final chance on Monday to lift silverware again with the club he has served for 15 seasons.

His team mate James Chisholm showed fantastic strength to duck in and score a fine try, with Marcus Smith adding to an earlier penalty with the conversion.

Smith impressed with his kicking variety against Sale when the teams clashed in their return to Premiership Rugby in August, and the fly-half’s unerring boot was again a thorn in their side.

Smith’s 11 first-half points put his side 16-10 up at the break and it was not until the 68th minute that Sale fought their way back into the game with Dan du Preez’s try.

His brother’s conversion and a subsequent penalty put Sale ahead for the first time with five minutes remaining, before scrum-half Faf de Klerk took the game away from Quins with a clever dart to the line.

“The club hasn’t won anything in 10-plus years so this is massive, it’s a big cup for us,” said man of the match Rob du Preez.





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Brumbies ready to add third Super Rugby AU win to their trophy case


Lots of things have changed about rugby since the Brumbies last won a Super Rugby championship back in 2004.

Jerseys are nowhere near as generously fitting as they were, for one. And the footage of the Brumbies ’47-38 win over the Crusaders all those years ago is a reminder of a time before high definition and widescreen TVs.

So it’s fair to say it has been a long time between drinks for Brumbies fans, ahead of tonight’s Super Rugby AU final, against the Queensland Reds at Canberra Stadium.

The 2004 title coincides with the last time a Super Rugby final was hosted in Canberra. And, historically, it has been near impossible to win away from home.

In the 24 seasons prior to the disrupted 2020 season, the away team has claimed the title just six times.

“It shows you the importance of home ground advantage, and the Brumbies have done that this year,” former Brumbies prop turned publican Ben Alexander said.

“They’ve been the dominant team and definitely deserve home ground advantage, but in saying that, the job’s not done.”

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Though it has been 16 years since the last Brumbies title, and last home final, it is only seven years since their last appearance in a final, losing the 2013 decider to New Zealand’s Chiefs in Hamilton.

Having won through to the final by beating the Pretoria-based Bulls in South Africa, the Brumbies found themselves up by 10 over the Chiefs going into the last 20 minutes.

“I remember going back to halfway, and I had this vision of the Super Rugby trophy filled with beer,” Alexander said this week in Canberra.

“Probably a classic example of counting your chickens before they hatch.”

Former Brumbies and Wallabies prop Ben Alexander is now a publican and will tonight be serving customers while watching the final.(ABC News)

Despite being the most-capped player in Brumbies history, Alexander does not have a ticket to the game.

Having made a comeback this year with his ACT club rugby side, Uni-Norths, he is consigned to looking after patrons at his Kingston Foreshore pub.

But Alexander has loved being involved in the game again after retiring from the Brumbies at the end of the 2018 season.

“There’s a good feeling about rugby at the moment in Canberra,” he said.

“The club rugby comp’s going really well, and the ‘Brums’ have been playing awesome all year despite all the adversity that’s been thrown their way — the bushfires earlier in the year and all the smoke, and the 40C game to start the season. And then coronavirus hit.

Selection surprises as strong players miss out in tough decision

Coach Dan McKellar sprung a few selection surprises for the final, making four changes to the starting side that went down to Queensland in the final round.

Noah Lolesio will return from a hamstring injury suffered back in mid-July, and has been reunited in the halves with Joe Powell, consigning Wallabies scrumhalf Nic White back to the bench.

“Noah has trained really well for the last two to three weeks, and our S&C and medical team have done a great job to get him back and fit and firing,” McKellar said after confirming his team.

“He’s keen, he hasn’t played for two months, but if you go back to round one of this competition, he hadn’t played for four months, and he was pretty good that night.”

An unshaven man with glasses.
Brumbies head coach Dan McKellar said tonight’s selection had been the toughest of 2020.(Brumbies Rugby)

Such is the health and depth of the Brumbies squad in Super Rugby AU, regular players including lock Darcy Swain, flanker Tom Cusack, and scrumhalf Ryan Longeran didn’t make the cut.

Neither did Wallabies squad bolter Len Ikitau, or utility back Mack Hansen — the young man responsible for the after-the-siren penalty that sunk the Reds in Canberra in early August.

McKellar said it was comfortably his toughest selection of 2020, but he can’t fault the approach of the overlooked players this week.

“Their attitude has been first class and they’ve just got on and trained really well and helped us prepare for what’s a big occasion.”

From the moment the Brumbies knew they would be hosting the final a fortnight ago, he as his coaching staff have been reminding the players how rarely chances like this come along.

Plenty of very good Brumbies players never got to play in a grand final: David Pocock, Pat McCabe, Rory Arnold to name a few.

The same goes for coaches.

McKellar has given everything he can to join Rod McQueen and David Nucifora as Super Rugby-winning Brumbies coaches.

“Oh yeah, I’m ready for it,” he said, a large grin rising at the mention of his predecessors.

“We’ve worked hard over a long period of time now, but to be able to create our own little bit of history, for this group in particular, I think would be really special.”



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