Missing in action
Brian Carney's luggage and Adrian Morley have gone. Bill Arthur blogs on an eventful start to the Four Nations.
Last Updated: 18/10/10 1:56pm
The Four Nations tournament hasn't even officially started and already we've had plenty of drama over here in New Zealand.
Top of the list of course is the blow of seeing Adrian Morley's tour ended after just six minutes, when he suffered that arm injury against the New Zealand Maori. It was cruel luck for the England skipper and the mood seemed pretty sombre in the immediate aftermath.
But, despite his misfortune, the man himself seemed determined not to allow everyone else to feel down and he's been working hard to lift the spirits in the England camp.
But it's fair to say that the Sky Sports team have also encountered some ill fortune since setting foot in the land of the long white cloud. In fact, even before leaving Blighty.
Fashionista Brian Carney had to endure a torrid 48 hours of wearing some of the naffest clothing seen since the days of the new romantics, after he and his luggage parted company. The bags containing his designer wardrobe didn't manage to get any further than London so he arrived in Auckland wearing jeans, trainers and a t-shirt.
That meant a trip to the local shopping centre and he re-appeared looking like something out of Dirty Dancing, with shiny grey trousers and a shirt with lapels the size of an elephant's ears. He completed the look with his trainers. This didn't stop him being invited to appear on local television ahead of the Maori v England match and it was a bit rich for the Kiwis, not noted for their fashion sense, to then make fun of him for his appearance.
Brian was desperate to be reunited with his luggage and seemed convinced that it was already somewhere in Auckland. That is surely the only explanation for the way he toured the bars of the city on Saturday night, obviously believing that his holdall was in one of them. Anyway, the Sky Sports pundit was eventually reunited with his bags although there didn't seem to be a massive improvement in his appearance as a result.
Brian isn't the only member of the team to have faced adversity as our sound supremo Dion almost didn't make it any further than the check in at Manchester Airport. He was dropped off by his partner and their two lovely children and it was an emotional farewell.
So emotional in fact that his tearful girlfriend drove off with his hand luggage containing his passport, tickets, wallet and phone. She headed for the motorway and he stood helplessly, surrounded by a mountain of sound equipment.
Fortunately she noticed the bag sitting on the passenger seat and turned around. Then, in a Keystone Cops scenario, she rushed into the airport through one door as he waited outside for her at another entrance.
This went on for some time before they eventually met up for another weepy farewell. But for a moment there was the prospect of Sky Sports viewers not being able to hear any of the sound from NZ. What do you mean that wouldn't have been a disaster?
Dion's dramas weren't over because he then had a run-in with the Kiwi constabulary. At the wheel of one of the crew vehicles on the long drive from Auckland to Wellington (nine hours, lots of sheep) the sound supremo was attempting to travel at the speed of sound, at least that was the view of the police officer who pulled him over. And it's an expensive business being done for speeding in New Zealand, as it turns out.
And what do they say about an apple a day? Well it might keep the doctor away but it can also prove unhealthy for your bank balance as another member of our squad will testify.
The Kiwis don't allow you to bring fresh food into their country so one of their fruit detection agents pounced on my colleague Steve when they spotted a rogue Granny Smith in his luggage as he went through customs. Steve's pleas for mercy were fruitless, so to speak, and he can expect a hefty fine.
So that's only after three days and Stevo hasn't even arrived yet - plenty of time for more drama. But our disappointments are pretty minor compared to those of Adrian Morley and it was sad to see him leave Wellington today, already on his way back home to undergo surgery later this week.
We wish him a speedy recovery and let's hope his team mates can give him the perfect tonic this weekend with a win over the Kiwis.