SYDNEY - In a hypothetical world, the Wallabies might have woken up on Sunday morning with one hand on the Bledisloe Cup had their rookie captain taken a slightly more conservative and conventional approach in the series opener.
But coach Ewen McKenzie said he had no problems with Michael Hooper's decision to thrice spurn shots at goal from in front of the posts during Saturday night's 12-12 draw with the All Blacks at ANZ Stadium.
With Australia trailing their trans-Tasman rivals 9-3 in the shadows of halftime, Hooper opted for scrums on two occasions as the Wallabies attacked New Zealand's try line the second time after the All Blacks were a player short with prop Wyatt Crockett in the sin bin.
When Hooper, 22, did elect for a shot goal after the ABs infringed yet again after the halftime siren sounded, Kurtley Beale struck the right-hand upright for his only miss of the night to leave the Wallabies down by six points at the break.
Armchair critics after the game wondered what might have been had Hooper the Wallabies' youngest captain in 53 years accepted the invitation for a gift three points.