Friday, May 25, 2012

NRL 2012 Round 12: Origin Hangover

Allow me to just put on this broken record that’s been sitting in the corner of my lounge room for the last six years:  Congratulations Queensland.  You played like balls but well done on winning the game.

Origin I wasn’t a particularly spectacular display of rugby league by anyone’s stretch of the imagination, regardless of how stretchy their imagination is.  There was a lack of fluidity and cohesion, some rookie mistakes, simple errors and Greg Bird.  I really dislike that man.  For what has become the showcase of the NRL, the match really wasn’t up-to-par with previous Origin clashes, grand finals or when we used to play footy during lunchtime at high-school.

The main talking points of the game were the sin-binning of Michael Jennings and the controversial Greg Inglis try that effectively ended the competition.  “Experts” of the game have said that Jennings shouldn’t have been binned simply because “it’s State of Origin.”  As a bit of a scuffle began after some rough-housing in a tackle and someone piffing the ball at the back of Greg Bird’s head, Jennings caught a flight from Hong Kong (with an eight-hour stopover in Perth and a connecting flight in Adelaide) to get involved in the fight.  “It’s Origin, it should be allowed” is the stupidest fucking excuse I’ve ever heard.  That wasn’t Origin, and that’s not football – that is a new sport called “Punching Brent Tate in the back of the head.”  I believe it’s included in the London Olympics as a demonstration sport.  Brent Tate, by the way, has a head that is held in place by gaffa tape, blu-tac and hope, following a few broken vertebrae in his neck a couple of seasons ago.  Depending on how you look at it, he’s either the best candidate to receive a punch in the back of the head, or the worst.  Origin should be a hard game, yes, but it needs to maintain some degree of fairness or it will descend into Lord of the Flies territory.  And even though it would be good to see Brett Stewart cry because he’s Piggy, it wouldn’t quite be the same.

In the end, Jennings received a one-week suspension following his involvement in the biffo, which means he will be unavailable to play for the Windsor Wolves third-grade reserve team this week.

As for Inglis’ try, eh fuck it.  It looked a bit shit to me, and I’m fairly sure the video ref who had to make the decision of whether to award the try or not closed his eyes and muttered “why the fuck didn’t I call in sick to work today?” before doing some “eenie meenie miney mo” with the Try/No Try button.  It probably wasn’t going to change the result of the game though – NSW were fairly useless in attack, and could only get over the line by kicking it to Billy Slater, who looked like he was on the same drugs as Todd Carney (aka all drugs ever).  Despite the Blues picking an “attacking team,” they still struggled to find the line.  When your winger is the best/only attacking option your team has got, you really don’t deserve to win.

Onto Round 12!

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Parramatta Eels   
Melbourne Storm vs Brisbane Broncos
Newcastle Knights vs Gold Coast Titans
Penrith Panthers vs Manly Sea Eagles
Wests Tigers vs Nth Queensland Cowboys
Sydney Roosters vs Canterbury Bulldogs

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Canberra Raiders

I have gone against the might of the Raiders this week for one reason:  they’re rubbish.

They have also lost a couple of game-changing players in the form of Josh “I call everyone ‘bra’ on Twitter and it’s really annoying” Dugan and Blake “I don’t follow Blake Ferguson on Twitter” Ferguson following a breach of the Raiders’ booze ban.  Granted, if I played for Canberra at the moment, I’d probably get on the sauce as well, but sometimes you really just have to accept the rules that have been handed down from your coach and management, kind of like the same way that everyone else in the world has to do what their boss says.  I’m not usually one to spruik someone else’s blog on my own (for fear of losing both of my readers), but LeagueFreak has summed Dugan up fairly perfectly right here.  

I don’t think it really matters who Souths decide to donk onto the field against the Green Machine tonight; the Raiders are their own worst enemy.  They have no spark in attack, and seem afraid to do anything except go one pass off the ruck, unless it’s an inside pass to an unsuspecting player who is running away from a hole in the opposition’s defence and directly into three of their biggest players.  When the Raiders are defending, they’re slow to get off the line and are giving up too many easy yards in the middle, and their left-side defence is akin to a game of ‘tag’ that I once saw a group of retarded children play, where the kid who was ‘it’ would happily chase the other players with great gusto, but would avoid coming into contact with them.  Then he would laugh and run after someone else and not touch them either.

Still, it’s always worth popping a sneaky $10 on the Raiders.  Eventually, that retarded kid is going to accidentally run right into someone and knock them out, and you shouldn’t feel bad about profiting from that.

Melbourne got right behind the State of Origin

Friday, May 18, 2012

NRL 2012 Round 11: Banana Split

Round 11 sees another split round so everyone can get a bit excited about State of Origin.  Unfortunately it fucks around with people’s tips a lot, and makes my weekend sport-watching a whole lot shorter than it could/should be.  I might even have to crack out some AFL.  Nah, I’ll just re-watch the 1994 Grand Final on VHS.  The only problem is that I’ve stretched the good bits by watching them in slow-motion too many times.  Those good bits occur between 00:01 and 80:00. 

Queensland and New South Wales announced their Origin teams during the week, amid much speculation and media interest.  The Queenslanders even felt it necessary to have a launch event, as if it was some exciting secret that they were finally breaking to the world.  It’s the same team they’ve picked for the last forty years, with the only real change being Cooper “Best Surname Ever” Cronk instead of the retired Darren “the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now” Lockyer, which was always going to happen, even if Cronk’s legs fell off.  

The NSW team is a mix of good ideas and absofuckinglute desperfuckingation.  Michael “Fucking” Jennings?  The guy has played half a game this season due to injury and intoxication, why the hell would he get a Guernsey?  Yes, he CAN break the line, and yes he CAN be one of the fastest blokes in the universe, but he also CAN play poorly and CAN fuck up an awful lot.  Personally, I would have gone with the less spectacular but fairly safe option of someone like Colin Best.  Or me.  I wouldn’t feel out-of-place making my NRL debut as a centre in State of Origin.  And no matter what happened during Origin camp, I know I’d be way more sober than Carney and Jennings.  

So with people out for Origin, who should you tip for Round 11?

North Queensland Cowboys vs Penrith Panthers
Wests Tigers vs New Zealand Warriors
Manly Sea Eagles vs Sydney Roosters
St George-Illawarra Dragons vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Bulldogs vs Sharks

I’m throwing in a few upsets this week – who would have ever thought that Penrith would win last week?  Not me, hence I didn’t tip them.  No such mistake this week though, especially against a Thurston-less Cowboys outfit, who, despite boasting a strong home-ground record, still suck and I don’t like them.  I've got a bad feeling that one's going to come back to bite me on the arse, but that's ok.  I normally pay extra for that.  

The Warriors and Tigers are mainly Origin-unaffected, due to the Warriors being primarily comprised of New Zealanders, and the Tigers being fairly shit.  Warriors to win surprisingly easily this week.

Manly will be missing a few of their “big guns” (I’m pretty sure Brett Stewart gave himself that nickname, right after another “wah wah wah I am still angry at the CEO of the NRL interview”) but I’m fairly confident they’ll stumble over the line against the Chooks.

St George are playing fucking fuckedly right now, so they can fuck off to Fuckville; I’m not tipping them again (unless they play Parramatta), and the Sharkies should still win without “Jigsaw” Carney and “Lucky I’m good at footy” Gallen.  And I don’t like the Bulldogs, despite how much fun it is to do the Beau Ryan “Doggeez” thing with your crotch.  That makes me sound a bit sick/Joel Monaghan… just Google it.

Game of the Round
New South Wales vs Queensland

Sorry Blues boys, you’ve picked a goodish team this time but you’re still going to lose.  Maybe you guys will listen to me:  when Cameron Smith gets the ball and passes it to Thurston who passes it back inside to Cronk, FILL THE FUCKING HOLE BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM BECAUSE IT MEANS HE’S GOING TO PASS IT TO BILLY SLATER WHO WILL SCORE.  Also, tackle Greg Inglis.  AND, Hodges is going to run from dummy-half every-fucking-time.  He’s also one of the loosest carriers in the game; stop him running and the ball turns into a watermelon seed.  Work this shit out.  Queensland by at least 8.

Despite Kurt Gidley being unavailable for NSW, I'm still not tipping them

Friday, May 11, 2012

NRL 2012 Round 10: The Milkman cometh

What a week of off-field drama we’ve had in the NRL over the last seven days.  First off, Prior was given five weeks on the sideline following his love-tap on Jonathan Thurston on Friday night.  I know they were playing the game at Dairy Farmer’s Stadium, but the amount of milking that Thurston puts into each game is really something to behold.  

Meanwhile, Paul “the entire NSW forward pack” Gallen got let off his “accidental” kicking of Dave Taylor in the head, claiming that he’s a 125-kilo monster as his defence.  Let’s wait and see who else can use that excuse and get away with it (hint: only Origin certainties).  

Origin speculation continues, with special interest being paid this week to who will occupy the fullback position for the NSW Blues – Dugan, Stewart or Minichello.  Personally, I think Duges is still a bit underdone, and until he can work out how to pass to the left instead of dummying that way and stepping back to the right, he should just concentrate on winning a game for the Raiders.  Brett Stewart is a massive flog, I think we’ve all established, so he’s out.  Anyone who gives shit to the CEO of the NRL while he’s donking a medal around your neck despite the fact that you touched-up a 16 year old girl probably deserves not to be picked for too many representative honours.  Which leaves Minichello, a statistic that would normally leave me feeling a bit sick.  But the guy has been playing pretty well of late; he pops up around the ruck to receive offloads, has a good passing game and is safe under the high ball.  Fuck Ricky Stuart’s stupid “we’re looking to the future, I’m not going to pick anyone over the age of 30” plan, just fill your fucking team full of people who can actually play well.  Dickhead.

Round 10:
Brisbane Broncos vs Manly Sea Eagles
Bulldogs vs Gold Coast Titans
New Zealand Warriors vs Sydney Roosters
Newcastle Knights vs North Queensland Cowboys
Sharks vs Melbourne Storm
Penrith Panthers vs St George-Illawarra Dragons

The Broncs will bounce back after last week’s loss, the Kiwis will carry their good form into this week, the Cowboys will be bolstered by the fact that Thurston had an extra 50 minutes sleep during last week’s game as he lay on the ground, and St George will (hopefully) stop being retarded and win a game.  It’s the Panthers, after all.

Game of the Round:
Canberra Raiders vs Parramatta Eels

This is an important game for both teams.  They are both playing fairly ordinary footy at the moment – the Eels rely heavily on Jarryd Hayne, who has been looking a bit disinterested of late.  With Origin selections on the line though, we can expect him to step up and allow the flimsy Raiders defence to play him back into form.  The Raiders, on the other hand, rely on sheer dumb luck and mistakes from the other team to win.  Seeing as they’re up against the Eels this week, they can expect a lot of mistakes.  

If you’re heading out to the game this weekend, cop an eyeful of Dugan’s drop-outs (since it’s the Raiders, you will get to see a lot of them) – each one hits about 65metres.  Now if only someone (like the coach) could see this, and after a few booming kicks that set the defence back about 10 metres, maybe drop in a short-range kick that bounces into no-man’s land for someone (Blake Ferguson, Jarod Croker) to run into and catch.  I know, I should be paid for strategies like this.  Raiders to win an unconvincing and scrappy game (please please please).

Happy Mother's Day - here's Hindy's bum

Thursday, May 03, 2012

NRL 2012: Round 9 - 30 cents for sauce?

It’s about this time of year that the NRL world stops following the game and concentrates on one thing:  State of Origin.  Those three fucking games in the middle of the year that create split rounds that cause headaches for coaches and punters that Queensland invariably win in any case don’t just dominate headlines, they overtake the whole fucking newspaper.  Dickheads everywhere (and me) rub their chins thoughtfully to pick the ultimate team while players everywhere pledge allegiance to whichever state shows interest in choosing them to be a possible nineteenth man in a seventeen-man squad. 

News this week is that Danny Buderus has been ruled out of contention due to an Achilles heel issue.  To be perfectly Francine, the only person who would pick Danny Buderus to play for NSW is his mum, and that’s just because she “doesn’t like the look of that Robbie Farrah – he looks like one of those Italians.”  Danny Buderus’ mum is quite racist, by the sound of it. 

Toddy Carney should be picked as pivot for the mighty fucking NSW Blues – yes, he is (unfortunately) playing good football, but it’s more my hope that being given representative responsibility will cause Toddy to get on the piss, get in a fight, get caught having sex in an alley with a transsexual prostitute with a wooden leg, shit in front of a church, steal a car, sideswipe an RBT police van and crash into the back of a strawberry-scented glow-in-the-dark dildo delivery truck.    

In news away from all things Blue and Purple, embattled Parramatta coach Steve “Ghost Chips” Kearney has been forced to bring his star signing Chris Sandow back into the team after dropping him for being a bit rubbish over the opening few rounds.  I’m sure being a professional coach of a professional sports team filled with professional athletes and having professional assistant coaches and professional tacticians offer their professional advice is professionally hard, but if Kearney was going to drop players for being shit, I’d be next in line to strap on my boots for the Eels this week.  Strangely, the decision to replace ordinary players with worse ones didn’t work, so Sandow finds himself back in the firing line this week.  And fuck it, the Eels paid about a trillion dollars to buy him from Souths, so they might as well use him.  Otherwise it would be like buying a movie ticket and opting to go to the pub instead.    

Round Nine:

Parramatta Eels vs Bulldogs
North Queensland Cowboys vs St George-Illawarra Dragons
New Zealand Warriors vs Brisbane Broncos
Gold Coast Titans vs Wests Tigers
Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm
Sydney Roosters vs Newcastle Knights
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Sharks

Game of the Round:

Manly Sea Eagles vs Canberra Raiders

So I went to the Raiders’ game last weekend, and I bought a bucket of “hot” chips for $5 and a sachet of sauce for 30 cents.  That was my highlight; paying thirty cents for tomato sauce.  I’m not going to Brookvale Oval this weekend to savour the condiments that Manly are offering up.

 The Roosters have boosted their front row with the signing of an Isuzu ute