As the memories of State of Origin fade away like a XXXX-induced hangover, we concentrate once again on the season at hand. Let’s be honest here, the Origin series does fuck around with the competition a bit, and there have been some suggestions (read: angry bogans complaining that it’s unfair for their team to have to play another team without their best players) that the Origin period should become a no-games-for-anyone-except-the-Origin-teams period.
Regardless of who you are, which team you play for, and how many tattoos you have, if you’re playing in the NRL there’s a very good chance that you’re getting paid a pretty tidy salary to play football. Your weekly itinerary would be something like: go to the gym (for free), attend personal training sessions (for free), play 80 minutes of league, go to a sponsor’s event, get drunk (for free), have sex/punch on with random person (do not get arrested). It’s basically the same as everyone else’s itinerary, except everyone else has to pay to do these things, work gets in the way a lot of the time, and raping people is illegal unless you have an NRL contract.
When players like Billy Slater, the Morris brothers or Ben Hannant aren’t available for a game for their club, it means some other dickhead has a chance to play in their position. If it’s for one game, two games – great; at least the kid had a chance to play first grade football. If he is good, he’ll get picked again and his career will grow. If not, then the bloke can piss footy off, get a real job and keep himself warm in his old age by telling his grandchildren about the time he played against Ben Hornby. If your team has such a lack of depth that it can’t bung some junior bloke on the wing to cover Darius Boyd, then you deserve your six-week losing streak in the middle of the year.
Other news in the league this week was the announcement that Luke Lewis from the Panthers is leaving to go to… well, fucking anywhere, really. After being dropped as captain from the underperforming Penrith side, earning man-of-the-match honours the next week and taking his spot in the NSW Origin team, Lewis has been officially given the arse by the team that he has spent the last 17 years playing for. I’m sure the Panthers have their reasons. They’re just not telling anyone. I tip that it’s due to their salary cap, and paying off Michael Jennings’ legal fees.
Sonny Bill Willams, after walking out on his contract with the Roosters four years ago to play rugby in Thailand or take up foxy-boxing or something, has announced his return to the NRL for the 2013 season, despite him making it pretty clear that rugby union is his favoured sport. He enjoys the spectacle of watching his fly half kick the ball while everyone else claps. Sony Bill has not signed any legal documents ensuring that he will actually be a part of next year’s competition, but has claimed that his “handshake is binding.” Don’t mind me while I count all my chickens before they hatch, Sonny, but if you last the whole season next year… well… you can have my fucking chickens. All of them.
NRL Round 19
Wests Tigers vs Penrith Panthers
Brisbane Broncos vs New Zealand Warriors
St George Illawarra Dragons vs Cronulla Sharks
Newcastle Knights vs Manly Sea Eagles
Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Melbourne Storm vs Nth Queensland Cowboys
Canterbury Bulldogs vs Parramatta Eels
This week, I’m thinking that the Tigers will wake up and get back to winning, especially against the Panthers, who probably won’t have too much oomph about themselves as Gus Gould prepares the lads for a garage sale. I could be wrong (but I’m not). I think the Storm will bounce back against the Cowbs, and getting flogged by spastics like the Raiders usually fires up a team for the next few games. The Doggies should rack up another cricket score against the Eels, but unlike Manly, won't give them even half a sniff to make the scoreline respectable in any way, shape or form. Upset of the round will be the Knights to roll Manly. I won’t be upset, though. I don’t like Manly.
Game of the Round
Canberra Raiders vs Gold Coast Titans
Last week, the magnificent Canberra “Never a doubt in my mind” Raiders stunned the universe by winning their second consecutive game. Even more dazzling was that it was against the competition leaders. Even dazzlinger was the blowout of the scoreline, which was roughly 80 million to nil. Can the Green Machine make it three in a row? Yes, they fucking well can.
Last week’s victory was no fluke (it might have been a bit), and the Melbourne whingers can complain about how the Storm were missing their “big three” in the form of Slater, Cronk and Smith (although I find it hard to believe that you could ever really miss a person called ‘Cronk’), but the Raiders were actually missing ten of their first-choice team. With Dugan set for a comeback next week, and Campese the week after, coach David “Pass me my headband so people know who I am” Furner has a few decisions to make. I’ll do it for you, Furnsie: bung them into the Jersey Flegg team and let them earn their spots back. There’s not a whole lot of hope that the Raiders will crack the top eight for a finals birth from here, so there’s no point in breaking Campese’s leg again this season. Unless, of course, you’re a sadistic bastard and you enjoy doing that. Hmmm.
Remember when the NRL competed for a trophy? Now they fight for a spare tyre