Friday, September 28, 2012

NRL 2012: The Grand Finale of all Grand Finals

Holy shit holy shit holy shit it has finally arrived – welcome to the fucking end of the footy season.  I love the NRL, I really do, but fuck me sideways with an off-season misdemeanour by a promising Toyota Cup player, this season has just gone on and on and on. 

Until now.

It’s the Storm vs the Bulldogs in what should be a barnstormer of a crackerjack of an explosive game between the two teams who have proven to be prrrrrrobably the most consistent all year.  So that works as a showcase for the sport, I suppose.  Well done, rugby league, you did something right this year.  Two things, if you count the suspension of Robert Lui.  Three, if you take Todd Carney’s Achilles heel injury.  Four, if you include Manly not making it to the Grand Final.  Fuck it, let’s just round it up and say that the NRL did about 10 good things this year. 

As usual, the dickhead Tigers thought that people still liked them and decided they’d give a red hot go at  taking over the footy media this week, and sacked Tim Sheens, their coach of the last 10 years or so.  Well, “sacked” is the wrong word.  He also didn’t “walk away” from being coach, according to the geniuses at Weststststs.  Whatever happened, he’s not working there anymore and has apparently flown over the Pacific Ocean to take up a coaching job in New Zealand (he took the scenic route).  The Warriors all looked at each other and said, “Ey bro, we jus got rud of aar coach, ey, so we cood huv this one, ey?” and Sheensie said, “Well yeah, that’s kind of why I’m here; I’m pretty sure being not fired/not employed by the Tigers had something to do with your coach, Steve Kearney, actually being fired earlier in the year.”  And the Warriors looked at each other and said, “Ey bro, we jus got rud of aar coach, ey, so we cood huv this one, ey?”  Tim Sheens slapped himself, but then remembered that he didn’t have to put up with Benji Marshall anymore and crucked a tunnie frum the chullibun und rullaxed ey?


Melbourne Storm vs Canterbury Bulldogs

My heart says “badoom… badoom… badoom” and my brain says “Subway.”  I don’t know why people keep trying to tip with their internal organs (although my spleen reckons I should throw a lazy fiver on Flapjack in race 6 at Flemington). 

Every man and his dog goes on about “Melbourne’s Big Three” of Cooper Cronk (seriously?), Cameron Smith and Billy AC Slater.  Cam Smith is a tough competitor and won’t back down from a fight (and when someone is backing down from a fight is usually when Smithy actually turns up to throw some hay-makers), Cronk looks like a bloke who should be doing ice capades, and Slater has a bad habit of being really, really shit in really, really big games. 

The Dogs have Ben Barba and one of the Morris brothers (the one that doesn’t play for St George), and that’s about it, really.  I'm probably wrong and haven't followed the footy as closely as I possibly could have this year (except for the Mighty Sea-Green Canberra Rayguns, man I loved John Dugan and Mals Meningan!), but to me, it seems that they aren’t exactly flushed with experience over at Canterbury (but most of Bankstown reckons "their uncle can get it for you real cheap"), and in my humble opinion, will be the difference between the two sides.

My tip:  Melbourne by about 9.  I fucking love a field goal.

Happy End-of-NRL-Season-2012, everyone!

Why so serious, Anthony Winterstein? 

Friday, September 21, 2012

NRL 2012: Finals week 3 - At least the Tigers didn't make it this far

And then there were four- the Doggies, the Bunnies, the Stormies and the Manlies.  It’s not really that surprising, struth be told, as they have been the best teams all year.  It actually makes the previous 26 weeks fairly redundant, except I would gladly sit through a marathon of Panthers vs Eels games next year if it means that the Tigers are given another massive reality check by missing the finals when everyone thought they would romp it in unchallenged and waltz away with the cup.   There’s something about seeing Benji Marshall sitting down in his pleated skirt crying his eyes out because he lost a footy game. 

This weekend will sort out who is going to fight it out in the grand final.  SPOILER ALERT:  I’m tipping Bunnies vs Storm.

Why?  Because I have a soft spot for the Rabbitohs (that, and I’m scared that Russell Crowe will find me and beat me/eat me), and also because (and this will shock everyone), that I really, really don’t like Manly.  I know it wasn’t entirely their fault that they won last week.  It wasn’t their fault that the referees made a lot of mistakes – they had other things on their minds, like “where did this brand new Mercedes on my driveway come from?” and  “Geoff Toovey sounds a bit like Batman” and “I can’t believe Brett Stewart asked my daughter to the formal!”

In any case, the Cowboys played like dick and didn’t deserve to win either.  At times like that, the NRL should just say, “Fuck it, you’re both shit and that was an unspectacular game.  You’re both out.”  I don’t think anyone would be able to complain about that.  Except Manly, of course, but you come to expect that.    

Manly vs Melbourne
Souths vs Doggies

Raiders 2012 summary:

The Raiders were bungled out of the comp in unspectacular form against the Bunnies last Saturday night.  It was a fairly representative performance from the mighty Lime Green Machine, as they ranged from “oh fucking hell, that was shit” to “oh yeah, that’s not bad” on average eighteen times a minute.  In the end, there was way too much dropped ball, missed tackles, silly penalties and inept line running, and that was all from Blake Ferguson. 

However, I think the main thing that Canberra can take from this year is that their young team that was as easy to beat as the Mighty Ducks before Emilio Estevez came along have developed well together, and in the next two seasons will be outright premiership contenders.  Williams and McCrone are as dangerous as any other halves combination running around, Sandor Earl is an ex-underwear model, Josh Papali will mature into a freakin monster, and Jarrod Croker learnt how to tackle.  I’d like to think that I had a bit to do with it, despite what Dave Furner had to say when I told him that on the phone this morning at 4am.

Here's a fun game to play at home - based on Terry Campese's facial expression here, which ligament do you think he has just torn?

Friday, September 14, 2012

NRL 2012: 2econd week of finals

I'm just going to kick this post off with a quick message:  I fucking hate Manly.

Seriously.  Fucking hate them.  There’s just something so fucking fucked about them that I can’t bear to tip them.  So I’m not.  Despite the fact that I think they are a better team  than the Cowboys, I just can’t do it.  Sometimes I think, “Yeah, those dickheads are aaaaaaall right.”  And then something happens and I realise, “those dickheads are still massive fucking douchecanoes.”  And they are.

This week, Steve Matai has complained that he is unfairly treated every time he goes to the rugby league judiciary.  I don’t understand his rationale.  Steve plays a game, gets cited for a reckless/careless/retarded high tackle, goes to the tribunal, gets his usual seat and a coffee in his own personalised mug, watches himself on television taking some bloke’s head off, the panel gives him a three week suspension, everyone says “see you next month then!”, arrange a barbecue for the next weekend and they head off.  I’m not sure what part of this is getting up Steve’s goat – does he want a comfier chair?  Should they just move the tribunal hearings to his lounge-room so he can get suspended without missing the X-Factor?  Does he want extra milk in his coffee?

Or maybe he should fucking just learn how to tackle.

Sorry Manly fans, but there’s too much complaining coming from the Warringah part of the world (apparently it’s somewhere in Sydney), that it has just turned me off tipping your pack of miserable, whinging dickheads.  Cowbs to win on the back of what Geoff Toovey will complain about being a “controversial penalty” regardless of whether the penalty was in the first 20 seconds or the last. 

Manly vs Cowboys

Game of the Round:
Raiders vs Rabbits

RAIDERSZ WOOAS I am so toaly still durnk form the Raizers winninG over the sharps WHATAGREATFUCKINGGAMEWOOOOOOO bring on the Buns youlosers!!11 Y’oure no macth for the Grean Machhine with yor Sam Burgess & your Dave Taylor & your Greg Inglis & your Isaac Luke…

And I just got sober.

I’m not saying that the Raiders upcoming victory is going to be easy – to get over the tryline means having to go for a swift 8km jog to get around Dave Taylor’s arse, and another 12km hike to get over Inglis’ wallet.  Using my outstanding powers of mathematics, I have deduced that that is roughly 27 kilometres extra.  That sounds like a long way.

Let’s call a spade a spade here – unless you want to call it a shovel – unless the origins of that phrase are inherently racist, then you should just avoid the situation completely – the Raiders are shit hot right now, and the Rabbitohs are as patchy as a vegie patch that grows patchwork quilts for a spotty dog named Patch.  If Canberra can keep the big boys quiet, they’ll go a long way towards winning the game.  Unfortunately, those big boys basically number 1-17, so that presents an issue or two.  Or seventeen.

Still, I think the Bunnies will underestimate the Men in Green, and an upset is very much on the cards.  Blake Ferguson and Sandor Earl don't know how not to score a try, and the forward pack is stepping up to meet their challenges.  Josh Papali did a job last week to shut Paul Gallen's squinty face down, and will be up again to do the same to Taylor and Sutton.  With a wave of support behind them, put a sneaky tenner on Canberra.  Raiders by 10.

My new Raiders man-crush: Joe Picker

Friday, September 07, 2012

NRL 2012: The Finals Countdown (doo doo do do)

Welcome to week one of the NRL finals, and it is shaping up to be a fair cracker of a finals series.  For one, Newcastle haven’t somehow snuck in like they did last year (possibly the year before.  Details are my life) and get in the way of the real teams. 

Congratulations to Ben “Tony” Barba, who took out the prestigious Dally M award for being voted “Topsest Footy Player of the Year and  That Hey” on whatever night it was on, beating some other bloke (Cooper Cronk) from the Storm and some other boofhead (Matt Bowen) from the Cowbs.  Let’s be perfectly Francine here, everyone – if Cooper Cronk comes in the top three in anything, there’s probably something not-quite-right with the competition.  That’s not to take anything away from Barbsy’s win – a medal at the special Olympics is still a medal.

Round 1 of the Finals, which is like Round 27 of the regular season:
This is actually a tough round to pick, despite me being the bestest NRL tipperer this side of the internet.  I have only got one game wrong in each round for the last two or three weeks.  Impressive, yes, but it’s still not a full fucking round, which means that I didn’t win my millions.  Next year…

I’m going for the Doggies to beat the Manlies in what should be a rip-snorter of a cracker of a match.  Both teams are in decent form with some big forwards, slippery halves and the obligatory quick men on the outside.  In the end, it all comes down to using common sense to pick a winner, and my common sense is saying, “No one likes Many.”  So… Canterbury it is.

The Storm have been playing a bit shit lately too.  Slater’s at about 12% of himself with some kind of sponsorship injury or an endorsement strain that has been niggling him since State of Origin.  Without a fully fit Slats coming up against some boofheads like Inglis, Taylor, Asotasi and Burgess, I don’t give Melbourne a sniffly sniffle in this game. 

Brisbane vs Cowboys is a non-event.  Even the Raiders are laughing about how bad the Broncos are, and wondering how they managed to sneak into the top eight.  Still, if someone can cause an upset, it’s… fuck it, it’s not even the Broncos.  They are officially the Newcastle Knights of 2012.

Bulldogs vs Manly Sea Eagles
Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
North Queensland Cowboys vs Brisbane Broncos

Canberra Raiders vs Sharks

Canberra and Cronulla have played each other twice this year; once the Raiders got towelled up by about 30, the other time they were the ones holding the towel.  What’s it to be this weekend?  You’d be fucking mad to go any other way than a lime green victory.  I’m polishing my horned helmet as we speak.  And yes, that is a euphemism.

Ben Barba - rugby league's bestest player.