Thursday, August 21, 2014

NRL 2014 Round 24: Whoever wins doesn’t lose

Another Thursday night game this week, just to make sure that rugby league audiences are glued to their TVs until after 1am while they wait for the Channel 9 coverage of ads for The Block Glasshouse, brand new episodes of the Big Bang Theory and Australia’s favourite drama, House Husbands, to finish, before the two-and-a-half-hour live broadcast of Erin Molan making unscripted awkward television on the NRL Footy Show begins.

I’ve never watched House Husbands, but based on what I can gather from the ads for it, I’m not missing too much.  It looks like it’s doing its best to break down discrimination against short men dating tall women though, so I guess that’s a good thing… if you’re a short man.  Or a tall woman.  If it keeps Gary Sweet off the streets, it can only be a good thing. 

You could pretty much sit on your couch, watch Channel 9 for five hours and not know one thing about the NRL tonight.  You may have a craving for KFC and a strange desire to put a sneaky $5 on JT to score against the Bunnies.  The coverage of the footy has gone to shit - too many ads, the commentators are crap, the Footy Show is hosted by two blokes who act as if they haven't watched a game since 1987, and they spend most of the game jerking each other off about who loves Jarrod Hayne and Sam Burgess more.  It would make sense if either of those players were participating in the match.       

In things that actually did happen in league this week, ASADA investigations regarding performance-enhancing drug taking at the Cronulla Sharks team amped up this week, with seventeen players fingered (hehehe) by the Drug Squad, including five current Sharkies players.  For fuck’s sake, they’re coming last, I think it’s safe to say that their drugs didn’t work.  If the players are found guilty, they could be suspended for a period of six months to two years… with the start of their ban beginning at the end of this season.  So basically while there’s no sport on, they are banned from playing sport.  Whether they’re also banned from taking better drugs has not been commented on. 

Round 24

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

A few tricky games to pick in this mix – the Tigers are going about as badly as any team in the history of the game has gone, so I’m anticipating some more tears for them this weekend.  Wayne Bennett teams Brisbane and Newcastle will clash, and despite a late-season run of form from the Knights, I don’t think they’ll be able to keep it up (that’s what she said).  In other news from the Broncos camp, Josh Hoffman was cleared of a broken leg, but will miss three weeks with a sprained ankle.  Ben Barba was also declared dead by the same doctor, but was later found to be “sleeping.”  Nice work, Broncos.

I hate the Roosters, so I’m not tipping them, and the biggest “ah fuck man” game this week for me is Penrith vs Melbourne – the Pennies are doing it well at the moment, but Melbourne have that rare quality that means you can never write them off – cheating – and even though I think it’ll come back to bite me (and receive three weeks at the judiciary), I’m tipping the Storm. 

Game of the Round

 Cronulla Sharks vs Canberra Raiders

All eyes are on the mighty Canberra Raiders for their Canberra Appreciation Month showdown against the Cronulla Sharks, as they battle to stay off the bottom of the ladder.

It has been an interesting week for the Raiders, as under fire coach Ricky Stuart keeps making excuses for his under-performing team, citing that “there are no state or international players” and “Canberra’s a bit shit” and “I have no idea what I’m doing.” 

I haven’t coached a football team before either, Rick, but I’m pretty sure it’s actually your job to get the players to state and international level.  I don’t think Greg Inglis just walked into the first training session at the Melbourne Storm and said, “Hi, I’m a Queensland Origin player.” (basically because he’s from NSW, but we’ll let that slide).  I’m not sure telling your players that they’re not up to scratch is the way to get their confidence up either, especially considering that Papalii is an Origin player, Campese represented NSW and Australia just a few years ago and Milford & Croker were in their respective states’ squads this year, with Shaun Fensom just missing out on rep duties.  On the other hand, the Penrith Panthers don’t have any current rep players in their team either, but they have decided to concentrate on playing football instead of blaming other teams for being better than them. 

Reports are that Terry Campese has been stood down from the club, yet banned from discussing joining another club arose this week.  At this late stage, still no one fucking knows what’s going on, but Campese had this to say a short while ago.  “Yeah, nah.  [Just] looking [forward] you know, to [the] game [and] that, boys have trained [well and] if we [play to our game] plan, dig deep and give [110%], we should come away [with] the points.”

If the story is true, it will be a sad way for Campo to end his career, possibly a bit earlier than he intended, but earning $500,000 to play amateur league probably wouldn’t be too terrible either.  Fuck it, he can have my job and I’ll do his if he’s that upset by it. 

The Raiders are also going to be without Jordan Rapana for the remaining games of the season, who managed to FRACTURE HIS SKULL last week.  Stand-in-captain and retiring prop Brett White was also forced to pull out of the match, while Sharkies hard-man Andrew Fifita broke his arm.  The wooden spoon match could well be determined by whichever team still has a player standing.  And for me, that team will be Canberra.  It’s guaranteed (it’s not).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

NRL 2014 Round 23: The Grubs Don't Work

Are the fans beginning to vote with their bums on the state of the NRL this year?  And by that, I mean by attending games – you know, the whole “bums on seats” analogy.  Crowd sizes are down this year, with the lowest point coming on Monday night’s fiasco between the Roosters and whoever they played.  The Titans.  Yep.  The game itself was described by the media as a “decent game,” although no crowd members were available for comment… because THEY WEREN’T THERE.  There would have been more people selling pies than eating them.  The crowd figure of 4,500 would have been inflated by the number of players and officials who went through the turnstile.  The cheerleaders accounted for about 20% of the attendees.

Why?  Other than the fact that it’s the Roosters vs the Titans, why wouldn’t a top-four team be able to draw a crowd?  Surely there are enough faithful Chooks supporters out there who would be willing to watch “a decent game” of league?

Here’s why:  Monday night football is fucking stupid, no matter where you go or who you play.  Weekday games are never going to work.  It was nice of the NRL to give it a crack for a few years, but I think we can safely say that no one’s interested anymore.  It’s just lucky that this week they’ve deemed it to be a “good idea” to bung a game on Thursday night (that’s tonight).  If the NRL is seriously dedicated to not attracting people to their games, they should put on Tuesday afternoon matches that start at 2:30pm. 

The other reason is that the game is seriously full of dickheads, and no one wants to watch dickheads, regardless of their success.  The Canterbury Doggies are this week’s prime example.  After living la vida loca for most of the year, the wheels have officially come off the Bankstown Bandwagon, and I point a big, fat finger at Josh Reynolds. 

Jeynolds was picked in the NSW Origin team this year, following early success from the Dogs, and the fact that Mitchell Pearce was busy “helping police with their investigations” following an “incident” at a local “nightspot” with a “woman.”  To say that Jeynolds had no impact at all on the game would be going too far – the series was boring in that Paul Gallen and Greg Bird demanded the ball in the middle of the field and refused to pass it.  Queensland, being the inbred simpletons that they are, played a similar game.  I’m not sure why they didn’t, you know, play offense instead of run into a brick wall, but that’s by the by now.  Well done, NSW, you officially bored everyone to death to achieve a series victory. 

Since then, Jeynolds has been shit on stilts.  He was suspended for a shoulder charge following the snoozefest of Origin, and has been severely lacking since his return… until last week’s game against the Broncos, where he was cited twice for tripping and finally sent to the sin bin for a high tackle.  He then went into the naughty corner and continued to channel his frustration at not being good at football through his foot. 

To be fair, it was the best kick he’d landed all night.  #riseforchair

Somehow, the judiciary decided that it wasn’t all that bad, and downgraded his tripping offences to a “grade 2” and so he’ll only miss a ninja turtle handful of games. 

THAT IS FUCKED.  What the fuck is a grade two trip?  What do you need to do to get a grade five charge?  Gaffa tape some steak knives to your shoes?  Dig a small trench in the field and cover it up with leaves?  The less game-time that these fucking blights on sport receive, the better.  Fuck off Reynold, fuck off Ennis, fuck off Cam Smith.  Shut up, Toovey, fuck up Hasler and fuck you Farah.  Eat a dick Burgess (all of them), choke on a dick Hodges and cop a dick Matai. 

Get rid of em and let’s make rugby league interesting again. 

Round 23

Here’s hoping that Souths keep their good form from last week (nicely done, lads) and that the Bulldogs continue their downward spiral to keep the Raiders and the Sharks company at the bottom of the ladder.  I think the Cowbs are showing some of the best form they’ve ever had (like, totes, forever) and at this stage everyone should be all “oh shit man we have to play the Cowboys next Tuesday at 8 in the morning in a Hobart exhibition game and I can’t play because I have a broken… thing… and it hurts and I really don’t want to play because we’ll lose.”  Everyone else is by the books.
South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Brisbane Broncos
Parramatta Eels vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Melbourne Storm vs Cronulla Sharks
Wests Tigers vs Sydney Roosters
Newcastle Knights vs New Zealand Warriors
Gold Coast Titans vs Manly Sea Eagles
Penrith Panthers vs Nth Queensland Cowboys

Game of the Round

Canberra Raiders vs St George Illawarra Dragons

Lucky Canberra Appreciation Month is back in full-swing with the only game that any of the Raiders players actually wants to win at the moment – the hoodoo of the Dragons being unable to win in Raiders territory, a tradition that has been going on since the dawn of time since 2001 or something. 

If there has ever been a better chance for the Dragons to break the duck, it’s now.  The Raiders are playing rubbish, have a handful of injured players unavailable, and have Ricky Stuart guiding them.  The Dragons are playing moderately well, Benji Marshall is back to his average best, and Josh Dugan has only been arrested twice this month.  So basically, they are decidedly mediocre, which unfortunately for the Green Machine, will still be about 14 points too many.  

"Show me exactly where you touched her."

Canberra Appreciation Month 2014: MEBCAM IS BACK


Here is an ode to Canberra that concentrates on an aspect of Canberra life that apparently doesn't happen anywhere else in the world... 

The mention of Canberra always warms up my soul
Which is pretty handy cos it’s a cold little hole
Especially the temperatures this week, am I right?
It was minus-fucking-eight the other fucking night.

You wake up and greet endless clear skies of blue
And you think of the options for all you can do
Except it’s a “Canberra day” that looks warm enough
But it’s so cold outside that you freeze your dick off

To say Canberra gets cold during the seven winter months 
Would be an understatement and nothing rhymes with months
I really shouldn’t have tried to rhyme something with months
Fucking hell I’ve done it again months months months.

The city is quiet during winter, it’s true
And the reason this happens is Catch twenty-two
The shops shut their doors because there’s no one around
And no one’s around because the shops have closed down.

Everyone complains, “I am fucking frozen!
But it looks like we might be in for some snow soon.”
But don’t get your skis or your snowboards out yet
A snow drop in Canberra is hardly a threat (something about latitude, apparently).

So when the wind's blowing and you’re out in the cold
And you just need some refuge before the frostbite takes hold
There’s a place you can go that's a home to the lost
Mooseheads is there for you, sober or sloshed.

When all other nightlife has succumbed to the air
Mooseheads is open to answer your prayers
Where you could get in a fight or drink a tranquiliser
And all the vodka taste like hand sanitiser.

So it’s cold in the capital; it’s all part of the charm!
A little bit of winter never caused any harm
And it’s always good fun to take note of the weather
To see whether the Berra or Tassie is better.

Friday, August 08, 2014

NRL 2014 Round 22: Three years eh?

Hmmm.  Did you know that at the end of the year,Craig Bellamy will be the only coach in the NRL to have been at the same clubsince 2011?  Did you know that 2011 was only three years ago? 

Here’s a list of other things that happened in 2011:
  • Amy Winehouse died.
  • Charlie Sheen went fucking nuts.
  • Katy Perry and Russell Brand got divorced.
  • There was an earthquake in Japan that fucked up the Fukushima Nuclear Plant.
  • Beyonce got pregnant.
  • The final Harry Potter movie was released.
  • Downton Abbey was popular.
  • Osama bin Laden and Kim Jong-Il died. 
  • That “Occupy Wall Street” movement started.  And ended.
  • NASA concluded its space shuttle program.
  • Manly beat the Warriors in the NRL Grand Final.  Holy shit, I remember that.  Holy shit, I should remember that - it was only three fucking years ago!

It might just be me, but I find it fucking weird that coaches switch clubs more often than Geoff Toovey changes tampons.  If a player had the lack of loyalty that coaches do (Sonny Bill, I’m looking at you, you overrated fuck), the fans wouldn’t have a bar of it.  How then, are the players supposed to play under a different structure, with different ideas, with new teammates and new police officers every few years and still perform to a high standard?  Sure, they should be able to catch a ball, tackle a player and not piss into their own face, but let’s be honest – these are rugby league players we’re dealing with.  It’s all colour and movement to most of these blokes.  And urine. 

Round 22:

I’m opting for the Manly people to beat the South Sydney people, just because I don’t trust Souths at the moment.  This is their chance to impress me.

The Doggies surely have enough spark to get out of their current slump and get up over the Broncos.  Surely they can.  It’s the Broncos!  Piece of piss.

Everyone is still underestimating the Panthers, which is weird, cause they’ve been top of the table for most of the year, and there’s about four rounds to go.  Maybe they’re not as shit as we thought?  (but maybe they are)

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles
Brisbane Broncos vs Canterbury Bulldogs
Newcastle Knights vs Melbourne Storm
Nth Queensland Cowboys vs Wests Tigers
St George Illawarra vs Penrith Panthers
New Zealand Warriors vs Cronulla Sharks
Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans

Game of the Round:

Parramatta Eels vs Canberra Raiders

To keep Canberra off the bottom of the ladder, the Sharks need to lose by less than twenty, and the Raiders need to only lost by 30 to remain in second last place.  Yes, that is what it has come down to. 

I was almost going to tip the Raiders (I’d had a bit to drink) and then remembered that they lost three of their best players last week, including the only bloke on the team who knows how to tackle.  If someone doesn’t step up into Fensom’s regular-sized shoe, we’re going to be in trouble.

Fuck it, we’re in trouble anyway.

Even Rugby League computer games know how it feels.  Here is Alan Tongue and Jarrod Croker's love child feeling sad

Friday, August 01, 2014

NRL 2014 Round 21: Apparently I Hate Ricky Stuart

Sorry for the delay in regular posting on here, there were technical issues and general life things getting in the way.  What do you mean “no one noticed”?  I’ll have you know there were at least three people who mentioned “hey Mister Evil Breakfast, where’s your blog this week?” and I can confirm that one of those people weren’t made up.

In any case, we’re up to motherfucking round 21 in the NRL for 2014.  Seriously.  And here’s me just thinking, “It’s ok, there’s still heaps of time to win games and sneak into the finals.”  Apparently there’s not that much time.  And apparently for the Raiders and the Sharks, they just fucking can’t.  It’s officially a battle for the wooden spoon from here on in, which is always fun.  Fuck it, if you can’t win the whole comp, better fight for your life to stay off the very bottom.

To be honest, the Raiders will probably win the coveted last place prize this year, and there would be few to say they don’t deserve it.  Let’s take into account the Cronulla Sharks, who have had a fairly fucking dreadful time of it this year:  they’ve had their coach suspended and every player under suspicion for drug peddling, had no major sponsor, were struck down by injuries as if it were biblical, and then were forced to sack their only good player because he took photos of himself pissing into his own mouth.

Seriously, if a team can cop that and still manage to win a handful of games, they don’t fucking deserve to come last.  The Raiders on the other hand, seem like they’re trying to lose:  they swapped an unsuccessful coach for the MOST unsuccessful coach, bought players that didn’t want to come to the team, held onto players who wanted to leave, were reluctant to rest players who were out of form and kept the one-way road to St George well and truly open. 

I love the Raiders a lot, and will never stop supporting them.  But fucking hell, boys.  You’re making it a bit hard sometimes.  When you drop the ball more times than a team with four Burgesses playing in it, you know something’s not quite right.  When the player who has scored more tries than anyone else in the comp receives the ball four times in the game (and scores on one of those occasions), there’s something wrong.  I would love to say that Ricky Stuart has some work to do in the off-season to get the team prepared for next year, but I don’t know if Ricky actually knows what to do to get a successful team on the field.  His last successful foray in coaching was with the Sydney Roosters back in 2000 and fuck-knows, of a team consisting of Fittler, Fitzgibbon, Fletcher, Minichello, Hodges, Mullins, Cayless, Morley, Crocker and Ricketson.  It probably wasn’t the hardest team to get across the line, just quietly.  Then he was given charge of the Australian team, who quickly and unceremoniously relinquished their kung-fu grip on the Rugby League World Cup for the first time since kung-fu grip was a thing.  Maybe any win he actually has is just a massive fluke?

It has been a while since back-to-back wins for Sticky Stuart

Ok, I’ve had a drink and I’m calm again now. 

In other news, NRL super commentator Ray “Rabs” Warren has just released his autobiography, and in keeping to strict Channel 9 protocol, has managed to do some cross classic promotion.  You can buy “The Voice” fromany Westfield shopping centre that the Voice contestants might be appearing at.  It is yet to be announced whether you get free KFC or a Big Bang Theory DVD with each purchase, so tune into this week's Block reveal for further details.  

On the field, the Broncos have finally almost declared that their collection of fullbacks is nearly complete, as the 2015 roster has no less than four already on the books.  Next year will see Ben Barba, Josh Hoffman, Anthony Milford and UK Super League recruit Greg Eden line up in the number one jersey, with Darius Boyd looking to make it a classic five-man effort as he tries to follow coach Wayne Bennett after announcing that he’s dropping a struggling Knights team to pick up a slightly-less-struggling Broncos outfit.  Bennett’s next plan will be to sign at least one forward.

Round 21:

Two scratchers this week – I’m tipping St George to upset the Roosters, who are playing as if they want to move to Canberra at the moment.  If they keep losing to shit-house teams, they might just find Ricky Stuart back at training. 

The other “hmmm” game for me is the Sharks vs the Eels, but that’s probably because I keep thinking that the battle between Jarryd Hayne and Andrew Ettinsghausen will be worth the price of admission alone, before I realise that ET probably retired before Hayne was born.  Just ignore me, it’s been a long week.

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

Game of the Round

Canberra Raiders vs New Zealand Warriors

The Warriors will reportedly be without my current man-crush Shaun Johnson, which has given Canberra fans the hope that they might not lost by quite as much this time.  The last time these two teams played, the Kiwis notched up a half-century, and I hate to say that I don’t expect it to be too much different this weekend.

Sorry Raiders.  You know I love you.