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?
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.
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.