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).

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