Friday, June 26, 2015

NRL 2015 - Round 16: Contracts are balls

This has been a weird year of NRL so far; the quality of the games has been, for the most part, fucking tops – there have been a thousand games decided by just a few points, leads change fifty billion times a match, and there is no amount of points large enough that can’t be chased down.  So why-oh-why-oh-why (oh why) does all the bullshit off the field overshadow the action that goes on over the weekend?  At least in recent years, we’ve had dickhead NRL players taking the focus off the NRL by getting drunk, taking drugs, bashing people, pissing in their own face, getting arrested and stealing cars.  This year, it’s dickhead players dicking around with contract negotiations, and CEO fuck-ups that are taking the sheen off a stellar season.  All this fucking boardroom bullshit is turning this year into a really crappy John Grisham novel, to be later adapted into a boring fucking movie starring Matthew McConaughey as Daly Chery-Evans and Jack Nicholson as the Titans CEO.

The latest player to become a character in The Tunnel (yes, I just named Grisham’s novel – it’s a clever double-meaning that refers to both the player’s entrance onto the field AND a player’s entrance to his bum… I should have mentioned that there’s a fair amount of homoeroticism in this novel) is Keiran Foran (to be played by that guy who played Peeta in the Hunger Games movies).  Not to be out-done by his Manly team-mate Daly Chery-Evans, Keiran Foran backflipped on his contract with the Eels, then backflipped AGAIN to stay with them.  There is still some wriggle-room for further acrobatic endeavours due to Parramatta being run like a brothel (the brothel owner will be played by Bryan Brown).

Other player news from around the clubs sees Greg Bird (to be played by the guy that played Tug from Home and Away in about 1996) leaving the Titans at the end of the season, and is in negotiations with… Canberra?  OH GET FUCKED.  Fuck that fucking fuck.  We don’t fucking want him.  If he seriously comes here, I’m buying myself a Warriors jersey.  Hey, bro. 

The loss of Bird leaves the Titans with a bit of a personnel problem.  They are looking to plug their halves gaps by enticing Todd Carney back to the country… probably with a bottle of bourbon and a staffy.  Todd Carney and the Gold Coast would really only be a good combination for one thing:  a reality tv show.  Todd Carney will be played by the kid from the Lube Mobile ads.  Raiders prop Dave Shillington announced that he is doing a mercy dash to the Goldie next year.  At this stage, Shillo will be playing as the entire front row, lock, left centre, fullback and one interchange spot.  Shillington won’t be appearing in The Tunnel unfortunately. 

NSW Origin “star” Trent Hodkinson has been released by the Bulldogs and signed with the Knights… who are keen to fill the gap that Kurt Gidley will leave with someone of equal or lesser talents, it seems.  It’s quite a turn-up when your club can’t wait to get rid of you, but your state decides that you’re good enough to warrant a position.  Or maybe it’s a budget thing – NSW already had a “Hodkinson” jersey printed, so they might as well get their money’s worth.  Those jumpies are worth like $180 and stuff.  Hodko will be played by Jake Busey.  

In proper off-field drama, Michael Jennings (Denzel Washington and NO THAT’S NOT RACIST), celebrated his Man of the Match performance in Origin II by punching a boom gate and getting arrested.   It’s all a bit odd, really, especially considering Jennings’ previously clean record, that was almost successfully hidden by his club.  Fans of Jennings can now look forward to 2017, when he is next scheduled to put in a decent football performance… and fly-kick a parking meter. 

Round 16

Brisbane Broncos vs Newcastle Knights

Can’t go past the Horses on this one – I predict a big game from Andrew Gee and Steve Renouf, and despite a spirited performance from Mark Sergeant, the Knights will fall. 

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Manly Sea Eagles

I'm keen to see the Burgess boys run at the other Burgess and hopefully Gewart at Bewart and DCE.  This could be a tricky one - Souths are playing absolutely fucking numptyballs at the moment, and Manly look like they’re about to get on a roll.  So there’s only one thing to do – tip Souths.  Because… well… Manly.

New Zealand Warriors vs Canberra Raiders

Another heart-breaker for the Raiders last week with a one-point loss, and a come-from behind (I think) win for the Warriors, who are finally starting to show some chutzpah.  I’m going against the Raiders this week, to ensure them a win and a foothold on the top eight.  Or another tip right for me.  Either way.

Nth Queensland Cowboys vs  Cronulla Sharks

Eleven wins on the trot for the Cowbs, which is a pretty decent little run they’re on – it hasn’t always been pretty, and they’ve got through in a couple of one-pointers, but they’re still winning.  Cronulla will be another speedbump for North QLD, but one of those small ones that you don’t even slow down for.

Parramatta Eels vs St George Illawarra Dragons

St George.  This game gets my “guaranteed totally not to lose” award for the week.

Sydney Roosters vs Gold Coast Titans

I don’t much like the Roosters, but I don’t even have feelings towards the Titans (except Greg Bird), but fuck it, they’ll win.  Stupid Roosters.

Wests Tigers vs Penrith Panthers

Oh god, who cares?  I’m going for the Tigers, but this is a classic “I don’t give a fuck who wins” game, in the “I have to tip someone” category. 

Canterbury Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm

I reckon the Storm are about to go into some serious decline… and when they get beaten by the Doggies by a thousand this weekend, I’ll be there saying, “I fucking predicted this!  I am a tipping genius!”  If they don’t, I’ll look a bit stupid, but I’m kind of ok with that.

You can just feel the intelligence radiating from this man

Friday, June 19, 2015

NRL 2015 - Round 15: I'm sure something happened in the NRL this week, I just don't know what it was

It was lucky that last week was a split round, as going by my tipping form, I would have scored a big ol’ none from eight.  None from four is much better.  As the saying goes, “When less teams are playing, it’s easier to tip!” 

Fucking fuck.  However, as the other saying goes: "If you can tip zero in a round, you can tip a full one.  Just… do exactly the opposite and... you know... get them right next time."  It's not a well-known saying.

Onto the week that was - HOLY SHIT WHAT A GREAT GAME OF ORIGIN is what I heard when I went into work yesterday, having missed most of the game as I was fighting crime with my pet dinosaur.  I did manage to catch the last 10 minutes or so of the game, and it looked decidedly “oooh” and “errrr” at its finest moments.  Once again, it seems that the refs tried to get in the way of a good game and fuck it all up for everyone.  In any case, we head to Suncorp in three weeks (surprise surprise) to settle this best-of-three thing once and for all.  I know, it’s like there’s some kind of marketing agenda at hand here.  

Congrats to NSW for squaring the ledger; it couldn't have been easy to defeat a team with so many half-arsed efforts being produced.  

To have fielded Billy Slater at all was a stupid move from the Maroons, as he was obviously hampered by an injured shoulder, was lacking in confidence with the ball, and most importantly, proved that he cannot perform without Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk.  Just ask his wife.

So Billy has ruled himself out for the rest of the season to get some surgery on his shoulder.  His usual grubbiness and cheating has been well below 100% this year, and his shoulder problems have been at the forefront of that.  Slater's absence will be a real blow for Storm and QLD supporters, as Slater has been threatening to return to top form lately.  It is however, good news for people like me, who fucking hate Billy Slater.  

Round 15

Manly vs Tigers

It will be interesting to see how this pans out - the Tigers pack have a huge size advantage, but Manly have classier halves.  Daly Cherry-Evans should be well-rested from not doing fucking anything on Wednesday night, so might actually turn up to this game.  I'll be interested in seeing how the Taupau backs up from single-handedly fucking up the entire South Sydney team last week.  I reckon Manly will scrape through in a close one.

Raiders vs Cowboys

The Raiders will be buoyed by the fact that BJ Leilui has signed with the Green Machine after walking out on his Newcastle contract. Where you’d put a 120kg Kiwi with cornrows AND a mullet is anyone’s guess. Probably Mooseheads, actually.

If watching a scoreboard tick over is your idea of a good afternoon, then this game could be right up your alley. The Raiders can pretty much score at will through their left side with Williams, Croker and Lee... but anyone can score at will down the same side as the same trio leak tries. Will be great to see the form halves hit each other - Cowboys going for eleven wins on the trot... and I reckon they'll just get there.

Titans vs Warriors

Ooooh.  I’m spoilt for choice – which shit team do I tip this week?  Flip a coin and file this one under “gotta pick someone, I suppose.”  I love the Warriors, who am I kidding?  I just really, really REALLY wish they were a lot better.

Bulldogs vs Panthers

Penrith are master magicians – they have made their entire first grade team… disappear.  It hasn’t been a great year for the Panfers, especially considering their good form from last year.  But when you literally have of your starting team out injured, what else can you do?  My money’s on the Dogs this weekend, who have one of the form players in the comp at the moment – keep an eye on Mbye, who is playing like a man who needs to get more vowels in his name.

Knights vs Sharks

Um.  Sharks.

Storm vs Broncos

Hmm.  Broncos?

Dragons vs Roosters

Uuuh.  Dragons.

It's nice that someone cares enough to have made this t-shirt.
It's a pity that it looks a bit shit.

Friday, June 12, 2015

NRL 2015 Round 14: N*Sync Round – Bye bye bye

As we sneak towards Origin II (and the sequel is hardly ever as good as the original, and the original was a bit shit, to be honest – let’s hope that this series of Origins is more Terminator 2 than Speed 2, if you get my Tokyo Drift?

In a quick rundown on Origin news, Trent Hodkinson maintained his position at five-eighth for NSW.  It has scientists baffled.  When you play on the same team as Mitchell Pearce, lose the game and STILL have people baying for your blood, you know you’ve done something wrong. 

Blues coach Lozza Daley told Rugby League Week, “… for me, when I’m picking representative sides, I want blokes who have played consistently well for a period of time.”  This is the closest proof we have that Daley and the selectors are yet to see a game of football since 1996. 

To compensate for a shitty halves pairing, NSW have bolstered their backline by including both Morris twins.  This will no doubt relieve spectators and commentators alike, as we don’t have to keep second-guessing ourselves when “Morris” does something.  And when you have Morris2, things usually happen.  They often involve dislocated shoulders, torn hamstrings and broken hearts, but still, that’s three more things than happened in Origin I.
The QLD camp is crying about Cooper Cronk being ruled out with a knee injury suffered during Melbourne’s win over Penrith last week.  In even worse news, Daly Cherry-Evans has been selected to take his place, fresh from leading Manly to a 40-point loss last week.  At least the Maroons are trying to match the Blues’ bizarre halves choices.  I guess Mal is really “sticking his neck out” with that selection, despite DCE being an “albatross around the neck” for his teams at the moment.  But he has put his “neck on the line” for his team, and it was always “neck and neck” between him and Morgan to take over from Cronk.  So Chery is “up to his neck in it” and he knows he’s got a few people “breathing down his neck” if it all goes “neck up.”

Daly Chery-Evans has a long neck.

Billy Slater has declared that Wednesday’s Origin game could be his “last for the season.”  To be honest, Slats, we didn’t even notice that you’d played this year so far.  Billy’s ongoing shoulder problem will require surgery following the game, effectively ruling his 2015 season with the Storm, Queensland and Australia well and truly dusted.  Personally, I’d leave him out completely, especially considering rumours that Greg Inglis will be moved from his current centre position to play on the wing in order for him to regain some good form, despite his preferred club position being fullback.  Why not play Greggy at a position he actually fucking knows, instead of fucking around with fucking cripples like Billy fucking Slater, who just wants to play so he can get a handy from Cam Smith at halftime at the MCG and tick something off his bucket list? 

On the obverse, it would put Inglis up against the devastating defence of Will Hopoate, so if scoring about eighteen tries in a game is what it takes to get his confidence back, then it’s probably not the worst idea in the world.

Round 14

Holy fuck, what was with last week?  The Sharks continued their run against the Roosters, the Cowbs came back from 24 points down… probably some other stuff as well. 

To be honest, I would put a good ol’ Geoff Toovey INVESTIGATION into the Sydney Roosters following last week’s bullshit effort.  If they all didn’t have about $500,000 on the Sharks to win, I’d be fucking surprised.  The amount of errors they made – and the way they made them – were like when you were playing cricket in the back yard with your uncle, who would spoon catches back to you so he could stop batting and get stuck into the good beers that he’d brought along instead of nursing the one Melbourne Bitter that he’d been handed when he walked in.  ANYWAY, it was obvious when he was trying to get out, and it was obvious that the Roosters had no intention of winning that game.

Wests Tigers vs  South Sydney Rabbitohs

Instead of having byes next year, it has been floated that teams just play the Tigers instead.  They are guaranteed 2 points in any case.

New Zealand Warriors vs Sydney Roosters

This game is practically a home-game for the Roosters, considering the amount of Kiwis in the team… which in theory makes in a Warriors away game… so you can expect the shit version of NZ to turn up.  It would make it even more homely for the Chooks if no one turns up – they love playing to empty stadiums. 

Gold Coast Titans vs Canterbury Bulldogs

I reckon the Titans are probably about ready to upset the Dogs, who I don’t rate AT ALL… but I’m probably pretty wrong about that.  Yeah, tip Dogs.  It makes sense, at least.

Melbourne Storm vs Parramatta Eels

The Storm will be without Smith, Cronk, Slater, Korobiete and Chambers for this game, and so will probably win by about thirty, instead of the seventy that they would normally do.  

Ben Ross, proudly sponsored by Pringles.  Once you pop, you can’t stop.  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The Paleo Way

Bread is a wonder food.  As in, it makes me wonder how we ever got around to eating it.

At some point, someone said, "I want to eat this grass."  And they did, and realised that it was gross, inedible and probably had cow piss all over it.

So they said, "What if I crush it up?"  Crushing the grass did not help at all.  Grass is not wine, man.  Now it's all fucking flaky and gets stuck in this guy's throat.  

"Hey, what if I take out all of the shitty chaff bits?"  No, it's all still shit, and he's choking like a bitch.  

"I know, I'll add water.  Water makes things nice."  Look, this is probably the best idea they ever had.  Not as much choking, but still not really eating.

I'll just assume that the next phase was discovered as all good discoveries were - after a few pints down at the local.  The guy took his bowl of wet grainy bits and put yeast in it, probably after a quick game of "can beer improve this?"  It did, but it wasn't that hard to improve in the first place. 

Presumably he then took his bowl of yeast & grain and went home.  Then, in a flash of drunken brilliance, bunged his mushy beer into the oven and fell asleep on the couch.  He woke up in the morning and had the first piece of toast ever.

Seriously, there's so many steps in here involving things that you can't eat. Someone was just fucking determined to eat grass.

Friday, June 05, 2015

NRL 2015 Round 13: Backflipgate – You can’t spell DICKHEAD without DCE

Daly Cherry-Evans did a miraculous loophole backflip this week (which is quite a feat, considering the length of his neck), came up uninjured and $10 million better off.

Unfortunately he damaged his own reputation so hard that it might take NRL fans up to 3 months to forget about him.

DCE, as he is formally known, signed a 3-year deal to play for the Titans after the 2015 season.  For this, he would be paid a fucking motza by the club.  He’d also get to live on the Gold Coast, do blow with Greg Bird and be a superstar in an otherwise under-performing team; he’d probably go on to win the Dally M and some kind of Australian of the Year medal as well. 

So the Titans had this up-and-coming giraffe who was going to join the club and hopefully point them in a better direction for the following few seasons.  One of the young pups being dragged down by a flailing team, Aiden Sezer, was released – why hold onto a player who could be very good in the future when you’ve just signed a player who is very good now?  So Aiden did the right thing and signed with the Raiders. 

Manly waited thirteen weeks before doing anything… then threw $10 million on the table and got down on their knees.  What happened was purely within the rules of the game, above board, and completely legal.  But it was also a pissweak cunty thing to do – he handed back $4 million to the Gold Coast, and took himself $10 mill. 

The former (changed sixteen minutes ago) rules on contracts stated that you could sign a contract, fuck about for 13 weeks, and then say, “lol just jokes i dun wanna play 4 u ne more loosers lol cya on da wkend kthanxbai” without any ramifications.  DCE reneged on his Titans contract with 2 days left.  “No harm done,” says the human neck.  “I am entitled to do this.”  The Titans, the NRL and everyone in between (I guess that is quite literally everyone else), is also entitled to think you’re a fucking useless prick, as it has given the ol’ Gold Coastians two days in which to find another halfback... who is good...and willing to leave his, now. 

There had been speculation since DCE signed with the Tits that he would backflip, but he had stuck firm to his word until this week.  If he’d done this two months ago, fuck, even two weeks ago, it wouldn’t have been as bad.  But he’s fucked the Titans more than they fuck themselves, and has fucked himself in the supporters’ eyes even more than playing for Manly normally would.

Since this kerfuffle, the NRL have opted to change the laws around signing – instead of giving people thirteen weeks to “pssssssych!” their new club, they have now granted ten days in which to pull the plug.  This is good news for everyone involved in the NRL - probably something that should have been introduced a smidge earlier – but a very welcome change.  It should never have come to this for it to happen though.  Idiots.

I just wish that we didn’t have to wait a month until the Titans play Manly.  It really would have been a good way to kick off this round.

If Wikipedia says it, it must be true

Round 13 

Brisbane Broncos vs Manly Sea Eagles

The Horses will be at their best this week, as they find themselves playing their favoured time on their favoured day at their favoured venue.  Here’s hoping that Manly go all Catherine the Great on this game.    Yes, I know it’s not true, but I think the imagery is worth it.

Wests Tigers vs Gold Coast Titans

Beware a woman scorned, as the old saying goes… and the Titans are all scorned women right now.  The Tigers will be thoroughly beaten by a fired-up, angry bunch of drunken Queensland bogans that they’ll be confused as to whether it’s a game of rugby league or an afternoon at Robert Lui’s house.

Newcastle Knights vs Canberra Raiders

It’s time for the Raiders to bounce back after three ordinary appearances recently, although they did put in a good showing in their defeat by the Broncos last week.  Other than watching the Green Machine rack up a cricket score (West Indies’ batting not withstanding), all eyes will be on coach Ricky Stuart to see how far he can spit his dummy, how many chairs he can kick and who he can blame – other than his own team – for any misgivings.  SPOILER:  The refs.  It’s the refs’ fault. 

It was also speculated that Knights centre BJ Leilua had agreed to leave Newcastle on Tuesday to join the Raiders on Wednesday to play in Newcastle on Saturday.  Canberra coach Ricky Stuart was reportedly pleased to be receiving a surprise BJ, but no further updates have been leaked.

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs New Zealand Warriors

This is a pretty hard choice – they both tried their very best to lose against far inferior teams last week.  I guess this game will come down to a competition about who gives 110% the most in order to come away with a hard-fought loss.

Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm

It’s always fun to see the Storm get held tryless after 80 minutes, even when you tipped them to win.  Both teams in this one will be out to try and prove that they’re not as shit as they appeared last week, and for some reason I’ve opted for Melbourne to come up with the goods.  This game gets my official "Well, you have to tip someone!" thumbs up.

Cronulla Sharks vs Sydney Roosters

Traditionally, Cronulla have been the Roosters’ booger-man over the last couple of seasons, regardless of form, personnel or position on the ladder.  After last week’s “effort”, I can’t see the Sharkies picking themselves up enough to win against a pretty decent Chooks outfit.  To add to Cronulla’s problems, Blake Ferguson is slated to stay off the booze for at least two days prior to making his comeback in this game.  I’ve got a sneaky $5 on him to snap an Achilles 24 minutes in.  

Canterbury Bulldog vs St George Illawarra Dragons

St George were clinical last week in their destruction of the Sharks – they didn’t jump out to a 20-point lead and go into defensive mode, nor did they throw the ball around in an effort to score on every set – they stuck to their game plan, dug deep and came away with the two points.  Thanks to Channel Nine and Mitre 10.  I would love for them to do it again to the Bulldogs.  I have a feeling that after this round, they’ll be known as the Joel Monaghan Dragons, if you know what I mean.

Parramatta Eels vs Nth Queensland Cowboys

The Eels shocked the world with a win last week over a highly-fancied Penriff team, even resorting to some tactics straight from the Karate Kid (the original one, not the one with Will Smith’s ugly daughter son… holy shit, that’s a guy?).  I think the Cowboys will run riot on this one.  This one is probably the safest game in the round, just quietly.  Official "Put your house on it" approach from MEB.

Even the Manly Daly (see what they did there) couldn't make DCE look good.  "I laugh like a homicidal puppet and am married to the upset version of Reese Witherspoon!"

Settle down, Gold Coast Bulletin.  Calling someone a NSWelshman is going a bit too far.  We don't want him either.