Friday, September 25, 2015

NRL Finals 2016 - Week 3: Hold onto your butts

We’re pretty much right down to the very pointy end of the season now, and by rights, each of the four teams left battling it out could win and it wouldn’t be a travesty if they did.  Unless it was Melbourne.

The Roosters held off a physical-as-fuck Bulldogs team last week, who went into the game with a weird beserker rage that would have been absolutely impossible to maintain for any extended length of time.  Full credit to the Roosters for withstanding the onslaught and copping a few big hits.  After the initial carnage, all the Chooks had to do was muscle up a bit and use their quick men a bit smarter.  And they did.  And it worked.  Then the ref decided to award tries to anyone who asked.  And then they decided to score at will.  And then they won by a lot. 

As for the North Queensland vs Cronulla game, the last time I saw a Cowboy fuck anyone that hard, Jake Gyllenhaal got an Oscar nomination.  It was honestly a pretty shit way for Cronulla to finish their season, although after coming last in 2014 and having to stop using their Dank supplements and hormone replacements and couldn’t inject their super-soldier-serum any more, they didn’t do a bad job.  I’m happy to have read about some reported in-fighting following the game, with old players pointing out the new guys, claiming that “youse didn’t dig deep enough” and the new players pointing to the old guys saying “yeah nah youse didn’t dig deep enough” and in the end everyone pointing at Paul Gallen and saying “youse only dig deep enough for Origin” and Paul Gallen squinting at everyone and saying “yeah nah it was a bad day at the office for us.”  It sure was, Paul.  It sure was.

In Mad Monday news (HOORAY), Dylan Walker and Aaron Grey were taken to hospital following an adverse reaction to painkillers.  That they suffered together.  At 3:45 in the morning.  This is totally normal, and I really wish people would stop saying that NRL players are stupid, or that they totally sit around being stoned on each other’s medications and washing it down with alcohol and peptides.  There’s totes nothing suss here, it was just an allergic reaction.  It has happened to me before – I usually get horribly allergic to alcohol after about thirty beers and some opiates too. 

Damn right, Joey
This week the Storm and Brisbane come back into the finals series after taking a week off.  No one ever really knows if winning your semi and not having a game the following week is a good thing – heheheheh winning your semi – sure, you might recover from some niggling injuries, but momentum is lost and the pace of the game might come back as a rude fucking shock. 

Brisbane vs Roosters
This is almost too close to call; I’ve switched allegiances a thousand times this week.  Mitchell Pearce is threatening to come back for the Roosters after a few weeks off for injury, and judging by his previous experiences in big games, will have to share Michael Jennings’ invisibility cloak to hide under.  Pearce really needs to pull his head out of his arse and perform this week, as his replacement, 14-year old Jackson Hastings is playing so well at the moment that I’m surprised his name hasn’t been mentioned as a bolter for Origin next year, an Australian rep side, or the pinnacle of today’s Australian rugby league echelon, the NFL.  It would also be great for Daniel Topou to apologise to his teammates for whatever he did last week, as I’m sure he’d like to be passed the ball at least once during this game.  Poor Toups. 

The Broncos have, in my beady little eyes, looked good all year – not always glamorous or even “Broncos had a good win last night, hey?” “Yeah nah, bit scrappy.”  “Got the job done, but.”  “Nah yeah.” kind of consistency.  They have shown that they can turn it on when it counts, but more importantly, they can grind out a win with solid defence and a good kicking game.  I reckon Hodges and Reed in the centres are deceptive liabilities in attack, but make up for this through solid defence and the occasional grubby close-range try.  I have also heard through the grapevine that Hodges is contemplating passing the ball in this, what could be his last game of rugby league, so that’s something to watch out for.  For me, Ben Hunt holds the key to this game - when he is fit and on the field, the Brisbanes fire up.  It gives Milford more freedom to play a support role instead of trying to make the busts himself, and when he does that he just ends up looking more like a 92 year old Asian woman who sits at the pokies at Jupiter’s Casino all night than a potential game-breaking athlete.

This should be a corker of a match, but I am going to tip the Roosters in a close one, based on gut instinct and what I think is a better forward pack, even though I haven’t mentioned them in about eighteen giant paragraphs.

Storm vs Cowboys
The Cows shrugged off their “slow starter” tag last week by blowing the Sharkies away from the first whistle.  Although if they had waited for the Sharks to get some points before playing properly, we’d still be waiting for the end of the game.  And as much fun as it would be to watch Cronulla fumble balls and trip over themselves, after a week it would probably start to be wearing a bit thin.  The North Queenslanders have named an unchanged team from last week, but they only really need to mention are “6. M Morgan” and “7. J Thurston” because they’re the only ones that anyone really knows or cares about.  Except for Tamou, and that’s just because he’d fucking eat you whole if he knew what you really thought about him. 

Melbourne may just have the edge in this game due to the Cowboys being a genuine title contender, which puts aside the Storm’s most obvious weakness: losing to shit teams.  The two met just three weeks ago in a game that sent everyone to sleep and then made everyone sit up and say, “Oh, the Storm won?  Well fuck me” before switching over to the late movie on Channel 10 – it was probably ‘Click’ or one of the ‘Mission: Impossible’ movies.  This game may be decided on just how much the Storm are allowed to cheat before JT starts crying to the ref about it.  Thurston, more like WORSTon, amirite? 

I’m tipping Melbourne in this one, based purely on the fact that they are unlikely to direct the Cowboys to the tryline like the Sharks did.  I also think that there are vulnerabilities with the Queenslander’s edges in both attack and defence. There’s something about their support players that I don’t trust either.  Probably because they’re from Queensland.  

The league's fastest player has retired from NRL to do... something. Good luck to you, Kevin Gordon, you fucking nutter.

Friday, September 18, 2015

NRL 2015 Finals Week 2: This round looks deceptively easy... and short

And then there were six.  And only two games to tip this weekend.  I don’t know how to feel about that.

Let’s play Australia’s fastest growing game show:  Mister Evil Breakfast’s sexual prowess, or a rugby league game?  A lot of frustrated fumbling at the start, some painful ball control, a couple of injuries, then a flurry of good play and surprised faces at the end. Very exciting finish, but overall a bit average.
And the answer is:  Roosters vs Melbourne from last week.  Melbourne did what Melbourne do, and once again, no one had an answer to it until after the game when the only response was to have a whinge to the refs about it.  This just in:  Melbourne slow the play down.  I don’t particularly like the way the Storm play - it took about 65 minutes for the match to actually register on the “this-game-has-actually-started-o-meter” – but until refs actually start penalising them, why would they stop?  They win games, they get paid.  That’s kind of what they’re there to do. 

The Cowboys all looked like they were about to cry after losing to the Broncos last week.  It was good to see. 

Roosters vs Bulldogs
KFC vs kebabs, who could possibly pick a winner?  Depends on how hungover you are, I guess.  I’m thinking that the chooks will take this one; hopefully Roger Tuiveisa-Sheck will actually produce something this week, as I can’t see Channel 9 continuing to use the highlight loop that they’ve got for too much longer.  Ha, of course I can.  The only way for the Dogs to win this is to cheat, which they were always going to do.  But will they cheat enough?  No way, not with Maloney up against them.

Cowboys vs Sharks
Everyone loves an underdog, but this is where the Sharks dream will end, I reckon.  They’ve done well to carry Paul Gallen for a whole season, but my money is on the Cowboys to take this one in a surprisingly easy game. 

That’s about all.  This blog was a bit ordinary, but you're used to that by now.  

USELESS STAT OF THE WEEK, courtesy of Twitter, sponsored by McDonalds and Mitre 10.

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

NRL 2015 Finals Series - Week 1: Beau Ryan and his Magic Lamp

And all of a sudden we’re down to eight teams duking it out to be claimed champions of the world for 2015.  Commiserations to those teams that didn’t make it; you can pick your “Participant Award” up at the door, and hang around to meet some proper athletes who will be joining us soon.  Enjoy a refreshing complimentary glass of watered down orange cordial in the lobby – please don’t bring your drinks onto the carpeted areas though, we just had them cleaned from the last time Nate Myles was here.

Speaking of people who have freed up a bit of time before the 2016 season kicks off, Footy Show panellist Beau Ryan won't be appearing on our screens for a while, as he has put his foot (and probably some other parts as well) into the proverbial and was caught out while performing in a shithouse pantomime version of Aladdin and his Wondrous Lamp (or something) having some sneaky sexy times with some chick who was apparently on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here who previously was not a celebrity – this can otherwise be explained by the equation

C-grade celeb + C-grade celeb – D-grade show = 0

Beau will probably not be seen on our TVs for a while; at least until he goes on 60 Minutes to talk about his depression, then heads over to Foxtel to try his hand at some kind of talk show.  This week, Beau knows… unemployment.

On the other side of the spectrum, Australia has fallen even further in love with American Football and our Aussie superstar Jarryd Hayne.  Hayne seems to be doing quite well at sport in America, which wasn’t ever really going to be questioned, seeing as he is quite good at sport in Australia as well.  Hayne is now the fourth-string running back for the San Francisco 49ers, which a pretty decent leap for a bloke who has been playing the game for about three months.  It has also broken down the stigma that American football is impossible to penetrate for those not born with a pigskin in one hand and a big ol’ helmet in the other.  I’m not saying that Beau Ryan should try out to be the 49ers wide receiver, I’m just saying that athletes with the right motivation and dedication could make the transition…

…which brings us to a new drinking game:  Who can play NFL?  EVERYONE!

·         Whenever a journalist, commentator, panellist or presenter mentions that a player is “thinking about following Jarryd Hayne to the NFL”, reach behind your couch for a stubbie or a bottle of wine (where do you keep them?) and have a swig.
·         Have another drink if that person is Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.
·         Take two swigs if that person would obviously be the worst NFL player in the history of the world, even if you don’t know anything about NFL.
·         Have a bonus drink if the talking head on TV puts a player into a position specifically designed for 200 kilo blokes.  Have another bonus drink if they have actually just invented a new position, such as the defensive cornerback linesman cover tackle.
·         Drink everything when the presenter starts using NFL expressions like touchdown or explaining that Jonathan Thurston is like “a quarterback.” 

Onto the finals series!  You know you can trust my tips; I am, after all, Australia's 3,610th best psychic when it comes to rugby league.
You know you can trust me.  At least half of the time.  

Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm
I still can’t trust the Storm; they’re just too unpredictable to take seriously, especially when they’re playing, you know, a good team, you know, like the Roosters.  Both teams had strong wins last week and both teams are boasting full-strength squads this time around as well, although I’m fucked if I know how James Maloney managed to escape suspension after performing a Chuck Norris double-round house ninja fly kick. Honestly, that guy must have beer-flavoured nipples to get away with all the shit that he does. 
I fucking hate the Roosters, but I’m tipping them anyway.   

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs vs St George Illawarra Dragons
I honestly thought that St George had been knocked out of the comp prior to this round, but obviously I had accidentally discovered time travel and gone a week into the future.  The Dragons are pretenders of the highest order and will be soundly thrashed by the Doggies this weekend.  Look for the Morris bros to wreak havoc, and probably for Dugan to do something stupid and get sent off. 

Denver Broncos vs Dallas Cowboys
This should be one of the games of the fucking year, bar none.  Hunt was sorely missed by Brisbane in last week’s shit-boring game against Melbourne, and should spark them into action for this game.  The Cowboys will welcome back their own missing halfback in Michael Morgan, who has scored a hat-trick against Brissy in their last two games.  If he does it again, it will be a hat-trick of hat-tricks, which is about as rare as Bear Gryll’s steak.  Both teams will have to improve on last week’s efforts, and purely on consistency and form, I’m tipping the Broncos.  

Cronulla Sharks vs South Sydney Rabbitohs
Whoever wins this game will stumble into the second round of finals like a drunken, wounded baby giraffe.  I can’t see either of these groups of idiots troubling anyone too much, and while this game should be entertaining in the same way as watching a Transformers movie – it’s all colour and movement, you’re not sure what’s actually happening, but you know that it will all be over soon.  Except for the fourth movie, I think that goes for about three hours.  Fuck that. 

Souths are lucky they won a shit-tin of games at the start of the season, because they are playing like deadset wooden spooners right now.  I’m tipping the Sharks, but like when I went to watch Transformers 2 at the cinema, I’m not happy about it.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

NRL 2015 - The End Is Nigh-ish

It’s the final round of NRL 2015 wooooo except for the finals series woooo.

We could even be in for an interesting weekend of footy (also: we might not be), as the shitty teams have actually decided to turn up and play well over the last few rounds.  Sure, it’s about twenty-four weeks too late, but that’s just something for them to work on for the 2016 season. 
“This year boys, let’s not slack off after round two.  We need to dig deep, give 110%, get some go-forward, stick to the game plan and go for the full eighty minutes.  Until at least round six, then it’s easy street.”

Brisbane Broncos vs Melbourne Storm
After a few shit weeks, Melbourne hit back against the Cowboys and took a scrappy, yet much-needed win from their game.  The Broncos demolished Souths without even raising a sweat, and are probably the form team in the comp at the moment.  I can’t see the Vics taking this one, and I’ve looked at it sideways and upside-down and now I'm a bit dizzy.  

Sydney Roosters vs South Sydney Rabbitohnos
With Inglis under a perpetual injury cloud, Issaac Luke being perpetually suspended and stupid, and the Burgess brothers being perpetually clumsy, another cricket score is on the cards against the Bunnies.  Last year’s premiers are looking very shaky and probably won’t win another game this year.  The Roosters proved that there's life beyond JWH and Pearce (but we all knew they wouldn't miss Pearce) after giving Manly what-for last week.    

Penrith Panthers vs Newcastle Knights
The Panthers have had no fucking luck at all this year with injuries, and after troubling the finals series last year, find themselves battling it out for the wooden spoon this time around.  With Soward the latest injury scare following a desmolishment against Canberra, and the Knights putting together two decent games in a row, I’m tipping Oldcastle to scrape home in what could be the fucking game of the year.  Forget the glory of coming first, the dubious honour of coming last will spur this game to heights that haven’t been seen since… well probably about this time last year.  At least the losers of this match will take home the wooden spoon accolade, and rest easy knowing that they were the best losers that the league has ever seen.  

St George Illawarra Dragons vs Wests Tigers
Seriously, Dragons?  You needed to win against the Titans to remain in finals contention and you couldn’t quite do it.  I can see a deflated St George outfit turning up against a Wests Tigers team with nothing to lose and the smell of a down-and-out team in their nostrils, and getting horrendously pumped by them.  I reckon the Tiges will take this one by a surprisingly large score.

Nth Queensland Cowboys vs Gold Coast Titans
The Cowboys are in dire need of some form, and this will be their best chance to get some combinations happening before they play, you know, someone good.  The Tits have been riding their luck for a few weeks and have salvaged a bit of pride and a couple of points before the broom gets put through the ranks, but they can probably start planning Mad Monday celebrations right now.  And you know how good Gold Coast Mad Monday would be.  If they don’t make the Channel 9 News, I’ll be pretty disappointed.

Parramatta Eels vs Canberra Raiders
The Mighty Fucking Canberra Raiders will be looking to make it #twoinarow this week after destroying the Panthers on Monday night.  This week, the Green Machine face a slightly-more-difficult-but-still-not-that-intimidating prospect against Parramatta, who have had their own fair share of shit games this year.  Canberra will hopefully close out the year with a win, but plonk a “Mister Evil Breakfast Guaran-fucking-tee” on Semi Radradra crossing the stripe for a try or two.

Cronulla Sharks vs Manly Sea Eagles
Meh.  Sharks.

Canterbury Bulldogs vs New Zealand Warriors
I can’t get over how bad New Zealand are at the moment.  Like, seriously.  It’s just not cool, bro.  I wouldn’t tip them against my mum right now, and she’s not in the shape that she was.  Dogs by a trazillion and twelve.  Pick that margin.

After three days, police still haven't found Jamie Soward, but believe he's "still buried here somewhere."