It’s funny what happens to rugby league when there are only two games on per weekend – the players get a lot more free time to go out and get fucked up on drugs with bikers, journalists start looking at some nitty-gritty details about why Michael Ennis is a knob this week, and everyone starts looking forward to the grand final, until you learn that Keith Urban will be performing and you might not watch the game after all.
At some point this year, Canberra’s GIO Stadium managed to fill the stands and promote a ritual that involves a simple drumbeat and the crowd responding with a clap. It sounds ridiculous, but it sends shivers down the ol’ Evil Breakfast spine every time.
The Raiders have been accused of ripping the “Viking clap” off a US college gridiron team, who ripped it off the Icelandic soccer team. I’m not one to take sides, but I might just throw out that clapping is not a new thing, and even the Icelanders may have had some inspiration from Creb’s nomadic clan of cavemen, even though Brun’s cave reckon they were clapping way before them.
All teams know that the Viking clap to the Raiders is like cocaine to the Titans or Peptides to the Sharks. It’s the TPPs to the Parramatta Eels. Without the clap, the Green Machine doesn’t function.
The Sharks tried to take the piss out of it last week, and the Panthers are threatening to stick their filthy mugs into it this week. I think that instead of trying to hijack a cheer, they should just do one themselves, like… I dunno, something panther-y, maybe licking their own bumhole or hissing at each other and giving some “air claws.” Yeah, that works pretty well.
The Cowboys could pull out their finger pistols and fire off a few caps, the Storm could all clap together, pause for a sec and then go “krrrssshprrrr” at the same time. The Broncos fans could kick each other in the face, and the Sharks fans could do what sharks do in the wild and on the field – beach themselves and choke.
JarrydHayne was caught on some fuckwit’s Snapchat overusing clichéd American catchphrases, throwing money around like a pimp in a strip bar and liaising with known drug trafficking bikie gang members. I had my suspicions about Jarryd’s return to the NRL, and I’m afraid that I’m right – he’s becoming the next Anthony Mundine, baby. Good luck with the Hells Hayngels, Jarryd. I’ll always remember you as the guy that no one liked until we did and then we didn’t again.
But the biggest thing to try and destroy the NRL this week was the confirmation that the league is conspiring to appeal to the Cowboys fans by booking Keith Motherfucking Urban as “entertainment” for the grand final. Here’s hoping that it’s all just a big ol’ ruse, and they’ll float Mr Kidman out onto the ground on a giant hovercraft, then have it break down and they take him back inside again. Keith Urban. Seriously.
Cowboys vs Broncos
Look, the Broncos are still shit. This won’t even be fair for them to play against the KFC-Keith Urban Trophy winners. The only bright side of this game for our special friends from Brisbane is that Winterstein is out for the Cowbs, and a young up-and-comer is set to make his debut. In the Preliminary Finals. Welcome to the NRL, Kalyn Ponga. Here’s hoping that you’re better at football than your parents were of picking children’s names. According to sources, Ponga posseses the balance of Steve Renouf, the speed of James Roberts, the elusiveness of Shaun Johnson, the finishing of a Semi Radradra, the vision of Wally Lewis, the strength of Jason Taumololo, the cheating ability of Cameron Smith and the playmaking of Jonathan Thurston. It only makes sense that this demi-god should be plonked on the wing.
In the Brisbane camp this week, James Roberts was suspended for kicking an opposition player last week. I think Tom Opacicic will be the obvious replacement, but I can’t tell because I don’t know how to spell (or pronounce) his name. In any case, Brisbane have had to find someone else to pay $700,000 per year not to pass the ball to.
The last three matches between these teams have been separated by a single point. That won’t happen again tonight. Cowbs by a thousand.
Raiders vs Penrith
Injuries sure are trying to royally fuck up the Raiders’ push towards the grand final, with Blake Austin having to regrow another hand, and Josh Hodgson’s leg falling off during last week’s loss to some fucking cheating pricks. Both have been named in the team for this week’s do-or-die game against the Pennies. To the untrained person, it would appear that having one leg would be an impediment to an athlete – not so. Having one less ankle means Hodgson is lighter, and will run faster. Likewise, having a busted hand means the swelling will increase the surface area of Austin's hand, making it practically impossible for him to drop the ball.
As for Penrith… actually I have no idea. I’m assuming that they’re doing alright though. Good win last week. That Josh Mansour does something unnatural to me.