Remember at school when you went on camp and you could get away with a bit more stuff like swearing and fighting, and even though you were still with your classmates and your teacher was there and he kept telling you that you were representing the school so you couldn’t carve your initials and the “Superman S” onto every tree you saw and you still had to call him “Mr Dingle” and you knew that you’d have to do some kind of assignment about what you learned at camp, it didn’t really feel like school? That’s kind of what has happened to the NRL this week. Players, juniors, officials, everyone’s got white line fever.
In case you’ve been too stoned lately, just about everyone involved in rugby league and their mums (well, five people) were pinged for cocaine use or possession over one weekend, resulting in bans, suspensions, investigations, finger-pointing and a whole lot of argy-bargey for good measure.
First of all was old mate Shaun Kenny Dowall, who took some time out of being shit at footy to get caught with some blow in a Sydney nightclub.
He has subsequently been dropped by the Roosters and will await further action by the NRL. He responded by saying, “I don’t do drugs.” I also do not do drugs, but the difference between me and SKD is that I don’t carry them around either.
It’s not great news for Kenny-Dowall, who has been struggling with his form this year, and is coming off contract at the end of the season. There is a bright side to the story though, as it gives dickheads like me plenty of opportunity to take the piss and use phrases like “first time he’s kept possession of anything” and “they tried to lay other charges on him, but were dropped” and of course “he was intercepted by police,” which just gives me an excuse to show this clip of one of the worst NRL plays in the history of ever. However, it still might work out well for SKD, as getting arrested is probably his best chance of being re-signed by an NRL team for next season. We do love a redemption story.
A day or so after Shaun decided to ruin his career, Kevin Proctor and Jesse Bromwich from the New Zealand international team decided to get loose after losing a Test match, and hit up a bloke outside Cube nightclub for cocaine. According to CCTV, the pair snorted some powder off a bloke’s mobile phone in the street, and both players claim that this kind of behaviour is very much out of character. It sure does reek of a nervous first-time drug user; approaching a stranger on the street at 5am and asking “hey mate, do you have any coke?” and then sharing a few lines off his mobile fucking phone. At the very least, it's the best promotion that Cube has had for a while.
Very out of character indeed. Proctor even went so far as to say that the image on the CCTV wasn’t him. If you are ever asked to identify Kevin Proctor, you have exactly three options out of 7 billion people on earth: Kevin Proctor, Sideshow Bob and Grug.
So everyone in the NRL cracked the shits about who was to blame for all of these rich adult men buying drugs when they were specifically told “do not buy drugs guys seriously” and instead they were strangely vilified by people arguing that they could just as easily have snorted the lines off a toilet cistern like everybody else, but instead they did it in a public street where they were caught, and they had the good sense to snort the coke straight away instead of buying a baggie and tacking it away because on a technicality they never maintained possession of the ball before grounding it in the in goal area, we have a decision and going to the board.
Obviously everyone is free to use cocaine if they have the money and the desire, but like everyone else, should understand that it is currently a Class A illegal drug, and being caught with it or using it will bring about some hefty penalties, including possibly losing your career - and for NRL players, that particular career kind of stipulates "do not use drugs please." If my workplace said “hey Mister Evil Breakfast you can’t wear black socks any more” I’d be all like “oh man I just bought some new black socks but I guess I can get some other ones are grey socks ok?” and they said “yeah grey is cool oh and by the way your pants are nice too you look pretty good are you working out?” and I’d say “oh thanks I haven’t been doing much differently but I am drinking more water maybe that’s it?” and the bottom line is that if your career (especially a lucrative and short-lived career) depends on not doing something, maybe then don’t fucking do it. Just saying.
Canterbury Bulldogs (1.60) vs North Queensland Cowboys (2.40)
I can’t trust the Cowboys without Johnathan Thurston, who injured himself in last week’s Test. Because of the star power of JT, the Cowboys released a statement on his injury, which was a pretty long-winded way to go about saying “No comment.”
The Bulldogs played just barely well enough in their last game to grind out an ugly win against Canberra, and I’m only just tipping them to go again this week.
St George Illawarra Dragons (3.05) vs Cronulla Sharks (1.40)
The Dragons are without a couple of key players through injury, and in a weekend of drunken drug-fuelled debauchery in the NRL, I bet Josh Dugan's idea of spending a few days on ice turned out a lot differently than he had planned, after breaking his jaw in the Test match on Friday. The Sharks are only missing one of their board members (also done for cocaine possession). I doubt this will affect them too much on-field, to be honest (unless he was supplying everyone else with it, which isn’t really beyond the scope of possibility). Sharkies (reluctantly) to run away with this one.
Wests Tigers (2.05) vs South Sydney Rabbitohs (1.82)
Ummmm. I don’t really know. I think I’ll go the Rabbits, because the Tigers have a habit of being fucking horrendously bad in the second half. If Souths can stay within 20 at the break, they’ll have a fighting chance.
Penrith Panthers (1.77) vs New Zealand Warriors (2.10)
Both of these teams are rubbish and I don’t care.
Melbourne Storm (1.38) vs Gold Coast Titans (3.18)
Eh. Melbourne, probably. I bet the party after this game will be a bit more subdued than anyone was planning. Getting Bromwich, Proctor and a whole lot of charlie in the same place at the same time could have been interesting.
Manly Sea Eagles (2.35) vs Brisbane Broncos (1.63)
I’m tipping Broncos but I’m really not that confident. I think with Hunt and Roberts and probably someone else that I can’t think of right now out of their side, Brissy might struggle against a Manly side that’s lifting in confidence – and more importantly – skill.
Newcastle Knights (4.70) vs Canberra Raiders (1.21)
If the Raiders don’t win, I’m going to punch someone in the face. Possibly myself. Canberra really need to continue beating bottom-eight sides if they are going to continue to pretend that they’re good. In other news, they signed a bloke named Masivesi Dakuwaqa during the week. I hope it’s just to piss off Ray Warren and Ray Hadley.