Friday, June 16, 2017

NRL 2017 - Round 15: State of Origin 2

Queensland shocked absofuckinglutely no one by naming their Origin 2 side that was chock-a-block filled with people who they should have picked for Game 1, and bereft of the dead fucking weight that lost them a game a few weeks ago.  Personally I still don’t think it’s the best team of Queenslanders that they could have cobbled together, but that’s probably because Shannon Noll is busy next Wednesday night (strip club appointment, followed by a lot of drinking).   
NSW did what New South Wales do, which is to pick the same bunch of players again.  The difference this time is that they won a game, so this time it actually makes a bit of sense.  

Round 15

Souths vs Titans

The Origin-unaffected Rabbitohs vs the Budget Broncos who have 7 regular players out on a Friday night…  It’s almost enough to make you turn over to watch AFL.  But I won't, because this game might get a bit funny.  
  

Storms vs Cowboys

I have no idea who the fuck would have scheduled this game between two of the competition favourites to take place during a period in the season where both teams are missing about thirty-eight players each.  My prediction:  the Origin-star-less Melbourne Storm will narrowly defeat the Kane Linnett-led North Queensland Cowboy superstars. 

Cronulla vs Tigers

If all things go as they should, by the end of the round, Newcastle will no longer be on the bottom of the ladder.  Go Knights.

Eels vs St George

Fuck, I have no idea.   


NSW vs QLD

If the history of NRL has taught us nothing, it's that State of Origin always goes to the third game, except for when it doesn't.  So, through basic maths, you can see that Queensland are specials for this game.  Put your house on it, but only if you have another house as back-up.  I don't want to see you homeless.

The likeness is amazing

Thursday, June 08, 2017

NRL 2017 Round 14: The Mighty Canberra Raiders

As a Raiders fan, I have been through many years of rubbish, witnessed season after season of lost games, missed kicks, dropped balls, bad passes, devastating injuries, poor tackles, horrible decisions and shithouse performances. 
We’ve dropped players for poor form, for fucking dogs, for being pissheads, for being dickheads, for being too old and to make way for a new generation.  We’ve brought in coaches with good track records at other clubs, and dropped them for not getting the same results at our club.  We hired new coaches for rebuilding, a different coach to rebuild that one again and another one because those ones didn’t work out.  We’ve used experienced coaches, rookie coaches and ex-players.  And we’ve fired them for bringing in too many dickheads, for not getting rid of all of the dickheads, and just because other teams are getting new coaches and sometimes it’s nice to have new things. 
Somewhere along the way, there was some football played, and not all of it was great.  The Raiders were more often than not seemingly content with being “part of the finals series” then “just outside the top eight” and “not quite on the bottom”, until we were happy just to “be a part of the competition.”
Through some rare good planning, good recruitment or just plain good luck, last year’s Raiders team clicked together like fresh Lego.  I don’t know what they were like off the footy field; I don’t know if they’re all good mates who have barbecues during summer and invite the whole team and their mums, or if they have each other’s mobile numbers and send emoji eggplants to each other at 3am; I don’t know if they even know each other’s real names, but I do know that in 2016, the team was fucking great at rugby league on the field, and played like they were in a coming-of-age movie where they learnt that playing as a star team was better than playing as a team of stars.
They didn’t win the whole comp – maybe they were overawed by the situation of playing finals football, maybe they were just getting tired, maybe they were sick of running through injuries that were already 20 weeks old, maybe they had an off day, maybe it was Shannon Boyd’s potato salad that made everybody sick.  No, they didn’t win, but they went close; they played exciting football and made a shit-tin of new fans in the process.  And everyone said, “Next year.”
Well this is next year.  This is supposed to be our year.  And at the halfway point of the season, we’re sitting around 9th place on the ladder, and yet to beat a top-eight side.  Sure, we’ve been in the contest for 90% of our games, with three golden-point losses and a couple of games that were decided by 4 points.  If we’d won those games, the Raiders would be sitting in 2nd place on the ladder right now.  But we didn’t win those games, and just managed to crawl choking and spluttering past a depleted Roosters and Parramatta team.  And with each more disappointing performance, the fans comfort themselves by repeating “at least we’re not Newcastle,” except we lost to them as well.  And then we watch an out-of-form Panthers team put in a 38-0 performance over the Bulldogs and we think “well at least we’re not Canterbury lol look at Des Hasler’s hair,” until we remember that they beat us as well, without their best prop and their key playmaker.  And even though the Green Machine fell to a team without substitutes, a kicking game or anyone able to tackle, the media release has been the same:  “we’re only losing by a couple of points, and a win is not far away.” 
It’d better fucking not be too far away.  Our last premiership was in 1994, which is getting into dangerous meme territory.  Now the only team we can make fun of is the Warriors, and even they made a grand final more recently than us.
Also, with that 1994 team, only winning one year was a bit disappointing.  When all 13 of your starting line-up and a couple of your reserves are international and Origin representatives, you really should be dominant for a fucking decade.  But that’s just me.
For the Green Machine tragics, here’s some Ricky Stuart magic that might make everyone feel a bit better about life.  How come Sezer can't throw these kinds of passes?  

Round 14


Cronulla (1.61) vs Melbourne (2.38)

With Cooper Cronk being “rested” by Melbourne, I can’t see anything but a Cronulla victory tonight, and that makes me sad.  It would be great if everyone was really injured by the end of the game and had to retire from playing forever.

Manly (1.21) vs Newcastle (4.60)

Daly Cherry-Evans is playing his little heart out at the moment, and is in danger of being picked for Origin 2 if he keeps this kind of malarkey going.  Newcastle… well, you just have to love them, don’t you? 

Brisbane (1.24) vs Souths (4.15)

Things that happened when Souths were good:  Flappy Bird, Chris Martin and Gwenny P broke up, Courtney Love found the missing Malaysian Airlines plane on Google Earth, How I Met Your Mother finished and Sharknado 2 was released. 

Gold Coast (1.73) vs Warriors (2.15)

No one cares.

Penrith (1.82) vs Canberra (2.04)

Ok, so I’ve had a fair spray at Canberra already, but I think this is going to be the game that turns their season around.  Just saying that gives me goosebumps.  No, it’s just a rash.  Never mind.  WOO.  GO RAIDERS WOO.

Parramatta (2.00) vs North Queensland (1.85)

I do like the enthusiasm of Parra at the moment.  I wouldn’t hate for them to win this one, but they probably won’t.  It’s nice to see the Cowboys winning without Thursty Thurston for a change too.  I don't mind who wins this one, and I hope everyone has a great game, has fun and enjoys the spirit of good-hearted competition.  

Wests Tigers (4.35) vs Roosters (1.23)

Normally you’d just say “whoever is playing the Tigers will knock up a cricket score” but the Roosters will probably make it look a bit harder than it should. 

Canterbury (2.67) vs St George (1.50)

At the start of the year, I had picked Canterbury to be fucking shithouse, and St George to be just as bad.  Just goes to show that I’m right about half the time, and the other half I’m not far off.

THROWBACK THURSDAY
Anthony Watts was an occasional player for the Cowboys and Sharks, and despite never actually playing a game for the Roosters, was dropped by them twice.  His greatest achievement on the field was biting another player on the dick. 

Following the end of his rugby league career, he joined two bikie gangs, the Finks and the Mongols, and was surprisingly arrested for “gang-related crimes.”  He was arrested a second time for selling steroids, and a third time for beating up an old man on the street.  We can rest assured that this pillar of society is a free man again today.

"I was wearing a mouthguard and there’s no way I bit him on the dick. It’s pretty shithouse to be at the centre of something like this, even though I've been through a lot in my career."-      Anthony Watts

Funny, he doesn't look like a criminal

Friday, June 02, 2017

NRL 2017 Round 13: Remember when QLD was good at football?

It had to happen to Queensland eventually; the same thing that has happened to pretty much every great sporting side that has been together for a long time - the players get a little bit older and a little bit shitter every year, until they're just being picked based on what they have done or what they could do, or just being selected out of loyalty because they deserve a good send off.

Then one day, they aren’t selected, maybe due to injury or lack of fitness, personal reasons, off-field indiscretions, the birth of their child, a religious holiday, whatever it is, they’re just not there.  So then you have that group of players who have always been on the cusp of representative glory, those guys who have always been just outside the best team in the comp, but everyone has agreed that they are the "next generation" to lead the team to glory.  
The problem is that they are not the players that they replaced, despite having been touted as superstars of tomorrow or future captains of their country for however long.  And all of a sudden, they get put into a whole new level of sporting performance in front of a crowd who have grown accustomed to winning, and pit against another team who are already a decade into their “rebuilding” phase.

Cooper Cronk joined Thurston in the halves to fill the gap left by Lockyer, which should have been illegal to start with.  They're called "once in a generation" players for a reason, and to have three players of this calibre is just plain nonsense. However, with JT out and Cronk looking to retire, QLD will have to bring in their “next best” players – players whose paychecks match their potential but do not reflect their performance: Milford and Daly Cherry-Evans will be mixed with Ash Taylor and Corey Norman over the next few years in a classic case of “remember when NSW changed their halves pairings every fucking year?  Let’s try that, maybe it’ll work for us.” 

Over the next year, Smith will be winding down, Slater is already on the out, a decade of service from Thaiday is coming to an end, O'Neill and Chambers combined aren't as good as Inglis (who may never play again), Guerra has played his last, Nate Myles has outstayed his welcome by about three years, and Matt Scott’s future is undecided.   

Some hard decisions are on the cards. Kevvie Walters has come into QLD Origin at the worst fucking time possible. 

Round 13

Melbourne Storm ($1.14) vs Newcastle Knights ($6.05)

No one is really giving Newcastle a chance in this one – and probably for good reason.  Hopefully the Storm’s attack can finally click and they’ll put on about 90 points.  They should all be well-rested after doing fuck-all on Wednesday night anyway.

Parramatta Eels ($1.67) vs NZ Warriors ($2.30)

This could either be the highest scoring game of the year or the lowest.  Either way, it will probably be one of the worst.

St George Dragons ($1.32) vs Wests Tigers ($3.55)

Jimmy Tedesco will go back to his regular club form and not try at all during this game.  He has proven so far this year that not playing well during the year has any influence on representative selection, so he will continue to rest on his reputation.  Dragons are specials for this game, and should notch up at least 30 points. 

Sydney Roosters ($1.69) vs Brisbane Broncos ($2.17)

It’s a classic game of “who the fuck is that guy?” as both teams will be heavily affected by players backing up from Origin, resting from Origin, still being drunk from Origin, couldn’t give a fuck because Origin, did I ever tell you about the time I won Origin.  The Chooks have been playing some pretty ugly footy this year, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Brissy get up, actually.  But they probably won’t. 

North QLD Cowboys ($1.52) vs Gold Coast Titans ($2.60)

I wonder if the Good Cowboys or Bad Cowboys will turn up?  I wonder if the Good Titans or Bad Titans will turn up?  Two teams completely incapable of playing in Townsville to battle it out in what is bound to be one of the most inconsequential games of the season. 

Manly Sea Eagles ($1.91) vs Canberra Fucking Raiders ($1.91)

The Raiders are yet to beat a quality team this year. This game could determine if either of these sides are, in fact, quality sides in 2017.  A year-defining game that no one should miss.   

Canterbury Bulldogs ($2.05) vs Penrith Panthers ($1.80)


With Moylan moving into the half-line and Josh “Mansauce” Mansour back on the paddock, things are finally looking up for the Pennies.  Here’s hoping that the Doggies can get up by about 22 points before losing this week.  It’s always a nice little side-game to play.

Why I don't play football:  I don't want to be murdered by this guy