Saturday, 27 October 2012

Woodwork Class (2012)

In today’s woodwork class, you’ll be building a pencil case. I have given you all instructions to follow. Up the front here are the wood and tools, so when you’re ready, let’s get started!

*All the kids rush up the front and frantically gather all the tools and supplies they need, before heading back to their bench*

It looks like you’ve made a good start here Steven.

Price: Thanks. I made one of these a few years ago, it was really easy. Wayne showed me how it was done.

Speaking of Wayne, how are you doing there?

Bennett: I forgot.

Forgot what?

Bennett: How to build this thing. I know there’s wood involved and some other stuff. It was all so clear to me before class started, but now … I just don’t know …

Where are the instructions I gave you?

Bennett: I just don’t know.
Smith: Why don’t you get your fatty friend to buy you some new instructions?

Brian, that’s not very nice. Now let’s have a look at your progress.

Smith: I’ve finished! See, it flies really well too!

Brian, you are supposed to make a pencil case, not a paper aeroplane!

Smith: Ohhhhh! I was wondering why everyone else was doing it wrong.

Focus Brian. Now, what’s all this fuss over here?

Hasler: Nothing
McLennan: BULL! You stole my stuff!
Hasler: No I didn’t.
McLennan: Well someone did, and you’re the only one who’s finished already!

I must say Des, that is a magnificent pencil case you’ve made there, easily the best I’ve ever seen.

Hasler: No it isn’t. Craig’s is better
Bellamy: No way!
Bennett: Dessies is easily the best. Teachers pet!

Okay boys that’ll do, now how is ……
*interrupted by a loud outburst*

Kearney: I can’t do this, it’s too hard! I’m going home! *storms out crying*

Oh dear, what dramatics! Now what’s going on here, why haven’t you boys started building yet? Geoff?

Toovey: My mum says I’m not allowed to use the saw, but my dad says if I don’t I’ll be a sissy.

I’ll have a word with your parents. Now Neil, what are you doing? Why aren’t you building?

Henry: I’m just cleaning up these bits of wood so that they match the other pieces. This one gave me a splinter, this other one had a crack in it, and this one was just old and needed cleaning.

Okay, but don’t waste too much time doing that. Now Ivan, why are you eating?

Cleary: I swapped my wood with Shane in exchange for his sandwich.

How are you going to make a pencil case with a half-eaten sandwich?

Cleary: Oh … err … um … I didn’t think about that.

And John, where are all your supplies and tools?

Cartwright: I couldn’t get any.

Why not? There’s plenty there.

Cartwright: Daddy said he can’t afford it.

Oh I see. And Anthony, you haven’t made a start yet either, what are you doing?

Griffin: *speaking to himself while looking under the bench* … it was here last class …


Griffin: Sorry! I’ve lost my hammer. I had it here last lesson. I can’t nail it all together without it.

Furner: Oh Fiddlesticks!

What’s the matter David?

Furner: I’ve accidentally glued my nose to the hammer and I’ve nailed my hand to the saw handle.

WHAT?! How did you even get glue on your hammer?

Furner: I think Tim did it. He said he was trying something different. An honest mistake I’m sure.

Tim, what is the meaning of this?

Sheens: Ah yes, I was trying to use the hammer to close the glue bottle. Had a bit of an oops.

I’d say! Now what is this that you’ve built?

Sheens: It’s a pencil case. Obviously, there’s been some issues. Shane took some of my pieces …
Flanagan: No I didn’t! I asked if you wanted them and you said ‘no’.
Price: He said the thing to me too, and then snatched the piece back after he said I could have it.

Ok boys, settle. Tim, what are you doing?

Sheens: Well I’m trying to staple this bit of glue onto this sticky tape here and I reckon that’ll hold it all together.

What’s wrong with following the instructions?

Sheens: I don’t need instructions.

Okay. Shane, I see you’ve finished. It’s a bit motley, but still looks very good.

Flanagan: Thanks
Monaghan: Mines better than everyone’s.
Toovey: It’s not better than Dessies
Hasler: Yes it is!

I Won (2012)

Hello everyone and welcome to this museum showcasing the greats of Rugby League. My name is Tom and I will be your guide today.

Today I shall take you on a tour of the professional career and the life of the great Australian Rugby League player, Harry Robbins, whom I sure you have all heard of.

So, are we foregathered?

Very well, I will begin.


Harold Arthur John Robbins.

Robbins is a Rugby League player with whom I have always felt a special bond. Ever since our early schooling days, aged just eight, when we both took an interest in the game Rugby League. He, a burly centre who looked as big as the children three years his senior, and me, a human who resembled an anorexic pencil with the athletic ability of an old cabbage.

In those young days, Robbins was a popular figure, even at such a young age, often informing those with lesser ability, myself included, just how superior he was, physically and verbally.

Alas, we both persisted with the great game for a many number of years. Finally, aged just seventeen, I won a ‘best on field’ award. At the same age, Robbins was on his way to Sydney, about set to make his name in the toughest competition in the country. Robbins was almost lost to the world or Rugby League when his father demanded he join the family business, just as my father, despite my insistence demanded I take a job in a post office.

Robbins defied his father.

And so it was that by the age of twenty three he had played one hundred first grade games for his club, including his first appearance for his state and was in strong contention towards earning his first test jumper, whereas I at the age of twenty three had played no Rugby League at all and was working in a post office.

For both Robbins and myself our twenty seventh year was a decisive one. For him it was the year that he became captain of the Kangaroos thus earning him the glory of being the youngest ever Test captain at the time. For me it was the year that my post office was unexpectedly burnt to the ground in a brazen attack by disgruntled customers. The post office was rebuilt however many colleagues positions were made redundant.

But not mine.

I continued working in a post office.

In his thirties, Robbins was beginning to be considered as the most prominent Australian Rugby League player of his era. In my thirties, I was beginning to be recognised by some of the more regular customers at the post office.

In this photograph, the famous test match at Leeds known as the ‘Zulu War’, the beautiful vignette in the group on the left is thought to be Robbins’ mistress of the time, Jane Harrison, one of a string of mistresses Robbins enjoyed over the course of his life.

I am married to Dawn. She is not one of a string of wives I have enjoyed; she is the wife I have … had.

At the age of forty seven, Robbins had long since retired as a player and coach as well as failing to contribute any commentary on the great game for the past six years. In this at least we were precisely similar.

Walking home from a pub late one night in Surrey Hills, it began to rain heavily. In his dishevelled and inebriated state, stumbled into a lamp post, passed out and lay in the unrelenting downpour. His life of heavy drinking and smoking coupled with the night in the rain saw Robbins quickly suffer from pneumonia. Just two weeks prior to his forty eighth birthday, he died.

And now the tables begin to turn.

At the age of forty eight, I was working in a post office. Robbins was buried!

At fifty eight I was working in a post office. Robbins was a skeleton!

Today I am sixty five years old, I have severe arthritis in my hip, I have retired from the post office and I do volunteer work every second weekend in this sports museum telling people about all of Robbins magnificent career feats as a rugby league player.

But I am at least still here.

When Robbins was my age the bugger wasn’t even breathing.

So in the long run I’d like to think …

I won!

Dream Team On The Cusp Of Realism (2012)

For those of you aficionados of Rugby League who have yet to found themselves thrust into the world of Fantasy Football or Dream teams, here’s a brief run down:

*You pick a squad of 25 players (Just like in the NRL)
*You have a salary cap (Just like in the NRL)

Because player wages are mostly speculation to us plebeians, a value for each player is calculated based on each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, statistically.

Each week, every player earns points for scoring tries, goals and field goals, tackles made, off loads, hit ups, line breaks, line break assists and 40/20 kicks. They also lose points for missing goals and field goals, missed tackles, penalties conceded, handling errors, being sin binned and being sent off.

When you think about it, it’s a very good gauge as to a players overall worth.

It’s a system where good performance is rewarded, poor performance is penalised. I love a statistically basic but exceptionally accurate concept attached to work ethics and morals so as to create realistic values for players in a virtual game for the greater public, don’t you?

Now this is all a very fun game and enjoyed by hundreds of thousands people nationwide. But is that all it should be?

Given all of the debacles that happen every year with clubs exceeding the salary cap, some by small amounts, others more excessively, perhaps it’s time that a players value was dictated by their actual performance on the field and not by which player manager runs enough rumours around town to drive up their clients asking price.

Imagine a competition where players could only improve their value by working harder.

Crazy concept I know, but stay with me.

Poor behaviour gets punished as well.

Calm down, I know the idea is sounding preposterous, but I’m pretty sure there are some people left in this crazy world whose workplace runs along similar guidelines.

In this crazy otherworld dimension, Corey Parker would be the games’ greatest player and possibly being touted as the next immortal. Only Paul Gallen would be close to being his equal.

Players like Michael Gordon, Shaun Fensom, Aiden Tolman, Ashley Harrison, Liam Fulton, Jake Friend, David Stagg and Dave Taylor would be regular test players.

It would also mean regular rep players like Justin Hodges, Adam Blair, Willie Tonga, Manu Vatuvei, Greg Inglis and Keiran Foran wouldn’t even be regarded as one of the best 100 players in the game today.

It would also see the minimum wage increased by $17,000, which is not a bad thing, especially when the highest paid player is earning under $500,000. The NRL always talks about evening out the competition, well evening out player wages is just one facet of achieving that goal.

By having player wages based on performances only, it also allows for a more even competition and more importantly, an end to those pesky parasites known as player managers, an increase in the average player salary across the board, thus reducing the risk of players betting on games etc.

As you can see, we are solving quite a lot of problems just through a magnificent concept knocked up purely for the purposes of mucking about.

This system also allows us to see which teams are over the cap right now. After some extensive research and calculations, using player values obtained from the Dream Team competition on the Daily Telegraph website, combined with the 25 man squads as listed in the official 2012 season guide, we can immediately see which teams need an audit for exceeding the $4.4 Million Salary Cap which the NRL currently has in place.

Brisbane - $4,621,496
Gold Coast - $4,451,832
Melbourne - $4,586,648
Newcastle - $4,480,256
North Queensland - $4,695,504
Parramatta - $4,476,296
Cronulla - $4,625,984
St. George-Illawarra - $4,444,352

These 8 clubs are currently over by a combined total of $1,182,368, while the other 8 clubs are under by a combined total of $1,318,416.

This system thereby gives us a fair and level competition on the field and on the books.

We could make these cheating clubs shed players to the honourable teams, or we could strip them of all their premiership points for 2012.

At least then, Souths would be able to play finals footy again….

….It truly all is just a dream!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Tumultuous Thursday - Bulldogs, Media & Mad Monday (2012)

A great year of record breaking Rugby League culminated on the weekend when the Melbourne Storm overcame all the setbacks of their salary cap breaching penalties, to defeat this seasons fans favourite, the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs in a grand final that gave us everything.

And as is the case for sporting teams in varying codes all around the world, once their season has finished, they indulge in just one day of fun, unwinding, relaxation and a few beers (and a few more) with their team mates to celebrate the season, whether good, bad or indifferent. This is known as Mad Monday.

Similarly, it is just like the staff Christmas parties we mere fans have every year. Even the news media organisations have them. They are not just unique to sporting teams. Occasionally and unfortunately, mistakes and stupid actions will happen at these events.

Sadly, some unsavory comments were made at the Bulldogs mad Monday celebrations this week to a female news reporter. The comments were unjustified, moronic, vulgar and just downright stupid.

However the question has to be asked, why was the media trying to get access to the players at a closed mad Monday celebration?

A celebration held behind closed doors, which the Bulldogs should have been praised for, as it was clearly their attempt to ensure that no matter what mischief the players got up to, it wouldn't affect the public.
A celebration which the media was not invited to.

So why was a helicopter circling above the venue? Why was a crime reporter on the scene where no crime had been reported?

If the media people involved in this incident didn't attend the venue, there would be no story. They created this story for the ensuing publicity it has received. Some may argue that this piece indeed is just another example of taking the bait. However, I believe a stance has to be taken against this despicable type of 'journalism'.

Some prominent people in the media no longer solely report on the news, they also antagonise until something happens and then like the hypocrites they are, get on their moral high horse and write up pieces about how deplorable the players are.

For some of these media people, they watched the comedy TV series "Frontline" and saw it as an instructional manual.

While the Bulldogs are right to investigate the situation and issue punishments accordingly, where is the same investigation into the behavior of the media people who actually contributed to this incident?

Rebecca Wilson's comments about Brett Stewart when he was wrongly accused of sexual harassment alone were deplorable. Yet she was never questioned, fined, suspended or forced to apologise for her actions. Stewart's life was turned upside down and his public image has been forever tarnished, exacerbated further by Wilson's tirades.

Instead of being punished, Wilson, gets paid. She gets paid to run her uneducated, simplistic, biased, anti-Rugby League agenda, yet is never accountable for her actions. 

Being public figures for professional athletes is a consequence of their profession. People in news media are professional public figures. Yet some of them say much more despicable things than what was said at the Bulldogs mad Monday celebrations.

Alan Jones' recent comments about Julia Gillard spring to mind.

There are some people in the media now who do anything to 'get' a story, sometimes going to extraordinary lengths to 'make' a story, yet they are not brought to question.

If an organisation, including sports clubs and media outlets, is holding a private function, closed to the public, then that should mean all public, including the media, are not allowed to attend unless invited.

Mad Monday - Benefit Of The Doubt (2012)

There is a blight on our great game which came to head this weekend.

It is a case of our game becoming so stupid and soft, that it's turning into AFL, almost literally.

Most seriously is the video referee awarding tries via benefit of the doubt.

Lets put this simply, we are saying 2+2=9 because 9 looks a bit like a 4 and that's good enough. Just like in AFL if you can't kick the ball between the two big sticks, you still get rewarded for going close by getting a point.

We have referees to ensure the game is fairly played by both teams.

So why do we completely and blatantly contradict this by allowing one side a massive advantage when a decision whether a try has been scored or not?

Benefit of the doubt. Doubt. How, when you have admitted doubt of a try being scored, come to the conclusion that it has been scored?

After the uproar over the tries scored in the Manly vs North Queensland final on the weekend, I was not at all surprised to hear Bill Harrigan trot out his all too frequent comment of "The video ref got it wrong."

Bill, if this happens more than once in the year, then the person who is reviewing, training and coaching these refs is clearly not doing his job properly.

Today we now have more refs in the game, the refereeing quality has declined rapidly and now it's got to the extent where it isn't just affecting game results, but also who advances in the finals race.

It's time for Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper not to resign, but to be sacked. They are incompetent. The referees don't have their support and they are not improving. You cannot get a more damning situation against you then that.

It's high time we stopped having this media craving, self-obsessed, incompetent, unreliable, unsupportive man and his sidekick who is quiet, ineffective, unskilled and utterly inexperienced in refereeing as our ref bosses.

Make the refs boss someone who cares only for the game. Someone who will stand by the referees instead of alienating them and publicly criticising and sacking them. This ritual only makes the referees more cautious and less inclined to make a tough call, which, whether right or wrong, fans would be able to accept more.

Otherwise we'll continue seeing illegal on-field acts being cautioned while victims of said act are unable to return, which is essentially penalising the victim and rewarding bad behaviour. We'll continue seeing the utter debacles we do over benefit of the doubt tries being awarded, completely legitimate shoulder charges being ruled dangerous, teams exploiting the obstruction rule and the like.

Harrigan and Raper should be getting the sack, not the referees in the middle, whose performances have been completely hindered by these two idiots.