Tuesday, 30 August 2011

The 'Brains Trust' meets 'The Reality' (2011)

Rupert: Welcome all to this meeting for rugby league's best known writers and journalists. The purpose of today’s meeting is to work out what controversies we will be publishing in 2012

*A ringing phone interrupts Rupert*

Rupert: Excuse me *answers phone* Matt, your wife just left a message on your mobile, wants you to pick up some milk on your way home.
Logue: Hey? What the...!
Rupert: Shh. Ok, where was I? Oh yes, 2012 controversies. What stories have we all been working on?
Tsialis: I've got a great piece about Akuila Uate and the lengths he went to as a kid to get himself involved in rugby league, whether just to watch it on television, or even just to play.
Wilson: And?
Tsialis: And what?
Rupert: I think what Becky is trying to say is, on a range of one to ten on how exciting your story is, it scores a gaping wide, yawning zero.
Wilson: Was he drunk?
Tsialis: Drunk? What? No! He was seven years old!
Rupert: Was he assaulting a woman?
Tsialis: No!
Wilson: Scrap it. I've got a great piece about Todd Carney...
Rupert: Can we get someone else Becky, please? Todd's a bit worn out now, people are used to his name being synonymous with disheveled antics, we need someone new, someone untarnished.
Rothfield: How about Hindmarsh?
Wilson: Okay, Hindmarsh then. Anyways, he was out on the drink, went to the Turkish Embassy, did a poo on the doorstep while naked, used their flag to wipe his bottom, ran around with a bra on his head, punched a priest, urinated on a bus full of schoolgirls and assaulted an ageing female librarian.
Logue: Oh my God! I can’t believe Hindy would do such a thing. When did that happen?
Wilson: Happen?
Rupert: Huh?
Logue: When did Hindmarsh do all of that?
Wilson: Sorry, I’m missing your premise entirely.
Tsialis: Did this actually happen?
Rothfield: You people are idiots.
Wilson: It doesn’t matter if this happened.
Rupert: Sorry Matt, I'm not sure you understand the purpose of this meeting.
Weidler: I have a scoop!
Rothfield: What is it?
Weidler: Paul Gallen is going to be the Sharks captain in 2011.
Logue: It already is 2011 and he’s already their captain.
Weidler: Ah-ha! I was right. My mail is always right.
Tsialis: It’s not right, it’s late.
Weidler: Last time I checked Maria, late wasn’t the opposite of right.
Rothfield: All of the Dragons players are rapists. I say hang them all.
Logue: Are you sure about that?
Rothfield: Well that’s my opinion. Thus it must clearly be true.
Logue: I don't think that is good enough to be completely honest.
Rupert: No Matt, Phil is right.
Rothfield: Furthermore, Thurston is not tough enough for rep footy anymore.
Tsialis: He’s been playing great this year!
Rothfield: Yeah, but he’s soft.
Logue: How many NRL games have you played Phil?
Rothfield: Sorry, I’m missing your premise entirely.
Weidler: I just got some more news, hot off the press!
Wilson: What have you got for us Danny boy?
Weidler: Ummmmmmmm…..
Tsialis: You don’t have anything do you?
Weidler: No…yeah I do, I’m just trying to remember it. I thought up a good one.

*five minutes of silence*

Weidler: Ah-ha! I got it! Darren Lockyer will play for the Western Reds in 2011.
Rupert: Great stuff Daniel, however I think you should focus your attention on 2012.
Weidler: Oh. Right. Darren Lockyer will play for the Adelaide Rams in 2012.
Rupert: That’s better!

*Rupert gives Danny a gold star and a lollipop. Danny sits in the corner contented*

Logue: So at what stage will anyone actually speak to players about upcoming stories?
Rupert: Why would we do that?
Logue: Well that’s where the stories are, obviously.
Rupert: Sorry, I’m missing your premise entirely.
Wilson: I’m sorry Matt but I don’t think you’ve grasped this concept at all.
Logue: Well it seems to me that if we want to report the goings-on of Rugby League and its players, we should be speaking with people in Rugby League and its players.
Wilson: Is that what they are teaching you kids nowadays in journalism school?

*phone rings*

Tsialis: Excuse me; I just have to take this.
Rupert: Its ok Maria, I'll get it.

*Rupert pulls out his own phone and answers Maria’s call*

Rupert: Telemarketers, I hate those scammers! There’s nothing they won’t do to try and con me into giving them my money!

**Maria Tsialis and Matt Logue did not give permission for their names to be used in this article. I couldn't care less about whether Rothfield, Wilson and co agree to it or not - They are a bunch of fuckwits and do not deserve one iota of respect. Tsialis and Logue are true League writers and their colleagues work) shits over anything the newspapers and their scumbags 'journo's' can ever trundle out.** 

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

The Wizard of Aus. (2011)

Once upon a time, in a world full of journalists brimming with integrity, honesty and professionalism; in the black and white days of sports writing when only facts were published, there was a wonderful game adored by all, called Rugby League.

There was also a little girl with a big imagination called Rebecca. She was a budding young sports writer who used to frolic in the sun kissed fields with her faithful puppy Philphil.

Then one fateful day, a monstrous tornado came along and turned their perfect lives upside down.

Rebecca frightened and scared, held onto her only friend, Philphil, while Mother Nature vented her awesome and mighty fury, before being knocked unconscious as her house was picked up and sucked into the powerful vortex, before being spat out.

Rebecca was swept away to a colourful new world, filled with hyperbole, innuendo, rumour, fabrications, half-truths, rhetoric and other wondrous new things filling her with fear and excitement, which she would never be able to purge herself of.

She was in a new world, detached from normal civilisation.

“We’re not in Sydney anymore Philphil.”

Rebecca decided to employ what little journalistic skills she had to ascertain how she would go about returning home. A nearby munchkin informed her that she needed to see the Wizard of Aus, as he is the only one capable of returning her to Sydney safely.

She soon found a yellow pathway leading to Emerald City and opted to follow it. She then saw what appeared to be a living scarecrow.

“Hello, my name is Rebecca, I’m from Sydney and I’m trying to find my way home, can you help?”

The scarecrow replied, “Hello, my name is Schubert, I’d like to help but alas, I have no brain!”

The scarecrow and Rebecca walked together further along the yellow road, before coming across what appeared to be a woodsman made of metal. Rebecca figured she would ask again for assistance.

“Hello, my name is Rebecca and this is my dog Philphil. We are lost and want to go back to Sydney, are you able to help?”

The metallic man replied, “Hello, my name is Gyngell, I don’t care much for your plight, as I have no heart.”

The Tin man however opted to join the Scarecrow, Rebecca and Philphil as they continued on their journey, until they met a talking lion.

“Hello, my name…”

The lion was startled by Rebecca’s voice, running away and hiding. Philphil went after the lion and coaxed him out of his hiding place.

“Sorry about that,” said the lion. “My name is Gallop, you frightened me.”

“But lions are powerful mighty beasts, the kings of the jungle,” remarked Rebecca.

“That may be so, however I have no courage,” revealed the timid Lion.

Rebecca revealed she sought the Wizard of Aus after being informed he could help her return home.

“Maybe he can help you all as well!”

Inspired by Rebecca’s hollow suggestion, they marched forth.

They finally reached Emerald City and managed to speak the Wizard of Aus. He explained that in order for him to assist them, they first have to kill the wicked witch of the west and return to Emerald City with her broomstick.

So they set off again and before too long, they were intercepted by the Wicked Gould of the West.

“I’ll get you my pretty...and your little dog too!”

Filled with fear and an ambiguous objective, Rebecca was captured and held captive by the witch, before Philphil, accompanied by the Scarecrow, Tin man and the Lion, managed to set her free after using their amazing ability to deceive.

A fortunately nearby placed bucket of water was picked up by an angered Rebecca, who emptied its contents on the evil witch.

“I’m melting! I’m melting! NO NO NO NO NOOOOOO!” shrieked the evil witch, who literally melted and evaporated, leaving just a black hat, dress and broomstick.

Rebecca, now more confused, amazed, frightened and excited than ever before, wondered what more madness was in store, as she collected the broomstick and set forth for Emerald City

And so off she went, skipping and singing as though back in her past life, frolicking in fields heavily laden with flowers and innocence.

They sang and skipped along the golden bricked pathway, Rebecca’s heart full of hope that she and Philphil will soon be back home.

Sadly, Rebecca and Philphil never made it back to Sydney and still to this day, she continues writing wondrous and amazing stories of her stranger than fiction life in the fictional yet wonderful Land of Aus.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Quad-Polar Schizophrenia (2011)

Every week, millions of Rugby League fans around the world spend ninety minutes of their life becoming completely mentally disturbed.

And it happens during the one event that we thirst for every day of the week, like drug addicts in the grips of some gritty smack battle.

We sit down either at the game, at the pub, or at home and focus all our sense and being to the game of Rugby League about to commence.

Sound of mind, but with a nervous, yet somewhat psychotic twitch, waiting with ironic excitement for the sound which will drive us all insane for the ensuing hour and a half.

A battle within the mind takes place, as fierce as the battle on the field, all trying to dominate the others.

Statistical: We have won 3 of the last 4 games against this mob, and haven’t lost at this venue in 7 years. We’re within the 72 to 84 percentile rate for success, going by historical data and some additional calculations
Reasonable: True, true, however the opposition have been playing well lately and have won their last 4 games, while we’ve only won half as many. They are also three positions higher on the ladder.
Angry: Who cares! I’ll never forget what these dirty cheating grubs did in 1947! I WANT BLOOD! KNOCK HIS HEAD OFF!!!
Cliché: Hold onto your glasses there fellas; don’t put the cart before the horse just yet.

Then the referee blows his whistle!

And almost simultaneously with the laces striking the pigskin, the quad-polar schizophrenia unleashes itself, unable to be contained.

Angry: HIT HIM HAAAAAARRRRD!!!! Oh you soft woman! Have a bloody go you skirt!
Cliché: We need a good defensive set here to lay the foundation and get the ball rolling in our favour early on.
Reasonable: Good start there from both sides.
Cliché: Neither side giving an inch. It’s an old fashioned slug fest!
Statistical: We’ve not had as much ball, but our completion rate is better, so we’re definitely in with a great chance.
Angry: The bloody refs have been giving us a hiding and handing the other mob easy penalties all game. This bloody game is rigged!

With almost unbelievably amazing accuracy, something ridiculous happens which gives one side the upper hand early on, be it a freakish play, individual brilliance, a lucky bounce, a cheap shot or a crazy decision by a referee.

Cliché: Oh, that mistake could come back to bite them. That try could be the turning point of this game. They’ll need to pick themselves up quick smart, or we could see a cricket score here today.
Reasonable: We were unlucky there, but the game isn’t over yet. Not many sides would have stopped that try from being scored.
Statistical: We’ve always performed better in the second half, so long as we stay in touch, we’re a real chance.
Angry: That was the most ridiculously moronic decision by the video ref there. He clearly didn’t ground the ball before going into touch. Benefit of the doubt is the dumbest rule ever! This is a damn joke!

But as so frequently happens, the game is squared up just near halftime. 37 minutes of angst, confusion, frustration, bias and unruly allegations are all forgotten.

Angry: About bloody time! This ref has been dogging us all game!
Statistical: We’ve won 12 of 17 games when the scores are level or in our favour at half time this season.
Reasonable: Both teams are playing well right now. This is going to be a great game in the second half.
Cliché: We’re all locked up again. Neither side has the upper hand. We’re in for a real tug of war in the second stanza.

The tough contest continues, until a contentious decision puts one team in front and looking at a potential hard fought victory.

Angry: Oh come on ref that’s a try! Benefit of the doubt! Come on!!
Reasonable: Gee, it’s just too hard to see if he’s grounded that. I can’t see how he possibly could have.
Angry: He’s clearly grounded that. That’s a deadest try!
Cliché: Video ref is having a few looks at this. There are players all over the shop; it looks like a car wreck, bodies everywhere. He’s awarded the try! The dog fight continues!
Statistical: We’ve scored more tries in the last twenty minutes than any other side.

The full time siren sounds, ending the game, and the psychotic trance.

For another week anyway.

One Confused Man (2011)

Interviewer: Good evening and welcome. Tonight I am talking one on one with New South Wales State of Origin coach, Ricky Stuart. Ricky, thanks for joining us.
Stuart: Pleasure.
Interviewer: You said at the start of the series that you would be happy if the Blues won just one game in the series. They managed just that, do you feel satisfied with the result?
Stuart: I think the boys did well, I’d even go as far to say that they exceeded my expectations of them.
Interviewer: You didn’t think they’d be able to compete as well as they did?
Stuart: Well no. I knew we’d go close, but I didn’t expect it to get as close as it did. I actually had to remind the boys at half time in game three about our goal for the series.
Interviewer: To win the series on enemy turf and rain on Lockyer’s parade?
Stuart: No, to win just one game.
Interviewer: Wait. You didn’t want to the series?
Stuart: Hang on, we want to win a series, we have to, it’s been too long since we won a series. But not this series.
Interviewer: Doesn’t that make competing in this series irrelevant?
Stuart: Not at all. This series was all about proving me right. That is the quickest and best way to gain the publics, the selectors and the player’s faith in me for next year.
Interviewer: So you wanted one win, you got the one win, so you’re seen as some sort of angry Nostradamus?
Stuart: Exactly.
Interviewer: So what is your goal for next year?
Stuart: To win two games.
Interviewer: So in 2012, New South Wales will end Queensland’s six years of dominance.
Stuart: No. My goal isn’t to win the series in 2012. That’s my goal for 2013. I just want us to win two games in 2012.
Interviewer: You want to win two games …
Stuart: Yes
Interviewer: … in the best of three series …
Stuart: That’s right
Interviewer: … which will give you the series victory …
Stuart: You’re almost there
Interviewer: … in 2013?
Stuart: Exactly!
Interviewer: So who will win the series in 2012 then?
Stuart: Well we’ll have to wait and see won’t we.
Interviewer: Okay. Um, moving on then, what are your thoughts on Paul Gallen’s performance this year?
Stuart: Gal was awesome. Obviously I had to rein him in during Game three, he was almost inspiring the boys to victory. I couldn’t have him proving me wrong and throwing all our carefully planned goals out of whack.
Interviewer: Right. Were there any other players who stepped up in your opinion in this series?
Stuart: Oh absolutely. Matt Scott, young Yow Yeh, even Dane Nielsen showed a lot of promise …
Interviewer: I meant from New South Wales.
Stuart: … oh right, of course you did. Well there was a vast improvement from Mitchell Pearce, who was a nobody until I started coaching him this year, now he’s world class. There’s also the world’s best hooker Michael Ennis and the world’s greatest fullback Josh Dugan. These kids were brilliant.
Interviewer: They aren’t the world’s best in their respective positions though, are they?
Stuart: Yes they are. Who do they have to compete with? No one from England or New Zealand is as good as them. France hasn’t had any decent players since the sixties …
Interviewer: Well there’s the incumbent Australian test players; Thurston, Smith and Slater.
Stuart: Well yeah, but they aren’t from the world, they’re from Queensland.
Interviewer: Moving on, again. What did you make of the officiating in the series?
Stuart: It was hopeless. Pathetic. The refereeing single handedly cost us the series …
Interviewer: A series you didn’t want to win …
Stuart: Well, if we had full intentions of winning this series …
Interviewer: Which you didn’t …
Stuart: Right, well some of those dubious decisions cost us the third game.
Interviewer: Which you didn’t want to win …
Stuart: And essentially the series.
Interviewer: Which you didn’t want to win.
Stuart: That’s right.
Interviewer: So the referees helped you reach your goal essentially?
Stuart: No. They cost us the chance to win the series, if we had planned to win the series.
Interviewer: Ricky Stuart thanks for your time.
Stuart: How do you get out of here?
Interviewer: Through that exit door
Stuart: That doesn’t make sense.

The Greatest Game Never Played (2011)

In 1984, a one-off match was played pitting the world’s best against each other in an epic, never-before attempted fixture.

And sadly, it has never been tried since.

It was a game between Oceania and Europe. The concept was a brilliant one and could very well have been considered as the greatest international fixture on the Rugby League calendar.

However, the early to mid-1980's was a time of very talented young Kiwi players, a dominating, practically unbeatable Australian team, a British team in transition between the upcoming talent and the elder statesmen at the end of their careers, and a rapid decline in the French game.

This all resulted in a 54-4 hiding of the Europeans. The Oceania team, containing Mal Meninga, Gene Miles, Dean Bell, Wally Lewis, Steve Mortimer, Wayne Pearce, Ray Price, Mark Graham, Hugh McGahan and the Tamati brothers, were far too good for a European side boasting Ellery Hanley, Des Drummond and Joel Roosebrouck.

A similar game today would very likely yield a much more lopsided result in favour of the Oceania side, especially given the increase in quality of players from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa, coupled with the two dominant test nations, Australia and New Zealand.

But there was a time when the world game provided hard fought with neither side clear favourites. It was a time when the game was arguably at its peak.

In the 74 tests played between the years of 1961 and 1969, international Rugby League was better than ever. The below ladder shows each test nation and its record in this time:

Team Pl W D L F A
Australia* 37 24 1 12 639 392
Great Britain 40 21 1 18 658 564
France 37 14 3 20 362 605
New Zealand* 34 11 3 20 404 502

*Tests played by Australia and New Zealand against South Africa have not been included

International Rugby League was at its strongest in this time due largely to all nations regularly participating in tours to other Test playing countries. This ensured World Cup competitions were closely fought and widely followed.

When this format began to slow, mostly due to club level support dwindling, all nations opted to spend their time and focus primarily on their own competitions and international rugby league took a back seat.

The game started its downward turn in 1979-80 when France decided against touring to Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea as frequently; Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand all began shortening the length of their tours and Papua New Guinea's foray into touring came to an abrupt halt all by the mid 90's. The game clearly suffered and no better evidence could be seen than in the most lopsided, uninteresting World Cup ever contested in 1995.

Thus it is clear to see that the last true golden era of international Rugby League was in the 1960's. This would have been the perfect time to have a regular Oceania vs. Europe fixture, as it would have seen an even number of genuine stars from all nations, in every jumper on the field, with no weak points anywhere.

I have thus listed a potential line up for the 1960's era Oceania vs. Europe:

Oceania vs. Europe
Keith Barnes -1- Andre Carrere
Roy Christian -2- Claude Mantoulan
Reg Gasnier -3- Raymond Gruppi
Graeme Langlands -4- Eric Ashton
Ken Irvine -5- Billy Boston
Jim Bond -6- Dave Bolton
Billy Smith -7- Tommy Bishop
Peter Gallagher -8- Christian Sabatie
Ian Walsh -9- Yves Begou
Elton Rasmussen -10- Cliff Watson
Ron Ackland -11- Robert Eramouspe
Mel Cooke -12- Henri Marracq
Ron Coote -13- Derek Turner

Dick Thornett -14- Mick Sullivan
Jock Butterfield -15- Neil Fox
Eddie Lumsden -16- Alex Murphy
Cyril Eastlake -17- Georges Ailleres

The Australian backs at the time are still regarded as the best the game has ever seen.

The British outside backs and halves are considered as possibly the greatest to ever represent their nation.

The French front row was declared as the best the game had ever seen at the time and for many ensuing years.

The New Zealand back rowers were also some the greatest kiwi's to ever don the black jersey.

This game would have been tough, rough, fiery, brutal yet full of skill, speed and agility. It very likely would have been regarded as the greatest exhibition of rugby league.

Unfortunately, it will just remain as the greatest game never played.

Sam Haron (2012)

“I was with Ray until the end.”

Sam Haron isn’t the name of someone synomonous with anything remarkable to the general public. But for a brief period, he was an absolute blessing to one Rugby League player, his family and the Rugby League organisations in Australia and England.
In 1933, aged 52, he set off on an epic journey to England from Sydney, joined on his venture by the entire Australian Rugby League Kangaroo squad as they too embarked on their voyage to mother England to attempt to wrest the Ashes back from the old dart.
On Tuesday July 4th the Kangaroos, among a throng of other travellers, boarded the motorship Manunda, which would take them to Melbourne where they would board the S.S. Jervis Bay and so begin the long journey to England. As the Manunda was about to set sail, the Kangaroos staged their war cry before waving to their families and fans.

Some of the game’s greatest players were on board; Dave Brown, Wally Prigg, Sandy Pearce, Vic Hey, Ray Stehr, Frank McMillan and Viv Thicknesse among a cavalcade of the games stars.

One of those players was a pioneer, the first player from the ailing University club to be represented for Australia, Ray Morris. Ray began his career in third grade at Western Suburbs before very quickly moving up through the ranks to first grade in 1927.

Morris was a very strong and talented centre who was also a capable five-eighth. He made his debut for Wests in 1927, quickly becoming a regular in first grade. Wests comfortably qualified for the finals in 1930; however Morris missed the first two games of the series before being selected on the wing in the Grand Final Challenge against St.George. He scored a try in what was a comfortable 27-2 win for Wests, securing their first ever Premiership.  
In 1931 he was selected for City on the wing against Country, scoring a try on debut. He was then selected for New South Wales to play against Queensland. 1932 saw Morris shift to the centres where his game began showing rapid improvement. He was again selected for City and New South Wales. Wests went all the way to the Grand Final Challenge yet again, but were unable to topple Souths.
At seasons end, Morris made the surprising announcement that he was joining the University club for the 1933 season. Morris’ good form in the Interstate clashes saw him selected in the Australian Kangaroos touring squad. When he left Australia, his team University had managed to sneak into third on the ladder.

The 25 year old, who was an exceptionally fine surf swimmer and clever amateur wrestler, became the ideal man to lead the physical training sessions on board the S.S. Jervis Bay as it steadily made way for England.

Just days after the departure from Western Australia, Morris began his training regimes on the ships which included aerobics, boxing and shovelling coal. He believed it was necessary to vary the exercise to maximise its effects and to prevent the players from being bored.

In one of the boxing sessions, Morris received a blow to the ear. He wasn’t affected initially and continued training. Later in the day he complained of a pain in his ear to the team doctor, who treated it accordingly.

Initially the treatment was ineffective, but eventually the pain dissipated. The ship stopped over at Colombo where some of the players spent a day relaxing, while others played an exhibition game on a local cricket ground against each other. Morris took the opportunity to go for a swim in a local swimming pool.

The ship set sail the following day, with Morris’ ear problems returning, this time more seriously. The doctors had him confined to the ship’s hospital quarters for ten days while his condition was constantly observed. Each day he grew weaker.

After just one month on the ship Ray Morris had gone from one of the fittest and strongest men to gravely ill. Doctor Gordon and Doctor Clough consulted and agreed to send a wireless message to Valetta in Malta, for an ear specialist to meet the ship upon its arrival so that Morris’ condition could be analysed by a specialist.

The next day, Morris was taken ashore to the Blue Sisters’ Hospital in Valetta, where he was immediately attended to by Doctor Vella. The news was not good from the specialist and he announced that Morris would require immediate surgery.

Harry Sunderland, the manager of the Kangaroo’s, had to decide whether to stay in Malta or to sail on and honour the tour program.

Sam Haron then stepped forward and volunteered to stay with Morris in Malta to comfort him while in hospital, so that the team could continue to England without delay.

Reluctantly, the ship set sail the next day without their beloved team mate, while Haron began a bedside vigil for Morris in his hour of need.

It was found that Morris had ruptured his eardrum during the boxing session and the injury became infected while bathing in Colombo. Dr Vella feared that Morris was suffering from meningitis.
He told Haron to take some time off while Morris was being operated on. Sam went for a drive around Malta to see the sights. He arrived back at the hospital the next day.

Sam revealed:

“…on my return Ray asked me about my trip and seemed cheerful, but early next morning I awakened feeling instinctively that all was not well.”

Haron called the doctor but there was little they could do and Morris died a few hours later, with Sam by his side.
“Ray knew that he was dying. He gripped my hand, mentioned his mother, and then died peacefully.”
Aboard the S.S. Jervis Bay, the Kangaroos were celebrating the birthday of Fred Neumann when they received the tragic news that Ray Morris had died in Malta. All of the 500 odd passengers were grief stricken and immediately held a memorial service on board as the ship sailed towards Spain.
Back home, the Sporting community were shocked and deeply saddened upon hearing the news. All Rugby League games, as well as some Rugby Union and even Victorian Rules games being played that weekend, observed a minutes silence.
Upon arrival in England, Sunderland decided that the best way to pay tribute to Ray Morris was to leave his place in the team vacant for the remainder of the tour.
A small ceremony for Morris took place in Malta before his body was shipped aboard the steamer ‘Hobson’s Bay’ on August 22, to be taken back to Sydney. Once the body was safely aboard the ship, Haron then made arrangements to continue his journey to England.
On August 26 in England, the Australian team lined up against St.Helens Recs for the first game of their tour. Before the game started, a local band played the hymn “Silver Hill” as a tribute to Morris before both sides observed two minutes silence.
The team travelled to Ilkley the next day where co-manager of the tour, Wally Webb greeted Sam Haron.
Back home, on September 23, a public memorial for Ray Morris was held. Thousands attended, Sydney’s Town Hall overflowed with people in what was reportedly one of the largest memorial services Sydney has ever seen.
His casket was carried by team mates from the two clubs he played for. They were Charlie Cornwell, Bob Lindfield, Cecil Rhodes and Charlie Wrench from Wests and Ross McKinnon, Gordon Favell, Tom Monaghan and George Sullivan from University.
Also in attendance was the entire board of the NSWRL as well as founder James Giltinan, along with Presidents, Secretaries and board members from the Queensland Rugby League, NSW Cricket Association, NSW Baseball association, NSW Rugby Union and Aussie Rules as well as committee men and players from all NSWRL clubs and former players such as Dally Messenger, Dinny Lutge, Alec Burdon, Charlie Russell, Webby Neill, Cec Blinkhorn, Claud O’Donnell, Bert Gray, Clarrie Prentice, Arthur Justice, Clarrie Tye, George Bishop, Benny Wearing, amongst many others.
Upon the Kangaroos return home, Sunderland announced that the tour had made a good profit and consequently, each of the 37 players received £200 each. Also, the family of Ray Morris received his £200, while the £315 doctors’ bill for Ray as well as the costs of returning Ray’s body back to Australia and the burial service were all taken from the tours profits.
The NSWRL board placed on record the services rendered by Sam Haron for remaining with Morris in his hour of need.
Sam Haron died in 1940, a modest ceremony has held in comparison to that of Ray Morris, but no doubt he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Ray Morris First Grade and Representative Career Statistics
Western Suburbs (1927-1932) – Played 52 games, 29 tries (78 points)
University (1933) – Played 5 games, 2 tries (6 points)
City (1931-1932) – Played 2 games, 2 tries (6 points)
New South Wales (1931-1933) – Played 8 games, 3 tries (9 points)
Kangaroo Tourist (1933-1934)

****This article appeared in the Men Of League magazine****

Music And Footy (2011)

Not since 1987 had Rugby League been so passionate about being aligned with a world renowned musical act to help promote their game than this year.

Over two decades ago the NSWRL launched the game through the unlikeliest of people, Tina Turner. It was the greatest piece of marketing the game had ever seen.

Since then, they have struggled to get anywhere near that sort of publicity and popularity.

In 2011, the NRL announced an affiliation with 80’s rock group Bon Jovi. But the NRL has got it all wrong.

In 1988, there had been no Superleague or mergers and the game had expanded into new territory. It was an exciting time where support by fans was at an all-time high. So too, was the career of Tina Turner. All the stars were in alignment.

An alignment with Bon Jovi is not reflective of an attempt to move forward, it’s almost an attempt to go back to 1988 with one of music’s biggest acts at that time.

The world has advanced a long way in a short time since 1988. Rugby League has gone through Hell and back, it has reinvented itself. They need an internationally renowned, successful music act that has shared a similar journey, whose sound properly conveys the power, speed, strength and excitement Rugby League provides, as well as recognising all that it has gone through to get to this point.

Enter Metallica.

They played their first live show in 1983, the same year that the first four point try was ever scored. Their sound was fast, loud, persistent. It never relented. Just like the game of Rugby League.

On September 27, 1986, Metallica’s bass guitarist Cliff Burton died in a bus accident while they were on tour in Europe.

The day after, Parramatta beat Canterbury 4-2 in the first tryless grand final.
In 1987 the NSWRL launched their game with Tina Turner, launching their game to dizzying new heights.

A year later Metallica created their first ever music video, which would see them also move to new heights.

In 1991 Metallica released their first big album and made it to number 1 on the charts across the globe. It was a decade of parties, alcohol, drugs, women and crazy times, followed by death, consolidation, focus and working on a new direction.

Similarly the NSWRL had coasted along; battling to grow the games appeal beyond Sydney, then expansion before Tina Turner essentially gave them a new direction.

Both were sitting in the greatest positions of their existence in 1991.
Metallica then tried to expand their audience by changing their sound and image in the mid 90’s.

The NSWRL expanded to even newer territories, but in-fighting and the emergence of a take-over bid began to eat away at the game.

In 1997 Superleague was born, but its life was short, yet the damage was evident and far reaching. The NRL was formed in 1998 to consolidate and move the game forward into a new era.

1997 saw Metallica perform a live concert with a symphony orchestra. Their inconsistent jumping from mainstream to their original sound had many fans dismayed.

Interest was waning.

From 2001 til 2003 Metallica almost completely disbanded. Their second bass player left, their frontman entered a rehab clinic while the remaining two were left uncertain of their bands future.

Then their leader returned, they found a new bassist and released an album which received a lot of criticism but still managed to reach top spot on the charts.

In 2008 Metallica released their best album since their 1991 best seller. They had reinvented themselves, come full circle and were now back on top again.
Similarly, The NRL worked hard at cleaning up its image, increased crowd and viewers had seen them make their best progress since the Superleague.
Metallica released a single off its latest album which sums up their career, and Rugby league perfectly over the 30 years and it should be the song for the NRL.

The aptly titled: “Broken, Beaten and Scarred.”

Its fast, its powerful, its raw, its honest. Every part of the song rings true for both Metallica and Rugby league.

From the opening repeated lines: “You rise, you fall, you’re down and you rise again. What don’t kill you, make you more strong!”

To the last line: “We die hard”

NRL Dictionary (2011)

Over the past decade there have been a number of accidental and deliberate controversies by players, clubs and officials within the game, which has dented our reputation.

Adding to this has been an unfortunate misconception by the general public and sections of the media, that we, the NRL, have at times been inconsistent.

We realise and understand this inconsistent perception of the NRL has been caused by our varying interpretations of particular definitions.

Therefore, in an attempt to remedy the issue, we have come up with an NRL dictionary, which will be given to all players, coaches, officials and clubs. In it are words that we have an alternate interpretation of, along with the common and the NRL definitions.

If any future misdemeanors are to occur, we will assume you have read this dictionary and will punish offenders very heavily.


Actual definition: v. Ah-ledge – state without proof
NRL definition: v. Gill-tee – having committed an act of ill-repute, illegality or immorality. Verdict handed down by a NRL tribunal prior to actual legal hearing.

Actual definition: n. Ah-poll-o-gee – an expression of regret for a wrongdoing.
NRL definition: n. Sigh-lent – the self-admission that you made an error and state you will carry out a list of measures, none of which are ever actually done.

Actual definition: n & v. Ah-salt – (make) a violent attack, physical, verbal or mental.
NRL definition: n & v. Bond-ing-Sess-shun – an action caused by good people who have become socially excitable, usually provoked by the public.

Actual definition: v. Cheet – an act of dishonesty, or to act unfairly to gain an advantage.
NRL definition: v. May-king-us-look-stew-pid – an intentional breach of our guidelines without making it obvious what you have done, thus making us look foolish.

Actual definition: adj. Con-siss-tent – regular; unchanging. In agreement; not conflicting.
NRL definition: adj. In-con-siss-tent – depending on matter being dealt with, we make an agreement based on the like or dislike the media, court (NRL definition) or fellow board members have regarding subject.

Actual definition: n. Cawt – the judge, the jury, and law officers who hear and preside over legal cases.
NRL definition: n. Joo-dish-ar-ee – The NRL judiciary, whom have no legal qualifications, but know if certain unlawful acts are a particular players ‘go’ or not. Have persuasion over law courts, but we are not to be seen as such.

Actual definition: n. Cry-m – a serious offence punishable by the law.
NRL definition: n. Bring-ing-the-gaym-in-to-dis-re-pewt – a serious offence that draws negative headlines and has the potential to minimize prospective income for the NRL. Will be dealt with by the court (NRL definition)

Actual definition: n. Drug – an illegal substance taken for its stimulating or other effects, mostly unnatural.
NRL definition: n. Med-e-cay-shun – depending on the player, the drug may be linked to serious illness (known as martyr) or could be linked to a violent underworld regime capable of ruling the planet. The clarification is decided by the court (NRL definition) to determine if the allegation (NRL definition) deserves to have action taken.

Actual definition: adj. Drunk – strongly affected by over consumption of alcohol.
NRL definition: adj. See-sun-lawnch – the action of promoting our game in a manner that makes one (or several) person(s) more easily accessible with the media, who are constantly drunk (actual definition).

Actual definition: v. Gam-bull – play games of chance for financial gain. Risk in the hope to attain some return.
NRL definition: v. Shawt-chayn-jing-us – taking advantage of our hard work to get gambling organisations to give us their sponsorship money, and then using our game to make quick easy money for yourself. Also linked with both definitions of ‘cheat’.

Actual definition: adj. Gill-tee – taking responsibility for a specified wrongdoing.
NRL definition: adj. Wash-ing-ow-hands – An action where a person is alleged (NRL definition) of committing an act, and based on an unfavourable court (NRL definition) hearing, you are forced to make an apology (actual definition) for a crime (NRL definition) that you may or may not have committed. See ‘allege’ (NRL definition).

Actual definition: v. Jus-tee-fy – show to be right or reasonable.
NRL definition: v. Ly-ing – making an unreasonable decision and then going to great lengths to exacerbate the issue to make our decision appear reasonable. Usually followed by an apology (NRL definition).

Please take the time to thoroughly understand these subtle differences. We will endeavor to revise these definitions over time as we see fit.

See consistent (NRL definition).

Charlie's Last Test (2011)

He’d overcome everything life had thrown at him. In fact he was used to it by now; but it never weakened his resolve or passion for his country. Nor did it dampen his desire to be the best.

Growing up, he was always a big lad; it was almost a natural progression that he’d end up playing Rugby. Like many Rugby players of his generation, he was an avid boxer. However he soon realised he was more than an aficionado, he was genuinely gifted.

He progressed seamlessly through the amateur boxing ranks to attain the New Zealand Amateur Heavyweight Championship. It was of no surprise that he was regarded as one of his generation’s best prop forwards in Rugby.

However, one fateful day in 1910, he was alleged to have kicked an opponent in a maul. The prefects running the game looked down on this behaviour sternly and subsequently suspended him from the game for two years.

Never one to give up, he crossed codes to the new professional game; Northern Union. Within a year of plying his trade in the 13 man game he was invited by the Australian Rugby League to join them on their upcoming tour to England, at the end of the 1911 season. He happily accepted.

Charlie Savory wasn’t the only Kiwi touring England with the Australian Kangaroo’s. He was joined by fellow forwards Arthur ‘Boller’ Francis and George Gillett, and by halfback Frank Woodward.

On the tour Savory was a delight, widely praised for his singing ability as much as his rugged, no-nonsense, tough play on the field.

Upon returning home from the tour, Savory became a leading prop forward in the New Zealand local competitions. But his constant run-ins with the judiciary tainted his reputation, so much so that he was mistakenly identified as kicking an opponent in a game in 1912. The Auckland Rugby League promptly banned him from the game for life; however he was granted an appeal by the New Zealand Rugby League and was exonerated.

Still, he forged on. In 1914 he made his test debut for his beloved New Zealand against England. The Kiwis lost 16-13, running out of time as they fought their way back from an 11-3 deficit at half-time.

But his toughest test was just around the corner.

Again, playing against a crafty opponent on their home ground, he knew once again he would have to lead the way for his team mates, as he had done in every contest prior.

The journey to the fateful battle was slow and cumbersome. It was cold and wet. The sky was bleak. Even Mother Nature was against them.

He’d been here many times before. He wasn’t about to let it get the better of him now.

He looked at his team; they were all silent, committed, ready for action. He’d never seen the boys so intense, so focussed. He knew they’d be giving their all. He couldn’t give any less himself either.

The journey ended and they all disembarked their taxi and made way for the field.

The damp footing grabbed his attention first; things couldn’t get any worse surely.

He looked ahead with a grim determination, preparing himself for another bruising encounter. In what seemed like no time at all, it was game on.

He could hear the cheering, jeering and buzzing atmosphere all around that broke an almost eerie silence which had encapsulated them all just moments ago.

Unnervingly, he put his hand up to lead the way, his prized possession right now, sitting firmly in his hands as he charged forward at great speed. His large muscular solid frame intent on causing some hurt.

Then the defence hit him from out of nowhere. He didn’t feel the pain at first, just the oxygen being sucked from his lungs.

He kept trying to run but his feet felt stuck in the heavy earth. Then they hit him once more, bringing him down.

Never before had he been dominated so easily in a physical encounter, these were truly worthy adversaries.

He rolled onto his back, his mind willing him to stand up.

He rose to his knees, slowly regaining his feet. Then the pain began rapidly infecting his body. As he clutched at the pain in his chest and looked down at his bloodied hands, he was shot again, for the last time, in the head.

Lance Corporal Charles Savory died at Gallipoli that day, May 8, 1915.

Lest We Forget

Numeroligically Revealing League

Numerology is an ancient Egyptian and Babylonian study of number symbolism, used to determine an individual’s personality, strengths, desires, obstacles and future, among many other things.

This practice has proven to be of great benefit to many people in the past and given the cyclic nature of poor behaviour in the NRL, I thought it best to study numerology so that I could look into this repetitive culture and find out if there is some light on the horizon for the NRL.

Because of your desire to experience everything in life to its fullest before you let it go, you may tend to overdo sensual and physical experiences such as sex, alcohol, drugs, food, public defecation, drink driving, gambling, beastiality and lying.
Instead of formal education, much of your wisdom comes from your tremendous range and ability of activities (listed above) and your contact with people of many classes and races.
You can enhance your life experience even more by increasing your sense of loyalty, although some would say it’s probably far too late now.

You appear dignified and poised, intellectual, but mostly aloof. When first meeting someone, you appear hard to know and confrontational, but become friendly and a good talker when better acquainted.
While discussing familiar topics, you are convincing and appear at ease. However, in unfamiliar areas, such as speaking with the media, you often make many statements you later regret.
Your personality improves when you are well-dressed and groomed; good style with straight lines and touches of colour. Unfortunately though, you feel more comfortable strolling around in jeans, a flanellette shirt, bomber jacket with a baseball cap on backwards. So many contradictions makes it hard for you to know who you really are.

Your destiny lies in areas of creativity and its use to help people find inspiration and joy in living. As you express your artistic talents, your beauty, and an optimum mix of sincerity and joy, you come closer and closer to fulfilling your destiny - which also includes popularity, personal happiness and money. Lots of money. Seriously, huge massive piles of the stuff. Actually money overshadows everything else, well except for making headlines.
You had integrity and are kind, patient, cheerful, creative, and a constant source of pleasure. But at the same time, can also tend to be cruel, reckless, unimaginative and have a very black sense of humour. Consistency is non-existant.

Life’s Path
You are a humanitarian and idealist, with a path of serving mankind (with fat wallets), doing worthwhile things for yourself and those close to you, ignoring the masses of the public who made you what you are today.
Your path is one of rendering service to those in need, mainly alcoholics and people who do toilet in public. Your strong sense of family is extended to the community, the state, and even the world.
You have a strong idealism and are at your best when you directly benefit the lives of others, but only if it benefits yourself as well, otherwise, you just cast them aside, to France .

This Year
More so than usual, you feel desire to move forward, to improve situations, to assert your individuality, and to get on with life. Reach for opportunities and they will come to you.
This is an active year with many indecisions to make. Your affairs are making a new start. The next nine years' experience will depend a great deal on what you do and don't do this year. It calls for strength of purpose, clear thinking, and listening to your inner voice, before asking reliable people for their educated opinion, which you don’t really have.

Next Year
Harmonious associations are very important for you this year. The year's success and good results will be obtained through diplomacy, cooperation, tactfulness and good relationships. It is a year for receiving and sharing rather than aggressively pursuing your own way.
Your intuition and emotions are enhanced this year.
It is a busy year, with endless demands on your time. It is easier to work with others rather than doing things by yourself.
Your plans and developments may experience periods of delay. No need to worry about that. Things seem to move slower this year, like Wade McKinnon, but they are still almost just as effective.

So it appears we have more of the same for at least the next nine years.

Well at least we’re used to it now.

Golf Day (2011)

Thank you for all coming boys. Today we will be playing golf. The player with the lowest score wins.

Anthony: Oh good!
Kevin: Someone took my favourite club.

Surely you have other clubs to use?

Kevin: Yeah I guess.
David: I don’t like golf. I don’t want to play

Why? What’s wrong David?

David: My cat died, I’m too sad to play

You have more cats though don’t you?

David: I have 17 other cats, but this cat was my favourite.
Des: Oh shut up, you’re always sooking! WHY CAN’T ANYONE BE HAPPY FOR A DAMN CHANGE!!

Calm down Dessie. Where’s your clubs?

Des: oh…uuummm, they broke. I was having a practice and they broke when I put them in the bag.

How could they break?

Des: The wind.

Tim, what’s wrong with you? Are you okay?

Tim: I hurt my foot…

How did…

Tim: ...and my hand. Some of my clubs are broken too.

Are you okay to play? How did your clubs get broken?

Tim: Yeah, I’ll be fine. I have some spare clubs from the back of the shed. Some are left handed and some are right handed, but they should all work

You’re a trooper Tim.
Where’s Wayne?

Wayne: Over here. Just organising my caddie

A caddie?

Wayne: Yeah, Nathan insisted. He even has a golf cart for me to use.

You’re not using a golf cart, or a caddie.

Wayne: But I’m so much better than everyone else. Surely I can get some sort of privileges?

Sorry Wayne, you don’t.
Has anyone finished a hole yet?

Craig: I have, I scored a 2.

On a par 5? That’s impressive Craig, well done

Stephen: He cheated! I saw him hit the ball 9 times! It’s not fair! I only have one good club and he has a bag full.
Craig: No I don’t. All my clubs are average

Craig, you do appear to have too many good clubs. Give some of them to the other players

Craig: Here you go John; you can have my Big Bertha oversize driver. It’s the best club
John: WOOOOOW! I’m going to win today!

Matt, why haven’t you hit your ball yet?

Matt: I just can’t seem to pick the slippery bugger up! Does anyone have a ball that isn’t slippery?

Come on Matt, concentrate, it’s really not that hard.

Matt: But it is, it really truly is! I have no idea how you guys do this.

Now Neil, how are you going? You weren’t very good last year.

Neil: This game is sooo easy, it’s been years since I played this well! I got one of Craig’s old clubs and it’s working a treat.

That’s great news! Glad to hear you are enjoying yourself

David: Wish I could enjoy myself.

Stuart, how are you going?

Stuart: Okay, I’ve had 3 eagle puts in a row, but every time I had to use the putter, I’ve hit the ball another 4 times and it ruins my score. I think Craig tampered with my clubs, and the course, and ….

Okay, that’s enough of that. I haven’t heard from Brian or Ivan yet. Where are they?

Anthony: Brian was around the back of the clubhouse

What is he doing there. I better go find him.
Brian! What are you doing?

Brian: I was thirsty, so I wanted a drink.

You can do that with the rest of us

Brian: Yeah but then I needed to go to the toilet, but I couldn’t find it.

It’s out the front with a ‘TOILET’ sign on it.
Are you drinking red cordial?

Brian: No! It’s blackcurrant juice.

That’s red cordial! Did you tip that out here hoping I wouldn’t see?

Brian: No, that’s where I went to the toilet.

Right, you’re going back on the bus! Oh stop crying!

Brian: *sobbing*I’m not crying, I’m relaxed and happy. *sniff*

Ivan, what are doing? Why aren’t you on the course?

Ivan: I can’t play without Stacey

You have most of Stephen’s clubs, surely you can do something with them.

Ivan: They don’t work, they’re all duds

Just have a go. I’ll be there shortly.
Carty? Why are you still on the bus?

Carty: There was some young hoodlum down there and he scared me. Young people scare me.

I see you have Kevin’s favourite club, can you give it back to him?

Carty: No, I’m keeping it.

Why do you lot take something easy and make it complicated?

Welcome to the #FutureOfTheNRL (2011)

Social media has exploded globally. More and more people use their fingers to communicate than their mouths. It’s a sad yet true state of affairs and it is completely unavoidable.

Furthermore, it’s only going to get more extreme.

With the advancements in social media, so to have there been advancements in televisual technology. 3D televisions and telecasts, big screen TV’s, tiny little cameras and microphones that can be attached to players and referees with minimal intrusion to their natural play.

And as these advancements continue and hurtle on an awkward yet obvious path into one another, it won’t be long until the modern day commentator is dead and is replaced by a computer with a personality.

We won’t hear commentators on the TV; we’ll just see their tweets, facebook status updates or text messages at the bottom of the screen.

The TV won’t emit any sound at all. After years of not talking anymore to communicate, the ears of civilized human races will eventually evolve and disappear. We’ll probably grow extra arms where our ears used to be, lessening the distance the signals from the brain to the fingers have to travel when a tweet or sms is to be made.

Rugby League will have video cameras on every player, a small chip inserted in every players brain, allowing them to tweet without typing and to see what their followers have tweeted without taking their eyes off the game.

The ‘commentary’ will go straight to the players so that we can all see exactly what they’re thinking.

@NRLCommentary Hello everyone n welcome 2 tonite’s match between @Wests_Tigers n the @SSFCRabbitohs
@shaynehayne ready boys, let’s go *whistle*
@NRLCommentary Solid strt by the Tigers, Farah moving 2 dummy half
@robbiefarah going to dummy right and pass left to Benji
@NRLCommentary Farah’s pass hits Benji on the chest; he steps through the defence n runs 90m to score
@shaynehayne might have to talk with Bill in the video ref box here
@HollywoodHarrigan looks good to me, let’s slow it down, zoom in, edit some pixels & see if we can disallow this try
@brycegibbss what’s going on Hayne? #ecoslabs
@shaynehayne Bill is seeing if we can disallow the try
@HollywoodHarrigan sorry Shayne, the try is good.

Shayne Hayne has given Benji Marshall a gift

Benji Marshall has changed his relationship status with Robbie Farah from ‘It’s complicated” to “Friends”

@NRLCommentary Marshall scores under the posts. Its 4-0 KTC
@russellcrowe #$!@ *&$! *%#@

Russell Crowe and Nokia are now no longer friends

@NRLCommentator Marshall converts his try. Sideline cmmt from Freddie
@adolFITTLER yeah I think today the team who scores the most pts will have a gud chance of #winning
@charliesheen #TIGERBLOOD! #winning
@NRLCommentary WT up 6-0. Bbs after this ad-break
@Toyota check out our new Rav4. O wot a feelin
@AAMIinsurance pls visit our site to c if we can save u $$$

Liam Fulton likes “The hot chick from the AAMi Insurance ads”

@NRLCommentary wb and the @Wests_Tigers are bringing the ball back
@brycegibbss my turn to make us some metres
@ASOTAS1 I’m gonna smash Gibbs
@NRLCommentary OH! Asotasi has hit Gibbs slightly high and it’s on

Bryce Gibbs and Roy Asotasi are now no longer friends

#SendAsotasiOff is now trending in Sydney

@shaynehayne looks like the ppl have spoken @HollywoodHarrigan. Shall I send him off?
@HollywoodHarrigan yeah mate. Careless and high. March him. #byebyeRoy
@NRLCommentary and Asotasi has been sent off by ref Hayne
#byebyeRoy is now trending in Sydney
@russellcrowe #$!@ *&$! *%#@

Russell Crowe and Sony Ericsson are now no longer friends.

@NRLCommentary Marshall takes a quick tap, steps, jinks, dummies…
@BenjiQMarshall hope to get a flick pass out to Lote
@LoteTuqiri sounds like I better get ready for a flick pass
@NRLCommentary Benji flicks a pass out the back to Tuqiri who is in open space & scores in corner
@LoteTuqiri too easy! Thanks Benji!

Benji Marshall has given Lote Tuqiri a gift

@russellcrowe #$!@ *&$! *%#@

Russell Crowe and Telstra are now no longer friends.

But no matter how much technology comes along, the game will still be awesome, it will be followed by hoardes of fans, mainly on Twitter and Facebook.

And with that as scary as this may look, some things won’t change.

People will still flock to Rugby League games
Russell Crowe mobile phone gags will never die.

AndrewRLP and Rugby League have updated their relationship to "Madly in love for eternity"

Contradicatry Moral Dilemma (2011)

Earlier this week the world was gripped with jolly green festivities as St. Patricks day was celebrated.

And it made me realise that I had been embracing the way of the Irish more intently than I ever realised before.

Since my days as a youngster, I distinctly recall an utter dislike for AFL, big cities, fancy food and life’s little extravagances.

During the mid-1990’s I was devout in my support of the ARL against the Superleague.

Oh how time has changed.

I left the country and moved to the city in 2004.

I now reside in AFL heartland, Melbourne (I still despise AFL though).

I have just had my first home built and I moved in last weekend, a house filled with all the mod-cons, brand new appliances and state of the art … everything really.

Then along came St. Patrick’s Day.

‘Twas early in the morn, as I sat in my shiny new home, that I picked up my mobile phone, with full intention of making the one call that could transport me out of my AFL dominated mire. The excitement started at my heart and raced around my body as I keyed the numbers into the phone.

The phone began ringing, each tone seemingly taking an age;

‘Ring, Ring. Ring, Ring’

I felt like a little child looking at a clock on December 24, waiting for Christmas.

Then the automated message greeted me. There was no turning back now. Sure there was, but my mind was made up, besides, it’d be rude to walk away from a conversation now. I was about to go full circle and make a complete liar and contradiction of myself.

After several prompts and speaking to a machine which had the uncanny ability to understand what my voice relayed from my brain, in what is sometimes an unnerving situation because it sounds like a conversation with the future, I was put on hold.

I was back watching the clock at Christmas, while listening to some looped jazz fusion style music whose volume wavered from completely silent to speaker-busting, static-sounding loud on a very strict, unwavering cycle, making it impossible to catch the tune.

Then, the music stopped. My heart palpitated.

“Hello, how can I help you?”

Sure, there are a million answers you could give to this question, but she knows that I’ve been caught in the web.

I wouldn’t have waited through the dial tones to come this far without a question.

I wouldn’t have spoken to the human robot in a somewhat uneasy manner without a genuine request.

I wouldn’t have studied the inadequate volume control of the hold music without a feasible query.

But now the pressure was on. I knew this moment would come, it was inevitable. I felt prepared for the moment, but just like a fullback steadying himself to field a bomb in the dying seconds of the grand final, with the opposition bearing down on top of him, hoping to snatch a famous victory, nothing can ever ready you for the actual time when the moment is upon you.

The feeling of betrayal was rushing over me, subconsciously. Everything I stood for was about to be blown away.

You got me in the end. I had no way out. He knew it too.

He was sitting in his spacious office, quietly laughing inside his somewhat evil mind.

“I’d like to connect to FOXTEL please”

I can’t believe I said that.

I even said please.

I’ve turned my back on my morals, once again. Rupert got me.

The conversation continues. I feel dirty, almost as though I’m indulging in the worst sin possible.

I’m excited more than anything.

I should not be enjoying this! I should be not excited!

But I am.

I am informed that it will be installed on Wednesday. An exchange of pleasantries ends the transaction and I’m left, lying in the bed I just made, physically and metaphorically.

Wednesday arrives. The installation man doesn’t. It’s been so long since I had rugby league on my television that I am starting to behave like a drug addict. I’m a rugby League addict and FOXTEL is my drug and my cure.

I’m told I now have to wait another week due to some error on their system.

Another week!

I can’t take it anymore!

Stop toying with me, Rupert!

You’ve taken my morals; you’ve got me in your web. Stop teasing me!


National Rugby ... Lesbians? (2011)

For nigh on two decades, the brains trust deep within the NRL media and marketing departments have been fixated, bordering on obsessed, with selling rugby league as a family sport.

Now it may come as a surprise to the brainwashed and deluded out there, but this is a completely misguided falsification of an abundantly obvious fact.

Let’s take a look at Exhibit A shall we.

Rugby league. It's a game that is fast, hard, tough, dirty and at times brutal. It requires all players to have physical and mental strength, power, speed, durability and athleticism.

It's played by rough blokes with rougher heads. It's so rough that the yanks consider it an extreme sport. Mind you we all know that they're a bunch of sooks.

This is simple fact and has been since 1895.

Where in that definition are the elements of family? There are no mentions of the wife who cooks, cleans and raises the kids or the kids who get on a bus to school, causing mischief to no end, or even of a father who works 9 to 5 all week at a factory to provide for his family.

Not a single mention, insinuation, assumption or even misconstrued understanding of family anywhere.

Now I would like to introduce you to Exhibit B.

Since the mid 1990's the NRL advertising shifted to a family oriented mindset and have since not wavered from that stance.

But this has caused a rise in another issue. Homosexuality amongst women in the same period of time has risen from 0.4 percent globally to 2 percent. Small figures, but a significant increase in contrast.

Because NRL players are made to be better groomed, well spoken and better behaved, they've essentially stopped being the rugged men they were and become metro sexual mummies boys which today’s women find much less appealing.

So the women opt to have relations with the only alternative available, other women.

But it’s not just the women going gay. Men too are following the trend. Previously confused men, unsure which way they swung, are now more easily persuaded to turn gay because of the NRL players appearances and behavior.

Essentially women are becoming more masculine and men are becoming more feminine.

And as the population of gay people increase, the number of babies being born decreases which in turn minimizes the number of potential rugby league players for the future.

Finally, we move on to Exhibit C.

The NRL has made obvious moves to promote the game and its players as emotional sensitive new age types. It all started with Thomas Keneally and his prose.

When did he play league? Since when is prose a blokey, man thing?

Does Mark Geyer ponce around reciting the works of Robert Frost?

Does Steve Roach regularly tell the world over the airwaves of his love for Kenneth Slessor's imagery of death in his poem El Alamein?

If that was not enough, soon after we had Luke Ricketson and Craig Wing flogging shampoo on TV.

Then we had the constant barrage of half arsed bands singing even worse rewritten versions of their scarcely heard 'hit' song.

Now, the NRL have signed up Bon Jovi to produce the next theme song. A band who peaked 24 years ago with 'almost rock' music, listened to by a largely female audience, most of whom are now in their early to mid 40's.

So to conclude, the NRL is embarking on a strategy which is essentially now only appealing to gay women in their mid forties. The world's homosexual population continues to rise, which in turn will potentially kill off rugby leagues once prosperous future.

And this tactic plays right into the hands of the AFL.

And they know it too. When the NRL announced the Bon Jovi agreement, all the poofs running the AFL all had to sit down to hide their excitement.

League fans, it's time we get this game back on the rails in the most serious way possible.

We need to get Metallica singing the theme song.

We need to bring back country week, when players could go on 3 day-long pub crawls with no media around.

Rugby League is a man sport played by men!

If a player does something bad, applaud them for being human for crying out loud!

Most of all let the players be men. The sooner they toughen up, the sooner we can straighten all this mess out.

The Prophet Has Spoken (2010)

Back in the sixteenth century the worlds greatest prophet reigned. His name was Nostradamus.

He had the uncanny knack of foretelling the future. Sometimes with amazing accuracy, other times with a little too much vagueness. But his abilities proved to be, well quite prophetic.

Some of his great prophecies unveiled the rise of Hitler, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Great London Fires and many many more.

However some of his greatest prophecies have yet to be fulfilled. I have spent many years going through these and have found that many were actually related to something much closer to home than we first thought.

In Two and a pair a god will walk amongst men,
His dominance will be undermined by those near,
His land will regale his supremacy,
But woe his people.

This quatrain speaks of the year 2011 and none other than Paul Gallen’s dominance in “God’s land” which as we all know, is what the residents of the Cronulla-Sutherland shire call their suburb.

Satan will rise again from the depths,
Of whence he was sent prior,
The rivers will run red with retribution,
Disease of the south will subside.

Here, Nostradamus speaks of the rise again of nothing other than the Melbourne Storm. His use of the term Satan is a reference to ‘south’ and the evils that Storm had produced in prior seasons which had besieged them in 2010.

The rich and the battlers will join forces,
For a battle they have not won
For nigh on two score
And will not win for five score more.

In this phrase, Nostradamus speaks clearly about South Sydney, with the battle being a reference to the NRL Premiership. He also predicts they won’t win the premiership for another 100 years.

East and West embrace again,
Marshalled by a man of the people,
Slaying the great fire breathing one,
And seeing the fall of an empire.

One of the rare quatrains by Nostradamus which reveals a name, ‘Marshall’. It speaks of how the Dragons will be toppled by Marshall’s Wests Tigers and possibly even see about the retirement of Tim Sheens.

The power of the East will continue to build,
Public mistrust and lies will besiege them
As it had many times before,
But they will not be denied their glory.

This quatrain is a clear reference to the rise of the Roosters and how they are going to become a long time powerhouse which will again be questioned by everyone about whether it’s legal.

Those men on their noble steeds,
Lead by the greatest and mightiest of all,
With an entire nation behind them,
Will go further than dreamed, still tears.

It appears that this phrase is a clear reference to the Bronco’s who will show their dominance again but will fail to claim the prized NRL Premiership, hence “Still tears” at the end.

Treachery, deceit, lies and crime,
Will all come to end, but the golden child,
He will fall from up high,
And his people will ask why.

Nostradamus appears to have made note of the demons which engulfed the Knights in 2010 and how they will have completely overcome those in 2011, however it appears he sees a public falling out with Kurt Gidley.

Riches and gold spent from boundary to boundary,
The mightiest army ever built,
Sent to take what they once had,
Beseiged at their border by great armies.

The Bulldogs appear to be the focus of this quatrain. It refers to the bulldogs building one of the biggest armies ever, but completely underestimating the power of other teams and fail to achieve any greatness which they believed would be hand delivered to them.

One great man, greater than his own,
Or so it seems, will be brought down by many,
All his equal or better,
His dominance a myth is spread.

In this quatrain, Nostradamus is focussing entirely on Jarryd Hayne, and his apparent fall from grace from those who placed him so highly. It would appear he is brought back to the field in a battle against those who are his equal, possibly in State of Origin.

In the far east, a strong army continues to build,
A powerful force continues to build.
An army hellbent on power,
Power believed they have been denied.

In this final quatrain, Nostradamus speaks of the New Zealand Warriors and their very serious title aspirations.

Will they prove to be as prophetic as his other works.

Only time will tell.

The Last Local Heroes (2010)

Up until 1994, Australia had been one of the most active touring teams in world rugby league. They regularly toured to England, France and New Zealand, as well as playing hosts to all visiting test sides.

Usually these tours had between 5 and 20 matches, including tests, against both clubs and regional representative sides, with nearly all of them not expecting to be anything more than also-rans.

But one very passionate and committed team in New Zealand had always proved to be one of the toughest and most imposing teams for touring test nations to oppose for many decades.

Australia named essentially their second string side, believing that the game would be another walk in the park. Even so, the team they named was still very impressive:

1 – Dale Shearer (8 tests)
2 – Michael O’Connor (16 tests)
3 – Peter Jackson (4 tests)
4 – Tony Currie (5 tests)
5 – Michael Hancock (1 test)
6 – Des Hasler (3 tests)
7 – Greg Alexander (1 test)
8 – Sam Backo (4 tests)
9 - David Trewhella (0 tests)
10 – Martin Bella (1 test)
11 – Dan Stains (0 tests)
12 – Bruce McGuire (1 test)
13 – Paul Vautin (11 tests)

14 – Brad Clyde (1 test)

With instructions from coach Cameron Bell to simply “Move it wide, move it wide,” Auckland did just that and after just three minutes a Kelly Shelford grubber into the Australian in-goal area was fumbled by O’Connor, before he had a chance to clean up, Auckland centre Mike Patton pounced on the loose ball to open the scoring.

Australia replied with two tries to Shearer and Currie, skipping away to a 10-4 lead. But Shelford struck again with some clever stepping and passing to put Dave Watson over. A successful conversion levelled the scores at 10 all at half time.

Auckland struck first in the second half when Shane Hansen crossed the line. Shelford converted and then shortly after kicked a penalty goal to see the Auckland boys skip away to an eight point lead.

But the class of the Australians could not be denied. Three tries in just 10 minutes to Shearer, Hancock and Alexander saw the Australians take control of the game and with just ten minutes remaining, the Kangaroos looked destined to skip away with a comfortable win.

However, they didn’t count on Auckland to keep fighting. Shelford got his forwards standing toe to toe with the Australian pack, and before long, found the Australian defence very fragile on the short side. Shelford threw a short pass to back rower Francis Leota who ran through the flimsy defence out wide to score. Shelford converted to lock the scores up at 24 all with just nine minutes remaining in the game.

The nerves on both sides started to take their toll. Auckland were camped inside the Australian half for most of the remainder of the game. They received four consecutive penalties from referee Bill Shrimpton, all within kicking range. Three times Auckland opted to take the tap but could not break through the rock solid defences of Trewhella, Stains, McGuire and Clyde.

Then Greg Alexander picked up a loose ball but was deemed to have knocked it on. Angered by the error he threw the ball away in disgust. Shrimpton blew his whistle and penalised Alexander for throwing the ball away. Shelford opted to take a shot at goal with the clock winding down.

The kick was successful, and with 3 minutes remaining, Auckland lead 26-24.

Australia turned out one final attacking raid on the Auckland line in a desperate attempt to secure a victory. Alexander drifted wide, created an overlap, dummied and then put in a grubber for his winger.

O’Connor came flying through; the Auckland defence was nowhere to be seen.

10 seconds to go…





O’Connor reaches out; his right hand makes contact with the ball. The Kangaroos thinking they may have snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.


The ball turns ever so slightly in O’Connor’s outstretched hand. He can’t get his left hand to the ball in time and he loses control of the ball.



The ball falls loose, the crowd begins to rise from their seats and the raucous cheering begins to build.


One ….

The ball hits the ground.

Auckland move the mighty mountain.

Auckland 26 (Patton, Watson, Hansen, Leota tries; Shelford 5 goals)
Australia 24 (Shearer 2, Currie, Hancock, Alexander tries; O’Connor 2 goals)
July 12, 1989 at Auckland