Posts Tagged ‘Fatty Vautin’

Why [insert your state] will win State of Origin this year

Want your interstate ego stroked for Origin 2013?

Dane Eldridge and Paddy Effeney are two blokes from either side of the border, and they’ve decided to joust it out to determine which of their states is a stone cold moral certainty to varnish the shield in the sponsor’s product this year.

Effeney’s case for Maroon

I was challenged to a debate earlier this week by a fellow sports blogger and all round good guy Dane Eldridge. Given the measure of the man who made the request, I accepted the challenge. But to be honest, the very fact that he asked me to argue on such a topic is laughable.

Nevertheless, let the mud flinging begin…

The fact that I’m even deigning to write this piece ‘debating’ who’s going to win this year’s State of Origin is a measure of the respect and friendship I hold for my opposite mental jouster.

Unfortunately, years of sustained, bumbling buffoonery has meant that my team, the Queensland Maroons, hold little, if any, of the same for that excuse for a football team dressed in Blue.

Because in reality this series has devolved, unfortunately but necessarily in my view, into something more akin to a Harlem Globetrotters v Transylvania No-Hopers game than a genuine, meaningful contest.

This year's winners photo. Yes, even Petero wil be there

This year’s winners photo. Yes, even Petero wil be there

The Queenslanders don the famous colours, trot out onto the pitch, show everyone what they can do, score a few meat pies early, before dramatically letting the New South Welshmen back into the ‘contest’. The crowd feels good about it all as NSW show some fight and some heart, before the Queenslanders, through an outrageous piece of skill from one of their transcendent superstars, clinch the game and consign any false hope of a NSW victory to the dustbin.

Year after year, we hail this Queensland side as the best in history. So it goes, on and on.

Does it get tiresome being a perpetual winner? Yes is the short answer; no is the long one. But in either case, the question lacks meaning.

For you see, it’s no longer a question that’s in my hands; nor is it in the hands of any mortal. It hasn’t been since the start of Queensland’s historic seven-year run of victories.

It was long thought that NSW had the right to win State of Origin, and any Queensland victory had to be chalked up to either a blowing of a tire from the men in blue or a freak aligning of the football stars allowing the Maroons to sneak over the line.

NSW had it all. The money, the fame, the big players and pretty well all the professional teams worth their salt in the country.

It was from this neglect of the northernmost of Australians that the chip on the Queensland shoulder grew. Now that NSW don’t have their customary horde of superior players to choose from they are finding out that beating a superior side is tough when you don’t have an edge.

So don’t ask me who’s going to win this series in earnest. There’s only one side that’s going to show up with an edge, and it’ll be the blokes wearing maroon. They have the edge in character, in quality and in that bloody-minded determination to stick it up those who sneered down their cans of Tooheys New at them for so long.

What those folks holding cans of the strong stuff didn’t know was that the very fabric State of Origin was built upon was to be upturned.

There is a very basic principle State of Origin had to maintain to remain dynamic and interesting: the NSW team has to have better players. The opposite state would result in a decade of dominance, or so the prophecy foretold. And now, with the state of play as it is, we are seven years through.

That prophecy, reportedly inscribed on the inside of a XXXX can (note that it’s mid strength) that had been shotgunned by the King, Wally Lewis, told of a time when Queensland would show everyone just why passion in Origin is so valuable. It spoke of a team who would suffer 10 years in purgatory to teach them the ultimate Origin lesson: don’t take it for granted you smug bastards.

So while Johnathan Thurston, Greg Inglis, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Justin Hodges are still running around, Dane, you won’t have me biting on matters Origin.

It’s not because I don’t like shooting the proverbial about it; au contraire. It’s just that it would simply be a waste of both our time.

It’s been written in the stars. The result is forgone. Queensland win. Have a nice day.

Eldridge’s case for Blue

My dear blogging cohort Paddy Effeney is a sterling bloke who plays the forums hard but fair. I have the utmost respect for him and his fine literature, except for at Origin time. Because he’s from Queensland.

Even though my beloved NSW Blues sit at a woeful 0-7 after their last 7 hitouts, you will never see me do the Ben Creagh back-pedal when my cross border compatriot asks me to dance with him as a Harragon to his Bella.

Regardless of the fact there is virtually nothing to cling to other than the unlikely occurrence that his team is decimated by ASADA findings, I’m going to fight back against his hypnotic pro-maroon prose with a view through one sky blue eye.

So besides delusion, why do I think NSW are going to win this year’s series?

Dane Eldridge: Livin' on a prayer

Dane Eldridge: Livin’ on a prayer

It’s because I can see the writing on the wall from a country kilometre away. Cameron Smith and his smug bunch of yippee-yayers are ripe for a good old-fashioned ambushing, Queensland-style.

You see, the Maroons today are what NSW used to be. Flush with the finest personnel, facilities, fruit store mafia cash and theme parks that are the envy of the free world.

On the other hand, presently the Blues are what they used to be. A state with honest and serviceable talent stocks, just enough poker machine moolah for training kits and no Wonderland on the city’s outskirts.

The seven consecutive years of torment at the hands of a unit stacked like a 1992 NSW seconds side has consigned the southern state to being the have nots. The northerners, with their pretentious swag and ability to excel without a real coach, are the haves.

But in 2013, the humiliating comeuppance for the enemy is coming, and the blueprint for their demise has been lifted from one of their own.

It’s going to be a southern-style 1995 Fatty Vautin con job. Just replace your Wayne Bartrim with a Robbie Farah and your XXXX with Tooheys Blue.

Down here in the premier state, the collective rumble can be felt in the plums already.

For the first time in a while, those uncontrollable issues that exist on the periphery- sometimes non-tangible, often largely irrelevant and always most important to those lacking ability- seem to be playing out in NSW’s favour.

The big name Queensland cogs have been faltering in the lead-up, there’s panic over a picked pack that you need a magnifying glass to see, a couple of stars don’t know if they are coming or going, Johnathon Thurston’s kid is going to enter the world right on kick-off and all the while, Meninga is in Bundaberg cracking lame dad jokes about tropical fruit.

Compare this to Camp Blues, or ‘high performance paradise’ as it is currently known.

There’s a snarling forward pack full of athletes and leviathans, bustling backs high on confidence, an unscarred new coach who thinks nothing of horseback riding, and not a single bench spot being wasted on an expendable utility.

(We love you, Gids. There’s just no room for you.)

Compared to the tidy and well-kept palace of Laurie Daley’s digs, where Bach plays serenely on the gramophone while Greg Bird recites Dickens to a well-behaved squad, Mal Meninga’s dude ranch is in filthy frat-party disarray.

Right now, NSW are leading before kick-off, and all our boys have to do is just protect the buffer for 240 minutes.

With 99% of momentum in favour of Paul Gallen’s troops (I lopped off 1% for Shayne Hayne’s appointment), it’s apparent that the swarm of the underdog is upon you, Queensland. What was once your secret weapon spinach is now your kryptonite.

With these kinds of precursors and two games in Sydney’s rollicking colosseum, it’s all pointing to a famous triumph for the recently oppressed.

And if Maroons fans want to accentuate a positive, then just think about it this way. After the horrendous belting our boys inflict upon your fading outfit this year, all of the poor cousin traits so treasured by your state will be all yours again.

And really, isn’t that the way it should be?

With a rainmaking Blues win, the yearly interstate contest will finally return to its most popular format. An event that Queensland uses to repress their inferiority complex.

The Blues will return to their familiar role of affluent pantomime villain as everything goes against the downtrodden Maroons, just like old times.

And that, my friends, would mean we would be treated to two victories in this year’s series.

One for NSW, and one for rugby league.

You can follow these charming clowns on Twitter: Paddy @WarmingthePine and Dane @playup_roosters. You can also find Dane’s blog right here.


It’s all in the attitude

It’s lucky that the NRL isn’t subjected to the same scrutiny as the parliament, because last Thursday’s episode dedicated to the Women in League round would have been shown to have as thin a guise as Beau Ryan’s Tommy Raudonikis. In fact, Beau Ryan’s Tommy only contributed to the disastrous five minutes that could have cost someone their job.

It is not all bad that the slip ups largely escaped censure, because for the most part it was a nice and fitting celebration for the women involved in Rugby League. Overall, one got the impression that the hosts, the writers, the anchors and the crowd were genuinely celebrating what they told us they were celebrating. I will give them credit and say that it really looked like they were trying to celebrate women’s role within the game.

May I say too that Leila McKinnon made a really good guest host and a nice change of pace for a show that can be often be a buffoonery overload. It is wonderful to see someone who really did her research and showed a better understanding of some aspects of the game than the other hosts have in the twenty years the show has been running. Statistics on the footy show that don’t come out of  David Middleton’s mouth? Who’d have thought?

Unfortunately, I couldn’t help but notice the quizzical look on Leila’s face (I’m going out on a limb and say that Leila looks and sounds to me like a good journalist, a well informed person and someone who will not tolerate casual sexism) when Fatty said that “unfortunately” Germaine Greer is still alive. For all her bad stigma in Rugby League circles for whatever reasons,  I doubt that Fatty fully understands Germaine’s contribution to society. And for the eternal deity’s sake, Fatty, can you save the jokes about Germaine for episodes that aren’t ENTIRELY AND EXCLUSIVELY DEDICATED TO WOMEN IN THE GAME OF FOOTBALL? I REALISE IT’S MOSTLY DUDES WHO PLAY, BUT WE’RE TRYING TO SHOOT AN EPISODE THAT CELEBRATES THE ROLE OF PEOPLE WITHOUT A PENIS THIS WEEK. IT WOULD HELP IF YOU DIDN’T MAKE JOKES CASUALLY RIDICULING WOMEN THIS WEEK, AND PROBABLY FOR THE NEXT TWO WEEKS JUST TO BE SAFE.

Thankfully, Beau Ryan as Tommy Raudonikus saved the situation, humourously remarking that Fatty’s job is “Gooooooooooonnnnne.” It could well have been had there been a political correctness brigade watching the show.

Unfortunately for Beau, he too made a couple of sexist gaffs. Firstly, addressing Leila as “Love,” even as Tommy Raudonikis, ain’t on. Secondly, using the word “women” in a derogatory sense, ie. “The Queensland team is full of women,” is not ideal in an episode about how great women are for Rugby League. By this stage the producer would have had no teeth, fingernails or hair.

I suppose Beau could have meant that women are in fact superior to men, and that Queensland’s team has been full of women for the last six years, thus their dominance. But this was patently not what Beau meant, and it was, in fact, meant as an insult.

While none of these things are not super sexist, and didn’t prompt a media shitstorm or a Mel Gibson revenge movie, I do question the value of these Women in League rounds if the attitude of men within the game is still that backward.

Only this year two players were banned, but not for life, for assaulting their girlfriends. The league celebrates Greg Bird despite his past indiscretions against women. I know they don’t speak for the game, but even Fatty saying it was unfortunate Germaine hadn’t carked it or Beau saying the Queensland team are women shows that the attitude of the game hasn’t progressed as far as the Women in League celebrations would have us think.

But allow me to be positive. They really really tried. They tried to celebrate the women’s role in the game that has a 41% female fanbase, but a little more research and a shift in attitude would make this seem a lot more genuine.

And some basic briefing from someone with a bit of sense might have helped. Tip for the hosts: Don’t associate things female with things necessarily bad or weak. Don’t call females “Love” and “Toots.” And don’t pay out Germaine Greer. Especially on the only week of the year you dedicate the show to women.

You got away with it this time Footy Show, but it’s really time to put your money where your mouth is with this whole Women in League thing.

Stand, spray and deliver.

Critiques from the arm chair