Round 10 (2005) Pirates Vs Panthers
Coos Bay Pirates v Penrith Panthers
Please note - This is a game thread only, therefore only game posts can be made here (Teams, Articles).
Any other posts will result in loss of points and is at the discretion of the referee.
Only original essays, not used in previous games, will be marked by referees.
Home team captain will be allowed 3 reserves, visiting captain will be allowed 2 reserves
Full Time: Wednesday 3rd August at 9pm (Syd time)
Venue: Munich Olympic Stadium
**Referee Blows Game On!**
Last edited by roosterboy60; 07-08-2005 at 06:45 PM..
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Prince Charles for the Pirates
Opinion – A Bulldogs fan's rant.
“Jesus, what the hell was that?” We all turned to look and all we saw was smoke. One minute we were celebrating one of Shifty Sherwin’s greatest ever tries and the next minute we were suddenly concerned about what had just happened on the other side of the stadium.
Is this what life at Bulldogs games is becoming? I am going to forget that there are any other clubs in the competition for one moment. I am going to forget that their fans too are not perfect because to be honest, I really don’t care what their fans do. I only care about what is happening in my street, and I can tell you that the next door neighbours are hell to share a street with.
I originally started following the Bulldogs when I was little more than a baby. Both my parents grew up in the Bankstown area many years ago and they always supported the Bulldogs and that was good enough reason for me. I vaguely remember through the 80’s when we seemed to win premiership after premiership. I guess I never fully understood the meaning of it all but I knew I liked it. Come 1995 I was old enough to not only understand, but to also purchase my own tickets to go and watch my side play in and win the Grand Final. However skip forward to 2004 and whilst it was another premiership win that I attended, I now travel to the games with a different feeling knowing that some of the fans I now sit next to are very different to those that I sat next to in 1995 or celebrated with in the 80’s.
Every time an incident such as the one we saw at Telstra Stadium two weeks ago happens, the instant reaction from Police, Stadium management and the Bulldogs club is to say “we will try and catch the offenders and ban them from the games”. I have long been interested in the theory of banning people from major sporting events. I don’t feel this is possible or a big enough punishment for the crime.
Whilst I feel that implementing things such as requiring identification to enter matches is a step in the right direction, I also feel there needs to be harsher punishments for this crime. We can no longer go to the Footy without being told there is a $5000 fine for entering the playing surface so if it is worth $5000 just for running across a field than surely it should be worth at least $15,000 or jail time for setting off an explosive device in a viewing area. I guess to some, $15,000 may seem excessive for setting off what some have labeled a “firecracker” but if the aim is to truly eradicate people doing this and to also possibly prevent someone getting injured then I feel it is a fair fine.
The next problem that comes about is that many of these offenders are rumored to be little more than children. Some only 16. If this is the case than a different form of punishment will be required. Counseling is usually one of the first things thrown up but I think there should be other labor intensive punishments handed out. I would have no problem if a young offender was handed a tooth brush and instructed to clean every seat at Telstra Stadium however I may not get too much support on that one.
At the end of the day though, a punishment is no good if you can’t catch the offender and this is where I feel all Bulldogs fans need to stand up and start showing some pride in the grand history of our club. Despite Closed Circuit TV and heavy police and security presence at football grounds, not one of these morons ever seem to get caught and that is where fans can step in and help. These people need to be caught and if someone sees something than they must notify police or security immediately.
It is pointless to sit back as a fan time after time and either feel disgusted or point the finger at other clubs as we scream “we are not alone”. Personally, what the papers write has very little effect on me. I just hate going to matches where stupid goings on put fear into some people and distract the majority from the real reason we are there…. To watch the footy.
749 words between the lines
Posted by: Moonfire
I have had a long and hard life, but I would not trade it in for the world. I have played an integral part of the development of the great code of Rugby League. It seems almost like as I matured and developed, so did this lovely sport. Without me it could not exist, which gives me a sense of pride, and a little powerful. Yes, my name is R. Ball, and I am no where near retiring just yet.
I was first appointed to the position in the late nineteenth century. I was no older than thirteen so I was fairly weak and immature. My skin resembled little more than a pig’s bladder. No one seemed to care about the sport I worked for, and I dear say I merely saw this position as a stepping stone into Rugby of maybe even American Football. However I worked to the extent of my ability and as the crowds flocked to the code I was adequately rewarded.
Back then I was a young scallywag. I was cocky and acted like nothing in the world could hurt me. Mind you being younger I was a lot more physically impressive, my mussels rippled through my body making my skin look like it was made of leather. I spent so much time on the beach I had a tan that made me an impressive dark shade of brown.
Yet it all went down hill during the late twentieth century. I travelled over to France for the world cup and caught a mild case of food poisoning from some under cooked frog legs. Being in such a weakened state I fell ill to some awful disease that crippled me for years. I nearly cut my career short, it seemed impossible for me to carry on. Looking back on the photos now I am rather impressed how I still carried out my duties despite being a constant shade of yellow. I still carried out my job to my full potential.
As is usually the case as I grew older my physical prowess diminished. My tough leathery exterior weakened to form some sickly plastic substance. I often blame my illness; I never fully recovered from it. It seemed once I changed my appearance once, I would never return to my former glory. Even today people still talk about my former days as if I was a different person. Yes those were the days. Yes, during this era I was depressed, miserable and had nearly given up hope.
Loosing all hope and ambition I let my self go. Oh I probably gained at least twenty kilograms during that off season. When I returned for training for the World Cup my boss went a shade of scarlet and screamed his nut off. He was not impressed about the state I had let myself become. I was instructed very clearly that unless I lost a lot of weight I would not be allowed to compete. Another low point of my career, yet I picked myself up and had a cracker of a tournament.
To get revenge for a brief period I worked as a spy for the Rugby Union. I carried around a hidden camera to film all the little secrets our code holds. After a year I was discovered, and despite being able to successfully disguise my treachery as being a new innovation called “Ball-Cam” I decided it had become too risky and abandoned any notion of revenge. At last I had found job satisfaction, and as it once did in the cold northern reaches of England, it felt good.
For the last five years I have been chugging away at my job without much alteration. I no longer change my appearance often, and have set about consolidating my performances. I have regained my knack at bouncing at weird angles, and still enjoy being bandied about wily nily. I am a little hurt still that after only five carries players usually tire of me and kicked me away, but after over a decade of this occurring I have developed defences to protect myself, often choosing to go out on the full to spite my abandoner.
So that is my roller coaster story. From my highs to my lows. However in the end it has been a satisfying career so far and I am sure it shall be just as controversial in future decades as it has been so far. Rugby League is my life.
Last edited by moonfire; 03-08-2005 at 10:29 AM..
Azkatro posting for the Panthers.
The man that's sparked a rugby league renaissance
Poor old Wests Tigers. They've been branded strugglers, failures, no-hopers, scandalous, ad nauseum. But regardless of what you might say about this oft-maligned merger, their saviour has come to town in what is shaping up to be a year that the joint venture finally turns the corner.
While saviours are generally considered handsome, rugged, strong, good looking, or at least one of the above, the Tigers have found a much less elegant model - a short, grumpy looking bloke from out Penrith way named Tim Sheens.
Sheens is the most experienced coach in the NRL today. He's seen plenty of highs, such as leading an immensely talented Raiders outfit to three premiership victories. And he's seen the lows, most notably his infamous mid-season departure from the Cowboys in 2001.
But he really has found a home with the Tigers, where he's taken his band of merry men, combined them with a dose of frightfully talented youths and created something of a Wests and Balmain renaissance.
And what a wonderful renaissance it's been. The classicists will harangue us week after week with tales of big forward packs, one ups in the ruck and playing the percentages. Only a reinvention of sorts can take the core traditions and toss them out the window in such a marvellous, enthralling way.
The Tigers have moved away from all of the conceptions you might have about lower-table clubs going nowhere in particular, to having all the hallmarks of a classic tale. Scott Prince captures the essence of Tom Sawyer as he leads his team out of its cave. Benji Marshall is the Peter Pan of the troupe, leaping and gallavanting about the field like he never wants to grow up. Brett Hodgson could easily change his surname to Hrothgar from the epic Beowulf, comparitively drawing from experiences of good (the Eels in 2001) and bad (the Magpies in 1999) to provide stability at the back. And the ever-loyal John Skandalis would do Frodo's companion Samwise the Brave proud, with his determination to help his team complete their quest even when the outlook was hopelessly bleak.
Charming ditties like these can be found throughout the Tigers lineup, and they all combine gloriously in a epic that would make Shakespeare's mouth water and writing feather flutter furiously.
It's an unfinished symphony though, and while many of us are anticipating a fairytale, others are acutely aware that not all stories have a happy ending.
Luckily for the Tigers, Sheens himself sits firmly in the cautious category. “Form can go up and down in a week as we all know; you're only one win away from being back in form and you're one loss away from being out of it,” he's quick to remind us. He seems to have been born with the ability to keep his men sharp, and hungry. He kept the Raiders that way for several years, and if you think it's easy, just ask supporters of the Panthers or Roosters how much they could use such a skill right now.
While we've seen plenty of gatherings of journeymen and youngsters over the years, they've rarely worked this well. Usually the result is a struggle to avoid the wooden spoon born out of a lack of true competitive spirit. Other times they've missed having someone good enough to correctly put the jigsaw puzzle together. Or maybe they didn't quite have the talent.
The Tigers are different because they can tick all of the above boxes. The journeymen come in the form of players like Paul Whatuira, Todd Payten, Scott Prince and Brett Hodgson; the youngsters are the impressive Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah, Liam Fulton and Dene Halatau to name a few. And of course the master artist, Tim Sheens. It's shaping up to be one of his best works. His highly revered Canberra piece was akin to a paint-by-numbers - such an awesome team practically picked itself.
But he's started from an almost empty canvas this time. The picture is really coming together and a work this impressive - and original - could trigger the start of a new era in the game. And most importantly of all, the fans are loving it!
The famous man of the Renaissance period, Leonardo da Vinci, used to sign his works “lo, Leonardo” meaning “I, Leonardo”. Perhaps it wouldn't be too out of place to mark the Wests Tigers 2005 team poster accordingly: “lo, Tim”.
747 words. Liftoff!
Last edited by Azkatro; 03-08-2005 at 02:33 PM..
Little League- Big on Content
As the pre-eminent rugby league publication in the Australian market for a number of years, one would not expect the publishers of Big League to feel inclined to tinker with their winning product. But they did just that this year, sending a bold statement that they would not fall victim to complacency, by introducing the exciting new insert, Little League. While competing League mag RLW completely ignores the kiddies by featuring nothing remotely childish, bar the mole column, Big League has wisely paid heed to the maxim “Children are the future.”
Having chosen not to part with any of my cash to buy a league magazine for most of this season, preferring to read them for free in the newsagent, I hadn’t until recently had an opportunity to discover why critics were raving about Little League, with comments like “It’s the best thing since Super League.” With the purchase of the Round 20 Big League, I finally had the chance to discover what all the fuss was about. Ignoring the two handsome Tigers players on the cover, I flicked through the magazine’s pages with a reckless haste, finally discovering the Little League section buried deep within. A stylish drawing of Reg Reagan, done in colouring pencil by the looks of it, adorned the cover. “Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra Ra” was depicted within a speech bubble coming out of Reg’s mouth, and I couldn’t help but agree with those sentiments. I opened the booklet.
The first page featured an interview with John Sutton, conducted by Footy Head, a popular columnist at the Big League offices. John speaks about haircuts, his admiration for Brad Fittler, and describes the buzz he gets when Souths actually manage to win a game. The article was accompanied by a neat cartoon strip where a strangely Caucasian looking Sutton pulls a rabbit out of his hat.
Following a profile on Canberra Raiders star Jason Smith, where he answers readers e-mails, comes the Gallery section, with some great illustrations on display. My favourite is probably the one by the young cowboys fan, for its bold use of colours and imaginative design, but all the kids are to be commended for their efforts, even the one who drew Brett Kimmorley.
The puzzles section followed, and lived up to its name as I was greeted with the puzzling images of the aforementioned Kimmorley, and eels captain Nathan Cayless, blurred slightly out of focus. A little investigation revealed it to be a Who Am I? game; I correctly guessed ‘Brett Kimmorley’ and ‘Nathan Cayless’ without even resorting to the clues, and felt good about myself. A Spot the difference also featured, as well as a contest to win Singstar pop by writing a match report. Being 21 prevented me entering, but I was consoled by the fact I didn’t have a playstation 2 anyway.
A two page spread of “power player” Frank Pritchard filled the centre of the magazine; this would make a perfect poster for anyone’s wall.
I soon stumbled across the highlight of the magazine, ‘The Drill’. This section offered ideas for improving your rugby league skills. “If only I had this magazine as a child,” I thought to myself as I read about the running and passing exercises, “I woulda been a superstar fo sho.” Perhaps a little presumptuous, but I’m sure given a human voice, ‘The Drill’ would tell me never to abandon my self-belief.
The second last page featured the product of the week, pet gear. This awesome innovation offers a variety of products including a lead, collar, Frisbee, name tag and bowl, ideal for anyone’s pet, well apart from fans of the Raiders, Sharks, Storm, Sea Eagles and Rabbitohs, who aren’t featured in the range.
Little League closes out with the club of the week, a perfect way to end a perfect lift out. The team featured for Round 20 was Bribie Island, a developing club just north of Brisbane. Judging by those smiles in the team photo, they’re over-joyed with the free Gatorade they’ll be receiving as their prize.
Overall, I give Little League 10 out of 10, and I’ll definitely consider reading it again. I recommend this for all ages.
703 words, including title.
Big Mick takes a massive Captains hit up for the Panthers in their charge to the finals series.-------------------------------------
Why do we love the underdog?
“So, without taking anything away from these 'winners' I think you would agree that we do love it when the underdog has his day”
“The Australian psyche has a deeply implanted admiration for the underdog. It supports individuals and teams that triumph against the odds”
“We cheer loudest when the underdog wins and we rejoice in the notion that regardless of where you are from, no matter how rich or poor, you still have a chance of going all the way”
Supporting the underdog has been a part of Australian rugby league history since its formation in 1908. It’s the great notion that if your team is not in the final’s series, you will support the team who has the least chance of winning. Why as a culture do we do this? Wouldn’t it be more logical to choose a winning team? Everyone loves a winner right? In Australia that notion of “I’ll support whoever will win” is not a part of our culture and never will be as long as there is an underdog.
As Australian’s we love the underdog. A team that after year’s of battling with heartache and defeat has conquered all before them. It all reverts to the theory of the “Aussie battler” who with nothing at all manages to rise to the top and reach the pinnacle of their game. In rugby league there is one of these stories every season. A team that comes from the shadows that everyone wants to see win as they appear the least likely to achieve it. In 2001 it was the Knights. Despite the Novocastrians having the “Andrew Johns factor”, Parramatta were touted as invincible and no one could find a feasible answer to how Newcastle could win. However, people supported Newcastle in droves and urged Newcastle to their second premiership.
In 2002, it was the New Zealand Warriors. Despite winning the minor premiership the Warriors gave up favouritism in the grand final to the Sydney Roosters who finished lower on the table. As usual, the Australian culture immediately jumped on the Warriors bandwagon, but this time, it was not enough to bring home the trophy.
In 2003, the Penrith Panthers were the underdog, having won the wooden spoon in 2001 and finishing12th the following year; critics were again predicting the Panthers as wooden spoon favourites. Despite all their inexperience the Panthers completed a remarkable season finishing minor premiers and making it to the grand final to face the defending premiers, the Roosters. The Roosters were again favourites, and the underdog supporters lifted the Panthers to a heroic and fairytale victory.
The 2004 series gave us another memorable underdog in the North Queensland Cowboys. In their first ever finals appearance, the Cowboys went from seventh place to beat the Bulldogs and Brisbane to play the Sydney Roosters in the preliminary final. Everyone was trying to get the Cowboys a famous victory, but it wasn’t enough to make that elusive grand final.
But the question we must ask is where does this effectuation derive? Is it due to the Australian nature of wanting an even competition? We live our lives by suggesting that it’s ok to have success and to be part of a successful club, but that success should only last so long. We crave the day that the best is beaten by those who are given no chance.
We forget that these successful clubs of today, were once overshadowed by the successful clubs of yesteryear and will again be overshadowed by the successful clubs of tomorrow. Success is brought about as a result of hunger after defeat. In a vicious cycle success will eventually happen again, through the heartache of supporters, tenacity of the coaching staff and the ability of the players to conquer adversity…..but only for a while.
This season we’ve seen a changing of the guard once again. In the most even competition on record, who will be the underdog in 2005? I think the answer is simple. The West Tigers have captured the hearts and minds of all rugby league fans, utilising their juniors to execute an exciting brand of play. In the upcoming finals series, I will be supporting the Tigers in the hope of pushing them to a grand final victory, because like many others that will follow in my footsteps, I want to be a part of the great Australian tradition of supporting the underdog, because lets face it…Who doesn’t like the underdog?
Last edited by Big Mick; 03-08-2005 at 06:49 PM..
pantherz9103 for Penrith
‘That damn left upright!’
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday to You,
Happy Birthday Dear Michael,
You just cost us the game!
Way back in 1993 when I was team goalkicker for the Hills Bulls Under 12’s seconds team, I bought a special yellow kicking tee from the local sports equipment store. Prior to this I would become frustrated by having to set up a mound and it would waste time. As soon as I started using this yellow kicking tee, I settled on a kicking style and began to kick goals with ease.
This all happened back in 1993, a year of resurgence for the Hills Bulls Under 12’s seconds. The previous year we had precious little to show for. The Under 11’s seconds were a team of triers and honest toilers but we didn’t have much in the way of attack with a couple of kids who needed to lay off the donuts and tall gangly figures who didn’t exactly fit into the category of ‘athletes’. But in 1993 when we became the Under 12’s seconds we benefited from picking up a few of the weaker players that were a part of the Under 11 Firsts. I remember a tall and pacy centre, called Josh. He was our ‘marquee’ player if you could believe such a thing for a mod league team. We began the year with a couple of heavy losses and many of us were thinking ‘here we go again’, but this kid called Josh helped turn our season around. His powerful right hand fend left defenders in his wake as he crossed for numerous tries. He installed terror in the opposition with his front on tackling style and he even came up with the odd shoulder charge! ‘Sonny Bill, eat your heart out is what he might say now.’
I was excited in the lead up to my 12th birthday. My grandmother from Queensland was coming down to see me for my birthday and she was going to watch the game on the weekend. We were coming second in the competition and playing the first placed team, the might of Canley Vale.
Some of the Canley Vale boys were pretty big for age 12. I recall a young Polynesian prop for them that really took some stopping, even though he was carrying a bit of weight. We would sledge him with the very unoriginal ‘Who ate the Pies?’ jibe, but he would reply as we tackled him “Careful, you don’t wanna lose your hand in there.”
Both teams notched 1 try worth 3 points in the first half and both conversions were successful. The halftime score was 5 all as we walked to the sideline for halftime oranges. My coach who I cannot recall his correct name but we all knew him simply as ‘Duster’ anyway, told me
“It looks like its going to go down to the wire today Mick. You better have your kicking boots on.”
After an uneventful next 10 minutes, the pudgy Canley Vale prop suddenly broke free of our defence and set up his five eighth under the posts. The conversion was missed. We trailed 5-8. Luckily our star centre Josh made a break from dummy half and set up our winger with one pass. ‘Duster’ was calling for us to make more than one pass to finish the move off, because an extra pass would have resulted in a five point try.
All I had to do was convert the try to win the game and go to the top of the table. I felt nervous with my dad, my mum and granny watching. The pressure and distractions got to me as I toe poked the kick like an unco-ordinated imposter. The kick hit the left upright and bounced back. ‘No!’ I cried. I couldn’t believe it. The game finished 8 all and the Canley Vale boys gave me some cheeky looks to rub it in. Some of my team mates consoled me but others weren’t to shy to have a go at me, reminding me that I had cost them the chance to go top of the table with that missed conversion.
My missed kick had an adverse affect on the rest of the Bulls season, as we lost the majority of remaining games to miss out on the final five altogether. I didn’t play with the Hills Bulls the following season. Instead I played touch football, atleast it was a game with no pressure conversions!
748 words, including title
Thierry Henry- Pirates
Makasini Richter aka Lipina Kaufusi aka Jackson Kaufusi recently made a return to first grade for the Bulldogs, having last played (under the latter two names) for the Wests Tigers in 2001. He is certainly something of a mystery man- many fans have been rather slow to realise that Makasini is Jackson is Lipina, while his age has been variously reported as anywhere between 19 and 28. Neither NRL.com nor bulldogs.com.au are able to offer any information beyond his current name (and who knows how long he will last in his current incarnation anyway?). Given all of this confusion and uncertainty, it’s probably no surprise that Makasini can become rather schizophrenic. Tiger fans remember fondly the barnstorming charges of his early games (well, the first one), and seemingly astute Bulldogs fans could tell that his talents belonged in a loftier arena than lowly Premier League. Even Ray Warren and co weren’t immune to Makasini’s charms, rather prematurely lavishing him with praise after what, in all honesty, was a rather unconvincing return to the top grade in the admittedly white hot atmosphere of a Friday night game against Brisbane. Predictably, just one week after his seemingly triumphal return, Makasini is back in the doldrums, dropped after the Dogs shock 37-24 loss to South Sydney.
If you think that sounds a little strange, you’re right. If you don’t think it sounds strange, you’re probably one of the Tigers fans with long memories that recall Richter/Kaufusi’s embarrassing displays, particularly defensively and under the high ball, back in 2001. I certainly don’t remember them, but I’ve been convinced that they happened, just as I’ve been convinced that the reason for the Dogs 13 point loss to the perennial cellar dwellers was totally the fault of an unproven winger, and not a dismal effort from their star-studded forward pack, or a lack of direction from experienced halves. By the same token, I’m almost starting to believe that it makes perfect sense to blame the Warriors dismal effort against the hapless Panthers on the performance of winger Francis Meli- after all, he’s the only Warrior dropped this week, replaced by 18 year old back rower Simon Mannering. He’s bound to do better on the wing than a 110 game veteran, right?
For some reason, NRL fans love scapegoats. It’s the same in all sports; Damien Martyn can average 50 all he wants, but he’ll never be good enough for many cricket fans and media. Some players just seem to rub people up the wrong way. Brett Kimmorley is a shining example. He has achieved everything there is to achieve in rugby league, and yet many are ready to swear that he is utterly inept; Sharks fans in particular. Last year, Raiders fans seemed unanimous in their condemnation of Jason Bulgarelli as the main reason for their team’s failings, even when he was restricted to ten-minute cameos off the bench. Matt Gidley has earned the tag of “turnstile” for life, despite fairly standard tackling statistics, and as far as I’m concerned, I’m a better player than Clinton Toopi.
What makes a player a scapegoat? Sometimes you can pinpoint a single incident, a moment of supreme ineptitude that will tarnish a players name until he retires and beyond. Every Raider fan knows that it was Bulgarelli who dropped the ball over the line against the Warriors in 2003, effectively costing the Green Machine a place in the Grand Final qualifier. Kimmorley’s alleged desire for a monumental pay packet when he switched from the Storm to the Northern Eagles, coupled with the fact that apparently Chris Anderson quite likes him, seems to have placed an inordinate focus on every mistake he has made for the last 5 years. Whenever the Roosters lose, Brett Finch will cop the blame, because…. he’s excitable? He has bad teeth? Oh right, it’s because his Dad happens to be the referee’s boss, and he kicked the ball out on the full once for the Raiders…. or something like that.
Frankly, sometimes it’s almost impossible to explain why someone is a scapegoat. They just are. It’s not easy being a scapegoat, but in many cases it ensures a player a stronger and more enduring fame than his dubious talents would otherwise deserve. As my good friend Nalin once said, “whenever I think of crap players, I think of Brad Watts.” If Makasini Richter manages to embed himself in people’s minds like that, he should have nothing to complain about
Last edited by Manu Vatuvei; 03-08-2005 at 09:07 PM..
Godz Illa ~ Pirates
Painless F7’s Guide
I worked very hard on my last F7’s article, and was immensely pleased and proud of the results. Unfortunately, I received a disappointing score from the referee. This sent me into a spiral of shame - causing much reflection and navel-gazing - and I lost my love for writing F7’s. But that was then. Thankfully, the love has returned, so I want to share it with all my fellow F7 lovers and lovers of F7s.
Writing an F7’s article is one of the most easy, pain-free, and happy ways to pass the time in all the arts. For example, right now I am sitting in a sun-drenched room typing on my new computer, looking out onto a rose garden. Each rose represents a story, so I’m never at a loss for what to write. I just look deep into the heart of the rose and read its story and write it down through typing, which I enjoy anyway. I could be typing “askjgbvs aanbch kuij” and would enjoy it as much as typing words that actually make sense. I simply relish the movement of my fingers on the keys. Sometimes, it is true, agony visits the head of a writer. At these moments, I stop writing and relax with a latte at my favourite restaurant, knowing that words can be changed, rethought, fiddled with, and, of course, ultimately denied. Painters don’t have that luxury. If they go to a café, their paint dries into a hard mass.
Location, Location, Location
I would recommend to writers that they live in Sydney, because here they can look up at the blue sky in between those moments of looking into the heart of a rose. I feel sorry for writers - and there are some pretty famous ones - who live in places like Uzbekistan or Melbourne, where I imagine it gets pretty dreary. These writers are easy to spot. Their work is often depressing and filled with disease, negativity and AFL.
Writers Block: A Myth
Writer’s block is a fancy term made up by losers so they can have an excuse to drink alcohol. Sure a writer can get stuck for a while, but when that happens to real authors, they simply go out and get an ‘as told to’. It is also much easier to write when you have someone to ‘bounce’ with. This is someone to sit in a room and exchange ideas, or perhaps an F7’s teammate over the net. It is good if the last name of the person you choose to bounce with is Salinger. The other trick I use when I have a momentary stoppage is virtually foolproof, and I’m happy to pass it along. Watch a game involving the Dragons. More inspiring than the heart of a rose, gosh, the ideas flow like a geyser.
Because topics are in such short supply, I have provided a few for writers who may be suffering in the darker climes. File some of these away, and look through them during the suicidal winter months:
“Naked Visceral Halfbacks”: This is a good sexy title with a lot of promise.
How about an opinion piece highlighting the historical changes and nuances of the play-the-ball area over the years. Might be a challenge to fill the word count, but, with talent, the challenge can be met.
Something about how much you love your team despite their lack of success, and how amazing that is (I smell a 90+ score here!)
I have two observations about referees:
1. Nowadays, they can be either male or female.
2. They love to be referred to by their appropriate pronoun. If your referee is male, refer to him as ‘he’. If your referee is female, ‘she’ is considered more correct. Once you have established a rapport, ‘Babe’ is also acceptable for either sex.
The important thing to remember is to simply have fun, and not take it too seriously. Relish the journey, rather than the destination. Don’t bind your article or yourself to the score you receive. I did that, and my aforementioned spiral of shame ensued. My F7’s team helped me recover, and that is one of the truly special things about this concept. The team environment is something to savour, so support your teammates, even when they write crap. To my team, I apologise for this crap I have just written - I hope you understand.
Finally, I can’t overstress the importance of having a powerful closing sentence.
half | Pirates
It’s a typical morning in California. Paris takes her poodle for a walk, Tom leans over to Katie and tells her how much he loves her, David saves another life down at the beach. Scott squeezes out a final bench press, a new personal best. He takes a look around the yard – blacks, latinos, bikies, Nazis, trannies. He shouldn’t be here. This place was not intended for someone like Scott Raymond Thomas.
Back in Australia, the Newcastle Knights are also at their lowest point ever, sitting on the bottom of the NRL ladder. Having grown up in the Hunter region, the team has held a special place in Scott’s heart since their inception. Scott often told me about experiences of his days in the Newcastle juniors, where he played with close pals Owen Craigie and John Morris. Scott was gifted at whatever he applied himself to, with more natural talent than Owen and better looks than John. However, it was always music that flowed through Scott’s blood.
Released to small fanfare in Australia at the beginning of 2004, Scott Raymond Thomas’ critically revered debut album Fixing the Unbreakable made him a household name in the USA, where his contemporary blend of rock and pop proved to be a hit on almost every radio station. However, Scott was already well known in the music scene for his rare song writing ability. He could pen a fine lyric like few others, Vanessa Carlton’s 1000 Miles just one hit credited to Scott in a list of many.
Scott had all a young man could ever dream of. Money, cars, babes, a romance with a high profile NRL player – he lived the playboy lifestyle and appreciated every minute of it. Yet there was another side to Scott that not many people knew of. Though I originally knew Scott from his insightful and often funny posts on rugby league forums where he posted under the nickname Sportsjock, it was through MSN chat where I discovered the true nature of Scott. Sportsjock invoked feelings of envy in others by frequently pointing out his success in life and obvious good looks. Scott Raymond Thomas was grounded and mature, he cared for others. He loved sharing a good story and loved hearing one just as much. I can honestly say he was the most intriguing character I have ever known on the internet. I considered Scott a real friend. I still do.
June 6, 2004. I recall the night before, chatting with Scott on MSN. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary – we spoke about footy and Scott’s imminent trip to Los Angeles to watch the Lakers play. He loved all sports. It was a great conversation, yet it was to be our final contact. The night after, it was anastabation telling me about Scott’s arrest as he stepped off the plane in Los Angeles. I was in a state of disbelief. Internet fraud? They said he sold Lakers playoff tickets on eBay and accepted the money, only to send mocking emails back to his alleged victims, instead of the promised tickets. That did not sound like the man I knew. I always knew in Scott I would have a friend I could brag to my other friends about as my brush with fame, I just never imagined he would become famous like this.
It was almost uncanny. As prosecutors built their case against Scott, the Newcastle Knights crumbled into a state of ineptitude. A link was evident. It ended up becoming too much for Scott. Too proud to plead guilty and too smart to plead innocent against the corrupt Californian system, Scott pled no contest to the charges put forth against him and accepted a plea bargain, minimising a possible 15 year sentence to just 3 years. It was an ironic sentence considering Scott actually spent 3 years working on his first album. One can only wonder what Scott is coming up with in prison for his sophomore effort. 2Pac, Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim. Scott Raymond Thomas isn’t the first recording artist to go to prison and won’t be the last. I can only hope the experience doesn’t change him from the Scott I once knew so well.
“I always learnt any publicity is good publicity. I think it evens out in the end.”
I often wonder what, if anything, could even out 3 years in prison for Scott. A premiership for his beloved Newcastle Knights in 2007 would be fitting.
Big Mick posting by proxy for Leaguenut, approved by Theirry Henry
Sometimes there are just no words
How many of you League fans out there have imagined what it would be like for your club to win the Premiership?
Admittedly, some of you wouldn’t have to imagine. But others would have dreamed about that moment for years, or even decades. If you’re anything like me, you would have imagined every tiny detail – from the build-up, to the Grand Final (where of course you would be sitting front-row-centre to support your team), to the huge party afterwards in a celebration of the ultimate achievement – and naturally, you’d get to hold the trophy aloft at some stage.
Surely part of being a fan is to allow yourself the odd delusional fantasy now and then.
Let’s turn things around for a second – have you imagined what it would be like for your club to “win” the Wooden Spoon?
Again, for some fans it’s not a matter of imagination. I know that as a Warriors fan, I was certainly preparing myself for the worst last year. There’s a nasty feeling of resignation that sets in, followed by a desperate scramble inside the nerves of the brain to rationalise the final result. It’s much easier to explain away a Wooden Spoon if you’ve got 20 different excuses figured out first.
Again, part of being a fan is to prepare yourself for the almost torturous cycle of highs and lows that come with following your team. Hell, via the Top 8 Calculator, the NRL even offer an online tool to assist with the preparations!
But now there’s a scenario that I’m finding bloody impossible to prepare for. Even though I’ve known about it for months, it’s still one of those things that seems like it would never actually happen.
The Warriors are losing Stacey Jones.
And as soon as I’ve typed that sentence, the brain nerves kick in. “That sentence can’t be right, Stacey Jones IS the Warriors! You can’t have one without the other, he’s always going to be there, there’s no Warriors without Stacey …..”
The words trail off, increasingly clouded by an awful shroud of reality.
But no matter how hard I try and comprehend it, there’s something that’s just not sitting right. Even now, I’m trying to imagine the 2006 Warriors taking the field at Ericsson Stadium - and Stacey Jones will be all the way over on the other side of the world, playing in France.
Now the brain nerves have piped up again. “HAHAHAHAHA!! France!?! That’s got to be a joke, someone’s pulling your leg mate. Stacey wouldn’t ever want to play for someone else!!”
What’s really sad is that I still think my brain is telling the truth.
Look, you don’t need me to sit here and tell you that Stacey Jones IS the Warriors. That’s already a well know fact. Actually, I reckon that about 90% of the Warriors squad could walk from Hamilton to Invercargill and hardly be recognised. If Stacey tried the same thing, he’d be surrounded by hordes of fans from the very first step.
That’s probably part of the reason he’s leaving, I guess.
The only thing I can do is grimly hang on to the cloud of denial that is keeping me (relatively) sane. Sure, I’ll rock up to Ericsson for his last game at home against the Knights in a couple of weeks time, and do everything that I can to ensure we give him the best damn send-off possible. There’ll be plenty of yelling and cheering, and I’ll probably shed a tear or two as well. But I’ll still leave that night without actually realising that we won’t see …
Now I can’t even finish that sentence. It just doesn’t make any sense.
There’s absolutely no denying that The Little General has been the cornerstone of the Warriors team pretty much right from the start. His contribution to the club is next to impossible to express, and even if I tried I probably wouldn’t do it justice. It’s going to take one hell of a player to ever top what he has done.
And now there’s one more thought coming out of the brain nerves – maybe one day another player will come along who can match everything that Stacey has done. Maybe the numerous records that Stacey holds for the Warriors will be bumped off as new generations of stars push forward.
Hopefully by then, I’ll finally be able to picture a Warriors team without Stacey Jones.
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