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2011 WILLOW CUP ROUND 2: Bluebags -V- Titans


Assistant Moderator

Game Thread:
* This is a game thread only. Only game posts can be made here - team lists, substitutions, and articles.
* Any other posts may result in loss of points and is at the discretion of the referee.
* Only original articles, not used in previous games, will be marked by referees.

Naming Teams:
* 3 -V- 3 (+ 4 reserves for each team)
* No 'TBA' or changing players named
* Captains must stick with original teams named

Rules: http://forumsevens.com.au/rules.php
Official Word Counter: http://forumsevens.com.au/wordcount.php

Kick Off: Sunday 5 June 2011 (2100AEST)
Full Time: Saturday 11 June 2011 (2100AEST)
Referee: griffo346
Venue: Front Row Stadium

NOTE: The winner of this match will play the winner of Rabbitohs v Ninjas in the Willow Cup final.
Last edited by a moderator:


Assistant Moderator
The baggers bus has skidded onto the sodden pitch of The Front Row Stadium. The players alight, put out their ciggies, put on their clobber... and run onto the field.


DecoyRunner (F7s debut)
Willow (c)

AlwaysGreen (vc)
Red Bear

Good luck one and all. :thumn


DecoyRunner strides out for the Bluebags, shoulder pads on the outside of his jersey...


Days Of Thunder

“We just do.”

That was it. Care to elaborate, Tank? Nope. Why do we hate Brothers? We just do. Sure, they had more money, better equipment, better facilities, better players and richer parents, but to Lionel “Tank” Hills, fearless captain of the under-11s South Townsville Rugby League team and the coolest kid I’ve ever known, it seemed enough that they existed at all. I was the smallest kid in the side and Tank was the biggest so to me his word was gospel. Had he instructed me to hate my own mother I would have, no questions asked. Luckily for her, I was only ordered to despise the Leprechauns. I didn’t require much convincing.

The first game I ever played against the Brethren was memorable for three things:

1. Playing on their beautifully appointed field, the softness and scent of which I shall never forget,

2. Having my face shoved into that magnificent pitch after being pushed into touch and having the ugliest ten year old in the history of children tell me to “suck sh*t” and;

3. Watching Tank chuck the ball, run over and single-handedly take on their entire bench after fifteen minutes of listening to them disparage our team and families.

They jeered as Tank was hauled off the field and banned from returning by the referee. He was also suspended for the rest of the season, a grass-stained martyr for our childish yet disturbingly violent cause. Some of us went to school with Brothers players and the feud often spilled over onto the playground. Every barb, every scuffle became another reason to hate them.

Over the years we played the Leprechauns many times, losing all but one game; a thirty to four romp in under 16s during which two parents were banned for the entire season and many of us dripped blood from our noses from minute five to minute forty. These weren’t just games of footy. They were battles in a war that never ended. Every other weekend was about getting picked for the run-on side, scoring a try and winning with your mates. Weekends in which we were scheduled to meet the Brethren were about smacking the crap out of anything in blue and white and damn the result.

We rarely won and were relentlessly mocked at junior carnivals, but we were The Men In Red. That meant something to us and no one was prouder of their team than we small band of brothers. After all, we were playing for the junior club of mighty Queenslanders Gene Miles and Colin Scott. Our coach never let us forget our heritage. We were part of a team that was created in 1914, a foundation club of the Townsville Rugby League. We didn’t win any comps in my time, but we won the March Past three years in a row. We marched taller and with more conviction than anybody. Oh, how we marched. In this way we honoured our predecessors because we sure as Hell couldn’t honour them with grand final victories.

My cousins all played for Upper Ross and my Uncles always asked why I didn’t switch. Their kids were winning grand finals and getting into the paper while we were propping up the bottom of the table. Sure, I could have switched. Might have enjoyed winning for a change; I don’t know. What I do know is that I wouldn’t have missed South’s next game against Brothers for a thousand grand final wins. The memories of running out onto the field with my mates knowing that not only were we going to lose, but that we were probably going to get punched in the face at some stage are still some of my most treasured.

Now, I go to watch my nephew play and the smell of Deep Heat mingled with that of freshly cut grass still has me searching for a blue and white opponent upon whom I can lay an outrageous head-high tackle.

I haven’t spoken to Tank since those heady days of heavily starched jerseys, half-time orange slices and full-time frozen poppers; the wonders of social networking seem to have escaped the big lock. To this day I still don’t know exactly why he hated Brothers so much. Not that it matters. Tank has his reasons and I have mine. Whatever they are I like to think that we'd both still spit with venom at anything decked out in the hated White with Navy Hoops.
748 words (owc) between the perforations.


First Grade
Adorned in moss and tresses of willow, pirouetting evocatively to that old favourite Osama ya Mama, here come the Titans:

1. Amadean
2. Tittoolate
11. Titanic

6. tits&tans
7. Titan Uranus
9. bgdc
18. lockyno1


Cliffhanger runs takes the field for the Bluebags.

750 Words

You’re Off Your Head Ref

NRL referees have it tough. You may not care, you may believe they deserve any misfortune that befalls them, but they have a hard task ahead of them every week. Not only do they have to do their job in front of thousands of emotionally invested fans, but they do it with the knowledge that no matter how well they do it, they will still cop it. Nobody attends a sporting match to cheer on the referees.

There are few things you can predict at the start of the season with great confidence, referees being scrutinised happens to be one of them. Yes, although no two NRL seasons are exactly alike you can guarantee in each one there will be a handful of close matches where a contentious call played a significant enough role in the final score to leave players and fans fuming.

Yes it happens often and it is damn frustrating, referees get it wrong and maybe had they got it right the result would have been different. Sometimes they did get it right, but under a different interpretation of the rule the call was wrong. Contentious calls are a referee’s greatest challenge and are part of what separates quality referees from average ones. It’s unavoidable that referees will have to make 50-50 calls and sometimes referees are going to get them wrong and on occasion these decisions come at crucial stages of the match. Human error cannot be eliminated, and referees are human but the fact remains a team needs to focus on what they can do and not what the referee should have done.

The referee’s decision is perhaps the only aspect of a match which is totally out of the players’ hand and this is precisely why the referees cannot decide who emerges victorious. Face it, Rugby League is an 80 minute game and your side lost the match because they did not do enough to win it. Maybe your team did get the raw deal on that call and the referee deserved to be called whatever expletive you yelled out, but there were more decisive moments where your team’s weaknesses were exposed. Things are said in the heat of the moment, and fair enough we fans expect better from referees. I mean who among us has ever called out a referees name during a match without it being followed or preceded by a barrage of expletives? Seriously, how hard could it possibly be to see that, that pass was a metre forward? There are some things they should just not get wrong; however blaming the referee for your team’s loss is a completely different story.

Contentious calls do not decide matches; contentious calls show what a side is made of and exactly how strong their desire for victory is. What better test of a side’s mental strength than a call where the rub of the green did not go their way, however the decision is not in their hands, however how they respond is.

More disciplined sides will focus on what is ahead of them, accept what has happened and be ready for their next challenge. On the other hand a less focused team will shake their heads in disbelief, as their captain rushes up to the referee demanding the referee reverse a call he cannot. That’s not to say referees should not be criticised when they get it so blatantly wrong, however it is in nobody’s interests for a player to criticise a refereeing decision during the match and quite frankly it gets them nowhere apart from on the referee’s wrong side. In fact, if ever there was a time for the NRL to introduce a rule which bans replays of contentious calls during a match it is now. It is rule which has been applied in many international sporting leagues and there appears to be a strong case for applying it in the NRL. Once the whistle has been blown, replays of the incident on the big screen can neither benefit the players nor the referee, especially if it vindicates the player’s assertion that the referee was wrong as this knowledge tends to be detrimental to the players mentality as he cannot shake the feeling that his side was robbed.

Bad calls are always going to be a reality of the game, no referee is immune from making them and despite what you claim, you could not do a better job and neither could a trained monkey.


First Grade
Titanic for the Titans (750 OWC)

Taking Aim

The heavy mahogany boardroom door swung shut with a somber sigh, followed by a distinctive ”snick”, reminiscent of a wafer-thin "outside edge" or the machine-tooled thrust as a new round is chambered into a high powered rifle.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen,” the Chairman began, “you all know why we're here. Let’s get on with it. Who’d like to start?” His eyes probed the executive committee members, perched like vultures around the antique stained-walnut table; seeking weakness or a lack of resolve.

“How about you, Ranga? You’ve always had a lot to say about team selection.”

“Geez, Sid, it’s more than team bloody selection… the whole freakin’ mob have lost the plot.”

It is generally agreed that a minimum of a thousand foot-pounds round is normal. For the biggest game like scrub buffaloes that requirement is ratcheted up to roughly fifteen hundred foot-pounds at five hundred yards. In this case, he was using pointed boat-tailed 140-grain rounds that would drop just about anything on four hooves and certainly anyone on two feet.

“Yeah, Ranga’s right, Sid. The boys just seem to have lost interest in the club,” took up membership officer Barbara, the club captain's mother. “Even my Jamie’s had enough. He could play on that ankle if he really wanted to.”

Chief Executive Officer Smithy, chimed in, “This won’t get us anywhere. We’ve heard it all before; from the grubs at the hill bar to the sponsors’ boxes. It’s unanimous. Even the goddamn papers agree, he’s got to go.”

“Not everybody Smithy! It’s only halfway through the season, where are your guts?” club patron Mad Barry interjected. “You all seem to have forgotten that we were heading downhill before Boof agreed to join us. He’s a legend, played for Australia, won premierships, we were lucky to get him… nobody else would've touched us with a barge pole.”

“Crap Barry, we know it cost you an arm and a leg to get him here but be reasonable, we haven’t even looked like winning a game,” begged Ranga.

He steadied himself, fixing his grip around the stock and underbelly of the gun but relaxing his muscles. This was the magic recipe of the long-range hunter, firm but loose, heartbeat and breaths mellow, unhurried.

“Okay, okay, that’s enough!” chided the boss, “The media are waiting and I have my nearly daughter-in-law’s engagement party to attend. Bring him in, please Toby?”

He drew a bead with his rifle, sighting through a scope manufactured by Zeiss, the same outfit that had supplied the Third Reich. It had everything that an experienced shooter would expect in a high-end sighting device; o-ring seals and nitrogen fill for fog proofing with enhanced field of vision. Everything was now in readiness for that crucial moment when his prey would enter the kill zone.

“Good evening everybody,” enthused Cyril “Boof” Watkins the head coach, his demeanour almost arrogant, belying his seventy years, “I was surprised to see all your cars outside when we finished training.”

“Look, I’ll cut to the chase. There are rumours flying everywhere. I’m sure you’ve heard them too,” cajoled the Chairman.

“How could I not?" chortled the coach, "You wonder where the leaks spring from but I’m no stranger to scuttlebutt. In fact, it was this club’s reputation for transparency which attracted me in the first place.”

With the butt of the weapon hard to his bicep, his index finger dropped to the trigger guard and from there to the curved alloy. With one pull, the ultra-heated round would burst from the barrel, lands and grooves branded into its metalic hide from the force of the rapid expulsion.

Stifling a rush of adrenaline Sid ventured, “And what do you have to say about all that conjecture?”

“Well, I would apologise to you all for the anguish, however, considering that this was not a part of our argeement I feel I have nothing to apologise for.”

Ranga exploded, “And why not, for heaven’s sake?”

“Righty-o, just hold it there a minute. I’ve got someone you all should meet,” and without waiting for accord the embattled coach left the room.

The quarter gram metal missile would cover the distance between man and beast roughly six times faster than if it were perched in a seat on a commercial airplane. Again that antique sigh as the time-worn hinges opened and two men entered the room. His aim waivered momentarily as his vision blurred in indecision.

“Gentlemen, may I introduce Mr. Darren Lockyer, our five-eight for next season?”
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To the roar of his fan, TTL (in blue, exhibiting a spectacular flick pass below) charges on for the Titans and punts high with this 746 words after the line.

The Fundamental Interconnectedness of Rugby League
(apols to Douglas Adams, RIP)

Mumbai, India.


Sunday Morning 10am.

34deg, 80% humidity. Not a cloud.

I’ve just exhausted my annual supply of luck, and my adrenaline reserve, by riding an old Enfield for 2 hours on Mumbai roads. I’m very, very, very late 40’s (and shall remain so for another decade), not especially fit and, as the story will show, not particularly bright.

The guys want to get together and play touch rugby for an hour. What would you do? Tell them “No! Touch produces more injuries in late, late 40s blokes then Blues supporters conducting self flagellation after yet another brilliant Maroon victory!” or maybe “Sorry guys, ahem, I have an urgent teleconference but I’ll meet you at the barby afterwards!” or even “Are you out of your mind?”. All are sane responses.

Being not especially bright, but vaguely remembering once-upon-a-time I used to be bullet proof (must still be, heh??) I say “You Bet!” and trot slowly off to what passes in Mumbai for a cricket field cum soccer pitch.

We name ourselves the Mumbai Maulers because it helps hark back to those bygone days and sounds better than “Mumbai Fat Bastards Touch Rugby Club”. The team list:
a. Late, late, late 40s. One Scot, one huge South African (aren’t they all?) and me (a bit huge).
b. 40s. Three Poms, a Belgian who’s never seen a proper-shaped footy before, and a froggy Chef.
c. 30s. One insane Irishman (again, aren’t they all?), a Dutchman with the same League experience as the Belgie, and a nippy Indian/Kiwi doctor.
d. Juniors. Two teenage chef-offspring with way more speed than is seemly.
e. No Ref, the Irishman just makes up rules as we go along. (The rest of us as just too puffed to argue.)

To add an even more bizarre touch, the Yarpie shows up sweating profusely in a long-sleeved rugby jumper (mercury just ticked over 35) and there is a 100yr old fig-like tree roughly on half way, 10m in from touch with exposed roots and massive iron-hard seed pods. Perfect!

We randomly assign teams and play begins. 15 minutes in and I notice a couple of the lads loitering in the shade of the tree while I pick up just about every dummy half ball-play. I haven't worked that out for myself and am pissed at them for being smarter than me. I go stand outside them and nudge them in-field. Shade feels good.

30 minutes in and, blessed relief, we have half time. Fair dinkum, I’m in strife. Redder than Ricky Stuart’s cheeks after Origin 1, leaking from every pore, scarcely able to raise a trot (I understand how the Snowy River pony felt) and unkindly getting the Michael taken out of me for exhibiting my glacial turn of speed.

But I don't care. I am having fun! Real, blokey fun running around being totally irresponsible in the midday sun and not giving a stuff. Throwing a footy around like I used to (as seen through my eyes at least). No thoughts of work, or responsibilities, or cultural issues etc. Just fun. Brilliant!

And then it grabs me; just as hard as Petero grabs those diminutive Blues runners. I look at this oddball collection of blokes from around the globe, all laughing and puffing and sweating and taking the piss.

A simple form of Rugby League is a powerful bonding agent. It doesn’t matter if you know the game, or where you come from. It doesn’t matter how old you are or maybe how fit you are. Having a go is what counts.

We survive, with good grace and humour, the Belgian and Cloggy throwing incessant forward passes, the Poms running backwards and the tadpoles running us down every time we make a break.

Rugby League, and bastardised Touch, is a game of teams and playing in a team is what gets camaraderie going and produces lifelong mates. The tentacles of the game reach out around the globe and through generations. Any old player with an operating ticker and no brains can still get out there, have fun, share a win or a loss with mates, laugh and feel alive. It’s a wonderful gift. Thanks League!

To prove further my 'not bright' status I lumber out for another ‘half’. I show the ball and dummy, and sometimes it works. I hide in the shade too!

And we are all coming back next week.


Amadean runs off TTL's Langer-like flick and into the gap with 723 words for the Titans


Down the pub


“You know what’d be awesome?”

“Really cheap rum. Like, if Bundy was the same price as milk. You could make rumshakes! That’d be really awesome”.

“Yah, nice. Nah, I was thinking about all that ‘Man vs Wild’ Bear Grylls stuff, right? He’s always doing all this fully hardcore stuff, like drinking blood and sleeping in a sheep. Well, I was thinking right, League is awesome, but it needs to be more tough. Like Bear Grylls hardcore.”

“What, we’re gonna drink our piss instead of passing the ball? You’re a moron”

“Nah, serious like, make things a bit tougher. Maybe on mountains up the Snowy, or in deserts right. The teams would have to run up mountains, play footy, then run home. It’d be super Iron Man League Wild Adventure stuff”

“Yeah, and if anyone got injured they’d just die in the snow. And we couldn’t get cameras up there, so we couldn’t watch it on Fox down the pub. No, that’s a stupid idea”

“Oh yeah. My round?”


“Oooook then, here’s yer beer, and listen to this. Instead of having Brisbane against Penrith right, you have the Broncos versus Tigers”

“But with actual Broncos and Tigers instead of people? Yeah, everyone’s thought that. Every kid at school is like ‘oooh, what if there were real tigers, that’d be awesome!’ Thanks for the beer but.”

“Not whole teams of tigers, that’d be dumb. Just like, one or two out on the wings. Some huge big hairy thing out there that you have to get past to score.”

“Sounds like my ex”

“Heh, nice. Yeah, but, yeah you would have to watch the tiger on your team, the panther or their team...”

“...or their rabbit...”

“...rabbit, right, as well as trying to play footy and tackle your mark. And watch out for the high ball.”

“...you’re high. Bloody rabbits...”

“am not! I’d be like a real test of skill and manliness. You’d have to round up all these panthers or dragons and not get hurt. You’d have some real tough blokes who could tackle and fight and beat up a tiger. You can’t say that wouldn’t be awesome, right?”

“Yeah, I really bloody can. Idiot, what about, like the Cowboys? You gonna put some guy with a whip and a gun on a horse and make people tackle him? Or Raiders, right? They’ve got axes! I don’t care how tough your manly bloke is, he’s gonna die. Like, proper dead.”

“Oh right, well how about...”

“I mean, then you’ve got the really stupid ones. Like Roosters. Who the hell is scared of a chook? Or Eels, right, or Sharks, that are just gonna die and start stinking on the field as soon as you pour them out of their tank!”

“Okay, but then you could just get a sort of big, flat, like pan or something and...”

“The Storm. The pissing bloody Storm! How the hell are you gonna put clouds and lightning and stuff on a field. What, these guys are gonna pass to the breeze?”


“Yeah, you’re a moron.”

“Bugger. Okay, your round then if you’re so smart.”

“Yeah, same again?”


“Here, take this then. Are we done with all the ‘who’d win a fight between a bulldog and a tiger’ stuff then? Can we just watch the footy now?”

“I’ve got another one, check this out:...”

“Oh, please just shut up.”

“Nah, this is fully awesome. What you do is, you give each team a subs bench that is like two big black bulls. You know the ones they do bullfighting with in Spain?”

“Yeah. I reckon Spanish blokes think you’re an idiot too.”

“And each team can bring on their bull whenever they want, and then try and make it run at the other blokes. And you’d like, run really close behind it and see if you could score a try like that.”

“Bullsh%t. Get it?”

“But the other team can bring on their bull when you do, and the bulls would like run at each other and fight. So you’d get three sports in League at once. There’d be bullfighting, running with the bulls, and real bullfighting between bulls. Admit it, that would be awesome.”

“No. You’re still a moron. Your round again.”

“Alright, back in a bit. But think about it, okay?”


Assistant Moderator
Willow | Bluebags

Google this...

Rugby League, politics, cleary, edelsten, vomit...

Profile: Michael Cleary.
Winger, South Sydney 1962-70 and Eastern Suburbs 1971.

Due to popular demand, we begin our new series on football players who have found their way into politics. Let us first begin with international flankman Mike Cleary.

A rugby union convert, Cleary left Randwick and joined Souths in 1962, winning three premierships in 1967, 1968 and 1970.

Cleary has the honour of being a triple international in rugby league, rugby union and in the Commonwealth Games, collecting Bronze in the 100 yard sprint.

Following 'retirement', Cleary joined the ALP in 1965. He was the State member for Coogee and the NSW Minister for Sport and Recreation from 1981 to 1988.

But Cleary found his voice in 1986. The Cronulla Sharks club copped a bucket load of embarrassment while trying to sell their club to a Dr Geoffrey Edelsten. With players standing to attention, Geoff's blonde bimbo trophy wife treated the great Andrew Ettinghausen like a piece of meat ("Oh Geoffrey, can I take this one home?"). There was little surprise when the Sports Minister and former league player decide to step in.

Mike Cleary said, "It nearly made me vomit!"

That was enough to bring an end to proceedings.

Google this...

Rugby League, politics, ryan, defibrillator...

Profile: Kevin Ryan
Prop forward, St George 1960-66 and Canterbury 1967-69.

A dual international, Ryan played in no less than seven winning premierships sides during the Dragons' Golden Years. A noted boxer, Ryan came within a whisker of being an Olympian. A man with some education under his belt, Ryan became a Barrister in 1970. He actually assisted Dennis Tutty in his case against the NSWRL for a fair go for players seeking a transfer to another club. This was a turning point in the history of the game... if in doubt, just google in 'Dennis Tutty'.

Ryan's political career stepped up in 1974 when became Mayor of Hurstville. He then won the state seat for the ALP in 1976. Eventually Ryan's career in politics came to an end and the man once dubbed as 'the toughest forward to ever play the game' retired to the good life.

But the headlines didn't go away. While jogging on Manly beach one day, Kevin Ryan collapsed and 'died'. The surf clubbies were quick to react with mouth to mouth and general CPR. But they also had a defibrillator in stock and just went for it with the shock treatment. According to the medics, if it wasn't for the 70-year-old's fitness, he'd now be dead as a door nail.

Like any forward being carted off, Kevin Ryan remembered nothing of the incident but lived to tell the tale. What a trooper.

Google this...

Rugby League, politics, meninga, 28 minutes...

Profile: Mal Meninga.
Centre, Souths (Brisbane) 1978-84, St Helens 1984-85 and Canberra 1986-94

Mal Meninga holds the world record for the shortest career in politics. A mere 28 seconds.

In 2001, after making his announcement on talkback radio in Canberra to stand for election, the Raiders league legend was asked the question about his policies. Mal hesitated for a few seconds before exclaiming, "errr... I'm buggered.... sorry." And was all she wrote.
Big Mal then stood up and walked out.

Now he is the Queensland coach.

OK, so politics isn't for everyone, and perhaps in Mal's case it became a win-win situation for all involved. Might have been pushed into it... who knows. But it was funny at the time.

The bottom line is that not everyone is up to the cut and thrust of politics. I personally wouldn't have a bar of it. But I take my hat off to those players who take on the task after hanging up their boots, especially those that more often than not have found their head in a scrum.

Stay tuned to our next ripping episode of rugby league players in politics... and to all you kids out there, remember to...

Google this...

Words | 663
Last edited:


First Grade
I'm not sure where the ref has gone, so I'll work on this today. Apologies in advance for the short turnaround.


First Grade
Match Report:

Bluebags: 260

A fantastic debut. The spine chilling, blood curdling rivalry, birthed on the rugby league field but evident everywhere. Beautifully written. 88

Ahh, referees. We don’t like playing with them, but we couldn’t play without them. This was a well argued piece, although the flow got a bit strained from a couple of particularly long sentences that were a bit hard to follow. Even so, this was well written on the whole. 86

This was an interesting piece, and as soon as you mentioned rugby league and politics, I started to look for Mal Meninga. There were a few uncharacteristic grammatical blips, and your subtitle for Mal mentioned 28 minutes instead of 28 seconds. Even so, it was a fun read. 86

Titans: 259

A bullet dodged for the coach, it seems. This was interesting, if somewhat obscure, and your structure was typically strong. Getting ‘fired’ has never sounded so violent! 87

You sound like a glutton for punishment! Sport is a great bonding agent and your article displayed this in a humorous way. There were a few improper grammatical choices, which worked against you. Did your team win? 86

Very funny, and I can actually imagine that sort of conversation being in a pub somewhere. Grammar let you down, with several sentences without a punctuation mark at the end, which was unfortunate. The imagery was great, though – without even providing any narrative, I was able to tell where these guys were and a basic mental image of what they were like. 86

Bluebags defeat Titans 260-259
POTM: DecoyRunner


Assistant Moderator
Thanks ref. :thumn

Excellent stuff from DecoyRunner. POTM on debut. :clap:

Well played Titans. See you in the coming rounds. :thumn


First Grade
Congratulations 'Baggies and in particular DecoyRunner for an excellent off the ball effort. Good luck in the Final.

Commiserations, Titans, I'm sure we'll meet them again, somewhere, sometime.

Extra points to the ref for a tita... no strike that... for a great effort on the run.


Thanks ref. Bad luck Titans. Enjoyed your articles a lot.

Thanks to Willow for his sage advice on my effort.

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