The Great Hayne Pain

August 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’d like to preface this post with sincerest apologies on behalf of myself and Louise, to account for our prolonged absence from the ‘Ruck’ (I’d also like to mention that in typing the word ‘ruck’ I, unintentionally, typed ‘rich’. Is that my sub-conscious trying to tell me something?). As blossoming women in the prime of our teenage years, we’ve had to sit our CSSA HSC Trials, so we’ve had to put our blogging commitments on the backburner. But don’t worry! There will always be time for NRL. 🙂

Now back to my post. During my many, many ‘study-breaks’, I read an article in the Sydney Morning Herald by Jason Taylor entitled: He’s No. 1, but Hayne can’t do it all on his own. Summarily, he said that Hayne’s being a ball-hog and making every other team member feel unwanted.

Jarryd's not sharing the ball with me ..

AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE. AGREE.

I can admit that I actually claimed the Eels v Cowboys match in Round 18 as the ‘GAME OF THE SEASON’, simply because I was in a state of euphoria after watching Hayne’s revival from a 2010 hiatus from form. But when Hayne’s in the zone, ain’t nobody gonna bring him home (yeah, you like that). Seriously, not even his own teammates know what’s going on half of the time. Hence, he can end up making plays for himself, or throwing golden opportunities, literally over the sideline – as I’m sure Louise will not let anyone forget, his mini-brain explosion in Origin this year, is a prime example.

Conversely, when his plays do come off, they’re simply magic. If you could imagine a heavenly body gracefully descending down to earth to tell you that you’ve won the golden ticket to eternal bliss – now replace that heavenly body with the face of Jarryd Hayne in an Eels outfit, replace earth with the streets of Parramatta, and eternal bliss with an NRL premiership trophy, and you’ll be seeing what the rest of the Eels team are seeing. They have this mindset that unless Hayne asserts his presence in the game, they’ve got nothing else to show. And that is a direct consequence of his inconsistent brilliance. When he wants to, he plays every aspect of the game with unmatched talent, and Mortimer, Robson and Keating are left dwindling their thumbs and scratching their heads as Hayne takes over as the chief play-maker. As Jason Taylor so gracefully puts it:

The main problem, though, is the team dynamic. The other players in key positions aren’t secure in their roles, which erodes confidence. If Hayne is given (or takes) a licence to play wherever he likes, particularly in the halves, then where do the half and five-eighth go? What is their role when they’re pushed aside or over-called at the ruck? I am sure they are a little in awe of Hayne and are not prepared to tell him where they want him to be. For any team to function effectively, the hierarchy of control must be set in stone with all aware of who is in charge. The main man as far as direction and control of play goes must be wearing the No.7, No.6 or No.9 jersey.

Unfortunately, I’ve got no solution for it. With Hayne being the omnipresent Eel, the team can ride on Cloud 9 all the way through to the grand final, as they did last year. Without Hayne, unfortunately, they’ve got a slim chance. What do you do when your most talented player is also your most inconsistent?

Photo: Getty Images

Oh THAT $3.17 million….

July 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

I am just going to get something off my chest before I begin…

I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO! I TOLD YOU SO!

The work of the evil Melbourne Storm...

Didn’t I say, for those of you who knew me, in 2007 that the Storm were filthy, filthy cheaters? Admittedly my fury could, for the most part, be attributed for Michael Crocker’s disgusting tackle of my Brett Stewart which actually reduced me to tears and had me screaming for Crocker’s binning/death-at-the-hands-of-an-angry-mob (and which I am STILL yet to forgive him for). Now I am not one to brag… Oh who am I kidding? I love bragging… I said it then, and now I can claim that I knew all along: The Storm are cheats, and I told you so.

Man that felt good.

Now that’s out of the way I can dissect the Deloitte findings from the completely anti-Melbourne stance of a blood loyal Manly fanatic.

So as it turns out, when they weren’t knocking out fullbacks with filthy tackles & leading with their feet as they tried to prevent teams from scoring tries, they were rorting the salary cap. And by rorting I mean they were $3.17 million over the salary cap between 2006 and 2010. As you may remember when the salary cap scandal first came to light, it was estimated that they were an alarming $1.7 million over the salary cap (and I had my say on that here). But lo and behold, the Deloitte investigation has found the extent of their breach to be a staggering 86% more than initially thought. Additionally, estimates place the Storm at $1.3 million over the salary cap in 2011… Good luck with that one guys!

GOOOONE!

However, what in my opinion is the biggest shock to come out of the Deloitte findings is that “there is no evidence the players had any knowledge of the salary cap rorting”. Wait… What?

Thirteen Melbourne Storm players (Six current and seven former) were involved in the wide-spread & elaborate cheating. These players were Will Chambers, Michael Crockshit Crocker, Cooper ‘Fierce Bitch’ Cronk, Matt Geyer, Ryan Hoffman, Greg ‘GI’ Inglis, Dallas Johnson, Antonio Kaufusi, Anthony Quinn, Billy ‘Greasy Grub’ Slater, Cameron Smith, Steve Turner, and Brett White. It appears that at the Storm, a dual contract system was maintained (Cameron Smith had allegedly signed three contracts) with “side” letters between the Storm and some of their players guaranteeing these players additional payments and benefits. The amounts included in these “side” letters were well in excess of the contractual payments for these players that were lodged with the NRL. Other methods of paying the players included, but are not limited to, third party “donations” and “consulting fees”, the provision of fully serviced cars to players & their families, gift vouchers, rental assistance, and airfares for personal travels for players & their families. Despite all this, there was no evidence to suggest the players knew of the salary cap rorting.

There was no evidence to suggest the players didn’t know of the salary cap rorting either, though. Afterall, it is interesting to note that players, player managers, and other third parties refused to cooperate with Deloitte and News Limited during the investigation. Despite an offer from Deloitte of a Confidentiality Agreement which assured the players & their managers that any information they provided would be kept confidential, no one agreed to sign the agreements and after requesting copies of NRL contracts, letters of offer from the Storm, & other agreements between players and third parties, Deloitte were not provided with any of these.

“Regrettably not one of the players agreed to cooperate with the investigation … in my view it’s totally unacceptable” – News Limited Chief Executive, John Hartigan

Hardly a sign of innocence you would think.

Even if my gut  feeling that the players are not completely innocent in the matter turns out to be incorrect and the players were not aware of the salary cap scandal, it is most disappointing to hear of their refusal to cooperate with the Deloitte investigation. One could be forgiven for coming to the conclusion that perhaps the players had something to hide? As I said before, while there was no evidence to suggest they knew, we are yet to hear of any evidence suggesting they didn’t.

One thing, however, that was extremely pleasing to hear was Craig Bellamy’s clearing of any misdeeds. Bellamy assisted with the investigation and was subsequently cleared of any wrong doing. All feelings of hatred I have for Bellyache aside, I had been one of the first to point the finger at him when the scandal was first uncovered, and I am glad that his cooperation with the investigation proved me wrong. SORRY CRAIG!

State of Origin III – The Sore Loser Version

July 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Before I continue, I’d like to ask everyone to cast their minds back ten years… To the 2000 State of Origin Series. 

“Yo Queensland! I’mma let you finish, but New South Wales had the best Origin whitewash of all time. Of all time!”   

NSW fk yeah!

That’s right, I’m talking about the State of Origin Series in which New South Wales, for lack of a better word, CREAMED the Queenslanders with a total of 104 points to 42 over the three matches. And if there is one name that still strikes despair into the ‘hearts’ of all Queensland fans after all these years, it is Ryan Girdler. 

♄

So while you cane toads start rubbing in our faces this ‘fifth straight series win”, “total maroon-wash” and whatever other crap you want to spin, how quickly you seem to have forgotten a very important date in the history of State of Origin.  It was the 26th of June, 2000. Game three of the 2000 State of Origin Series, a dead rubber by any standard after  NSW had already won the series. As if winning was not enough, the NSW Blues, inspired by Ryan Girdler’s stunning performance, smashed the Queensland team 56-16. Not only did this affirm the NSW Blues as the Greatest State of Origin Team EVER*, this match will go down in history (in my mind at least) as one of the greatest matches of all time because: 

  1. NSW won. Convincingly. Resulting in a series whitwash BITCHES!
  2. Ryan Girdler scored 32 points (which I feel the need to point out, is more than the entire QLD team), the most points scored by an individual in a single origin match.
  3. Girdler’s 3 try run in and ten goals were the most goals by an individual in an origin match, and equalled Chris Anderson’s (1983) and Kerry Boustead’s (1984) record for most tries by an individual in an origin match.
  4. Ryan Girdler, who, coincidentally, was my first ever crush which from memory started after this match, was named Man of the Match 🙂
  5. Girdler’s 32 points saw him score a whopping 52 points for the series, which contributed to half of NSW’s total score and is the record for the most points by an individual in an origin series.
  6. The 56-16 hammering was the biggest winning margin in origin history, not to mention 56 points being the most points in an origin match

So now that I’ve got all that gloating and reminiscing (read: living in the past) off my chest, I can begin the 2010 State of Origin III autopsy. And because there isn’t enough money in the world to convince me to congratulate Queensland on their win, or say anything good about them for that matter, I present to you my 2010 Origin III Memorable Moments! 

Memorable Moment #1: Sam Thaiday Does the Hindy

Count your blessings there were no other images of this incident

I think my eyes just lost their innocence. Of all the Queensland players that had to moon everyone on national television it just had to be Sam Thaiday. Thanks for that Greg Bird and Jason King, I really wanted to see my dinner again. Next time, if you’re going to dack a Queenslander could you at least make it Ashley Harrison? The worst part of it was that it was just so horrible I couldn’t look away. I just sat there, mouth open, absolutely gobsmacked at the horror of the experience. Sam, please PLEASE for the love of God, do your pants up a little tighter next time. Corey Norman is the one and only bronco who can pull off a mooning and maintain his dignity, but yours is not a bum I would like to see gracing my television thanks Sam. THINK OF THE WOMEN! 

Memorable Moment #2: Billy Gets Pummeled

You go Beau!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls… This is the player who answered all my prayers (except the one where NSW win) last night courtesy of one massive run at Billy Slater. *Pause of applause*. On Wednesday night I specifically recall posting something along the lines of “Is it too much to ask for that Billy Slater goes home crying? And to clarify, he is crying tears of despair and disappointment (possibly even pain)…” While, admittedly, he wasn’t crying because Queensland lost, and in fact may not have been crying at all… The slimy, greasy little grub was in PAIN! And there is nothing, nothing I like more than seeing a Queenslander and Melbourne Storm player in pain. Especially when said Queensland/Melbourne Storm player is, as I have not-so-affectionately dubbed him, Public Enemy No. 1. My hopes and dreams were subsequently quashed when Slater got up uninjured, but oh I will never forget that minute or so where he rolled around in pain. 

Memorable Moment #3: Jarryd Hayne’s Weekly Brain Fart

 
 

Jarryd does his version of Cristiano Ronaldo... Only uglier

I know we’ve all recently become accustomed to Jarryd’s brain explosions over the past 17 or so weeks, so what have you prepared for us this week Jarryd? Well this brain fart certainly takes the cake. As you can see here, Jarryd has clearly been watching the world cup too much (when he’s not busy watching The Hills) and has given us this little beauty. *Poof* <– That is the sound the players around him heard as his brain exploded from douchiness. Hey Jarryd, the Socceroos called, they might need a new striker…

 Memorable Moment #4: Biffity Biff!

Brett Morris, literally punching above his weight...

Once again, I asked for biff and it was delivered! The best biffity biff moment of the match came courtesy of Sam Thaiday running in like a human freaking cannonball, leaving the NSW players (and probably the Queenslanders) seeing stars. Giant, hairy stars. But what makes this even funnier is seeing little Brett Morris trying to square up with the big boys as seen in the above screenshot. Cutest. Thing. EVER.

Memorable Moment #5: Greg Bird Flies in for a Try

His surname makes for some cheesy headlines...

Ok, is it just me or were Bird’s shorts like a foot longer than everyone else’s? I never really picked him as the conservative type… But I digress. Greg Bird flew in for a try, and I literally soared out of my seat in celebration. Not only did he score an awesome little try off a sneaky Ennis kick leaving all the smelly Queenslanders in his wake, but he was just full of awesomeness. Together, he and Choc (who should’ve scored had it not been for that little grub Slater) just muscled their way through the match like the awesome machines they are.

Memorable Moment #6: Michael Gordon! Michael Gordon!

Michael Gordon in all his cute, goal-kicking glory

As I’m sure my co-collaborator Emily needs no reminding, Michael Gordon was actually the Blue’s highest scoring player! But in all seriousness, NSW selectors: where the hell was this guy in Origin I and II? Not only is he ridiculously good looking, but he can score like crazy! Who was the genius that decided not to pick him? Honestly! But thankfully, someone saw the light and played him in Origin III, and he definitely rose to the challenge. I would go so far as to say that the only reason he didn’t score a try was that Beau Scott seemed to forget he had a winger to pass to! I will admit I was yelling at the TV for Beau to “Pass it to Gordon dammit! Pass it!… Oh f**k opportunity wasted”. There’s always next time though I guess

Memorable Moment #7: Mick Ennis is a Cat

I have gone to the trouble of highlighting Ennis' arm for you

Memorable for all the WRONG reasons. As someone who loves State of Origin fights almost as much as Paul Gallen and Anthony Watmough do… Mick, there is a time and a place for everything. And 10m out from your line with ten minutes to go while your team has their nose in front is NEITHER. I am blaming you for the loss because I am a sore loser, and blaming anything and everything is what I do best. And then to top it all off, he goes and hides behind Kade Snowden? What. The. Hell. *shakes head*.

* Title appointed by Louise.

NSW don’t know the meaning of a dead rubber.

July 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

7:30pm, Wednesday 7 July 2010. A difficult decision lay ahead of me:

Masterchef or State of Origin Pre-Match entertainment?

Ashamedly, I had jumped on the bandwagon that Wednesday night’s dead rubber was exactly that, a dead rubber. And as I reflect on my lost confidence in the NRL’s ability to provide a thriller, I lower my head in self-disappointment, even though I did end up choosing Channel Nine, only because I’m really not that interested in army food.

Game Three proved not only to me, but to the 2 019 000 viewers that tuned in, that even though NSW had nothing to play for and seemingly no one to play for [in reference to the downward spiral of NSW League support in the lead up to the game], they sure know how to put on a show.

On Channel Ten, one of the youngest cooking amateurs remaining on Masterchef, Callum, fell fast from his high horse of fame, as he faltered a cake mixture and demolished a custard that he swore he could make. One channel lower, and the amateurs of SoO in Michael Gordon, Jason King, Kade Snowden and Tim Mannah contrastingly rose to the challenge, while players returning from an Origin hiatus, such as Greg Bird, proved that their absence had been sorely missed. Albeit, they didn’t come away with the win, and the wretched Billy Slater got away with a few Series acknowledgements, but NSW proved that they have the potential to present a threat to Queensland’s hunt for an unprecedented six-in-a-row next year. With that said, here are my favourite plays (in no particular order) of Wednesday night’s thriller, spoiled by a few of the match disasters.

HOT: Paul Gallen getting his first Origin try after four years in the Origin Representative arena.

This behemoth of a workhouse deserved that try, love him or hate him. And it started the Kurt Gidley sideshow that continued the rest of the game.

NOT: Billy Slater saving Watmough’s game-winning try.

Yeah, I hate, emphasis on the hate, Billy Slater in all his greasy hair glory.

But seriously, that’s why Watmough couldn’t get the ball down, his eyes got sprayed with the excess grease coming out of Slater’s hair. And it’s also why he scored that try, the tacklers couldn’t get a grip on him cause the grease was just everywhere.

HOT: Kurt Gidley

This humble bloke showed how he can overcome adversity to inspire the Blues. After being undeservedly humiliated throughout the Series by being stripped of the captaincy and his trademark fullback position, he had the final laugh with a try assist, whilst keeping one for himself. Top it off with his bizarre runaway with Matthew Scott’s shoe then running at him in the next play, and this guy deserved a standing ovation.

NOT: Tim Mannah only getting eleven-ish minutes of game time.

Come on, Craig Bellamy. Maybe if you stopped sooking about not getting Brett White on the team, and utilising the forwards you’ve got, you wouldn’t be sweating so much.


Commendable mentions go out to Jarryd Hayne, who, despite his poor club form, finally showed why everyone talks him up, and Darren Lockyer, whose field goal virtually sealed the whitewash for Queensland and exposed the incredible foresight and intelligence he has of this game.

Hate-fuelled mentions go out to Michael Ennis, and Michael Ennis only. All I have to say is, if your team is defending a mere 5 point margin on their goal line with ten minutes to go, and you cop an elbow in the head, YOU KEEP YOUR HEAD SCREWED ON. Douchebag.

I could go on, but fortunately, it’s dinner time. Hopefully my meal is better than what Callum served up on Wednesday night.

Spoonful of Cement, and Harden Up!

July 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

Anyone who knows me would know that I do not particularly like Jarryd ‘Jayne’ Hayne. My mum has a poster of him and has affectionately christened him “Jarryd-Baby”, and my friends gush all over him and always tell me how hot he is  *eurgh*. But I just don’t see it. (And yes, this is coming from the girl who almost cried when she met Wolfman, what of it?). If I had all day I would go through my long list of reasons that I don’t like Jayne, but to spare you all the excessive ranting that results whenever I get fired up, I think I can put it down to the fact that he plays for the Parramatta  Eels and is the most overrated player in the modern game.

Yeah.. I just don't see the appeal...

Now I never pass up an opportunity to diss Jayne, and so imagine my delight at the Anderson/Jayne feud! I felt like a kid in a candy store, what with the endless supply of brilliant quips my dad and I were able to use including the line “Man up Jarryd!” in pretty much every conversation we had (relevant or not) and watching Chopper Reid’s “Harden the F**k UP!” video repeatedly before saying “Spoonful of cement, and harden up Jarryd!” at every given opportunity. (All of this was of course in conjunction with our usual Jayne-bashing…)

But in all seriousness… Really Jarryd? You actually took this as a personal attack?

“All of our halves are learning … I think our fullback is learning,” Anderson said.

“He wasn’t good tonight, in my opinion. Not many people will say it, but he was off his game. I think he would’ve been frustrated at some of the decisions he made.”

There are a few things wrong with this:

  • What does he mean by “not many people will say it”? I’ve been saying it for about eighteen weeks now. I was at the Eels vs. Broncos match and the first thing I said to my parents when I got home was (and note the sarcasm) “So how good was Jayne tonight aye? Bet he was impressed with that performance!”
  • As the Triple M Dead Set Legends said, in a press conference that lasted seven or so minutes, Anderson said one sentence about Jarryd’s poor performance, and in that sentence he did not directly attribute the Eels’ loss to one player. While the comment on Jarryd’s form was, in my opinion, warranted, I’d like to draw Jarryd’s attention to the fact that he wasn’t the only player singled out. Anderson also mentioned (and rightfully so) that the halves are learning too.

Naturally, the whole saga was blown way out of proportion when the Daily Telegraph ran the headline “Blame Hayne”. If Jarryd really did take this so personally, maybe he should stop reading about himself, “put his head down and his bum up” and start playing some football. Well I’ve got some free advice for you Jarryd, so listen carefully…

Harden up!

I’ve even gone to the trouble of preparing this simple, step-by-step guide:

  1. Lose the rockstar attitude. You’re not the only man on the field Jarryd, you have twelve teammates out there with you at any given time. Everytime you put in a chip-kick to yourself when no one else in your team knows what you’re doing make me cringe. Please, for the sake of my tips and sanity of my Parramatta-fanatic friends, communicate with your teammates and stop this tomfoolery because it really looks like you’re just after the glory.
  2. Listen to your coach. For christ’s sake Jarryd, it is your coaches job to offer you constructive criticism. As one of the Eels’ more talented and recognised players of course you will be brought up in media conferences and your games gone over with a fine-toothed comb, it comes with the territory. I suggest you take on board Daniel’s advice like “Play more percentages when your form is not quite there and when other teams are aware of your abilities. Work hard for your team-mates and things will come for you.” That is some good advice right there, so maybe you should get off your high horse and LISTEN. As your coach, he has every right to question the team’s performances, which have not been good enough lately. What do you expect him to do? Serve you up some hot cocoa, pat you on the head and say “at least you tried your best, that’s all anyone can ask”? Not gonna happen mate, so you might as well get used to it.
  3. Don’t be so precious. Maybe it isn’t Daniel Anderson who needs to change his approach, but maybe you should stop being such a princess? You were not singled out for criticism at the press conference. Your entire team has been under heavy criticism for their poor form of late, not just you. You were not blamed for the loss. (In saying that, I am really sick of people saying how many games Jarryd Hayne has won for Parramatta. But that’s a whole different issue…) Jarryd, how much  do you get paid per season? As Harry Hardman said “you work 80 minutes a week son and you reckon you’re under pressure?… Harden up spongecake!”Forgive people for expecting a little bit of value for money.
  4. Stop watching The Hills: Seriously, it’s a chick show.

The Eels players and fans seem to rely on Hayne too much in the hopes that maybe he’ll produce miraculous, superhuman plays, single handedly carry them to the top eight in a similar fashion to last year’s grand final run, and cure cancer. But given that his form has been, well, dreadful lately, the Eels are struggling to string together too many wins. While they’ve won 6 matches so far this season and are sitting just outside the top 8 in 10th position, the Eels need to realise that they aren’t a one man team. Jarryd Hayne is just one, hugely overrated player. What does it say about the rest of the team when they feel they can’t make the top eight unless one player gets his act together? Admittedly, most of the pressure being placed on Hayne stems from his Dally M medal winning form of last year, but he isn’t the only man on the  field! The rest of the team can’t just bludge their way through the season and rely on Jarryd coming good again in time to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

Isn’t that right, Rabbits?

July 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

ï»żIn last week’s instalment of Beau Knows, the Wests Tigers’ back-liner turned comedian paid homage to the coaching staff of the NRL, in a skit that involved smashed doors, eyebrow beds, and animal brains and hearts. Significantly, Ryan accredited the winner of four TV Fugly Awards for ‘Most Biased Sporting Commentator’: Phil Gould.

Albeit, Phil Gould has supposedly hung up the boots and the whistle, but given the Blues’ current winning record and his coaching record, this plea is worth noting. So, I’ve compiled my Top 5 Reasons why Gus should return to the coaching arena.

1. Gus’ success rate for the NSW Blues stands at 52%.

This ranks him the 5th best NSW Coach ever, and I know what you’re thinking, this stat doesn’t really help the ‘Team Gus’ campaign. But wait, there’s more.

Gus has coached 27 NSW games, which is more than triple that of his closest rival in Craig Bellamy. And we all know how well Bellamy’s doing. But wait, there’s more.

Of those 27 games, Gus has won 14, which is almost triple that of his closest rivals in Wayne Pearce and Ron Willey.

To add, Gould carries the gold of four Series titles in five years under his hat.

But wait, there’s more.

Oh no, I think that’s all the maths my brain can handle.

So, my point was, there is no other coach that has shown the same amount of dedication and perseverance toward the NSW Blues, as Gus Gould has.

2. Phil Gould played, captained and coached the Penrith Panthers.

This is pretty self-explanatory. Any person so closely affiliated with the Penrith Panthers, the latter association resulting in Penrith’s first taste of Premiership glory in 1991, has got to come into consideration for a Blues spot. In my books, anyway.

3. Gus as a commentator equals Gus as an unofficial coach.

If you’ve ever watched a game of NRL, you’ll understand where I’m coming from. I hate Gus commentating. If the game was in Suncorp, filled to capacity, the players would still be able to hear Gus’ criticisms from the media box. He’s judgmental, arrogant, and essentially a know-it-all. Every word out of his mouth is either a critique of a player, or the beginnings of another argument with Rabbits. His passion is exactly why he needs to take off the headphones and microphone and replace them with a walkie talkie and a bottle of water.

4. As Beau Ryan so perfectly emulated, it seems the Gus Gould way is the only way to penetrate the Blues’ thick skulls.

The Blues need direction. They need assertion. They need to learn how to play football again. Because, going by Game II, they seem to have taken the Melbourne Storm approach, and played like they’ve got nothing to play for, only with less success.

5. No one wants someone like Beau Ryan to end up coaching the Blues.

So Gus, do us all a favour, and bring the State of Origin trophy back home where it belongs.

p.s. Someone from the Blues camp must have read my post on flash Gordon. 😉

Damned if We Do. Damned if We Don’t.

June 19, 2010 § 5 Comments

I didn’t want to write this post. I promised myself I would stay right out of the Andrew Johns racism scandal because I thought it had been flogged to death in the media. (Also, the fact I like to make things light-hearted and fun, and this situation wasn’t quite suitable). However, when I saw the headline “NSW in a Race Row” splashed across the back of the Daily Telegraph, my heart sank a little bit, and I resigned myself to the worst.

Apparently, the NSW Officials are fearing a backlash if they decide to snub Timana Tahu for Origin III. It is reported that “Blues players do not want Timana Tahu back for Origin III but NSW rugby league officials fear they will be labeled racist if they overlook him.”

As I said when I called in on NRL Tactics (more shameless promotion!) I in no way condone what Andrew Johns has said. In fact, I too am quite disgusted that a man of such standing within Rugby League could say such a thing, whether he intended any malice in his words is irrelevant, it is this sort of attitude and behaviour that could potentially ruin years of work by the NRL to promote and encourage Indigenous players. So it is only natural that Timana would be disgusted by this, especially coming from someone he has known for such a long time. However, walking out on his team as they stared down the barrell of five consequtive series losses was not the right way to go about this. As I’ve said before, this is State of Origin, not primary school. Timana is a grown man, not a PMS-ing twelve year old girl. While he says that he did it for his family, to show them that racism will never be tolerated, wouldn’t telling Johns to his face that he offended you be a more effective way to get your message across? Rather than bite your tongue for three days and then decide to bugger off maybe, oh I don’t know, saying something would have been a mature way to approach the situation? I guess not. Instead of manning up (which according to Urban Dictionary means “Not being a pussy about something“) Tahu decided to leave the Blues Origin camp, shoving Joel Monaghan onto the wing to run about like a headless chook. And, well, we all know how that turned out.

Granted, many people may not agree with this position I am taking, including Richard Hinds of the Sydney Morning Herald who said:

“… Wondered why Tahu had not just tapped Johns on the shoulder and had it out with him. Done it the old-fashioned way. Man to Man. This naivety is breathtaking”

 However, I am not using Tahu as a a scapegoat for NSW’s abysmal performance. That sad, sad excuse for a game can not be attributed to Tahu walking out, he did not single-handedly lose us that game. I just believe, and I know I’ve repeated this a thousand times, that it was wrong to walk out on his team.

Now, “If NSW don’t pick him, they could be accused of being racist”. This is wrong. A player’s inclusion in a representative team should not, under any circumstances, be influenced by a player’s race, sexual preference, etc. Anyone who feels otherwise, and who believes that the team selectors think otherwise, has got to be kidding themselves. While Tahu’s teammates may not be overly pleased with his desertion, if he is or is not selected on the team for Origin III his race should not be a contributing factor to this decision. I have complete faith in the NSWRL that if Tahu does miss out on Origin III it will be because he has been outplayed by another (real) winger.

I hope this does not come across in the wrong way, but in my opinion, the notion that if Tahu misses out on selection in the Blues it will be racially motivated is complete nonsense, and I would go so far as to say it is political correctness gone out of hand. If he is not included in the team, NSWRL could be labelled as racist. If he is included in the team, couldn’t it be inferred that his inclusion is racially motivated. It’s a bit of a paradox here, almost  a ‘Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t” situation. If it is racist to not choose a player in a representative position because they are Indigenous, then isn’t it also racist to include someone in a team just because they are Indigenous?

It is interesting to note that in the Daily Telegraph’s proposed state of origin team, as voted by the fans, Timana Tahu was not chosen in the team. In fact he came in at fourth place with 2048 votes for a position in the centres, not even warranting a place on the bench (Interestingly, Brett Stewart was voted by 9.3% of people into the fullback role despite not being able to play for the rest of the season ? Although, I have to say, he’d probably be a lot more effective sitting on the sideline than Joel Monaghan did on his wing… But I digress). So does that mean that the 83.6% of NSW fans who didn’t vote for Timana are racist? Of course not. Tahu’s form of late (in my humble and heavily prejudiced opinion) does not warrant him selectionin the team. My votes for NSW centres would be Josh Morris and Jamie Lyon (although he has been injured, so perhaps Michael Jennings). I am not proposing these players because I have anything against Tahu, I proposed these players because they have been playing well.

Of course, there are some tossers who still believe that NSWRL are racist, including none other than Greg Inglis. The Sydney Morning Herald reported that:

“He was motivated by the belief that Queensland provided indigenous players with greater opportunities than NSW”

I’m sorry, but that is complete and utter rubbish. So what are you saying Greg? Tom Learoyd-Lars and Jamal Idris will not be provided with opportunities because they play for NSW? Bullshit.