Monday, 10 March 2014

Canberra Raiders 2014: Die Harder

My friend supports the Broncos. This automatically renders him incapable of understanding the slaughterhouse of the soul struggle of supporting a second-tier team. He is also a Queenslander. Frankly, seeing these sentiments strung together on a screen like this is making me question how we are friends at all. Thin ice!

Anyways, because no discussion of the Raiders is complete without reference to the astonishingly innovative ways in which they hemorrhage young talent, and because I still look back on said hemorrhaged talent with a honey-glazed glow I guess I was moaning some wretched sentiment regarding Carney or Monaghan or Ferguson or possibly, depending on the extent to which he had already inflamed me with his airy upper-echelon assuredness, Travis Waddell. I can’t remember the details exactly. It was only two days ago but my mind has a tendency to slip a gear when it comes to the Raiders. Mental health experts would have me believe that this, much like my night terrors, is a side effect from suffering under the sustained weight of terminal failure and disappointment.

 ‘Oh,’ he said, with the inane breeziness common to breakfast TV presenters, ‘you should be used to it by now.’ Of course, this is exactly the type of innately annoying and unsympathetic thing a Bronco supporter would say. Storm fans too, tenfold. The Gina Reinharts of the NRL. Totally out of touch.

Anyway. I told him it never stops hurting. Because it doesn’t. But I enjoyed the sound and sensation of saying something as arresting as this so I added an apocalyptic, cinema-trailer-narrator-type element to my delivery – IT NEVER. STOPS. HURTING.  

Because just like life in general, there is always another punishment, another casual outrage, another loss.
Well, so what. We die harder.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Regrettable Incidents Involving Tracksuits

Has your search for meaning in the NRL this year left you with feelings of futility, pointlessness, and the creeping realisation that this time invested would probably have been better spent searching for the colt from Old Regret?

If so, forget the grand final today. There’s nothing in that for us. What we need is relief.
This brings us, inevitably, to Blake Ferguson.

I normally take pleasure in the psychological destruction of grown men but there is really nothing pleasurable about watching someone who is too stupid to run their own affairs fall into the ruinous hands of Sam Ayoub. It’s a total depressant. 

When the Daily Telegraph isn’t classily covering the case of a well-to-do white boy who got a) a lot of ass and b) murdered, they do a little round-up of legal matters which in theory profiles vaguely notable members of the public who run afoul of the law but in reality functions as an installment-based chronicle of Lara Bingle’s failed attempts to master the art of driving, basic sign reading, and simultaneous driving and basic sign reading. Her efforts to overcome her limitations appear to be ongoing. It’s a process.

Anyway, they did a little piece about Blake Ferguson. The Telegraph is as we all know a subtle and nuanced newspaper not known for its dramatic flourishes but they seemed to be suggesting that Blake Ferguson is a culturally illiterate imbecile unsuited to performing everyday tasks - in this case, dressing himself – unsupervised.
It was all extremely cute. I mean, isn’t everything now? The cult of cute has colonised contemporary consciousness, and mine, to such an extent that I find a footballer who is abundantly unqualified to dress himself and stands accused of drinking and touching cute. What can I say. I am a product of my times. I’m not proud of it. 

 Before they got to the cute, though, the article led with a bold claim that there was a turn of phrase being used with increased frequency in Sydney conversations: “That’s so rugby league.”

Please. At best, Joe Hildebrand made it up while he was microwaving his muffin in the tea room or something. And let me ask you this, Joe. Are you able to enjoy a robust nocturnal social life in which you manage not to glass, attack, insult or urinate on anyone? Yeh. I didn’t think so.

“The expression refers to situations where a person demonstrates an extreme lack of self-awareness or understanding of potential consequences.”

“Think Todd Carney in a Canberra pub without a urinal. That said, over to you Blake Ferguson.”

The item goes on to describe the events taking place just prior to charges being laid against Ferguson, when plans were being put in place to take him from the Crowne Plaza in Coogee to Waverly police station. Ferguson’s only instructions, apparently, were “dress appropriately.” But when a group of managers and legal types arrived at the hotel to pick Ferguson up, they found him wearing a tracksuit, rather than a suit.

Further, “Law & Order understands it was not a matching tracksuit either.”

“Arrangements were made for Ferguson to swap attire with a dark-suit wearing manager.”

“Some time later Ferguson was still wearing a very white pair of socks. Law & Order contacted Ferguson’s lawyer at the time, who said ‘As a general rule white socks should never be worn with a suit unless you’re Michael Jackson.’”
Rugby league has a bad name already, so who really cares, but this article could well set back public perception of the noble mismatched tracksuit a decade or more.

In any event, I sympathise with Blake.. I too have been caught wearing a tracksuit in less than ideal circumstances. Like the time when I answered a knock on my door that turned out to be my estranged father who I hadn’t seen in 16 or so years. I was wearing a tracksuit then. Ugg boots, too. So rugby league.


Thursday, 3 October 2013

Breaking: I Feel Bad & Blame the NRL

My mum called and I told her I felt very bad, like shit, and she said she also felt very bad and like shit. She asked me are you keeping up with your blog and I said no. She asked me are you going to watch the grand final or not even bother and I said yeah, I’ll watch it, and she asked who are you going for, the Roosters and I said yeah, the Roosters and it’s hard to say but upon reflection maybe my reaction wasn’t quite in line with the spectacle and scope of the occasion. I don’t know. All I know is that I am adrift from my moorings and football is no longer my psychic anchor.

Are these two factors related? Whatever, it’s too late to find out. This is probably for the best. My frame of mind is in no way right for another long and maddening year of total involvement, total immersion. I cracked under the strain in June, things still aren’t right.

I understand that there are people who have maintained an abiding interest in the machinations of the NRL and that despite it being rendered a flaccid imitation of its former self they are still invested and interested in the cheap, second-rate product that’s been passed off to them.

I had a boyfriend and his mother was constantly disguising the cheap wine and cheap milk she’d buy by decanting it into superior bottles. She was Sicilian and overly concerned with appearances. She offered him $500 to cut off his dreadlocks and when he refused, with extreme prejudice, she took me aside and offered me $1000 to do it “while he sleep”.
The NRL is watered-down liquor in a flashy bottle. It’s also sort of a simulacrum of itself. Like how McDonalds sell you the picture of the burger, the burger as symbol, not the actual burger, so that what you’re buying is effectively the imitation of the idea? What we’re watching, or increasingly not watching as the case may be, is an imitation of the idea. I find it extremely difficult to concentrate on the cheap realities of the game under these conditions.
I’ve been forced to seek my exit from a world I find hostile and complicated elsewhere. In gentle narcotics, mostly.  

It’s probably a problem. I’m suffering, WNTTAT is suffering, we are all suffering. Except those who aren’t, of course. And good for them. I wouldn’t welcome them into my home or anything, but good for them, the McDonalds eating fucks.


Monday, 16 September 2013

The Young & The Restless Raiders

I understand that blog wise I have – what is the correct terminology here – dropped the ball. This ball dropping extends to all areas of my life. Whatever. Dropping balls is as legitimate a lifestyle as any. Just ask the Raiders.

In the event, I actually blame the Raiders. Who doesn’t.  

The Raiders were the one relationship I trusted to sustain, distract and comfort me in times of uncertainty and I didn’t notice it happening at the time but at some point during the season this relationship took a grievous turn toward near-total apathy so that three months’ worth of incidents and machinations failed to elicit any emotion or response from me at all but seeing the Raiders describe Jarrod Croker as a “flashy” player on Facebook causes me to flip the fuck out.

Setting aside the season-spanning, serialised saga of ceaseless negativity, the Raiders appear to have reached a new juncture in their grim narrative by categorising Croker as a “flashy” player.

This is what they’ve come to. They are so parched of hope and devoid of talent that Croker now rates as a flashy player.

Ye Gods. Because no offence to Jarrod but I register strong objections to this claim. Actually, offence.  

He doesn’t pass, he can’t tackle, and even if you don’t take into account the permanent internal damage that missed kick in 2010 obviously inflicted he still looks like he’s perpetually on the brink of a psychic meltdown and needs his mum.
Here is Croker holding back the beckoning abyss
Leaving aside his undiagnosed and chronic PTSD, the nice – not flashy, nice - thing about Croker is that he has no desire to ever leave Canberra. He is HAPPY in Canberra. He enjoys a FULL AND VIBRANT LIFE in Canberra. He didn’t even want to leave Goulburn to move to Canberra and make grade because the carefully laid out roads alarmed and overwhelmed him. There is something essentially decent about this, especially in light of what has been happening at the Raiders for a long time but was thrown into rude relief this year so that they are now what are referred to in professional media circles as a “problem club”, which is also nice.   

Here is Dugan signing with the Dragons

Of course, the professionals are right, but most of this year’s unpleasant ‘problems’ are representative of a psychological syndrome at the Raiders that I notice has become steadily and now suddenly worse as the years wear on – that of finding Canberra a dissatisfying and dispiriting place to live and play in.

Canberra is not going to change. Young and restless players are going to continue to find themselves trapped in Sartre-like “huis clos” – a “no exit” hell of their own making, and will continue to lose fans and alienate people by seeking or forcing releases.

Here is Blake being bad 
Short of relocating the entire club to Perth I don’t know what can be done about this.  

Performance-wise, the Raiders veer between the passable and the incompetent. Off-field, they have always maintained a relatively calm surface which has been ruptured at obligingly spaced intervals by the sort of scandals that are better understood if you keep a copy of the ACT’s criminal statutes handy and prominent.

The gradual and then sudden unspooling of Todd Carney’s entire Canberra career, Joel Monaghan being blown by a teammate’s dog, Josh Dugan confounding everyone by turning out to be a total dickhead and Blake Ferguson making me so sad I can’t even bring myself to mention him beyond this point on here are some of the more seismic ruptures.
See also:

Coach Furner’s sacking

The senior player revolt that led to Coach Furner’s sacking

Hemorrhaging hundreds of points in a series of huge late season losses

Suffering the most catastrophic loss in club history – Storm 68 Raiders 4
Dropping from a lofty ladder position to one lower than Clint Eastwood’s balls but still higher than the Eels

Papa Josh announcing his plans to join the priesthood
Anthony Milford’s attempts to avoid having to suffer the dreadful corrosive reality of living in Canberra now that people outside of Canberra know his name        

Papa and Milford going rogue and getting on the drink two days before their must win match against the Warriors in Auckland which   
Papa throwing up in their hotel corridor

Letting Sam Williams go and now facing the very real possibility of going from having too many halves to no halves next year
Sandor Earl being awarded the opportunity to explore his capacities for regret, despair and banned substances outside of the NRL  

The death of #Dorguson

Ricky Stuart

Here are Papa and Milford being best friends

Here are Papa's shorts creeping into his crotch 
Here is Milford's hair
Here is Blake being bae

Here is everyone who has anything to do with the Raiders



Saturday, 17 August 2013

Is This How Britney Felt

I just typed the words my interest in this season has collapsed like a and could go no further which is an actual perfect reflection of my absence of interest and another indication that the brain numbing tedium of it all is getting to me which is notable because there are few things I love more than a good hard brain numbing.

Nothing much interesting happens anymore because it has been determined that interesting things may alienate fans except a shift in focus has occurred whereby talk is less about fans and more about mums and dads and ugly eyeless little attempts to appeal to these mums and dads have rendered the game a colourless and flaccid imitation of its former self in kind of the same way that the Coalition and the ALP have reduced themselves to wrung-out and barely recognisable imitations of the parties they once were by focusing exclusively on appealing to the dim and pliant middle but still expecting loyalty from their traditional supporter bases after systematically neutralising every ideological difference that ever distinguished one from the other in the first place and despite practicing the modern art of apathy just existing amid all this lying dullness and cancerous bullshit is a devastating drain on the senses and spirit and is it any wonder I get sick just from being alive no not really  actually it’s a wonder I’m alive at all


Thursday, 25 July 2013

Raiders v. Dugan - Judgment Day

Spending more time than is probably healthy suckled up to the Dugan tit? You’ve come to the right place.

The problem with Josh Dugan and Canberra was that the Raiders demand low maintenance superstars who hum along quietly. As Dugan developed from raw housing commission colt to sleek thoroughbred his self-regard developed along with him, healthily at first, then not so healthily, until, finally, it became toxic.
Basically the Raiders are chronic underperformers and need to conduct themselves accordingly. This means behaving in a humble and gracious manner, and keeping the ostentatious off-field flourishes to a minimum. Dugan’s spirited accommodation of all things ostentatious defied this and, as he tells it, led to him being very cruelly cast out of Canberra and onto some crude scrapheap.

Well, what of it? I mean he’s not the first sports star to suffer under the staggering weight of Australia’s idiotic dislike of grossly-disproportionate-to-talent egotism.
Anyway. Tomorrow the Raiders play the Dragons in what is without a trace of hyperbole THEIR GAME OF THE YEAR. Because who among us doesn’t want to see Josh Dugan pay and pay dearly never minding the fact that this desire is pretty much redundant I mean it’s been   months since he was driven out of Canberra and forced to seek asylum with the Dragons and it doesn’t seem to have cost him much at all other than the small matter of his reputation and any lingering shreds of likeability that his increasing abrasiveness hadn’t corroded in the last 12 or so months at the Raiders anyway?

Whatever. Raider fans take what they can goddamn get.   

And as it is I’ve been struggling with this whole sordid trajectory since back when Dugan’s name was first getting mentioned for Origin:
It may help to think of Dugan as an ex. You know how you don’t want to see them reduced to a quivering gelatinous mess without you, but you don’t want the bastard/bitch soaring to lofty new heights since being rid of you either? It’s a fine line and one which Dugan has already overstepped with crude insensitivity.

Before this, even, there was that incident during his first game for the Dragons that constituted an irreparable defilement and has squatted toadishly in a dark recess of my mind ever since – the moment where DAVE DUGAN filled the big screen at Kogarah, wearing a Dragons jersey, grinning and waving and looking as proud and florid as any father ever could. Galling! All those years at the Raiders and the most I ever saw of Daddy Dugan was in the god-awful tattoo of Mr. and Mrs. Dugan on their wedding day that roams across the lower half of one of his son’s legs and stretches even my elastic boundaries of taste.

Let’s not spend a lot of time on this. He is just an asterisk now, and I’ve already exceeded the limits of both my magnanimity and medication on the son of a bitch these last few months. Alls I hope for, aside from an emphatic Raiders victory, is that he comes out of tomorrow’s game ravaged and stripped of swag, like he’s just been worked over by a pack of wild dogs.

It would be nice if I could say this with even a shred of certainty, but of course I can’t what with the Raiders being an inherently untrustworthy outfit prone to fluctuations in mood and manner that make the Greek government look stable. In any case, it’s been real and it’s about to get realer.



Tuesday, 23 July 2013


Hello who wants to wade into dark waters and partake in a process rife with psychological implications ie. marvel at the passing of time through the prism of my farmyard pets to underscore a common humanity and the unavoidable fact that life is a too short misery alleviated by fleeting moments of self-deception and Orwellian dystopia awaits in very near future?

Just kidding. God, relax. But here are Babs and Claudia, then and now. Like how the magazines do it to show weight loss and weight gain, or Sophie Monk’s lips, or people just getting uglier as they age because it’s awesome to be reminded via magazine that whimpering ruin is imminent and don’t forget it you pig-jowled losers?