Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Bad Times (& a boil) at Brookvale

.............and so the endurance test that is watching the Raiders struggle through 80 minutes begins. At Brookvale. God. In summary:

 Last year at Brookie they played their guts out and pulled off an upset that kicked off their late charge for top eight glory. I don't expect the same result tonight.

As in all facets of my life, I seem to have substantially lowered my expectations.

When I tipped against the Raiders for the first time this year I don't know that I've ever felt so cheap. Not lately, anyway. Then I got to thinking that my tipping against them would force some kind of 'ye of little faith' cosmic justice system into action whereby my lack of loyalty would be punished but ultimately rewarded by them winning. Didn't happen. Fuck the cosmos.

I feel more of the same hurt in my heart when Laurie Daly says, re. tips, that his heart says Raiders "but I just can't do it". I feel you Lozza, lord do I feel you. Suffice to say, being a Raider fan throws up challenges to one's faith and sanity nearly beyond endurance.

News breaks that Dugan has been withdrawn from the game at the eleventh hour. I assume it's his recalcitrant calf but find out that HE HAS A BOIL. Under his arm. That has withstood two lancings and become radioactively infected.

It shouldn't amuse me but it so does. Aside from the humour of it all, however, I fully support serious medical intervention into all things boil related. Both my dear friend Susu and I have had the experience of taking up with men who have had, at the times of meeting, flourishing, festering boils. Like, big, cavernous ones. Hindsight tells us that we both would have done well to recognise early in the piece that the presence of such well-established and free-ranging boils really served to signify a certain lack of order and ambition in other areas of the host's life and self. In light of this, I feel no ill will toward Dugan when they cut to him sitting in the coaching box with Furner.

Anyways. It's raining like a bastard at Brookvale, which is, thrillingly, the worst draining ground in the NRL. Sloppy times ahead.

Orford slips over kicking off. Stewart slips over catching it and knocks on. Watmough coughs up the ball and Tongue offers a concilatory pat on the chest. He's nice like that. He cares not for team colours. Orford looks to be setting things up adequately and I'm experiencing semi-friendly feelings towards him, until he kicks straight into Watmough's open arms with several tackles still up his sleeve.

It's a festival of slips and spills. Wet white shorts are unforgiving and I approve of them entirely. Ferguson does some creative things on the right wing. Come the 17th minute and Manly score through the gaping hole in the Raiders middle. Fucksake. I'm no stategist and even I can see that alls they need to do is push up hard and square. They don't get the memo. More awkward kicks from Orford go awry.

Some bloke called Jamie Buerer is playing for the Sea Eagles and every time the commentators say "Buerer" all I hear is Bueller, as in "Bueller.... Bueller.... Bueller?" It's very distracting.

I don't see how it happens, but in the 22nd minute Matai is suddenly down on all fours clutching his heart and looking just like a bison. All play stops and everyone wanders over and gathers round in interest. It appears no one has seen Matai down and out like this, ever. Get a good look people!

 The Bison in better (upright) times
Brett Stewart gets over in the 23rd minute. I can't resent the guy. A minute later Lyon breezes through the non-existent Canberra line to streak away 30 or 40 metres and I get that all too familiar feeling. The one that indicates impending ugliness. Manly don't make it over but it starts my eye to twitching, a sure sign of the onset of a violent tension headache. 
Speaking of twitching, the Tele reported this week that Furner made the Raiders sit down for a three-hour session with a psychologist in an attempt to snap them out of their slump. I don't know why but the thought of a roomful of Raiders and a psychologist having 'a talk' really breaks me up. I just can't imagine guys like Dane Tilse and Trevor Thurling taking anything much away from such an encounter, y'know? God knows I never have. It also makes me think that Furner is even more of a knob than I thought. He may as well be Uncle Rico strapping them into internet-ordered time travel devices:

After oranges, Brandy wonders whether it's "ever rained this hard, anywhere, EVER". Canberra's sets of six go from shabby to plain shit. Brandy blows everyone's (my) mind when he says that the Raiders have had thirty (THIRTY!) tackles inside Manly's half and have nada to show for it. Except, it's worth noting, a look that is more commonly seen in refugee camps.

Incredible. To compare and contrast, Manly have had just seven tackles inside Canberra's half and have still managed 10 points. This is the point where my brother would say that the Raiders are "playing like a busted arse", and also the point where I would agree.

Tony Williams throws up some gang signs from the sidelines. Just kidding. They banned him from doing that. Bitch please, you play for Manly. South Central it aint.

Just as my eyes start to glaze over, Brett White pulls off a late-looking hit on Keiran Foran. I like him. I like his Hasler-esque hair, and I like that he's Mitchell Pierce's boyhood friend. Curious really, considering I don't much like Mitchell Pierce, but there it is. Foran flares up in the scrum and screams at White. Brandy paraphrases and provides us with the cleaned-up version of : "is that all you've got? You're a front-rower aren't you? Why don't you try running the ball see how far you get?" Fair call. I haven't seen White do one notable thing whatsoever since that Origin brawl when he laughed at Justin Hodges through a mouthful of blood. One of the single hottest/wrongest/best things I've ever seen, btw.

Behold: a less-hot/still wrong Brett White:

...and again

The Hasler-esque Keiran Foran

20-0 at the siren. It irritates me to see Orford embracing his old teammates and grinning. I feel this is neither the time nor the place for fraternising.

I can't believe I'm saying this about a football game - any football game - but thankgod it's over. It really is far more fun seeing teams you don't much care for being thrashed. I definately twitch a lot less.

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