Friday, 30 March 2012

Billy Slater's Neck&Thighs: "thick all round"

Things are looking up down here in Victoria. Maybe it really will one day be “the place to be” like the inane number plates announce. My newsagent Carl was eager and very excited to tell me recently that my specially ordered Daily Telegraph is now delivered ON THE DAY, as opposed to a day later, and that he had been working tirelessly since Christmas to achieve this. “How many do you actually sell?” I asked him. “Oh, four or five…” “Yeh well maybe the suits in charge of programming at WIN will fall into line with you and acknowledge the existence of NRL – you could be a pioneer, Carl – you’re Burke and Wills right now!” This was met with an unblinking silence, a softly furrowed brow, and, finally, a low nervous laugh. AFL dimbulbs, what can you do? Actually, on second thoughts, Victoria still has a ways to go.

When the ray of light that is the All Stars game shone upon us and signaled the thawing of the off-season frost and the passing of the soul’s winter those fuckers at WIN showed Big Momma’s House. Astonishing. I actually watched the opening scenes wondering where Josh Dugan was and if he was possibly playing off the bench…
Well. Several weeks later, and who knew my shaken disgruntled fists and muttered voodoo curses could be laid to rest (transferred elsewhere, whatever) now that WIN has started showing Friday Night Footy on its digital sister channel?? Sometimes, life, you’re only seemingly sub-par. Let’s never fight again.
NRL on free to air television sparked the interest of my best friend, hence:  
-Got it
-And I thought I was the only one person to have shorts ride up in my crotch. These boys and their big thighs
Me - Note the Storms heritage collared jerseys, fabulous neck extension. Every team should bring them back. Need all the neck help they can get.
-Thick all round

Before I move on, I should point out that it took years of evolution for the human race to get to the point where our chins reside in lofty isolation, elevated from our shoulders by a vertical expanse widely known as “the neck”. Now to be fair, not every “neck” resembles the graceful nodding stem of a daffodil (see above). Tyra Banks understands this, which is why she is forever critiquing contestant’s photos on America’s Next Top Model with words to the effect of “YOU NEED MORE NECK”. The Morris twins understand this. Billy Slater understands this. NRL jersey designers do not understand this. To my mind this is the greatest flaw in the modern game. It is also the most easily rectified. Who gives a fuck about chicken wings, rolling pins, chin straps and crusher tackles, JUST MODIFY THE FUCKING JERSEYS ALREADY.
Apparently, teams are always looking for “the edge”, and despite the unfortunate current situation whereby the Storm have said edge over every team in the competition (but only just over the Raiders – GO RAIDERS) there is no doubt in my mind that their V-necked and collared jerseys provided additional ‘edge’ last night. The Knights looked second-rate in their collarless jerseys and they played second-rate football. Do the math. Kurt Gidley did the math, worked himself into a towering lather and eventually lost his shit entirely. He claimed he was screaming abuse at himself – “I CAN SAY WHAT I LIKE TO ME’SELF” – but the ref disagreed and penalised him for dissent. Of course, Gidley is one of the players who would benefit most from a collared jersey.  

It was a night for all the senses. Aside from the Storm’s elegant appearance I got to listen to Rabs and Gus commentating. Ok, so neither of them possesses the honeyed tones of Jeremy Irons. We have Brad Fittler on the sideline for that.  What they can do is emote. Goddamn are they emotive. Rabs is excitable and astute and Gus is full of bluster and hyperbole and they bitch and bicker at each other like a cantankerous old married couple and it’s the most awesome and entertaining thing ever and may they both live on eternally.
Gus was in good form last night; he said “wow” (Billy Slater, who else..), which is one of life’s great aural pleasures, and he also suffered some mental slippage and got stuck on the idea that the Storm were more soldier crab than human. I mean, who hasn’t?? He returned to the theme continuously over the course of the game, dreamily droning sentences such as “Like little soldier crabs, aren’t they – just marching up the field, marching marching…”  He also cast his gimlet eye over a Knights player, Zeb somebody, who knocked on for no apparent reason and under no apparent pressure, and ran right over Rabs’ sympathetic murmurings with the words “I KNOW, I FEEL SORRY FOR HIM TOO – BUT HE DOES PLAY THIS GAME FOR A LIVING!” Brilliant. Leave it to Gus to bring down the cold boot of truth.
Other stuff happened, like Cameron Smith berating his players lustily and at length after the final siren, despite them winning, and there was another game, featuring the fucking Broncos, as per, and they won, also as per, and the whole thing was very rewarding. You watch Friday Night Footy and feel the world disappearing. People say they experience the same sensation when a big gun goes off in their hands. I don’t know about that but I did have vague face-ache at the end of it all. Viva Victoria.

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