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?


Monday, 22 July 2013

The Dugan Saga

Fucking Josh Dugan. Ever since he left the Raiders he’s been a source of renewable energy as far as irritation is concerned.

I didn’t overly mind him going to another club at first. I didn’t want to go down the ‘if we can’t have him no one should’ pathway because it is an ugly way of thinking and one best left for the family court systems and dissatisfied fathers who kill their partners or children and then themselves. And just quickly while I’m here has Dugan’s stinking shitbag of a spawn been born yet? Because if any stinking shitbag is worthy of commemorative crockery this year surely it is Dugan’s and not, as general frenzy would have us believe, Prince William and his cardboard-cutout-gyro-reticulate-eyed wife’s Royal one?
Now though he’s just getting on my nerves. Everything gets on my nerves of course. Because they’re shot, mainly, but also because everything is fucking annoying, one vile task after another in a vile horizonless tapestry, so much so that my mother has developed a catchphrase out of my neuroses so that every time I say something is getting on my nerves including and often referring specifically to her she just says “you and your nerves”.

Yeah. Me and my nerves.

In any case, I hear he has said some derogatory things about the Raiders. I say ‘hear’ because I have not bothered to ‘read’ these things because I am ‘lazy’. And also because I like to adhere to that great and proud tradition of writing slanderous things about somebody without bothering to avail myself of the information on which I’m largely basing my slander. Yeah, cunts, welcome to the internet.
Whatever it was he said, it’s safe to say he doesn’t seem to have a sophisticated grasp, if any, of the delicate circumstances surrounding him, and really why would he what with moving fairly seamlessly from the Raiders to the Dragons to Origin?

As upward trajectories go it is fine and faultless, but rude post-Raider realities have forced me to concede that what he needed was an injunction, ala Todd Carney, in which to turn a few tight transgressive loops of a downward spiral.
This didn’t happen. Those stupid photos of him laboring manually on a building site while wearing a pristine white hoodie don’t count and neither do any of the other small indignities he has heaped upon himself recently and now the Dragons play the Raiders this Saturday and I guess as grudge matches go this will be a good one even though there is no justice because were there any justice my personal preference for Dugan’s punishment would surely have been implemented post haste and instead of playing football he would be spending his weekends  tonging sausages on a hotplate outside of Bunnings because this far more than football is a test of the deep and involuntary stuff of a man and quite frankly who wouldn’t want to see that?  



Thursday, 18 July 2013

Rude Realities of Origin Aftermath

When something you bother to believe in ends in disillusion AND NOT FOR THE FIRST FUCKING TIME OH NO THIS IS NOT THE FIRST TIME WE’VE SADDLED UP THIS HORSE NAMED HOPE it resonates in a painful and very personal fashion.

But, oh well. Show me something that doesn’t. Aside from this guy of course, who seemed to grasp which way the wind was blowing in terms of our need for comic relief and acted accordingly and at some personal expense:

Here is a quick education in the rude realities of recent Origin history. Multiply this picture by 8. I am not in the mood for subtleties.

Further inflaming my ill temper is the just dawned realisation that next year the referees will have TWO opportunities for their annual demonstration of just how pliable and open to intimidation and manipulation they are.

Cameron Smith - who according to popular sporting opinion is said to be as charming and welcoming in his dealings with referees as a pie cooling on a windowsill – talks pretty to them and they practically drop drawers and bend over on the spot for him. Jesus Christ. It leaves me feeling unclean just talking about it.

It also further proves the theory that popular sporting opinion does not always refer to what I consider reality. This, incidentally, or so the psychiatrist who I avoid making eye contact for once a fortnight suggests, may have something to do with why Matt Shirvington and his big swinging balls present pre-game panel shows on Foxtel while I post on a grossly underappreciated blog?


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Blake Ferguson & The Case For & Against Caging Footballers


Blake Ferguson went to court yesterday and entered a not guilty plea to an indecent assault charge.

Court documents allege Ferguson “touched vagina”.

The matter was adjourned until September, so it is for Blake, as it is for everyone, a matter of waiting.

We all wait, at all times, for everything. For doctors, for hospital beds, for transplants, for tradesmen, for Telstra, for elections, for planes, for your number to be called at the deli, for something to fucking change, for death.

Anyway, if you’re anything like me – and if you are congratulations – you will appreciate the high stakes aesthetics of his courthouse style. Internationally, Lindsay Lohan and Michael Jackson set the ‘arriving at court in style’ bar at lofty heights, well out of reach of the general population, to which, if you heed the damning reports, you would know these vagina touching NRL footballers do not believe they belong.

Many recent incidents seem to have confirmed the increasingly commonly held belief that footballers can no longer be trusted to perform ordinary individual acts in any unsupervised capacity. Maybe none more so than Russell Packer, who not five minutes after failing to utilise the unadulterated access to amenities that the dressing sheds presumably provide, stood on field and, hands on hips and before an audience of thousands, released down his leg a great stream of urine.

I’m sorry but whether public or private there’s something unseemly about a man who doesn’t hold his dick to do this. It’s animal.

Packer’s proof that performing basic ablutions are beyond the realm of what we can expect from footballers works very much in favour of the advocates moving to cage and quarantine players for all but the 80 minutes of game time required of them each week. As a movement, it’s gaining momentum.  

They say that based on the current climate very little seems to separate NRL players from the animal world already. They argue that random vagina touching and flagrant hands free urination are but two more threads that make up the ever-narrowing link between footballer and beast.

I don’t deny this. I did, after all, see that stream of piss, those stained shorts, and the sunglasses Blake Ferguson wore on his way to court to plead not guilty.

Still, I am fundamentally opposed to this movement. In actual fact I’m an advocate for footballers gaining recognition as a protected species and being awarded certain civic and civil liberties that allow them to roam among us drones free and unfettered.

This could be a platform from which either side could win this fucking election we’re waiting on. And wouldn’t that actually be something worth waiting for, aside from grim death of course.   


Sunday, 30 June 2013

Phone Conversation With My Mother

Cast of characters:

Richie – stepfather
Jasper - dog
Narrator – mother

 “Richie opened a can of water chestnuts 18 months past their used by date and fed some to Jasper and put the rest in his fried rice and when I told him later that you could get botchalism from eating spoiled canned goods and said ‘oh it’ll probably be alright as long as the can wasn’t bulging’ he said ‘the can was bulging’. And so then I said ‘well botchalism has about an 80 to 90 percent fatality rate’ and he got quite upset – not about himself but about Jasper, he was saying ‘Oh if Jasper dies of botchalism I’d have to die too – and I’d want to be buried in the same coffin with him, in the same grave.’”

Monday, 17 June 2013

Paul Gallen and Violence

Fuck the impressionable soft-skulled children and their neurotic hovering parents.
(I’m proud of Paul Gallen. I’m proud of the fact that in a fortnight filled with nasty little incidents involving nasty little people he didn’t bow to the jungle blood-lust they call “public pressure” and offer up some excruciating contrition-speech as per current specifications.
I’m proud that he didn’t attempt to explain away the small matter of throwing a few punches in the general direction of some brute’s huge misshapen head as an unfortunate byproduct of being “tired”, or use some flaccid variation of the medically elusive brain fade/ brain snap excuse.
He stood staunch. Few do.)

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Anzac Day Unease

Every year things tilt further off balance and it’s causing a grinding, an unease, a wearing away of the parts. I feel like it’s just me and only half of me hopes it isn’t. The other half hopes that it is. Self-generated psychic pain I can deal with. The external gnawings, they take endurance of a special kind, and extract a special price.
Well, we’ll see. Meanwhile the smell of something rotten hangs lower and heavier in the air. It’s like our national neurosis has taken the form of a kind of shit-mist - a dumb ether of confusion and insecurity. Today it hangs at its lowest and heaviest. Next year it will be heavier still – 2014 will start a four-year-long centenary commemoration to cover the years of Australian involvement in WW1. Jesus Mother.  

Australia is still being historicised. We are a fledgling nation, so young that the newly nationalistic clamour surrounding Anzac Day would just be mildly embarrassing and endearing were it not so insidious. The whole thing is unnerving. The pageantry of it is unnerving. The cheap Australian flags, the 4th of July American style ceremonials, the entire tourist industry built around Gallipoli. But beneath all that shit it’s really the constructs and clichés underpinning the pageantry that are rotting out my nerves and making me want to draw down and bolt shut the shades.
Because  basically it’s all myth. National identity, mateship, the egalitarian, fair go for all idea – all myth. This would be okay were it not for the way that our memorial culture takes collective memory as historical certainty and national truth.
Memory is just a prism through which we negotiate the past, and collective memory by its fucking nature contains constant renegotiations and appropriations over time in accordance with external circumstances, generational shifts and *coughJohnHowardYouCuntcough* political ideologies and agendas.
Yes. Well. It may be Anzac Day for the general pop but for me it is the one day of the year when I mourn for my incomplete national-identity-and-mateship themed thesis. I think about war every other day of the goddamn year alright, on all the days when hams on morning television aren’t providing the fucking narrative.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Boyd's Bitchslap, Hayne's Backchat, Campese's Comeback

Can’t keep up? Allow me to bring you up to speed, time-poor peasant.
So. Six rounds down. Faulkner wrote As I Lay Dying in six weeks. You really wouldn’t want to spend much longer than six weeks with Pa Bundren though would you, even if he was your own creation.
·         In league, the 6 week mark is really when you are forced for the first time since season’s start; when you were all flush with that dumb optimism that exists irrespective of reality, to reevaluate your top 8 aspirations. Cowboy fans and the deluded loons who annually espouse their penthouse potential I’m talking to you.

·         Unless you are a Storm, Manly or, god help you, a Rabbit supporter, chances are that your club has already demonstrated a dazzlingly varied array of inadequacies designed to challenge your patience and sanity nearly beyond endurance. Well, endure you must. This is football, and football, like life itself, mostly consists of endurance and suffering.

·         Dave Taylor has been dropped, for reasons that nobody has bothered to make clear. Seemingly, nobody has had to bother because no one cares enough to ask. Those who would normally ask are too busy making off-colour and cruelly unsympathetic cracks about Josh Dugan. I suppose the word is that he has an attitude problem, but saying Dave Taylor has an attitude problem is as obvious and unhelpful as saying the Freemasons have an image problem.

·         Jarryd Hayne is a player operating under conditions of severe personal stress. He offsets this by engaging weekly in vigorous and one sided dialogues with referees. Sometimes he takes a few minutes time out in between bouts and plays a bit of football. The Eels are locked several years deep into their slow and untidy spiral of decline now, and the strain is showing.

·         Ricky Stuart is operating under some stress too. All coaches do, of course, but not all coaches front post-game press conferences with the brimstone of a southern Baptist preacher and not all coaches care enough to make a $10 000 investment in the future of the game which is going straight to hell as they see it.

·         Darius Boyd gave another arresting press conference. In it, he gave nothing away to the assembled media other than the one thing they already knew from years prior, which was that they were dealing with a halfwit who was still not even remotely acquainted with proper press conference etiquette. Far be it from me to dish out unauthorised psychiatric diagnoses but he does seem to have advanced several shades up the spectrum since becoming a Knight.  

·         Misery continues to seep through Ben Barba’s barely maintained façade. There’s an ocean breaking inside the poor boy’s brain. You can see the tide washing in and out of his eyes. Barba was last year’s excitement machine. Josh Dugan was once an excitement machine. The game is littered with broke-down excitement machines. It’s a veritable Somme, and very sad.

·         Terry Campese finally made his comeback. This just leaves us waiting on Jesus now. Of course, the thing about comebacks (and this is where Terry went wrong last year) is that you are expected to come back and stay back. It’s not compulsory, but it is the preferred method.  Seven minutes of flabby play does not a comeback make, although as exits go it was spectacular, in a tragic Shakespearean way. Raider fans, who are well accustomed to pain and tragedy, absorbed the psychic pain with trademark weary stoicism facilitated by extra lashings of class A narcotics.

·         Recently, the Raiders have overcome trying circumstances to win 2 games. In a row. I believe this is what hubris-bloated commentators officially refer to as “a roll”. The other week against the Roosters, when the Raiders finally, after 45 profoundly painful minutes of play, completed a full set of six, Brandy Alexander called that “a roll” too. Raiders. Severely lowering standards since the mid-90s.

·         Sonny Bill is back too. I find it hard to summon interest in someone who seems to be so solely committed to self-interest, but he has rendered the Roosters vaguely watchable, which is not a sentence I thought I would write in Braith Anasta’s absence. 

·         Paul Gal was supposed to hang his junk out for charity. He arranged his underpants into some sort of crudely fashioned G-string instead. The whole this was a touch underwhelming. As in, I wasn’t all like:

·         Finally, there’s Todd Carney to consider. Because I haven’t, for fucking ever. I realised this a couple of weeks ago. I made a note of it.

Look at that unmarked neck and chest flesh. This is so sad. Lest we forget.   

Friday, 19 April 2013

In Dugan's Defense

Poor Dugan. Poor Boy-Bambi.
He has become a human punch line.
So he’s run his ship up onto some rocks. Who hasn’t? I’ll tell you who hasn’t – the flat-pack fuckwits who don’t have the guts or sense to get down in it. Fuck them. Fuck their lame tweets; 140 characters or less of dull, putrid, limping nothingness.

There should be no shame in a bit of flailing around amid the deeply fallible seas of human social congress. Larry David made a career out of it.
It’s tough for the modern footballer. Their wits are inevitably already dulled from having their heads driven down into their necks and their necks driven down into their shoulders since they were young and soft of skull. Their brains probably slop around inside those misshapen skulls like crème caramels released from their ramekins too soon. It is unreasonable to expect their behaviour to be better than that of the average firm brained citizen. It is remarkable that they can even keep abreast of the tackle count or recognise their teammates if you ask me, which obviously no one does, frustratingly.  
Then, there’s the relentless tracking of personal lives, and invasive technology allowing everything to be conveyed within seconds to the wider world which, frankly, is an ugly and undignified place full of ugly and undignified people who fight like half-starved dogs over every scrap of information as it comes and clamber to post their small utterings of inanity which we now call comment.
They are poised now, haunches flexed and empty gazes narrowed, ready to fight and froth dog-like over the corpse of Josh Dugan’s career.

 N.B. - All the existentialism in the world will not make you question the universe so much as an idle scroll through a standard comment section or exchange in the online NRL community. The only thing that sets this little exchange apart from the ceaseless shit-stream is Dugan’s correct use of ‘too’, which no one seemed to notice or find cute, so caught up were they in the tedious indignation that passes for controversy. Whatever. I found it cute.   

Saturday, 13 April 2013

My Brother is a Self-Hating Raider Fan

The Raiders.
They madden no one more than my brother.
It pains him to follow them, yet he does so forensically.
They drive him to aggressive distraction, yet he cannot stop with them.
It’s a deeply complicated business. To cope, he does what we do when those we love but wish to Christ we didn’t love disappoint and pain us – he treats them with obsessive cruelty and holds them in serious contempt.

And while he claims to wish he could quit them, somewhere, in the dark recesses of his brain and bone marrow, there is great love and tenderness for the Raiders.  The conflict this creates  - great and abiding loyalty overlaid with everyday weariness and woe – is essentially what makes him a self-hating Raider fan.

My phone reception was down all night so we didn’t get to exchange the usual stream of profound and brutal texts. He doesn’t have Foxtel so he goes out in public to watch them and this probably magnifies his pain when they lose but he seems to like sitting among down-and-outs and listening to their unique commentary and some of the things he hears we immediately incorporate into our own commentary, like a few years ago, when Daniel Vidot made a break, and an old man stiffened, sat up ramrod straight and screamed “RUN YOU PIECE OF SHIT!” We use that one a lot.
In the early hours of the morning my sleep was ruptured by my phone barring up and receiving texts, including the mysterious question from my best friend: “Are you the feminist environmental league????” but mostly coming from my brother.
They are looking alright but no better than the Warriors. What happened to Shillo? Is Earl down too?
William called. No voicemail message was left.
God Croker is a ball hog – pass it to your winger you fool IT’S A TEAM SPORT.
William called. No voicemail was left.
This is turning into rot.
William called. No voicemail was left.
Total rot.
William called. No voicemail was left.
This is the worst set I have ever seen.
William called. No voicemail was left.
This is killing me.
Apparently it didn’t kill him because after he’d left (“the place went OFF after that last Lee try!”) and returned home he had the wherewithal to call my old broke-down phone, which I had had the wherewithal to switch on, and after raving excitedly about the mystifying nature of the Raiders, which is what we do following 90% of their wins and most of their losses too when I think about it, he said “Alright I have to go – my Kiev’s will be overdone – I slipped home at halftime to put them in the oven – but I tell you, if they’d lost I would have come home and thrown them against the wall!”
He would have, too, and the thing is it requires almost no imagination to envision the circumstances in which this could have occurred. Maddening.