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.