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