The Premier Premier League
| TAVITA |
OK, mates, it’s footy time! One of the greatest competitions on earth starts again this week. In fact, it’s already started. Australia’s gift to the Cosmos. That’s right! It’s the NRL!
On Thursday night, two of the favourites, the Roosters and the Rabbitohs, kicked off Season 2013 with red hot pies and fireworks. Last night, the Broncos took on the Sea Eagles. And, today, it’s the Eels against the Warriors and the Bulldogs against the Cowboys.
Then, featured tomorrow….
The NRL champions and newly-crowned World Number 1, the Melbourne Storm, ready to start defending both titles against St. George Illawarra Dragons, the blokes in the white and scarlet V’s.
So coming up now….
All the way through till Monday night and months and months to come….
Australian National Rugby League.
OK! I know what most local Sports Watchers will be saying.
Good question. So here’s the answer….
According to the authoritative “All Versions Big Book of Rugby Watching (AVBBRW)”, there are four kinds of rugby.
Touch – a sort of polite middle class family affair, involving polite and middlish classy blokes, plus sheilas and kids, in “as many-as-you-like” teams, puffing around, being polite and extremely middle classish.
Sevens – an astoundingly boring, anonymous former hobby in which astoundingly boring anonymous types rush around all over the place in 7-a-side teams for a quarter of an hour…… a game that has been astoundingly lifted by the commercial classes to Olympic status.
Rugby Union – fifteen-a-side teams and five minute breaks every six minutes for scrums and lineouts.
Rugby League – thirteen-a-side teams with token scrums and no line-outs.
Summary: Of these, Rugby League is the greatest of all.
NB: The above summary is not from the AVBBRW. I got it from my old mate Jocko who’s just in back from the outback.
Jocko strongly fancies the Roosters, now that they’ve got Sonny Bill Williams back from the clutches of Union and local boxing.
Having just proved themselves the best in the world, the Storm look like being the ones to beat and not many look like beating them.
The Bulldogs are still growling hard after losing last year’s Grand Final and the youngish Sea Eagles’ line-up could well come of age this season.
News that Russell Crowe had been thinking of ditching the Rabbitohs, merely to save his marriage, stunned all hard-RL
followers. Recent reports, however, seem to suggest that he’s regained his sanity. So this could spur on a handy looking South Sydney outfit.
As for the rest, the Canberra Raiders have got some pretty good backs and the Cowboys look solid all the way through.
Then the Sharks, the Broncos, the Warriors and the Knights have enough strength to cause plenty of surprises.
Those are the top top-raters. And the others?
“Wombat tucker,” says Jocko.
And the 2013 Grand Final?
“The Roosters vs. The Storm,” Jocko tips.
There are a stack of players to marvel at. The NRL is loaded with dazzling talent.
As already mentioned, there’s Sonny Bill Williams, once RL, then RU, then Any-Weight Champ of Any-Where Else. He’s back again in League with the Roosters and one of the world’s guaranteed all-stars in whatever code he plays.
For the Storm, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk are match winners par excellence and their excellence is far from par.
Approaching veteran stage, Benji Marshall of the Wests Tigers, captain of the NZ Kiwis, former holder of the Golden Boot Award for the World’s Best Player, is the most dazzling back in world rugby, league or union.
And in the forwards, there’s always the Broncos’ Sam Thaiday, the greatest Torres Islander ever, still around and still a-thumping.
As for youngsters, the Manly Sea Eagles have Daly Cherry-Evans back, still young, still adventurous and ever closer to Dan Carter in all-code outside halvery. And over in New Zealand, there’s Warriors’ half-back Shaun Johnson and full-back/winger Glen Fisiiahi.
Fantastic! And, speaking of fantastic….
Cheer-leading for the Warriors!
There’s one big question.
How about all this scandalous, match-fixing, drug-centred criminal stuff the Aussie Crime Commission’s just dug up? After all, six clubs have now been named. The Penrith Panthers; the Manly Sea Eagles, the Cronulla Sharks, the Newcastle Knights, the Canberra Raiders and the North Queensland Cowboys.
That means that nearly half the League is under investigation.
“Not to worry!” says Jocko. He quotes a quote from Dave Smith, CEO of the Australian Rugby League Commission.
“Whatever comes out of the investigations,” Smith adds, “Rugby League will be in a better place.”
“Like East Sydney!” Jocko declares.
So, what to watch for this weekend?
Me, I’m a bit of a Warriors bloke so I’ll be watching for Amy!