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welcome to origin season, bitches

May 17th, 2011

Oh, how I’ve missed you Errol-ers. I remember the carefree days of regular blogging, mocking sportsmen far and wide and telling embarassing personal anecdotes whenever I felt like it. But lately, things have been a little … demoralising.

My noble employer has decided to turn One HD from a sports channel to a general entertainment channel, which is actually kind of awesome since it means we get wicked awesome shows like An Idiot Abroad and Sons of Anarchy. But let’s just say that dealing with irate members of the public abusing you via the twitter and the Facebook and threatening to send in bombs to the office (that really happened) can put a dent in a girl’s inspiration to write footy blogs.

Although it did teach me fun facts, like there are at least 8 people on Twitter who want a dedicated A-League show on free-to-air TV, and that, often, people are straight-up nuts. Good to know.

The other thing that can get a blogger mighty depressed is OH MY GOD WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO ME ROOSTERS? Losing to the Sharks at Shark Park is the worst kind of loss. It’s embarassing, it bodes badly for the rest of the season, and it proves that even my successful Nathan Gardner voodoo doll isn’t enough to save my team.

No wonder Nate Myles is leaving to go to the Titans. Up there it’s all sunshine and Jamal Idris and children’s tv, back in Bondi it’s driving Todd Carney to AA meetings and drowning your sorrows at the Maccas near Tom Ugly’s bridge after you lose to Cronulla.

But just when I hit the lowest point and was fighting the urge to put on a snuggie and eat a wheel of cheese as big as my head Liz Lemon-stylez … Mal Meninga inspired me.

But the big story was 25-year-old Nielsen, who has only racked up 42 first grade games since his 2008 NRL debut before getting the Origin call. 

Nielsen comes in for Inglis who is expected to be ruled out for up to a month after again injuring the hip that required pre-season surgery.

North Queensland-bred Nielsen looked overawed facing the huge media contingent in Brisbane on Tuesday but Meninga had no problem throwing him into the Origin deep end.

Asked what Nielsen could offer the side, Meninga said: “He’s a proud Queenslander.”

OH NO YOU DIDN’T MAL. YOU DID NOT JUST SAY YOU PICKED NIELSEN FOR HIS QUEENSLAND SPIRIT. As opposed to, oh say … his footy skills?

Apparently in Queensland, pride in your State is the footy equivalent of how mums suddenly get super-strength so they can lift their four-door Yukon SVUs off their squished babies in a Walmart carpark. (Why does that only happen in America, by the way?)

Forget about 15 years of training and dedication and footy education, all you need is pride! Queensland spirit conquers all!

And just like that, I was revived by how irritated Queenslanders make me!

Although I do have to give massive props to Mal for his team selection in general.

1. I find Dane Nielsen’s curly hair completely adorable. If he wasn’t a dirty Queenslander I’d travel back in time to 1993 and put an A4 poster of him from TV Hits on the back of my bedroom door like I used to do with JTT.


Boilers still got it, ladies!

2. Petero! I just like seeing that ole Oak tree out on the field. It reminds me of the time he and Steve Price were bunkmates in the ‘Boiler Room’ and I lol to myself every time.

3. Corey Parker and his AussieBum undies are a fine, fine addition to any team. I assume that the little sewing minions at AB are whipping up a range of Maroon undergarments and speedos for him as we speak. If you’re not sure on the size, maybe just go ahead and assume he wears his speedos like Chris Heighington wears his jerseys … circulation-threateningly small. The ladies and gays of Queensland will be grateful, at least.

4. A+ for effort and improvement on the legitimacy front. Well, mainly it’s probably just the result of bad luck and coincidence. But for whatever reason, the Maroons is now almost entirely made up of men from Queensland. Hurrah! GOLD STAR FOR YOU GLEN COCO. YOU GO GLEN COCO.

And how do you properly pay tribute to this new team of authentic Maroons? By introducing them under a blue spotlight to old-school 90s classics like Jump Around by house of Pain. Oh yessss. If you missed the Queensland team announcement, Imma recap that shit for you, because I think it may be just about as hilarious as that time Nips Farah and Sam Burgess were on Ready, Steady, Cook!

We open on a dimly lit Brisbane conference room. Chairman of selectors Gene Miles says stuff that is boring. He then tells us that the first player named for the Maroons squad will be Billy ‘Pony Club’ Slater.

Birry saunters out and is hit by a crazy blue spotlight as the speakers start blasting a sweet 90s mix of “Whoomp! There is is” AND “Pump Up the Jam”. Did he pick it himself? I like to think so. He carries a little cardboard sign saying ‘Billy Slater’ up to the stage and some girl who is obviously the Queensland Origin version of Adriana Xenedis takes it and puts it in a little slot on the stage backdrop.

Ooh, drama! It’s like Wheel of Fortune! Can I have an ‘M’ for Meninga, please Tony Barber?

Darius Boyd comes out to ‘Raise some hell’ and Dane Nielsen gets P!nk. Huh. Gene reads all the names so sceptically. Like there’s an implied IF THAT’S REALLY YOUR NAME after every person. The [alleged] Willie Tonga comes out and they forget to press play, so he just walks to the stage to give Adraiana his card in silence, then sits in his little seat for a few seconds while we finally get to listen to the intro to House of Pain ‘Jump Around’. Not gonna lie, I enjoyed it.

Jharal Yow Yeh rocks out to the Black Eyed Peas ‘Pump It’. And by ‘rocks out’ clearly I mean ‘walks quickly and nervously while looking at the ground and possibly blushing’.

Finally, the grande dame of Queensland footy Darren Lockyer emerges and it’s time for The Final Countdown. Seriously? I don’t even know. When I try and remember what it looked like all I can see it this:

Hey, do you guys remember the 90s trance-dance-techno hit Here’s Johnny? Well hello there Jonathan Thurston!

Matt Scott! Guns n Roses! More Queenslanders! And what song could suit Cam Smith better than Macho Man?

From now on, he shall be known as ‘The Cop’ … or ‘The Biker’. Depending on my mood. There’s totally a resemblance, right?


No Birdy, that’s not a dig at moustaches. Yours is pretty much our favourite thing in footy right now.

Petero is Bad to the Bone. Sam Thaiday gets Bad Boys. This is all so weird I can’t even explain it. The weirdest thing is that they didn’t pick either ‘Gimme More’ OR ‘Barracuda’ for Cooper Cronk. Big mistake. Huge.

I make all my coworkers watch it approximately five times. We realise Nate Myles is accidentally spelled NATE MILES on his little card.

I know, right?

Sometimes, I think Queenslanders do this shit on purpose to amuse me. The XXXX / spelling jokes write themselves, people!

And just as I start to worry that with the addition of Corey Parker, the Queensland team will be almost as adorable as my boys in blue, I snap back to my senses.

Even our 18th man is slightly oversized, often confused and completely lovable like a labrador puppy. If labrador puppies had sweet dance moves.

Aaah we love our boys. And the rest of you, get back to us at the end of July and we’ll start back up where we left off, yeah?

Pics. Getty Images

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monday night recap: cowboys v storm

March 29th, 2011

ATTENTION READERS: THIS POST CONTAINS 80% OF A PERSON’S DAILY MENTAL NUTRITION.

Welcome darlings! It’s the first game recap of 2011, and it should have happened a lot sooner. It couldn’t though, because for the last three weeks I’ve been living with no internet. NO INTERNET. IN MY HOME. It’s straight-up torture. My flattie and I are thisclose to just giving up on modern life and going full Amish, churning our own butter and marrying dudes called Samuel. Then at least I could wear adorable brightly coloured maxi-skirts like whatever that movie is where Kirstie Alley makes over an Amish community while she’s on the run from the law.

What was my point? Oh yes, it’s the Cowboys v the Storm, it’s in Townsville (meet you in the casino after the game) and it’s raining.

The Fox boys tell us this will be a “clash of two great halfbacks”, which I think we all know means “an 80 minute battle to see who’s the best at bitching out referees”.

Warren says “Jonathan Thurston, what a battle it will be against Cooper Cronk”. Luckily, Waz is not referring to a real battle, because I think we all know that if this was a real battle Cooper Cronk would straight up spear someone in the eye, while JT would be the one at the back, hiding in a haystack weeping, and wearing an enemy uniform underneath his own just in case he’s about to get captured.

We know this because Cooper Cronk is a fierce bitch. And even Craig Bellamy agrees:

See? Fierce! (And thanks to Eliescha for finding it xx)

The game starts with Brian Norrie – or as we like to call him, Johnny Anonymous –  losing the ball, the Storm giving away a penalty, and Cam Smith wearing an elastoplast headband. With his stubble and his headband all diagonal and askew, he looks vaguely like a homeless Vietnam Vet.


When he says ‘spare a dollar’, it means ‘kick a field goal’.
Pic. Getty Images

Billy Slater chases up a Storm kick and tackles Matt Bowen and I am overwhelmed by cuteness. What can I say? I have a weakness for fullbacks on the lower end of the neck-length-spectrum.

The Storm fire up another grubbery kick, and if you can take a minute or two to watch this handy YouTube clip, I think TLC sum up my feelings on this game better than any other words could. U-N-P-R-E-T-T-Y.

Kalifa Fai Fai Loa gets his first touch, and as always when I hear his name pronounced ‘Fai Fai Law’ I feel like we’re talking about an obscure maritime treaty and giggle cause I’m a massive nerd.

Little Matty Bowen (yes that is his official name. Feel free to call him LMB) offloads and the ball gets to Will Tupou for a try on the right, but JT misses the conversion cause he’s too busy thinking how much of a bitch I am for saying he’d be a terrible soldier.

Hey, did you remember Anthony Quinn existed? I totally didn’t. Soz Quinny.

Kalifa Fai Fai Loa picks up the a Storm kick from just in front of the try line, runs it back, keeps running, OMG HE’S STILL RUNNING GO KALIFA GO GO GO! He drops it out to LMB for a beautiful try. LMB seems to think about diving in like a showpony, but resists. I like to think it’s cause he just really cares about safety. OH&S, y’all!

JT makes it 10-0, and when Ashley Graham barnstorms past Anthony Quinn I make a conscious effort to forget Anthony Quinn again.

Laurie Daley tells us that you always have to be aware with Cam Smith that he can kick, and that he’s looking to kick 40 …. 20s. In the 8 or 9 mintue pause between saying the words ’40’ and ’20’, Cam Smith kicks a 40-20.

An error to melbourne. An error to NQ. Waz says “it’s a greasy old night”. Mmmm greasy. I could smash a sausage roll.

Ashton Sims is penalised for … who knows, really. He always gets penalised for something, it’s hard to keep track.

Kevin Proctor makes a run of approximately minus 15 metres, Cronk kicks on the 5th tackle, it’s batted off to Sika Manu who .. loses the ball when he’s tackled from behind. It’s bleak. If you didn’t see it, just imagine Sika Manu trying to ground the ball, and replace each hand with one of these:

Yep, it was like that.

Cooper Cronk is not pleased with this turn of events. He’s screaming wildly for Justin O’Neill to kick the ball, but instead he passes to Billy Slater who … passes to the ground.


Pic. Getty Images

Considering I tipped the Storm this is wildly depressing, so let’s all take a moment to lift our spirits with a glorious picture of Flossy Nightingale …. um, well I don’t really know what he’s doing. Maybe he’s chasing butterflies. Or passing an imaginary football. He’s just Flossy, you know?

Bless.

The Cowboys reach their fifth tackle, take a kick, every man and his dog chases it in-goal. Dane Nielsen gets kneed in the face and rolls his ankle simultaneously. Ashley Graham somehow decides to go all Paul Mercurio and slides in on both knees, then knee-butts the ball dead. I would explain it but I … I don’t even know.

Everyone at Errol HQ is enjoying the Cowboys’ recent uniform redesign.

To my surprise and delight, someone in the stands reboots the Melbourne mixing desk and the Storm bust out a beautiful set play for Gareth Widdop to score a try. Cam Smith kicks a kick of amazingness for a 10-6 scoreline. Pretty sure I just heard a player yelling ‘what the fuck’ caught on the referee’s mike. I agree, mystery player. I agree.


Pic. Getty Images

Coming back from halftime, Tariq Sims goes for a strip on Billy Slater and is penalised. Of course he is. Sims boys attract penalties like flames attract moths. To explain it in footy terms, the Sims family is to penalties what Luke O’Donnell is to punch-ups. And to hotness. Oh Luke O’Donnell, we miss you already.

Sika Manu is taken off with leg troubles. Tonight is really not his night. It’s possible he’s offended the gods.

I notice Cameron Smith has taken off his headband. Did I offend him?

The Cowboys run in a try through Ash Graham and there is absolutely no doubt of any kind that the tipping gods hate me. This is the worst. 16-6 Cowboys.

I  miss about 10 minutes of the game because I happen to find this article online.

Perhaps it is because of the criticism that Andrew Johns has been ordained the next Immortal by some experts.

In what universe is Andrew Johns getting an easier ride to potential immortality than Darren Lockyer? Excuse me while my head explodes.

When I actually remember there’s footy on, Lozza is telling me Widdop is “a good mover on his feet”. As opposed to not on his feet. I love you, footy commentary. Never, ever change.

Matty Bowen runs in a beautiful try and grounds it with his torso from a JT kick for 22-8, and Ash Graham bags a double for 28-6. Just to clear things up, when the cmmentators say Matty Bowen is “changing his wheels” on the sideline, they are not talking about the “PAUL GALLEN GRABBED ME ON THE WHEELS” kind of wheels. They mean his shoes.

Proctor mounts a massive hit on Bowen, Billy saves a Fai Fai Loa try with a kick to the grandstand. If only my campaign for a rugby league six-and-out rule last year had worked. I won’t even get started on my petition for the shirtless v pantsless All-Stars.

The Fox boys tell me Ash Graham “has 19 runs tonight”. No wonder Billy is confused.

Melby have only one person on the bench, btw. Which is just like the Roosters on Sunday arvo, except that this wasn’t Neil Henry’s fault.

To finish off the rain-soaked tipping carnage, Tariq Sims somehow manages to run in a try without getting penalised, and it’s 34-6. Did that really just happen? Is this a betting scandal game again? Because I am 99% sure I’m not drunk.

Andy Raymond interviews “a very happy Dallas Johnson”, who looks pretty much the same as angry Dallas Johnson, and sad Dallas Johnson, and all other Dallas Johnsons. How could Andy even tell? Maybe Dallas just announces his feelings, like ladies with botox have to do.

I AM VERY HAPPY.
I AM VERY ANGRY.

Cooper Cronk tells Australia that: “I know this sounds silly, we’re not really focussed on winning games at the moment.” WELL THAT’S LUCKY COOPER CRONK.

Wayne Pearce tells us this win will be good for the Cowboys, because it’s like “mental nutrition”. Hello my new favourite phrase.

Stay tuned for a wrap of my all-round terrible tipping and the Erroltips leader board later this week.

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errol’s 12 days of christmas: day four

December 16th, 2010

On the fourth day of Christmas

Oh Errol gave to me

Some photos that are funnnnyyyy

Hi Errol friends. Hope you’re enjoying your daily dose of footy lolz. Our new e-best friend Kate tells us that yesterdays post made her friend cry from laughing at work and now his workmates think he’s a crazy person. This makes me proud. Next time I’ll post some half naked boys and then his colleagues can think he likes the dudes. Sweet.

Today I have the Worst Headache Ever and the only thing my brain can cope with is a) checking my hard drive for funny footy photos and b) posting them for you guyz. ENJOY!

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footy observations: melbourne cup style

November 2nd, 2010

You will all be SHOCKED to know that the Errol girls weren’t invited to any marquees for Melbourne Cup this year. No Birdcage, no Emirates VIP section, no Myer tent. Nothing. We were invited to the Maroubra Bay Hotel for their special day via SMS, but were sadly unable to attend. Apparently Rob ‘Millsy’ Mills is good enough for Flemington but we aren’t. And that pretty much sums up our lives.

Luckily, we … um, well we kind of don’t like the races. We want to like the races: all the mental images of gorgeous men in grey morning suits buying you champagne and sitting on white wrought iron furniture, maybe horrifying some of the more traditional and genteel folk by wearing a skirt above the knee.

Our eternal thanks to the Daily Telegraph and their intrepid photographers for bringing this photo to the world.

But the reality … not quite so charming. It’s all bogans in flammable suits and Oakleys and walking spray tans getting their heels wedged in the grass. Why would we overpay to go to the races in the middle of the day when we could just get pissed with bogans at the greyhound races, after dark, on solid cement ground, wearing whatever we want?

It makes no sense! It’s nonsense!

We do have one thing to thank the horse races for: they invited the Australian Kangaroos to the drawing of the barriers and it was the few moments in the whole of this four nations tournament to make us smile (apart from Bodene Thompson in general, rrrrawr).

If you can look at Cameron Smith playing a horse-riding video game and not laugh, then you may well be dead inside.

Isn’t it sweet that, since he never actually made it as a jockey, they let Billy Slater hold the fancy-schmancy number hats? HE LOOKS SO HAPPY.

Although, on second thoughts, it’s possible that it doesn’t take much at all to make Billy Slater happy. He also looks happy while crushing England’s spirits:

Catching footballs:

AND playing water polo like a joyful spaniel:

In fact, the only thing he doesn’t look happy doing is practising his Broadway high kicks. This is not a surprise, because high kicks are serious goddamn business. You mess that up? Someone loses an eye. YOU WANNA END UP WEARING AN EYE-PATCH, KIDS? DO YA?

Wait, what was my point? I got all distracted doing a kick-ball-change holding an imaginary tophat.

I think it was that the Four Nations game between the Kangas and England was straight up depressing, despite Tom Learoyd-Lahrs sporting a hilarious 90s Backstreet Boy-esque moustache. And it wasn’t just because of rain-related fumbles or the completely INSANE video ref decisions, or even the fact that we all knew Australia was going to smash it in. This poor little English backs had nothin’ against the Australians.

(Wonder if England ever stops and despairs that every time they invent a sport and export it to the colonies, the colonials end up being better at it.)

It’s just not fun seeing Australia play that far below their best. It’s not a spectacle, is it? There was a decided lack of magic. And Luke Lewis played out of his skin but that doesn’t help us now he’s injured. All we have left is Fierce Bitch Cooper Cronk, who also got some shit done on Sunday night.

ALL HAIL HIS FIERCENESS.

And if you’re feeling a little tipsy, tired, or just plain blue, we would like to recommend you head over to the England Rugby League site and watch their video summary of the four nations team hosting a skills and drill day for schoolkids in Eden Park in New Zealand.

Tony Clubb saying “I’m still young” when he is clearly 45 in human years? Every man and his dog making fun of Luke Robinson for being tiny like a tiny teddy? Sam Burgess getting squirted in the ear with water by what I’m 99% sure is Robbie Farah? IT’S CHAMPAGNE TELEVISION.

Now bring on Australia vs New Zealand. Team Kiwi!

All Kangaroos pics: Getty Images

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end of season observations: boobs, dudes and awkwardness

October 6th, 2010

WE HAVE SOME VERY IMPORTANT NEWS! It’s boob month!

October is breast cancer awareness month. If you love boobs, or women, or puppies, or health, or sunshine, or rainbows, then you will want to do something, show your support, and maybe rustle up a few dollars for the cause. One of the best ways is to visit the McGrath Foundation website. They work to try and reach Jane McGrath’s dream of placing breast care nurses in communities all over Australia, and to make sure women know how to look after their own health. Funnily enough, they’re also partners for the NRL One Community Women in League program. THEY DO SO MUCH GOOD STUFF. Go! Help!

It’s okay, I’ll wait.

In other vitally important news and current affairs, people have complained about the entertainment at the Grand Final. It’s kind of comforting, really. Like Christmas! You always know it’s coming. Complaints include “who is this young person’s hippity-hop crew? I care not for them!”, “that young woman’s pants are too tight!” and  “all this jumping around is like a Nathan Blacklock tribute show!”

And if I can paraphrase, Steve Mascord’s response was pretty much this miming shit is embarassing.

We shouldn’t comment on entertainment value, cause personally, we think nothing will ever be as good as the year they flew in Jimmy Barnes in a helicopter. Now that’s entertainment. But what I can say is that one half of You Am I’s performance made me feel … awkward.

That look on Obama’s face? That was me.

In the year of the Timana Tahu racism scandal did we really have to pick Brown Sugar as the entertainment? The one about how black people are better dancers and black chicks are heaps hot and that? The one that was originally called Black P*ssy? Because I thought it was traditional to avoid culturally insensitive and potentially blaxploitative songs in a racism-year. The Rolling Stones have like a billion other songs. I blame you for this, Tim Rogers!

You can make it up to me by going to the NRL site and voting for the indigenous all-stars, right now. Because indigenous peeps celebrating indigenous culture and achievement is both awesome and decidedly un-awkward.

Running a close second in the awkward stakes is Cameron ‘a dingo grappled Sam Thaiday!’ Smith. We get in trouble sometimes (a lot) for bagging the Storm. We are often (always) accused of being too harsh on them and blatantly biased. Well, your honour, this time Cam really did do something awful! I swear!

Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith was strangely absent from this year’s NRL grand final but added a personal touch to Collingwood’s AFL triumph over St Kilda.

There’s no excuse for helping AFL. Especially not when you follow it up with this clanger:

“It was a funny feeling because it’s the first time I haven’t been involved in the finals.

“I remember thinking it doesn’t even feel like a grand final because we weren’t there.”

I’m sorry, I just choked on my tongue a little from the awkwardness of that quote. Pssst, Cam, you’re making yourself sound like a dick! *nudge nudge*

Let’s all cleanse our brains quickly by looking at complete adorableness of the Shiloh Jolie-Pitt of the NRL, also known as Hot Bitch’s baby:

Lastly, Errol congratulations gropes to two of our favourite Errol dudes for making the Kangaroos squad for the Four Nations tournament. Tommy Learoyd-Lahrs made it for the first time and the Raiders interviewed him and his awesome hair for you to watch.

Greg Bird made it for the second time even though he only just got back in the league. And did we mention he knows how to rock a suit? Because last night at the Titans’ Paul Broughton award night he definitely did.

Two incredible achievements right there: representing your country, and looking schmick. Yep, two INCREDIBLE achievements.

Pics. Getty Images, Gold Coast Bulletin.

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origin 2010: maroon is such an unfortunate colour

May 19th, 2010

Since we met the blues boys yesterday, I guess it’s only “fair” and “reasonable” that we talk about the Queensland Origin team. And like most things that are fair, it will be unpleasant. Like sharing shit with your brothers and sisters, and giving people back their lost wallets and cash if you find them. Boo fairness.

Here they are in all their maroon glory:

Billy Slater

Darius Boyd

Greg Inglis

Willie Tonga

Israel Folau

Darren Lockyer (c)

Johnathan Thurston

Matthew Scott

Cameron Smith

Petero Civoniceva

Nate Myles

Sam Thaiday

Ashley Harrison

Interchange:

Cooper Cronk

David Shillington

Neville Costigan

David Taylor

DARREN LOCKYER IS CAPTAIN, IN OTHER NEWS THE SKY IS BLUE

Well of course he is. If you’ve won four series, don’t fix it, right? And the other regular things are the same too. Billy Slater’s at fullback, Peter Civoniciva now has 200 rings around his trunk but is still the starting prop, and Neville Costigan is on the bench instead of on the field. Poor Neville. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. At least it’s a step up from 18th man, no? At this rate he’ll be a starting second-rower before I die.

As for you Darius Boyd – I was starting to … tolerate you this year. Out of the Broncos maroon Boyd started to run at the line at fullback, even PASS the ball to set up tries, and I almost said nice things about him. Needless to say, the truce is off. YOU’RE GOING DOWN, BOYD. Mark my words (and Timana’s hands).

IT’S COOPER CRONK, BITCH

OH HAY! Our favourite footy field-marshal is FINALLY in the maroons team. Fuck it that he’s on the interchange bench, he’s finally there. All those minutes in 2009 spent waiting for someone to suffer a game-ending injury in training so that he could take off his 18th man rags and run on the field. Finally, the Cronk’s time has come! Much as I hate the maroons, I’m a teeny tiny bit excited that Cooper Cronk’s special brand of bossiness is gonna be on the sideline at ANZ. Mock me if you must.

MAN VS MACHINE

Of course the big question is if Cameron Smith’s elbow will heal up in time for the first Origin game. Which is actually the perfect way to find out what we’ve been wondering for so long: are the Melbourne Storm man or machine? It’s simple. If he’s ruled out and Matt Ballin steps in, he’s human and may live. If he heals up, we have definitive proof he’s a cyborg, and he needs to be reprogrammed into a benevolent baker before he conquers the world.


WHERE’S BOWRAVILLE AGAIN?

Aaaah yes. There he is. Right there in the centres, most hated of all maroons. I’m looking at you, Greg Inglis. And before anyone says anything, yes I know under the rules he can play for Queensland. And no, I will never ever get over this. You know why?

It’s not ABOUT who the rules say he can play for. This is State of Origin. The whole point is passion. The passion for where you come from, and the blind momentary passionate hate for whoever comes from somewhere else. Call it footy xenophobia. Sweet, sweet footy xenophobia. And you can’t have both.

It’s not like the touchy-feely world cup business where you can feel Australian and Fijian. Nuh-uh. You can only love one State and it’s compulsory to hate the other one.

You certainly, definitely can’t spend 16 years living in NSW until you all of a sudden play seniors and join the Maroons. TREACHERY! At least if the rest of the team yells ‘QUEENSLANDER’ like Billy Moore, I know they’re committed to their horrible, horrible team. And I feel compassion for them, because I am saintly and serene and loving like Jesus, and because they were brainwashed from birth and clearly had no choice. But no sympathy for Greg Inglis! He chose darkness and there’s no excuse for that.

So spill it – do we think Queensland can make it five in a row? We say oh hell no. These are desperate times and we believe in our blues. But either way, I’m calling Sam Thaiday as the danger man. He’s skinnier and meaner than before and he’s going to tear shit down.

Weaknesses? I don’t know how to feel about Dave Taylor. He could be a wrecking ball, but he could also be a complete an absolute menace. He’s an unknown quantity, no?

The only other good thing I can think of to say about this team is that Ben Te’o is 18th man. I just really like saying his name. Ben T’aaay’oh.

Thoughts, rants, poems of love?

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four nations recap: … I've had a little bit to drink

November 9th, 2009


“It’s just been a weird night … and I’ve had a little bit to drink.”

So here’s the disclaimer: I went to Ladyhawke on Saturday night, and despite being Super Responsible and leaving the pub (I know, amazing right?) at well-maybe-a-little-bit-after-midnight like Cinderella, I was … well, look I was drunk when I watched this. Basically, I take no responsibility for being overexcited or imagining shit. But I think it’s more important to focus on the fact that I left a pub while it was still dark. That’s a massive achievement for me, JUST SO YOU KNOW.

To start with, is it wrong to say that I’m a bit in love with the British League commentators? Cause I am. No, not for their comical accents. Those bitches are insightful. They care about the important things: like explaining to the general European public that back in Australia Robbie Farah has a kebab named after him, but DON’T WORRY GUYS, IT’S A HEALTHY KEBAB! IT HAS CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES IN IT AND EVERYTHING.

God forbid anyone in the United Kingdom mistakenly think that Robbie Farah and his visible abs are schilling for some greasy obesity-inducing second-rate kebab. The commentary team are all about accuracy.

Well, all about accuracy … and historical lolz. After explaining in great detail that Northern Frenchies don’t play league because league was one of the things – along with freedom and equality – that Hitler cared not for, they start calling the French defence ‘the resistance’. It’s funny cause it means two things! *slaps knee*


These people? Yep, defenders of freedom and rugby league fans.

Meanwhile if you ever get heckled by rugby union fans for liking league, you can always ask whether they know that the Nazi collaborators and Vichy government in WWII France banned league and promoted union. Yes, people will think you’re a massive loser, but better that than a union follower, right? WE’RE THE RESISTANCE, BITCHES.

It also makes me happy to know that there are other nerds out there if the commentary team ever stumble onto Errol and read our footy posts from last year, they will totally enjoy Kiki’s jokes about Winston Churchill and Stalin and the Cronulla Sharks.

As for the game: not gonna lie, the Aussies didn’t live up to their potential as a team (and the Frenchies agree) but I care not. They had moustaches, and they entertained me, and that’s what counts.

So let’s talk about the Aussie boys.

MOS WIN MATCHES

Um, you know it’s true. No sooner had I pointed out that Cooper Cronk has one of the greatest moustaches in league history and reminds us of a latter-day 40-20 kicking Errol Flynn:

… really? I look that good?

Than he’s all up in the French’s business filling in for Thurston and Lockyer and generally being awesome. Sure, I’d had about six voddies, but I could still tell that the team looked way better in the second half when Cooper came off the bench. IT’S ALL IN THE MO, DARLINGS.

LESSONS FROM WAYNE PEARCE

And if Cooper’s lucky charm is a mo, then Robbie Farah’s is his headband. Remember way back in July when Robbie Farah rocked the tape headband and got his punch on with Anthony Watts?

Well from what he told us at the Kangaroos media call before the boys left, he’s … well he’s kinda proud. He also promised us that he’d bring back the headband as a rugby league look. After all, there’s nothing more Tigers than a tape headband, is there? Even Wayne Pearce knows the answer to that question.

Anyway, we’re pleased to observe that HE TOTALLY DID. Bitch is a man of his word! And there is no way you will ever convince me he didn’t tape himself up as an act of generosity and charity purely to entertain the Errol girls.

Although I do kinda wonder if Robbie just reserves the tape for special occasions, like when he punches on in the scrum, or when he’s going to appear in the starting Kangaroos team on international television. I say it’s no coincidence that Robbie rocked the shit out of the elastoplast in Paris just as he got his start as hooker, right?

THE ACTION IN THE STANDS

Meanwhile, as Robbie stepped in at dummy half, Cam Smith rested it up and discussed history with Brett White in the stands.

(Apparently Cam Smith totally enjoys history, by the way. That wasn’t just me projecting. I read it on the internet so you know it’s true).

French background dude does not appreciate Movember.

Don’t those handlebar moustaches just make you proud to be Australian? I love knowing I’m from a country that thought, you know what will do wonders for men’s health issues? Facial hair.

And with their schmick green Aussie blazers, I love that the touring Kangaroos kind of look like they’re on tour in Paris in 1975. Devils on horseback, anyone? Maybe a prawn cocktail?

I’m actually a bit offended that the Frenchie in the expensive-looking chocolate brown leather jacket in the background is looking so judgy and unimpressed by Cam Smith and Brett White and their handlebar efforts. IT’S CALLED MOVEMBER. IT’S FOR CHARITY. GOOGLE IT.

… but French background dude does find Anthony Watmough hilarious.

Meanwhile if you look in the foreground, NRL media manager David ‘D.T.’Taylor is kicking Movember’s ass with his mo, too. AMAZING WORK DAVE!

When the camera panned to the crowd during the game I almost spat out my diet coke in shock/joy, because Spotting D.T. is one of my favourite footy past times. It might even be better than my other favourite footy past time: ‘picking jobs for Nathan Hindmarsh’s kids’ (I’ll explain that one another time).

Wherever there are NRL players, there has to be an NRL media manager. So spotting D.T is like playing Where’s Wally – he has to be there somewhere, it’s just a question of where.

Exhibit A:

HI D.T! WE LOVE YOU!

You get extra points in this game if you manage to find a pic where he’s standing in the background looking sort of like a creep.

IT’S A MOZTRAVAGANZA!

I don’t know if I should mention it but we totally called it! As predicted, the Mozzie twins were a double-act of awesome against the French, racking up two tries each for a total of four. Four tries for their country? Shit is ridiculous!

I actually think while I was watching the game, when the commentators reminded us all they scored four, I may have yelled out FOUR FOR YOU GLEN COCO, YOU GO GLEN COCO!  Apologies to my neighbours. (Except the one who practises the flute every weeknight. They deserve it for annoying the hell out of me).

Clearly the French were dazzled by the Mozzie’s long long Bambi legs, super-speed, and general twinniness, those adorable over-achieving bastards.

Best of all? THE MOZZIES SLEDGE EACH OTHER. As they raced each other to ground a kick for a try I am 100% sure I saw B.Moz mocking J.Moz. And when he scored a second try, he made the international sibling expression for – HAH!


It’s all scratched knees and sibling rivalry in the Morris house

See? I have a brother and I totally make that face too. It’s a universal expression loosely translated as ‘I WIN!’ The only thing better was that when J.Moz got his first try on the board, he celebrated by getting caught on camera first giving an ‘I love you’ shout out to his family back home, then saying ‘thank fuck for that’. Bless.

THE SHOWDOWN

So the English shocked everyone by beating the Kiwis (I’d fallen asleep by this point), giving them the chance to play the Kangaroos in the final on the weekend. Allegedly Tim Sheens has told his team the gloves are off, and if anyone plays dirty, they should give it back. JUST DON’T HIT THE MOZZIES. THEY’RE TOO CUTE FOR VIOLENCE!

THE MONEY

Have you sponsored the Kangaroos yet? WELL HAVE YOU? You know you want to:

SPONSOR THE KANGAROOS

All pictures Getty Images

Screen caps by the amazing Cronkster, who’s on holiday in Fiji right now. HAVE FUN DARLING!

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21 

state of origin: cyborgs and tune-ups

June 19th, 2009

So it has come to my attention that some people who read this blog are …. what’s the word? Queenslanders. Oh, yes. I remember it well from my two trips to Queensland in the last few weeks. Apparently every single ad on tv in the entire state has to mention that word about EIGHT TIMES. Queenslanders … looking after Queensland. The insurance to deal with what Queensland throws at you. The Queensland bank you can trust.

KILL ME NOW.

I’m starting to wonder if they do it for the same reason they invented the infamous State of Origin ‘Queenslander’ chant: so they can remember where the hell they’re from. Those three syllable words can be tricky. OH YES, I SAID IT. I’m a petty NSW girl and making cheap jokes about Queensland is all I have left.

What was my point?

Oh yes, Queenslanders have trotters State of Origin is just days away. So the boys we don’t go for have put on their hideous maroon training gear and are busy getting ready for Origin II. How are they doing this, you ask? Well not, as you would guess, by living in huts they crafted from paperbark and training with footballs they have sewn themselves. Although I’m sure they’re still keepin it real.

Oh no, instead Mal and the crew took them back to the facility to be tuned up and detailed, all shiny and ready to go for the next match.

I KNEW IT. Ever since guest-blogger Bec told me, I knew it! They is robotsssss. Robots with human covers. And greatest athlete Billy Slater is their leader. That’s the only possible way to explain how good he is. He’s a super-human! Can’t you just imagine the day he was born? Bursting forth from his pod like Neo in the Matrix.


IT’S A BOY!

Cam Smith has the new Captaincy learning program installed (Lockyer’s gonna be out of service eventually).

Folds away for easy storage.


Crocker after his yearly buff-n-wax. So shiny!


… the Steve Price even comes with mix-n-match accessories.


Extra aggression apps for JT.

Word on the street is that Mal is also a little bit nervous about Joel ‘Big Red’ Monaghan being added to the NSW team after Michael Jennings was ruled out with injury.


Jennings packs his things and leaves the State of Origin house immediately. He thinks Cassi the bogan will win.
Pic. Brett Costello

“… big Joel, he’s got experience, he’s been there before, he’s a really rock solid player and very good in the air obviously and a good talker.”

NO ARGUMENT THERE, MAL. Monas never shuts up. He especially never shuts up when he’s taking the piss out of me. When I asked him the other night at Magenta Shores if he and Jarrod Croker share a hairdresser with the Aussie cricket team he came back with “… like you and Andrew Symonds?’

DAMMIT. I GOT BURNED BY MONAS AND MARIO FENECH IN ONE DAY. My life sucks.

Like the blues, burned three times by the maroons. FOURTH TIME’S THE CHARM. Till next time, kittens.

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18 

rugby league world cup: welcome to the best damn soap opera in town

October 14th, 2008

Because you are all dirty, dirty Errol addicts, you will know already that we were … let’s just say mildly unimpressed by the NRL Grand Final entertainment. Not that we don’t enjoy a little bit of Noiseworks on the jukebox at the Judgy on a Sunday morning (we totally do), it’s more that we feel the DIY-costumes, helicopter-full-of-random-military-men and barbecue percussion theme perhaps didn’t quite represent the highest level of entertainment to which humanity can aspire. You know?

Luckily, we are heading square into Rugby League World Cup territory, and while it might be a disturbingly one-sided competition which Australia is almost certain to win, those bitches do know how to organise entertainment.

No outdoor furniture instruments here, kids! No Just Jeans flares, no giant foam hands. Instead, the World Cup has organised it’s very own soap opera. I like to call it Days of our League.

I also know that some of you have lives and might have missed a few episodes in the last few weeks; luckily you have me to fill you in.

 

PILOT EPISODE – STORM DAMAGE

Every good soapie starts with a dramatic incident … right? We open in the aftermath of a violent brawl, with former Australian captain and founder of the SmithCam Enterprises chain of oil wells and high fashion boutiques sitting in the slammer on charges of attempted murder by head-ripping-off.

‘But I’m innocent!’, he cries.

‘Take the deal you guilty bastard, it’s the best you’ll get!’, I yell at the television.

Will our international mogul and Captain of industry fight his way free to make the world cup?

 

EPISODE TWO – RIPPLE EFFECT

The community of Leagues Hollow is still in shock at recent events. With its leader serving his sentence after losing his trial, long-time rivals Manly Goldfields have led a hostile takeover and seized a majority in the Aussie team.

Loyal first mate and board member Michael Crocker lies in a hospital bed with a broken rib, and competitors are eyeing off Justin Hodges’ spot.

Who’ll come out on top?  And is there anything left for Cam Smith to fight for, now that fellow Queenslander Darren Lockyer has taken his place at the head of the Australian team and in all the company’s promotional material?

 

EPISODE THREE – ISLANDERGATE

A mysterious stranger returns to the Australian team. I ring the girls because I am totally confused about this turn of events and can’t figure out what the hell is going on.

How is Anthony Tupou in the Aussie team stealing Mick Crocker’s job?

Wasn’t he playing for Tonga?

Remember? Shell-anne told Kimberley that he was kidnapped by bounty hunters and sold to the Tongan league team … then he totally got Stockholm Syndrome and decided to stay with them until Australia paid the ransom to get him back.

GOD I’M SO CONFUSED.  I don’t even know what I think about this whole mess.

Yet there Toops is, sitting around the boardroom table at Kangaroo Corp, chilling with Craig Fitzgibbon and Steve Price discussing their old man football business.

Not to mention that all of a sudden Fui Fui Moi Moi and Tim “the Tank” Tuiaki want to run off to Tonga and the Kangaroos won’t give em up.

I need a drink.

 

EPISODE FOUR – THE FIGHTING IRISH

Pic: Michael Clayton-Jones

Because there wasn’t enough drama in one small town: Cam Smith is free, but still hasn’t got his captaincy back, and a young man emerges from the shadows to claim a spot in the Kangaroos calling himself David Campese’s long lost nephew.

Brett White has broken his contract to play for the Irish, claiming a bung toe.  Well that’s kinda understandable.

Shannon McDonnell joins with a … YEAH ME TOO, claiming a dodgy hamstring and the Irish are officially pissed. There’s enough rage to send a little the way of the British, who are flying up in first class while the Irish and all their sacks of … taties, or something, are crammed back in economy. THAT IS SO HARSH.

In previews for next week, a spurned Aussie vows revenge.

… aaand I think that pretty much brings us up to date, kittens.  That’s all the drama covered so far.  So unless someone steals someone’s baby / identity / corpse / Secret Swiss bank account details, we should actually be able to talk about football soon.  Amazing!

 

THE RANTY BIT

If you are feeling a little bit sad that I haven’t ranted about anything so far today – I do love a good self-righteous rant – then fear not.  You can get your fix with my opinions on the whole Islandergate eligibility issue. 

To be honest … I don’t see the fuss.  I know, I know, there are formal eligibility rules, and you don’t really want players playing for a different nation every year, but is there really such a  problem if players want to be a little whorey around world cup time?

The real problem here seems to be caused by the simple fact that the Australian team is the most competitive in the world. This is rugby league after all.

So if you identify with two countries and one of them is Australia, then the choice you’re really being asked to make is between choosing Oz and possibly never playing rep football at all, or playing for a team that has no chance of winning. You’ll be punished one way or another.

I know that people are complaining that this whole issue is just proof that footy players are mercenary – out for the best rep spot they can get – and they don’t feel any patriotism at all. But I don’t see how it’s possible to set down a hard and fast rule that sportsmen can only love one country.

The NRL draws talent from all over the Pacific and if you have players who are born in one country and live in another, or identify with another culture because of family ties, shouldn’t they be eligible for both? Um, Australia will let you have dual citizenship, and I’m gonna put it out there that maybe international security and the whole participating in the democractic process thing is a little bit more important than who plays for what footy team.

I am all for people feeling that they have multiple cultural, ethnic and national identities.   And I think players shouldn’t be forced to choose just one country for all time.  Even though technically they aren’t, the two year rules in place now already make it seem that way for some players.

This isn’t like State of Origin, after all.  God knows there can be no dual loyalties in Origin.  You’re either a News Wouth Wales supporter or … you’re evil. HISSSSS.

To be honest, I mainly just want to change the RILF permissions process because sitting through players having to get down on their knees and beg to be allowed to play for a particular country is getting really tiring. 

So why can’t we have a world cup eligibility whore-athon?  I propose that we scrap the rules that tie the World Cup to other international tests and let the players chuck their lot in with as many teams as they like and can find any vaguely acceptable tie to.  Then when they get their offers, they make a final decision.  Like university.  Just being dumb doesn’t stop you putting in a UAC form with medicine in the number one spot.

Then a player who’s eligible for two countries just has a Rep Preference that they can change every two years, and a World Cup preference, which they make when the World Cup squad gets announced every four years.

The players are happy, I’m happy, there is at least a vague chance of some teams other than Australia winning the thing, and I don’t have to hear all this whinging anymore.   Yes it’s a bit harder for coaches and selectors, but whatevs.  That’s not me so I don’t really care.

TA-DAH!

Now I am off to practise my beer-drinking and my irish accent in preparation for interviewing the Irish team this Friday. If you want to read an actual journalist’s opinion on this, I recommend Andrew Webster.

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17 

footy observations: … I'm not not licking toads

October 1st, 2008

… Are we all joyful and excited about the Grand Final this weekend, kittens?  Globo Gym vs the boys in maroon?  Oh my god, what a coincidence!  Me either!  So let’s just try and deal with it in the most painless way we can.


Anne: Neely, you know it’s bad to take liquor with those pills.
Neely: They work faster.

The truth is that the lead up to this week’s game has caused nothing but trouble for me.  My night terrors that Melbourne might actually win … again, have been so bad that Intern John-John has started slipping xanax into my bedtime cocktail.  He knows I love my beauty sleep.  Apparently I kept trying to strangle myself with the bedsheet and waking the household up crying and screaming STOP REFERRING TO YOURSELF IN THE THIRD PERSON GREG INGLISSSSS.

Basically, Melbourne Storm have turned my life into Valley of the Dolls.  Except it’s football driving me to the prescription meds bottle instead of a philandering husband or a failing musical career.  That’s kinda sad, right?

On the bright side, at least I finally have a valid reason for why I alway wear ridiculous see-through pastel nighties.

I am also left with the horrible decision of whether to rock up at the game weaing nothing that supports any team, or … god I don’t even think I can say it … something MAROON.  Is there any colour more hateful than maroon?  To quote the always-eloquent Kiki “it’s like red that got shit in it”.


If love was a colour it would be marooooon

Worst of all, my decision to throw all my support behind Manly out of sheer petty dislike for the Storm has caused a giant domestic dispute Chez Sassy.  My brother / flatmate is still on the Manly hate-train, and when he realised on Monday I’m team Manly, he was Not Pleased.  He banged some drawers, I threw a martini, and the whole thing ended with him screaming:

“If you’d been there to seen them beat the Roosters in the semis in 1987 THEN YOU WOULD UNDERSTAND”

This is not necessarily true, because I would have been five, and probably too young to understand hate, understand who won, and/or remember any of those things if I did.  But whatever.  The end result is we’ve started dividing the fridge in two using sticky tape (my side has barely enough room for all my vodka and nailpolishes) and I swear yesterday he maliciously turned on the tap in the kitchen to scald me in the shower.

In other Melbourne news, the boys from south of the border are still on their quest to become the most martyred team in league.  Sacrificial grapple lamb Lamberon Smith is still upset about his suspension, Israel Folau suspects he’s being illegally stopped from leaping by opposition players while the refs do nothing, and Antonio Kaufusi has vowed to win the premiership for his fallen captain.  Yes, yes, we know.  You’re all very noble in the face of persecution.  Saint George the martyr has nothing on you kids.

I would make some kind of jokes about all that but to be honest I didn’t really read all those articles. They weren’t nearly as interesting as the news about Joyce Churchill.

JOYCE CHURCHILL was married to the greatest fullback of all time … but she has a soft spot for another. Asked which player’s neck she would most like to dangle the Clive Churchill Medal from as the man of the match from this Sunday’s grand final, she replies: “Billy Slater. I like him. I’d like to cuddle him.”

Joyce! You floozy!  Just quietly, we Errol girls do love a cuddle, too. We get it! I’m guessing Joyce would have some strong opinions on the Important Question of who should take out this year’s snuggliest man in league.  She’d certainly support our plan to individually snuggle each of the nominees to make sure our decision is correct.

I also think she would enjoy dropping by the Errol offices for an afternoon sherry or ten and a gossip.  I’m totally up for it.  Call me Joyce!  I’ll bake!

(By ‘bake’, obviously I mean ‘I’ll send Lachie down to the Bourke Street bakery for eclairs and pretend that I baked’).

And in news that honestly almost makes me wanna move to Queensland, the Gold Coast Titans have decided to bring in the dollars by setting up their own betting agency, and because they are intensely lateral and creative souls, they have called it Titanbet.

Fuck off Titans, this is amazing.  All the other leagues clubs are watching their punters push money into pokies to make a few extra bucks, not you Titans.  They’ve decided to screw that, and go straight into TAB-style punting.  They care not for the fact that they will be making money from people placing bets on events including the competition they participate in.  Conflict of interest?  What conflict of interest?  Here, have a palm tree-patterned betting card!

I love it.  More than anything I hope that they send the boys in when they’re injured and in the off-season to man the booths.  You know it would be good for business.  If you can’t trust Scott Prince with your bets, who can you trust?

Also, if we’ve learned anything from the Simpsons it’s that the best way to deal with a tropical community is to introduce gambling.  I hope the next item on the Titans’ agenda is to build an island casino.

Island native: If God is all-powerful, why does he care if we worship him?

Homer: God is powerful, but insecure. Like Barbra Streisand before James Brolin.

Island blackjack!  Island roulette! The possibilities are endless.  If anything can keep rugby league solvent then it’s the wonders of casino gambling.  Note to David Gallop: begin investigating themed casinos.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have a nap.  I think the downers are kicking in.

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