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