meet the nominees: fattest man in league 2008

August 28th, 2008

Fattest man in league has caused quite the controversy this year in the Errol office. There have been disputes, tantrums, a little a bit of name-calling, and at one point I think Jessica made Intern Brownie cry.

You see this is one of the foundation Oh Errol awards – it’s been around since the very beginning. It is to the Errols what the marathon is to the Olympics; what Farrah Fawcett is to Charlie’s Angels. It just doesn’t feel like the Errols without it.

But times have changed. Rule progression, limited interchanges and faster, stronger players have meant that the fat man is pretty much a thing of the past in Rugby League, and finding ‘fattest man in league’ candidates is a question of relatives. This year it came down (for most of the nominees) to just a kilo or two.

We might as well be trying to find the skinniest man in league, the sportiest man in league, or the guy who likes footy the most. Cause, well, they’re all professional football players, which makes the scope of these things fairly limited. Duh.

Intern Brownie argued that’s enough of a reason to scrap it, because we don’t want to run the risk of giving any players weight complexes. Men can have body dysmorphia too!

Kiki said it was all too hard then ate a cheeseburger and had a nap. Lozzy worries that it will hurt someone’s feelings.  Me, I’m a traditionalist.

Jessica suggested it was an inappropriate reduction of a person’s qualities to nothing but their mere physical being. Then she remembered that she loves a big man and wouldn’t stop pestering me about when the pics would be up.  John John says his nickname is Hotdog.  That’s not helping, John John honey.

In the end we all got sufficiently drunk to decide the award stays, but it stays with a disclaimer:

None of you are objectively fat. You’re all lovely. But that extra kilo makes you extra awesome and extra huggable, and we think that’s worth an award.

Now let’s get to it.


Gregg Porteous / foxsports.com.au

One of the very few Bulldogs left standing in 2008, we wish we could give Jarrad-with-an-A an award just for still being upright.  After all, the doggies probably need all the encouragement they can get.

We wonder if, perhaps, the fact that Jarrad-with-an-A is a robust man has made him able to recover from his rib injury and withstand the rigours of football better than his slighter teammates.  We like to think it has.  That’s why I’m making a saucepan of Easy Mac as we speak: IT’LL MAKE ME STRONG.  Mmmm Easy Mac.


Getty Images

Adam was a difficult inclusion in this list, I’m not gonna lie.   You’ll be shocked, I’m sure, to find out we don’t have the clout to force every man in the NRL onto the scales to work out the nominees – apparently you can’t even chase sportsmen with callipers now without being frowned upon – so we have to do the best we can with our eyeballs.

By our eyeballations, either Adam is a delightfully hearty and cuddlable man, or the rest of Manly are just as freakishly toned and fat-free as Personal Trainer and real-life GI Joe doll Matt Ballin.  Either way, Cuthbertson’s in.

[note – I’m sorry to all the Manly fans who I’m sure think that George Rose has been unfairly excluded from this category, but sadly he didn’t hit our minimum number of first grade games threshold.  Next year, Georgie!]


Not just a ranga, but a cuddly one.  WIN-WIN-WIN for you Steve.  But can a man take out two awards?  Stay tuned, babies.


Simone de Peak / leaguehq.com.au

Oh, Danny Wicks.  In my whole life, it’s possible that there is nothing I have enjoyed more than watching a news story featuring footage of Danny Wicks and his hetero-life-mate and fellow Newcastle forward Chris Houston scooting home from footy practice to their share-house on Danny’s vespa.

(Occasional Errol-er Joker’s Wild enjoys referring to the Vespa in question as a metal g-string, but he’s a Newcastle supporter, so he can get away with that kind of thing.  Won’t hear any cheap jokes like that from us).

As Trinny and Susannah would say, Wicksy is an apple, and no doubt the issue of body shapes versus actual body mass will be a hot topic in this year’s Errol judging room.  DO YOU GET MORE POINTS IF YOUR EXTRA WEIGHT IS LOCALISED?

It’s a delicate science, I tell you, a delicate science.


Grandstand / abc.net.au

I know what you’re thinking at this precise moment: HIS NICKNAME IS PIGGY, HOW CAN HE POSSIBLY LOSE?  But just as on the field, there are some players with a Hindmarsh-esque consistency and reliability of play, and some with a Gasnier-eque propensity for flashes of brilliance and occasional uselessness, some of the stocky men in league are more reliable than others.

After an off-season where his conversion to Bourbon saw him shedding kilos apace, Piggy has lifted his game, and his calorie intake, to bounce back into contention for this award.  I would try and explain to you exactly how much weight this involved but THEY STILL WON’T LET ME WEIGH ALL THE PLAYERS.  Suffice to say he seems to enjoy a yo-yo diet.  He is the Bridget Jones of league.

And with a month or two still to go before the footy season officially wraps up, this category remains an open race.  Anything could happen, kittens!

[In other news, any relevant tips of Danny Wicks hitting up Henny Penny, Mark Riddell buying a slab of carb-filled beer, etc, that might help our decision-making process are more than welcome: errol@oherrol.com]


announcing: the oh errol awards 2008

August 3rd, 2008


We are proud, a little bit giddy and alot intoxicated to announce that this year, you have something to look forward to in the sad lull that comes between the Rugby League Grand Final in October and the supercrazypartyfuntimes intense competition of the rugby league World Cup. And isn’t that gonna be a great contest? Almost as compelling as the Commonwealth Games! Can you feel the excitement??

Anyway, that something is the 2008 Oh Errol Awards. We like to call them The Errols.

Today we will announce the nominees in all seven award categories. The lucky winners will receive their Errols at our glittering and illustrious awards ceremony in the Erskineville Bowling Club (beer on tap, food provided from the Chinese Bistro window). Hold onto your hats, bitches. Hereeeeee we go!

The Marlon Brando (the later years) Award for the Fattest Man in League

That’s right boys, this could be your future. Living as an eccentric recluse on an remote tropical island. Daily battling out-of-control bloating and the urge to wear nothing but muu-muus. Creepy companion midget is optional.

Past winners include Arthur Beetson and Daryl Brohman.

This year’s lucky nominees are:

Jarrad Hickey (Bulldogs)
Danny Wicks (Knights)
Mark ‘Piggy’ Riddell (Eels)
Adam Cuthbertson (Sea Eagles)
Steve Southern (Cowboys)

The award this year will also include a complimentary personalised jersey in the Parramatta Eels colours to recognise their excellent work as – by far – the fattest team in league.


The Fanta Pants Award for the Biggest Ranga in League



Previous receipients of the Fanta Pants award include Greg Florimo, Lance Thompson and Paul Vautin. The nominees for 2008 are:


Keith Galloway (Tigers)
Steve Southern (Cowboys)
Alan Tongue (Raiders)
Joel Monaghan (Raiders)
Peter Wallace (Broncos)


The winner of the Fanta Pants Award also receives a lifetime supply of Nair (to remove said Fanta pubes) and weekly therapy sessions to address the low self-esteem that is so often associated with a man of ginger persuasion.


The Polarfleece Award for the Snuggliest Man in League



There are all different types of attractiveness in this world. Men may not realise it, but ‘cute’ can mean a whole range of things. It’s possible to be intensely attracted to a man without immediately wanting him to put his penis in you. Yes really. When your first impulse is to take them to browse the soft furnishings section of Freedom, you have yourself a snuggly man.

Past Polarfleece winners have included the immensely snugglable Nathan Brown and Krisnan Inu.
This year the men we want to wrap ourselves ourselves up in a blankie with are:


Jarryd ‘Baby’ Hayne (Eels)
Issac Luke (Rabbitohs)
Ben ‘Hornbag’ Hornby (Dragons)
Jason ‘Flossy’ Nightingale (Dragons)
Scotty Prince (Titans)


Along with their Errol, the lucky winner will receive his very own alpine sweater, tin of drinking chocolate and a complimentary under-fleecy-blanket-snuggle from one of us. Kiki bags Hornbag.


The Des Hasler Award for the Best Hair in League
We can’t talk about this award too loudly around the office because Intern Brownie has a tendency to start weeping softly in the tea room, mourning for his dearly departed flaxen locks. We miss them too Brownie, we miss them too.
But in a league where there is so much douchey hair – Ben Roberts and Todd Carney we are looking at you – the men with the vision and strength to rise above peer pressure and sport truly luxurious manes deserve to be honoured.
Past receipients of the Des Hasler have included Peter Sterling (repeat winner 1983 and 1984) and Andrew ‘ET’ Ettingshausen.
This year we are deciding between the locks of:
Daine Laurie (Tigers)
David Williams (Sea Eagles)
Matthew Bell (Panthers)
Nathan Hindmarsh (Eels)
Ruben Wiki (Warriors)
To compliment his Errol, the winner of this award will also receive a gift pack containing Redken All Soft Treatment, two fro combs and a 15 minute scalp massage from intern John John. Don’t be alarmed if he leaves coconut tanning oil in your hair, it’s just his way.


The Caramel Delicious Award for the Best Skin in League
Look. We just notice Things Like This, okay? Some boys in the league have REALLY GOOD SKIN.  So good that we could just lick them.  Like a giant Werther’s caramel butterscotch.
So good, in fact, that were we inclined towards the old serial killer make-a-skin-suit out of someone thing, let’s just say these are the suits you’d want for formal occasions. And yes, we realise we are terribly terribly creepy. And you all love it.

Proud former Caramel Delicious winners include David Peachey. 

The nominees for this year are:

Willie Mason (Roosters)
Reni Maitua (Bulldogs)
Scott Prince (Titans)
Ashton Sims (Broncos)
Joel Moon (Broncos)

The Errol award for Best Skin will be accompanied by a pump pack of Palmer’s body lotion. Winners choice of Olive, Shea Butter or Original.


The Fuzzy Duckling Award for the Cutest Rookie of the Year

There are some young’uns making their way into the NRL who would deadset make your heart explode from adorableness. They just make our ovaries twinge with glee. Don’t question us, they just do. SO. MUCH. CUTENESS. SQUEEEE!

Previously the Fuzzy Duck has been awarded jointly to the overwhelmingly adorable Morris twins.

This year our awwww-radars are pinging for:

Kevin Locke (Warriors)
Marc Herbert (Raiders)
John Kite (Bulldogs)
Lachlan Coote (Panthers)
Wade Graham (Panthers)

When presented with their Errol, the winner will also receive a toybox filled with teddybears, matchbox cars and animal shaped soaps for bathtime.

The Matt Cooper Award for the Hottest Bitch in League

Technically, Matt Cooper should still qualify for nomination in this category. But we have (finally) realised that shit just isn’t fair. Who can compete with the Original Hot Bitch? His hotbitchness is above petty awards and mere competition. So even though we have disqualified him for competing this year, we will still honour mortals in the shadow of this god.
To date all Hot Bitch Awards have gone to Matt ‘Hot Bitch’ Cooper. Naturally.

The contenders in 2008 are:

Kayne Lawton (Titans)
Joe Picker (Raiders)
Matt Ballin (Sea Eagles)
John Williams (Cowboys)
David Williams (Sea Eagles)

This Errol will be accompanied by a bronzed cast of Matt Cooper’s bicep. Granted this prize may only serve to make them feel bad about themselves, but that’s really not our concern.

Over the coming weeks we will delve more deeply into the appeal of every nominee, methodically analysing why each of them are worthy of the honour. We did consider asking our readers for nomination suggestions but then we remembered we don’t really care what people who aren’t us think. No actually … thats a lie. We do love you all. We just love ourselves more.

Want to revel in the glamour of The Errols? Join us at the ceremony! Please send all ticket enquiries to errol@oherrol.com. Dress code is ‘Formal’, which means tuxedo t-shirts and double pluggers are acceptable and encouraged.


friday night football: manly sea eagles vs parramatta eels

July 20th, 2008

Hello children! Aunty Kiki has her right arm back! TOOT TOOT! It’s still hurty but at least I can type and cut my own food up again. It’s pretty exciting I’m not gonna lie. Also due to only being able to do my makeup with my left hand, I’ve spent the last 4 weeks looking like Marge when Homer set the makeup gun to whore. Not pretty.

I know I usually do the Dragons recaps, but Sassy has banned me from doing so this week. For some reason she thinks I am ruled by my emotions (BULLSHIIIIT!! I AM TOTALLY IMPARTIAL!) and can’t be subjective enough to write about Gaz this close to his defection. So! I chose Manly v Parra because I quite like both teams. Okay who am I kidding, I just wanted an excuse to watch the Hot Pioneer (aka David Williams) in action. And photoshop him.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

I was planning on doing the usual play-by-play recap but honestly apart from a few flashes of brilliance, this game was boring as shit. So let us just review the 5 most important points of the evening. Important to me anyway, and that’s what matters.

1) Parramatta is fat…FAT FAT FAT!

The commentators have been alluding to this glaringly obvious fact for the past few weeks. But they are more polite than I. They say things like ‘Parramatta have problems with their fitness’ and ‘the Eels all seem to be a similar body shape’. Guys, its okay…you can say it. The boys from the west have turned into fatty mcfat fats. The mayors of Fat-town. The fattest bastards in allllll the land.

Perhaps our favourite perennial fattie Piggy Riddell has been sharing nutrition tips with his team mates. Its been well publicised that Piggy shed a few kilos at the start of the season. But the diet was clearly too restrictive. Facist diet! It’s not his fault he has a healthy appetite.
Now he thinks some people are too obsessed with his skinfolds and eating habits..

But the hunger is still there. Yesterday at the launch of Parramatta’s new sponsorship deal, Riddell was famished.

“I’m starving,” he said with a smile, balancing a quaint plate of sandwich triangles.


Yes! People are obsessed! FIGHT THE POWER PIGGY! And he has. Leagues answer to Carl Williams has bravely stood up to the facists by steadily gaining weight over the season. He has clearly fallen off the wagon. And taken the rest of the Eels with him.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

This week Parramatta’s Fat Issue has reached a critical level. Their brilliant-on-paper backline has been dealt a severe blow with the sudden withdrawl of Feleti Mateo. The official story is injury, but dear readers…..I know what really happened. That fat bitch drowned in a vat of ranch dressing on Thursday night. ERROL SPEAKS THE TRUTH PEOPLE.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Look at that gut. Seriously….look at it. I’ve never seen a gut like that on a man before, let alone a footy player. It’s kind of amazing. Feleti my darling, it’s okay. I too struggle with flat stomachness. Lets hang out! Sizzler next Wednesday night?

2) Brett Stewart continues to make me feel bad about myself

Seriously Brett, stop it. Stop being a full blown diabetic and being an elite athlete at the same time. I think it’s a huge accomplishment when I drag my alcohol soaked carcass to pilates a few times a year, and here you are being all excellent and high achieving while suffering a serious chronic illness. Rubbing it in my face every single week. Bastard.

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3) Matt Ballin should live in my pants

Not only is his form brilliant of late, he is also a very very attractive man. He makes our ladytarts* smile. I can’t believe I haven’t noticed it until now. Okay thats a lie…Sassy noticed it. And sent a helpful text message that read something like OMG REVELATION KIKI…MATT BALLIN IS A HOT HOOKER!!! Yes, yes he is.

(Note – Lozzy, the former Hater of Footy and newly minted Manly fan found the second photo on her OWN. She has definitely drunk the football Koolaid.)

You know what else Matt Ballin can do? Increase our physical fitness…personally. I’m not being creepy, he is an actual personal trainer. Of course it would involve us having to travel all the way to Narrabeen to be trained, but I think it’s worth it to have our hammies stretched like this –

Oooh, its a deep burn.

4) Gus and Rabs further descend into madness

AND HILARITY! God, I love these two. Rab’s mild dementia and Gus’s blind rage…they are great. Matty asks them if they have ever seen a fatter 5/8 than Piggy on Friday night. Rabs replies something like –

“Nothing wrong with being fat…..though you make a good point. Why are you and Gus so obsessed with physique anyway?’

Gus announces “well when I next to such a physical specimen as yourself every Friday night, its hard not to be Rabbits”.


5) The Hot Pioneer can do everything

When I say ‘do’ everything I mean ‘attempt’. His goal kicking wasn’t exactly El Masri-esque but I was impressed he gave it a go. Partcipation award baby! I mean who knew he could kick too? I guess when you’re on the run from the law on horseback you gotta be multiskilled. I also enjoyed the close ups of him talking to himself before every kick. Ned Kelly beard + self talking = hot crazy man.

If it wasn’t already blindingly obvious, we at Errol are completely obsessed with this man. Most people say he would be hot if he shaved the beard of, but we disagree. We say, unequivocally…KEEP THE BEARD BABY.

And one extra point. Can someone please explain to me the point of the video ref using ‘Refs Call’?? It is RIDICULOUS. If the ref can make a call, why doesn’t he? What in the hell is the point of sending it to the VR and then making it yourself anyway? It makes no sense and its a bloody outrage. I’m writing an strongly worded letter to Robert Finch as we speak.

*Copyright Lozzy

HQ photos of Hot Pioneer and our new personal trainer from the Manly Fan Gallery. Genius photoshopping by me.


friday night recap: sea eagles vs titans

July 5th, 2008

The Calf-Blood Princes* have travelled up from Manly to play the Gold Coast Titans in Queensland and I’m watching it because I know from my over-the-shoulder glances in the pub on Friday night that it was a cracker of a game, but I am also totally surly about it because my favourite Titan won’t be there. Prince Scotty the Caramel was – of course – injured in the Origin decider on Wednesday. Now he has a broken arm to match two past broken legs and it’s clearer than ever that while boy might be a marvel on the field he also has bones of glass. If they can inject muscles with calf-blood down in Manly is it really that difficult to pop a few calcium supplements in Caramel Scotty’s Gatorade? Really?

Sigh. I’m going to miss our little Prince. I will try and care about the Titans without him, but I can’t make any promises.

Events are dramatical from the outset, with the Titans looming with a kick near the tryline on the left hand side, and losing it equally quickly when Ben Jeffery pops a pass to Luke O’Dwyer who is so surprised he drops the ball. Aw honey, don’t worry! They’re in it again immediately with Anthony Laffranchi snapping up the ball and nipping through a gap in defence for a charging try.

If I may, Mr. Laffranchi, I would like to know where the hell this form was on Origin night. Hmmmm? You perverse bastard. That was a classy try, and as a Blues fan I resent it. Mark Minichiello sees the score sitting at 6-0 for his team and decides this is far too comfortable, handing the ball back to the Sea Eagles with a truly gigantic knock on. Clearly Minichiello does nothing on a small scale. He is hands down the largest Italian I have ever seen. He is a man-mountain. If he was back in Campania surely he would be a star attraction for the other tiny Italians. Possibly lifting up men while they sit on benches as a show of his superior strength.

Steve Matai is injured in a tackle and sent back to the dressing room coughing up blood and with a bruised lung and I’m totally grossed out.  Also, confused that they use cling wrap on this injury.  It’s hard to imagine NURSE, PASS ME THE GLAD.

The Calf-Blood Princes seize on possession and rustle up some lovely plays on the right hand wing, some beautiful plays on the left, and wangle their way to another set of six tackles. Good work little Brett Stewart! (Although once I question Laffranchi after this game you, my son, will be next. I don’t think I even saw you with the ball on Wednesday night. Remember that). Right again for a just-not-quite attempted try by that hot bearded bitch David Williams. Left again, right again, and Steve Bell dives over the tryline trailing Nathan Friend and miscellaneous Titans from his jersey. Nathan Friend is oddly lovable in general, but tonight he has on a special baby pink headgear to show support for breast cancer research and my heart is full. I would like to see more pastel headgear in rugby league in future. Plus he’s just so tiny. He’s a pocket hooker!

I have no idea whether the ball ever hit the ground but the ref says yes and Itty Bitty Matt Orford makes the kick for a 6-6 score. I’m cool with that, because – I know you were wondering – I’m totally barracking for Manly tonight. Usually I am violently opposed to anything involving the colour maroon but I love Steve Menzies like you wouldn’t believe so Manly it is. He’s just so … manly. In that old-fashioned, 1900s, leaving the farm to sign up for World War I, because ‘… reckon that’ll be a laugh, right boys?’ way. You know?

I have also never ever heard a single bad word about him, and considering what tragic gossips league boys are, I’m pretty sure that makes him Jesus in headgear. I also cannot remember a time when I watched football and he wasn’t playing for Manly, so he may also be undead. Just sayin.

Oh, Steven.

Ray Warren announces that Menzies is ‘Mr. Kewl’. Phil Gould announces “my god this is a magnificent stadium”. One of these things is true. Guess which one. Maybe take a look back at that picture of Menzies before you answer. The two old women are certainly in fine form tonight and I love it. They are basically Kiki’s and my future right there in man form. Sitting in their arm chairs, squabbling about video referee decisions and whether it is acceptable for Phil Gould to leave his seat in the commentary booth to grab a biscuit or whether this is only allowed when the product is a sponsor of the show.  Amazing. 

Adam Cuthbertson lumbers across the field and we have another unexpected entry in the race to win Fattest Man in League 2008. This competition is really heating up. There is a slew of knock ons from all and sundry. Manly send an enormous kick across field and while Corporal Menzies of the Light Horse trips and misses, David Williams leaps for the football and barely misses out on another try.

In fact, Steve Bell from Manly is also looking particularly bearded and Bushrangerish at the moment. Between those two and Menzies, Manly are definitely shaping up as the most retro team in the league. I approve.

[I have a SERIOUS thing for Steve Bell. He makes me tingly in bad places. He’s kind of balding, is a Queenslander and plays for Manly so why do I want to lick his tummy so bad? – Kiki]

Michael Hodgson sends Manly winger Michael Robertson off on a little Disneyland sortie with a huge shoulder, and the Titans attack with some fabulous Mat Rogers dummies until lil Luke O’Dwyer forgets about holding onto the ball again. He just does not win at life today. Well a lot of people don’t, I suppose, because there are lost footballs and knock ons as far as the eye can see. This is such a scrappy game and I love it. I think the anarchy is the sign of lots of risk taking and ball movement. Thumbs up. Ooh, and a double knock on. Amazing.

Tinyman Orford magics a break and an offload to Corporal Menzies for a lovely jump and try on the right hand side of the field. Now this is football! Gould says he’s too excited to sit down. Why couldn’t we have Menzies in the team for Origin? So what if he’s retiring. I know he’s a thousand years old but I care not for numbers. Bitch is evergreen! MENZIES FOR ORIGIN.

Tinyman coverts. 12-6 Calf-Blood Princes.

Preston Campbell makes a leap across field that comes nowhere near the ball he was aiming for. Gouldy supposes he misread the windsock. Bless. Rabs calls Jamie Lyon a man of steel. I think that only works if by ‘steel’, you mean ‘not steel’. And that just about sends us into halftime.

David Williams, you do us proud. Just moments into the second half, Ned Kelly catches a long kick in goal, and runs it out into play. When Mat Rogers fells him in a tackle he plays the ball and shows admirable flexibility with a nifty downward dog before staggering into goal. So noble! Sacrificing a good twenty thousand brain cells to let his team keep running downfield.

The Titans run a lovely decoy player and Friend the pockethooker passes to Davies for a try. A conversion evens the score at 12-12. Interference with the play the ball earns the Sea Eagles a penalty and Mat Rogers brings the score to 14-12. Go you calf-blood princes.

Teenyman Orford one then proceeds to set up a Jamie Lyon try. 16-14.

Ned Kelly makes an amazing break, sprinting for the tryline, grinning wildly, pursued for the full 90 metres by pockethooker Nathan Friend like an Irish Setter pursued by a Pomeranian. It’s magic. Matty Johns yells ‘look at him howling at the moon!’ and hotbitch Kelly grounds a try. David Williams, you can howl at my moon anyday. I don’t know that means exactly, but you can be sure it’s dirty.

His bushranging partner Steve Bell and fellow Hills boy Heath L’Estrange run in for man cuddles. Hills district represent!

Conversion: 22-14.

Flash to a Manly supporter in the crowd holding a sign that reads:

I’m totally making one for the next Roosters game. Big Mini goes down badly in a tackle, injuring his leg, and roaming the field for a while lumbering like Frankenstein.

Corporal Menzies breaks to send flying Brett Stewart in for another length-of-the-field try. Conversion! So much excitement! Steve Menzies is Jesus in headgear!


A lad in the crowd obviously agrees with me, because he’s holding up a giant sign that reads I HEART BEVER.

And in case a 16 point lead isn’t crushing enough, right on the full time buzzer, the ball runs through Lyon’s hands to Orford, directly backwards to little flying Stewart and in for a try. Conversion.

34-14 Sea Eagles. Orford dances for joy. Stewart is standing in a circle of Manly players re-enacting the final try with his hands and I die of cute. I don’t even smoke but I kinda need a cigarette.

* TM Kiki.



the friday night recap: roosters vs bulldogs

June 29th, 2008

This is a Big Game. Well, not a big game in the sense of being packed with Big Names, because 85 Bulldogs players are currently out injured, and the Roosters have six boys who are off because they’re busy getting ready for State of Origin. Instead we have lots of little baby Roosters (chicks?) having their first go at first-grade, and lots of Bulldogs I’ve never heard of. Also not really in the sense of a big crowd. I can see two little boys who are supporting the dogs, the regulars over in the chookpen, and … well yes. Let’s not talk about that.

What we do have though is the long-awaited return of Sonny Bill Feelings. I can’t wait to see whether he storms onto the field and single-handedly crushes all the inexperienced chickens for a thousand one-man tries, or whether he comes out wearing his Sonny-Bill-Feelings-sadface and spends eighty minutes rocking and crying on the sideline.

And it should be a big game in terms of grudge, if nothing else. We all remember the dogs-chooks ‘bred not bought’ fiasco, and even though former Bulldogs Braith Anasta and Big Willie aren’t playing tonight, I still think there’ll be some tension on the field. I settle in and send up a little prayer for some grudge-match biff. If they all play nice, I will be so disappointed.

The boys kick off and get started, and within 90 seconds the Bulldogs have christened the game and given away a penalty with a forward pass to the always-concerned Andrew Ryan. He always looks so very, very sad. It troubles me.

A little comic relief comes from the sidelines in the form of the Roosters Origin recruits sitting in the stands in what certainly look like some snappy little rental suits. Braith Anasta looks like nothing so much as a Hammerhead shark wearing a suit. Willie Mason looks like a schoolboy on human growth hormone and he turns and waves to the camera like a moron who’s never been on television before. OH HAI MUM! Anthony Tupou and Craig Fitzgibbon have that vague air of confusion about them that they always have when they’re together. It’s very endearing.

Roosters scrum feed, Roosters lose the ball. Bulldogs lose the ball. James Aubusson crushes Nick Youngquest in a monster of a tackle as he catches a long kick from Amos Roberts. It’s fantastic. Especially fantastic because I suspect Nick Youngquest may be a total douchebag and I like watching him suffer. More of that please!

More penalties. More intense tackling. Oh yeah, that’s the good stuff.

Someone single-handedly tackles the voluminous Jarrad Hickey and I’m a little amazed. That must be like felling a redwood, or moving a mountain. Sonny Bill loses the ball and Laurie ‘Jolie Laide’ Daley announces that whichever team plays the simplest tonight will win. I think whoever can actually hold the ball in their actual hands will win. It’s not even raining so bitches have no excuses. Maybe they need to use something on their palms before they play. Do they do that already? When I learned pole dancing we used hairspray and it works a treat. What was my point again?

Clearly the bulldogs care not for Laurie’s advice, because when they’re awarded another set of six they do not elect to ‘play simple’. Instead, they go absolutely insane. Hickey attempts to cross the line for a try but is held up and ends up smashed against the goal post vertically. The ball then heads back to Ben Roberts who spins erratically in a tackle and manages to kick the ball BACKWARDS. Awesome. Well done guys.

That reminds me – not only are Ben Roberts and Amos Roberts both playing tonight for different teams – we also have both Aubussons and both Paeas playing in the Roosters team tonight. I have trouble telling the Aubussons apart normally because they have similar haircuts (and I’m an idiot) so god knows what will happen tonight. At least Mickey and Lopini Paea have the decency to have radically different heads. God. Way to make my job difficult NRL.

When a knock on gives the Roosters a penalty, Reni Maitua cracks it, throws down the ball and stares daggers at the world in general. It is honestly terrifying. I feel like his piercing reptile eyes are burning through my skin.

When the Bulldogs regain possession Sonny Bill Feelings makes a beautiful break towards the right of the field and – facing five chickens in defence – offloads to our beloved Hazem El Masri on the right wing for a try. Aw Sonny Bill! Looks like a little boy somewhere has been taking his meds! Good for you bb.

The always serene Hazem converts for a 6-0 lead but SBFeelings isn’t having any of it. He stalks off downfield flushed-cheeked and enraged, arm veins protruding, grass plastered to his forehead, and my pants explode.

And while I will admit that the brooding thing is kinda hot, but would it kill you to crack a smile? Maybe I was wrong about those meds after all.

The chicklets counter with J Aub putting up a bomb from 30 metres out. Soliola rushes towards Douchequest and Heka Nanai in the race for the ball and there is a bit of confusion about what happens now so I will give you my version, which is obviously the right one. Douchequest leaps for the ball, misses with his hands, and kinda forearm butts it in a knock on. At this point Nanai is standing in front of him, doing nothing. Soliola is leaping over Nanai, arms outstretched, towards the ball. He knocks it sideways in the in goal and an Aubusson of some description collects it for a try.

Sadly the video ref calls Soliola’s bat a second knock on and denies the try, and I have to live with it. Bah.

More penalties, many bombs from the Bulldogs towards the chicks’ line, lovely takes from little Shaun Kenny-Dowall on the right and leaping Sam Perrett on the left. Voss is being a battler as usual and recycles the phrase “that is a good skill”. It wasn’t good commentary last week, and it won’t fly this week mister. Peter Sterling is still ranting about the Soliola/Aubusson no-try debacle. IT’S BEEN TEN MINUTES STERLO. EVEN I’M OVER IT NOW.

Sterlo wins me back though by being delightfully biased and yelling “there’s still time for the Roosters to win!” and suggesting that no-look passes are very “in vogue” today. Oh, Sterlo. Always up with the latest fashionz.

Forward passes, knock-ons, dropped balls. Amos Roberts falls over three or four times while collecting the ball. And seriously? Not a trace of rain in the sky. I am baffled.

J Aub offloads to Soliola and onto little Sam Perrett who makes a valiant dive for the corner, for what turns out to not quite be a try. Gold star for effort though kiddies. This brings on another period of borderline brilliance and borderline idiocy, as Setaimata Sa makes a lovely break through the line for a long run, then loses the ball only a metre from the tryline for no apparent reason to the defence. It’s collected by Douchequest, who runs what I think is giant figure eight horizontally on the field before handing it to Arana Taumata, who outruns Amos Roberts for a 70 metre try. Great name.

Hazem misses the conversion and it’s 10-0.

On the return, the chicklets grab the ball and are led upfield by wily Sam Perrett. Amos Roberts takes the ball over to the left and Sa sends an unexpected grubber into the corner for Brent Grose to ground for a try. Try! Excitement! Whole length of the field on only one tackle! And Sa can kick? Sa can kick! See Sa kick!

Related note to parents everywhere: Please stop naming your sons Brent.

Amos is flummoxed by the angle and misses the conversion. 10-4.

SBFeelings loses the ball. We see Big David Shillington flash some butt cheek for I think the third time so far. Bulldog Jarrad-with-an-A Hickey is taken off-field with a corked thigh. Poor guy. As injuries go, chicks don’t really go for the ‘corked thigh’, you know?

Mark O’Meley knocks on a ball with his crotch.


Back on the field, Amos Roberts falls over again. J Aub does good things in defence. More fumbles. Cryin Andrew Ryan threatens near the tryline. Amos makes a lovely run, and Perrett runs on, and Aubusson’s kick falls dead from El Masri. Paddo boy Anthony Cherrington makes another lovely break, and Amos drops another grubber kick for Sam Perrett to leap on in goal.

You adorable cheeky bastard.

Truthfully, I feel that this shouldn’t have been a try. It’s just a feeling. But then when I watch the replay I have to admit he was in field, and he did have his hand on the ball when it hit the ground. So why does it feel like he wasn’t actually in control of the ball? Whatever. It doesn’t matter anyway because the video ref awards it on benefit of the doubt.

Also I’m kinda fine with that. Mainly, because I think he disallowed a good try earlier, and secondly because I am all for the benefit of the doubt rule. I like it. I think it’s nice. It’s like saying to the players: you tried really hard, and you did well, and I’m going to reward you with points. I believe in you. I BELIEVE IN YOU. Maybe if people were more supportive in general in the NRL, delicate little flowers like SBFeelings wouldn’t feel so alone and act out as a result. And if the I-BELIEVE-IN-YOU cultural revolution has to start with the video ref, then so be it.

From little things, big things grooooooooooow.

No conversion, and the score is 10-8 to the doggies.

At some point Nanai becomes concussed. Oh well. Just send him over to the sidelines to sit with corked-thigh Jarrad-with-an-A Hickey. Jarrad is, in fact, on the sidelines at this point riding the exercise bike, and I swear to you all I see fat rolls. I do believe we have another dark horse in the race for Fattest Man in League 2008. Oh yeah. Hickey’s comin for you Danny Wicks!

My boy J Aub yells ‘same again’ and drops another low kick for a Shaun Kenny-Dowall try. Predictable, but oh so satisfying. Amos remains defeated by the uprights and fails to convert.

12-8 to the chicklets!

SBFeelings has been a bit absent for awhile and I wonder if he’s off having a tear in the loos. J Aub accidentally headbutts Brad Morrin and draws blood. The penalties continue to rain down from heaven. In the next Roosters set Jake Friend comes perilously close to the tryline. Who the hell is Jake Friend? Where did he come from? A cross-field kick from teh Roosters finds SBFeelings in the in-goal area. Oh, there you are Sonny! Unfortunately though SBFeelings then has a moment of complete cock-eyed optimism and attempts to singlehandedly kick and chase out of goal. As you might have guessed, it doesn’t end well. Back to the loos with you Sonny.

Lil Amos grabs the ball and charges for the try line with three doggies dragging from his shirt. He deposits the ball on the tryline for what he thinks is no try and shakes his head at the COULDA-WOULDA-SHOULDA of it all. Sa makes me fall in love by tripping and falling right in front of Amos with his crazy masking tape headband on. Bless.

And I CAN’T BELIEVE IT. The video ref is starting the I-BELIEVE-IN-YOU revolution RIGHT NOW. He cares not that Roberts doesn’t think he scored a try – HE’S GIVING HIM ONE ANYWAY. You deserve it Amos baby! BECAUSE YOU’RE WORTH IT. This is insane. Amos is cackling with laughter and can’t believe it either. He shakes his head and converts for 16-10.

Is this the longest recap in history? It feels long.

More misdirected kicks, including one into a dog’s head. Tackles aplenty. Penalties ahoy. AND AN INTERCEPT!

Sa yoinks a Taumata pass from the air and storms off downfield in his crazy headband, fending off Maitua with a palm to his face and bellyflopping in goal for a 90 metre try. Sa can run? Sa can run! See Sa run! The Origin boys in the crowd jump and cheer with joy. Tupou is on some kind of two minute time-delay and as everyone is sitting down he finally stands up to see what all the fuss is about. Oh, Anthony.

Roberts nails the conversion for 24-10. 24-10! That’ll teach you all to tip the Bulldogs, and yes, I am looking at you Brad Fittler. Especially you.

Tupou is still grinning.

The doggies counter with a sneaky little pass via SBFeelings to Winetana for a try.

24-14 chicklets.

Time’s a-tickin, and on the buzzer the dogs are refused a try by the video ref for a push on Soliola. Ooooh, that lovin attitude didn’t last too long.

That means a fulltime win to the chicklets over the puppies. J Aub is robbed of man of the match in favour of the oft-falling Amos Roberts, but I make my peace with it when I realise they probably only did it as an excuse to ask Amos about the Unexpected Try. I would do the same thing, that whole thing was amazing.


Footy Observations of the Week (by proxy)

June 18th, 2008

Since our usual footy observer, Kiki, has been the victim of a vicious Friday Night attack by the roads of Sydney and is having trouble with typing due to full-arm castage, this week you get me. Don’t complain or I’ll cut you good.

And in honour of our little drunken invalid, I will also write my observations in point form. Let’s pretend each star point is one of the stars that circled her head as she lay face down in the street.

* So Benji Marshall got in a fight at the Sapphire Suite on Sunday night, and some enterprising Kings Cross winner sold the pictures to the Daily Telegraph.

Benji claims he was provoked by a drunk fan, claims the photo was a ‘sting’, claims that going out with his mates is the only thing that MAKES HIM FEEL LIKE A NORMAL BOY AND NOW HE CAN’T EVEN DO THAT. THE BURDENS OF STARDOM!

My first reaction is that the ‘fight’ looks a lot like the head-grabbing thing they do in the dressing room before games. You know the one I mean? So maybe the whole thing really is just some innocent NRL skylarking.

My second reaction is … sigh, not again.

I’ve studied law, so I’m fairly certain that it will never be legal to just lock up league players between games like laboratory monkeys, although you have to admit it would solve a lot of problems. Apparently they have to be allowed ‘time to socialise’ and ‘liberty’. Whatever.

And as far as socialising goes, having disco danced with Gordon Tallis at Randwick Racecourse, I’ll say drunk league players are completely hilarious and I don’t really want to rob the world of that either.

What I want to know is why, in the name of the sweet baby Jesus, no one can stop them going to the Sapphire Suite. Remember the Sapphire Suite? In Kellett Street, where Baby Hayne and miscellaneous other Eels were shot at?

And if the threat of gunfire isn’t enough to keep idiots like Benji Marshall away from there, how about the fact that it’s a complete and utter shithole? I’m a drunken Sydney floozy and even I don’t go there. I don’t know one human being who isn’t a league player or a league groupie who goes there. I say somebody find the kids a new Peach Pit with a less offensive clientele and let’s be done with it. Or maybe just a big room of squishy balls, like they have at Ikea.

It did, however, make my day that Charlie Saleh, owner of the Sapphire Suite – I mean Sapphire Lounge (don’t wanna disrespect the rebranding) – said that out of the NRL “the only ones who don’t come any more are the Roosters, because they’ve been banned from going out in Kings Cross.”

That’s my team! They’re already banned! They just get drunk in their hotels like good boys. Love you babies!

And – I’m sure you’re all surprised – Big Willie Mason has something to say about it. Oh, Willie. Always the centre of attention, never the diplomat. That’s why we love you.

According to big Willie, Benji’s “a good bloke and he means well” … but he’s “a fiery little dude”. A FIERY LITTLE DUDE. God lova ya, Willie. That’s so the kind of thing you can only say about rugby league players when you’re the size of Willie Mason.

But what I love most is that it’s implying that Benji’s a loose cannon who gets himself into trouble and needs to learn some self-control. When Big Willie is suggesting that your temper is an issue, you’ve really hit rock bottom.

* And that brings me to Big Willie Origin news. Willie’s taken a battering this week for having so much to say about Origin, but then “going missing” when it comes to the game …. and Willie, love, you have to admit it’s true. Much as I love your rantings, I’d much rather see you actually perform on the field. Maybe smash Brent Tate to a pulp or something. There was not nearly enough of any of that in Origin II.

But then Willie comes out with this and shocks me all over again:

It’s the lowest thing you can do.

It was such an empty feeling after Origin II; it was embarrassing not to even score a try. I’m burning to get out there and redeem myself, as are all the boys.You’re hurting enough as it is. You don’t need a former great who is held in such high regard bagging the team and individuals.

It doesn’t help to have ex-players come out and bag you.

YOU’RE HURTING ENOUGH AS IT IS. This is almost as amazing as the moment when Sonny Bill Williams asked us to remember that he has feelings too.

Since when are there so many feelings in football? Have Mason and Sonny Bill Feelings been having spa-days together and discussing their emotions? Taking group therapy? I don’t understand how they’re suddenly all so emotionally expressive and self-aware. I kinda love it … but it’s unnerving.

Don’t you just wish you could bake a cake made of rainbows and smiles, so they’d all eat it and be happy? Or in Willie’s case, so he could go back to expressing his feelings by smashing Queensland on the football field. Cause that would be great.

* That reminds me, Sonny’s upset again this week. I think the Bulldogs put out a media release without him signing off on it. Or maybe he lost a sock. Or watched a documentary about endangered puffins. Or his girlfriend hung up the phone without saying ‘I love you’ first. The usual.

* And finally, I think I should also announce that we have a new contender in 2008 for Fattest Man in League. Congratulations, Danny Wicks! Look out for an official winner at the end of the season.