I won’t lie, there was a point – about 15 minutes into the second half of the grand final – where I cried. Not snotty Marley and Me-type crying. It was more a general Brett Morris-esque welling. I promised Kiki before the game that I wouldn’t weep, and I was determined to keep my promise. I’m nothing if not really petty and really stubborn.
I WASN’T CRYING! I JUST HAVE A WELLING PROBLEM!
By that point, all was lost and I knew it and it was heartbreaking. More than once I wished I was watching the game at home so at least I’d be able to listen to Rabs Warren commentate. His voice is just really comforting, and boy did I need comfort. Then Flossy Nightingale scored his second try and I got beer all done the back of my 2009 wooden-spoon jersey from over-excited Dragons fans and the sheer cold shock of being covered in mid-strength beer (they were fresh ones) snapped me back from the crying abyss.
So here’s how the game went down from our seats in the stratosphere.
The view from our seats: I should’ve known this was a bad omen.
SO MANY DRAGONS FANS. Those bitches was everywhere! And who was surprised? After last year, they had to Believe. Their team just had to transfer their skills into the finals series. On the other hand, as a Roosters fan, there’s a reason I didn’t have tickets: Because I’m not insane. I’m only that much of an optimist when I’m drunk or take a knock to the head.
I was expecting maybe … seventh or eighth for my boys. Knocked out first or second round of the finals at best. You know, something respectable, but not excessive. Something to inspire them to keep going for next year. Little did I know that Brian Smith – teeny tiny Smithy of the soothing voice and the dry, dry jokes – was a Rooster-whisperer and my team would start pulling Tigers-2005-style wins off as the season went on. It was like coming out of a hellish breakup (also knownas 2009) fat, acne-covered and depressed, and all of a sudden realising you’ve met the most perfect guy EVER. I was shocked and amazed and delighted.
Is it sad that I’m comparing my footy team to a boyfriend? Probably. But considering I spend Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday nights with football, it’s pretty accurate.
In the end, it turned out the 2010 Roosters/my new boyfriend weren’t going to have the whole fairytale package. They lost the grand final/he snores … but whatever. They made me happy, and I’m proud. And here’s why I think my babies couldn’t pull it off and Kiki’s dragons could.
GRAND FINALS NEED GRAND FINAL PERFORMANCES. I’m looking at you, Jason ‘Flossy’ Nightingale. The Dragons left-side is always their go-to attack side (shout out to Brett Morris for making the Kangaroos side again!) but with Gasnier back they started moving the ball to Flossy on the right wing, and the Roosters were too tired/demoralised to keep him out. Flossy you little gun! We always believed in you! It totally helped that he wore his lucky boots: those black ones that make it look like he’s a little kid who forgot his boots and had to play in school shoes. Maybe he could get sponsored by Clarks?
Truthfully, we thought he’d take the Churchill medal, but it turns out Joyce still really loves fullbacks (remember her lolz quotes about Billy Slater?), and I’m pretty sure Flossy doesn’t give a shit anyway cause he’s a grand final-winner.
Instead, we got to see Darius Boyd give one of the most unintentionally nerdy speeches ever when he accepted the Clive Churchill. It started with him standing around awkwardly and yelling ‘WOOO!’ and ended with him saying “now let’s go party!” like an American frat boy. Oh, Darius. It was an appropriate speech to hear when the Whitest Team in the NRL had just won a grand final.
Darius bringin cool back to the locker room whut whut
(For the record, not saying they’re white supremacists n stuff, just that they’re literally WHITE. B.Moz, Hornbag, Benny Creagh, you see where I’m going. There’s a lot of milk in the Dragons fridge and not much coffee).
WHAT’S THAT WAYNE BENNETT QUOTE ABOUT A CHAMPION TEAM NOT A TEAM OF CHAMPIONS? Cause yeah … that. I thought Floss was the best on the field and the most improved on the field but I wouldn’t fault any of the others, bar a few rain-related mistakes. Dean Young killed it. Jeremy Smith killed it, while looking like even more of a complete babe than usual.
Exhibit A. Dean Young congratulates Jeremy Smith on winning a non-tainted premiership and being a dirty spunk.
Weyman killed it, while he was on the field. Which reminds me, I refuse to believe Daniel Conn came in with a swinging arm until I see it. I also plan to never watch the replay, so Daniel Conn is innocent. The end. QED.
And lastly, TWO HOOKERS ARE BETTER THAN ONE. At least that’s what Charlie Sheen says. Boom tish! With the beauty of hindsight, 80 minutes of Jake Friend was no match for Dean Young and Nathan Fien. They were too sharp and speedy and his defence got too soft. Sad but true. I wouldn’t say any of my boys had shockers. They just didn’t bring the spark: they were a six when – at times this year – they’ve been a nine. Two words: next year.
Oh, and maybe a few more words: STILL FEEL KINDA PISSY YOU DIDN’T COME TO THE ROOSTERS, WAYNE. HMPH.
Wanna know WHAT WE DID?
The UDL really brings out Yassy’s classy side.
Through a massive stroke of luck, we had tickets to the game, and the always fabulous Yasmin came with us, even though her two favourite players Moonie Vanoodie and Jarrod Yee-Hah weren’t playing. It probably helped that she has dirty crushes on Todd Carney and Ben Creagh, though. She sat between us, and even let me lay my head on her shoulder in despair in the second half. Usually she doesn’t much care for being touched, so thank you Yas!
After the game, while the Indian Roosters fan in front of us openly wept and was consoled by his girlfriend, we decided the best way to celebrate Kiki’s win, drown my sorrows and avoid train queues was to head to the Olympic Park pub and drink UDLs and dance to a covers band. Nothing cures sadness like dancing to Footloose and some comforting hugs from random Roosters fans and kindly Dragons while Kiki can-can dances around the pub. The general theme of the night from Drags fans was: BUT YOU GUYS DID SO WELL THIS YEAR! CONGRATULATIONS!
Kiki’s Grand Final headpiece (she made it herself!) both entertained and confused drunk people.
Next stop: The Beach Road Hotel for Kiki to gloat at Roosters fans. The only problem was that everyone there was so pissed they thought she was wearing Roosters colours.
And lastly: a drink and a pizza with our mate Shorto from the Jacksonville Axemen. Love you Shorto! Say hi to your dad for us!
I can’t express how much I adore every single Rooster for rebuilding us back into a team to be proud of this year. They finished second but it’s not enough of a reward for everything they did. All I can say is that seeing this broke my heart. It hurt even more than seeing Fitzy leave for the English Super League with a wooden spoon and a 16-point loss to the Cowboys, urgh.
And just as I was about to fume about Mark Gasnier sailing back in to get a Premiership ring, he stepped in to comfort Frank-Paul the Wrecking Ball:
Two words: NEXT YEAR. Next year, my darlings.
All pics: Getty Images