The game kicks off. Rabs informs us that Baby Chase is turning 19 years old next week. I for one am thrilled because this means I can stop feeling guilty for thinking hes a bit of alright. About 6 minutes in Anthony Watmough charges in to join a tackle and manages to knock himself out using his team mate Josh Perry’s skull. It’s quite an achievement and he floats off to Disneyland for a good few minutes.
Soward misses the conversion with an absolute shocker of a kick. I shake my fist in anger. Nothing much happens until the 15th minute when Speedy Stewart gets on the outside of Nightingale and sends David Williams over for a Manly try. I am horrified to find myself deeply attracted to Williams despite his horrendous Ned Kelly beard. Orford (who I’m sure is technically a little person) easily converts. Manly leads 6-4.
23 minutes in and Soward sends a kick across field, Manly fumbles and Ben Hornbag Hornby cleans it up and triumphantly scores a try for the Dragons. I really really love Hornbag. He is one of the most lovable players in the NRL. He is also vastly underrated. I’m not talking about his footy either. Fact is, he suffers the major injustice of never being recognised as one of the HotPlayers eventhough to the trained eye he totally is. I can see your hidden cute Hornbag! I’m the cute whisperer.
Being adorable close up. SEE! ADORABLE PEOPLE!
The next phase of the game is marked by shocking incompetence by the Dragons. They manage to screw up seven sets of 6 in a row. SEVEN SETS! By this time I’m left with no cushions on the lounge as I’ve thrown them all at the TV in a fit of rage. Manly take advantage of the Dragons ineptitude and Beaver Menzies shimmies through for a fantastic try. I adore Steve Menzies. 34 years old and bitch plays like a guy half his age. And he’s just so damn nice. He also hasn’t aged since about 1997. It must be the headgear, its keeping his skin supple!
Second half! The Dragons start by dropping the ball. Hooray! Something new and different for them! 51 minutes and Steve Matai decides to take out Soward about 5 minutes after he kicked the ball. Soward lies prone on the ground and I fill with rage. Matai you dirty bastard! I want to rip out that ridiculous rats tail and strangle you with it. Why is it a foot long? Gross. Well deserved penalty to the Dragons.
Soward recovers from the late hit and manages to launch a cross field kick resulting in about a million leaping bodies clamouring for the ball. Nightingale somehow finds the ball and gets it down. The try looks doubtful and predictably goes to the video ref. The VR literally looks at the try for about 5 minutes. JUST MAKE A CALL FOR CHRISSAKE. Gouldy hates the ridiculousness as much as me, remarking that people have gotten bored and gone off for a pie. Mmmm….pie.
Finally the VR does the unthinkable and rewards the try due to benefit of the doubt. YAAAY! I love this ruling. It’s the rule equivelant of a participation medal. You tryed so you deserve some love! Have the 4 points! Soward misses the conversion. Damn!
64 minutes and Menzies looks to go in for another try but drops the ball. 69 minutes and technical little person Orford sends a kick across field. Michael Robertson seems to defy gravity and retrieves it for an awesome try in the corner. Orford converts. Manly leads 18-14. My heart is in my mouth. COME ON DRAGONS! Speedy Stewart momentarily breaks my heart by appearing to get a try in the 72nd minute. It’s ruled a no try due to a knock on. I praise Jesus.
75 minutes and Bretty Morris pulls some brilliance from no where and puts his twin Joshy in for a beautiful try.Its twintastic! Its 18 all. Come on Soward, do your dance! Jazz hands baby! His crazy dance pays off and he converts with a phenomenal kick. My heart returns to my chest. I think we might win!
FULLTIME! Inexplicable Dragons victory!
Despite their general atrociousness my boys somehow pull off a win. Gouldy announces that the Dragons must be ‘absolutely brain snapping’ for their supporters. It’s true, they are. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love you boys!
So! The game is being played at that lovable old stalwart of suburban grounds – Brookvale Oval. Tribalism is an important part of rugby league and I love going to and watching games at ye olde ovals but daaaamn Brookie is looking tired. I’m pretty sure the injured players and their entourage are being forced to sit on plastic school chairs underneath a large piece of corrugated iron encased by a chain link fence.