For all the calls for a review into rugby league made this week, one thing is perfectly clear: the five days leading up to week two of the finals should officially become known as “moan week,” because quite frankly, that is pretty much all we’ve got.
It’s now become a tradition in week two that everyone with a grievance must stand front and centre and moan until someone drags away the dead horse they’ve been flogging (and that equine probably died of boredom in the first place).
Previously it was all about talking about the pointlessness of the McIntyre system after teams seven and eight were promptly towelled up in week one of the finals. Now that those teams have started winning their first finals match fairly regularly, we’ve needed to listen to the chumps that got dusted play their violins.
This week the Tigers showed that while they haven’t played in the finals for five years that would as sure as hell make sure everyone noticed them by kicking off about the fact that they had to travel to Canberra.
Honestly, by the end of it, who would have thought they’d been ordered to get to capital on foot and over broken glass.
Let’s be clear, the Tigers lost at home, the Raiders won away. Yes, the Tigers may have chosen to play their home game at their opponent’s home ground, but they still made the call.
Perhaps CEO Stephen Humphreys was just showing you why British Airways, the company he used to work for, is in the state it is.
The major plank in their argument was that it was similar to last year’s scenario when the Dragons were beat in week one and then travelled to Brisbane.
Of course, the difference was that the Dragons last year finished first; the Tigers this year finished third. Their mum’s may have been proud, but surely a home final is enough of a reward, maybe David Gallop should have called them up at assembly and given them all gold stars and merit cards.
Over the course of 26 rounds, the Tigers only won three more games than the Raiders, that’s hardly enough to expect the red carpet rolled out wherever they go.
The Tigers were also pissed about the scrum which was called after Simon Dwyer clobbered Jared Warea-Hargreaves. Let’s be honest, they were lucky to get a scrum, that tackle in which contact was made to the head was a penalty every day of the week during the regular season.
I lost count the amount of times I heard a player claim his victim was falling and the referee brush him off with “it doesn’t matter contact to the head was made.”
Steve Clarke bottled it after the vision that the video ref would have decided the game brought him out in a cold sweat.
Of course, the Panthers wanted to ensure they weren’t left out and claimed it was also unfair they had to play at the SFS (which would have been the case under the old system anyway) and Matt Elliot though he’d make up for lost time and throw in his two cents on exotic markets.
This was the area the bookies had done pretty well on in the whinge department, although curiously none of them wanted to see any limits put on betting, except perhaps limits on people actually winning. A usual sore point for those mugs.
Of course, it may all be an elaborate scheme to help the Tigers set themselves up as underdogs.
It’s actually pretty clever to be able to quickly go from “we are so superior we should be playing this match on our turf” to “we are really up against it” in the twinkling of an eye.
The Tigers are playing the old trick of saying half their side is injured and will be rushing to be fit. I’ve seen enough finals footy to know that every single player the Tigers have down as doubtful will play.
The Sydney Morning Herald even ran a story about their “secret weapon” for the match – the hyperbaric chamber.
Just how secret is something when it’s printed in a newspaper 48 hours before the game, especially when it’s something that every club uses.
But the highlight from the Herald was their reporting on Jonathan Thurston’s silly buggers in Brisbane.
One article had leading Herald journalist Roy Masters bemoaning how things were blown up these days because of the amount of recording devices in the public, while another story asked readers “Did you see anything? Send us your MMS.”
Just bring on the footy.