Origin: NRL’s annoyingly attractive cousin
Nate Myles gives the thumbs up during State of Origin One. AAP Image/Action Photographics, Brett Crockford
As Billy Carter, Mimi Macpherson and Ashton Sims would no doubt understand, it can be difficult sharing DNA with someone far more successful than yourself.
Spare a thought for the poor old NRL. At this time of year, the NRL goes from rugby league golden child, to weird Emo screw-up sulking in his bedroom.
Loved and watched by millions, NRL is free to strut around and do as he pleases for most of the year as everyone clambers to tweet his every move and add him as a friend on Facebook.
Yes, he is truly cock of the walk, happy to kick sand in the faces and steal the lunch money of his little brother state leagues.
That is, until ‘Big O’ rocks into town.
Oozing bravado and dripping in bling, Big O is keen to make NRL’s life as uncomfortable as possible.
Arriving at rugby league house for his yearly visit, Big O is quick to throw his weight around. Putting his feet up on the furniture, changing the TV channel restrictions and asking loudly “what’s for dinner?” All the while holding little cousin NRL in a headlock and giving him a nipple cripple.
Despite such demanding behaviour, Big O is fawned over by Mum and Dad at the rugby league dinner table like he can do no wrong.
“Don’t like those old refs Big O? Let’s get you some new ones shall we. Sin-bins? Don’t worry we’ll take them out for you. A Skycam? Well, I guess we have some spare money in little country’s saving account…” they obsequiously pander.
“Now NRL, where’s your latest report card? Geez, now see, this is what I’m talking about. Empty seats, delayed coverage, suspensions… why can’t you be more like Big O? In fact, we’re halving your match allowance so you can help out until Big O is gone”.
Frustrated and on the verge of tears, NRL runs from the house dodging Big O’s sleeper hold on the way, only to find that his mates are no better than his parents. All of them indeed like Big O better than him too. Suddenly none of them want to talk about Friday night footy, instead regaling each other with stories in hushed tones of Big O’s legendary spirit, finances and TV ratings.
In desperation NRL turns to his loyal serfs, the players, they’re paid to love him right? But alas it’s no good. Their parents won’t let them out to play, resting them in case Big O comes knocking tomorrow wanting to take them for a night out and a few contract incentives.
Dejected, NRL sits down on the kerb out the front of his house, too upset to go inside where he can see Big O raiding what’s left of the media coverage inside the fridge.
Suddenly, two figures emerge from the bushes outside the house and put an arm around his shoulders.
“Don’t worry luddy”, says the chunky pasty bloke in a thick Northern accent, “it’s only for a couple o weeks.”
“Yeh Bru, interjects the other, I’m sure they’ll get suck of him soon…I hope”.
Feeling slightly better now, NRL is buoyed by his new friend’s optimism. Maybe he could handle Big O hogging the limelight for a while. After all was him who put in the hard yards week after week, providing a bright shiny face for rugby league. In a couple of weeks he again would be number one, with Big O left to count his squillions all alone.
“So… you guys want to catch the Newcastle versus Canberra match? Josh Dugan is playing five-eighth again.”
An awkward silence ensues.
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Chris Chard is a sports humour writer commenting on the often absurd nature of professional sport. A rugby league fan boy with a good blend of youth and experience taking things one week at a time, Chris has written for The Roar, Rugby League Player Magazine, US Sports Downunder, the QRL and People. Tweet him @Vic_Arious