Hasler, Bellamy: a sheriff showdown in the Wild West
Coach Craig Bellamy. AAP Image/Dean Lewins
Two battle-dusty sheriffs stand at opposite ends of the ANZ corral in the Wild West, wearily upright among piles of the steaming fallen as the only remaining gunslingers from a drawn-out bloody battle carried out over one-score-and-six rounds. Not to mention a couple of finals.
Both wear an engulfing tattoo of strain on their weathered mugs from years of gruesome scrap. Their hair is unkempt and grimy, filled with the dust of the battlefield like chronic brown dandruff, yet their eyes have the sharp competitive glint of a bright young soldier on his first tour of duty.
After a protracted and arduous shoot-out against other aspirants in the county, only one solitary death pellet remains for both in their respective trusty firearms, ready to be blasted at whoever ultimately stands in their way. Both know they are excruciatingly close to the warm horse trough of victory, yet are cautious to not let their regimented minds wander too far ahead.
Both gunslingers then suck in what could be their last breath, and slowly raise eyes to see the sweaty outback marksman that stands between them and glory.
Once again for both, it’s a silhouette of familiarity cut against the sun-strewn backdrop.
‘Not you again, you wily pistol-totin’ son of a….’
The never-ending spaghetti western that is Dirty Des Hasler v Crazy Craig Bellamy has returned to the big stage in 2012, and like huddling under a big old poncho made from the coarse coat of the snowy owl bison, it just feels right.
After going mano-a-mano in 2007 and 2008, a third chapter will be written in blood on Sunday night, and like it’s 2 predecessors, I can’t pick who will be on the victory whisky come full-time.
These two locally feared hombres have been regular fixtures at the yearly showdown with contributions from at least one in the years 2006-2009 and 2011. The well-worn soil of this battlefield is awash with their DNA, so much so that you wouldn’t be shocked to see little spitting cacti with side-part haircuts sprouting from the turf in years to come.
It’s the experience and rivalry of the pair combined with the intoxicating lure of a fracas of styles and wits that has me power-chucking with excitement even before a Steeden is kicked in anger.
And how will the victor be spoken of as smoke rises from the gun barrel in the aftermath?
The prize on offer for these 2 contemporary coaching doyens transcends the standard hardware, balance boosters and Gatorade-soaked business shirt. A nailed-down spot on the mantle of modern day greatness beckons he who finishes standing.
Because the campfire stories of their recent travels and travails are lavishly special.
Hasler switched counties for a challenge like a wild western Valentino Rossi and hasn’t required a single warm-up lap, whereas Bellamy had his ranch pilfered, but now the farm is back to life thanks to his acumen. And some cheap livestock.
Whichever adds ‘Premiers’ to the credits at the end of their 2012 movie will ensure their unfinished story already has true blockbuster status.
So far this week, it’s been textbook ‘big game’ conduct from both coaches with the relaxo-meter soaring. There’s been casual praising, jive talking with the press and many a mention of ‘benchmarks,’ but you can guarantee this is merely a shield for the raging doses of paranoid-insomnia these 2 intense competitors would be enduring as the match draws near and their trigger fingers become increasingly flinchy.
By the time Sunday arrives, their super-cool personas will be nearly almost gone, with the final rites read their weekday composure will melt inside the unforgiving furnace of the coaches box as the gun-battle plays out before them.
It’s going to be another corker battle in the setting western sun, and I can’t wait to huddle under my bison poncho with a whisky and watch the two sheriffs do battle.
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