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Whingers and winners: Anasta, and the players we love to hate

Chris Chard Columnist

By Chris Chard, Chris Chard is a Roar Expert

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    Braith Anasta makes a return for the Sydney Roosters at the Auckland Nines. (AAP Image/Action Photographics, Renee McKay)

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    Let’s face it, no matter how much you love a sport there’s always going to be a bloke paid to play it who makes you want to spear-tackle the telly out the living room window.

    Often this is with good reason. Maybe he’s the sort of bloke who changes into his Speedos and looks for the ten-metre tower if brushed nanoseconds after kicking the ball.

    Maybe he’s the bloke who follows the ref around like a lost two year old at the Easter show permanently looking like he’s about to burst into tears.

    Maybe he’s just an ugly menacing caveman who would be making threats to the metalwork teacher in Silverwater penitentiary if he wasn’t playing footy.

    Or, maybe he’s just a successful young man quietly going about his business in the rough and tumble world of professional rugby league.

    Come again?

    Yes that’s right, despite the prevalence of a tonne of players more evil than Skeletor playing in the NRL, many fans choose to boo the game’s more vanilla players. This issue was again brought to the forefront this week with the sniping surrounding Braith ‘Most Over-rated’ Anasta’s signing with Wests Tigers.

    While the issues of whether or not Anasta has passed his prime or even reached his potential have been well debated, it’s surprising that he induced that much bile. He can string a few words together, has managed to string more than a few glamours, and isn’t a particularly grubby player.

    You could argue that this is just petty jealousy from angry under-fed fantasy footy trolls, but it’s not that simple.

    If the saying is that perception is nine tenths of the truth, inject this saying with a bunch of ‘roids and feed it raw meat five times a day and you have the rugby league fan’s perception of players.

    Fans get to freely choose who they want to champion and who they want to hate, sometimes for the most trivial of reasons. It doesn’t matter how many times the Daily Planet runs a photo of Braith handing out free spray tan vouchers to the Bondi homeless. If he milked a penalty against your team in the 28th minute of round 13, 2005, then there’s a good chance you’ve got this clip in your favourites list.

    I’ve always found it fascinating some of the players people have grudges against. I have a mate who has an irrational hatred of Steve Menzies. Steve Menzies?! Most people wouldn’t brake if an octogenarian wearing a Manly jersey was crossing the road, yet Tom Raudonikis would give Beaver his last Winnie Red and first-born cattle dog. The bloke is 56 years old and still going round.

    Another bloke I work with turns into a frothing madman at the very mention of Peter Wallace – and he’s a Broncos fan. Never quite got over that field goal he kicked in 2007 against Brisbane, and still can’t bring himself to read any Ginger Meggs comic strips.

    Two seemingly agreeable, nice-guy players, yet despised to the point of stomach ulcers by two otherwise normal contributing members of society for trivial reasons.

    Ridiculous? Yes. Irrational? Yes. But understandable? Absolutely. There’s no grudge like a footy fan’s grudge, and if the game is built on rivalries, why should it just be the players who have all the fun?

    Unlike the pumped-up players who get to line up a bloke they don’t like, we’re forced to stew in the stands as some smug pretty boy goes over for a double against our team.

    So as part of a community service today here at the Roar we’re going to give you the opportunity to clear your conscience. To vent. If you’ve got an irrational hatred of any particular player, please take the time to write down your feelings, get it off your chest.

    You’ll feel better for doing it, and all are welcome to contribute.

    That is except you, Matt Hilder from the Newcastle Knights. I don’t care for you very much at all.

    Follow Chris on Twitter: Vic_Arious@twitter.com

    Chris Chard
    Chris Chard

    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 since 2011. Tweet him @Vic_Arious

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    The Crowd Says (79)

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 7:11am
      Andy said | April 2nd 2012 @ 7:11am | ! Report

      I hate Billy Slater, he is a Queenslander who plays for Melbourne and was apart of the storm team that cheated to win their Grandfinals.
      What sets him apart from the others was his sliding boot first tackles he adopted in 2008 and he got away with it numerous times.
      Lastly, Adam Blair a cheap shot merchant apart of that cheating melbourne team. Highlight, is when he uppercut a manly player being held at brookvale.

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 8:56am
        Blazza said | April 2nd 2012 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        LOLZ… I wonder who you support.

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:00am
        Gareth said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        Slater is an incredible athlete and footballer. He never does anything at less than 100%, and it shows. He’ll go down in history as one of the, if not the greatest fullback the game has ever seen.

        But – I don’t like the guy either. For every amazing solo try he’s ever scored, he’s squared up the ledger by taking dives, putting cheapshots on fullbacks who upstage him, and generally carried on like a muppet. Plus, I don’t believe he’s apparently stupid enough to not figure out what it means when someone gets you to sign two different contracts with very different figures on them. Maybe he’s like many other public figures at the top of their game, that are just so focused on their particular talent that social niceties take a back seat. Maybe he’s just figured out that in his line of work, being a mongrel is more prosperous than being the unsung nice-guy clubman.

        • April 2nd 2012 @ 1:35pm
          soapit said | April 2nd 2012 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

          at least slater seems to have stopped leading with his studs every time he goes for a high ball. he’d consistently stick his foot out in front when he jumped in the air so to go for the ball you had to risk copping a facefull. didnt do it friday night tho so hopefully its gone forever.

          • April 2nd 2012 @ 6:10pm
            Campbell Watts said | April 2nd 2012 @ 6:10pm | ! Report

            saw him do it the week before still!

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:03am
        Rabby said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:03am | ! Report

        Billy Slater, now that is irrational.

        For me its Darren Lockyer. Not so much the man or the player but the way the media idolised him. Darrn has done this Darren has done that. If the man had played till he was 80 they would still have been selecting him for Origin and Australia. Everytime he touched the ball he was a hero. Darren passes the ball what a wonderful pass, Darren falls over the line, try of the century. Darren changes his shorts, front page headlines. The media circus around his retirement games last year was sickening, how many fairwell matches can a guy have.

        Darren, I wish you no ill mate but goodness how I hated seeing your name in any headline or even mentioned by a comentator. Even the fans got brainwashed into this idolisation, Darren was just short of becoming the figurehead in some new religion it was getting that bad.

        Darren Lockyer was my real hate.

        • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:51am
          Gareth said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:51am | ! Report

          No ill-will against the bloke from me, but what cruel bastard offered him a commentary position? Maybe it’s all just a ploy to make Johns and Fittler sound coherent by comparison.

          • April 3rd 2012 @ 4:33am
            phillbrett68 said | April 3rd 2012 @ 4:33am | ! Report

            if they had any sense they would get rid of the drug tainted johns but the only reason they keep him is because he said i used drugs he is anything but a champion anyone who uses or used drugs to gain an enhancement in sport is a 3 times loser and a real coward if you cant do it without using drugs you must not be very good

        • April 2nd 2012 @ 10:57am
          PJ said | April 2nd 2012 @ 10:57am | ! Report

          ahhh Darren Lockyear is to brisbane what Andrew Johns was to newcastle

          • Roar Guru

            April 2nd 2012 @ 1:02pm
            peeeko said | April 2nd 2012 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

            agree, i have no problems with lockyer at all but he is a rubbish commentator. shouldnt he have done some course or practice before getting the job?

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 8:53am
      Mals said | April 2nd 2012 @ 8:53am | ! Report

      Terry Lamb back in his playing days. Modern day – Mick Crocker.

      Both massive cheap shot merchants!

      • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:29pm
        Mickyt said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:29pm | ! Report

        Won a premiership koncking out Hanley. I am a Manly fan and it was sickening.

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:41am
      Lancey5times said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:41am | ! Report

      I had a huge beef with Mark Hughes from the Knights when he was running around and as I write this I realize that I still do. How he ever played origin will always be a mystery to me. And while it’s not league I dislike Glenn McGrath immensely. I hate his sulky girl face when his occasional bad ball gets the punishment it deserves. Play him with a straight bat. That way you’re more chance of hitting him in the face.

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:43am
      Lancey5times said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:43am | ! Report

      And Braith is an dead set champion. When faced with lifes tough decisions I often ask myself “what would Braith do?”

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:48am
      Rusty said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Johnathan Thurston’s the one for me. Must be about 4 seasons ago, last game of the round v Souths. The Cowboys had come back in the dying stages and were all over Souths. Thurston’s makes the break, only the fullback to beat, support with him but decides to go it alone, gets tackled and game over. My perfect round of picks gone… Like has happened all to often. Probly cost me tonight too….

    • April 2nd 2012 @ 9:59am
      Dan said | April 2nd 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

      Can’t stand Cameron smith!! Purely for the fact he is just too good!! He never seems to be injured, out of form or under pressure! He is just so good!
      I cringe when he runs out of the Melbourne or QLD sheds with a smirk on his face that just says “I know we will win today, AGAIN!”
      I would love for him to get beaten by alot just once!!

      Comment left via The Roar’s iPhone app. Download The Roar’s iPhone App in the App Store here.

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