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My 2013 sporting resolution

Kasey Roar Rookie

By Kasey, Kasey is a Roar Rookie

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    I have a confession to make. Although I was born in Nowra, NSW, I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia and consider myself a proud South Australian by upbringing.

    That is not my confession though; my confession comes later after a bit of back story regarding my upbringing. Please bear with me, I’ll get there.

    Even though I consider myself a sports fan, these days I am more of a sport(singular) fan and that sport is association football – maybe you call it ‘soccer’?

    This leaves me with little time for other sports but, on a cold winter’s day, I might still occasionally turn on an AFL game (and, very rarely, some American sports on ESPN if the time-zones are kind). But overwhelmingly these days I find myself frequently bored with the home-grown game and the over-bearing hype and hyperbole that accompany it.

    To combat this I tried stepping away from the self-sustaining insular bubble that is the AFL-world and returned to my childhood roots on the terraces of the Parade Oval to follow SANFL (one tier down from the AFL in SA) faded power Norwood.

    This helped by removing a lot of the superfluous hype and quasi-nationalistic garbage that seems to follow the AFL world, but I love my round ball game and crave more and more football so inevitably my mind wanders during winter to how long it is until the A-League season starts anew?

    “But what about rugby?” some of the north-eastern staters might be asking?

    Perhaps it was the fact that nobody had pay TV in the 80s and 90s, but when I read about rugby in the newspaper it developed in my mind that all rugby was just rugby. It wasn’t until I left home and the state of SA at 20 to find my fortune in NSW that I discovered that there were two forms of rugby; the professional code of rugby league and the shamateur (at the time) code of rugby union.

    Lord knows what I was thinking but that’s how it was for me as a young adult. I hate to pee-pee on the parade of those rabid expansionists who follow the NRL and see Adelaide as an untapped market, but I dare say I am not the only South Australian who grew up not knowing the difference or even understanding that using ‘rugby’ alone often necessitates a qualifier to determine which game is being discussed, lest some be confused – even these days, with the prevalence of Foxtel.

    I’m willing to bet body parts that were I to conduct a random vox pop in Rundle Mall on any given week day, I would struggle to find 50 people who could differentiate between league and union.

    I learnt in the military you should never ask others to do what you are not prepared to do yourself – an important consideration to keep in mind when issuing orders to your troops. Do you believe in your own orders before giving them?

    As a football fan I frequently shake my head at the ignorance displayed by other sports fans with regard to the world game. Thus I was impressed by the recent efforts made by Roar Expert Andrew Sutherland to attend the Melbourne derby and witness for himself its power and passion.

    It actually inspired me to go about removing some of the sporting ignorance in my life.

    My first flatmate after leaving home was a Queenslander who played union and so, naturally, when talk over beers would turn to sport the Wallabies would be a topic. I had to scramble to get my bearings and learn more about the game – I distinctly remember thinking that State of Origin was the series that helped the selectors to pick the Wallabies. Face palm!

    Having a larger international scene probably helped sway my preference towards the 15-man game over its professional cousin, but lately the predominance of kicking for penalty goals over running rugby has caused me much consternation. I don’t find rugby as interesting as it used to be.

    Now for the confession: I have never once sat down as an adult and watched from opening whistle to final siren a complete game of rugby league.

    I recognise this is a significant deficit in my sporting knowledge – and I have already stated I dislike ignorance – so this year I am going to do something about it.

    By virtue of birth I am a NSW Blue so I intend to fly to Sydney this June to tick off an item on my sporting bucket list – attend a State of Origin game. Problem is, I don’t know enough about the game to fully participate in the fan experience.

    I know some of the basics and of course the stereotypes fed to me by the southern media.

    I know that, as in the NFL who have four downs to get 10 yards, in league you have a set of six tackles to score a try worth four points, a conversion is then attempted and if successful it gains a further two points.

    I know when a player with the ball is tackled he must regain his feet and roll the ball backwards – or ‘play the ball’ – to a team mate, who then will pass left or right.

    I know the defending team must be 10 metres back at the play the ball or they could get called offside.

    But I don’t know what the penalty for offside is when the ref blows it?

    In fact, what I’ve listed above is pretty much all that I know – that and team with the most points after 80 minutes wins.

    I won’t bother with the degrading stereotypes that are perpetuated by the southern media and fans of other codes, we all know what they are and it isn’t too helpful to list them here.

    So, after the A-League season wraps up, I am going to make an effort to watch some NRL games on TV and learn more about this game before Origin.

    But could I ask a favour of my fellow Roarers?

    If you could offer one piece of advice to a rugby league (relative) newbie, what would you say?

    It could be something ‘to look for’. For example, in Aussie Rules, the goal umpire must see the ball pass over his/her head, so if you’re not directly behind the player kicking for goal, by watching the goal umpires left and right movements you can quickly gauge how close to the target a shot on goal is.

    Or it could be something about the culture of the game. For example in SA we have a deep cultural distrust for most things Victorian and consider them to be about as arrogant a group of people as you will find. My grandfather used to say you could always tell a Victorian, problem is you can’t tell them much because they always think they already know it all.

    Being born on the NSW south coast helps in choosing a team to follow for season 2013, too bad the Illawarra Steelers no longer exist in their own right, but St George-Illawarra are close enough for my liking so I’ll be looking out for Dragons games on Television.

    I am looking forward to trying something different and expanding my sporting knowledge and I hope I learn enough to really enjoy my first Origin experience in June.

    But in the meantime, help educate me. What are the things you just expect a league fan to know – stuff your dads taught you from a young age?

    I hope I learn enough to really enjoy my first Origin experience in June. Over to you, Roarers!

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    The Crowd Says (65)

    • January 9th 2013 @ 8:24am
      Andy said | January 9th 2013 @ 8:24am | ! Report

      Don’t follow a team that has a large premiership drought. Because winners are grinners.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 9:40am
        Kasey said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:40am | ! Report

        Andy,

        I’ve picked St.George-Illawarra for the reasons outlined in the article. They won in 2010, but I guess that doesn’t count because it passed by almost unnoticed in my universe. If the dragons have a losing season this year and I find myself getting discouraged, I’ll have to see about watching a replay of that game.

    • Roar Guru

      January 9th 2013 @ 9:09am
      Redb said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Went to my first RL game in 1992, best seats are one on the wings, but if you get a chance go behind the goals and watch the lateral movement of the ball as it is passed across the ground it is not something the TV picks up.

      • January 9th 2013 @ 9:32am
        Kasey said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:32am | ! Report

        Cheers Redb. For Origin#1 I’m looking at a seat in the Gold section of ANZ Stadium so it more closely resembles the view that I’ll have seen on TV. I didn’t realise how expensive Origin tickets were (~$150 for the sideline seats – Platinum($190) appears to already have sold out – surely good news forthe ARLC? ) Does Origin sell out or can I wait a bit longer to secure my seats do you think? For Origin 2 and 3 I am just hoping that it will be telecast in Adelaide at a decent hour(I have heard rumblings before about ch 9’s shocking treatment of SoO in non-traditional League Markets like SA/VIC/WA etc:(

        • Roar Guru

          January 9th 2013 @ 9:58am
          Redb said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:58am | ! Report

          I’m far from a person in the know on this, but I beleive it usually does sellout in Sydney, a no brainer it will in Brisbane. If QLD are two up, then Origin 3 back in Sydney may not sell out.

          RL Origin is televised live into Victoria on Ch 9, not sure about SA.

          • January 9th 2013 @ 10:02am
            Kasey said | January 9th 2013 @ 10:02am | ! Report

            Well I’m not a poor-ey so I’ll pick up my tickets before the end of January – would be shocked if it sold out before the NRL season even kicks off. I have heard rumours that GEM (9’s digital offshoot) shows the games, but I still have a nagging doubt that 9 will screw SA . Might have to hope my local pub here in ADL has ImparjaTV?

        • January 9th 2013 @ 5:00pm
          Max said | January 9th 2013 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

          Mate, Do not spend that much money on seats. Put $70 aside and buy yourself a ticket in ‘Blatchy’s Blues’, currently the biggest sports fan group in Australia. Have a few beers beforehand in the city somewhere and get the train from Central. The build-up and atmosphere that begins to develop is infectious. Plus for your $70 you’ll get a wig and T-shirt… Hope you enjoy your 2013 league experience!

          • January 9th 2013 @ 5:59pm
            Kasey said | January 9th 2013 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

            Max Bought tickets in the twofer deal for Origin 1 & 3 I’m not in Blatchey’s Blues but I’m at their end of the stadium, we’ll see about pre game drinks as I get closer to the night:) total cost, $180..free transport will allow me to have a beer or three and not worry about anything:) A mate on another forum just told me not to worry just watch a few games on tele fbefore you go. In his words: “just watch a few games before you go if a pillock like Phil Gould can be knowledgeable on rules and the game anyone can.”
            Now I don’t know Phil Gould from Rob the dentist so fair cop or not?

    • January 9th 2013 @ 9:15am
      shane said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:15am | ! Report

      Here I am surfing my phone and find another born in Nowra.
      Rugby League.?

      Well Kasey, you umist first understand

    • Roar Guru

      January 9th 2013 @ 9:30am
      Dogs Of War said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:30am | ! Report

      If you go to a Blues game, just getting a ticket that sits you with Batchey’s blues, and at least you can have a fun time with lots of people enjoying the game as per a soccer game (minus the flares). Plus you get a Tshirt and wig!

    • Roar Pro

      January 9th 2013 @ 9:33am
      The High Shot said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:33am | ! Report

      I would say try to keep your eye on the tactical/field position battle. To the uninitiated the grind upfield looks repetitive but there is a science to it akin to a bowler roughing up a batsman before delivering a yorker.

      I’ve written about this here: http://www.theroar.com.au/2012/05/24/science-magic-rugby-league/

      • January 9th 2013 @ 9:42am
        Kasey said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:42am | ! Report

        A very interesting read…thank you High Shot.

    • Roar Pro

      January 9th 2013 @ 9:36am
      The High Shot said | January 9th 2013 @ 9:36am | ! Report

      Also once upon a time I had the opposite experience to you, a mate took me along to a Roar game at Suncorp. Even though the crowd wasn’t large, I was sat with the supporters group and it was a fantastic day out. I don’t remember much of what happened on the field but the atmosphere with the supporters was great.

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