Here are some of the most important takeaways from Round 2 of the NRL.
Des Hasler and Michael Maguire may never work in this town again, unless we need to obliterate the Kiwis or a club’s payroll.
Their misappropriation of Damien Cook over the years has shaken Australia so deeply that some have even compared him to a plastic bag.
As the postscript of South Sydney’s stirring win over Melbourne attested, really important stuff like unfair comparisons and Supercoach points have gone begging while these twisted patriarchs consigned him to the cold basement of reggies.
What was their motive? Was it a conspiracy? Does Cook’s resemblance to the Anonymous logo – the decentralised hacking group that has nothing to do with rugby league except maybe Billy Slater’s Wally Lewis Medal – mean anything?
Hindsight shows his yearly suppression was society being forcibly fed the blue pill, with it locking us in the simulated reality of a Cook-free matrix where we’d be starry-eyed over mortals like Michael Ennis.
Thankfully an unlikely saviour in the form of Anthony ‘Morpheus’ Seibold arrived to save the world. Even more heroically, it’s on a cheap rookie wage and to the cost of nobody except Russell Crowe.
Seibold liberated Cook, thus freeing us of the enslaved existence of the machines and opening the world’s eyes to blissful sensory experiences never before felt, like the demolition of Cameron Smith.
Cook’s showing on Friday night was another endorsement for Hasler’s and Maguire’s decisions to be inducted in the Guild of Foolish Verdicts alongside seven tackle restarts and Vegemite 2.0.
In a human of the century performance, the Rabbits rake enjoyed 178 metres of clean heels, 40 of which left us reaching for a replay and a post-coital Winnie Blue.
Moments after extricating himself from under Nelson Asofa Solomona, Cook scorched Melbourne’s stingy middle for one of those tries that will live long in our viral memories, maybe even until next week.
It was a scintillating highlight that further consolidated him in the same class as Sam Burgess and Cody Walker – as in so damn valuable it’s criminal they play for Souths.
But once the euphoria died down attention turned to Hasler and Maguire and what they were smoking.
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They were widely criticised for depriving us of this before, with many lamenting Cook’s geriatric age of 27 and all the opportunities missed over the years to be reminded he was a beach sprinter.
But in defence of both, it must be difficult as a football coach to identify talent when it’s your job. I can only assume both were preoccupied reading more literature on the flat earth theory.
To be fair, the former Dogs coach may have allowed Cook to depart in favour of Michael Lichaa, at least it wasn’t for Braith Anasta or a Juniper.
As for Maguire, it’s fair to say Cook simply didn’t suit his game style. Unfortunately the Dally M hooker-in-waiting doesn’t mesh with a strategy that was producing the voltage of a sunken log.
In saying this, the pair should still be made to suffer like the rest of us. This could be achieved by forcing them to review old matches and think about their mistakes. The last year of their tenures should be punishment enough.
As for restorative action, it is a must.
Does anyone know an attorney who could test the statute of limitations on dummy-half probing?