The Roar
The Roar


Crackling and Spanks: Flighty umpires, flying kicks, fumbling Sam

Sam Burgess has retired. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)
11th September, 2018

Clutch performer Roy ‘Crackling’ Pork and big-game specialist Wayne ‘Spanks’ Spankle get down to business.

CRACKLING: Serena, eh.

SPANKS: Serena.

CRACKLING: Take a shot.

SPANKS: Cheers.

CRACKLING: I mean it’s not a good look, is it?

SPANKS: No, but then if we start expecting tennis players to obey the rules, where does it end? Slippery slope, I’d say.

CRACKLING: The real trouble is that umpires just aren’t consistent. One day Serena gets a game penalty for verbal abuse, another day Maria Sharapova gets off with a warning for lighting the chair on fire. One day it’s code violation for coaching, another day the umpire lets Rafa Nadal slide even though he’s using a bionic arm. We need to bring these guys into line with each other.

SPANKS: I’ve never understood the rules of tennis. Coaching? What’s wrong with coaching? Why have a coach in the first place? Racquet abuse? I say you should be allowed to abuse your own racquet, if you paid for it. Nobody ever penalises footballers for boot abuse, but those blokes are pretty hard on the footwear. And why is tennis non-contact? Bloody soft if you ask me.

Serena Williams at Wimbledon

Serena Williams in action at Wimbledon. (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

CRACKLING: There are traditions to be upheld, though.

SPANKS: Tradition is all very well, but there has to be a place in every sport for violence.

CRACKLING: Take a shot.

SPANKS: Cheers.

CRACKLING: Speaking of violence, what about Toby Greene?

SPANKS: To me, Toby Greene is a skilful, exciting player who brings punters through the gates. The only flaw in his game is that he enjoys kicking people in the chest and face. Now, I’m no face-kicking apologist, but my point is this: nobody’s perfect.

CRACKLING: Agreed. Look at Leigh Matthews. Great player, but spent his whole career trying to murder his direct opponent, and never quite got there.


SPANKS: Exactly. I mean Dusty Martin’s goal on the weekend was brilliant, but that doesn’t mean we can just forgive his haircut.

CRACKLING: It’s just a shame that Toby can’t kick people without taking a mark, because it really spoils the purity of his kicking technique.

SPANKS: But let’s not dwell on the negatives. How good were the Dees?

CRACKLING: The Dees were amazing. If they learn to kick straight, they might even stand a chance of losing to Richmond in the grand final.

SPANKS: They’re a chance, but I still think West Coast are favourites to lose to Richmond. Though they had a scare against Collingwood.

CRACKLING: Many people have been scared by Collingwood over the years, but on this occasion it happened in a football game, which was different. All credit has to go to Nathan Buckley for what they’ve done this year.

SPANKS: No credit to the players?

CRACKLING: No. To hell with them.

Collingwood's Lynden Dunn talks to coach Nathan Buckley

Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley chats with Lynden Dunn. (AAP Image/Joe Castro)

SPANKS: The NRL finals are shaping up as a close race. Absolute thriller on Friday night, Cam Munster coming through with the drop goal.

CRACKLING: They don’t call him ‘Lily’ for nothing, Spanks. He’s as good under pressure as he is pretty. The best thing the Storm did on Friday was they really targeted Sam Burgess, and showed that in a finals atmosphere, his knock-on-centred style of play can fall apart.

SPANKS: I told Anthony Seibold months ago that Sam should stop spending so much time at every training session practising his knock-ons.

CRACKLING: What did Anthony say?

SPANKS: He told me to get out of his car.

CRACKLING: Some blokes just don’t want to listen.

SPANKS: Were you surprised at the Broncos?


CRACKLING: I was more surprised at the Dragons. After watching the second half of their season, I had assumed they weren’t going to bother making the trip.

SPANKS: Ben Hunt had a great game.

CRACKLING: He had a great game, and he showed the truth of Rex Mossop’s old saying: a good little man will always beat a bad big man.

SPANKS: Especially when he decides not to kick the ball dead on early tackles.

CRACKLING: I’ve always said there’s only one thing Ben Hunt needs to take him to the next level: less confidence. It’s a real problem for some players, believing too much in yourself.

Ben Hunt runs

Ben Hunt (AAP Image/Craig Golding)

SPANKS: Did the Sharks believe too much in themselves?

CRACKLING: I think so. You can’t count your chickens until they’re hatched, or as Luke Lewis might put it, you can’t count your ball until it’s grounded.


SPANKS: Latrell Mitchell: absolute superstar.

CRACKLING: He reminds me of a young Mal Meninga, except with even more smouldering sexual allure.

SPANKS: The Roosters will be ruing the fact he got suspended.

CRACKLING: I am too. I mean, what even is a ‘crusher tackle’? In my day we didn’t have crusher tackles. Back then the line was clear: if the other bloke is eating through a straw, you get suspended. Otherwise, carry on.

SPANKS: They were simpler times, Cracky.

CRACKLING: Simpler and I think better. Don’t get me wrong, footy nowadays is wonderful, but we don’t have characters anymore, do we? We don’t have men like Matt Goodwin or Rohan Teevan running around. Who’s the Rohan Teevan of 2018?

SPANKS: Victor Radley?

CRACKLING: Don’t make me laugh.


SPANKS: Your health, Crackling.