Sport and big business are not identical, but the sooner clubs understand that the NRL is a multi-million dollar industry and they need to run their businesses accordingly, the better our sport will be.
This year has seen some terrific moments in rugby league, some of them even non-fabricated.
As always, we tabloid journalists covered the game in the only way we know – with awful grammar and hygiene, and sometimes even by attending matches.
To mark another wonderful year of trawling social media for leads, here is our pick of the stories for you – and it’s right on eve of the international season, just to ensure no attention is given where its due.
The grand final
Cooper Cronk took the field with a cracked shoulder in the decider after a week inside the media’s hyperbolic chamber. But the Roosters misled about the injury, thus blindsiding those we are most indebted to – the bookies. We are currently seeking legal advice on suing the lying Roosters for breach of copyright.
The Melbourne Storm
Qualifying for their third decider in a row, while continuing to secure a valuable foothold in Victoria and produce rep stars from paupers, it’s a wonder how the hell were they allowed into the comp. I can only assume their entry was a decision made by a bamboozled judiciary panel for sentimental reasons.
The Immortals announcement
This event was perfectly organised and executed by the NRL, and it was horrific. Without a botched refereeing call or poor crowd to be seen, I was left with nobody to incessantly target on the back page for the following week. It’s like the room was filled with colleagues we were trying to protect.
The Bulldogs’ Mad Monday
Canterbury rocked the game by stripping off in closed premises, brazenly in the path of our carefully-hidden long lens cameras. Frankly, I was shocked to wake to these vile images I’d demanded to be printed. Three days out from finals, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. We should’ve held them back for kick-off.
The Cronulla prop took to a podcast with Josh Dugan to abuse the rugby league media like we were some kind of junior referee. Some were amazed this discussion was on a show about UFC, but not as astonished when Dugan finished the tirade without twisting an ankle. Thankfully their crass outpouring was the last piece of evidence I needed to confirm the Sharks cheated the cap.
Wayne Bennett’s contract
This reached a flashpoint when the players shunned CEO Paul White’s barbecue in favour of Bennett’s, an event Bennett was not invited to by virtue of not being Craig Bellamy or retired. This sensationally revealed there is actually no grill at Wayne’s house – a story we ran on the first six pages. Apparently he instead presented a selection of cold meats, the same thing he trotted out against the Dragons in the first week of playoffs.
Ruan Sims’ Dally M votes
Sims disgraced the long-established practices of the Dally M judging panel by watching an entire half of football.
The phantom flag
A touch judge errantly raised his flag in the Raiders vs Sharks match after it was learned Mr and Mrs Sutton had a son and then another son, and the first son hired the second son and killed rugby league. I still gave Kalyn Ponga three votes though.
The finals series was one of the best-officiated in years. Thankfully there was an embarrassing referee crackdown to proceed it, which I originally demanded and then led the charge against. Todd Greenberg defended the crusade by claiming “if you wanna blame anyone for this crackdown, blame me” – which I did, via multiple anonymous burners on Twitter.
The newly instated commissioner brought shame to the game when he mistook a small child in a Barcelona shirt for a Knights fan, which was actually just Paul Kent in his pyjamas.
The shield returned south of the Tweed after the Blues conjured a shrewd game plan to play against a side without Cameron Smith. It was a masterstroke from coach Brad Fittler, which never could’ve happened without our campaign to sack Laurie Daley.