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'We'll all be remembered as V'lennials': Long live PVL, the fearless, magnificent Nickelback of rugby league

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27th March, 2023
22
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What triggered the greatest outpouring of emotion in 2022? Probably Tom Dearden rupturing his testicle. But a close second was the death of Queen Elizabeth.

The Monarch – aka ‘Lizzy-Bags’ – clocked-off peacefully after 70 years in the saddle, enacting a period of public mourning that endured almost as long as her 96 years on Earth. While the collective grief was mainly in response to losing a much-loved figurehead, it was also because we knew what was following down the pipeline – life under Prince Charles.

With all due respect, it was hardly a succession plan to match the seamless Wayne Bennett-to-Jason Demetriou handover. I reckon giving the nod to a 73-year-old who’s been stagnating on the bench for seven decades was a bum selection. Doesn’t the Royal Family remember Chris Anderson picking a decrepit Darren Smith for the Kangaroos over Luke Lewis? Just like Lewis, they would’ve been better served leap-frogging Charles for the next heir in Prince William. Big Willie is far more vibrant and versatile, whereas Charles will struggle to play out the 80. Seriously, do we need to get Phil Gould to fix the sovereign’s pathways TOO? Probably couldn’t afford him anyway.

Overall, the Queen’s death will be remembered for one resonating takeaway – it was a massive wake-up call for rugby league. As we witnessed the logistical lasagne following her passing, it became apparent we’d need similar protocol for our monarch’s death – because despite beliefs to the contrary, Peter V’landys probably won’t live forever.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 10: Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter Vlandys speaks to the media during a NRL media opportunity at Rugby League Central on August 10, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

(Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)

For those uninitiated, V’landys is the unchallenged doyen of the game. They call him the Nickelback of rugby league – because it’s cool not to like him even though he ROCKS – and as depraved as it is to discuss, one day he will most likely die. PVL’s passing will not only rock his rugby league fiefdom with the force of a Talakai carry, it will also hit state governments, the AFL and The Left, and whoever else he callously dominated with his erratic blitzkriegs.

V’landys is a man I would die for – and most of you would too – not only because the Daily Telegraph has conditioned me thusly, but because he is a hairy-chested hot-blooded centaur who has saved rugby league from innumerable dangers, some even himself. Think I’m adding too much mayo? Give yourself an uppercut. This is a bloke with such influence we cannot rule out rugby league being played at the Super Bowl while ever he remains alive, and if our great game was honest about celebrating its heroes then he should’ve been named the 14th Immortal yesterday. That’s why when he fatally succumbs to his elephantiasis of the testes, it will demand more than a modest 16-page liftout in the paper, especially considering he gets this most weeks anyways.

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Firstly, I’d mark V’landys’ passing with something reserved. In the immediate hours following his death, I’d photoshop his face on to the body of a racehorse kicking Dominic Perrottet in the bum and project it on to the sails of the Opera House. Then we’d allow this evocative image to bleed into the public conscience for a few days before threatening the Sports Minister to move his funeral to Suncorp Stadium for $250 million less unless Penrith Stadium is upgraded. In addition, ALL comedy programming would be suspended for 10 days as a mark of respect, meaning no Matty Johns, or Graham Annesley briefings.

On day five, PVL’s bulbous corpse would be swathed in jockey silk as he lies in-state at NRL Headquarters. Here, the chairman’s cornermen will gather to read aloud letters demanding to Bring Back the Bears right before his body is loaded atop a gilded cart to be toured throughout his targeted growth areas in Redcliffe, Randwick, and wherever else peer-reviewed data disproves. This will be followed by a public holiday, one that tastefully celebrates V’landys’ legacy and the Australian-British history with a sausage sizzle and the deportation of Ashley Klein.

I’m sure many will question the magnitude of this pomp for PVL’s death – and I would too. It’s total unders considering everything he’s achieved. But despite psychologically ring-fencing Gillon McLachlan and reviving everything good about the ‘90s, we exist in a stringent financial climate that prohibits careless spending. Unless we’re splashing out on forward pass technology, we’ll just have to pony-up for some hydrangeas.

In the meantime, V’landys’ yet-to-occur death is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on his generosity. What has he bestowed upon our great game? In 2021, he re-negotiated the TV deal for less money, pawned-off the league’s digital arm, capsized the rule book, and increased funding to clubs, effectively enabling a pack of financial hot messes to continue making dreadful decisions with someone else’s money. In 2022, he introduced more radical rule changes, benevolently legged-up the AFL’s TV deal, and then bought a pub while waging a war on non-existent ruck issues. It’s been a BELTER of a tenure from the chairman, and you better believe it’s made the cats squeal.

Firstly, the decision to panic-buy a pub in Brisbane. The bed-wetters went bloody mad over the game’s funds being squandered on a grubby tavern, but what other choice did the chairman have? With kids stuck inside playing video games all day, he simply had to act. School clinics and community funding were no longer having a positive impact on junior participation, and the only way to arrest the slide was with a bistro. Think about it: if your child plays rugby union, they could become a private school chauvinist. If they play Aussie Rules, they could have muscle relaxants jammed up their nose. Both are highly appealing to young men, so buying a place to sink piss and pick up chicks is the only way to ward off the lure. Imagine vying for the next generational talent knowing we’ve got staffies and Tits-up Tuesdays as a trump card? Who could compete with that? The other codes won’t stand a chance. In simple terms, V’landys buying a pub was a down payment on rugby league’s world domination. Thanks to him, we’ll be flogging the AFL in ratings, participation, and 40/20’s forever.

V’landys then further cemented the future of Australian rugby league by authorising himself as a national selector. Make no mistake, this was the most significant decision in the history of the Kangaroos since the criminalisation of Yippi Yippi Yi. I never thought we’d surpass that famous evening when the Maroons team song was nationally condemned because Cameron Smith and company arrogantly belted it out to celebrate an Australian win, but who could’ve predicted the boss of Racing NSW would want a say in the national squad? V’landys’ taking the reins of matters Kangaroo not only gave the International game a shot of cachet it so pathetically lacked, it also sent a crystal-clear message to the warring states either side of the Tweed: time for you factional chumps to lay down your purse whistles.

Yep, V’landys knew it was a long time since Australia had fielded a side that wasn’t fractured. In fact, it’d been a long time since this country fielded any side. Prior to the World Cup, I couldn’t even tell you the last time the Kangaroos agreed to a game of lowly international football. All I recall was it involved heaps of fog and knee Vasoline, and that our selection policy severely lacked a Spring Racing vibe.

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With our fearless chairman now at the selection table, he’d not only pick a team we can be PROUD OF, but also one of great versatility. For example, one he can flexibly withdraw from any International tournament at the midnight hour so they’re fresh for more important fixtures, like the Charity Shield. It was one big, massive masterstroke by V’landys, and if we’re lucky, he may even one day pick HIMSELF to play. Appointing a conflicted chairman in a selectorial role may result in Damien Cook at fullback and the erosion of any last trace of integrity in rep footy, but it will also really piss off the sceptical bloggers. So, it will be totally WORTH IT.

Finally, the highlight of PVL’s magnificent 2022 was the multiple drive-by attacks he unleashed on unsuspecting parliamentarians. He had these powdery thin skins bent over the bathtub crying for mercy, as evidenced by the coterie of threats he made that were never followed through. These assaults mainly stemmed from the great man’s benevolent vision of upgrading suburban grounds at abundant cost to the taxpayer, a deal the government initially agreed to foot before backflipping after the state was deluged in a year’s worth of rain in a fortnight.

In one of the biggest piles of pissy political piffle seen in this country, Premier Perrottet reneged under a responsibility to “prioritise disaster victims”. It was utter SPIN from a man who’d evidently lost touch with his constituents. Everyone knows a kitchen bathed in 30 inches of erupted sewerage is nothing compared to waiting to take a slash at Leichhardt Oval. And shelter for pensioners is nice, but have you seen Campbelltown Stadium in the August sun on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon? It’s dead-set chalk and cheese. That’s why it was paramount these boutique masterpieces were saved, or at the very least, upgraded so the siren at Campbelltown could be distinguished from the car alarms.

Unfortunately, the ignorant boffins in Macquarie Street could not be shifted. They remained firm on placing human life above seating capacity; but to his credit, PVL manfully copped the tip. Within two hours, he’d threatened to strip Sydney of the grand final. But after days of back-and-forth, a deal between the warring parties was struck. The government would revisit the stadium deal later if they felt like it, and the grand final would remain in Sydney. Even though it ostensibly appeared like he’d settled on his original bargaining position for less money, it was a ripper of an outcome for the chairman. The scoreboard remained PVL 1, Haters NIL.

For those who think otherwise, ask yourself THIS: Who else in rugby league is ruthless enough to hardball themselves? ONLY the Cadillac of deal-making, that’s who. That’s why we should be GRATEFUL for this bloke. We’re talking about a horse racing tsar loved in seven languages who answers to NO ONE – not even Premier Dom or Shaq – and he’s running our great game of rugby league. Where to, we’re not too sure. But that’s why the game’s in the state it’s in. Make no MISTAKE, this era will be defined by his reign, and we will ALL be remembered as V’lennials whether you like it or NOT.

This is excerpt from Facebook Rugby League’s 2022 Digest, a book by Dane Eldridge recounting the season through the eyes of an online troll with an unhealthy affection for Peter V’landys. You can get a copy via this link.

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