“Shhhh don’t tell anyone my secret identity”

On Friday 17th August 2012, roughly three quarters of the way through a Round 24 clash between the Bulldogs and Tigers I made a solemn swear to never watch another game of Rugby League…ever. Some may see this as a drastic response to a minor mistake by a referee, however after years of confusion and anger I believe this is my only course of action. In honour of my Omerta of sorts lets reference one of the greatest movies of all time in honour of one of the most dismally managed sports of all time. Here goes:

“Oh, Michael. Michael, you are blind. It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was an abortion. An abortion, Michael. Just like our marriage is an abortion. Something that’s unholy and evil. I didn’t want your son, Michael! I wouldn’t bring another one of your sons into this world! It was an abortion, Michael! It was a son Michael! A son! And I had it killed because this must all end!”

To Billy Harrigan who decided with two rounds to play of the NRL season that all of the referees should have a better understanding of the obstruction rule. Well done Mr Hollywood for noticing a problem. Not only has this been a topic of contention all season, it has been discussed on every variant of the Footy Show and every knock off of the Footy Show for months on end. All this after the contentious “no obstruction” try from the third instalment of this years State of Origin and it only takes 24 rounds to address the issue! Now that is truly something unholy and evil.

“Freddie that thing can’t be real”

“Sure it is.That’s why they call him Superman”

To Benji Marshall and Ben Barba who are both Supermen of Rugby League. Their ability to single-handedly change a game is breathtaking. Every time either player touches the ball you can literally hear the crowd’s intake of breath, cheering fans in excited anticipation and opposing fans nervous fear. They are the reason we watch sport. The reason we wait in a crowded throng to get into the stadium and then stand for two hours without a break so that you don’t miss any of the action. I’ll miss watching both of these super players.

“It made me think of what you once told me: “In five years the Corleone family will be completely legitimate.” That was seven years ago.”

“I know. I’m trying darling.”

To the NRL and their new media rights deal. The NRL will be trying to validate this 1 billion dollar deal for the span of the contract. Of course the true victims here are the fans who again will have to watch a time delayed game on Friday nights and if they don’t have Foxtel can go without league on Saturday night. Well done NRL, now that is how you legitimize league!

“Hyman Roth always makes money for his partners. One by one, our old friends are gone. Death, natural or not, prison, deported. Hyman Roth is the only one left, because he always made money for his partners.”

To our mysterious salary cap auditors who have always managed to effect Rugby League from the shadows as much as any overzealous referee. Unfortunately the players of the 2002 Bulldogs team and the 2010 Storm team paid the price for a complicated and easily manipulated salary cap. Was either situation handled with sense and conviction? The answer is no. Special mention goes to the 2002 Roosters Team accountants and the 2008 Sea Eagles Team accountants.

“Keep em alive.”

“We’ll try”

“ROCCO, ALIVE!”

To the NRL referees who feel obligated to keep the games close by making phantom penalty calls and conveniently forgetting that the 5 metre rule has not been in play for some time. While we’re on the topic of trying to keep something alive, could someone please explain what exactly we are trying to achieve with a scrum? The scrum is on the verge of extinction and at this stage of the game only serves the purpose of… I’m not exactly sure but I know that the scrum has as much chance of being a meaningful part of the game as Fredo does at running the family business. Which brings me to…

“So let me get this straight, David Gallop was your CEO?”

“I’m your older brother, Mike, and I was stepped over!
That’s the way Pop wanted it.
It ain’t the way I wanted it! I can handle things! I’m smart! Not like everybody says… like dumb… I’m smart and I want respect!”

To the Parramatta Board for selecting a coach who has lost two straight State of Origin series and taken two top eight teams to the wooden spoon. On the bright side after certainly collecting the wooden spoon this year the only way is up for Sticky Ricky and Parra.

“If anything in this life is certain, if history has taught us anything, it is that you can kill anyone.”

To the poor Parra fans who have been watching the team whither away at the bottom of the ladder. It truly is a shame that such an enthusiastic and avid fan base continually suffers as the board makes a run of mistakes. Not the greatest send off for one of their best players in Hindmarsh either. He has been an absolute pillar and you can’t fault his dedication to the team and his contribution to league.

“You can have the license. The price is $250,000… plus a monthly payment of 5% of the gross… of all four hotels… Mr. Corleone”
“Now, the price of the license is less than $20,000. Is that correct?” 
“Yes.”
“So why would I ever consider paying more than that?” 
“Because I intend to squeeze you.”

To the Norths fans who are continually teased with the promise of an expansion team. Things have gotten so desperate that the fan base has talked themselves into a Central Coast Bears team that is never going to happen. The writing is on the wall with the new media deal and its lock on 8 games. On the bright side at least all of the ex Bears fans can continue to watch lack lustre performances from the Wallabies as their new favourite sporting pastime! Well done NRL you actually achieved the impossible and moved people to watch Rugby Union!

“Fredo, you’re nothing to me now. You’re not a brother, you’re not a friend. I don’t want to know you or what you do. I don’t want to see you at the hotels, I don’t want you near my house. When you see our mother, I want to know a day in advance, so I won’t be there. You understand?”

And finally to the National Rugby League goes the most heartfelt moment in the movie. I can’t sum it up better than Michael Corleone. NRL you had your chance but you broke my heart and I won’t be there any more. I survived the bumbling David Gallop era, the Super League War, seven years of State of Origin disappointment but now I’m done. Time to put on my Swans scarf, head down to the SCG with 30,000 people and watch a game where I don’t know the rules. I can’t get angry about that.

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