23rd Column 2021


With the 2021 State of Origin series done and won, we move our focus back to the NRL, and boy what a time for our game it has been. With the recent fresh outbreaks of COVID in the greater Sydney area, the game of Rugby League has been forced, for the first time in its history, to relocate to Queensland to avoid a halt to the season. There was even a mention of relocating the game to New Zealand, as our country battles this latest outbreak, but common sense prevailed and they realised god’s country, which is Queensland, can do anything but score a few tries in an Origin match. 

So, as we come to the business end of the season, let’s start looking at who should be preparing for a shot at the trophy and who should be organizing Mad Monday at Airlie Beach. The first team that should book their backpacker rooms has to be my shady as Brisbane Broncos, as they, and probably the West Tigers and Bulldogs, should have their cooking skills in order because one of these guys will be taking home the wooden spoon. All three teams are capable on their day, but these days are ones they should forget, and with the exception of the Bronx, the Dogs and Tigers should never bark or roar in public ever again. Cronulla, Newcastle, Cowboys, and the Gold Coast Titans, should make sure their luggage is at least laid out ready for the September trip off season holidays, as these guys were more disappointing than Madonna’s wig in her hit song ‘Beautiful Strangers.’ 

Now we move to the top 8 teams that should make a good play for the flag. The Canberra Raiders have not been themselves of late, so I am not sure if they can last. Manly and Parramatta are the smokies here, because if they get a good September run that gets them rolling. I think they could be hard to stop. The biggest unknown and threat to this whole thing is, roll the drum, St George Illawarra, and the New Zealand Warriors. Sure, they look as flat as my abs, but these guys can cause a major upset in the race to the trophy. Of course, the Storms, the Panthers, and the Roosters will be the best bet if you are a punting person, but if you want to back a team to take it all, well, here goes, it will be the South Sydney Rabbitohs who will lift the NRL trophy in the last Sunday of September. Wayne Bennett will pull another rabbit out of the South Sydney Hat and deliver a title to the ‘Pride of the League.’ Well, there is my crystal ball prediction, the globe that has been responsible for every major loss of the Melbourne Cup since the early 80s.

Now to the Tully Tigers, who travelled to Edmonton on Sunday to take on the in-form Storms at Peterson Park, in what was another close encounter without any chocolates. The day started off well for our 18s who, in the last 3 games lost, and who finally bagged 2 competition points to take some positives into this weekend’s top of the table clash against the Ivanhoes in Tully. The bash brothers Jerome Ketchell and Thomas Busch once again smashed everything that moved. Meanwhile, Samat Gutchen was ready to end this world Thanos style, such was his beast mode of a game he had. Not to be outdone, Darian and Braithan were great in the middle, with Morgan Black chipping in with another solid game. Fan favourite and super model, Edwin, was again bringing the crowd to their feet, while Dom and Bryson starred again. I want to give special mention to Zackary Ketchell, who played one of his best games of the year. The Tully Reserve Grade was unlucky to not get the points in a close game, with Seppi once again shining. Paul Ketchell should be proud of the boy’s effort in A-grade, as they were unlucky again that a few dodgy calls once again went against our team. It bothers me that this happens every week, but we are powerless, so we may as well carry on with the job at hand, even though they act like a high school who does not know how to crown a winner. I am sure there is an excuse but tell me once again how sorry you are. 

This weekend will see some ginormous Rugby League action for the Tigers Super Saturday, with the Juniors kicking off the day. Then late into the evening, two extra games have been added to the night, with both a North Qld Indigenous Rep side taking on an Outback Indigenous team consisting of players from as far away as Mt Isa. This format will be in both Men’s and Women’s Representative teams, so Rugby League will be high on the ‘to do’ list this weekend. If you haven’t already, get yourself to the Tully Showground for a massive weekend of Rugby League.

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