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25th Column 2021

30/July/2021

Now that the NRL playoffs are only weeks away, it is time to take a look at the players on whom each team will pin their premiership hopes to deliver the flag for their towns and fans. For the long-suffering Parramatta Eels, well, there is one player who holds all the keys to take you mob back to the glory days, and that player is Mitch Moses. I want to add Clint ‘Queen’ Cutho to the list, but I think his influence only goes far as mine at KFC on cheap Tuesdays. Parramatta will not win the comp, but if they have even a slight chance of getting there, then Mitch will be the man. If there was a side in the NRL that everyone, including President Biden, hated, then the team from Warringah called Manly will be that side. If they are to even feature in the last games of 2021, then there is only one man to lead them, who is Tommy Turbo. After dominating Origin almost like JT did years gone by, the Tommy Gun will be shooting down teams come September. When they needed a big man to show the way, the Green Machine never looked any further than 2 Pacs Shakur’s little brother, big Papa. Being the size of a semi-trailer and running as hard as one, Josh Papali will be the bulldozer clearing the way, like George Jenkins riding a D8 in the Davison. With all the pretty boys laughing while sipping the cups of latte on Bondi Beach, you would not think of any Spice Girls Roosters to stand up and show why they could be a title threat. But like many before him, Kiwi enforcer, Jarred Wairea Hardgraves, will be the key to the chooks’ chances of holding the trophy on the last Sunday in September. He’s tough, brutal, ugly, and always hungry, which is the same observation my first school rugby league Coach, Peter Ritchie, made of me when I defected from soccer to league in 1997. If the chance arises, and the clock is down to the last play of the GF, Penrith will only look to one man, and he is the ultimate half who is Nathan Cleary. With word of a return come finals time, the Penny Panthers will make a last ditch for the title with the big forehead kid in their side, which sort of reminds me of me when I first shaved my fringe off in 1987. If Wayne Bennet’s Bunnies take the JJ Giltian Shield home, then it would have been because of one man, and he is Cody Walker. With the try scoring ability of Addo Carr and hands like a surgeon, this dude can carve up. Look for him when the Rabbits hit their strides. Last but not least, we arrive at the State that only has one League team, has been in lockdown since forever, and can boast a ghost town even better than in the Stephen King movie ‘The Stand’, the Melbourne Storms. If any team wants to beat the Thunders, then they should concentrate on smashing one person, and he is Jerome Hughes. The guy has been in career best form and, if all the story lines and scriptures go to plan, the Lightnings will be lighting up the NRL sky with another title and flag. Ladies and gentlemen let’s get readdddyyy to Rummmble.

The Tully Tigers travelled to Yarrabah last weekend to take on the Seahawks, they are the Guyala, and well, it was like my favourite purchase from the sweets shop, a mixed lolly bag. The day started well for our Tigers, with the ever-improving U18s Tigers being the only team to come back from over the mountain with competition points. Straight off the bat, I want to give a massive wrap to two of the starring players from Sunday, and they were Jonas Gumbleton and Ironman, Travis Ogden. Both players had an absolute field day with the Yarrabah defence as they ran riot at Jilarra. Another worthy mention is young Brodie Murray, who is another product of Jumbun, who has improved every week which each game. His no nonsense tackles, and funny humour is always worth a laugh around the playing group. Once again, our Deceptacons brother, Thomas Busch, and Jerome Ketchell bashed everything that got in their way. Paul Ketchell lookalike, Braithan Ketchell, was once again a handful, as was mountain man, Samat Gutchen. Tully Reserve Grade could just see an opportunity slip when they let the Seahawks take the points, which now sets them up with a fight to stay in the top five for a finals spot. It was another chance for our A-grade boys as they let a halftime lead get taken away by some magic footy from the Yarry boys. This weekend sees both junior and senior league travel up to Mareeba for a feast of a Super Saturday of Rugby League on the Tablelands. Make sure you get there. There has been a lot of talk and backlash of some Australian Sporting Teams showcasing the Indigenous flags as a part of the celebrations, which does not sit comfortably with a lot of people. Sports, like anything, are what makes Australia, in my opinion, the greatest nation in the world. Rugby League gave birth to the first Indigenous National Captain when Arthur Beetson led our nation. How can we forget the night Cathy Freeman won Gold Medal at the Sydney Summer Games, it was a night for all of us to celebrate as one? If a flag being celebrated by a sporting team to honour the First Nation players who are proudly representing our country, whilst singing the anthem, makes you blush with embarrassment, then I am afraid you may be a part of the problem. We should all be proud of every Australian team, whether they are playing marbles or playing for the Socceroos, they are our team regardless of who is in the team. With the Olympics set to be hosted by Brisbane in the next decade, can we at least be ready to showcase our multicultural society, which makes us all proud to be one? I hope so, because I maybe Indigenous, part Torres Strait Islander, and even a slice of Japanese, but I am all Australian, baby.

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