This weekend's game had allsorts getting their ugly skulls into the press—Gordon Tallis making strange predictions and offering advice on how to play the game. All well and good from the comfort of the stands, one might say. Brad Fittler's prodigal father also managing to return to make "news" on this weekend; not tips on who to watch or how to play from him. Nor any hints on avoiding child maintenance for that matter...
Irrelevant! Like most of this long weekend when compared to the Grand Final. For some, it's the biggest weekend of the year. For others, i.e. the followers of the Teams What Are Not Worthy, it's "just another game." There's always next season for you—better luck with your loyalty decisions then. For others who don't like the sport at all, there's always the option of protesting the game and its players with odd rhetoric written on a chalkboard and displayed in the safety of your own pharmacy (if that's how you want to deal with things...).
For the Bulldogs and their fans, it's been a long season. Madkeen to make up for the disappointment from the coat tails of a previous season, where 37 premiership points were the sacrifice made to keep pockets full. Some fans may argue that the Bulldogs "would have" won the premiership and the Grand Final. But that's not the way things panned out. Difficult to say, should they not have been stripped, what the outcome would have been. Would have/Wouldn't have—impossible to call either way, and if we were to shove the whole team into Schroedingers box, the chances are that unobserved, they'd be out pack-raping helpless women...
Chris Isaak warmed the crowd on a stage that looked like Christo had attacked it first with his trademark plastic, then with an army of 100 children waving flashlights. A strong breeze had the final say, tearing the plastic as Grinspoon filled the remaining time before kickoff with a couple of their songs.
For the first half, things seemed to point towards the Roosters, except for a disallowed try, which would have made a monster gap. Both teams, however, failed to hang onto the ball for men who are paid to do this kind of thing. And that's what made the difference in the end. No shortage of opportunities in the second half for the Roosters to score the four points necessary, but a large failing in the ball-handling department is basically what cost them the game. That, and whatever was said to the Bulldogs in the half-time break to prevent them continuing to play like a wretched heap actually worked. The second half Bulldogs had a different attitude to that of the first—less errors and more hunger for the win.
An entertaining game; probably the best all season. And no real problems in the stands. A minor scuffle in the stand right in front of us between opposing fans—probably a contest to see who was a bigger/fatter jerk.
There are only losers in that kind of game.
Reviewed on Monday, 4 October 2004