Mick Cronin. An Eels and Country Legend. No, we are not related
Over the fold some thoughts on the bond between a person and their football club, on the importance of tonight’s City v Country game and a pointer to a good summary of the Gasnier debacle.
A Supporter’s Lament
These are sad times for the Eels faithful. The capitulation against Canberra the other evening was woeful. And reports during the week of on and off field turmoil haven’t helped.
A good mate of mine married into a family of Bunnies fanatics. So, after Souths were reinstated back in the NRL, I followed the Bunnies around for a bit keeping my mate Paul company and drinking beer. Of course it was and still is tragic being a Bunnies supporter but you had to admire their resilience and optimism. Every match was greeted as a new chance for something to great to happen for the Rabbitohs. And apart from the occasional win it was, and has been, the same old story for the hapless Bunnies.
As I sat at Gosford Station last Sunday I saw a young dad and his son decked in Knights jerseys. They were clearing anticipating the clash against the Broncos. While it was a great traditional scene of father and son it was painful to watch. The call from the Eels game of yester evening was still fresh in my mind. I had no recourse in the warm anticipation of a great match and glory. Just the dull painful thud of defeat.
Mingling later that day with the Tigers fans a Leichhardt one could not help being swept up in the fans enthusiasm. And in this weakened state, and after a few beers, I had a horrible thought. I found myself wondering what it would be like to wear another team’s jersey. I had pondered the unponderable of transferring one’s NRL allegiance.
Of course the thought did not go any further. The fierce devotion of Bunnies supporters may belie their team’s lack of success but it is to be admired and is inspirational. When you accept a team in your heart it stays and is something that is only rent asunder by a weak constitution. So there is only one thing that I as an Eels tragic can do in this time of uncertainty and NRL famine.
$20 on the Eels to win the premiership at $28. Go the Eels!
Jeff Wall in today’s Crikey says it well.
This might be hard to believe, but the Mark Gasnier saga has now become an embarrassment for rugby union AND rugby league, not to mention the St George Illawarra Dragons centre himself.
The Boys from the Bush
The traditional City/Country game is on tonight. The NRL’s heartland is in the bush. When I was a lad I would often go and watch the Grafton Ghosts in the Group 1 competition (and played U14s and U16s for the Ghosts). Local league was well supported and the local derbies between Grafton and South Grafton were keenly anticipated.
Times have changed and local league comps outside Sydney are struggling. Which is a shame. If league was to die out in the bush it would be a tragedy for the game. Hence the importance of the City/Country match for those outside the Sydney metropolitan area. Of this the Country players are well aware after meeting Dubbo teenager Lionel Woods. For the Country blokes, it is about winning.
Cityslickers to get bushwhacked.
The Dragons too hot for the Warriors
The Cowboys to ride out the Storm
The Broncos will trample the Sea Eagles
The head says the Doggies but the heart still bleeds Blue and Gold
Knights will slay the Tigers
The Raiders will send the Sharks to Valhalla
Panthers will skin the Bunnies