Your humble correspondent is the proudest of proud Queenslanders, and my blood flows Maroon, as my track record unquestionably proves. So it breaks my heart to write the words that follow, but blood’s thicker than the Brisbane River, and my beloved old Grandpa Henry brought me up to put my bets on SP with Harry the Barber at Northgate in the pre-computerised TAB days, and always drilled into me the dictum ‘bet with your head, not your heart mate, unless you want to find your pockets empty’.
It’s sage advice that’s stuck with me through the passage of time, and it’s a shame that new Queensland Origin coach Kevvie Walter’s old man didn’t imprint the same message on his son’s brain, but then again those fellas are from Ipswich, so what would you expect, a bit of brains and common sense or something?
No bloody chance.
Just like the Maroons prospects of winning this year’s Origin series now that to square up for their supporting the appointment of the boy genius Paul Green – the most brilliant coach since Bennett and Meninga, without any question – to replace Big Mal at the helm, the bloke they call Kumquat has out of spite sacked the nucleus of the coaching team that won us nine from ten over the past decade.
Dead set, what would these blokes know about winning Origin Series, except everything, and why would a bloke who’s never held a top-level coaching role need a group of wise and experienced heads around him for support? After all, he’s bloody Kevvie Walters and he’s from Ipswich – these buggers couldn’t teach him a thing!
By my reckoning the prospects of the Maroons had plummeted like a skydiver whose parachute wouldn’t open the minute Kumquat made this extremely ill-advised call.
And then in an instant it just got worse, and all of a sudden Kumquat lead us all down the rabbit hole, and now we’re in Wonderland, and the Mad Hatter is in charge of the party and we’re all pretending that our hopes and dreams haven’t disappeared down a drain but deep down we know that by believing we can still win the series we’re as crazy as Kevvie.
I mean, what brain-dead, moronic imbecile in charge of a team of aged champions – with each of the key players the star of their club and therefore targeted for big hits every game, and each aged over 30 and thus slower to recover from injury – takes a bunch of young emerging superstars – 4 of whom just so happen to be the likely bench for the 1st game, and the remainder the shadow players to the stars – out on the piss to a pub, tanks them up, then directs that they have to be in bed by midnight?
Kumquat bloody Walters, that’s who.
Then, when young blokes full of piss do as young blokes full of piss do and go out on the prowl for sheilas and more booze, what sort of half-witted d*ckhead decides he’s going to ban 2 of them from playing Origin for 12 months and thinks that they, their managers and their clubs aren’t going to blow up like Vesuvius about the fact that the other half a dozen emerging superstars guzzling grog and wooing women with them escape sanction and get off scot free?
Kumquat bloody Walters, that’s who. Little Johnny’s mate.
When the inevitable eruption occurs within minutes of the fool banning only 2 of the 8 mislead – by him – miscreants, rather than put his and up and say mea culpa, I over-reacted and f*cked up, and repealing the bans and replacing them with large fines that the player’s clubs or insurers can pick up, the crazed camel bans the other 6 for 12 months!
So now we have this year’s likely Dally M winner Anthony Milford, the most promising fullback turned pivot since Locky, unable to step into the breach should JT get smashed into Disneyland; and the Munster – first name Cameron – unable to step into Slater’s shoes like he did so brilliantly at the Storm last year that if Billy wasn’t Billy he’d never get his spot back and would this year be running around in the reserves.
And of course the find of last season, the Sharks Valentine Holmes, who along with Jack Bird and smashed-melon Gallen was part of the triumvirate that took the Sharks to an against all odds deep in the finals appearance – despite the handicap of Ben Barba – is gone too, and all of a sudden if Darius has another brain explosion we are suddenly in deep, deep sh*t at the back, and may be so desperate that we have to bring the hugely underperforming Barba back.
God help us all if that happens, and make sure you back NSW to win by 13 plus. And keep the spew bag handy as Gallen lifts the hallowed log of carved wood. With a bit of luck the arse will drop it on his head.
It’s the same if Cooper Cronk cops a knock and misses another game, because with Benny Hunt black banned by the Walters shunt, then all we have left to replace him is Daley Double-Banger, and look how much good that did us the year before last. If you can see another option at half please shout it out loud, but whatever you do don’t call out the name Chris Sandow, because then the TAB will be deluged by punters wanting to back the blues giving away 30 start.
The loss of Edrick Lee doesn’t worry me too much. He reminds me a lot of Daniel Tupou, a tall, flashy show pony who looks good in grade games but doesn’t cut the mustard at the elite level, and I doubt that he was going to don a Maroons jersey anytime soon, although stranger things have happened when it comes to Canberra wingers.
Just ask Adam Mogg.
As bad as the bans potentially are for the Queensland backline though, they are a whole lot worse for the forwards, because the black-listed Bronco Jarrod Wallace and the Rooster ranga Dylan Napa were walk up starts for Origin bench spots in most people’s books, and while age mat not weary workhorses Matty Scott and Natty Miles, a broken leg or a busted collar bone surely would, and where do the Maroons look to replace them?
Due to Kumquat’s huge error of judgment not to the games two best young props Wallace and Napa, that’s for sure.
And what about if the great servants to the Sunshine State Slamming Sammy Thaiday or Corey Parker – aged 31 and 34 this year respectively, and continuing to make and take great hits – get injured?
Chris Grevsmuhl, the young tyro who is certain to secure a starting spot with the Rabbitohs this year, and improve a 100 yards and turn into a champion under the influence of the bunny’s returned prodigal son Smashing Sam Burgess, certainly won’t be there to replace them, and what else have we got other than the indifferent performer Josh Paapali, or the great buy aging servant Jacob Lillyman, whose advancing years render him unsuited to the revamped interchange rules that are about to turn Rugby League back into a young man’s game, a fact that WTF Walters seems to have overlooked entirely.
Maroons sportsfans it is my melancholy duty to inform you that under Kumquat Walters calamitous watch we are ducksh*t, and if some sanity doesn’t prevail and he overturns his outrageously ill-thought and illogical player bans, we have about as much chance of winning the 2016 Origin series as George Pell has of winning Australian of the Year.
Given that my sporting judgement is respected across the length and breadth of the wide brown land – after all, who else tipped the winners of the NRL. AFL and Rugby World Cup before a ball was touched last year, and threw in the winner of the Dally M for good measure – and as such, over the past few days since advance copies of this article leaked out the Blues have firmed into hot favourites to win the series this year.
But we Queenslanders are as solid as the premiership winning sh*thole of a town’s Castle Hill, and twice as loyal, so you can still get evens about the Cockroaches on the Queensland TAB.
I’ll be a pariah for saying it, and will probably walk the earth north of the tweed forever with the mark of Cain upon my brow, but it will be a slow ramble because the dollars brimming from my King Gee pockets will be weighing me down, for being my grandpa’s boy I’ll have bet with my brain and not my heart, and be all the richer for it.
Thanks for easy money Kumquat, and good luck in your future endeavours post series 16.
Greenie, it’s my shout for the limo from Townville to Lang Park son.