A few weeks ago when we we re having a couple of slow news days up here in Queensland the sports [ages of the Pineapple State papers were festooned with stories about Benji Marshall having a go at young Anthony Milford ‘Sound’ for being a slacker.
For days on end the punters of the pill-press in the state were up in arms about Benji bagging young Sound by calling him a bludger on the training track, and every bugger and their grandma chimed into the debate. Even God himself – aka Benny, or Wayne Bennett to you southern cockroaches – jumped into the argument head first, dourly declaring that if Mr Marshall wanted a future at the Broncos then he should shut his over-sized gob and keep his bloody opinions to himself.
To a man and his missus the members of the maroon army agreed, with opinion polls from Coooktown to Cooloongatta showing that Queenslander’s thought Marshall was an out and out arsehole, and that Milford Sound was the man. Arms were linked across the Queen’s land, and from Southport to Sarina the chant of ‘Give Benji the Flick Benny!’ rand out, intoned by millions but sounding as if it was sung by a single voice.
And so, being the man of the people that he is, Benny did, and Benji was banished to the Queensland Cup, where he was made to dress up in a silly red and white jersey and run around a hacked up old field at a dump called Redcliffe, up the top of Moreton Bay where the convicts were first incarcerated in Queensland the the Bee Gees performed their first falsetto dance tunes, until mosquitoes drove both groups away, the jailbirds to Brisbane where they formed a footy club and named after a septic tank steed, and the Gibb brother on to fame, fortune and – with the exception of bearded Barry – early deaths in the world of disco, divas and discount drugs.
Meanwhile, at the place that was once Brisbane’s pioneer cemetery until they dug all the old crusty’s up and dumped at the Nudgee Beach tip – which coincidentally is just across the road from the Gibb boys first home, long demolished and now an airport runway – young Sound was suited up in the maroon, yellow and white of Benny’s A-Team and dazzling the pineapple-munching sportsfans with his precision defence, and setting alight Suncorp Stadium’s soft leaf buffalo turf with his amazing attack.
Well that was the plan anyway.
In the end it didn’t quite work out that way; actually, in fact the opposite occurred. Young Milford Sound has 2 shockers in a row, almost gifting the Raiders a rare Lang Park win and then handing the hitherto hapless Dessie’s Dogs a procession on a platter, while back up at the penal settlement Benji was giving the Townsville Blackhawks a rugby league lesson .
The Bead Twirler and I were up there watching – everyone needs to slum it once in a while, it keeps you humble – and dead set it was like we’d entered the Tardis and traveled on a journey back to 2005 as we watched Benji fielding bombs like he was Dave Warner catching watermelons, goose stepping around defenders as if they were standing still, throwing behind the back passes to blokes and making them look like Scotty Prince as they scorched across the white line for tries, and generally razzling and dazzling the usually dour Redcliffe Dolphin’s crowd to much that when the final whistle blew they gave him a standing ovation.
Geez it was a class display, so much so that on the way home it got the Twirler and I talking for the first time in a week, and the subject we were discussing was Benny, Benji and the Sound.
You see prior to the Benji slagging Sound and Benny backing his star recruit scandal, much of the talk in the Pineapple press had been about the issue of whether having left his missus of 40 years and taking up with a much younger model new ride Benny had taken his eye off the Steeden and lost the bloody plot.
Benny of course denied it and reckoned rooting was good for his coaching game, snarling that any Parker pen wielding suckhole who said otherwise was soon going to get the Benji treatment and find themselves banished from the Broncos bunker, which is bloody bad news for a sports newsman or woman, so the press shut up quick smart and, suddenly finding themselves with 2/3 of the Newcastle Knight’s try tally to talk about, thus the Benji/Benny/Sound scandal was born.
The Bead Twirler and I however beg to differ, and for the first time this decade find ourselves totally in unison on a topic, that topic being that Benny’s got it balls up. It’s not Benji that’s actually the problem at the Broncos as we enter into the guts of round five, it’s Mr Anthony Milford Sound, whose game has been anything but over the past couple of rounds.
The young lad hasn’t just been average: he’s been atrocious, and if the Broncos don’t get something happening in the halves quick smart then their 2017 season is odds on to end up just like their last, which to borrow from the language of the bogans in Redcliffe means up the bloody sh*t.
It’s enough to send shivers up a Suncorp Stadium sportsfans spine, and although no-one’s talking about because after Benny’s outburst they’re too scared to say a bad word about Milford Sound, you can rest assured there are plenty of worried punters up here in Pineapple Land and don’t you worry about that.
But never fear Broncos and Broncettes, for Archie’s here, and it’s just as Adele prophesised a few weeks ago at the Gabba when she ruined the ground:
When the pain of losing to the Dogs cuts you deep, when the holes in your defence won’t let you sleep, just look and you will see, Archie’s got the remedy.
When the world seems so bloody cruel, and Milford Sound’s inept footy makes you feel like a fool, I promise you will see, Archie’s got the remedy
‘What is it Archie? Tell us please, tell us now! C’mon Archie, come on, come on!’ I hear you all asking – oops sorry that was the Bead Twirler calling the play from the bottom of the scrum – but I know that you’re all desperate to know, so here it is in a single word.
Milford Sound clearly needs a spell in the south to find his lost mojo, so it’s time for Benny to bring the great man back.
Benny knows it too,.for as much as doesn’t want to admit it at the moment the God of Brisbane rugby league actually said so himself in Proverbs chapter 13, verse 24, which he penned back in the old days when he was coaching Kevvie and Alfie and writing the coaching bible:
He who withholds his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.
He did it Benji and turned his game around, now it’s send Milford Sound away for a rejuvenating sojourn in the icy cold. I’ve got just the ticket too, and the newly dropped number 6 is going to love it because he’s going to be playing for a couple of weeks at a ground right next door to the place after which he’s named.
I’ve teed it all up and can guarantee you that it’ll do absolute wonders not only for his game sportsfans, but also his development as a leader, and as a man.
You see sportsfans, young Anthony’s off to the Lakeside Llamas, the home ground of the mystery man Joe Wehbe of All Blacks, Broncos and Wests Tigers fame, and for decades the top-secret All Black talent incubator where promising ball-playing young sheep-shaggers have been sent for decades after signing strict confidentiality contracts, and turned into legends of the game.
It is there in the heavily guarded igloo with the retractable roof that the Llamas player/coaches will get to work on fixing Milford Sound’s mind and his game, and the lad’s rapid fire transition from a wunderkind into a Wally will start with some tough tackling lessons from greats of the Kiwi game like ‘Mean’ Dan Green, Paul ‘Kill It’ Willett and Sam De ‘Grim’ Reeper, the take no prisoners trio who for decades have been brutally terrorising opponents on the glacial Llamas ground.
Shane ‘The Gimmick’ Klimeck’s going to work on the lad’s long kicking game, and guarantees that he’ll have him punting spiraling drop punts over Mt Cook within minutes; Kris ‘Kit’ Carson will show him how to shoot field goals over the sticks like bullets fired from a Remington repeating rifle; the ‘Zain Train’ Fox is tasked with taking little Anthony down to the boxing ring at the icy Lakeside docks for sparring sessions so that million dollar Milf can learn the hard way how to take a few knocks; and James ‘The Boss’ Ross is going to teach the little fella how to show ugly 120kg props exactly just who’s in charge on the footy field.
David ‘Choppy’ Close will work on our lad’s sidestep; David Fox ‘On the Run’ is going to to coordinate sprint drills designed to put a couple of extra yard’s pace in the boy’s legs; Scott Percy ‘Carruthers’ will work on endurance by running him up and down glaciers; and Pita ‘Bread’ Wilson and Chris ‘Bread’ Kenning are in charge of diet and meals.
The Llamas legends are going to be working on Milford’s off-field game too.
The Smiths – Hamish and Campbell – are going to dress him up in kilts and teach how to be This Charming Man; the famous acting Affleck’s – Ben and Casey, aka as ‘Bob’ Dylan and ‘Tiny’ Tim – are going to work with the young fella on his media skills (they reckon he’ll be Sonny Bill Hunting in no time); Nick Haves ‘And Have Nots’ has MYOB set up on the laptop to teach Milford Sound financial skills; and finally, Jack ‘William’ Wallace will school him up in the fine art of motivational speaking, readying him for the Bronco captaincy role.
The program was complete and ready to roll, but almost had to be put on ice along with Benji’s wrist after opposition NRL coaches, fearful of a Llama inspired Anthony Milford returning as a silent assassin from the Sound, sent in the clowns to take Marshall out in the local Queensland comp yesterday.
They all but succeeded too, with Beni leaving the field with his wrist strapped in the cold, wet stuff after setting up 3 tries and scoring one out at the former penal colony ground yesterday arvo, but don’t be fooled like suckers sportsfans because it’ simply a rejuvenated Benny – inspired by Archie’s Milford Sound plan – up to his old tricks and playing games with both the media and his opposition coaches.
Over the next couple of weeks Benji will be back and wearing the Broncos number six, and young Anthony will be out of sight in New Zealand’s south improving his game out of sight, ready to return a fortnight before Origin 1 and rip the guts out of the Cockroaches piss-weak spine (Farah or Wallace for hooker – puh-lease!).
Then it’s back to Suncorp and onward marching all the way to Super Sunday in September, where when the final whistle blows at the Steak and Kidney footy stadium the gurus from the Lakeside Llamas will emerge from the Broncos Corporate box as full as fowls and hoist the little fella they turned into a champion onto their shoulders and take him on the grand final winner’s walk to the podium.
And the other little fella they’ve just turned into a legend will be sitting up even higher upon Benji’s shoulders.
The Arch-man has spoken., and only a fool would fail to listen.
Don’t you worry about that.
The private liner ferrying Milford into the Sound to turn his game and his life around