Anger, Soul Destroying Anger: When Will the Madness End?

Filed in Other by on December 5, 2010

“Speak when you are angry-and you’ll make the best speech you ever regret”
-Dr Laurence J. Peter

Well, Good Doctor, that may well be true but this cat is going for the kill and your words and everyone else’s won’t stop this screed of viciousness, release and mind bending violence. They can’t. The stick is burning fast and bright and like all decent professionals say, buy the ticket, take the ride.

There is no turning back now. And nor should we even consider it. The fuckers need to hear it straight. If blood is spilt, that is the price we pay and it is a pretty decent deal if it means we can save the game they once called rugby league. The game may still run under that moniker but the sons of bitches charged with officiating and running the game have bastardized it so much the last few weeks that it resembles some drug-induced bad-dream messed-up netball/ballet cross that sickens one to see and saddens one who remembers how the game was once play.

Jesus, ye gods, when will the madness end?

It is Sunday evening. The sun has just gone down and the cold breeze of winter fills the open windowed study. All guests, friends, associates, bettors, pastors, businessmen, economists, accountants, judges, public servants, dealers, manufacturers, retired stars and future heroes who have filled the living room of the Officers Club have now left. The ranting and the raving too much for even these most seasoned of veterans. They sensed the seriousness of the situation. They knew we were at the cross roads. They knew it was now or never and the cost of never is death.

And soon, fellow travelers, you will soon know.

Inside, the anger burns deep. It is very real. It is the inner-fury that haunts an aging and debased prostitute, the never-ceasing feeling of dread and shallowness and jaded embitterment and the knowing that time is not on your side. Until now, that anger has manifested itself through violence. Broken lamps. The howls of a madman. Axe waving. Phone slamming. Wild accusations and the complete departure of social grace.

Now, we resort to the tongue and the written word. Brace yourself. It is going to get a little messy and the scars left on those in the firing line will not soon disappear.

Settling in for an afternoon of rugby league action, I expected the regular ups and downs of a day of football betting. Very keen on the Warriors, various bookmakers around these parts received a telephone call expressing interest in a small wager. The usual cacophony of cheers and boos and howls against the referee is expected, as is the usual back-and-forth of the rugby league joust, be it in the field of trivia, rules or strategy. You win some, you lose some is the motto of the professional and that is the way I usually roll. A quick release and then it is all by the by.

Not today.

Not when I see my game gasping desperately for air as the leach known as the obstruction rule and its mind-numbingly stupid foot soldiers known across the land as officialdom attempts to suffocate it from within.

I was in disbelief when the Warriors were disallowed two legitimate tries due to the gut-wrenching interpretation of the obstruction rule handed down from the incomprehensibly foolish league politburo, led by Robert Finch and enforced without thought or logic by the mindless lemmings who are somehow paid to officiate the best rugby league talent in the world. The interpretation was supposedly changed in the off-season- with all the transparency of a Caribbean cigar room- and threw the onus on the attacking team. This newly adapted rule edict, whilst stupid in both theory and practice and does little more than turn rugby league into the most frustrating tea party you have ever been to, did not include a provision that referees and video referees were to officiate sans common sense and logical thought.

The rule interpretation is ridiculous and should never have been implemented in the first place. Even in theory it is ridiculous. The rule essentially removes the decoy runner from rugby league and thus, cripples creative and physical rugby league. In an era when the game is professional on professional, very few lines are broken by running over or through someone. Holes are created by second man plays and decoys, moves designed to force defensive players into bad reads. Defenders are rewarded for making poor decisions and are encouraged to go down when contact is made. What makes it all the more infuriating is that there is a marked difference between how the game is policed in play and how it is policed when sent to the video referee. Inept referees, like Jason Robinson in the Warriors-Souths clash, spend the entire game enforcing the rule to differing degrees and then whenever a try is scored, go to the video referee to look for reasons not to award the try. Double standards, of the highest order. Video referees-obviously chosen on a criteria based on the most stupid and the most perverse- then nit pick the try scoring side and apply not an iota of common sense when reaching their usually illogical decision.

The whole structure is to blame. Refereeing officialdom and rulemakers for implementing such an obviously flawed and amateur rule interpretation and doing so without transparency. They compound the issue by attempting to justify the obviously ludicrous rule each Monday and Tuesday. Referees, for their inability to apply the rules consistently and then take the cheap option every time a try is scored and go to the video referee in a vain attempt to save their incompetent ass. Video referees, for their inability to apply even the most basic logic and common sense when reaching a decision. Players, like Brett Finch (son of that almighty joke Robert, who played a key role in the implementation of the rule) and Jason Smith, who attempt to take advantage of the situation by diving to the turf upon the slightest brush from a non-ball carrier.

What none of these pigslappers realise is how much they are hurting rugby league. They do not realise that rugby league watchers- most of whom operate from a base of common sense- are all about to have their heads explode. There will be blood and brain matter all over the walls soon enough and if something is not done immediately, it will all be too late and the likes of Finch, Harrigan and Gallop will sit alone in a dark, sterile room and wonder aloud where it all went wrong.

Jesus, I cannot take much more of this.

If the NRL cannot get it right, get someone in who can. If they cannot find somebody in the game, my hand is up. I will lay down a few home truths and make damned sure that rules are re-written so that they are easily enforced, that this is done with transparency and that common sense becomes the order of the day.

In the end, the Warriors snuck home. Against the laws of physics, time and reality, Todd Byrne outsprinted Nathan Merritt and scored the winner as the bell sounded. They say that all is well that ends well but I doubt it. Your frustrated author may have collected and the Warriors may have got the competition points but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the parasite of officialdom is sucking the life out of rugby league.

Every now and then violence and threats thereof are the only apt responses. If these rules aren’t changed immediately, it might be wise for a few NRL officials to lock their doors because the bloodshed will brutal. Of that, my words can be marked.

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