The Trendsetter

Filed in Other by on December 10, 2010

It was with great amusement and a significant degree of sniggering that I found out this week a whole industry exists in predicting food trends. Apparently there are foods that the cool kids eat and foods that they wouldn’t touch even if it was served on a sterling tray from Tiffany’s. This is not a fixed construct, however, and has very little to do with taste. The Belgian beer and roasted quail that was so extravagantly delightful in 2008 is now frowned upon by those who consider themselves on the cutting edge of the food scene as unnecessarily luxurious and exorbitant. The one time doivent avoir of the hip, bottled water, has this year been cast as the “the environmentally incorrect Humvee of beverages” and is now not only distinctly not chic but a sure tale sign of your mutual contempt for both humanity and yourself as no decent person with any desire to be accepted into the world of the self-ascribed fashionable could consume such a heinous product. Crêpes, I am told, are no longer in vogue and haven’t been for a long while. So even if you are a cool kid with a taste for crepes, there is not much chance you have indulged recently. But because they have been on the downlow for so long they are on the verge of a comeback. Retro, they call it, a kind of nostalgia kick that will last until the fashionable are told what to like next.

It all seems somewhat vacuous and hollow to someone who has never considered food as anything more than something to eat when you need to get your nosh on. Call me old fashioned, misogynistic and out of touch but I tend to eat whatever takes my fancy and if I’m being fed, whatever is in front of me. If I fancy crepes then I will go and find a creperie. I have done so for fifteen years, most of which could be considered a time of downswing in the crepe coolness factor. If I fancy pasta then I will go to Roberto’s or another fine Italian restaurant and I won’t be deterred if fettuccine is in and penne out and it won’t even cross my mind to consider whether I should or shouldn’t have a pesto dish if I want to be embraced by the fashionable food fraternity. I will eat kimchee and roti because I like them and not because they have been assigned the tag of being in vogue this year. A hamburger with no beetroot, a banana paddle-pop, butter chicken and ham & cheese croissants: I will eat them if I fancy them and I won’t if I don’t and until this week I assumed that was how all people selected the foods they ate. Seemingly not.

At any rate, the one element I did take from this whole subculture of food fashion was the absolute keenness to be riding the cutting edge. Those in the game want to be the first to forecast the future, the original predictor of what will soon be commonplace. Great idea and it means I no longer have to be concerned with Don Burke’s crusade against the parsnip or the peaking of the cupcake. I can get back to the world of sports with a somewhat useful idea and the prospect that an entire day will not be wasted dealing with The Block or unproductively admiring Christina Hendricks in Mad Men or wondering why in the hell I said farewell to my old friends, The Dunhills.

So without much further ado, listed below are the rugby league trends for 2010. What will be in and what will be out, who in footy will be cool and who in footy will stink worse than tinned tuna on a hot summer’s day.

The List: The Ins and Outs of Rugby League in 2010

Out: Defecting to the AFL
In: Defecting to Mixed Martial Arts

Karmichael Hunt turned AFL into the kitsch sport to use when negotiating a new contract and trying to bump up your price. Hunt’s defection to the AFL means that the southern code will be used as a negotiating tool for a little while yet. 2008 it was overseas rugby. 2007 was boxing. 2006 was the NFL. The first part of the decade was local rugby. Super League has been a constant. There is always something. In 2010 it will be Mixed Martial Arts. Reports will be that the UFC will be launching a massive raid on the NRL. Michael Crocker will be the top of the hit list along with Justin Poore, Brett White and Dave Taylor, all ready to demand more money by pumping up their love for cage fighting and the challenges it will bring. George Rose is set to be a rock star in the new super, excessive heavyweight weight class. Rumours have it that Jarrod Hickey will be asking for a $400k a year payrise or he will be off to fight Brock Lesnar. Exciting times ahead.

Out: Wingers named Williams
In: Wingers named Gordon

Wingers with the surname of Williams have had a good run but their time is coming to an end. Tony Williams is big and lazy and needs to be taught how to run. Ty Williams is on the verge of being released by the Cowboys. David Williams was a disgrace in Origin and will be placed in his natural slot as a decent first grader. And brother John will rightfully be sent packing by North Queensland unless he comes up with a kitsch facial hair scenario to get his name in the papers. The Williams era is coming to an end. The men who will step up to the mark are Kevin and Michael Gordon. Kevin Gordon is a superstar in the making while Michael Gordon is one of the most underrated outside backs in the NRL who, if he can avoid injury for once, will rise to a level similar to Hazem El Masri at his peak.

Out: Loathing for Brian Smith in Newcastle
In: Loathing for Brian Smith in Bondi

Brian Smith will always be hated in Newcastle after he came in, exterminated the careers of a bunch of local juniors and then fled to Bondi. That loathing will taper out to a severe contempt in 2010, however, with the real red-hot hatred of Brian Smith transferring to the Bondi faithful. The Roosters are going to be doing plenty of losing in 2010 to go with all the cutting. Trainer Ron Palmer has already been dismissed and it won’t be long before Minichiello and most of the forward pack is shown the door. If Roosters fans cared enough there would be effigies of him burning. There will still be enough passion for them to join the fans of Illawarra, St. George, Parramatta and Newcastle in total loathing for the coach.

Out: Slow hooker tandems.
In: Halves and outside backs riding the pine.

The hooker tandem will soon be regarded as so 2009. Souths have released Craig Wing. The Eagles have dumped Heath L’estrange. The Knights are about to release George Ndaira. Aaron Gorrell and P.J Marsh are both likely to be dumped by the Broncos. The bench hooker, coaches now realise, is a complete waste of a position and worse, tends to be disruptive to a teams play and structure. Only Cronulla will stick with it having recruited both John Morris and Paul Aiton…more good times ahead at Shark Park. Teams will now follow the lead of clubs like the Dragons and Raiders who use flexible backrowers like Dean Young and Alan Tongue as the back-up hooker or they will rely on a flexible back on the bench who can be used as either a hooker or an impact half in the style of Jamie Simpson.

Out: Jarryd Hayne’s hot form.
In: The petulant Jarryd Hayne who goes through the motions.

Jarryd Hayne is off contract at the end of next season. He will probably start the year in the scintillating form he has played in over the last three months He will then get picked for Origin, sign a new long-term contract and the Jarryd Hayne who phones it in will return. This will kick in sometime around the twelfth round.

Out: Michael Weyman
In: Michael Greenfield

Michael Weyman was the man turned around by Wayne Bennett this year. Michael Greenfield will get the same treatment in 2010. Weyman has dropped off post-Origin this year and may revert to type in 2010. Greenfield will have that desperation Weyman had earlier this year and he is a stud of a player who is crying out for discipline and coaching. 2010 will be Michael Greenfield’s year.

Out: The eight-point try.
In: The differential penalty.

The eight-point try had a revival in 2009 with two in the space of a fortnight but referees are creature of habit and once it fell off the radar it has been forgotten about ever since. Next year the referees will pedantically start whistling scrum penalties in a way to make them feel more important than they actually are. This is a trend worth following: the differential penalty is quite amusing.

Out: Players volunteering to be “the face of the NRL”.
In: A family and female friendly publicity drive that won’t focus on any individuals.

After Brett Stewart and Greg Inglis…well, probably enough said. By mutual consensus it is unlikely the NRL will be looking for a brand new face of the game in 2010.

Out: The myth that Ricky Stuart is a top class coach.
In: The reality that he is a two bit hack.

Ricky Stuart has done remarkably well at one thing: building the myth that he is one of the top coaches in the game. One lucky premiership with the Roosters gets him the New South Wales and Australian gigs and then one lucky season with the Sharks that sees them go deep into September and he is a genius. Stuart is a joke to those who know anything about the game. He is bad with the players, he is a terrible recruiter, his game planning is virtually non-existent and his inability to behave like a civilised adult has marred his time at both the Roosters and the Sharks. Another season of failure in 2010 and everyone will soon come to the realisation that Sticky is a clown.

Out: The tap and go from a penalty.
In: Taking the two.

Defence has made a comeback this year under the two referee system and as such teams have started to move away from the ludicrous notion of tapping and started accepting the two points on offer, particularly early in a match. Just take the goddamn points. This whole “it is a sign of weakness” argument is garbage and is now getting picked apart by smart players who take the two and then get the ball back. This trend will flourish throughout next season.

Out: Manicured beards.
In: The moustache in all its forms.

It has been nearly two decades since the moustache stood tall as a way of life in rugby league. With 2009 being the best year for facial hair since then with a multitude of beards the natural evolution suggests the moustache is about to rise from the ashes. The time is now folks. Our next great moustache era is on the horizon.

Out: Calling for New South Wales State of Origin selectors to be fired.
In: Setting New South Wales State of Origin selectors on fire.

New South Wales Origin fans are growing impatient and the fools in the firing line (literally) are the selectors. For years the masses have been calling for them to be fired. This year we take matters into our own hands, dousing them with petrol before setting them alight. Welcome to the new cracker night. In 2011 we do Andrew Hilditch.

Out: Johnathan Thurston
In: Scott Prince

Thurston is a great player but the fall out from this year’s Origin III camp may claim the incumbent halfback. With a champion halfback in Scott Prince waiting in the wings, 2010 will be the year the Prince becomes king.

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