IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN

THURS­DAY NIGHT KICK-OFF TIMES IN THE NRL HAVE RAISED THE IRE OF SOME GRASS­ROOTS SUP­PORT­ERS BUT THE RO­BOTIC RE­SPONSE IS EVEN MORE IR­RI­TAT­ING

Life & Style Weekend - - MAGAZINE | TUGBOAT TALES - WORDS: ASH­LEY ROBIN­SON

Iwas at the Sun­shine Coast Fal­cons game last week­end and there were a cou­ple of rugby types with a group of our loyal sponsors so I ac­tu­ally had to talk to them.

Ini­tially, I was glad I did as they be­rated rugby like there was no to­mor­row and praised what league was do­ing.

So I ac­tu­ally en­joyed talk­ing to a pair of pri­vate school dudes with leather patches on their el­bows. It was quite heart­en­ing for a change.

That was un­til ear­lier this week when I got a call from Phil (Wati) Per­ren.

If you don’t know Phil, here is a snap­shot: life­time lo­cal, great com­mu­nity-minded per­son, was an ex­cel­lent ath­lete un­til he found that there was a brew­ery at Mil­ton, can be at times some­what opin­ion­ated that may be mis­taken for be­ing ob­nox­ious and is a Bull­dogs sup­porter.

Phil is also the spit­ting image of Wati Holm­wood, the nude streaker from State of Ori­gin 2013.

So Phil rings me the other day, back on his pet sub­ject: kick-off times in the NRL.

Phil blows up about his kids miss­ing games – par­tic­u­larly Thurs­day nights – and pos­si­bly him­self miss­ing the sec­ond half af­ter be­ing con­tented with a lamb roast and half a bot­tle of shi­raz.

He, like me, has the opin­ion Thurs­day night games should start at 7pm which helps school kids’ mid­week and blokes that like a drink watch­ing the footy.

He also doesn’t like the gap some­times be­tween games and again, I agree with him, which is scary.

Phil de­cided to com­mu­ni­cate with the NRL.

This is what he ar­tic­u­lated: “I can­not be­lieve you peanuts who set the time for games and con­tinue with this late start on a Thurs­day night. My kids miss ev­ery

Thurs­day night and I miss the sec­ond half be­cause of the stu­pid­ity of YOUR programmin­g. Get­tin’ a bit over it.”

NRL re­sponse: “We ac­cept your frus­tra­tion in re­la­tion to ad­ver­tised kick-off times. At the re­quest of the broad­caster, the ac­tual kick-off time for a match can at times be delayed due to a num­ber of fac­tors which can in­clude crowd man­age­ment to en­sure pa­trons are seated prior to kick-off and the du­ra­tion of warm-up ses­sions. It is worth not­ing, how­ever, that all other matches in each round gen­er­ally run very close to the ad­ver­tised kick-off time. We ac­cept your frus­tra­tion in re­la­tion to ad­ver­tised kick-off times. It is im­por­tant to note that Chan­nel Nine in­vests a sig­nif­i­cant amount of money into rugby league and it is this fund­ing that un­der­pins the NRL clubs and en­ables us to de­velop all facets of the game, from the elite lev­els through to the grass­roots. Thanks again for tak­ing the time to write to the NRL. We value your com­ments and I have en­sured your views are reg­is­tered.”

So Phil had an­other go – even more ar­tic­u­late: “You mob just don’t get it ... two hours I have waited tonight for the sec­ond game ... again, good night ... kids have gone to bed ... I might watch the first 10 min­utes ... in­com­pe­tency at its best ... so long as Chan­nel 9 is happy, that’s all that mat­ters.”

The guy who was re­ply­ing was called Robert and he sent ex­actly the same re­sponse again to Phil.

It was then that Phil sus­pected Robert was a com­puter robot as he was just pick­ing up kick-off time out of the com­plaint and send­ing the generic re­sponse from Robert, Sup­porter Li­ai­son.

Wow. I bet rugby would never do that.

Nice work, Mr Beattie.

The game of the peo­ple?

“PHIL BLOWS UP ABOUT HIS KIDS MISS­ING GAMES – PAR­TIC­U­LARLY THURS­DAY NIGHTS – AND POS­SI­BLY HIM­SELF MISS­ING THE SEC­OND HALF AF­TER BE­ING CON­TENTED WITH A LAMB ROAST AND HALF A BOT­TLE OF SHI­RAZ.

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