TYRANT AND RAVE
So much for the brains trust; Fittler, Alexander, Johns and Buderus can learn a lot from Reg Reagan
Iam hearing you, NSW. I was as disappointed as you in the inept garbage served up by our team in game one.
I’m not one for pointing the finger but, in the great rugby league tradition of assistant coaches white-anting their seniors, I lay the blame entirely on Fittler, Alexander, Johns and Buderus. If I ate a sausage for every time one of the Foolish Four ignored my warnings, I’d look like Clive Palmer, pre-lap band surgery. I can hear myself now … “Joey, should we really play this way?”
“Brandy, should we really defend like that?”
“Freddy, are you sure smoking this is legal?”
The answer to all should have been NO!!!
So, I’m taking a leaf out of the book of the world’s most feared dictators, Russia’s Joseph Stalin, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Parramatta’s Brian Smith, and assuming control.
My first order of duty is to ditch our base of Coogee. The last thing these namby-pamby pretty boys need is another soy latte or body-on-body “happy finish” massage at Bondi Junction.
I’m taking them on an apology tour of country NSW so they can see the tears of the orphans and single mothers they let down in Origin 1.
Yoga and earthing are out, accountability is in!!
As the team gathers at Coogee, I break the news that this camp will be a tour of the country regions.
For the city players, most of them had no idea what is considered “country”. Cameron Murray thought I meant Parramatta.
But it won’t just be an opportunity for country fans to vent their disgust at the apologetic team.
During the bonding sessions before game one, I couldn’t help but notice the players drinking a substance called “light beer”. Apparently it contains less alcohol.
The players explained: “It helps with recovery.”
Recovery? I’ve never heard of anything so ridiculous.
Losers recover, winners celebrate. Hence why I’ve never recovered in my life.
This camp will not be about recovery; it will be about saying “sorry” and celebrating in advance.
FIRST STOP DUBBO
We board the bus at 6am for the trip to Dubbo. The boys are given a Tooheys New for breakfast.
On board the bus, I put on a favourite old film of mine, A Nightmare on Elm St.
It’s the heartwarming story of a jolly old man named Freddy Krueger who tries to kill these annoying teenagers in their dreams. It’s a lesson in respecting your elders.
Damien Cook asks if we can watch a comedy instead. I put on our second-half performance from game one and laugh all the way to Dubbo.
We arrive in the town and the bus is pelted with rocks by outraged Blues fans. Luckily, I calm the locals, given I’m a hero in the town after my outstanding season with Dubbo CYMS back in ’87.
I direct the bus straight to Dubbo Zoo and we head immediately to the Lion Pride Lands section.
My old halfback at CYMS, Teddy “Too Tough” Tunstell, runs the lion park and has done me a favour and not fed the magnificent creatures for three days. I order the team off the bus, strap a 1kg sirloin to each of their backs and wish them all the best as we drive off.
With the hungry beasts in desperate pursuit, it’s fair to say the Italian Stallion, Paul Vaughan, has found that extra metre of speed I’ve been asking for.
Injury concerns centre on Jake Trbojevic after he did a hammy and was mauled by an angry lioness. Women, eh?
Our next stop is a special one for me. It’s the place I received my Country Player of the Century award last year — Armidale (or as I call is Harmidale, a clever reference to the amount of carnage I caused in the place).
We gather on the town hall steps, where the greater community gathers and screams abuse and obscenities at our underperforming squad.
The highlight is when a kindergarten class arrives and is given a lesson on how the use of four-letter words is OK, if used in context. Having said that, I think little Cindy Summer’s critique of Boyd Cordner’s performance was way over the top. No one deserves to be called that!
I take the team to the country music capital, Tamworth, for a night of beer and good old country and western music.
The only catch is, it’s the team who will provide the musical entertainment for the large crowd gathered at the Albert Hotel.
James Tedesco, Josh AddoCarr and Tyson Frizell start taking requests from the Tamworth faithful. It’s all going great until a group of smartarses start requesting Little River Band’s Lonesome Loser and Kenny Rogers’ Coward of the County.
LAST STOP CESSNOCK
We arrive in Cessnock just days before game two. Time for serious match preparation.
I pretend to organise a meal at Peden’s Hotel but instead gather a group of angry locals who don’t take kindly to strangers in their town.
It brings back great memories, watching coalfields locals giving the out-oftowners a good hiding and, before you know it, everyone’s at the bar having a laugh and a beer. There’s nothing like violence to bring a community closer. I sense the team are ready.
THE WESTERN FRONT
We arrive in Perth. It reminds me just what a great country Australia was in the 70s.
The team have their game faces on. Certa Victoria. Victory is certain. Blues by 10.