Almanac Rugby League – Monday’s closing in

When you have put The Bear to sleep (no longer able to play) there is nothing better than combining all the Fs at the footy. Family, friends, food, fruit from the vine(s) and fun.

No matter where you are when this is locked in place, the footy looks after itself. In today’s match-up, it is even more crucial because of the form of the Eels. The Tigers (or Balmain, as Gracie The Golden Girl calls them) could potentially hook the Eels well and truly.

By the way, The Golden Girl- loyal Queenslander that she is, hates Balmain. Has done ever since the days of Back Door Benny Elias. I’ve decided that given it is Sunday, the roast is going in the Webber, the pre-game snacks are out and the drinks are about to flow. Ah, Sunday arvo. Monday is a mile away.

The Flame has arrived and reckons the Eels need to start well. He has an affinity with the Eels and feels Coach Kearney has brought more to the Eels than his record shows.

The Flame’s better half Nora has links to Balmain and is supporting them, so I will have to keep an eye on the Golden Girl. Certainly Coach Kearney must wonder what has happened since his side defeated the Tigers at home in Round 18 and they will definitely have to come over the parapet today.

Coach Sheens, however, requires his troops to front committed to keep season 2011 alive. The Flame is concerned that the talk about Lui leaving could have an impact as the last time the sides met, the discussion around big Bryce Gibbs and young Fifita and the like leaving, caused the sole highlight of the game to be that tackle- yes Channel Nine speak for the Ben on Benji tackle.

I just can’t find a place for Benji. He is an enigma. I’ve watched him since he came to Australia as a junior and when he wants to play, he is close to the best in the NRL, but sometimes he lacks interest and when he does, the Tigers struggle. The Eels are a chance and we have just been told the choom international Ellis is out. So at kick-off Parra have to win to avoid the spoon. Weather is fine and the track is reasonable.

After a minute, a rare deliberate forward pass was called on the Tigers and this has brought some consternation to our Eels fans. The Golden Girl -nervous for personal reasons- has gone for the red and the cashews and The Flame is sure the Tigers are off their game.

No Try Parra, but the $3.80 The Flame took on the Eels has got him singing “I say Yeah Yeah”. The Golden Girl has asked in the ad break: “Is Robert Palmer dead or alive?” (loose tangent to the Georgie Flame song) followed by Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round– hang on-that’s what happened to Parra. Tigers in- Lui to Ayshford Tigers 4 Parra 0. The wine has settled the nerves of The Golden Girl but I fear for Parra.

The Tigers look all right Golden Girl -Balmain are looking ominous with Farah probing and Marshall conducting.

It has taken 17 minutes but Gus has started on Sunday arvo footy. It is about the only thing I agree with him on although I would like to give The Block the Razor. Try number two to the Tigers this time set piece down the right- Utai in. Too easy. 10-0. The Flame and the girl are worried. Now we are at the video ref. Worried is an understatement. Marshall. Maestro. 16-nil.

When you can’t take a trick, you can’t take a trick. I am going to switch to scotch just in support of the NRL coaches. The Eels can not clear the parapet and the situation is looking bleak. Relentless Tigers attack but the ever reliable Burt has diffused a dangerous raid.

Sadly tackle four, knock-on – more Tigers attack. When the Eels do get to tackle four, their kicking has been poor. Parra have held on until half-time and the 16-0 probably flatters them a bit.

Food and drink time. The Webber smells better than Parra at this point but The Golden Girl thinks Coach Kearney is due for a luck change. The Flame is on the Red Ned. Nora is sitting back with the ‘I told you’ so look on.

Second half, Parra kick off poorly. This is basic and unacceptable. Early pressure. Coach Kearney needs the Famous Grouse- by the vat. Hang on. The Flame and The Girl are keeping the faith. Good try. Tremendous kick. Hicks. Burt. Tigers 16 Eels 6. Ad break. Drinks. Give the Block the razor. We are back. Hang on, so are the Eels. Try. Ben Smith. Are the Tigers thinking about the 23 games for only seven wins against the Eels? The Golden Girl screamed “I love you Burt”. 16-12. The game is in the balance.

Crucial call by the ref on Lasalo. Tackle missed by Hayne. Ayshford try. Ouch-That hurts. Lovely kick Marshall (sorry Rabs) 22-12. Flame says “the train has sent the Eels down the drain.”

Nora is back. Cheek of her-only worried about the beards. Look better clean shaven eh Nora? Food. Drink. Mmmm (Homer Simpson style) Webber. I am starting to drift into dinner. Eels back working hard but unlucky mistakes hurt. Penalty Tigers. 24-12. Weather setting in. The Eels desperately need some Hayne magic. We are all subdued. The Webber is exacting a trance-like scent. Field goal Farrah. Hindmarsh spelled- an occasion rarer than rocking horse you-know-what. 25-12.

60 seconds on the clock. Beau Ryan scores. Nora has done the Laurie Nichols jab, jab, uppercut, uppercut. 31-12. Flame extinguished, Golden Girl, ah well, next time. Bloody Nora, she says. Monday suddenly feels as close as the Eels are to the spoon.

 West Tigers 31 (Tries: Ayshford (2), Utai, Marshall, Ryan Goals: Marshall 5 Field Goals: Farrah 1)
Parramatta 12 (Tries: Smith, Hicks Goals: Burt 2)

Venue: ANZ Stadium
Crowd: 18626
Votes: 3- Farrah, 2-Ashyford, 1- Fulton
Milestone: Benji Most point points for West Tigers replacing Brett Hodgson

Matt Browne



  1. shocking, i haven’t watched these boys in a while but whats happened to Para!?
    Is Mortimer even playing these days? :(

  2. August 22: It only takes 1 player at this level to be off his game and it’s all over. Unfortunately this season, the eels have 3-4 culprits every week. I hope this result did not spoil your webber feast Matt ?They just really stink at the moment!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Greg Mallory says

    good report Matt Browne. Benji is a beauty, terrific try he scored, saw him in Kingaroy at the Queensland Secondary Schools Carnival when he was a school kid, won player of the Carnival, from then on I knew he was going to be a great footballer.

    I saw the look on Hindmarsh’s face towards the end of the game, he must get sick of being beaten!

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