Almanac Rugby League – The finals for the small-minded

Your team has missed the finals. Maybe again. Maybe for the first time in years. Either way, it hurts.

You can switch off altogether and pretend not to give a damn. But, its rugby league, you love it, and that means there’s still plenty of ways to enjoy the footy over the next few weeks.

For starters, you can actually relax and enjoy the games.

If the Roosters aren’t playing, I’m not hanging off every second of every minute of play. The dropped balls, missed tackles and bombed tries are of little consequence to me.  Gone are the nerves, tension and lack of rationality that define my physical and mental state when watching a Roosters game.  Suddenly, even the refs seem to be doing a fair job and I could swear the commentators are no longer biased.

It’s not bad, this neutrality business, but of course it has a short use-by date in league. You can’t watch the most tribal of games without soon succumbing to some level of emotional investment in the game and its result. Particularly when Souths are playing. Or Manly.

Case in point, Souths versus Melbourne. I don’t particularly dislike Melbourne; conversely, I wouldn’t have said they’d ever even nudge the outer reaches of my list of things to possibly like in this world. But they did. Last Saturday. In fact, for eighty minutes, they were number 1 on said list. The Storm well and truly gave it to Souths and if that wasn’t as good as watching the Roosters win a finals game, it sure went close.

Small-minded as that sounds – and is – it’s the way of the league world. Souths fans – don’t tell me the feeling isn’t mutual. I bet you even supported your other great arch enemy St George in the 2010 grand final. See, we’re all square.

As for Manly, well you can’t grow up, go to school and still reside in Manly as a Roosters supporter without some mental baggage and an array of axes to grind. I know Manly are tough and skilful, with the right mix of stars, veterans, local juniors and journeymen melded into a bloody good football side. But it doesn’t mean I have to like them.

So, last week, it was a case of Go the Bulldogs (although only just). Tonight , its C’mon the Cowboys.

And if it ends up a Souths-Manly grand final? What else is on tele that night?



  1. Nick – with the demise of the Cats in the footy I’m all over the Storm! My new favourite team.

  2. Enjoy the game even more – bring back Manfred Moore! Go the Bluebags!

  3. “As for Manly, well you can’t grow up, go to school and still reside in Manly as a Roosters supporter without some mental baggage and an array of axes to grind.”

    Daniel, I’m having to deal with the fact that my nephew (and godson), born and bred on the northern beaches, is a Storm supporter. This after I took him to Brookie in his formative years – and I’m his fav uncle! I even had to buy him a Storm jersey after I lost a bet with him on who’d win the 2009 premiership decider. I didn’t ask for it back in 2010 – he was in enough pain dealing with the consequences of having the two premierships stripped from the Storm.

    So what happened to turn a Manly Boy into a chook? Were you born Rooster (family bloodline) or did some kid in a Manly jersey pick on you at school? Were the Chooks doing well when you fell for them? Please explain!

  4. Daniel Keary says

    Bloodline it is Adam, passed down from my Bondi born and bred dad. Growing up on the northern beaches never diminished my support for the Roosters – it only strengthened it. How else to react when your best mates have always been (and seem to be getting worse with age) gloating, one-eyed Manly supporters? The family tradition continues, with my 8 year old son also a Rooster (albeit, a waivering one this year – with good reason).

    I hope your nephew also stays strong in the face of such adversity!

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