SPORTING Declaration was walking the dog the other day when there it appeared, like a little gold nugget.
Lying in the gutter, a tad soggy, covered in mud but still legal tender – a $20 note.
After an involuntary shriek of ‘‘Eureka’’, I realised my discovery presented a moral dilemma.
Did I (a) present the redbelly at the nearest police station, in the hope it would be returned to its rightful owner, (b) buy the wife a bunch of flowers, (c) lend it to Nathan Tinkler, or (d) gamble it and turn my windfall into a far more substantial dividend?
The answer, of course, is (d).
Finders keepers, losers weepers is the law of the land, as far as I’m aware.
That lobster was a gift from the gods and it is my destiny to use it for higher purposes.
The only debate is who, or what, to punt it on.
After a quick rummage through the TAB Sportsbet website, I’ve settled on a get-rich-quick scheme to transform my lucky lobster into almost 10 grand.
I just need three results to go my way.
The first leg to the trifecta will be the Newcastle Jets ($8) winning this season’s A-League grand final.
To do so, they will probably need to concede fewer goals than they score over the balance of their campaign.
Therein lies the problem.
Gary van Egmond’s troops are apparently under the impression ‘‘defence’’ is what surrounds ‘‘de pitch’’ to separate ‘‘de spectators’’ from ‘‘de players’’.
After eight games this campaign, the closest they have come to a clean sheet was the last time the team bus drove past a Laundromat.
Yet at least that leaves them with room for improvement. Teams who can’t defend can work on their structure and discipline and possibly consider playing a back nine.
Teams who cannot attack have no chance.
All of which brings us to the second leg of my treble – Emile Heskey ($5.50) to finish as the A-League’s leading goalscorer.
Let’s face it, if the Jets are to hoist the A-League’s chrome-plated dunny seat on grand final day, then Heskey will have to keep banging them in like he was when he first arrived.
The former England striker now has five goals from eight games – two behind frontrunner Daniel McBreen, of the Central Coast – but has not scored in his past two appearances.
But I’m a big believer in the theory that form is temporary, class is permanent.
Heskey is no Mario Jardel, but he’s no mug.
He is light years ahead of your garden-variety A-League defender and as long as he stays fit, he should continue to find the net and win games for Newcastle.
To use the words of renowned philosopher Meat Loaf, two out of three ain’t bad.
But bookies are not famous for paying out on two-thirds of a trifecta, so everything will hinge on the final leg.
And this is where I need a small favour from master coach Wayne Bennett and his Newcastle Knights.
Admittedly, the Knights were dreadful last season.
They finished 12th, never once looked like living up to expectations, and this columnist has no doubt that they were the NRL’s most disappointing underachievers.
Call me a nutbag (I’ll take it as a compliment), but I reckon they will emerge as a genuine premiership chance next year.
On paper they look to have an ideal blend of hardheads and game-breakers, although some might argue the squad will feature more ageing legs than the cast of Jurassic Park.
Perhaps there is more chance of David Campese scoring an invitation to a feminists’ Christmas party than the Knights getting anywhere near the 2013 grand final.
But I’m willing to roll the dice. At $11 to win the comp, they could prove the value bet of the year.
So parlaying the Jets ($8) into Heskey ($5.50) into the Knights ($11), my unlikely treble will be paying $484.
Investing $20, I would stand to win $9680.
If it gets up, I’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
If not, I’ll just find myself back where this column started, and where some readers remind me regularly that I belong.
In the gutter.
* PS – gamble responsibly.