Robert Dillon: Seven Days in League

FASHION STATEMENT: David Klemmer and Aaron Woods finished the game in Port Moresby in their bikinis.

FASHION STATEMENT: David Klemmer and Aaron Woods finished the game in Port Moresby in their bikinis.

THURSDAY

A TRUSTED spy alerts Seven Days to brazen psychological warfare from Macquarie Scorpions in the lead-up to their Real NRL grand final against Wests Rosellas.

Apparently the Scorps have enjoyed a team dinner at the General Roberts Hotel in New Lambton.

I’m guessing there are any number of joints west of Lake Macquarie where you can order a chicken schnitzel.

So the only possible conclusion that can be drawn from them chowing down smack-bang in the middle of Maggotsville, just up the road from Harker Oval, is that the GF mind games have officially kicked off.

The message is loud and clear: “We’re on your turf, and we’re in your face. See you on Saturday.”

The word will no doubt filter back to Wests, and I can’t help thinking they’ll be slightly rattled.

FRIDAY

POOR old Wayne Bennett. He must be ruing the day that he didn’t fancy a mid-winter trip to Campbelltown with Brisbane, preferring to stay in camp with the Queensland team.

Instead he handed the reins of the so-called “Baby Broncos” to his assistant coach. Bloke by the name of Craig Bellamy.

Bellamy duly masterminded an upset win against the Tigers, which attracted the interest of Melbourne.

The rest is history.

Bellamy has spent the past 15 years chipping away at the theory that his former boss is the greatest rugby league coach of all time.

Tonight it’s a 30-0 towelling, and Melbourne are through to the grand final.

Benny’s seven premierships don’t count for much these days whenever his boys play the Storm. Bellyache owns him now, and I suspect he knows it.

SATURDAY

BACK in the day, the local inhabitants would get so excited when the Prime Minister’s XIII played the Kumuls in Port Moresby that authorities needed teargas to keep them under control.

It’s pleasing to see no such measures are necessary today after the PM’s team stroll to a 48-4 victory.

After the game, the NRL players are so appreciative of the support they walk around the ground giving away jerseys, shorts and socks to fans.

Fortunately big David Klemmer and Aaron Woods (pictured) drew the line at removing their bikinis.

Meanwhile, after the Cowboys eliminate the Chooks in a stunning upset, I receive an indignant text from colleague James Gardiner.

Jig reckons he has tipped every winner in the finals series and wants to know why we stopped keeping score after the final round of the regular season.

When I explain (a) that’s how every tipping comp is run and (b) that’s how we’ve always done it, the message just doesn’t seem to be sinking in.

“I’m a big-game player,’’ he protests. “I’m at my best at the business end of the season, yet I receive no recognition. It’s a travesty.”

It’s not until I offer him the chance to run the tipping comp himself next year, and make up the rules as he goes, that he finally puts his violin away and changes the subject.

SUNDAY

TODD Carney for the Broncos?

That’s the suggestion in today’s Sun-Herald.

Coach Wayne Bennett has a proud record when it comes to rescuing troubled souls, but some blokes are beyond salvation.

He eventually tossed Julian O’Neill in the too-hard basket after one atrocity too many, and many would say Carney’s rap sheet is on a par. If Benny can get the man responsible for the infamous “Bubbler” on the straight and narrow, it may well be his greatest triumph.

MONDAY

QUEENSLAND treasurer Curtis Pitt – known to his mates as “Cess” – reckons the NRL grand final should be played in the Banana Republic.

“The time is right. Queensland needs to get a grand final," Mr Pitt said.

“While some people will still suggest that NSW and Sydney is the spiritual home of rugby league, the true home of rugby league in terms of talent, spectator support and putting on the pizazz is Queensland.”

Now it’s true that the NRL grand final might be a travelling road show for the next few years while ANZ Stadium is being redeveloped.

But I’d have thought that being a treasurer, Pitt would have had a head for numbers.

So let’s do the math. Melbourne Cricket Ground capacity: 100,000. ANZ Stadium capacity: 83,500. New Perth Stadium capacity: 60,000. Adelaide Oval capacity: 53,500. Suncorp Stadium capacity: 52,500. All of which suggests that while Queensland are the reigning State of Origin champions, when it comes to facilities they are perennial wooden spooners. 

Get back to us when you’ve got a decent stadium, Cess.

TUESDAY

I NOTE with interest reports that suggest Knights assistant coach Mick Potter is likely to be tempted with two job offers – one as a deputy at Canterbury, and one as head tactician of a new rugby league franchise based in New York, aiming to play in the English Super League.

Hmmm … New York or Belmore? I know where I’d rather be plying my trade.

If and when the Big Apple gets its own team, you’d imagine the “Twin Towers” – Daniel and Jacob Saifiti – would be logical recruitment targets.

WEDNESDAY

THE Cows have been denied a pre-grand final training run at ANZ Stadium because – wait for it – because rap artist Macklemore is booked in for a rehearsal.

That’ll do me.

It’s not as if this is any ordinary game. A whole season is hanging on the outcome. The AFL must be laughing at us, and fair enough. If this is how little regard NRL officials have for the code’s credibility, what hope is there? I mean … Macklemore? Who’s he?

Wasn’t Jimmy Barnes available?

In the words of the great main, there ain’t no second prize. See you all next year.