In the club many of us, well the ones who haven’t blown their pensions away on pork scratching’s over the past decade, have been discussing plans for the upcoming trip to Australia and how great it us, but blimey, they’re a set of arrogant twats aren’t they?
A few weeks ago we had John or “Desperate John” as we called him, pop in. He was on old pen pal of Nigel’s and he stayed with him for around a month, boring us to tears on how great his country is and how much better their competition is blah blah blah.
He was blowing trumpets about the NRL. “It’s proper footy and it’s about time you lot got to grips with it”, he said. Desperate John, who was wearing a green and gold sweatshirt, some moronic trousers and something what he called “thongs”, belittled our game at every opportunity, saying that the international game is pointless and agrees why Australia usually turn a blind eye to it. It was bad enough him gloating about the Ashes series, but he soon went quiet when one punter reminded him who owns the other country, that they’re descendants of our nations criminals, and ‘flip-flops’ are what women wear in the summer. As you can probably tell, he didn’t like us much.
Desperate John was our stereotypical view of an Aussie rugby league fan. Loudmouthed, obnoxious and oblivious to everything that’s not on his front doorstep. Luckily he has moved on now, and is probably back in Sydney doing everyone else’ head in. But he got me thinking about that stereotypical view, though I must stress not in all Aussie cases, is pretty much bang on the money.
The recent proposed international between England and New Zealand in the USA has been doing the rounds for a while now. Now, you all know that I am a flat capper that lives within the M62 corridor and that I fit the narrow minded northern rugby league fan description perfectly, and before you read on make sure you’ve got a tight clench on your pint, as I am, yep, I sure am, in favour of this. The world is becoming smaller and smaller these days, as I found out in the paper recently when I realised my flight to Oz would only take me around a day. The last time I went it was six weeks of sea sick on a ship that really was nothing more than a bloody trawler. But moving on, this game in Yankeeland would be a great ambassador for our sport in a country where we are hoping to take the World Cup to in 2025. Unfortunately though, that grumbling Aussie attitude that springs up whenever something doesn’t go their way, is coming to the fore again—as Desperate John proved when we asked him how many of his beloved South Sydney Rabbitohs players would be required for international duty.
It’s not just John either. Aussie clubs are now coming to the realisation that this test match could well be happening and are doing their best to try and block it—because it’s not in Sydney and they don’t like the venue??? Get a bloody grip. It’s not about you. It’s about rugby league. Once again Australians are living in their bubble with the only consideration for the sport ending on their own horizons.
Let’s stress the point that England, like they did most sports, invented rugby league. New Zealand, well the All Golds, invented international rugby league. Australia did nothing, so why the hell should we, England and New Zealand, be held to ransom because they don’t like it that some of their boys are flying out to the US of A. Get a grip lads and look at the bigger picture. What if the game in America kicks off? We already have Toronto, where Paul Rowley is doing a fine job of reminding us what a team of grubs he has assembled, and there is the ambition for many more.
The problem with our game, and believe me as I spent a good half an hour looking for answers on John’s tablet, is the lack of media coverage for international rugby league, especially from official club sources and websites.
It’s then, despite being released potentially weeks beforehand, treated with outrage. The way they make it out, after sending all of their dummies flying at least, is that it’s dumped on them at the final minute, which isn’t the case at all. Instead, and as usual, they just turned a blind eye to it when the announcement was made, and then twist things to suit their own agenda. Talk about ignorance.
As Hull FC fans, we advocate international rugby league, and losing players for the sake of the watching worldwide audience, wasn’t a problem to us. Think back to the 2016 Challenge Cup tie at St Helens. Hull lost both of their big money signings of that year, Sika Manu and Frank Pritchard, to Tonga and Samoa. Did it affect us? Did it balls. Hull won that game 47-18 on the way to winning the final at Wembley—something I stressed to John when he started crying about Sam Burgess potentially missing one, yes one, Bunnies game.
For the record Hull also won at Wigan five days after St Helens. Manu returned. Pritchard was suspended. Moral of the story? Australia, stop being ignorant, get out of your bubble, stop complaining and start advocating expansion for the greatest game on Earth.