Aaron's Weekend Column
By Aaron Callaghan
Two football code grand finals AFL and the NRL, Saturday and Sunday respectively, an abundance of story lines, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Collingwood fans versus West Coast fans and the high likelihood of looting and general anarchy.
It is time to analyse three key storylines from the weekend of sport ahead.
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The National Rugby League final is without a hero to cheer for.
The Melbourne Storm and the Sydney Roosters would not rank very highly on the average rugby league punter’s to-do list and such the grand final lacks some imagination. One could combine any number of negative story lines to explain everything that is wrong with the 2018 grand final matchup.
Both teams seemingly continue to walk to the salary cap tight rope and in the Roosters case it may only be by the grace of god and expert accounting that they haven’t been caught skirting the grey area. In Melbourne’s case they’ve paid the ultimate price having premiership victories stripped, docked regular season competition points and tarred with the ‘cheaters’ brush forever.
In order to maintain a positive spin, the players are still great and someone shall emerge that captures the nations intrigue – someone invariably does. There are a handful of candidates, however narrowing it down to two potential heroes is easy.
Latrell Mitchell is an emerging star, yet to piece his all-round game together, Latrell shows all the flashes of brilliance and stardom awaits as he puts it all together.
Cameron Munster looks in complete control on the field. Cameron Smith controls the Storm’s tempo and Munster plays off the back of that, however the finishing touches are often applied by Munster including a high-level kicking game. Munster is one of the most damaging ball running halves when he attacks the line.
Someone will stand up and announce themselves a hero, let’s all hope it’s not the third on-field referee Cameron Smith.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground advantage (MCG) for tenanted teams is real, not only do the Collingwood Magpies have the added advantage of spending the entire week at home and perhaps the most outstanding leg up for Collingwood is advantage of playing on the MCG itself.
The West Coast Eagles have struggled at the MCG in recent times, since the commencement of the 2016 AFL season the Eagles are 3 – 6 for victories at the ‘G – the lone victory a seven point win over the struggling Carlton Blues. Two of those victories coming recently at the back end of the current season.
Conversely, the Magpies own an 8 – 6 record in 2018 at the MCG. Perhaps the tide is turning in recent times at the Eagles are adapting to Optus Stadium in Perth which has similar dimensions to the MCG.
Sometimes the sideshow is worth the price of admission, often not. As ‘The Black Eyed Peas’ mines Fergie touched down in Melbourne they were quickly ushered over to the MCG for promotional opportunities. The crowning piece was a photo emerging of Gillon McLachlan presenting himself a Frankenstein AFL jersey, half Collingwood Magpies, half West Coast Eagles with the name on the back ‘Gil I Am’ – Excuse me as I slip into first person here, this is the worst piece of promotion I’ve seen since the Cricket Australia four finger hand from the 2017/18 Ashes series. Allow me to break down all the moving pieces below;
· Gil I am – 100% lame. Hopefully Gillon is walking around the offices searching for a replacement au pair – referring to himself as Gil I Am.
· We all know Gillon commissioned that jersey for himself. Yuck.
· The Black Eyed Peas attempting to kick and handball a footy. STOP! This happens every time a European football club tours Australia, it has to stop.
· Unknown Black Eyed Peas member ‘Taboo’ wearing an awful red beret and gaudy black and white abstract painting style zipper shirt. Get a grip.
· Jimmy Barnes – A national treasure wearing jeans and running shoes, does it get anymore “I come from Adelaide” than that? God bless Barnesy.
Whether your big day is Saturday or Sunday, or perhaps both – It’s a good weekend for a bender. Remember don’t do anything Unsportsmen, enjoy!
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