Naughty Korner with QT columnist Andrew Korner.
Naughty Korner with QT columnist Andrew Korner. Rob Williams

The reality is football is a tough game

THE cynical side of my brain is telling me that the powers that be in rugby league are loving the fact that people like me are still talking about Origin II - three days after the game - but I cannot help myself.

In the past I have referred to Paul Gallen as the Hoover Dam of squeaky wheels - a chronic complainer and thug - yet he has been one of few voices of reason in the aftermath of the brief fisticuffs involving Trent Merrin and Brent Tate.

Over the past few days we've heard all sorts of hysterical ramblings about this incident, but at the end of the day the biggest crime was committed by the referees, who sent three-too-many blokes to the bin. Apart from that, it was a non-event. Tate ended up with a bit of a scratch on his cheek and Greg Bird was almost ripped into four separate pieces.

Far worse injuries were sustained during the regular action of Wednesday night's game - including James Moloney's fractured cheekbone and Cameron Smith's torn eye socket.

The point that I am trying to make here, and one that I think Gallen may have been trying to get across, is that rugby league - and in particular Origin - is a tough game, played by men who have spent their entire careers being bashed and bashing others.

To the passionate Maroons fan, the sight of Merrin bashing Tate in the face may have seemed like a great injustice at the time - a gross over-reaction to a bit of a shove in the ruck.

For the fact that Tate wasn't even looking up, it at least deserved 10 in the bin.

Yet, with the benefit of hindsight, I think we can now all agree that Tate didn't cope too badly with it anyway.

League is not necessarily a dirty game, but it can be a violent game, and whether you are talking in terms of an international test match or a spiteful Brothers v Goodna fixture, a fight is never out of the question.

Those wanting their kids to take up the sport need to be realistic - the intensely physical aspect of rugby league will not magically disappear with the botched introduction of a new rule, supposedly banning fighting, which is repealed the minute they work out that it is not practical.

Terrible injuries including concussions, broken limbs, broken jaws and eye sockets will occur in any of the major football codes, regardless of whether or not fair play degenerates into fighting.

If you don't like it, then I'm afraid football is not for you.

Go away and stop trying to spoil everybody else's fun.



OFF THE BACKBENCH: Kevin Rudd in Parliament just hours before his return to the Labor leadership.
OFF THE BACKBENCH: Kevin Rudd in Parliament just hours before his return to the Labor leadership. Rick Rycroftap

Super-sub Kevin is a game changer


IS KEVIN Rudd the super-sub of politics?

I have been unable to shake the image in my head of the Labor Party being a sort of football team, trailing about three goals to one with the clock counting down.

Team management can't decide when to bring on the controversial egomaniac star striker - a four-eyed geek with Lego Man hair and a blue tie.

Finally they do - to the absolute bewilderment and disgust of at least one third of the team - which walks off the field in protest.

The rest of the bench-warmers are brought on to replace them, yet the opposition, despite leading 3-1, doesn't quite know what to make of these sudden changes. The game has been turned upside down.

Back to reality, and what happens from here on in is anybody's guess.

The other big question is what will Labor do with Rudd in the unlikely event that he wins the election?

Will they return him to the bench, in favour of another "team-player" that happens to be dreadfully unpopular with the general public?

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