What Channel 9 needs to do to cure NRL coronavirus Blues
THE last time I'd found myself curled up on the lounge room floor in the foetal position sucking my thumb and crying was that Friday night when the mute button on the TV remote went on the blink and I was forced to listen to the Channel 9 commentary team.
Anthony Milford had just stepped around the entire Bunnies side, Wayne's mega scowl, plus water boy Allan Langer and Buck the horse to score THE try of what is now obviously a two-game season.
My ecstasy and amazement at how Milf had actually remembered how to run in the off-season, was soon fried along with my brain by Gus's expert commentary: "Wow … wow … wow!"
That's why they pay him the big bucks … to drive me insane.
The previous time I was comatose was the final last year against Parra when the Broncos were walloped 1000 to nil … well it seemed that bad at the time, and was actually worse.
And the time before that … Benny Hunt, 2015 under the high ball from the kick-off in golden point with the grand final to be won or lost against the Cowboys … I'm still being treated for BHTSD, Ben Hunt Traumatic Stress Disorder.
And last Friday there I was again, whimpering on the floor while my dog licked my face trying to console me. Instead of watching Friday night footy I was being Tracy Grimshawed followed by Escape to the Chateau where "Dick and Angel Strawbridge transform a chateau into a fairy tale castle, working on 20 rooms that still need fixing; Angel buys a van". Riveting.
I let out a primal scream capable of even giving the microscopic and possibly infectious bugs in our carpet a nasty scare.
Channel 9 needs to give me a hit for my NRL addiction. Here's my idea of the immediate steps the broadcaster could do to give myself and thousands of one-eyed, "who cares about the rest of the competition", Broncos fans our fix of footy.
Starting next week show the Broncos debut against Manly, the one that Fatty hates, when King Wally led Brisbane to a 44-10 romper stomp over the reigning premiers in 1988.
Ah, the memories will come flooding back of the Sea Eagles knucklehead Don McKinnon could not hold in his disappointment that Brisbane had been allowed to gate crash the Sydney-centric footy party and wee-weed all over the Lang Park turf during the game.
The following Friday it will be the 1992 grand final win against the Dragons, with the Alfie razzle dazzle, the go-to of Alan Cann and that 95m try by the Pearl.
The following week bring on the 1993 repeat when Alfie made a mistake and said after the Broncos had gone back-to-back, St George can't play. What he should have said was that Brian Smith can't coach and win in those big games.
Then bring on 1997, 1998, plus the 2000 glory days.
We'll round off with the 2006 "upset" over the Melbourne Storm … and the 2015 grand final might have been the best ever played, but my mental health adviser assured me I'm not ready to go back there yet, if ever.
So what to watch Friday nights after that? The answer is simple, plenty of Maroon magic, starting with Big Artie's leading the troops to a landmark square up for the ages in Origin 1, the Original.
Then I'll allow 1987 Origin Game 1, which saw a narrow loss to the Maroons at Lang Park, but one mighty debut by a blonde-haired kid from Ipswich who many fans thought was the team's kid mascot when he ran out on to field in the number 7. Alfie, picked from the Ipswich Jets, had a blinder to kick -start his career.
And by all means, we'll move on to the 1995 Origin series when Fatty's team of Neville Nobodies whipped the Cockroaches 3-zip and please, plenty of close ups of Billy Moore's "Queenslander!".
And just show a snippet of the Blues 2000 brain snap in the 56-16 massacre of the Maroons when Bryan Fletcher pulled the pin on the football he carried and tossed that "infamous" hand grenade. And then Channel 9 please show all the Blues teammates jokingly laying down dead to mock Queensland's state of play in that game.
It worked a treat for the Maroons, as the disrespect for their opponents blew up in the Blues' faces down the track with Queensland eventually going on to create that Origin dynasty that the Blues can only dream about.
That's what was so special about Darren Lockyer's match winning try in the third Origin 2006 to deny the Blues a fourth series win (three-peats are not even close to a Queensland-bred dynasty) and save Big Mal's rep coaching career.
And it's out of sequence, but save the best until last … when master coach St Benny of the Miraculous, gave the best sucker punch of Origin history by recalling Allan Langer from his rugby league dotage in England for the third must-win Origin.
Alf's legs were 34-maybe 35 but his heart and guile were ageless. He played like a kid in a candy story, or better still in that classic Tip Top bread ad his mum Rita made, when she told Alfie "you can go out and play then (read run amok)". Alfie terrorised the Blues that night and helped himself to the run of the play time and time again. The Blues were clueless, especially all the experts who said Langer had had his day and would embarrass not only himself but the game.
I hope they're watching and taking notes to remind themselves to shut up more, when Channel 9 replay the little maestro's 40-14 master class.
All I can say is bring it on, as I'm cramping up down here on the living room floor trying to make sense of this life without league during this not-so-sporting lockdown.