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Channel 9’s A Current Affair reporter and Roosters Women In League Ambassador Leila McKinnon has joined the team at this season. Leila will be writing a weekly column giving a female perspective on what’s happening in and around rugby league. She will also be one of our celebrity tipsters.

Another summer, another failed attempt to get passionate about cricket. I tried so hard, I really did. I felt for poor besieged Ricky and his boys in white, so keen to climb back up the world rankings to where we all feel we belong. But one long day at the MCG, in which everyone seemed to move in slow motion and runs were few and too far between, made me long for winter and the footy season.

And here it is! The game that makes you shout out loud at the television, or jump out of your seat at the stadium, and leaves you with a warm glow all week long (if you win), or a steely optimism for the coming week (if you lose).

It’s no secret that I’m a chook, and yes I am basking in that warm glow of victory – it just doesn’t get any better than beating your mortal enemy in Friday night football in the last five minutes of the game. It totally made up for all the worrying I’d done during the week about the threat posed by Greg Inglis, and for all my concern about Todd Carney’s groin and my fears it didn’t get the rest it needed during the off season.
I realise, of course, that not all women feel the same way I do about the NRL season. For some, kick-off last Friday marked the beginning of their winter widow-hood. No more Friday night DVDs, or romantic nights out. No more Saturday or Sunday afternoon trips to the movies. Oh no ladies, you are no competition for the men of league. Unless you have flying feet and can make metres like Paul Gallen, tackle as hard and as often as Nathan Friend or kick under pressure like Jamie Soward, you’re going to have to wait for summer to enjoy your time in the sun.

My tip is, “if you can’t beat em, join em”. Embrace the triple pleasures of red wine, pizza, and Friday night football. The NRL has absolutely nailed the theme song this year, and when Bon Jovi starts to crank up “This Is Our House”, feel the excitement. It’s the best song we’ve had since Tina Turner hung up her stilettos, and I challenge you to resist chanting along with raised fist. 

Rabbits Warren and the boys won’t let you sit still on the sofa when there’s a try to be scored, you’ll be yelling YES YES YES – like Meg Ryan in a diner. And when there’s a lull in the action on the field, you’ll find much pleasure in listening to Rabs and Gus Gould squabble. Trust me, you won’t see more passion in a Friday night DVD than you’ll see from the losing coach at half time. Oh lordy, has someone checked John Lang’s blood pressure?

So it’s goodbye to cricket, daylight saving, bare-feet, and the beach, and hello to driving home from work in the dark, boots, doonas, and the excitement of Rugby League, the greatest game of all.

Follow Leila McKinnon as a celebrity tipper in this year's Bundaberg NRL Tipping.