Conspiracies, mind games and politics
It's week two of the NRL Finals and even Jason Bourne would be thinking twice at which direction this fight will go, so I am here to deliver some up-to-date theories on what's to come at the business end of the 2015 season.
The Brisbane Broncos outlasted a confused-looking North Queensland Cowboys side on the weekend in the battle of the banana benders. JT's men in yellow, blue and white had about 271,489 attempts on the Brisbane line but managed to come up with very little, showing the Suncorp banking group that semi-final football can turn near-immortals into flawed human beings.
Johnathan Thurston looked confused, desperate even, taking it upon himself to come up with the marbles, but even he, the best player in the world (next to Luke Lewis), could not push the saddle over the line.
It is around this time every year that conspiracies begin to emerge from the Townsville area, blaming everything but the kicking tee for their ousting, and so I deliver you this in addition, ladies and gentleman of rugby league: Cameron Smith has embroiled Jonathan Thurston in challenging the NRL about player welfare, not only to shine light on players' rights, but to confuse his Maroons team mate.
He knows JT responds to poor treatment, to being jilted, to the underdog tag, and so Smith - the great rule-bender of all rule-benders, has thrown out some burley and JT has dived on it. Smith knows the Cowboys are the biggest threat to his purple (WWE) team mates, for they will find a way to wriggle out of the stronghold. They will raise Melbourne a Hulk Hogan to their incessant Andre the Giant, and so Smith has inserted a jag to distract the legend in headgear, where none of these angry thoughts can ever escape.
Where has Cameron been? Has anyone seen him? No. Exactly, point proven! Next year I am raising the notion with Dave Smith that we get rid of the second referee, and just have one that follows Cameron Smith around. A 'CSR'; Cameron Smith Referee. Let's face it, you would go through some whistles, that is for sure.
This week the baffled Cowboys take on my almighty Sharks, who, after sitting on the back bench for so long, have put their hand up as genuine leader potentials. Even Michael Maguire, the hardcore one-eyed coach of the former champs, Rusty's Rabbits, admitted the Sharks are a genuine threat to the mantle. He even 'hopes' they win the competition. "What a great story that would be", purports Madge.
This is either great, humble sportsmanship or, once again, a vengeful act of mind gaming from a scorned rival. We all know Paul Gallen reads every tweet and headline ever written anywhere in the world. We all know the Blues skipper is more sensitive than a The Biggest Loser family after a week of zero weight loss. His 'glass jaw' is so smashable when it comes to public image, so is this Madge jumping on the Joey and Gus boat, but in a more clever way? For history has shown that criticism only makes Gal stronger, Phil and Andrew.
Did the Gladiator himself, a 'great warrior mind' it has been said, inspire Madge to unleash such subtle hell on Gal in return for humiliating Redfern's finest in front of 28,000 at Allianz last Sunday?
It doesn't matter because the Sharks, not unlike Malcolm Turnbull, have been biding their time, building up their evidence, and now the floor will be theirs. Brisbane, the Tony Abbott of the league, seemingly so in control, are evidently on their way out, with only the taste of raw onion and stale XXXX to accompany them.
On Friday night the Roosters take on the Bulldogs, who somehow managed to roll over the line against a head-strong, yet evidently charmless Dragons outfit. They needed a spark the Red V, didn't they, possibly 10 minutes off the bench from the Blacklock, The Man Mundine, or even Wendell - god knows he can talk a good game.
But this week Des and his big hairy blokes, unimpressive yet victorious in week one, face the Chooks, who, stacked with every coastal superstar available, can be more unpredictable than the quality of a bread roll at Subway.
Somehow old Frank Pritchard managed to be acquitted for inserting two knees into the poor pommy spine of Gareth Widdop; if only Frank had banged him on the head with a water bottle the Roosters would not have had to face up to the Hull-bent man-mountain.
For me this week it's the Chooks by a lot and the Sharks by a little, but maybe, maybe I'm just saying that to meddle with one's mind.
Brendan Cowell is an Australian actor, writer, director and a mad Cronulla Sharks fan. Brendan's latest project is the highly acclaimed film Ruben Guthrie.
The views in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of the NRL or NRL.com.