Some thoughts on the year passed: Cowell
It's the last weekend of the 2015 NRL Telstra Premiership and it is at this crossroad that one wonders what the hell they are going to do for the next five months, which reminds me of a great TV ad I was lucky to be part of back in the day, written by the very clever Suz Pontey from The Stadium sports agency.
Ben Mendelsohn and I sat cross-legged on Leichhardt Oval and meditated, repeating the mantra: "Foga: footy yoga, when you concentrate on one thing... from March to October."
Brilliant. But sadly, for another year, the Bikram is done, and two teams who like it hot up north are the only soldiers still standing in what is going to be a blistering battle out at ANZ on Sunday night.
I have grieved the Sharks' departure and am now happy to start a new relationship as a guest supporter of the North Queensland Cowboys.
But there is already enough talk about the GF on Sunday, so instead I'd like to add some thoughts on the year passed, and make some suggestions to the authorities on how to make our game better. Here goes...
Firstly, the rugby league TV shows. Good on you all, and well done to whoever works on rotating the different coloured shirts night after night between all those big men. But seriously, let's talk 'Sterlo: On the couch'. The title says 'on the couch'. Well why does Sterlo never get on the couch? The name of his show suggests some couch time, but never do we see the bald champ sit on the sofa. The show should change its title to 'Sterlo: sits next to a couch which has other guys on it that are not Sterlo'.
And my favourite of all the shows, 'NRL 360'. Now this is a brilliant hour of television and it's refreshing to have Paul Kent speak so freely in a landscape where ex-players look after their careers by sitting permanently on any fence that will have them.
But the problem with NRL 360 is that it is not on television enough. I suggest a 24-hour four-day a week analysis from every possible angle. If Ben Ikin and Kent get tired, then just shuffle in Geoff Toovey and Andrew Johns for the night shift. Geoff has time on his hands now and the eighth Immortal apparently loves the midnight hours.
Secondly, Ricky Stuart. Stop complaining. It's not everyone else's fault. It's probably, most likely, your fault Sticky. There is no conspiracy. Look at the Cowboys, they stopped blaming the world and they're now in the driver's seat at the business end. Learn from Paul Green and take some responsibility.
Thirdly, referees. In professional life everyone is liable for their actions. As an actor I know the moment I step on stage or on set my performance is possibly going to be lauded, but it is also, surely, going to be criticised. That's the game. Same with rugby league. The managers, the players, commentators, officials, coaches, clubs and boards are all subject to scrutiny. Why can we not issue the odd breach notice to the men in pink?
Fourthly, scrums. Get rid of the scrum and just call it a gathering. Players stand in a circle holding hands, then the ref blows his whistle and the players scatter with the halfback picking up the ball in the centre of the gathering and playing on. If there is a charity involved that week the players could gather in the shape of that charity's logo. It's a great idea and good for the game. What's not good for the game is a faux scrum. Let's be done with it and create 'the gathering'. Watching players hold hands in a circle will also bring women and kids back to NRL.
Lastly, stadiums. We should pump some money into Allianz and play more games there. It just needs a bit of a backyard blitz the old SFS, and some food and drink items that don't include cold fries and awful pies for $400 a pop. Let's get some healthy cuisine into the building and you'd be surprised how well it'll sell. Sushi, salads, smoothies even. Blokes like to be healthy these days, especially with the new trend of the 'dad body' coming to life.
Lastly, go you Sharkies in 2016!
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.