There’s a lot going on in rugby league right now – salary cap drama, international drama, Origin drama, regular drama drama, so I’m here to talk about something light and fluffy. And it is this.
I hate tipping.
Really, truly hate it. With every fibre of my being. I stopped doing it for several years until I was forced to join Big League’s tipping panel this season. I smugly sat on top of the pack for a couple of rounds, feeling really good about myself, until I tipped the Titans against the Storm in Round 9 and tumbled quickly down the ladder. Boy did I tumble!
"Why did you do that?" I hear you ask. Well, two things. 1. I hate losing and thought I could get further ahead with an upset. 2. I think pretty much anything can be an upset.
I think it’s [insert team name here]’s time to finally break a streak and surprise everyone every single week. I tipped the Wests Tigers five weeks in a row then didn’t choose them against South Sydney. I try the Knights every now and then. I choose the Warriors constantly.
Maybe I just like having something to complain about, but I think it goes to show that people who know plenty about footy end up being the worst at trying to navigate the tipping waters.
Literally anything can sway me. Players returning from injury, the weather, the ground advantage, every single one of David Middleton’s historical stats, which team has the best hairstyles… you get the drift.
Meanwhile, Corey from accounts who knows nothing about rugby league and tips based on which mascot he thinks will win finishes above me every year.
I guess there’s no hope. But at least I’ve pre-empted that I’m going to come last so it can’t hurt when it happens!
And another thing… I suppose I couldn’t *actually* not address the real drama. I remember being a (relatively) young person when the Bulldogs lost all their points for salary cap rorting in 2002, not really understanding why and being pretty bloody sad/angry about it. I started working as a rugby league journalist full-time in the aftermath of the Storm situation and reported on the feelings around that as well.
Needless to say it’s easy to understand why fans get bitter and feel negatively towards those in power at their respective clubs when things like this happen. And they have every right to. But I think Parramatta fans can see a silver lining when they hear the way the players at their club have reacted to all the fallout.
They’re not publicly shifting blame or wallowing in self-pity. They all sound genuinely determined to overcome the loss of points and if by some miracle they make the top eight, it will be with Eels fans everywhere behind them.
It has thrown another dramatic storyline to this 2016 season and though it’s in sad circumstances, I can’t wait to see how everything pans out.
The Round 10 issue of Big League is on sale at newsagents and at the ground. Digital version also available through iTunes, Google Play and at www.zinio.com.
Maria Tsialis is the editor of Big League magazine.