Discord: behave yourself or live with regret

Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson. Charged: Blake Ferguson, right Photo: Michael Carayannis

Blake Ferguson

 Last week Discord was rightly criticised for posting yet another column on the Origin I biff, a couple of readers pointing out that they’d already read much more than enough on the subject.

Fair cop.

But sometimes, when the current debate on a footy-related issue seems to be missing something, Discord feels a duty to point out the elephants in the room. So we’ll do that regarding recent events and move straight on to something else.

The first elephant is not in any way highlighted as an excuse for some of the boorish behaviour we have seen over the last week … but it is a major contributing factor and has been completely overlooked for some mystifying reason.

It’s hormones. While columns like this love to point out that players have limited careers and should learn to stay indoors and out of trouble, to the players the limited time span is a reason to go out.

They’ll only be this fit, this famous, this single and this good looking – all at once – for less than a decade and there are plenty of wild oats to sow in that time.

To a 23-year-old, there is a fear that if you don’t take advantage of these unique circumstances, you’ll regret it in your old age. The jealousy of your contemporaries can be overpowering. Of course, getting in trouble creates even bigger regrets … but that may not happen … so it seems worth the gamble.

To Blake Ferguson and Josh Dugan, not going out on Sunday night would have seemed a terrible, tragic waste of an opportunity.

Secondly – and I will use this as an excuse for the Mal Meninga “incident” – how easy is it to be refused service or even entry to a pub these days? I’m sure many readers have been refused entry in Sydney when they have not had a single drink, just because the guys on the door don’t like the look of their eyes as a result of some training course they did.

I have been refused service, or entry, in licensed establishments at least 20 times. I probably deserved it on more than half those occasions but I have never done anything more antisocial than drop a glass on the floor.

It’s easy to understand why Mal would feel aggrieved that every daily newspaper saw fit to put his transgression on the back page today. But footballers (and their coaches) are really just reality TV stars these days. Without television, they’d be amateur or part time.

Bluntly, the media machine sees them as merely being there for our amusement, offering us two-dimensional pulp morality tales with everything they do.

So they get treated the same as reality TV stars. If Joel Madden was in town to promote a record, his little dope stash would get less space than if he was judging a massive talent show, publicity for which has been deliberately whipped up by a television network.

Same with Mal. If he was asked to leave the local pub in Redcliffe in November, it would be lucky to rate a paragraph in a gossip column. But Origin is the best rating piece of reality television in Australia.

If the players thought of it more like The Voice, they might understand a little better the way the gossip-obsessed mainstream media treats it.

OK, onto something else.


For the record, your correspondent was only joking on Monday when he described Daniel Anderson’s trip to the NHL “bunker” as a junket.

Of course, it’s a good idea for the NRL referees boss to drop in on the way back from the World Cup. We were just making the point that commercial radio stations have already set up similar facilities in this country which would be worth checking out.

Of course, commercial radio stations don’t need to communicate with referees and touch judges. And they often have communication breakdowns with their people at the ground which would be disastrous for match officials.


Comments now, and I’ll go through everything written on the bottom of a story on leaguehq杭州夜生活m.au or stevemascord杭州夜生活m for the last week.

Firstly, last week’s Discord. Harry Sanchez said he was bored with another comment piece on the Origin brawl. I sympathise with you. I only led on it because I was bereft of any other decent idea. Bluey said how many papers are sold after a boring game of football. That’s the beauty of journalism, Bluey. We’re not there to sell papers any more than a doctor should be there to make money for his hospital. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Doctors fix people whether they pay or not; journalists report the truth whether it’s popular or not. In reality, we all know there are exceptions to both rules. But we are supposed to treat the truth as our only boss and it’s up to others to make money from our work.

Farcough said players should be paid to go on magazine shows because they provide the raw material for the entertainment. I agree. I wasn’t whinging about them being paid.

Dave said a send-off could just reduce the bench to three rather that the playing complement to 13. But that would allow for a cynical foul in the last 10 minutes for which there would effectively be no punishment at all. DD talked about Nate Myles leading with his head. Hopefully the attention brought upon this will lead to it being policed in Origin II.

Rustydog continued to argue about my use of the word touchdown. I’ll keep using it so I suggest you complain to the Herald and they might start changing it.

Luke McMahon said league was not entertaining at the high level and this was discouraging kids. I’ll take your word for it. But Origin seems to rate very well and kids seem to know who rugby league players are. The disconnect is between that and actually playing – and that’s what needs to be addressed.

Now to Set Of Six. Teviot Bob said all clubs should play games at provincial venues. How about during Origin time, too, when interest in the city wanes somewhat? Bluesbreak wanted to know why England doesn’t play France mid-season. They did – and in 2010 the score was 60-6 to England. Coach Steve MacNamara deemed this an unsatisfactory preparation for playing Australia and New Zealand.

Haggis said banning punching in Origin was “pandering to the tut-tut brigade”. Gorden Tallis called them “tree huggers” on NRL 360. What can I say? I photographed myself hugging a tree (see attached picture) immediately. I can assure you I was tut-tutting as I did so.

Sammy Davis Junior wanted to pause the club season for a month for internationals and Origin. TV does not want this and we won’t have it for the duration of the current contract. It’s seen as giving other sports a free kick as international football is just not popular enough in the Australian market.

Mrs C says mysterious forces want NSW to win the Origin series. I honestly wish I could get as emotional about Origin as her. Same goes for Correction and Snitz! Awesome Dimsum said do away with Origin. Um, not even if you gave them half a billion dollars, Dimsum. And Paulmac, I don’t think playing 20 minutes games against anyone is going to prepare England for a World Cup.

And onto Monday night’s match coverage. Lots of debate about whether Aaron Woods is up to Origin. REC, the match report was actually filed with a few minutes to go and some of the scoring details left blank to be updated. They were updated – but not completely. Sorry about that. Machooka, thanks for the rap but newspaper reporters do not write their own headlines! Oh, and the trip was on Sam Thaiday, not Ben Hannant.

Quite a few comments on the Cameron Smith news story from the other day but none that invite a response.

Now to stevemascord杭州夜生活m. Steve Mitchell doesn’t like the idea of the 2015 Lions playing only two Tests each against Australia and New Zealand. Let’s remember it’s the end of the year, out of season. They could play six Tests and no tour games but that takes some novelty out of the tour. I like it.

James Cheeseman said the RLIF is trying to get rugby league admitted to Sports Accord, which would hopefully end the disgraceful marginalisation of the game in South Africa.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.