Friday Night Footy - The Live Diary


Welcome to the Dragons vs Panthers coming to you live from Dylan Malloch Palace. Joining me on the couch is my mate Steve, and every now and again my housemate’s annoying dog will make an appearance causing both of us to lose the collective will to live.

This is the first Friday Night Footy game I’ll have watched this year. I used to be a massive League fan. I could name every player in the competition, what position they played and their favourite colour. Then the rules changed to make defence non existent, players retired, skill levels dropped and I totally lost interest. Can League convert me back to fan status? Over the next 2 hours, I guess I’ll find out.

9:36pm - Andrew Voss, Phil Gould, Matthew and Andrew Johns are our commentators and Voss is trying to sound excited about possibly the least enthralling matchup in the history of sport. Coming into the match both teams are fighting to stay in the top 8… which by the way leads to the most illogical and stupid finals system ever devised. I’ll stop before I get angry and start breaking things.

9:37 – Channel 9 run through the teams and I’ve heard of about 3 players on both teams combined. Wow, I really have lost interest in rugby league these days.

9:38 – Turns out the commentary team are on fire with the random stats. Phil Gould says that the Dragons haven’t won 5 in a row in over a year. Ground breaking information from Gus Gould as always. Voss nearly has an orgasm describing how one player is over 6 feet tall. On another note, what’s with the number of white footy boots players wear these days? Every St George player is wearing them leading Steve to say that they’re the most homosexual team in the competition. I concur.

9:40 – First serious attack from the Panthers. They use the most common attack in League today – the bomb. What happened to spreading the ball??? Now whenever a team gets within 40 metres of the opposition’s line they put up a bomb. They don’t even think about it, up it goes. I think we’re going to see a lot of bombs tonight. Painful times ahead.

9:41 – Phil Gould talks for 27 seconds uninterrupted… and I die a little inside. Meanwhile the Dragons offence sucks. Lots of one off passes and as soon as they try something different, it’s a forward pass. Also, the crowd is totally bizarre. Single people are sitting in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Why would you come to the footy to sit by yourself in the middle of nowhere?

9:42 – TRY! Not only does the St George player charge down a kick with his nose (arguably the biggest falcon of all time) which gives possession back to the Panthers and Seventy Cents a Litre goes in for a try… but hang on. It’s an involuntary offside so it’s no try. A reasonably good decision from the video ref there once again bailing out an incompetent modern referee. Voss starts quoting former Panthers I’ve never heard of… zzzzzzzzzz

9:44 – Saints in attack and are showing no skill whatsoever again. Single pass, tackle. Single pass, tackle. Saints put up a mid sized bomb into the Panther’s in goals which the Panthers player marks, then gets totally decapitated by the Saints player charging through. Nearly saw the first on field death in the history of the ‘Whatever The Hell This Competition Is Called These Days’.

9:46 – TRY! Wesser scores a try out of nothing. A player who I not only know the name of, but remember from 2000 when he was an absolute try scoring machine; looks like he’s still got it. Man this guy is fast. The Saints’ defence was as non existent Lindsay Lohan’s intellect. So the Panthers score under the black dot and some guy I’ve never heard of will attempt a conversion. Steve says he looks quite ape like… but he makes the goal anyway. 6-0 Panthers.

9:47 – Channel 9 ruthlessly promote the most garbage TV special in the history of communication. Schapelle Corby warts and all. Emphasis on the warts.

9:50 – Gasnier makes a big break. He’s the only talent on display for the Saints… and another bomb! Whoa, didn’t see that one coming. Not surprisingly the bomb leads to a complete breakdown of the Saints attack and the Panthers have the ball.

9:51 – I reckon that Matt Johns wants to have Gasnier’s babies. Every time he’s spoken tonight it’s been to go all Ahmad Rashard over him. Meanwhile another attack… and another bomb. One more bomb and I’m going to lose it.

9:52 – Saints attack – ANOTHER BOMB!!!!! Ok, someone is about to die. Meanwhile Wesser is clutching his groin more obviously than Michael Jackson in Thriller, and he’s clearly in pain…. And the Panthers lose the ball following their bomb. Wow, the skills on display this match are second to none.

9:52 – Phil Gould becomes the first human to say ‘gee whiz’ since Buddy Holly.

9:53 - Best pass of the game by the Saints halfback cuts out 4 players only for the winger to air swing a kick and end up dropping the ball over the sideline. Pitiful effort once again.

9:54 – Panthers set a new world record by passing the ball forward 4 times in a row while the ref is oblivious. And people wonder why Rugby League is losing fans. Even the refs have no idea what the rules are.

9:56 – Another bomb. Somebody shoot me.

9:58 – 2 hospital passes in a row followed by a grubber that goes so far over the dead ball line it was basically on the chest of the guy in the front row of the crowd. Andrew Johns pauses from cocaine snorting to inform us that Rhys Wesser is out for the rest of the game with an abdominal strain. I guess that’s what you get for have abdominals. Steve and I look at each other and agree there is zero chance of that happening at the Malloch Palace.

9:59 – Another bomb leads to a Panthers drop out and the first ad break of the night. My housemate comes home and within 2 minutes has called Steve and I nerds. Truth hurts.

10:02 – I hate my housemate’s dog. If there was a top 5 for most annoying animals to ever exist, this dog would rank number 1, closely followed by 2: Willy the Whale, 3: Toto from the Wizard of Oz, 4: Tweedy Bird, and 5: Julia Gillard.

10:03 – Looks like Channel 9 are running out of material, either that or are downsizing. They’ve changed their 20 to 1 series to 10 to 1. Maybe they fired their writing staff?

10:04 – Best hit of the game so far on the Panthers halfback… 12 seconds behind the play. Seriously, this could be the worst refereeing performance since Hue Hollins in 1994. Saints follow up with some tough defence sending the Panthers back 20 metres in 2 tackles almost leading to a line drop out – where the hell did this good defence come from? Gould gushes over an 8m run by Petrol.

10:08 – New levels of refereeing incompetence. A Dragons cross field kick ends up being plucked out of the air in a great mark by the Panthers centre only for him to drop it cold in the biggest knock on since the 70s, regather 2 minutes later and somehow it is play on. Meanwhile Gould announces that the Dragons are ‘here to play’. Thanks for letting us know Phil.

10:09 – Saints bomb away again and remarkably gain no advantage whatsoever… again. Also, why on earth do people tape their ears down in Rugby League? Wind speed resistance? Fashion tips? Sexual prowess? I’m not sure.

10:13 – Another bomb, and another near fatality to go along with a kick in the balls for the Panthers player. Within 60 seconds though, the Panthers return the favour by nearly killing the Dragons full back with a bomb and chain saw tackle. I’m starting to get excited by the prospect of instant death on the field.

10:16 – Voss announces that the Panthers player was given a horizontal working over. I’ll let you formulate your own humorous remarks for the innuendo of this one. Panthers then somehow save a try despite mind boggling incompetence from their fullback trying to shepherd the ball over the dead ball line.

10:22 – Gould again shows his unparalleled intellectual insight with the line: “We have a game on our hands.” Meanwhile Matty Johns says that now is the time for the Panthers to pull pants down. What the hell is going on with all the homo erotic references?

10:24 TRY – Luke Lewis scores for the Panthers while the crowd of 7 applauds politely. Gould says that all the Panthers have individually put their hands up. He is the smartest man alive, surely he’s the next immortal? 12-0 Panthers. Andrew Johns offers 2 sentences of analysis before returning to his bong.

10:26 – Another bomb and another lame finish. You’d think after the 707th bomb that the penny would drop. Uh… no.

10:28 – Steve announces that the player in the orange shoes is a disgrace to manhood, meanwhile it’s halftime and I have to say, my enthusiasm to follow Rugby League has not gained any momentum. Suddenly an advertisement for 60 Minutes comes on causing me to throw up in my mouth.

10:32 – The shortest half time break in sports history is over and Andrew Voss once more talks about junior rugby league causing every viewer to go in search of a shotgun. Hornby drops an intercept and promptly kicks the ball straight into the super sized popcorn of the guy in the 5th row. Panthers on the attack again… here comes the bomb.

10:33 – No bomb… I went a little early with the call. However a guy tripped over and dropped the ball. Oh the humanity!

10:34 – Another homo erotic call from Matthew Johns where he’s encouraging the attack to “bend the defence over and go in with power.” I’m serious, that’s what he said. I feel violated.

10:35 – Voss describes Luke Lewis as steaming… this could be a drinking game. Any time a commentator makes a homo erotic call, you take a shot. I’d be passed out under the table by now.

10:39 – Matthew Johns says he loves the Panthers replacement fullback gushing about his boots. Looks like Johns is cheating on Luke Lewis. “What a slut” says Steve.

10:41 – Possibly the most uncoordinated rugby league play ever. Refusing to catch the ball, the Saints winger lets it bounce almost to the sideline then leaps horizontally into the air and knocking it over his head back into the field of play.

10:43 – Gould says the Panthers are looking ‘bedraggled’ … whoa. Meanwhile Matt Elliot looks on forlornly or as Mal Meninga would call him “Whatever his name is?”

10:44 – TRY! Saints finally get on the board with a pretty good run. A nice cut out pass allows a Saints player to score. WHOA! The Saints kicker offers the most homosexual pre-kick ritual in the history of Rugby League. Quite frankly it’s a display that would make Bob Downe blush. Voss of course is ridiculously excited about it. Shot please…

10:50 – What a TRY!! The 12-0 lead is gone. An awesome chip and chase from the Dragons’ 40 metre line (Where the hell was the Panthers full back??) by their five eighth. Andrew Johns reckons the Dragons kicker’s pre kick ritual is an African bird’s mating ritual.

10:51 – Dragons re establish their incompetence by knocking on off the kick off. Lame. Luckily the Panthers follow this up with the worst kick in the history of sport.

10:55 – Another Panthers bomb derailed by Orange Shoes Man’s shoes blinding everyone’s retina within a 10 foot radius. Honestly, how would you concentrate if the guy you’re playing against was wearing orange shoes?

11:01 – Another bomb… surprise, surprise. Panthers get the ball back and Gasnier makes a world class tackle. Voss describes it as Gasnier “Stopping the unstoppable”… uh, right.

11:03 – Gould says ‘no’ a world record 10 times in a row. Followed by ‘absolutely absurd’ 5 times in a row. Nothing like reinforcing the point Phil. Granted that the decision by the ref was an absolute shocker… calling a tackle dangerous when it was more like the offensive player was trying to burrow his way to the centre of the Earth with his mouth.

11:07 – Matt Johns announces that the players are not playing Chinese checkers. Another amazing insight from the Channel 9 team. Gus Gould is channeling his inner 85 year old with a 3 minute rant about how absolutely ridiculous the modern game is. Somebody kill me. Meanwhile the St George homo erotic kicker misses a penalty that would have given them the lead. Dragons looking like the much stronger team. Panthers are out on their feet.

11:13 – With 12 mins to go, on the third tackle the Dragon try a field goal from 40 minutes. Oh man, the least confident attacking play in 40 years. Voss uses the opportunity to promote Schapelle Corby’s warts and all account.

11:15 – The Dragons try a horrible attacking move that leads to a Dragons player shoulder barging his own halfback and giving away a penalty. Dragons get it back straight away and their fullback shows his backside to the whole world prompting Matt Johns to say that it should be used as the poster for the advertising campaign of the 2009 season. Shot please!

11:16 - Steve says he’s more sorry for the poor schmuck who had to be dummy half with a brown eye in his face. I once again agree.

11:17 FIELD GOAL – by the Dragons. Why would you do that??? There’s over 10 minutes left! So now they can protect a 1 point lead with 10 minutes to go. 13-12 to the Dragons. The Dragons promptly knock on in their own half giving the Panthers possession 40 metres out. Suddenly the field goal looks like a soft option… oh hang on; it did at the time too…

11:23 – Channel 9 show a huge montage of players with blood on their faces. Great stuff. There are basically litres of blood on the field here. Oh yeah, another bomb by the Panthers fails to work. Go figure.

11:25 – Another bomb, this time by the Dragons. Terrible. Do any of these teams run any offensive plays other than spreading the ball and putting up bombs? Is this all they do at practice these days? Ron Coote is spinning in his grave right now.

11:27 – Terribe penalty. The Dragons make an awesome tackle sending the Panthers fullback into the in goal. Apparently though he called out held while being tackled (even though he wasn’t in control of his own movements, the ball hasn’t touched the ground, and he was on his feet) and the ref penalizes the Dragons. Pitiful refereeing here. I predict that David Gallop will have this guy exiled to Siberia by Tuesday.

11:28 – Pathetic field goal attempt by the Panthers leads to the Dragons running 50 metres. Somehow the ref saw something wrong with the play and makes another horrible call. Gould in protest says ‘no’ 14 times in a row smashing his earlier world record. Surely it can’t be topped…?

11:30 – Full time. Dragons win their 5th in a row in a game neither team deserved to win. It was arguably the least skillful display of Rugby League ever. I feel ashamed to have watched. Somehow all the Channel 9 team is hailing it as a clash of the titans, an epic encounter. Please… give me a break. Just because a match is close does not make it good. How far this great game has fallen.

11:32 – Andrew Johns hands the man of the match award to Jason Ryles while holding a syringe in his other hand ready to go with his latest hit.

11:33 – Game over, broadcast over, Rugby League over. I think it may be a while before I watch Friday Night Footy again….

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Friday Night Footy has been a ratings
winner with Nine for over 15 years.

Lindsay Lohan was never the
sharpest tool in the shed

Andrew Johns
Andrew Johns' dug use has
been widely publicised
Luke Lewis
Luke Lewis was one of the few
bright spots for the Panthers
Phil Gould
Phil Gould offers invaluable insight
to Channel Nine's broadcast
Schapelle Corby
Channel Nine were ruthless in the promotion
of the Schapelle Corby special
Jason Ryles
Jason Ryles played somewhat
decently on the night