How on earth did it come to this? It’s unfathomable! Deplorable! Reprehensible! A grand final between Manly and the Eastern Suburbs might be fitting for the NSW under 50’s open canasta competition but in rugby league it’s scandalous.
More so than any other, Rugby League is a past time of the working classes. It’s gauche, unabashedly so. It’s a proud and reverential celebration of raw, unpretentious, tribal fun; the sushi sampling tossers with their skinny jeans and perfectly coifed mohair cardigans need not turn up, they are as unwelcome as they are unlikely to enjoy the event. Rugby League is home to the mullet, to joggers with jeans, Benedict Anderson and his imagined communities can fuck off, so too Foucault and his social constructs, the NRL is real, it’s tangible, barbarism at its most primal and beautiful. It’s where pedestals are given to the migrant communities of Parramatta and Canterbury, to the manufacturing, blue collar towns of the Illawarra and Newcastle. It’s a sphere in which self anointed intelligentsias like Newtown and North Sydney have fallen by the wayside. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
A grand final between Manly and the Eastern Suburbs represents everything which Rugby League opposes, two bourgeois communities of trust fund wielding brats who view the NRL with little more than a casual interest in accumulating another trinket for the proverbial mantelpiece. That’s not what Rugby League is supposed to be about, Rugby League is a source of pride and inspiration for the disenfranchised: When Parramatta or North Queensland make it to the finals their fans pain what meagre possessions they have for the chance to be there in person when their heroes lift up the Provan-Summons Trophy. Presumably the battlers form Many and the East just put the cost of their tickets on their Daddy’s American Express cards, that’s if they are even bothered to see the event, heavens let’s hope there’s no new David Williamson play on at the Opera House on the same weekend!
I can’t watch it, there is no rivalry cause for rivalry between Manly and the Eastern Suburbs. This Sunday promises to be a nauseating coronation for shandy slurping, middle class ponces. The real contest was last week, and the proletariat were roundly crushed.