Gambler’s Guide to the World Club Series
The NRL is currently at the height of its popularity in Australia, so they’re barking at every car that goes past and jumping in the back seat when the driver opens the door. Nines tournaments in Auckland, All Star games, road games to all hick points of the country, and now the World Club Series.
This year’s series is brought to you by a Romanian car dealer, and the fluctuations of the foreign exchange markets. With the Australian dollar in the shitter, and the clubs losing $42 million last year, it was a cinch to convince the top 3 Aussie clubs to come over this year. Otherwise we were getting a couple of the more broke NRL clubs – that is, the ones owned by the NRL.
After jetting in and out on the same day last year, new England coach Wayne Bennett has decided he’d get to know the scene a little more and is here for a full nine days, and we are beyond certain he will be sick of the sight of the place after 3. Look at him below after less than 24 hours in the country last year:
Fortunately for him 60% of the England squad now play in the NRL, and the rest of the players he’ll be making an interstate call to Steve Mac about. Bennett even joked, “We’re not approaching it as a trial, it’s is a serious club game for us,” Righto, Wayne. We bet you’re bothered about whether you’re deemed either 3rd or 4th best team in the world. That’s classic Benny jocularity for you.
Current best player in the world, Jonathan Thurston, is here to pick up his golden boot and little else, by the looks of the video below. If you’d rather not waste your time watching it, we understand. The abridged version is: “They’ve put on a dinner for me! Yeah, nah. We don’t know anything about Leeds, we might do some video on them. OH! Rob Burrow! I remembered one!”
Of course, these three games will have the fullest stadiums the Super League clubs will see all year. Since their entire economy is annually built on season ticket sales and the same static number of jersey sales, ANY game that can force fans to shed some more cash to watch Keiron Cunningham play a prop in the centres has exponential value.
Only a true degenerate gambler would bet on these games. The Aussie clubs are all sizeable favourites, despite spending the last 5 months in stinking hot tropical temperatures and/or the beach, and the Super League clubs having 2 rounds plus the trials under their belts. And you can never tell whether the Aussies give a shit. About 1 in every 3 years they do. So how are they all favourites? Well, the 8th and 11th placed teams beat their Super League opponents in 2015, and the Premiers hosed Saints by a hundred.
You’ll learn a lot about yourself if you bet on these games. Are you one of those dullards who gets enough enjoyment out of the game without swearing at some kicker for missing a spread-covering conversion? God, I hope not. Are you putting a fiver on it like some sort of fairy who’ll never achieve anything in life? C’mon, grow a pair. Are you putting 50 on each, while simultaneously figuring out ways to hide it from the wife/explain to her it was a positive EV decision? Or are you the sort of lunatic who thinks the only useful bet is 500 or more, and will soon be living in his car?
Rugby League is a much, much worse sport to bet on than the NFL – but it’s also better than anything else on the market. So since we’re in another NFL off-season of discontent, gamble on the NRL, and gamble often.
These bets all assume the Aussie teams give at least 0.5 of a shit.
St Helens +10 v Sydney Roosters
Saints are coming into the game after one of the most enormous away bed-shittings you’ve seen in your life. They scored 6 non-garbage time points to a Salford team that dropped 40 in a half the week before. Emboldened by a first up win against the Giants, Cunningham’s head ballooned to the size of his portly ass, and somehow gave him the notion he could criticise Wayne Bennett’s appointment as England coach, and pick a prop in the centres.
Meanwhile, Trent Robinson spent the off-season playing Ryan Reynolds face in Deadpool, and his Roosters team lost RTS, Michael Jennings, James Maloney and then Mitchell Pearce to an unfortunate pet/urine incident. They signed a couple of mediocre Broncos as replacements, but the rest of their 3-time minor premiership team is intact.
This 2016 St Helens outfit will be remembered by cynical analysts as a turd, but that won’t get noticed in Super League this year where they’ll finish top 4, and Sky Sports has zero cynical analysts. The 10 point spread might sound a bit of a stretch, but it’s more likely than not that the Roosters will pound them.
Bet: Roosters -10
Wigan +4 v Brisbane
I can only assume this line is entirely based on the expectation that the pitch will be the cow paddock we saw in the Wigan-Catalan game.
Brisbane took a bizarre departure from their preparation in 2015, when they spent about 24 hours in the country, 9 of them on a bus and 8 asleep. This time they’re here a week, and I can only imagine that’s because Wayne Bennett is in camp with the All Stars, and doesn’t want some repeat of the Queensland Emerging Origin camp and the distractions of hot Queensland trollops, so he’s sent them to London where they can walk up and down the streets unnoticed except for the fact they’re the only people not wearing black.
This game will probably be a grind like last year. If the paddock is somehow dry, take Brisbane -4. If it’s a bog, you should be able to get Brisbane at about 1.60 without the start…. Wayne will have them ready to tackle all night.
Bet: Broncos -4 if dry; Broncos 1.60 if it’s a bog.
Leeds +8 v Cowboys
This is officially the Word Club Championship, but Leeds have a third of that team out to pasture, and a few more injured. They’ve warmed up by shipping 50 to Widnes. In normal competitions, this would be enough to induce panic from fans, but they could lose 8 straight and still make the top 4 in Super League.
First time premiers usually start the next season full of confidence, and don’t expect the Cowboys to be any different. Thurston was on TV at the 9s saying this was the first time he’d had a break and a full injury-free pre-season in 12 years. He was wearing some sort of hippy, grunge haircut that made me believe him.
Thurston will get the Cowboys home, and over that spread.
Bet: Cowboys -8.
Celebrity Tipster of the Week
We spoke to Canberra Raiders coach – and former World Club Challenge winning coach – Ricky Stuart, and asked him who he thought the best bet of the weekend was:
“Yeah, well we played all three of these NRL teams last year, Smithy. We lost all four games, but they were mainly down to bad refereeing decisions, lots of injuries to my players, my players not following my instructions and the fact that no-one in NRL coaching history has had less to work with as a coach than me. But mainly refereeing decisions – I really hope Toddy Greenberg was watching those games, and I think it’s best for all of us that I don’t say any more about those games. Except I did out-coach them.
Having won this game as a coach, and being a successful State of Origin coach, Smithy, I think I can safely say that none of the three NRL coaches involved are tactically as good as I am in getting teams up for big games. None of them stand on the sideline during the games either, which means they don’t have the same unique perspective that I do, or yell at referees and players as much. It’s also not possible that they prepared a better pre-season than I did down here in Canberra.
They obviously have better players, but coaches win football games, not players – as long as the players don’t misinterpret my instructions and aren’t robbed by referees like the Brett Stewart try. So knowing that the three NRL coaches aren’t as good as me, I’d bet on all three Super League teams winning“.
Thanks again to Ricky Stuart for his entirely rational analysis of life around him.
Northern Beer to enjoy during the World Club Series
The entire world is enjoying a boom in the production and sale of craft beers, with the complete exception of the rugby league territories of the north of England. Humorously named warmed cat-piss is still the niche choice in Yorkshire and Lancashire.
So order yourself a couple of cases of ShitFaced from directbeers.com.
Gratuitous Cheerleader Picture
One astronomical advantage the NRL has over Super League is in the cheerleader department. Most Super League clubs don’t even bother with them, as it’s hard enough to get the girls into the outfits due to the popularity of KFC and the fact that yoga is still a punchable offence up there.
T-Shirt of the Week
The 2016 Super Bowel took a huge dump all over your Sunday night. Here’s the shirt to celebrate.
I watched the All Stars game and Channel 9 had nine people doing commentary and on-field interviews. This is too many, right?
Oh, it’s absolutely too many. It’s a complete mess. You’ve got Joey Johns now painfully describing runaway tries as though they were designed by Galileo. You’ve got Freddie Fittler bouncing around giggling like that happy retard you avoid at work pissups. You’ve got Darren Lockyer CHOKING every time he’s asked to speak. Sterlo has adopted the Richie Benaud method of saying as little as possible in order to maintain an income. Everyone else is trying to out-whooppee!!! each other.
The right formula is:
- Straight guy to call plays, and not get over-excited. With respect to Ray Warren, Ian Maurice was the best of all time.
- Cynical/grumpy colour man. Should make a real effort to point out awful plays, and Ricky Stuart’s terrible coaching record.
- Intelligent sideline analyst. Sterlo was terrific – Fittler, Johns and Lockyer are terrible. Kimmorley and Gasnier are somehow worse. Kevvie Walters is a disaster.
- Presenter to do the intros with intelligent sideline analyst. There is only one choice for this, and she’s awesome:
I’ll watch anything with Yvonne Sampson in it.