thickos

Articles Written: 9

Recent Articles by thickos

Moving Out

?IT seems such a waste of time, If that's what it's all about, If that's movin' up then I'm movin' out.?

Fire Starter

COMBUSTION relies on three things; fuel, oxygen, and most importantly, an ignition source. Without the ignition source, the spark, no fire will ever eventuate. Analogy can be drawn to rugby league ? the forwards the fuel, the backs the oxygen. But no matter the quality or quantity of the fuel and oxygen, the chemistry is incomplete without the halves ? the spark.Few appreciate that the most intense fire and the slowest rusting have the same reaction at their core. The NRL?s premier halves all operate at different speeds, controlling the tempo of their side in different ways. No bigger contrast can be seen than that between the explosive Benji Marshall and the evergreen Jason Smith.Benji Marshall needs no introduction; he is an NRL superstar. Plagued by shoulder injuries early in his career, 2005 marked Benji?s arrival as one of the game?s dominant playmakers. Free of the injuries that had previously restricted his appearances for the Tigers, his presence led the joint venture to not only their maiden finals appearance, but their maiden premiership. Marshall was undoubtedly the player of the finals series, with his impact ranging from try-saving tackles against Brisbane to ?that pass? in the Grand Final to Pat Richards. Massive plays aside, his pace and step made him a continual handful for opposition defences. When Benji plays, the Tigers are equivalent to a raging inferno.Jason Smith is in many ways the antithesis of Benji Marshall. At opposite ends of their careers, Smith plays a brand of football few others can match; rather than speeding the game up, he slows the game down. Many saw his return to the NRL for the Raiders in 2005 after 4 years in England as an impending disaster ? after a string of injuries that kept him sidelined at Hull, how was his ageing body going to handle the rigours of the NRL?What Jason Smith lacks in pace, however, he makes up for in football smarts. His debut season for Canberra was a revelation; despite the side finishing fourteenth, he regularly beat opposition defences with delayed passes and clever decoys. At full strength the Smith-led Raiders were a threat to even the top teams in the competition, and as a long-suffering Canberra fan it was a delight to see a world-class playmaker at the Raiders once again. Jason Smith might move as quickly as rust develops, but his contribution to a young Raiders side was immense. Similar to Benji, in Smith?s absence, his side was a rudderless ship. The spark was no longer there.Only days ago, during the Grand Final rematch against the Cowboys, the Tigers? premiership defence suffered a massive blow as Marshall dislocated his shoulder ? again. The fifth time he has suffered such an injury at only 21, questions were raised as to the longevity of Benji?s potentially brilliant career. Surgery seems to be likely at the conclusion of the NRL season, while his team-mates have to struggle on without him for the next six weeks. After an already shaky start to the season, can his side survive without the spark he provides?Signing on for another season with the Raiders, Jason Smith has started 2006 slowly ? although it would not be in his nature to start the year with a bang. Many have said Smith has hung around one season too many, that age is catching up with him. Yet to rubbish his contribution is to not appreciate how significant Smith is to an inexperienced Raiders outfit. In the opening round success at Manly and the golden-point victory against Penrith in Canberra, it was invariably Smith who threw the final pass for a Raiders try. It was Smith who continually provided attacking opportunities for the Raiders, and it will be Smith who will assist the development of the talented young halves the Raiders have on their books. One of the most astute purchases by the club in recent memory, ?Mr Rust? will continue to be the most crucial player in the Raiders side throughout 2006. The explosive young halves will have to wait.After purchasing land near the Queensland border, Smith will depart the national capital at season?s end, most likely to retire. Yet his services have already been sounded out by the entering Gold Coast side, proof that no matter how slow the reaction is, rust will keep on going. Sadly, for both the Tigers and the league community, the explosion that is Benji Marshall may be extinguished too soon.Combustion relies on three things; fuel, oxygen, and most importantly, an ignition source. Without the ignition source, the spark, no fire will ever eventuate. Analogy can be drawn to rugby league ? the forwards the fuel, the backs the oxygen. But no matter the quality or quantity of the fuel and oxygen, the chemistry is incomplete without the halves ? the spark.Few appreciate that the most intense fire and the slowest rusting have the same reaction at their core. The NRL?s premier halves all operate at different speeds, controlling the tempo of their side in different ways. No bigger contrast can be seen than that between the explosive Benji Marshall and the evergreen Jason Smith.Benji Marshall needs no introduction; he is an NRL superstar. Plagued by shoulder injuries early in his career, 2005 marked Benji?s arrival as one of the game?s dominant playmakers. Free of the injuries that had previously restricted his appearances for the Tigers, his presence led the joint venture to not only their maiden finals appearance, but their maiden premiership. Marshall was undoubtedly the player of the finals series, with his impact ranging from try-saving tackles against Brisbane to ?that pass? in the Grand Final to Pat Richards. Massive plays aside, his pace and step made him a continual handful for opposition defences. When Benji plays, the Tigers are equivalent to a raging inferno.Jason Smith is in many ways the antithesis of Benji Marshall. At opposite ends of their careers, Smith plays a brand of football few others can match; rather than speeding the game up, he slows the game down. Many saw his return to the NRL for the Raiders in 2005 after 4 years in England as an impending disaster ? after a string of injuries that kept him sidelined at Hull, how was his ageing body going to handle the rigours of the NRL?What Jason Smith lacks in pace, however, he makes up for in football smarts. His debut season for Canberra was a revelation; despite the side finishing fourteenth, he regularly beat opposition defences with delayed passes and clever decoys. At full strength the Smith-led Raiders were a threat to even the top teams in the competition, and as a long-suffering Canberra fan it was a delight to see a world-class playmaker at the Raiders once again. Jason Smith might move as quickly as rust develops, but his contribution to a young Raiders side was immense. Similar to Benji, in Smith?s absence, his side was a rudderless ship. The spark was no longer there.Only days ago, during the Grand Final rematch against the Cowboys, the Tigers? premiership defence suffered a massive blow as Marshall dislocated his shoulder ? again. The fifth time he has suffered such an injury at only 21, questions were raised as to the longevity of Benji?s potentially brilliant career. Surgery seems to be likely at the conclusion of the NRL season, while his team-mates have to struggle on without him for the next six weeks. After an already shaky start to the season, can his side survive without the spark he provides?Signing on for another season with the Raiders, Jason Smith has started 2006 slowly ? although it would not be in his nature to start the year with a bang. Many have said Smith has hung around one season too many, that age is catching up with him. Yet to rubbish his contribution is to not appreciate how significant Smith is to an inexperienced Raiders outfit. In the opening round success at Manly and the golden-point victory against Penrith in Canberra, it was invariably Smith who threw the final pass for a Raiders try. It was Smith who continually provided attacking opportunities for the Raiders, and it will be Smith who will assist the development of the talented young halves the Raiders have on their books. One of the most astute purchases by the club in recent memory, ?Mr Rust? will continue to be the most crucial player in the Raiders side throughout 2006. The explosive young halves will have to wait.After purchasing land near the Queensland border, Smith will depart the national capital at season?s end, most likely to retire. Yet his services have already been sounded out by the entering Gold Coast side, proof that no matter how slow the reaction is, rust will keep on going. Sadly, for both the Tigers and the league community, the explosion that is Benji Marshall may be extinguished too soon.

Breakfast With Jason Smith

IT is a classic Canberra morning on the shores of Lake Burley-Griffin; brilliant sunshine illuminates the sky, yet there is enough chill to keep women?s nipples firm and erect. I?m enjoying breakfast waiting for my interviewee to arrive.In the distance I see an instantly recognisable figure. Solid but athletic, his spiky grey hair glistens in the sunshine like the sole natural snowflake at Perisher. With a characteristic swagger and confident air, he is unmistakeable.It is Jason Smith.He is so different to the other interviewees. The week beforehand, Clinton Schifcofske arrived in stonewashed jeans and a white t-shirt, accentuating his effortless good looks. Sunglasses possibly masked a massive night where he must have hopped from one nightclub to, well, the other one. Todd Carney arrived with spiked hair, no less than six sweatbands on his forearms (obviously masking some profuse perspiration problem) and designer boxers emerging from dangerously low shorts.Jason provided such a contrast to that over-rated look. In flannelette and no-nonsense blue denim, he struck an incongruent juxtaposition; in the artificial surrounds of Canberra, Jason Smith was so real.I rise and he grabs my hand, possibly breaking a finger with his vice-like grip. With a Winfield Red dangling from his lips, he motions towards outside. ?We?ll sit over there,? he croaks, ?and don?t bring that crap with you,? referring to my toasted focaccia. ?I wouldn?t feed that nancy garbage to my dog.?Now with a T-bone for breakfast (despite my pleadings that a cow didn?t deserve to die so early in the day), Jason relaxes. He takes a long, soothing drag on ?Winnie,? his exhale slow and fulfilling. He smokes just like he plays, I thought. Never in a rush, always with so much time. No longer hungry, I move to the first question of the morning.?So Jason, how did you enjoy your first season back in the NRL??My question draws a blank response, yet there is a latent anger. His seemingly emotionless face is filled with disdain. It is the same look Matt Gafa received when he misread the play ? he can?t tolerate fools.?Mate, how do you think I enjoyed it? We ran second last and broke the clubs? biggest losing streak twice. Had a friggin? ball.?I was stunned by his truthful severity. Here was a man who could have filled my morning with clich?, yet he chose not to. Intrigued, I pressed on, feeling much like his team-mates ? I had no idea what was coming next.?You?re 34 and played most of 2005 with injury, and you?re going round again. How are you so tough??Like his magical on-field ability, he quickens the pace. ?Mate I?m not tough. I earn a good clip playing footy. It?s not tough. Being a labourer, a cop ? that?s tough.?I nod agreeingly, now in more awe of the man. In his self-deprecating style, he proved how tough he was instantly. He finishes a vegemite soldier and adds,?Plus the money?s good ? why wouldn?t I sign on again.?I laugh, and the tension hanging over us like a Canberra fog is lifted. He cracks a weary smile, and I am accepted. The interview has just begun.Like Lincoln Withers, I am the link-man while Jason runs the show. There are no questions, just conversation over breakfast between a poor journalist and a footballing legend. A quick glance to his watch ends our meeting; he probably has a sponsor?s commitment to attend or teaching Adam Mogg to tackle. I put a final question to him.?Jason, what odds you take Canberra to a premiership in 2006??He smiles and grabs my trembling hand. ?Mate, I won?t be taking the Raiders to a title ? I?m past it. The kids here will win you one, no sweat. I?m just here to help ?em along a bit, win the odd game or two.?His honesty shocks me, yet his truth speaks volumes. He is the teacher of the clubs? future, not the man to pin hopes on. With Matt Elliott leaving, I throw him a final question:?Why don?t you become our coach when you?re finished??He turns, winks in a completely non-sexual fashion, and walks away. ?In a way mate, I already am.?I smile; he nods understandingly. I depart ecstatic, knowing that the future of the Raiders is in unconventional, yet safe hands.

Your callers tonight ...

EVERYONE?S a critic, so they say.

The Muss

SOME days, some moments, transcend being a ?normal? supporter. Sometimes it?s as if the result doesn?t even matter at all, being there is memorable enough. Some are moments of elation, some are earth-shattering. Some make you so proud.

The Beautiful loss

"THERE are some defeats more triumphant than victories." ---Michel de Montaigne

The Beautiful Loss

"THERE are some defeats more triumphant than victories." ---Michel de Montaigne

The Myth of the Supercoach

FOR a student of rugby league, it is a concept you cannot escape. The men who are put on a pedestal as the greatest coaches our great sport has seen, the men who have revolutionised the game from the sidelines. Names like Gibson, Bennett, Fulton? they stand alone as rugby league pioneers. One thing that also cannot be escaped are the monikers that the media love to put on these men, and one of them always remains a sticking point for myself; the title ?supercoach.?

The Age of the Robot

FLICK on the television during Friday Night Football and you?ll hear it. Tune into Fox?s weekend coverage of the NRL and unless Laurie Daley further mangles the English language, you?ll probably hear it there too. You can?t escape it.

Advertising Opportunities

  Latest Tweets

Advertising Opportunities