Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
I wish to share with my fellow Rugby League fans a vision given to me by the God of Rugby League. A vision granted only after weeks of fasting, praying and seclusion in a remote part of Queensland.
This commenced late one night in outback Queensland. I had been in a state of meditation and prayer for an unknown amount of time. I had not eaten in days. I was pleading with the Lord of League to send me some words of encouragement and vision.
Suddenly an angel appeared before me. He was surrounded by a brilliant white light. He had a ruddy face and he had legs like iron, chest like a barrel, arms as thick as cedars and shoulders broad as a barn. He wore the colours of green and gold, and his voice sounded as deep as the oceans. He said to me: ?I am the angel representing the nation of Australia. I am strong, and of intimidating appearance. I am fearless and have withstood many battles over the period of my life. I am yet to be defeated by anyone or anything. The spirit that dwells within me cannot be conquered, but is often underestimated.? Awe filled my heart as this angel spoke. ?I have fought against many enemies, enemies that seem to be gaining in strength and tactics. They believe they can defeat me. They are wrong.?
To be in the presence of this angel was truly the most terrifying ordeal I have endured. How could any being confront him and think he could win?
The angel looked at me with his piercing blue eyes, ?You must tell the people of Australia this message: This is no time to relax. There are more struggles ahead for the game. Most strife will come from within, especially from the kings of the game. Division and anarchy will be evident, but a leader shall arise. He will unite all boards of the country under one banner, and he will bring unity to the game in Australia. He is a current figure in the game now, but he is largely unknown as a leader. Watch for him to bring peace and joy to the game in Australia. Under his leadership shall come prosperity unlike you have ever seen. New teams will be added, others shall relocate, and others shall grow to unprecedented heights and levels of success. Many fans shall leave, but even more will be won. The game in Australia will be truly national.? Then he departed.
I closed my eyes and fell into another trance. Muttering and praying for an unknown time, I suddenly felt the presence of another being. I opened my eyes and another angel had appeared before me. It was not as big or intimidating as the angel before it, but it was nonetheless imposing.
?Of what you are about to see, I want you to remember. This is a chance for you to encourage the people of Australia. Remind them that this is the greatest game of all?.
The next thing I knew I was watching a game of junior Rugby League. It was played on a small dry field, by players about 10 years of age. There were parents, coaches, other young children.
The angel spoke; ?These people are the future of our game... Without the volunteers, there is no direction. Without the kids, there is no future.?
The game we had been watching had ended. The players shook the hands of their opposition; the coach was praising his players as they took in water and sucked on oranges. The parents were exhorting their children. The atmosphere I sensed had a feeling I had long lost forgotten.
I looked at the angel, who just looked back with his piercing green eyes.
?The feeling you sense now, is what keeps me alive.? He says.
?For it is more than a feeling. It is the spirit of Rugby League. It dwells within each supporter and fan of the game. It starts here at the base level in the smallest towns with the least of anything. Out here, the game is more than money and glory. It is about unity and identity. Without this spirit, I do not exist. It is this spirit that makes us the envy of every other code of football ever played, for no other sport has it. This is why they try to destroy us. It is also, why they fail.