Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
Dominic lived in Dubbo, a small country town in NSW. He didn't have many friends, he wasn't great at work, but he did have one passion - pulling on the number 12 jersey for the Dubbo Wombats every week.
When he was playing for the Wombats, Dominic felt happy - he was king for 80 minutes. However this was about to change. The Wombats signed a new coach, some hot shot from the city. He brought with him new training techniques, new game plays and a big ego, and he dropped Dominic. When he challenged the coach on this, he simply looked at Dominic and said "Why should you be playing first grade? No-one even knows who you are. Get lost."
Dominic slipped into a deep depression. He had lost his one passion. Food didn't taste good anymore. He didn't drink alcohol now for it's enjoyment, more for it's ability to help numb the pain. He even drank before his reserve grade games, quickly downing half a bottle of burbon before walking into the changerooms.
Dominic's game started to suffer, he dropped easy balls and missed tackles. The coach wouldn't even speak to him, let alone look to give him back his position. This created a vicious downward spiral - rugby league, the one thing that once made him happy was now causing him pain.
Dominic started going to the gym, providing him with something to relieve his heavy mind. He noticed one large tattooed guy who was constantly working out at the gym. After a couple of weeks and a few friendly nods, Dominic and the tatooed gent struck up a conversation. He introduced himself as Adam, and after a few minutes said to Dominic "Hey, aren't you the guy who used to play 2nd row for the Wombats? Where have you been lately? I thought you were great!". Finally, Dominic found someone who had faith in him.
Dominic and Adam headed out for a couple of beers afterwards. Dominic explained his current emotional state to Adam, and said he wanted to do something about it. He wanted to be someone that everyone knew. Adam thought for a minute, and said to Dominic "Meet me in the changerooms in the gym at 2pm tomorrow. I have just the thing you are looking for".
The next day Dominic walked into the changerooms and saw Adam waiting. He quickly got up to shut the door behind Dominic, and ushered him over to his bag. Dominic looked in the bag, then looked at Adam and asked "How did you get this?". Adam shook his head and said "Where I get it from doesn't matter, and if you get caught, don't tell anyone that you got it from me, okay?". Dominic thanked Adam, put his bag in a locker and started his workout.
Dominic went straight from the gym to training. He knew he was about to feel better soon and the goods in his bag were his key. He knew that he had to be cautious at training today. If anyone looked in his bag, he would be banned from playing for a long time - something he definately didn't want.
Weeks went by and Dominic started to improve. He was lifting more at the gym, but more importantly, he had forced his way back onto the bench for first grade. His plan was working - this is where he wanted to be. Before he knew it the Wombats had made the grand final.
It was a fine September Sunday. The Wombats had the home final against their arch rivals, the Parkes Kookaburras. As Dominic headed into the ground, he stopped to soak up the atmosphere. He could smell the sausages cooking, could hear the crowd laughing as they drank cold tins of VB. As he walked into the changeroom and went straight to his locker - there was no way he was letting anyone see his little helper in his bag.
Game time rolled around, and the atmosphere was electric. Dominic watched the game from his position on the bench, waiting for his moment to etch himself into Wombats history.
Just as the crowd were gearing up to cheer on a Wombats try, a loud crack echoed around the ground. Shocked onlookers in the grandstand saw the Wombat's coach fall to the ground. Dominic looked up at the crowd, smiling. He pointed the gun to his own head and thought to himself as he pulled the trigger, "At least now you know who I am..."