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22 hours ago
So the worst kept secret is out of the bag. Mark O'Meley aka "The Ogre", aka "Shrek", is off to the Roosters. But how wise a decision is it by both parties?
Is this more of the same from a club that has made a habit of paying "overs"? And will O'Meley's career head "south" like those who've trod the same path before him?
Messrs Nate Myles, Ashley Harrison and Braith Anasta have been anything but blue chip investments, albeit the latter did score a few brownie points with a strong performance against how ironic, Brownie's Dragons, who it must be said were dreadful.
This year, Myles and Harrison have about as much chance as Mr Bean at adding to their Origin records for Queensland, whilst the only reason Anasta has been mentioned as a possible five-eighth for the Blues, is because the selectors have zip, zilch, zero other options.
They could go down the promo-track and select "Waltzing" Matt Hilder at number six, poach John Williamson from the leather-patch brigade who would sing "Hey True Blue" of course, as the crowd welcomes New South Wales onto the field. Talk about bring the house down! Mind you, it's not as far-fetched as it sounds, when you consider Hilder has been in excellent form for the Titans.
Meanwhile back at the rooster ranch. If the reports are correct and they've paid upwards of $400,000 a season for O'Meley, then that is paying "overs" for someone who is in my opinion very much your "garden variety" prop forward. Great to have on your roster, but not somebody who's going to be a match-winner.
You'd put the Shrek-ster in the same category as Peter Cusack, Shane Tronc, Justin Poore, Bruce Gibbs, Ryan O'Hara, Troy Thompson, Michael "get out of my" Weyman, Ben Cross, Joel Clinton. The list is endless. They come off the conveyer belt, you wind 'em up and send them on their way.
Had we been talking about an Artie Beetson, or a Glenn Lazarus or a Shane Webcke, then that's a whole different ball game. This trio turned many a game by their individual performances.
The Bulldogs replaced Roy Asotasi (now there's a $400K a season prop) with Willie Mason and young Jarrad Hickey or some other big bopper perhaps Danny Wicks from the Dragons, will fill the void left by the departure of O'Meley.
Getting the chance to pack in the same scrum with world class players in Mason, Sonny Bill Williams and Andrew Ryan, has got to be a big attraction for any young forward.
It remains to be seen how much longer the Rooster fans wait before passing their final judgement on their star recruits. Unless there's a sharp and sustained lift in form, I can see a guilty verdict followed by a long sentence full of insulting comments handed down.
Shrek will be hoping he can buck the trend and put a fullstop to the curse of the marquee signings, by being a success from the opening round of 2008.
Finally, I would love to be a fly on the wall when Mark meets up with his new coach Chris-toff-er Anderson, and former teammates Nathan (formerly Nate) Myles and Charles (formerly Charlie)Tonga.
In what is obviously a very formal environment, it perhaps would be prudent of Mr O'Meley to dispense with his Shrek and Ogre alteregos. The Bulldogs taught him to eliminate (his rivals). The Roosters can teach him to enunciate. Should make for an amusing transformation.