Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
3 days ago
I'm feeling great! I've just had a nice wash and now I get to dry off in the warm sun and daydream a little. I can't wait to feel him beneath me. I can't wait to hug him, and glide over his awesome, hard pecs and bulging biceps. Of course, I'm hoping that he takes me in front of all those bright lights and flashing cameras. Somewhere nice and public. I don't particularly care for the dirty stuff, getting covered in mud, tugged and pulled at (although I don't mind a bit of a pull every now and then), but I just love it in front of all those people cheering and screaming. Okay, so they are mostly screaming his name, but a lot of them are screaming out my name too. It's tattoed across my back and I'm proud to share it with thousands of others. If you haven't guessed it yet, I'm a tight, body hugging Eels guernsey and I'm proud.
I'm getting on a bit now. I've been through a few reincarnations (which by the way, is so much easier for a bit of fabric like me than it is for you human folk) and survived a few assassination attempts in my time (from both opposition players trying to rip me apart, and opposition fans trying to burn me in flames), but there's plenty of time for that later. Right now, I want to talk about my first time. It was my dad who introduced me to it. When I was barely more than a bundle of fibres, he prepared me, and gave me the opportunity to be donned by the great Ray Price. Dad made the ultimate sacrifice, literally falling apart at the seams. You see, he knew that this would be Ray's last match, and even though it meant missing the '86 grand final, my father, bless his threads, sacrificed himself so that I could experience even 80 minutes with the great man.
I remember the laundry lady. She almost broke down when dad disintegrated in her hands, but there I was sitting in the corner, all bright and new. I remember having dad's number slapped on my back and being handed over to Ray... Mmmm... what masculine hands he had; a bit rough, but a really good, firm grip. I remember being in the dressing room before the big match. There was certainly a spark, a sense of awe when Ray pulled me on over that lumpy head of his. That feeling was briefly interrupted when I brushed his beard... that tickled. I felt sorry for some of the others in the room. They looked like they were about to make some kind of mess in their shorts. One poor guy certainly made a mess in the showers. However, amongst all that anxiety, all I felt from Ray was a strong and steady thump....thump...thump from his chest. When he spoke, everything went silent. I had the pleasure of being the first to hear those words which prepared those men for battle and led the gladiators onto the battlefield.
The match itself was a bit of a blur, but I remember loving being out there in front of all those adoring fans. I could put up with dirt on my collar, and being grabbed by those dogs, but they really crossed the line (thankfully not the try line) when I got stained with some of Ray's blood. That's when I really bonded with Ray and knew that dad was right; life as a rugby league guernsey was the only way to go. I looked out for Ray a couple of times during the match, pulling him down underneath a couple of swinging arms. The tough guy repaid me well, allowing me to take centre stage and share in the spoils of victory.
Now, I've heard that Ray had a lot of pride in my dad and me, but I'll let you in on a little secret; that's nowhere near the amount of pride we had in that tough little bugger. It's a two way street, this pride thing. I haven't been too proud of some of the performances the current crop have offered, and they've been accused of not showing much pride in me. Still, they say you're only as good as your last performance, and the boys did show a lot of ticker last time round, so I'll say it loud and I'll say it clear: I'M AN EELS GUERNSEY AND I'M PROUD!
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