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Are you the person waiting on the doorstep of the local newsagent every Wednesday morning, shaking from withdrawl, desperate for your weekly fix of news, stats, gossip and journalistic hysteria? Or are you the sad-act with one eye on Fox and the other on this very forum, trying to squeeze every last drop of Rugby League knowledge from those in the know?
Either way, you're not tipping the winners this weekend.
Let me tell you about the birth of tipping. I'm of the very firm belief that the art of tipping, and indeed, the tipping comp, has it's origins in a pub. The exact time and place could be subject to debate and would require much more investigation that time permits for this particular article. But of this I'm sure, the exact birth moment would have sounded like this-
Pub Guy 1 (Mick) - "Evenin' Les" Pub Guy 2 (Les) - "Mick" Publican (Keith) - "Les, Mick" Les & Mick - "Keith" Mick - "Reckon the 'Bags might give Glebe a right f***in' hidin' on Sund'y" Les - "Nah mate, matter of fact I'll give ya the drum for the whole f***in' round mate. Keith mate, g' us a bit of paper and a f***in' crayon. There y's go, stick that up on the wall". Mick - "I'll be in that, write these down too. And I tell y's, if I'm wrong, I'll tip this f***in' schooner of Tooth's on me own head".
And so it was born. Needless to say, our friend Mick went home smelling of ale the next Monday.
From these humble beginnings, the tipping comp as we know it evolved. No longer do we have to patronise the local establishments with the Micks and the Les' of the world. The advent of the internet has seen the grubby, smoke stained tipping chart all but disappear from front-bar walls all over the country. Even if the publican can still be bothered, beer companies now sponsor tipping charts. You've seen them. They've got the fancy magnets in each team's colours with the for and against columns. Gone are the spelling mistakes, the dubious calculation of points and the pencil-scrawled "is a poof" next to Mick's name. Yes, instead of being able to walk in, have a schooner and see that you're coming 3rd last behind Ron's missus, Jim the farmer who hasn't even got a TV and Bev the 74 year old barmaid, now we have to log on to foxsports.com.au and type our passwords in 43 times, only to discover in dismay that we're in 34,567th position out of 34,653. To make it even worse, the leading tipster's 'cyber-name' is jaymz_is_hot_1991.
And so it goes on. All across this strange land, tragics from all walks of life and vocations either hand in or email their tips every Friday afternoon to the 'Keeper Of The Tips'. You know the bloke, he's the one with the suction-cupped mini-jumper on the back window of his car. He's got his team on his screensaver, mouse pad, coffee mug, everything. He wears those holographic supporter's sunnies and thinks they're funny. He made up the rules for the tipping comp, including the much loved 10 point bonus for picking the round. The year he joined, he came last. The next year, amid much controversy, the prize for coming last was introduced. He came second last. You know him. And we all know who wins that comp every year don't we? Mangfax, the Bolivian bin-emptier who thinks Rugby League is a carpet shop.
This Friday, while deciding which teams to stake your reputation on, why not consider these 2 rules passed on to me by a wise old drunk man in a pub.
1. Never tip any team with Jason Stevens in it. 2. Your wife's favourite colours are very important.
Finally, for everyone wanting to take out the prize this season in your respective comps, here's frank's patented, sure-fire tipping method. Open your front door and start walking down the street. See the bloke living in the cardboard box with no teeth and the pet monkey? Show him your copy of Big League and ask him to pick one team from each page. There's your winners for the weekend.
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