4 days ago
So, there's no bad blood between Melbourne's saviour Brett Finch and his former club the Eels heading into the Grand Final? No lasting animosity over his controversial exit at the beginning of the season? No personal scores to settle? No chance of an 'I told you so' or 'we never really needed you anyway'? How boring. Come on guys, it's Grand Final week. Spice things up a little, please. Mad Dog and Wendell would be hogging the headlines. Even now I'm sure Chief and Spud would charge their shopping trolleys recklessly toward each other if their eyes locked in the supermarket aisle, each man refusing to back down from the testosterone-fuelled grudge match. Imagine the thrills and spills if one Anthony Mundine was the centrepiece of this drama. It would be seven days of, 'Oh man, ya all know I'm the Man. I mean they got some okay players but they ain't got the Man, man. They had the Man, now they only got the son - the Robson. He's like putty in me hands brother. Bring it on'. That's the kind of attitude that builds hype worthy of the occasion. That's what we want to hear from Finchy. Talk it up mate. Antagonise your ex-teammates publicly, make your old coach spit out his cornflakes when he turns to the back page of tomorrow's newspaper and sees some bold, revealing, shocking statement of revenge. For a guy so adept at whingeing to referees like a little baby, your fired-up redemption speech has been conspicuously absent.
The same blame can be directed at Parramatta. Off-field slanging matches are a two-way street. Well, perhaps not for Mundine - he can certainly drive the trash talk one way, all the way. But it's more fun if both parties are firing bullets. Surely the Eels want to squeal about how clever and far-sighted they were to let him go. Their star play-maker was gone, their coach and management under scrutiny, their season written off. Bookmakers and punters gave them less hope of fighting back to win the premiership in '09 than of Germany suddenly snatching a belated, miraculous victory of World War II some 65 years on. Now, here they are, on the verge of a lap of honour. And nobody from the club dares poke fun at all us fools. I want to be poked fun at! I got it wrong, and I deserve to be ridiculed. How else can one claim smug satisfaction at successful predictions in our game if they haven't felt the lows of being completely, utterly, embarrassingly wrong? It's baffling that a player can be the fly in the ointment at one club, whilst the missing link in another. Such have been the change in fortunes of both sides since the much-maligned play-maker made the switch. Who will have the last laugh on Sunday night? It's all set up for a last minute Finch field-goal attempt to break the deadlock. Whatever happens, here's hoping the victor has the gusto to make it personal and really rub it in. The game could do with a new bitter rivalry.