25 rounds, 192 games, #Origin on a Sunday, and a September Grand Final.
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John Deacon?s all too familiar bass line emanates from the stereo speakers, accompanied by the snapping of fingers and the addition of piano chords. The same riff that was once used by Vanilla Ice spreads effortlessly throughout the room as I contemplate the reality that any mathematical chances of my rugby league team making the finals series are no longer a reality. ?When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.? ? Peter Marshall
As the National Rugby League season draws to an end for the Warriors ? and, truth be told, it was already over for a few less fortunate clubs ? the final positions that each team will ultimately find itself in slowly becomes apparent. The twenty-six round game of musical chairs is finally nearing its end, and no song would make a more appropriate theme than that of the 1981 hit Under Pressure, performed by Queen and David Bowie ? particularly with the upcoming finals series looming out of the approaching shadows of time. "Pressure is a word that is misused in our vocabulary. When you start thinking of pressure, it's because you've started to think of failure." ? Tommy Lasorda
For some teams, the pressure valve has already been released. With either no way to make the finals or no way to miss them, these teams are free to experiment if they wish to, and can play without the burden of do-or-die matches that could either make or break their season. This reality can transform even the weakest teams into formidable opponents. ?And there?s nothing more dangerous / than a man with nothing to lose / nothing to live for / and nothing to prove.? ? ?I Can See Now?, Dead Can Dance
But for the teams that remain in the pressure cooker, the opportunity to soar even higher, and to ultimately claim the NRL Trophy ? as well as the otherwise unattainable glory that a Premiership brings ? remains intact. How they cope with the stress of finals football will be crucial. Will they hold firm? Or will they, like so many before them, fall away, to be left with nothing but their own regrets and memories? ?A diamond is a chunk of coal that is made good under pressure." ? Henry Kissinger
Having been backed into a corner, and with their backs against the Premiership wall, some teams will fight even harder than ever before. Indeed, for certain clubs, the added importance of each match will only cause their performance to improve; for new heights of playing prowess to be reached. It is these groups of players who will eventually rise above the rest. "No matter how tough, no matter what kind of outside pressure, no matter how many bad breaks along the way, I must keep my sights on the final goal, to win, win, win -- and with more love and passion than the world has ever witnessed in any performance." ? Billie Jean King
The season is nearly over. The chance to claim the NRL Trophy is within the grasp of so many, and yet all but one will fail. As a neutral fan, I am fortunate ? or, perhaps, unfortunate, depending on which way one views the situation ? to be free of the emotional roller coaster ahead. For my team, the curtain has closed. For others, the woman with the large waistband is warming up her vocal chords. But for the final eight teams, they are just a short distance from glory. Failure is no longer an option. They have but one chance. ?Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more!? ? ?Henry V?, Act 3, Scene I, William Shakespeare
"Courage is grace under pressure." ? Ernest Hemingway