The Rugby League Desiderata

In the spirit of Desiderata, Everybody?s Free To Where Sunscreen and Not The Sunscreen Song; I offer some words of advice to rugby league players...

There is no shame in starting off the bench. Nothing will work unless you do. Do not abandon your club after round 1... the supporters will call you 'Judas' and start baying for your blood. Never fail to find touch from a penalty. Do not expect to play out your career in a single position. A good centre is hard to find these days. Hit ?em high, hit ?em low, hit ?em with the old elbow. If you only run sideways, the only line you'll cross is the touch line. Do not die wondering what could have been. Develop a good step off each foot. Learn from experience? there?s always someone younger, stronger and faster trying to take your place. An 'Atomic Wedgie' is not an acceptable defensive technique.

Do not lend your mobile to your mates. The bigger they are, the harder they fall. A 40-20 is a great "get out of jail" card. Scoring a try is useless if you let in two. Always try to think one or two plays ahead. Avoid becoming a regular 18th man. Make sure you have adequate insurance cover. Catch? THEN look. They can't run without legs. Learn from your mistakes. Fans are fickle? run hard or run home harder. Stick to the game plan? at least for the first set of tackles. Should you choose to ignore the game plan, let your team mates in on a new one.

Pain is temporary? glory is forever. Excellent performance can still be achieved with a plumber's crack on full display. Do not pass the ball in your own in-goal? especially not on your Origin debut. Should you have @#$%ed up in this manner once, do not do it again. A good ball player must be a top salesman? of dummies. The first tackle of a match is not the best time to commit a send-off offence... especially with your nation?s hopes on your shoulders. A decoy run can be just as valuable as a strong hitup. Do not get caught with your fingers where they shouldn't be. Especially your index finger.

Stay on your man. Consider becoming celibate for the duration of your professional career. Make sure you are facing your OPPONENTS' try line when playing the ball. Injuries are a bitch. Read the label carefully and seek advice before taking any medication. Have at least one really good mate who will cover your back in a brawl. It can be awfully tempting, but do try and avoid snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The laws of physics are there to be broken. One good high shot deserves another.

Lacking the full use of an arm does not have to stop you from starting in a grand final. A shattered jaw will not stop you from finishing one. Don't rush up out of the line. Choose a marketable hair style. Do not try to dislodge your opposition's head to stop them from scoring a try... the ensuing penalty try ruling may cost you a grand final. An in-goal is an important place to hang onto the ball. Be kind to your knees. If you can't play long, play hard. Keep your mouth shut. Do not give the ball to the opposition with seconds left and the game on the line. Always back up the ball carriers... you may go empty handed 19 times out of 20, but the other one is often worth it. Do not swing your arm... your opponent's head may win the battle.

The only place success comes before work is in the dictionary. Wrap up the ball. It's tribal. The opposition sometimes has 14 men on the field... keep your composure when all the calls are going the other way. Get in there and have a go. Don?t get distracted by the pretty girls? big? err? pom poms. There?s a time and place for everything, and no, it?s not Origin camp. No, it?s not on tour either. Not everyone can barge across the line from a metre out. Ask your trainer to have a staple gun ready to go on the sideline... stitches take too long. It's not over until the blind man whistles. If the tank?s not empty when the blind man whistles, you?re not doing it right.

And trust me on the 'Wedgie' blues.


Desiderata ? Ehrman, M: Everybody?s Free To Wear Sunscreen ? Schmich, M: Not The Sunscreen Song ? Safran, J:

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