This story was written by Melissa Muscat.
It’s been a long off season, very long for those who don’t follow another sport in the alternate months. 157 days, 22 weeks or five months to be precise, but the wait is over. NRL Season 2018 is finally here…and aren’t fans buzzing?
As I brace myself for the busiest two months of the year with the NRL and A League overlapping, there’s something special about footy season. Most in Sydney have a team…even if they don’t, they do. It would be wonderful for all those even associated with a team to get to a live game and support their side this season. There are many great deals with affordable family passes to ANZ stadium and fantastic food and drink deals that makes for an enjoyable day out for the whole family. There’s a heightened sense of excitement in round one, members and fans treat themselves to merchandise, possibly a jersey, there is team talk in the work office and there is an optimism and genuine belief in the air people have that their team will improve from the previous season. By round 12 when teams have had an opportunity to display their true colours, the die hard fans are still rugged up in their team colours beanies and scarves in the middle of winter, catching their club’s games. And what a wonderful thing that is.
As I have mentioned in previous articles, sport is a fabulous pastime for all, young, old, males, females, singles, partners, friends and aspiring athletes. A great social gathering to talk shop with like minded fans, and as many NRL players have mentioned, a huge contributor to ‘getting the boys home’. That cheering and backing from the crowd that is heard so clearly on the field can really lift a side and be the difference in getting a team home, particularly if the match is a close one. So if you really do care about how your team goes this season, perhaps get out to a few more games. It’s not that cold at the grounds, especially ANZ, I promise.
The impressers for me this year coincidentally include my team, The Eels. For the first time in history, I’ll back them to win the Premiership. Ok except for in 2010, but this year I mean an official bet. If there’s a team that can win it outside the bookies favourite, it could well be the blue and gold. Again, the excitement listening to all the credible sporting personalities rating The Eels chances, leads the Parra faithful to forget about that 32 year premiership drought. If they don’t win it this year, it has to be close, surely.
The other team’s chances I’m seriously liking, are the Sydney Roosters. Whilst the North Queensland Cowboys are favourites for many, that Roosters line up and recruitment is hard to go past for me. James Tedesco, when he is on and fully fit, is the player so hot right now. Add Cooper Cronk and the Sydney players retained from last season and they are one strong side. Yes they may take a little while to gel but the experience of the new recruits know what they are doing and I doubt it will take too long before they hit the ground running, so to speak. I can’t rate the Cowboys chances until I have seen Jonathan Thurston fully fit in the competition again. Take nothing away from Michael Morgan, but should JT be out for whatever reason late in the season, North Queensland will miss his absence come finals time. He is such a big game player and inspires all around him. I also think the Melbourne Storm will be up there but they will miss Cronk. Again, take Slater out of the equation for whichever reason and I think it’s going to be too much of an adjustment.
So I wish all members and fans, die hard and part time, all the best for their club’s season. May the best team win, please let Parra go close, or all the way, as we all look forward to the big dance on September 30th.