Rugby league’s Festival of Lime Green is entering its 27th consecutive day, with Twitter timelines now officially 103 percent saturated with Terry Campese milk baths.
The pro-Raiders movement has hit overdrive with Ricky Stuart’s men qualifying for the Grand Final, with support further expanding after a preliminary final win so stressful it required plain packaging and a regulated warning label.
But despite opinion polls indicating the Raiders to be the undisputed people’s champions — and the first ever party in Canberra to capture 100 percent of swinging voters — where does that leave support for those plucky and unlucky Roosters?
While the boys from the Bondi Bronx might seem like just another tall poppy dripping in premiership rings and Versace, you’ll find if you scratch below the surface, this club is the real organisation of the people.
- The Roosters are a foundation club: What other club has survived through World Wars, the Great Depression and Brian Smith, all on the back of grit, courage and sales of premium luxury cars? The Chooks epitomise everything good about the rank-and-file, whereas Canberra have a long association with lucrative software companies and are based near a Mint.
- The Roosters are homeless: Witnessing the transient club tragically stationed in a state-of-the-art cricket arena is akin to Hugh Hefner running the Playboy Mansion from a downsized 10 bed mansion. The people shouldn’t be laughing, they should be lining the streets of the East with something other than No Parking Zones and juice bars.
- The Roosters don’t have Josh Papalli: Astrologists claim you can see the Great Wall of China from space, but only because it’s adjacent to Papalli’s thighs. While the Raiders unfairly enjoy the benefits of the competition’s most destructive force, the Roosters have to scrape by with only nine international forwards, a number that increases if you include their reserve grade side.
- The Roosters don’t have the Clap: Canberra’s approval for their evil Nordic call-to-arms proves the Roosters are fighting against a corruptible system much bigger than you, me, and even communist China. Mal Meninga will blow the horn for the Raiders, meaning the only thing the plucky Chooks can hope is Michael Hagan is unavailable.
- The Roosters are wounded underdogs: With injury clouds over Luke Keary and Jake Friend, the Chooks are limping. On the other hand, Canberra are impregnably battle-hardened after surviving an arduous run in the back-end, which is a lesson to never eat green sausages.
- Mitchell Aubusson: The Ballina product is a no-frills salt-of-the-earth utility who sums up everything good about the Roosters, i.e. he’s the only bloke on the books who hasn’t played rep footy.
- Nick Politis is a benevolent dictator: Speaking of underdogs, what about the holistic largesse of the Roosters tsar? He may be red, white and blue to the bone marrow, but he gave John Bateman a station wagon and now there’s a town named in his honour. Should the Raiders win, I hope they have his premiership ring ready.
- Canberra presents greater earning potential: Remotely located almost 2 kms from the CBD and hidden amongst unprofitable beaches and developed infrastructure, Sydney’s East is a notoriously difficult place to lure players- if you want your bench to include Antonio Brown or Richard Branson. Whereas just because he plays for Canberra, Aidan Sezer has such a rich opportunity for a new deal on Sunday that he will take the field wearing a barcode.
- Canberra are morally bankrupt: What other club in the league would wilfully employ blokes like Todd Carney, Joel Monaghan and Blake Ferguson?
- The establishment is prejudiced against the Roosters: The NRL clearly favours the Raiders. The game has allowed their crimes to go unpunished, exonerating Papalli despite a high tackle and Jarrod Croker despite his goal-kicking. All the Roosters can do is take the moral high ground by voicing their concerns through the correct channels, ie a landslide of burners.
- Ricky Stuart’s Roosters premiership was a win for commoners that still draws protests today for greater recognition and a retrospective OAM: Sure, the former halfback has awoken the Raiders as a premiership powerhouse after a period akin to an erotic movie scene buffering for 25 years. However, his 2002 title with the Roosters will remain a triumph for Joe Average that outstrips anything he achieves tonight, mainly because it really pissed off Phil Gould.
- The people love a drought breaker: This is an easy one. It’s human nature to side with the impoverished- and rightly so. After all, it’s been almost 12 months for the Roosters.