After watching the snoozefest that was the State of Origin on Wednesday night, and putting up with the endless glorification and deification1 of the SofO concept, I awaited the newspaper articles the next morning bemoaning how dull the game was.
Instead what we got was more of the same guff. From “NSW need to start believing in themselves” to “an epic arm wrestle”, there was no analysis that said it was a predictable game of four hit ups and a kick. We don’t seem to have a mature enough sporting media, one that could critique rather than just jump on the hype bandwagon and continue shovelling the clichés.
Where’s our Bill Simmons? Richard Hinds in the SMH probably comes closest, but doesn’t provide the same kind of long rambling passionate fan coverage. Maybe you have to exist outside the sporting media nexus to be able to really comment, and poke fun at it rather than be so drably earnest (though the Sports Guy proves otherwise in the US).
Roy and HG used to fill this gap on triple j’s This Sporting Life, a fantastically satirical radio sports show that managed to be hilariously entertaining and precise in how it skewered mainstream media sports coverage. Since they disappeared into the commercial radio wasteland, it’s been hard to find a replacement.
Thankfully FBi have stepped into the breach with their 9-10 Friday morning show Fire Up. It’s 110% all Rugby League all the time, and has taken the baton from TSL and kept running with it. They’re totally irreverent, very clever, and love the game as only fans can. On today’s show I finally heard someone telling it like it is - this edition of the Origin contest was rubbish.
The commentators rabbited on about how the fact that several legendary old players were running water bottles on the night showed how much the game meant, where are more realistic interpretation might be it showed how ex players are often at a loss when they leave the game. ↩︎