Fed-up Wests Tigers coach Tim Sheens has thrown down an unlikely challenge to Western Suburbs veteran Tommy Raudonikis, naming the outspoken 62-year-old in his side for the aptly named Heritage round clash against Souths. And Raudonikis has accepted the jersey in what could go down in the history books as one of the greatest ever sporting comebacks.
Sheens phoned Raudonikis late yesterday to offer the long retired halfback a spot in this weekend’s squad, following the former Magpie’s stinging offensive aimed at the Tigers following their “horrible, pathetic” loss to the Raiders. But while Sheens had hoped to call Raudonikis’ bluff, it transpired that this was the call the aging halfback had been waiting to receive for almost thirty years. Both men are now resolutely sticking to their word, and many expect to see a less than spritely Raudonikis lead the Tigers this Sunday afternoon.
“I’ve had a quadruple bypass, three knee replacements, chronic liver disease, and I’ve got a Steeden-sized hernia sitting down next to my left testicle, but I’ve got no doubt I could tackle better than those blokes, bloody disgraceful,” Raudonikis ranted between drags earlier this week.
With Raudonikis suffering from arthritis, failing eyesight and an indeterminate number of smoking related illnesses, 2GB owner and old friend John Singleton called on the NRL to step in and veto the obscure selection. “This is fucking foolish, unbelievably moronic, and surely contradicting some kind of duty of care,” he fumed.
But despite these strong words, Singleton has already snapped up all available advertising spots during Channel Nine’s coverage of the game. The Public Apology contacted Singleton’s office for a statement; however, the ad man was said to be “busy” – leaving this reporter picturing ‘Singo’ swimming in his own cash, ala Scrooge McDuck in the opening sequence of Duck Tales.
Raudonikis himself is yet to comment on his unlikely ascent to the Tigers’ run-on squad, but insiders say he still “doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.” 2GB colleague Ray Hadley took time out from giving Rob Oakshott shit to tell listeners that “the old dog thinks he’s still got it, he reckons he can pull off 20 tackles 20 hit ups and still make it off for a quick dart at halftime.”
“I’ve suggested he update his life insurance, if anyone is crazy enough to cover the silly old cunt,” he added.
It appears this is looming as the Australian version of China’s infamous Tiananmen Square massacre. But instead of standing up to an oppressive communist government, Raudonikis is simply protesting against the ever growing army of tattooed, manicured, late drinking leagues who just can’t make a fucking tackle.
I’ll be watching at 3pm this Sunday when the South Sydney tanks roll into Leichhardt.
By Luke Meredith