So People Are Making Rugby League Romance Novels

To my pleasure, I’ve just discovered that there is actually a genre of fiction out there known as “rugby league romance.”

Here is a brief taste of Donna Gallagher’s latest offering: League of Love: Laura’s Light.

They may be rugged gladiators of the modern world, playing the sometimes brutal sport of Rugby League, but-just like the gladiators of old-they are loyal and noble men. They are the stars of the Jets Rugby League team, loyal men who lead by their actions, not just words. Men who show love and respect, standing together as one to protect those they care about. And for the women they love, no desire is left unfilled. The men and women of the Jets live and love with passion and pride.

Steamy, provocative, unnecessary…

While the NRL elite are busy embarking upon drinking sessions with the Epic Bender Crew, peptide abuse, salary cap breaches and defecating in public, their wives and girlfriends have their own story to tell about life in the shadows. And it’s a story that has long gone untold – until now.

Described by author Christos Tsiolkas as “Fifty Shades of Grey meets Roy Masters,” Gallagher’s book proves once and for all that nothing that stirs the female loins quite like a Newtown Jets rugby league player.*

Available at the Amazon store for $6.74 (Kindle version).

By Dave Edwards

* Please don’t mistake this for a legitimate book review. If you have, you’re a lost cause.

ASADA Lands Historic Guildford Win

With so much happening this month in the way of sporting scandal, it was hard to pick one standout performance.

Benny Barba may have been the obvious choice, but with no real specific behavioural incident in the month of February – apart from hooking himself off the paddock during a trial game – he missed the Guildford on a pure technicality.

The ‘Blade Runner’ also certainly put his foot in the ring, but the very notion of giving out an award for murder, unless it was to Robert Mugabe or some other homicidal dictator (which would have been cool), leaves a bitter taste in the judging panel’s mouths which has nothing to do with the usual tang associated with alcoholism.

TIME’s ‘man of the year’, but still no Guildford

So who deserves this month’s award for outrageous off-field behaviour? Well in a Guildford first, the February 2013 Guildford Award goes to an entity rather than an individual. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, to be specific.

The ‘Drugs in Sport’ scandal unexpectedly broke this month like the Virgin Mary’s water, spewing a pious flow of ink all through our papers and calling for the heads of these “cheats” and “scumbags” to be put out on public display and torn apart medieval-style by the ravenous crows of the media.

“WE DON’T NEED EVIDENCE! WE NEED NAMES!” the public and politicians cried as they gathered their pitchforks, set fire to their brooms and took to the streets. Every player in the NRL suddenly had a cloud hanging over them and for once it actually seemed unwarranted – no one had been gang-raped and no one had even tested positive for fuck’s sake!

So as Sarah Palin look-a-like Kate Lundy hitched up her skirt and took a huge crap on professional sport in general, while her cronies wrung their hands in the background like the winged monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, we all desperately craned our necks to see what she had hiding up there.

“Look at all my evidence!”

“Oops!” She squeaked as she pulled up her bloomers, “I can’t show you that! I’m just here to implicate a few clubs, waltz around in the limelight for a while and enjoy my 15 minutes of fame.”

Thus she scurried away, hugging her clipboard with a cheeky smirk, and returned to the shadows where all politicians reside, desperately clinging on to the last few frayed puppet strings that haven’t been yanked away by big business.

Mud sticks, but shit stinks Kate. You should know this, you work in Canberra.

Now, as I write this, the sharks are circling Cronulla – and I don’t mean in their utes in the car-park.

The general consensus is that they are guilty of taking substances in 2011 that were not banned when they took them – let me repeat that – were not banned when they took them. So what’s the beef? They have done nothing wrong! They were ahead of the game, and it seems when the substances became banned they stopped taking them.

Now I don’t like the Shire as much as the Dark Lord of Mordor, but it is likely this is true of the Essendon Bombers as well. So are we going put two of Australia’s biggest sports organisations on the brink of destruction for not actually doing anything wrong, but just being a bit cheeky and looking for a legal edge?

“Just a bit cheeky”

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has called for common sense to prevail, but common sense has simply not been present since that fateful day when all NRL CEOs were called together for what was little more than a big show, with a bunch of finger pointing and an excuse for the ASADA to get their faces on television.

My advice to Lundy and her monkeys? Go take your Guildford and concentrate your energies on catching actual drug cheats, and providing some actual evidence before naming them to all and sundry.

And stop taking Long Drops in public.

By Al McClintock

The Bali Journals (Part Six)

Al McClintock’s re-telling of one rugby league fan’s descent into madness while searching for Braith Anasta’s wedding continues. Read on for Part Six of this epic series…

PART SIX: BALANGAN BEACH/GILI TRAWANGAN

We awoke at sunrise for our 6am appointment with the driver who was to take us to the boat for the Gili Islands. He had assured us that we’d have to leave immediately to make the dock on time, but he was nowhere to be seen.

At about 6.30 he appeared, disheveled and sleepy, and informed us that we were waiting on one more. Hunger pangs were at this stage growing in my stomach, but I bit my tongue and waited patiently; I feel all this repressed anger may eventually catch up with me, but I am resolute to relax and enjoy the rest of this failed journey. What will be, will be (I feel like I should know that expression in French. I will have to look it up when I get home).

Another twenty minutes passed before a weird looking bald guy with glasses appeared. He avoided eye contact and didn’t speak to us for the entire journey, yet was quick to take the front seat. I was unsure of his nationality, but I was certain he was a jerk (he was probably French). Finally, by seven o’clock, we were on the road!

Merely a rough guideline

Half an hour later we were unceremoniously dumped in a Macca’s carpark and told a bus would take us the rest of the way to the boat. This was somewhat of a surprise, but as my stomach was now turning on itself in a desperate attempt for sustenance, I didn’t care and scampered inside for a not-so-traditional Balinese breakfast. It is interesting to note that McDonalds is especially shithouse in Bali. I had always assumed Macca’s had achieved a standard level of shitness worldwide, but no, it is even shitter in Bali. You learn something new everyday.

At about 8.15 the bus finally arrived. I calculated we could have comfortably left our hotel at 7.30 am and still made it on time, given our driver also stopped for fuel on the way. The bus ride lasted over an hour and once again I was able to admire the beauty of the Balinese countryside, and once again shake my head at the people in power so hell-bent on destroying it.

We finally made it to the boat and were on the water quickly, where we were treated to a ‘lunch-box’ consisting of a bun that contained something like chocolate, a container of water – of which the simple act of opening was like trying to get into Fort Knox – and a lolly that tasted like an old sock. I wondered why they even bothered. We were also promised dolphins, but we got no dolphins.

Containers of water, impenetrable

After an uneventful hour on the water we arrived at Gili Trawangan, or Gili ‘T’ as the locals call it, where our first priority was accommodation. A cheeky little lad accosted us on the main drag and, sizing us up, used the fact a group of Swedish girls had just checked into his place as his key selling point. Needless to say we followed him and checked in.

He was telling the truth about the Swedish girls, but it was no small wonder they were actually staying there given the place was a complete dive. One might think the owners were paying them to stay there, but given their complete disinterest in us, it was evident they were no astute practitioners of PR.

We dumped our bags and decided to get the hell out of there and hit the main drag. Within the first couple of hundred metres I was offered drugs three times, and it wasn’t until the fourth that I remembered there are no police on the Gili’s! When the fourth bloke came at me, I just about bought everything he had. Fuck knows what half of this stuff is, but the mushrooms are pretty obviously mushrooms – I look forward to getting Mario Bros on their arse.

Then, proving that Irish bars are in fact everywhere, we stumbled upon one at the Southern end of the island and curiosity dragged us in. Just how do the Indonesians perceive the Irish? Pretty much the same as the rest of the world it would seem. Mad Dog fetched us a couple of beers, and I snuck away to do a line of something (MDMA?) in the dingy little bathrooms. I must admit doing a line off a toilet seat in Indonesia is an eye-opening experience. You really do start to question whether you’re making the best life decisions for yourself.

Two cultures coming together, badly

I returned abuzz to find Mad Dog chatting to a group of lovely German lasses, telling them of our failed quest to find Braith Anasta’s wedding. They understandably did not know who Braith Anasta was, and seemed to think he was joking anyway, which might have been a good thing – words like ‘weird’ and ‘stalker’ were being thrown out there, and I admit I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable.

I dropped a crack about the war, but it went down like an English bomb and it was clear we were losing the group. It mattered little as I began to feel an unusual cloud rippling through my body and it wasn’t long before I was struggling to keep track of what we were talking about. The lips of the girl next to me became captivating and began moving like an eternal flowing elastic, enticing me to jump upon them and float along their rhythmic wave in a perpetuity of joy.

I must have been staring because she suddenly stopped talking and asked if I was ok. I didn’t respond, just smiled gleefully and floated off to the dance floor where I spent the next three hours having the greatest time of my life!

I write this now from the dingy confines of our room as I struggle to get to sleep. I am experiencing my first ‘come down’ I suppose. It does not seem too bad. I am tempted to rack up again…

By Al McClintock

The Bali Journals (Part One)

The Bali Journals (Part Two)

The Bali Journals (Part Three)

The Bali Journals (Part Four)

The Bali Journals (Part Five)