This Mitchell Pearce ‘Dog Fucking’ Scandal Will Save Rugby League

The news first broke late-Wednesday afternoon.

One of Australia’s best-known rugby league players, Mitchell Pearce, had done the unthinkable. Even by the NRL’s standards, this was a serious off-field controversy.

Oh, no. What the fuck’s happened this time?

Just four short years after former Canberra Raider Joel Monaghan was caught on camera “simulating a lewd act (i.e. fellatio)” with a dog during the team’s Mad Monday festivities, we are now seeing history repeat itself, ever so elegantly.

On ‘Australia Day’, Mitchell Pearce was filmed “simulating a lewd act” (there’s that fucking phrase again) with a dog. This time, the dog in question was a Maltese Terrier; a smaller species to the Labrador that Monaghan was alleged to be cavorting with. And the simulated lewd act in this recent instance was, well, full-blown sex, albeit brief, aggressively mimed, and lacking any tenderness whatsoever.


One thing’s for sure: people are talking about rugby league again.

It’s been a very slow pre-season for rugby league, with much of the media’s attention focused on sideshow issues like the Robbie Farah/Jason Taylor feud, TV deals, and Jarryd Hayne’s progress in the NFL.

Adding to that, has been the AFL drug scandal, which finally reached its outcome earlier this month, and is still soaking up many of the prized column inches that rugby league sorely needs.

But now, people will talk league. Oh yes, they will be discussing rugby league matters. Not just here in Australia, but overseas, too. This will be on Fox News and CNN in the states. Foreign breakfast TV anchors will giggle about it, you best believe.

If all goes well, that weird Taiwanese animation company might make a video out of it, too, just like they did for the Monaghan incident. Suddenly, the NRL is being talking about in the U.S. and in Asia. Pearce’s faux penetration leads to global penetration for the NRL. Result.


My TPA colleague Ben Shine says that this is a “perfectly timed story,” which leads me to wonder whether it was all pre-planned by the NRL? Is Pearce an NRL patsy? Is this a high-level strategy aimed at bringing the fans back to the game?

“Let’s get back to what we do best. Too many eyeballs on the AFL. We need a dog fucking scandal.”

“But… didn’t we do this four years ago?”

“Yeah, doesn’t matter. It’s a winner. Push the go button.”

To tweak that famous journalistic aphorism slightly: Dog fucks man isn’t a story*. Man fucks dog, however, is a story.

We are now talking rugby league. The context is irrelevant.

Well played, rugby league.

By staff writers

* Dog fucks man is definitely a story

The Art of Match Fixing

There are countless steps that must go perfectly according to plan, if one is to successfully ‘fix’ a sporting match.

In that respect, match fixing is an art form. To fix an organised sports match, beautiful and unpredictable as they are, without raising any suspicion from fans, officials or the media, takes some serious doing.

In just the last few months, we’ve seen heard of match fixing allegations across many of the world’s biggest sports, including football, cricket, and now, tennis.

As any TV viewer knows, sport and gambling are intricately linked, and have been since the dawn of time. Whether we’re talking about the Gladiatorial battles of Ancient Rome, or Civil War-era cock fighting, there’s no doubt that some blokes were taking bets on the side.

But what is it that possesses athletes – those at the true coal-face of sport – to take this risk, when their entire livelihood is at stake? Especially when there are so many examples of match fixing being exposed, in turn ruining lives and careers?

Money cannot be the only driver for match fixers. Sure, for the peripheral figures – I’m talking guys like Lou Vincent, or Ryan Tandy, who essentially acted under influence (duress?) from more powerful, shadier entities – the prospect of a bit of coin on the side may have seemed a no-brainer. For Tandy, it’s telling that he was convicted of conspiring to obtain financial advantage for others.

With any fix, there are just so many variables. Usually, a shady figure will approach a player or players, with a proposal. This player will then normally be trusted to recruit others (usually teammates, but perhaps sometimes opponents) into the fix. The obvious risk to the ringleader, on this side, is that some players will report the incident to the authorities.

Even if the players remain silent and the fix goes ahead, there’s still several major hurdles to content with. For example, the odds for a certain outcome drop suddenly; betting markets are flooded and suspicion is immediately aroused.

And thirdly, it must be difficult for players to ‘act’ out this fix scenario on-field. If you’re charged with getting out for less than 10 runs, or double-faulting a certain number of times, how do you do it convincingly? Tandy’s early-game penalty just looked silly; it looked dodgy. 

I’m positive that since sport entered the professional era, there have been thousands of examples of match fixing that we don’t even know about. Just based on the inherent variables involved in pulling off such a heist, I’m not at all surprised that tennis – a single player sport, thereby requiring less risk in terms of convincing others to take part in the fix – has been finger-pointed.

So what to make of all this? Probably not much, other than a) individual sports are surely the most ‘at risk’ sports for match fixing; and b) any athlete who can orchestrate a team sport fix without arousing suspicion is most probably a psychopath with some pretty tidy blackmailing skills.

By Dave Edwards

We’re Only a Few Days Into 2016, And Shit’s Already Getting Real

In this frenetic, fast-paced world we often forget to take a minute to stop and smell the roses. Or, more accurately, to write blog posts. Sorry about that. It’s been a while.

But we’re in 2016 now, according to my Outlook calendar, and so much has happened already. I’m at work and feeling vaguely creative – chiefly due to the David Bowie playlist I’m vibing (R.I.P. by the way, you fucking legend) – so I think it’s a good time to briefly touch on some of the major talking points in sport over the past week or so.

Also, as I said, we haven’t written anything in a long time, so this is well overdue.


*  *  *

  1. The Chris Gayle incident.

You don’t need a hot take from me on this – or on anything, really – so I’m not about to add to the noise on that front, other than to say that sport has once again provided the perfect looking glass through which to view our shortcomings as a society.

Last year, it was the Adam Goodes ‘thing’ that we were all talking about (which TPA covered extensively). This debate – to boo or not to boo; our inherent ‘right’ to boo and not be judged; why do adults have to ‘boo’, anyway – provoked a visceral reaction from those on both sides; again, Australians were splintered down the middle. This was Australia’s version of the gun debate currently raging in the states.

Are we racist? Are we sexist? Are we both? Thanks, sport, for making us feel ashamed/proud to be us, whoever we are. Just to be clear, it’s a good thing that we’re asking ourselves these questions.




   2. The Essendon Decision

It’s here and it’s about bloody time: 34 current and former Essendon players will face a 12-month suspension as per the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s verdict this morning.

Over the past three years, Essendon and James Hird maintained they did nothing wrong, despite evidence pointing to a systemic injection program that lasted a full AFL season.

Roy Masters eloquently makes the distinction between the Cronulla verdict (its players only received a three-week suspension) and the Essendon verdict: basically, the Sharks admitted their wrong-doing, while the Essendon football club maintained its total innocence.

There’s much more to it, but essentially, Essendon arrogantly stuck to their guns all the way through. Unlike Cronulla, Essendon could afford to fight the courts, without fear of bankrupting themselves into oblivion, but that doesn’t mean they should have. They lost $1.3 million last year and will now face the prospect of legal action from affected players. If Essendon was an NRL club, they’d probably have folded by now.

There have been many instances of doping in world sport over the years, but rarely has there been something so systemic and ingrained than the Essendon program. The club’s wholehearted refusal to admit wrongdoing – and the AFL’s reluctance to comply with ASADA to the same extent that the NRL did, without any interference – means that the casual observer can have little sympathy for either the AFL or the Essendon football club.



    3. Tomic v Kyrgios

The summer of tennis is already upon us, with Nick Kyrgios and Bernard Tomic set to grab all the headlines this Australian Open.

In fact, they’re already doing so, with both attracting headlines in the past week for a) their on-court results at the Hopman Cup and Brisbane International, respectively; and b) alleged “bad boy” behaviour (For Kyrgios, some on-court outburst; for Tomic, something about not wanting to pay a $20 court hire, I think; I didn’t actually read the article).

Australia needs this Tomic v Kyrgios rivalry to transcend their off-court behaviour. Both are talented players; both are, so it seems, bloody unstable as human beings.

That said, I’m excited for anything that happens regarding these two. I expect fireworks this Australian Open. I’m secretly dreaming of a fourth round match up where the winner takes all (‘all’ being the collective hearts of the Australian people). Who can be the baddest bad boy? Whose girlfriend did Kokkinakis bang this time?

Personally, my heart lies with Tomic though. It always will.

By Dave Edwards