James Tamou’s Hair is Indicative of NSW’s Malaise

Nothing more embodies NSW’s Origin predicament than James Tamou’s hair.

Down one-nil in the series, the Blues have appeared sloppy, misguided and loose – exactly like their prop enforcer’s current coiffure.

Sure, his hair arrangement is on trend and looks fashionable at face value, but it lacks cohesion entirely.

His locks on top have a raison d’ětre that says ‘we are free, we are flowing, we will go where the wind blows’, and then bang – as his head slopes away you marvel at something akin to a tightly run military operation. Where is the pattern? Where is the symmetry?

How can we expect Hodkinson to marshal forwards and backs when Tamou’s hair suggests they just don’t work at all?

How can the right and left side of NSW’s defence expect to cooperate if Tamou can’t even demand cooperation from his strands?

NSW will never be able to run effective second-man plays so long as Tamou is permitted to retain that hair. It’s too free, it’s too experimental, it’s not on strategy.

James Tamou now looks like a cartoon character. An ineffectual one. At best, he resembles Scar – the bad uncle from the Lion King. At worst, he is Prince Valiant – a wussy dandy with a bowl cut.

Neither comparisons are complimentary. While Scar was a moderately scary figure for a 7 year old, he was ultimately a study in sour grapes and inefficacy. Valiant on the the other hand, was a fop whose tediously long and boring tales wasted precious real estate in the newspaper comics section.

Last year when the Blues were winning, Tamou was a picture in efficiency. His head was shorn of frippery (and hair). It was tight, disciplined and focused.

The old Tamou hairstyle was no nonsense, imposing and determined. One look at his melon and you knew James Tamou wanted one of two things: to win origin, or steal your wallet. Then he grew a beard that was more Tasmanian old growth forest than hipster, but was nonetheless intimidating.

But the frequent changes have hurt Tamou and they have hurt NSW. It’s little wonder NSW can’t settle on a consistent halves pairing when Tamou can’t keep the same look for more than three months.

If Queensland were a haircut, it would be a symmetrically arranged, elegant short back and sides. The ideal combination of sausage and sizzle. In other words, it would be Cameron Smith. A classic. It never goes out of style.

You know why Queensland have been so successful? They haven’t changed a winning formula.

In contrast, NSW are defined by their propensity to chop and change. Always looking for the next best thing. The short-cut. The big superstar. The middle-parted undercut.

We are talking about truly micro inefficiencies with a macro impact.

By Sam Perry and Ben Shine

TPA Pays Respects After Retirement of Rugby League Great

He was one of the fiercest competitors the game has ever known.

A hard tackling and ruthless player who made a career out of tasking risks, which more often than not, paid off handsomely.

In his prime he was all-powerful and almost all-conquering. Like a fox, he was equal parts cunning and intimidating.

At times he could rightfully be accused of thinking he was biggest than the game – but to be honest, he probably was.

Indeed, he almost blew up the code entirely through sheer selfishness, but ultimately his disruptive antics gave rugby league the shake-up it deserved.

He was a mongrel and a scoundrel, but he will be missed.

Happy retirement, Keith Rupert Murdoch.

By staff writers

Rugby League’s Latest Scandal is Deliciously On-Brand

Say what you will about rugby league, but never doubt its ability to remain on brand when it comes to scandal.

Parramatta legend Eric Grothe Snr is currently being investigated over a commercial arrangement he had in place to supply the club with meat trays for raffles.

Grothe raked in a reported $37,000 in 2012, the year he was elected to the board, and some $18,500 the year after, when he lost his seat – a surprisingly lucrative windfall.

Grothe signed a declaration of interest on March 28, 2013 but there was no recording of it in the board minutes and the club again failed to disclose the deal to members,” the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Like a fatty lamb chop roasted on an old BBQ, this scandal is greasy, mouthwatering and quintessentially working class*.

Contrast this with the Wallabies recent scandal: a star player butting heads with a female manager. Misogyny and corporate mismanagement. A rumoured affair between a CEO/coach and his female subordinate (which sadly turned out to be just a rumour).

"I wouldn't be seen dead at Leichhardt Oval."
“I wouldn’t be seen dead at Leichhardt Oval.”

Rugby league will never have that kind of scandal. It’s always something fabulously low-rent and blue-collar.

It’s Paul Gallen calling the entire NRL organisation ‘cunts’ on Twitter. It’s a pissed Craig Gower chasing Wayne Pearce’s daughter with a butter knife at a charity function. It’s Ryan Tandy conceding a penalty in the early stages of an obscure Canterbury v North Queensland fixture, part of a spot-fixing scandal that ultimately triggered his untimely demise.

At the end of the day, rugby league is just a bloke looking to make a quid. And that’s what we love about him.

By Dave Edwards

* Shine, B, 2014.