Etiquette at a Rugby League Game

It’s the NRL Grand Final. Your team is up by 14 points. There’s only 10 minutes to go. Just as your team spirit is running high, someone behind you spills their beer on your hair and attempts to start a fight with you.

Game over. Your high is ruined.

Don't be like this fat moron, please.

Don’t be like this fat moron, please.

For any sports fanatic, the atmosphere of a big league game mainly depends on your experience as a crowd spectator. If everyone is cheering and generally having a good time, there is a positive vibe floating around the audience setting a good mood amongst those in attendance.

There are times, however, when a select few people have too much fun, get a bit rowdy and ruin the atmosphere by causing disturbances and alcohol-fuelled brawls. The issues that affected the etiquette at league games range from people unlawfully accessing the field of play to throwing projectiles at the field and fighting amongst themselves.

South Sydney Rabbitohs fan and league enthusiast, 21-year-old Lara McKenzie, recalls an instance of aggression at a league game that extended to her 1-year-old son.

“Two drunken fans of the opposing team were cursing and such,” she said, “(they) were calling me a bad mother for dressing my son in Rabbitoh’s colours.”

Although incidents such as the streaker at the State of Origin 2013 decider do happen, which involved a naked man accessing the field in the last minutes of the game which halted a try and greatly interrupted play, the Security Manager for the Sydney Cricket Ground and Sports Ground Trust John O’grady said the crowd behaviour at Allianz Stadium has been good as of late.

“Our eviction rates for any particular offenders have been pretty low… might average 2 per match.

“We have zero tolerance for any offences committed in the venues.”

O’grady continued to say that most of these offences are generally alcohol related, whether that be from high intoxication or from unlawfully bringing alcohol in to the premises.

Compared to the crowd’s behaviour around 5 years ago, however, the etiquette at Allianz Stadium has improved according to O’grady and his staff.

“The evidence that I get from my (junior) supervisors (suggests) the crowd behaviour has essentially gotten much better,” he said.

If there were a scuffle between two or three people, it would be quite easy to ignore it and continue watching the game. However, if the scuffle involved a majority of the section, the same could not be said. These all-out melees are rare with the stricter enforcement placed in today’s society and at Allianz Stadium, O’grady says that he hasn’t encountered a situation that was out of control.

“You may have a brawl that involves 3 or 4 people but not something that occupies a whole bay. Any issue that escalates that’s probably a little bit beyond security level… police take over.

“In general terms, major incidents that cause any levels of consternation is pretty low.”

Here are a few tips on how to properly behave at an NRL game – or any sports match for that matter:
[x] You have the right to cheer as loud as you want for your team just as much as everyone else does. Starting a fight with someone just because they support the other team is petty and stupid.
[x] It’s Australian to sling back a beer or two at a footy game with a pie and chips. Just don’t drink too much that you have to be wheeled out by security.
[x] Don’t throw crap onto the field or insult/yell at the players. It’s really disrespectful to the game that you should love if you’re in attendance.
[x] Don’t streak, for god’s sake. My poor Matty Scott deserved that try.
[x] Lastly, do not wear cocktail dresses and hooker heels to footy games. You will look stupid.

It’s always important not to forget that there are people in the audience that want to watch a good game of rugby league being played. So remember: drink responsibly and keep any unnecessary comments to yourself that might incite hatred or violence.

Stay safe and go the Brisbane Broncos for 2014!

– by The Black Widow

Summer Solstice Awards 2013

No, these aren’t awards for the best tan. The Summer Solstice Awards are awards exclusive to Solstice Satisfaction for the most outstanding players in NRL for the year. 2013 has been an up-and-down year for rugby league, what with the ASADA investigations and other dramas interrupting the game, but the game still goes on. The following are categories for the inaugural Summer Solstice Awards:

Fullback of the Year
Winger of the Year
Centre of the Year
Five-eighth of the Year
Halfback of the Year
Prop of the Year
Hooker of the Year
Second Rower of the Year
Lock of the Year
Captain of the Year
Coach of the Year
One to Watch in 2014
Player of the Year

Without further ado, here are your award recipients for 2013.

Fullback of the Year
Billy Slater, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

One third of the Storm’s “Big 3”, Billy Slater has had – as per usual – an exceptional year in his role as fullback for the Melbourne Storm and also for the Queensland Maroons and Australian Kangaroos squad. His phenomenal footwork and excellent runs have rightfully earned him the title for Fullback of the Year for SolSat. See ya later Slater!
Runner up: Greg Inglis (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Winger of the Year
Sisa Waqa, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

Despite missing the first several rounds due to a hand injury, Sisa Waqa proved he was a deadly winger when he returned to the field, boasting 12 tries and 2582 metres run in the 2013 season. The #flyingfijian definitely looks to be comfortable in SolSat’s Winger of the Year position for the year.
Runner up: James McManus (Newcastle Knights)

Centre of the Year
Justin Hodges, Brisbane Broncos
Broncos_JustinHodges

Comparing his play to other centres, Justin Hodges definitely has his own unique touch to his role as centre for the Brisbane Broncos. Hodgo has a knack of busting out runs out of nowhere and he makes them look so seamlessly easy. Trying to put aside unnecessary #bronxnation bias aside, Hodgo has earned himself the right of Centre of the Year.
Runner up: Jamie Lyon (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

Five-eighth of the Year
Johnathon Thurston, North Queensland Cowboys
Cowboys_JohnathonThurston

Perhaps the most valuable player in rugby league today, there was no question in my mind that Johnathon Thurston deserved this recognition. He serves as the captain, goalkicker and playmaker for the Cowboys and in his spare time, plays the important role of father to his newborn baby. It is with great humility that I give Thurston this award for 2013.
Runner up: Kieran Foran (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

Halfback of the Year
Cooper Cronk, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

One of the most impressive players when it comes to form in 2013 is this man, Cooper (Donkey) Cronk. Acting as the key playmaker for the Storm, Cronk has been one of the key factors for the Storm’s success in recent years. I dare anyone to challenge this as I award Cooper Cronk for Halfback of the Year.
Runner up: Adam Reynolds (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Prop of the Year
Matt Scott, North Queensland Cowboys
Cowboys_MattScott

To me, a prop should be a rough powerhouse who charges into a pack of defenders with no fear and will only be brought down by two or more players. Matt Scott fits that definition to a tee and that is why I have chosen the Cowboys co-captain to be Prop of the Year for 2013.
Runner up: Sam Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Hooker of the Year
Cameron Smith, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots

In my opinion, the role of the Hooker is one of the most important in the team. It should be no surprise to anyone that the Storm, Maroons and Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith is awarded the Hooker of the Year title as he continues to prove why he is probably the greatest player in the game today.
Runner up: Jake Friend (Sydney City Roosters)

Second Rower of the Year
Sonny Bill Williams, Sydney City Roosters

Roosters_SonnyBill

Probably the main reason why the Chookies have been in top form all season is the acquisition of this man, Sonny Bill Williams. The man is known for his hard hits and his out-of-nowhere offloads, sometimes referred to as “Sonny Bill offloads”. This large brickhouse of a man takes out the Second Rower of the Year award with ease.
Runner up: Nate Myles (Gold Coast Titans)

Lock of the Year
Corey Parker, Brisbane Broncos
Broncos_CoreyParker

There was absolutely no bias in choosing Corey Parker as Lock of the Year. The Bird has reached top form in his career in 2013 with outstanding performances in both the Broncos and the Maroons squad. He continues to show why he may be one of the most underrated players in the game today and arguably the best Lock in the game.
Runner up: Paul Gallen (Cronulla Sharks)

Captain of the Year
Johnathon Thurston and Matt Scott
Cowboys_JohnathonThurston Cowboys_MattScott
As one of the many league fans who are advocates of the co-captain gimmick, I happily award the Captain(s) of the Year title to both Thurston and Scott. The Cowboys started the year in the bottom rungs of the ladder before catapulting into the top 8 and I’d like to think that is largely due to the roles Thurston and Scott played as co-captains of the squad.
Runner up: Cameron Smith (Melbourne Storm)

Coach of the Year
Craig Bellamy, Melbourne Storm
Storm_CraigBellamy
The man may be a bit aggressive at times but he knows how to get the job done, as made evident by the Storm’s steamrolling success in recent years. The intensity he takes to the game rubs off on his players well and that is why Bellamy easily earns the recognition of Coach of the Year.
Runner up: Geoff Toovey (Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles)

One to Watch in 2014
Corey Oates, Brisbane Broncos
Broncos_CoreyOates
In his handful of appearances in first grade footy for the Broncos, Corey Oates has never failed to impress me with solid performance after solid performance in his role as winger. It is clear that the 18-year-old has his whole career ahead of him and if he continues to play in 2014 like he did this year, the Broncos will be in the top 8 next year.
Runner up: George Burgess (South Sydney Rabbitohs)

Player of the Year
Cooper Cronk, Melbourne Storm
2013 Melbourne Storm Headshots
As difficult as this decision was to make, I eventually gave in and chose the man who has clearly been one of the top players in the entire NRL for 2013. The intense no-nonsense Cooper Cronk has earned the Summer Solstice award for Player of the Year in 2013. Congratulations Cooper!
Runner up: Corey Parker (Brisbane Broncos)

And there you have the first recipients for the Summer Solstice awards in 2013! As always, discussion is welcome so feel free to comment on who you thought deserved these awards. Good day, SolSatters!

– by The Black Widow

Tipping for Dummies: Round 25

Not gonna lie, I intend on making this one short and snappy so I can get my weekend started. Got a big one ahead so let’s get it kickin’… welcome to Tipping for Dummies Round 25!

Everybody's favourite "Tipping for Dummies!"

Everybody’s favourite “Tipping for Dummies!”

SolSat Prediction Count from Round 24: 4 out of 8 (50%)

Ouch. That stings.

Friday 30th August, 2013
Brisbane Broncos vs. Newcastle Knights
The Broncos are coming off a very disappointing loss against Penrith last week with our finals dreams being slimmer than ever. We are going up against cousin Fraser’s Newcastle Knights who will have to get the job down without Snowden in a very controversial suspension, putting him out for 8 weeks although they do have Mason to add to the forward pack.

SolSat’s Prediction: Brisbane Broncos

I’m picking this one based purely on heart, and my heart will forever be with the Broncos. My dreams of being in the finals are diminishing and this is our fight or die moment. The last time these two teams clashed, it ended up in a draw after stellar performances from both sides, so let’s hope that they both perform exceedingly well again, albeit with a Broncos victory.

West Tigers vs. South Sydney Rabbitohs
This is a big one for both the Tigers and the Bunnies; making his return is Tigers captain Robbie Farah whom the Tigers have badly missed. On the Bunnies side, it is the first time in nearly 100 years that four brothers have played together on the same side as Sam, Luke, Tom and George will all be playing for the Bunnies. I have a soft spot for the Burgess boys so this’ll be great.

SolSat’s Prediction: South Sydney Rabbitohs

This one’s a no brainer, really. The Bunnies have got this one in the bag unless there’s some sort of natural disaster (touch wood) that harms the Bunnies squad. I’m quite excited to see the four Burgess boys playing together. My personal favourite is Luke by the way, just in case someone holds a gun to your head and says “I’ll shoot unless you tell me who Noah’s favourite Burgess boy is”.

Saturday 31st August, 2013
New Zealand Warriors vs. Canberra Raiders
The Raiders have made all the headlines this week and not for the good reason as a personal favourite in Sandor Earl has been handed an infraction notice from ASADA (AKA the Game Ruiners) for illegal use of peptides, and Ferguson has also decided to take a runner. Will this affect the Raiders form as they take on the Warriors in New Zealand?

SolSat’s Prediction: New Zealand Warriors

I’m basing this pick solely on the media revolving around the Raiders – with all this drama going on, I don’t think they would’ve had time to solely focus on their game against the Warriors who are pretty great themselves. Therefore, I am predicting a pretty decisive victory on the Warriors’ behalf.

Canterbury Bulldogs vs. Penrith Panthers
The Doggies take on the Panthers for their second game in a row at the wonderful ANZ Stadium after their loss against the Bunnies in Round 24 last week. On the contrary, the Panthers are coming off a very decisive win against my Broncos so Kingston’s side will be looking to turn this into a streak against the Doggies.

SolSat’s Prediction: Canterbury Bulldogs

I’ve made this decision based simply on “who do I think is better between the two”. Obviously, my answer came up as the Bulldogs, who have been lurking around the top rungs of the ladder all season.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles vs. Melbourne Storm
In what may very well be a warm-up to a possible 2013 grand final, the Eagles will be playing in their home ground against the ever unstoppable Melbourne Storm. Right now I just have to make a shout out to Jason Ryles who has kept me entertained endlessly with his Ryles Files videos on Storm TV – if you haven’t checked them out yet, please do so. The man is as funny as he is large.

SolSat’s Prediction: Melbourne Storm

The Eagles are missing some of their big players from their usual starting line up so I’m backing the Storm on this one. Words are not needed to describe how in form the Storm are (that rhymed!) so this one is sure to be the game to watch this round. I will also be keeping my eye out for new SolSat favourite Jason Ryles (check out Ryles Files, these are subliminal messages).

Sunday 1st September, 2013
Cronulla Sharks vs. North Queensland Cowboys
Kicking off ye olde Fathers Day this Sunday are the Sharkies who take on the Cowboys, the latter of which have been steamrolling through competition as they have hit impeccable form. I feel sorry for the blokes who have to play on Sunday who would rather be at home with their children. Sadface.

SolSat’s Prediction: North Queensland Cowboys

I am tentatively backing the non-favourites in this game as I predict a close win for the Cowboys. As mentioned before, the Cowboys are on a winning streak and are on a mission to remain in the top 8 for the finals and I believe they can do that with a victory over the Sharkies.

Sydney City Roosters vs. Gold Coast Titans
Top team Sydney City Roosters will be looking to change their luck after a very surprising defeat at the hands of the Sharks last week as they take on the Gold Coast Titans. Now would be an appropriate time to commend Titans’ Aidan Sezer for his tremendous kicking game recently.

SolSat’s Prediction: Sydney City Roosters

Even with Sezer’s solid form, I don’t see the Titans beating the Chookies here unfortunately, as I’m sure the Titans are all wonderful men. Yes, sometimes I base my tips on my personal feelings because I am pathetic like that. But on a serious note, the Chookies have been impressive all season so I’m expecting them to take out the victory here.

Monday 2nd September, 2013
Parramatta Eels vs. St. George Illawarra Dragons
Two of the bottom teams are set to wrap up Round 25 as the Eels collide with the Dragons at Parramatta Stadium which, I need to point out, needs to fix their terrible parking pronto.

SolSat’s Prediction: St. George Illawarra Dragons

This one boiled down to the two of lesser evils as both teams have had shockers. The statistics would favour the Eels who have won all their four games at Parra Stadium but when it comes to who’s better of the two, I’m backing the Dragons. I feel for them. They need a win.

You can tell I’m passionate about my footy because I just prattled on for over 1100 words in less than ten minutes – just about footy tips. Anywho, I’m about to don my Broncos jersey with pride and HOPEFULLY they can take the win tonight against the Knights. Widow out!

– by The Black Widow

Tipping for Dummies: Round 24

This one’s going to be short seeing as I’m sick and dying in bed right now. This stupid illness is even keeping me away from the Panthers-Broncos game tonight, one that I was looking forward to attending for months. Sadface. Welcome to Tipping for Dummies, Round 24!

 

Everybody's favourite "Tipping for Dummies!"

Everybody’s favourite “Tipping for Dummies!”

 

SolSat’s Prediction Count from Round 23: 6 out of 8 (75%)

Again. Again.

Friday 23rd August, 2013
Penrith Panthers vs. Brisbane Broncos
I’m still fuming that I can’t attend this game. Anyway, the Broncos have not been defeated since those vital changes were made while the Panthers momentum has gone downhill. No major changes on either side besides Tim Grant starting for Jeremy Latimore in the front row. Can the Panthers break the Broncos positive streak?

SolSat’s Prediction: Brisbane Broncos

No. No they can’t. The Broncos are chomping at the bits to get into the finals and that hunger is shown in their recent form with notable mention going out to Hoffman who is in his element at fullback – where he should’ve been in the beginning. I will be sure to cheer my boys on from the comfort of my bed.

South Sydney Rabbitohs vs. Canterbury Bulldogs
This will be an interesting one, seeing as both teams have the same home ground so the crowd support should be pretty even. Ben Lowe starts as lock for the suspended Jeff Lima on the Bunnies side and Tony Williams has been named to start in the second row on the Doggies side.

SolSat’s Prediction: South Sydney Rabbitohs

With the reinvigoration of getting Inglis and Sutton back, the Bunnies are back in top shape and will make good work of the Doggies. I don’t think the Doggies are too sure of themselves with the frequent changes to their side in recent weeks. Either way, this will be a bloody good one.

Saturday 24th August, 2013
St. George Illawarra Dragons vs. West Tigers
These two teams have had their finals dreams dashed a while ago but a win’s a win and both teams would definitely be gunning for the victory here. I’m still not over Matt Cooper retiring from footy… I just don’t wanna talk about it.

SolSat’s Prediction: St. George Illawarra Dragons

I think this is the first time I’ve predicted a Dragons win. Either way, in terms of better form, I’m going with the Dragons on this one. While both teams haven’t been great this season, the choice of the lesser evil of the two, the Dragons should win this one in a close bout. Especially considering Benji’s half-arsed performances as of late.

Gold Coast Titans vs. New Zealand Warriors

Meanwhile, in Queensland, the Gold Coast Titans take on the Warriors. On the Titans side, Albert Kelly returns from injury and slots back into his no.7 jersey, putting Sezer to five-eigth and Harrison back on lock. On the Warriors side, Ropati returns to the wing, Elijah Taylor moves to the second row and Todd Lowrie starts at lock. Both teams are hoping that these changes will prove vital to a victory.

SolSat’s Prediction: Gold Coast Titans

The Warriors who had incredible momentum in the middle of the season seemed to have died down recently, with less than stellar performances. The Titans on the other hand have been in excellent form recently and I see them taking the win here in a close match.

North Queensland Cowboys vs. Newcastle Knights
Another Queensland team that have their sights set on the finals and seem to be doing a pretty good job at getting there are the Cowboys who take on the Knights. The Cowboys are coming off a 12 point lead victory over the Titans while the Knights are coming off a loss against the Storm.

SolSat’s Prediction: North Queensland Cowboys

The Cowboys have been on a steamroller recently while the Knights have had a pretty tame season. As I said before, the Cowboys are as hungry as their rivals for a finals spot and that alone will lead them to victory over the Knights.

Sunday 25th August, 2013
Canberra Raiders vs. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
The Raiders have made a lot of changes to their side; Paul Vaughan and Shaun Berrigan will start pushing Joel Edwards and Glen Buttriss back to the bench. In saying that, Manly has made none. Both teams were on the losing end of the scales last week. Which team will change that momentum with a victory?

SolSat’s Prediction: Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

One of the top contenders for the premiership would have to be the Eagles and that alone is the reason why I am predicting a Manly win. With exceptional players like Foran and Cherry-Evans on their side, I see them decisively taking the victory against the Raiders.

Melbourne Storm vs. Parramatta Eels
The team favoured to win the premiership takes on the team favoured to win the wooden spoon. The Storm haven’t made any changes to their side while the Eels haven’t named Hayne on their side.

SolSat’s Prediction: Melbourne Storm

Too easy to call. I see the Storm pulling out an easy victory here despite their tendency to be mismatched against the lower teams. Nothing more to say to that.

Monday 26th August, 2013
Cronulla Sharks vs. Sydney City Roosters
Both teams are coming off victories last week as the Sharks defeated the Dragons and the Roosters absolutely smashed the Tigers with a 42 point lead victory. On the Sharks side, Wade Graham returns in the second row and Andrew Fifita starts. On the Chookies side, Mitchell Aubusson moves to the centre and Aidan Guerra starts on the second row. Both Sharkies and Chookies are hoping to continue their uphill stride to the finals with a victory here.

SolSat’s Prediction: Sydney City Roosters

It may be too early to say but I see the Chookies making the grand final. Their form has been untouchable all season while the Sharkies have been up and down and that is why I see a Rooster’s victory to close up Round 24.

As always, here’s to a good round of footy and especially to a Broncos win tonight against the Panthers. I’m still burning that I won’t be able to go!

– by The Black Widow