The Network

The Network
This blog is no longer updated. Please click the picture to hop across to The Network

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Battle of the Coaches

To-night is an historic event in Rugby League as the Broncos play the Storm at Olympic Park in Sydney.

If Wayne Bennett's Broncos can overcome minor premiers Melbourne, he will become the most successful coach in premiership history. Bennett's five premierships (1992, '93, '97, '98 and 2000) equal St George legend Ken Kearney and super coach Jack Gibson.

This is at the heart of the dilemma in Miss Eagle's Household. Our Queensland origins mean that Wayne sits high in our hearts. We love and respect him as we do few individuals. Miss Eagle and Herself think he is a wonderful role model in life. Miss Eagle loves Mrs Lockyer's boy Dazza and to-night is the farewell - win, lose or draw - of that wonderful stalwart, the grand old man of the Broncos, Shane Webcke. How wonderful it would be to send Shane out on a grand final high after years of sterling service. Miss Eagle always pictures Webcke as a man of broad shoulders backing up the team and keeping it upstanding in the face of tremendous assaults.

Then there is the Storm. This team gets Miss Eagle and Herself where they live - in Melbourne. Craig Bellamy coaches the Storm. A win by the storm to-night will set Craig on the path to super-coachdom. He has worked miracles at the Storm. This year the Storm have topped the ladder at 44, losing only 4 games. They are Minor Premiers. The also swept all before them at the NRL's Dally M Awards with Craig named Coach of the Year; Cameron Smith crowned Player of the Year; and everyone's favourite Cooper Kronk named Five-eighth of the Year.

Not only will Bellamy and the Storm do themselves and Melbourne proud if they defeat the Broncos to-night, it will also be proof of Bennet's influence since Bellamy had been Assistant Coach to Bennett at the Broncos, and - prior to that - Assistant Coach to that other great Queenslander, Mal Meninga, at the Canberra Raiders.

Now if all this is not enough to trouble Melbournians who love Broncos, then there is the fact that the Storm is riddled with Queenslanders: Billy Slater (be still Miss Eagle's beating heart), Cameron Smith, Antonio Kaufusi, Dallas Johnson, Cooper Cronk, Nathan Friend, Michael Crocker, Jake Webster (the only Melbourne born player) spent his formative years in Queensland, Sam Tagataese (began his Australian career in Queensland), Jeremy Smith, Dennis Scott, Smith Samau, Greg Inglis, and Scott Anderson. Out the thirty young men in the 2006 Squad, 14 are from Queensland. Is it any wonder that a Broncos v Storm game causes tremors in this household.

Herself is in denial. She doesn't want to know. Everything stopped last weekend for her and both the Broncos and the Storm are winners. Miss Eagle will watch every second of the match on television to-night - barracking for Mel-bun; Mel-bun; Mel-bun but carrying Brisbane in her heart every inch of the way.