Internationals Hilarious article


By the usually crap Chris Rattue

First the dance panel, then 'Waltzing Matilda'


The most eagerly awaited league test between the Kiwis and Kangaroos in many years is upon us and the build-up has involved some of the most sensational match-ups in the history of the game.

Here we analyse the big hits ...

The Kiwis versus the judiciary

It strikes on the eve of every test match, throwing the Kiwis’ plans into disarray by putting a key player off-limits. And true to form, it’s happened again. Only this time, it’s not the NRL judiciary but the So You Think You Can Dance judging panel.

Shontayne Hape, a star of the Kiwis’ Tri-Nations drubbing of Australia last year, is unavailable because his wife Liana Hape - a judge on the TV reality programme - has travelled to England to be with him while the show has a break.

Worse still, much worse, this resulted in tango-lingo entering league terminology when initial stories referred to Liana as Shontayne’s "partner".

Whatever next? Players twirling through tackles? One shudders to think.

On the serious matter at hand, league can probably be forgiven, just this once, for failing to notice the clash with the reality dance show off-season.

But in future it will be expected to scour the TV Guide more closely when sorting out the test schedule.

Meanwhile, excited television bosses are considering using the incident as the basis for a new sports-stars-at-home series called So You Think You Can Be A Kiwi.

David Solomona versus the British Home Office

Solomona is blaming himself, and so he should, after sending his passport away to the Home Office a month ago to get a visa renewed and finding that it has not been returned in time for him to travel to the Anzac test.

He also discovered that the Home Office staff are "quite rude".

Veterans at this game could have told Solomona that you allow a month for things like lining up at an English Post Office or catching a bus, and a good six months for more serious matters like getting anything back from a British Government department.

As for staff being rude, he’s just lucky that he didn’t ring up on a Friday afternoon to ask for his passport back.

Solomona would have copped a right earful then - if anyone had been around to answer the phone.

Reports revealed that the New Zealand High Commission in London tried to speed up the process, although subsequent information suggests that there weren’t any suitable wine and cheese functions available where officials could make contact with their British counterparts.

The high commission has sent the New Zealand Rugby League a schedule of diplomatic parties which might help them decide when to arrange future test matches.

Still, in these times of crisis it’s always good to look on the bright side, and Solomona will always be able to reflect with pride and say that he actually found someone at the New Zealand High Commission.

Mark Gasnier versus a host of former Aussie league greats (except for Ricky Stuart)

Stuart seemed to stand alone among recent Australian league legends in not damning Gasnier for negotiating with rugby during the build-up to the test.

This may have something to do with Stuart also being the Australian coach. Former players such as Brett Kenny and Wayne Pearce reckoned the selectors should build for the future if they knew Gasnier wouldn’t be around.

What future they are talking about isn’t quite clear.

Maybe Australia has an important series against Moldova coming up or the Outer Hebrides are about to tour and Kenny and Pearce saw the test against the Kiwis as an ideal chance to blood new players.

Anyway, Stuart clearly realises that Australian league’s head-honchos will remain loyal to him if he wins the test match and has decided - quite sensibly - to pick his best team. The Anzac test match versus history The match will be most eagerly awaited by those who were originally eagerly anticipating it on Anzac Day, or even Anzac week.

The promoters have long revelled in the historical factor and the ability to link images of conflict and courage to the game’s premier test match.

But the Anzac test is on a dangerous slide towards becoming the Queen’s Birthday test.

The advertising men are expected to launch a counter-offensive to return the Anzac test to its rightful place.

Otherwise, if the trend continues, they might face an impossible task using images of players walking corgis and doing little window-cleaner waves to the crowd.

Ben Kennedy and Andrew Johns versus the rule book

There was only ever going to be one winner here. Kennedy and Johns have hopped out of representative retirement to make farewell test appearances against the Kiwis but without wanting to meet the requirement that they also be available for the State of Origin series.

Getting around the rule book has never been a tough ask for Australian league. The Aussies should thank their lucky stars they don’t face really tough opponents like the British Home Office or the So You Think You Can Dance judging panel.

Karmichael Hunt versus an Aussie tabloid (and friends)

As if it’s not enough having Benji Marshall ringing you up all the time, telling you to be a Kiwi, Hunt’s now got the major Sydney tabloid on his case.

"How Can You Sing Aussie Anthem" was its headline yesterday, after Bronco Hunt replaced the injured Kangaroo star Anthony Minichiello.

An inability to sing the national anthem, or anything else, hasn’t prevented legions of young men playing international sport in the past, so it seems a bit rough to pick on Hunt over this issue.

Our very own Graham Lowe reckoned: "It’s up to him whether he can put his hand on his heart and sing the national anthem."

This type of co-ordination shouldn’t be an issue either, although most players are far better at the hand-on-heart part than the singing-slash-groaning bit.

I’m with Gary Freeman on this. Let the bloke make up his own mind about which anthem he wants to sing.

And there must have been grave concerns over Hunt’s ability to sing the New Zealand anthem anyway if he had chosen to be eligible for the Kiwis. After all, how many kids would continue to practise the New Zealand anthem after turning up in Brisbane at the age of 11?

I suspect, most strongly, that Karmichael is severely short on practice when it comes to God of Nations ...

It also means he has had eight good years to learn the Aussie anthem and would have had a crash course on the subject during the recent Commonwealth Games. If he still can’t remember the words, then Hunt could always ring up Brent Webb, the Kiwis’ Australian fullback, who should still be able to remember them fairly well having sorted out his allegiance only at the age of 24.

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