Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Harrigan, William

1. Litigious, arrogant ex-referee. Legend in his own opinion. World's first superstar referee, he says. Now makes his decisions from the safety of the video booth and continues to glory in the nickname 'Hollywood'

2. Descriptive term for a vain, narcissistic, arrogant individual. "I'm not surprised lots of people liked it when Naseem Hamed got beat up by Marco Antonio Barrera. He was too Harrigan by half".

Club Call

1. Super League innovation/gimmick (delete as applicable) whereby the highest ranked semi-finalist gets to pick their opponents from the previous week's qualifiers for the chance to go to the Grand Final and always results in the pickers picking the side they'd have ended up with anyway had the system not been introduced.

2. A complete and utter waste of time and energy. "I spent all day trying to nail some jelly to the wall. What a Club Call that was".

Vautin, Paul

Australian international back-row forward of the 1980s turned pundit and presenter of Channel 9's The Footy Show. Nicknamed 'Fatty' and 'the Fat Man', he's probably more known for taking 'that fucking catch' in an Allan Border testimonial cricket match than anything he did on the footy field:


The act of being hit in the head with the ball whilst not looking as demonstrated by Matt Utai in this clip:

See also Fenech, Mario

Fenech, Mario

The Maltese Falcon. Once famously hit in the head with the ball during play whilst not looking, a move forever to be known as a Falcon.


Nickname forever to be associated with ignominious failure. See also North Sydney and Oldham.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Sporadically successful club (relatively speaking) who managed to alienate most of their core support by abandoning their central location in exchange for an athletics field in the middle of a retail complex.


See also Boyd, Les


Home of Cougarmania and the town where the mayor was forced to resign after nicking money out of player's wage packets in late 2011.

Jackson, Peter

Hugely talented but deeply troubled Australian stand-off/centre. Capped nine times by his country and known as a happy-go-lucky 'Clown Prince of League', he died way, way too young in 1997, aged just 33.

Inglis, Greg

Freakishly large Australian powerhouse. Tends to run through rather than round people.

Zisti, Nicolas

Australian winger who had an unhappy and not-very-fondly remembered spell with Bradford in Super League before fecking off to pick up a pension courtesy of the Italian rugby union.


Subject of ridicule in the 1970s with the longest losing streak ever seen at the time. Went to the Dogs, literally, went to the house of pain before settling for a nice council house next to a lake.

Video referee

Late '90s innovation to provide the on-field referee some valuable help in making decisions regarding tries. Largely successfully deployed - to the point at which rugby union thought it was a good plan and claimed it as their own - but crucially not present at every game meaning that a maximum of three games in a Super League round have the facility and the others do not. So not only are games in Australia and Europe played to different rules, games within Europe's top league are played to different rules depending whether the host broadcaster decides to televise your game or not.

Grey areas

1. Items of which there are too many in the current set of rules which makes the role of the referee far too important in terms of deciding the outcome of a game. Still, as long as berating a referee makes fans blinder to the shortcomings and inadequacies of their own team and fosters feelings of bias against ones favoured side by particular officials eh?

2. The sides of Jamie Peacock's head.


Stadium in Bradford with it's own micro-climate. It's been known to have three-yard visibility due to fog there when locals just half a mile down the road are basking in their gardens in glorious sunshine and getting a barbecue going.


1. Rugby League International Federation. Organisation that ought to be in control of the game worldwide, but isn't. Nobody is clear as to it's actual purpose and, as it's made up of RFL and NRL officials, seems to be little more than a rubber-stamping exercise on whatever those two organisations decide will happen.

2. Anything that is utterly toothless. "Dave got smashed in the face by that big, ugly prop of theirs. Now he's RLIF and looking at a £400 denture bill".


Set of instructions on how to play the game for which you'd think one body/committee/organisation would have control of. Not so, hence we have the two major leagues in the world playing to different regulations and the international game played to an unhappy compromise between the two.

Under, Up and

1. Archaic term for a high kick in general play, superceded by 'bomb', much beloved of Eddie Waring.

2. John Godber play about the game that was turned into an execrable film notable only for featuring Samantha Janus in the nip.

October 3

Rangi Chase Day in the UK. The day in 2011 that he decided he was British and won the Man of Steel award.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Darren Lockyer - an appreciation

Last weekend, one of the true greats of the sport played his last game of club rugby. Pretty soon, he'll play his last few games for his country and the British public will have one more chance to fully appreciate their nemesis over the last decade and more. The gravel-voiced genius that is Darren Lockyer is retiring.

Like with many Australians in many sports who had been an absolute menace to English sides, at one stage it became fashionable to boo Lockyer. The turning point may have been the first Tri-Nations final at Elland Road where he orchestrated one of the most scintillating 80 minutes of rugby seen on these shores. Finally, the realisation came that we were in the presence of a very special talent. Gradually, the realisation grew that we might not see him so often any more and that this incredible player should have his artistry cherished.

He started as a full-back, of course, but was always so much more than that. It was basically a holding role in order to get him on the field until he assumed the mantle of the greatest modern-era stand-off. For Brisbane - his only professional club - Queensland and Australia, he's led by example. He's never in the papers for the wrong reasons - and we see on a regular basis the activities of other RL stars across the Aussie press - and nobody has a bad word to say about him. A marked man throughout his career, he took the knocks, he bounced up and came back for more.

Through his career, Wayne Bennett was a major influence, as highlighted here. It's easy to think that Lockyer will go into coaching and be every bit the nemesis of England off the field as he was on it. If his teams are built in his own idiom, future coaches of England had better stock up on the aspirin as he'll be causing plenty of headaches in future.

Chase, Rangi

British stand-off born in the beautiful Leicestershire market town of Tamaki-nui-a-Rua.

Elland Road

Wholly inadequate stadium in Leeds that once doubled as Hunslet's home after their Parkside home was demolished. The traditional way to address the bloke nearest you at Hunslet's games there was to shout "OOOIIIIIII!!!!" at the top of your voice.


Unlikely name for a rugby league player, yet when attached to the surname 'Pongia', produced one of the hardest, nastiest bastards ever to play the game.


System of attempting to keep the number of overseas players in British rugby down. Has more holes in it than your average block of Emmental.

Luck, Micheal

Australian back-row forward who plays for NZ Warriors in the NRL and whose parents can't spell.

Sunday, 2 October 2011


Short-lived late-1990s experiment to try to draw crowds to Lawkholme Lane in Keighley by putting on non-rugby events; bouncy castles, face painting and the like. Spirit kept alive today by Bradford. Everyone else thinks it's naff.

Super League

Competition in Europe that comprises 27 weeks of regular league fixtures and a month of play-offs in order to decide that Leeds play St Helens in the final.