October 6, 2014 by dixwah
It’s not just the day after yesterday, it’s the day after the Grand Final. Life has changed, things are different now. Here’s what went down.
My Grand Final day started in the Hunter Valley on un-GF-related business. I was up there for a wedding. There was the inevitable risk of playing my grand final early, but from what I remember, and the anecdotes since, apart from that side-crawling effort on the DF (I love a pre-GF DF), and the simultaneous skol from two different bottles of wine, I kept things in check. I was a Groomsmen after all, I needed to be responsible-like.
The trip back to GF City was uneventful, with the standard talkback radio brilliance from Johns, Kent, Anasta and Walters.
Best on ground was Anasta. “Receiving a tribute from the Bulldogs this year just proves rugby league is the Greatest Game Of All.”
Spot on Braith, hear, hear. Long may your media career continue.
I was getting nervous. It’s a big thing. If Souths won the GF in the Greatest Game Of All, we would undoubtedly be the Greatest Team In The History Of The Universe.
I settled by anonymously pranking a few mates like an NRL talkback caller. George from Kogarah, Charlie from Punchbowl, that sort of stuff. If there’s one thing Beau Ryan has proven, it’s that racial stereotyping still works wonders within the Greatest Game Of All.
On returning to GF City for the Greatest Game in the Greatest Game Of All, the next task was synchronising transport.
Jess was with me, and with the heat making the walk from Concord West a sweaty proposition (don’t play GF early v2.0), we aligned with Re Lax to take the Burgess Express.
A Crown Lager later and we were on our way inside GF Stadium.
Inside the ground, I caught up with Nashy, who’d come from Toronto (nb. the one near America, not the one near the Hunter Valley), strictly for the game.
If Souths became the Greatest Team Of All, and Nashy continued as the Greatest Rabbitohs Fan Of All, that would make him, like, Usain Bolt-style awesome.
It was then time for the pre-game entertainment. Fire up! And who better to fire up 80,000 people than Slush, who the announcer said was the second best guitarist in 1985 when he played for Bon Jovi or something. Yes please!
AFL can have their Tom Joneseses. Slush is simply rugby league.
And the guy was off the hook. Apparently he used to just be a guitarist, but now he plays drums and sings as well, all the same time. Without moving his mouth. He stepped up in true GF style.
With the crowd already whipped into a frenzy, discussion turned to who would be next? If someone as awesome as Slush was just the entrée, the main course would have to be epic.
Just as we’d settled on Nickelback ahead of The Mavis’s, we were given a special treat.
If Drops of Jupiter doesn’t get the blood pumping, you my friend are a stone. A heartless stone.
It was obvious to the musician amongst us that Jess and I were delerious.
What’s this? YOU ARE NOT RINGING THE BELL?
This was our time. I needed to get on my TAB account and put Jackson’s car on the Bunnies. Unfortunately GF Stadium didn’t have GF-quality wifi. A missed opportunity.
The game is a bit of a blur. It was tight there after Williams scored, a few ‘oh no’ moments, a few send off chants to James Graham, before we said ta-ta Doggies with three tries in the last six minutes.
The emotion was unbelievable. Auvaa’s try made us think we might have it, Reynolds’s sealed our first Premiership in 43 years, and GI’s runaway just solidified the numbing sense of euphoria.
SOUTH SYDNEY HAD DONE IT!
Once Sammy had taken his medal, Johnny had lifted the trophy, and Lote had just kept walking around the ground, it was time to head to the ‘Fern.
Redfern was an eclectic mix of those who had definitely ‘played their grand final’, locals trying to guard their cars and others, like me, who just sort of wandered like dipshits with a look of disbelief.
I don’t know if it would be the same if we had won competitions regularly. For me, it’s the years (and years) of pain that made winning the Greatest Game in the Greatest Game Of All the greatest day ever.