|Tyrone Roberts was MIA, regardless of what the Late Mail said.|
Having built an impressive body of work in character-driven dramas from 1985-1995, including a Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas, Nicolas Cage seemingly decided to steer away from intense method acting roles, instead growing a series of weird hairdos and churning out a multitude of D-grade action movies like Drive Angry, Season of the Witch, Knowing and Ghost Rider. While Cage is often criticized for not pursuing Academy Awards, he still gets to cash eight-figure cheques and perhaps not devote as much time and effort to each role, and most of his movies are still big box office successes anyway.
Well like Cage's career, there comes a point in every serious NRL Dreamteamer's season when he/she makes the tough decision to forfeit any challenge to the overall rankings and instead just focus on their head-to-head leagues and the eliminator. Sure, you may not be able to win the car and bragging rights over 83,076 other players, but at least you don't have to pump in as many painstaking hours around the bye weeks and you can still make some easy cash if you placed pre-season wagers with your league mates. Well, for me and my team Gobias Industries, this point was precisely 5:30pm on Saturday, 18th June. For those still in the hunt for the FJ Cruiser, I will try and retroactively chronicle all the significant moments that led to this decision*, in the hope that you can perhaps see the warning signs in the future and not feel a sense of monumental failure like I currently do.
* I had originally intended to film an hour long interview for ESPN regarding my decision, but it appears I was beaten by a bloke in the States who thought of this ingenious idea 11 months ago. I suppose now Lebron can say he at least won something this year. Too soon, Miami fans?
Friday, 10th June: Round 13 Lockout
Despite the early season benchings of Sam Rapira and Shaun Fensom, as well as Simon Mannering and Matt Prior's unexpected shift into the centres, Gobias Industries is sitting pretty in 22nd place overall with $175,000 in the kitty and 15 trades remaining. Just prior to lockout I flirt with the idea of bringing in a basement-cheap Corey Norman for Beau Henry, however I decide to save the trade since Henry will start in round 17 anyway.
Saturday the 11th June: Titans announce Henry signing
For the second time in 12 months, Wayne Bennett forces the 2010 Toyota Cup Player of the Year out of his club for the following season, with Beau Henry joining the Gold Coast effective immediately. My master plan of keeping him for round 17 falls apart like Lebron in crunch time, since the Titans have the bye then. If they had announced the signing 18 hours earlier, Gobias Industries would have offered Corey Norman a contract and cleared him to play in round 13.
Sunday, 12th June: Things start to fall apart
Norman sends a big eff-you to Gobias Industries management with not only a massive 51 points, but also a victory over my beloved Raiders. Across the ditch, Lewis Brown is outscored by even Krisnan Inu, while James Maloney has forgotten how to tackle AND kick goals.
Monday, 13th June: Bellamy botches interchange rule
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves puts a huge shot on Gobias Industries' Adam Woolnough, while Frank-Paul Nu'uausala is placed on report for a proceeding swinging arm. Thinking he had earned a free interchange, Craig Bellamy mistakenly substitutes Woolnough 5-10 minutes earlier than usual. The interchange is eventually stripped from the Storm, and Woolnough doesn't play another minute. At this stage I am beginning to feel cursed like Red Sox fans from 1918-2004.
Tuesday, 14th June: Post-lockout and round 14 teams announced
Gobias Industries slips nine places to 31st overall. Tyrone Roberts is named to start at 5/8 for Newcastle, and at $94000 is set to see large price rises - especially if he replicates the 32 that he produced last start against the Warriors (with a now injured Mullen doing all the kicking back then). Of greater concern is Glen Fisiiahi's return for the Warriors, as he will now replace the solid Jack Reed as Lowest Scorer in Case of an Emergency. And with scores of 2 and 6 on his resume, that is a terrifying thought, especially after the Luke MacDougal Emergency Fiascos of 2010 (let's not go there).
Having a player like Fisiiahi in your squad is like going to a nightclub with an ex who is still keen on you, only she looks like George Rose*. You would much rather try your luck with the elite, attractive women at the club, but if something goes wrong she will jump in and unsuccessfully try to fill the void.
* I don't have any ex's that look like George Rose.
Friday, 17th June: Trading Day
Corey Parker is scratched from the Brisbane-Saints showdown after failing to recover from niggles sustained in Origin II. Since Tyrone Roberts should see about a $40k price rise by round 17, I decide to take a big gamble and trade Henry for him now and hope he outscores Reed and Woolnough (which is likely for a starting half). The late mail provided by the Daily Telegraph, Sportsnewsfirst, nrl.com, Peter Sterling, Twitter and individual club websites say the Knights' only concerns are with the fitness of James McManus and Dan Tolar. I bring Roberts in as fourth reserve, along with Nathan Smith for Lewis Brown.
Saturday, 18th June: The Decision
I tune into Fox Sports 2 to see some bloke called Ryan Stigg confidently striding out onto Ausgrid Stadium as a "late" replacement for Tyrone Roberts. I briefly wonder if it's physically possible to fly to Townsville and kidnap Fisiiahi before his kickoff, but instead just decide to sit through the horrendous Knights-Penrith game, filled with penalties and Nathan Smith errors. Post game, the Stigg reveals he knew he would be playing on Tuesday. Tuesday! Either Rick Stone is as helpful as Johnny Tightlips when asked about team news, or our Late Mail providers are about as competent as these guys.
Fisiiahi gets torn to shreds by Kalifi Faifai Loa, and is lucky to score 11 points. If they subtracted points for atrocious reads in defense, the Fish would have scored about -25. The Warriors decide to abandon long range kicking in the second half in exchange for low percentage chip-and-chase plays, and Maloney scores just 10 fantasy points. I spend the rest of the night moping around like Tobias when George Michael took his hard-boiled eggs.
So that's how Corey Parker, Beau Henry, Wayne Bennett, Rick Stone, Tyrone Roberts, Peter Sterling and Glen Fisiiahi all inadvertedly combined to obliterate the countless hours of hard work I have devoted to acheiving Dreamteam glory since early February. Like Nick Cage, I will now spend my time in the D-grade action-adventure world of league play and eliminator showdowns. That's if I don't light myself on fire first...