The simple game played by some even simpler people needs a special solution

So playing in the State of Origin is on top of Tweets Dugan’s bucket list is it? Well, knock me over with a six-pack of stupidity.  Was that the same bucket Tweets and Blake the Shake Ferguson were chilling the champagne bottles in at the 2230 Bar while the Shake was seeking love in all the wrong places.  And look call me old school, but slugging down directly from bottle, a couple of gallons of Merde de la Vigne in a public place, when you have been given the honour of representing your state is a bloody disgrace. 

According to the Illawarra Mercury Blake Ferguson was congratulating Josh Dugan on his return to State of Origin via twitter nine minutes after Dr George Peponis announced the team.  Ferguson channeling twin influences of Shakespeare and Snoop Dog, tweeted; “Congrats to big joshy Dugan very happy for you bra 🙂 @Josh_Dugan #wereback,” By 6.30pm the former teammates were at Northies, the popular nightspot in Sydney’s south, and were happily posing for photographs. Shortly after 10pm, they had made their way to 2230 Restaurant and Bar, where they were seen drinking champagne straight from the bottle. What then happened will be for the courts to decide and despite Blake’s obviously excited mood he deserves not to be judged until all the facts are in.  

What can be judged is the level of stupidity these two serial clowns have demonstrated over the last six months.  Is it simply a case of young, dumb and full of rum or is it more?  Is it a case of ingrained arrogance in certain players that is fed by sycophantic player managers and clubs and recruiters who don’t want to lose the chance of snaring a fallen player or alienating a talented one?

Apart from Shake and Tweets wine tasting adventures in the last two weeks we have had Cowboy and Blues player, James Toot-Toot-Tamou, without a licence and gut full of grog driving pissed in Townsville followed by George Beagle Burgess tossing the caber in public. The 21-year-old George Beagle, one of four Beagle brothers has been charged with two counts of wilful damage after he allegedly threw a street sign through the rear window of a vehicle following post-match celebrations in the Cairns suburb of Redlynch early on Monday morning. A contrite Beagle barked; “I acknowledge that I am a role model for kids and I will do everything I can to restore my reputation through working harder in the community.” One has to ask – what community would want any of these dumb, useless clumps contaminating their space and what could they actually add to the community? Perhaps they could be melted down to make speed humps?

The sport was in crisis. It was obvious then that the movers and shakers in the NRL had to come up with a solution. Wait. Wheels are spinning, cogs are engaging, there is movement as the mighty intellect of the NRL dices and slices. Yes and the winner is! BODYGUARDS. Well I’ll be slowly poked in the eye with a corner post. Why didn’t we think of it? The way to stop this bad bevaviour is to give players their own bodyguard. But where do we stop and don’t security guys have a rather poor record in the restraint stakes?

Manly chief David Smarts Perry was not at the club the last time the Sea Eagles hired a bodyguard to protect the players in public but believes security measures should be considered. ”I think the NRL should look at all options,” he said. Well Smarts, I think in the light of the Manly fans alleged racial abuse of Bulldog’s players and one family member last week I think it is reasonable that you look at bodyguards for everyone attending Fortress Brookvale.

Bulldogs boss and future NRL head of football Todd Lettuce Greenberg was a voice of reason, as usual, when he said bodyguards were not the answer. ”No, I don’t think that really addresses the issue, to be honest,” he said. ”I think it’s personal accountability. I’ve done that with the Bulldogs over a number of years, and it’s about holding our players to a certain standard.” Sadly there appears to be no standards.

Phil Gus Gould believes that errant players are far too easily able to sign up to another club in the same year after lapses of madness. I agree with Gus. Ditch them. There are plenty of other players willing to play the game rather than playing up.

So I have a solution that allows for redemption but imposes standards. It’s called the Urine Solution and it sets clear standards of expected behaviour. When an NRL player gets on the piss and gets pissed or pisses in public, drives pissed, treats people piss poor, they themselves will be pissed off. They will be pissed off to far flung places on the planet where local rugby league teams will welcome them with open arms. They will play a season for teams like the Tumubarumba Greens, the Bidgee Bulls, the Moree Porkchoppers, the Guyra Supa Spuds or the Berry Magpies. They’ll be paid match payments only and will have to have a full-time job locally for a year. And then – only then if they can actually behave like a decent human being they will be accorded the privilege of returning to play in the NRL.

It’s a simple solution. It has to be.

Young, dumb and too full of rum – our State of Drunkenness?

Police groups, crime statisticians and a few intelligent politicians rightly say we need to clean up this whole drunken mess that’s turning our streets into war zones.  We have had successful trials in Newcastle, Grafton and Wagga Wagga that have dramatically reduced the alcohol-related crime and violence.  But what have O’Farrell and the previous Labor numbskulls done?

They have done nothing.  They continue to sit on their flaccid fat arses influenced by gold-chained lobbyists while the over-drunk create fountains of vomit and blood in our streets.

Let’s make it perfectly clear, I have been known to throw golden throat charmers down my gullet as if Prohibition was coming at midnight so I do not speak from the moral high ground of a casual restrained drinker.  Sadly I have also witnessed and recoiled in places of drinking from the sickening dull thud as alcohol fuelled fists thump into the marrow and bone of a lesser combatant.

In a week where the disturbing Four Corners program, Punch Drunk highlighted the incredible personal tragedy and social cost of drunkenness we are yet to hear from the Australian Hotel Association (AHA).   This defender of watering holes and shady taverns has both state and federal governments recoiling in fear anytime someone decides to embark on some responsible legislative agenda to regulate the alcohol and gaming industry.

In a wonderfully detailed story over a year ago in the Sunday Telegraph, journalist, Jane Hansen detailed the intense lobbying and hectoring influence the AHA has had over past and present governments.  The AHA dismissed it as a “sensationalised piece”. Hansen details the plus $800,000 in 2008 and $500,000 plus in late 2010 that the group paid to political parties.  Hansen goes onto detail the links between the AHA and the State Liberal Party.

”Less than a year after the O’Farrell government was elected, the AHA has already locked on. At least two Liberal Party executives are on the AHA payroll including the AHA NSW Branch’s newly-appointed Chief Executive, Paul Nicolaou and former state Liberal Minister, Michael Photios.”

It is also interesting to examine the two-way trough between AHA and other groups apart from ex-politicians who seem to be doing very nicely in the apocalyptic swill.  British American Tobacco, Tabcorp and Pokie manufacturers tip into the AHA till year after year. Concerned about the unbridled influence of industry groups beating an easy path to government ICAC published a November 2010 report, Investigation into Corruption Risks involved in Lobbying. It stated;

“That lobbying attracts widespread community perceptions of corruption, and involves a number of corruption risks. A lack of transparency in the current lobbying regulatory system in NSW is a major corruption risk, and contributes significantly to public distrust.”

Well aren’t ICAC a funny lot.  They worry over the slightest issue.  For example I think we didn’t need to worry when at a AHA fundraiser in March 2009 the bloke who then ran Scruffy Murphy’s (Sydney) allegedly paid $70K for a dinner with O’Farrell.  That was alright, Barry’s a straight shooter (oh dear that’s another problem isn’t it?).

But no one is willing to step out of line against the AHA.  Everyone except the Greens seems to be gutless in this state.

If you are not convinced about our “State of drunkenness” just head down to the Quay end of George Street, near where Hammer Hemmes has built his grog shacks, late on any Friday or Saturday night.  You’ll see the result of twenty plus years of industry influence and the resultant gutlessness inaction of a series of lard-arsed, unprincipled politicians.