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I'm happy that Canterbury-Bankstown won the NRL grand final last night. Not so much for the club as for the fans. Most of the fans. The Doggies came from 13-6 down at half-time to lead 16-13 and hold off a late Roosters surge to win. Kicking a field goal in the first half and then losing by less than a try, yes wasn't that smart?

Willie Mason won the Clive, and good luck to him after a pretty rough year. It would have been nice to have seen Steve Mortimer and George Peponis, two legends of the club who got chewed up in the Coffs Harbour debacle, joining in the celebrations, but not to be.

Anyway, pre-game entertainment. Chris Isaak seems to have avoided the Curse that befell entertainment at past grand finals. If only Grinspoon had fallen victim. Katie Noonan performed the national anthem (goodness me, the george website is done in PostNuke. I'm impressed), but her fragile acoustic approach seemed a bit lost in the bowels of the cavernous Stadium Australia.

I'll leave the discussion of the game to others, and just make two other comments about pre and post-game events.
Cultural cringe moments. Chris Isaak's very presence in the grand final pre-game show is one. Why do we need the Chris Isaaks, the Billy Idols, the Tom Joneses, the Meat Loaves of the world at these events? Cultural cringe moment number two, after the game when the Canterbury players dumped a vat of Gatorade over coach Steve Folkes. Another Super Bowl tradition that we don't need.

At the very least, let's have some Australian content to replace these foreign influences. It would be great to have, say, Frenzal Rhomb on stage performing "Thirteen Boys All Dressed In Blue" for a live worldwide audience. Or maybe the surviving members of the chorus from the 1972 ALP "It's Time" ads doing a medley of political jingles over the years, with a guest appearance by Renee Geyer singing "Turn on the Lights, Australia" (Liberal Party, 1975).

Speaking of elections, Australians are ready. Mark Latham is ready. He told us so during every bloody commercial break. Goodness knows how much of the Labor Party's campaign funds got burned up on advertising time during one of the major television events of the year.

And who presented the Telstra Cup (which is really a statue) to first-time Bulldogs captain Andrew Ryan? Not who you'd expect, thanks primarily to the protocols of electioneering. It was the Governor-General of Australia. Remember him? Go to this item if you can't remember his name. It seems he only comes out of mothballs when the President of the Australian Monarchy, John Winston Howard, is either unavailable or uninterested in attending.

Finally, farewell to Brad (Freddy (Adolf)) Fittler, who hands over the mantle of greatness to Sonny Bill Williams, or as Roy & HG called him in their brilliant-as-usual call of the game, Billy Ray Cyrus Vaughan Williams.

Reports on the game from:
Roy Masters, SMH 4.10.04
Brad Walter, SMH 4.10.04
Jacqueline Magnay, SMH 4.10.04