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Diary Of An NRL Fan Who Is Giving AFL A Chance In 2019

Updated on October 21, 2019
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Canberra Raider Jack Wighton. Former Gold Coast Sun Gary Ablett Jr. Images: NRL/ AFL
Canberra Raider Jack Wighton. Former Gold Coast Sun Gary Ablett Jr. Images: NRL/ AFL

Having been brought up in a Northern New South Wales country town named Narrabri where the townsfolk loved the mighty game of Rugby League it is hard for me to cheer for any other football code. I played Junior League from the age of twelve all the way to sixteen and loved every minute of it.

For ten years a war has been viciously fought in my household. My Melbourne born partner is a gigantic AFL fan who has sold snack food for the Brisbane Lions at games and was an umpire in the Beenleigh area.

We hardly see eye to eye on anything regarding who the best code is but coming into the 2019 season I have decided to wave the white flag and bring peace to our lounge room battlefield. My better half who I will call Mrs. AFL for this article is a Lions fan but me, having come from NSW cannot bring myself to cheer for a Queensland team. I lived in Sydney when the Swans won the grand final in 2005 (I had to google that!) so I have a soft spot for them. I now officially have a team to cheer for so let the "give AFL a chance" diary begin.

Pre-Season Begins

The pre-season has officially come and gone and my mighty NRL team the Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs went down to the Canberra Raiders who come from behind to win 24-20. I watched the Swans beat (well i think they beat, couldn't watch until the end) a team named ... oops i forgot. Oh wait, i think they were called GWS. Not a good start!.

The Regular Season Starts

The regular season has begun and not much has changed for me so far. Every evening I watch the daily news (NRL 360 on Fox League). My beloved Bulldogs have had a horror start to the season and are looking like wooden spoon favourites. My AFL team the Sydney Swans have won a few games (i think). I am competing in NRL and AFL tipping comps and am performing poorly in both. I keep tipping North Melbourne every week and this is turning out to be very bad for me. Who are these kangaroos and why are they doing this to me?!.

Ventured down to see Mrs. AFL's neice play in a girls AFL game on this fine Sunday morning in June. They won and from memory the score was something like 28-15. The game was quite exciting and I had a great time. The only problem I had was the my main gripe with AFL the whole time, it just looks scrappy with a bunch of people scratching and clawing for a ball.

Newly retired Roosters and Storm halfback Cooper Cronk. Image: NRL
Newly retired Roosters and Storm halfback Cooper Cronk. Image: NRL


So as i sit here watching one of the most boring games of league ever between the Broncos and The Titans i still don't feel compelled to change the channel and check out some Aussie Rules. From my calculations i watch on average around 70% of the NRL matches every week. It therefore is a mystery to me why i am going better in the AFL footy tipping than i am in the NRL!.

Having not watched one full game of aerial ping pong i can not for the life of me figure out why i can tip more succesfully in that sport?. It is not a case of picking the bookies' favourite and hoping for the best either because i pick alot of underdogs (see the North Melbourne rant from earlier in this article). Maybe my heart is getting in the way of my head with League this year, i did tip the current wooden spoon Gold Coast team to beat Brisbane in the game i am currently watching purely because i want the Broncos to miss the Top 8.

Sydney Swans forward Lance Franklin. Image: AFL
Sydney Swans forward Lance Franklin. Image: AFL


Finals time has come around and I check in on the old swannies and low and behold, they won't be playing in the finals this year (should i have known that before the finals started?). I've actually become interested to find that my beloved Bulldogs are in with a mathematical chance to make the NRL Finals.

Canterbury actually won three straight and although they needed to win all of their last four games they could have made it. This unlikely scenario came to an end in the second last round when they were defeated by the North Queensland Cowboys.

While in the finals Mrs. AFL and I are watching Roosters easily dispose of the Rabbits when we realise her team the Brisbane Lions are playing on the other channel. We watch for a while but the Lions are getting flogged and she can't bare to watch any longer. As we all know now Brisbane lost both finals matches and bowed out of the AFL Finals unceremoniously.

Canberra Raider Jack Wighton. Former Gold Coast Sun Gary Ablett Jr. Images: NRL/ AFL
Canberra Raider Jack Wighton. Former Gold Coast Sun Gary Ablett Jr. Images: NRL/ AFL

What Grand Final?

Good to see the Raiders going well in the NRL. They were the first team to go through to the Grand Final last night defeating Souths 16-10. I am somewhat confused because I thought the AFL Grand Final was on the Saturday and the NRL decider on the same weekend's Sunday. Apparently not.

I keep getting reminded the AFL finale is on mainly because it's the GWS Giants' first time in. But even when I got home today my usual schedule kicked in. Shall I watch a new episode of Lights Out with David Spade. Yes. Oh the new episode of the Jim Jefferies Show is up. Did I watch it? Yes. Maybe watch an old episode of WWE Raw from 2003 when The Rock was still wrestling. Yes. Oh look, the AFL Grand Final was on and Richmond won. Oops!

The Verdict

As I sit here on NRL Grand Final day preparing to watch three games of rugby league in a row it is safe to say I am still an NRL fanatic. Even though after the main game all anyone is talking about is a referee blunder, I still love the game and look forward to next season

In conclusion, The NRL will always be my passion and AFL will always be something I will pretend to like around Mrs. AFL's family!


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