The supreme ultimate super grand final

THIS is hopeless!

I can’t stand much more. You have to understand I’m new to all this football stuff. At school I was the bloke who ran on at half time with the oranges.

The Cowboys have changed all that. I am a Fan. I have expressed my undying loyalty publicly – in these pages!

I watched the semi-final last week and I had every expectation tonight would be the end of it and the talk in the pub would go back to important issues, like why women have a non-negotiable expectation that men will put the seat back down when they’ve finished.

Now I discover that tomorrow night is not the final; it’s the preliminary final!

What? What!

This is nonsense! Excuse the excessive exclamation marks, but what is the NRL trying to do!

The tension will kill me. The whole of North Queensland will spontaneously combust if this goes on much longer.

Are we going to discover that the grand final is not the end of it? That after the grand final there’s a super grand final, then an ultimate super grand final, and finally a supreme ultimate super grand final?

I feel panic setting in. I have whipped myself into a frenzy of football enthusiasm two weeks running and I am exhausted.

But I daren’t stop. What if I stop smiling and yelling “Go The Cowboys!” in public places — and they lose!

I’ll have to kill myself.

My wife says I’m being ridiculous and they won’t lose. But how many times in a row is it possible to throw sixes?

What if…

I don’t want to think about it. I want to make hearty jokes about plucking roosters. (It’s a shame they’re not pheasants. I actually do know jokes about plucking pheasants).

The whole thing has got out of hand. If they lose I’ll feel it was all my fault. Not unreasonable really, considering I am taking personal credit for their successes these past two weeks.

Fanship does that to you. We forget they’re built like brick dunnies, and can kick doors down; that they can charge like buffalos and think without moving their lips.

I mean… isn’t there the teeniest possibility that they won because they’re really, really good at it? And that as far as they’re concerned Pearce is just something they do after they’ve lifted the seat up.

Yes there is, thank God, because tomorrow is not the last of it! Everything I learned at school about quarter finals and semi-finals is now as obsolete as typewriters.

Despite last week’s semi-final, tomorrow night’s match is — no matter what those idiots as the NRL say about it — a bloody semi-final.

The Cowboys are going to need more than one old fart filled with hearty goodwill and a few jokes about chickens.

But I’m forgetting. It’s not just me. They’ve got the whole of North Queensland. Something like a quarter of a million people!

That’s something the Roosters and the Broncos can’t claim. They don’t have a quarter of a million fans, despite the populations of Sydney and Brisbane.

Because down south your average red-blooded Australian prefers the ballet and small pieces of unidentifiable food elegantly arranged in the middle of their plate.

They don’t eat steak. They eat chicken. Coq au vin, probably. I’d be embarrassed.

Cowboys eat steak. Mostly.

Tomorrow night, for a change, they’re going to eat chicken.