Dane Eldridge – Dead Coaches Walking

The start of the NRL season is supposed to be a spectacular detonation of exhilaration and engrossment that results from the combination of various beefs from both on-field and off.

With most players clearly on horse drugs, explosive knee-jerk sackings at administration level and indecisive young men everywhere struggling to keep their word on contract deals, it appears that the 2013 model is no different.

Everyone seems seduced by the infectious fervour of the game, with some players so fiercely committed to the cause that they have given up beer in exchange for lower-carb fruit fluids, as well as subjecting themselves to additional altitude training sessions while at home.

However, for a fan-base used to the feeling of being gorged on footy’s fruits, too many laughs at platinum blonde footballers is never enough to fill the belly entirely, and luckily for us all there is a deeply treasured period of the season fast approaching to ensure the belts on our pants will be bursting in no time.

Its that time of year when knives sharpen, boards give full support and the thickest bold setting is called upon for the cruellest sledgehammer headlines.

Yesiree you bloodthirsty gallery of schadenfreude savourers, it’s time for some good old fashioned gratuitous rugby league pressure-heaping on those suckers stupid enough to run a team.

It’s the coaches. The punching bags. The spittle trays. So relied upon, yet so expendable.

The poor sods are mistreated, unappreciated and there for our entertainment. I don’t know if they read their employment agreements, but when they take the job, they waive the right to receive a balanced and reasonable critiquing at any point in their tenure.

And it’s our job to smash the crap out of that loophole.

In my eyes, two arduous rounds of biff is more than enough evidence to make rude predictions on a man’s income source, so let’s beat Rothfield and his cronies to the punch by blatantly pasturing from the feedbag of lowbrow sensationalism and go on the record with our predictions for the big sufferers of 2013.

My picks for an early contract payout form a tired and battered trio of the burdened that I believe have already taken on the appearance of a highly pressured Mayor Quimby surrounded in flames.

It might be safe to say this. Gents, have your desks packed up by noon, and return any company stationery to the receptionist, including that butter knife that’s lodged between your shoulder blades.

David Furner
Some may say this choice is mildly cray cray, but one must remember that the Capital’s Don was perilously close to forced free agency last year before his squad rallied for a two-month period of lime green flashiness.

On Sunday against the Titans, his team looked as porous as a rotting fish net. He’s also down an attacking trump with the cutting loose of Josh Dugan and up a headache with the second chance given to Blake Ferguson.

Whatever happens, Furner scores highly for his attempt at the ‘conventional cranky dad’ method of conflict resolution after driving to the sacked fullback’s house to deliver a voracious verbal dressing-down. If he has a daughter, don’t date her.

Could survive a cull if he times his next poor run of form with the Federal Election.

Steve Price
Anyone who backfills a spot left vacant by Wayne Bennett is always going to be on a hiding to nothing, but Price’s level of popularity has further glaciated to Mel Gibson temperatures.

Just go by the demeanour of the playing group, who seem to be at concealed gunpoint when they tell the media they have the utmost confidence in his philosophies, and Peter Doust, who makes kissy-lips at anything with a clipboard and a heartbeat.

The poor fella is still cranky like 2012 and in need of some enlightenment. Perhaps he should develop a comedy routine to help counter his downtrodden public persona? If he needs material, he could do worse than by starting at one of his own training sessions.

His team are in severe need of some Ben Cousin-like expertise in finding the line, and if this doesn’t change soon, then I think he will need Centrelink to help find him a job.

Matt Elliott
This guy is a deadset larrikin with the glass half-full mentality. It’s a convenient disposition, because he’s probably going to have to smile for a press conference that is held at the wake for his career at some point this year.

The playing group made it perfectly clear last year that their preferred coach was Tony Iro and that anyone else could go and get stuffed, especially Australians. The smiley former Panthers coach was unwelcome upon appointment, and going by the two 80 minute protests staged by his players so far this year, it seems this hasn’t changed.

To see out the season, he probably needs one of those Tony Iro masks, a Stacey Jones comeback and/or a magic wand and a minor miracle.

Would be advisable to dig out the hangman’s tie if he still has it.

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