SELECTION CRITERIA: Pick an Australian rules football team based on ‘well-known individuals’ from each State, with the only exception being players from the VFL/AFL/WAFL/SANFL/NEAFL/Whatever Tasmania plays.
After a year in the shadows because of the fact that actual sport began again, it’s time for EPISODE 5 of the State of Origin State Icons edition, and thus far I’ve produced Western Australia, Tasmania, South Australia and Queensland, so there’s no better time than the day of a State of Origin game to unveil the New South Wales team, using a sporting field that has absolutely nothing in common with rugby league.
So without any further ado, here it is…..
THE NEW SOUTH WALES STATE OF ORIGIN ALL-STARS:
Selection Committee: Rex Connor, Sir John Kerr, Neville Wran, Bob Askin, Eddie Obeid, Barry O’Farrell
Unlucky people to miss out: Mark Webber, Sir Jack Brabham, John Singleton, 9000 other rugby league players and Matthew Johns, Nick Farr-Jones, ‘Miracle’ Malcolm Johnston, Hugh Bowman, George Moore, Iggy Azalea, Daniel Johns, Hugh Jackman, Mike Whitney, Greg Matthews Brett Lee, Glenn McGrath, Pat Cummins, David Warner, Steve Smith, Mark ‘Tubby’ Taylor, Michael Clarke, Rebel Wilson, most the cast of Home & Away except for Alf, Michael Hutchence, Ken Sutcliffe a shitload of Prime Ministers…
Yeah, turns out there’s a crapload of people in New South Wales.
Also, Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott were due to make appearances for New South Wales, but they were both ousted by their teammates who feared a defeat in a year’s time.
With Wayne Bennett coaching Queensland, there was only one possible choice to coach New South Wales….
JACK GIBSON, COMPLETE WITH FUR COAT.
Taking the role of head trainer and conditioner is the legendary horseman Tommy ‘TJ’ Smith, who would probably be better suited to the role if any of the players grew an extra pair of legs, Malcolm Johnston or George Moore were in the team, and there was a Group 1 at stake.
Writing the team song was the one and only Henry Lawson, which I assumed was actually former Australian cricket Geoffrey Lawson, Australia’s greatest modelling export Elle Macpherson makes an appearance as The Body, and I’m buggered as to what purpose that actually serves, but rest assured there’s going to be a few distracted opponents of the Cockroaches, while former 2UE/2GB talkback king John Laws serves as the team’s media manager:
You have to assume Lawsie will have the sponsors lining up to provide cash for comment, the voice of rugbaleeg Ray ‘Rabbits’ Warren will serve as the play-by-play announcer, beating out Richie Benaud, primarily because Richie got a starting gig in the team, and providing the major sponsorship just had to be Toohey’s
Starting at full-forward with the captain of the team, it’s the Goanna himself Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, who comes here reluctantly, and I imagine if things go arse-up, Kerry will go straight to the TV producer and tell him to “Get that shit off the air!”
In the pockets are the Boy From Bowral, Sir Donald Bradman, who has waited 73 years to atone for the pissy end to his cricketing career, and joining the team from the round-ball game is Captain Socceroo himself Johnny Warren, who has gone to extreme lengths to ensure a New South Wales victory….
He got a witch doctor in Mozambique to place a curse on the opposition, and you’d better hope Johnny has the money this time around!
On to the half forward line, and with HG Nelson making an appearance for South Australia, Rampaging Roy Slaven‘s form with the Lithgow Shamrocks meant he just had to get a guernsey for New South Wales, our greatest female Olympian Dawn Fraser lines up on the other flank with a stolen Japanese flag in her hands, and at Centre Half Forward, it wouldn’t be a New South Wales State of Origin team without a State of Origin forward, so the selectors have turned to former Australian Senator and member of the NSWRL Team of the Century, THE BRICK WITH EYES, Glenn Lazarus.
One thing you’ll get with Lazarus is a solid 80 minutes, which is good, because in this hypothetical game, quarters last 20 minutes each, so he’ll rack up a solid 200 running metres plus a heap of free kicks against for running too far.
On to the midfield, and starting off in the engine room, Paul Hogan has been named in the centre, although it remains to be seen if Hoges will actually take his place, with any one of Crocodile Dundee, George Fungus, Super Dag, Perce the Wino, Donger, Nigel Lovelace, The Phantom or renowned stuntman Leo Wanker will take his place:
Moving on to the followers, our most decorated Olympian Ian Thorpe gets a run in the ruck, because The Thorpedo is the tallest bugger in the team, a fact that I haven’t checked, Richie Benaud was a candidate for the captaincy, but with Kerry Packer on the field there was only going to be one option, and if things hit the fan for the Cockroaches, expect Richie to deliver a fiery editorial about Packer’s performance as captain:
It was a toss-up between soprano Dame Joan Sutherland and Ellyse Perry to play as the rover, but the selectors decided Perry is the best all-rounder on the team, earning her a spot in the middle.
When it came to deciding the wings, former Prime Minister Paul Keating, aka The Bankstown Bandit, will start on the left wing (Get that joke? Good, let’s move on) so he can do the opposition slowy:
And it was an even bigger coin toss between First Grade’s record tryscorer Ken Irvine and Wallabies legend David Campese, given both of them would’ve been playing out of position whichever way the selectors leaned, but considering the gents from the 15-player game were very under-represented in a state where they claim to love Union, the selectors decided they needed a good old-fashioned goose step.
On to the last line of defence for the coackroaches, and starting on the half-back flanks, the two most well-known Pattersons in NSW:
Sir Les Patterson starts at Left Half Back, an ironic selection considering he was awared the Douglas Wilkie Medal for doing the least for Australian rules football in the best and fairest manner, and celebrated by coating a Sherrin football in cream cake and feeding it to a camel:
And the Man from Snowy River himself, Banjo Paterson, who actually has one T in his surname, but obviously the printer saw Sir Les Patterson was opposing him and just thought bugger it.
I imagine Eddie Obeid will be calling his mysterious contacts very soon to resolve that issue.
At the coveted Centre Half Back position, it’s little John Howard, who will choose which kicks come inside the New South Wales defensive 50, and the circumstances in which they come.
All I can say is about that selection – Thank god we’re not playing a cricket match, because we’ve all seen Johnny’s custard arm:
Across the full-back line, Former PM Gough Whitlam will be able to play so long as he has supply from the Senate, which could be an issue if selector Sir John Kerr finds out, the full-back position was pretty much reserved for the Immortal fullback from South Sydney Clive Churchill, and former Wallabies coach and 2GB’s biggest drawcard Alan Belford Jones completes the starting 18, and expect to see Alan running out to the sounds of his beloved theme tune, Laura Branigan’s Gloria:
The inside scoop is that Alan requested to play on the right, since he seems to have a disdain for everyone on the left.
Interchange & Emergencies
Starting with the interchange, the classic Wiggles line-up; Blue Wiggle Anthony Field, Red Wiggle Murray Cook, Purple Wiggle Jeff Fatt, who will have to be woken up before the game begins, and Yellow Wiggle Greg Page, who’ll give himself a damn heart attack just to give the kids in the crowd a good night’s entertainment.
Next, it’s the long-distance specialists who everyone knows from Kevin Bloody Wilson’s Living Next Door to Alan, THE LEYLAND BROTHERS Mal and Mike, and remember, whatever it is that you wanted to see, ask the Leyland Brothersssss:
Well, it was them or Mike Whitney.
Up next, it’s the one and only Doug Walters, who holds the unofficial title of being the greatest drinker in this New South Wales side….
After that it’s the man with more albums than all of your grandparents put together in Slim Dusty, who was the original choice to perform the team song, but unfortunately the rain hasn’t tumbled down in July, because it’s June, and there was nobody on the team named Duncan,
Completing the bench, Murray Rose is a noted wet weather specialist, so expect to see coach Gibson unleash the three headed wet weather attack of Thrope, Fraser and Rose when the heavens open up and the ground floods, and Bobby Simpson, the only person in cricketing history to be involved in both Tied Tests, and you’d think Bob’s expertise will be very handy if the match gets close.
Fun fact, Bob Simpson actually made his Test cricket debut for Australia while he was playing for Western Australia.
With the recent addition of Medical Substitutes to Australian Rules, the selectors decided that if they were going to pick a Medical Sub, they needed a MEDICAL sub….
So Dr Victor Chang was the perfect choice.
And taking the final places in the team as the emergencies, Andrew Johns’ Immortal status, and his ability to contact various unsavoury figures, helped him get in the team ahead of Tommy Raudonikis, who ran into a few unfortunate problems back in April…
A surprise pick is the great Yorta Yorta guitarist Jimmy Little, and if you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of Jimmy Little, who sadly died 9 years ago, here’s a sample:
The third emergency is the 1987 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner, who was banned from driving the team bus after Jack Gibson saw the footage of the Wollongong Whiz in his time driving in the Australian Touring Car Championship, a time in which he earned the beloved nickname Captain Chaos driving the Coke Commodore:
And lucky last is the aforementioned Dame Joan Sutherland, who may have been a soprano, but when she got the news that she’d been denied a spot in the starting team, she looked more like a prima donna.
Oh just ignore that, a few legitimate business people left that there.
With a population of 7.4 million, New South Wales has the biggest talent pool of any of the State of Origin All Stars, so there’s at least 7,399,970 unlucky stories who missed selection, but whether or not that team could knock off Queensland, I think Sir Joh might have something to say about that: