Life is full of ironies. An AFL grand final without a Melbourne team, and an NRL grand final without a Sydney team. In a year when I have become more and more apathetic about rugby league, today I am going to my first-ever Sydney rugby league grand final.
I should say, however, that it's really the Premier League fixture, the second curtain-raiser of the day at Telstra Stadium, that is my main attraction. Newtown (who, to be fair, is a glorified Sydney Roosters Reserve Grade this year) take on Parramatta. A remarkable comeback for a club that was kicked out of the NSWRL comp in 1983, went broke, re-emerged through minor competitions and became something of a cause celebre for the anti-Super League true believers.
They've found their niche in the reinvented NSWRL Premier League. If only some other inner Sydney clubs realised the same thing (hello Rabbits!)...
As far as I'm concerned, however, Grand Final day goes all downhill after the Premier League game finishes. The pre-match "entertainment" consists of the Hoodoo Gurus (whose popularity away from the pub rock circuit I have never been able to fathom) and INXS. And let's face it, INXS without Hutcho is just not INXS (Terence Trent d'Arby notwithstanding).
Sydney's apathy to the Brisbane-Melbourne game is really quite significant, when you compare it to the presence of red-and-white regalia everywhere, at least until the Swannies lost by one point. It felt kinda lonely strutting down King Street, Newtown yesterday in my blue-and-white Jets baseball cap.
And a special mention to the Boost Juice bar for being the only business that I could see that was flying Jets flags out the front.