It’s past midnight (AEDT) and I’m still trying to sort through the emotions of Sunday night’s NRL grand final. Social media was firing up before the game clock hit 80:00. My beloved Simpsons meme group was already beginning to churn out hot takes addressing the absolute clusterfuck of a decision by the match officials.
Facebook was teeming with Raiders fans asking for calm and pride to prevail. From the lounge room I could hear the sound of an NRL official explaining why the sudden change of heart on such a critical call was justified.
The moment the siren went I knew a Raider would claim the Clive Churchill medal. I don’t usually like people who go around saying that “they knew” something was about to take place, but not even the best Roosters player came close to matching the top five or six Raiders.
Am I filthy with the NRL? You bet. I’m not a gambling man but you know you’ve messed up when betting firms are refunding bets en masse. Am I immensely proud of the Canberra Raiders for going all the way only to be cruelled in the worst possible fashion? HELL YES.
The Canberra Raiders and their community have built something special this year. The team has worked their butts off in training and on game day, the fans have duly given them all the support and encouragement they can muster.
Are you entitled to be filthy with the managing body of the sport? YES. They’ve had years upon years to fix these issues, but all they do is react like startled animals, roused from their docile grazing.
You’ll have to forgive these fevered ramblings. Over the next few weeks Dan and I will break down this tremendous and historic Raiders season. We will examine the officiating issues from this game, because they do need to be talked about. If the fans don’t speak up then nothing changes.
Until then, bleed green for the Green Machine.