Roosters Versus Rabbitohs: An Outsider’s Perspective on an Old RivalryWith the NRL finals almost upon us and both local teams looking like genuine con- tenders, September is going to be an exciting time in the east. It has been over 80 years since the two great foes met each other in the big dance. Could it happen again? The logical mind says no, Melbourne will win, but we can dare to dream.
Living in the heart of one of Australia’s great rivalries while not caring greatly for either side has given me a reasonable insight into the beating heart of both clubs.
A quick look at the stats shows that the Bunnies have won more games, more premierships and, dare I say, more hearts around the world. But no one cares about the stats. Stats only exist to give boring men collateral. And global hearts are fickle things, easily tempted by the next underdog (though their record suggests they are anything but).
What about the fans? I have met both, had beers with both, analysed both, and I can conclusively say that they’re both bloody strange units.
Souths fans range from Andrew Denton to that bloke who got his penis out on the national news, and I must admit I haven’t met too many Dentons. There is, in fact, a real underlying threat when speaking to a Souths fan that genitals could be unveiled at any point – in a playful, non-threatening way, I assure you, but it’s still an unsettling reality.
Roosters fans, on the other hand, play their cards very close to their chests. In the unlikely event a Roosters fan unveils their genitals unexpectedly around you, I daresay debts are being called in and you really should have known what you were getting into.
Souths fans will tell you that Roosters fans are pretty-boy latte sippers, but what’s wrong with that? It’s very much an old-school position that doesn’t work anymore. Especially as Souths players now rock about in Armani suits and hang out with Hollywood royalty.
It is hard to get a Roosters fan to give their opinion of Souths fans, because first you’ve got to get past the doorman, but the sneer in their eyes when they see the cardinal and myrtle on the street says enough.
It is the perfect rivalry in many ways. The traditionally cashed up club doing their best to look down their nose at the pesky battlers next door, despite the fact those battlers possess a far superior record.
It’s much like the State of Origin. Queensland has managed to maintain this perennial underdog tag, despite the fact history says otherwise. Yet it plays into the arrogance of their opponent, so everybody wins.
What is certain is that, should we get that magical grand finale – Victor the Inflictor and Mad Dog Matterson versus the British Bulldog Burgess Brothers – the energy around the beaches will be as electric as being front row at a 30 Odd Foot of Grunts gig.