The final round of the season was the "mysterious" case of the one that got away. Otherwise known as the Sea Eagle that landed safely in Paddington.
I now call upon the chief witness Mr CF2. Do you pledge to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?
Yes I do your honour.
Including The Good, The Bad and The Ugly truth?
Yes I do your honour.
Mr CF2 is it true you've been attending Brookvale Oval for the last 40 years, including every game this season and today's rd 26 fixture?
Yes your honour that's true.
Mr CF2, in all those years would you say you've seen pretty much everything?
Yes your honour just about everything.
Thank you Mr CF2. I now bring forward tonights emergency case, where you allege that your beloved Sea Eagles shockingly resorted to losing an NRL game ON PURPOSE, in order to decide who and where THEY want to play next week. What possible reason could there be for such a despicably clever tactic?
Well your honour, neither Melbourne or us here at Manly want to play the Rabbitoh's in week 1 of the finals, much preferring to "unluckily" drop to 4th and play the Roosters.
Mr CF2 that's a very serious allegation, what possible motivation could drive such an act?
Well your honour, as much as we don't want to dwell on it, Souths are the most dangerous team in the comp, possessing the biggest pack of brothers in the land, a superstar halfback who kicks every goal, and the most lethally destructive fullback in the game who has an annoying habit of running very hard and straight at our beloved no 1 hero. It's not like we can't beat them mind you, in fact we will do that a little later, in say the Grand Final, but right now we'd rather concentrate on a Saturday night roast chook at the SFS where we love winning.
Hmm I take your point Mr CF2 but didn't the Roosters just beat them?
That's right your honour, but that will only make the Rabbitoh's even angrier, whilst on the flip side our hit man Stevie Matai just loves giving the Roosters show pony Money Bill Williams a hard time.
Well yes, that's more than understandable Mr CF2, but what evidence do you put forward that Melbourne tried to lose yesterday and drop to 4th?
Well your honour, you see Melbourne would normally be expected to give the Titans a pretty large touch up, particularly in rd 26 on their home ground, but if they just happened to "surprisingly" lose, they would drop to 4th place avoiding the dangerous Rabbitoh's, leaving us to face them in week 1.
Well I can understand the theory, but didn't Melbourne win the game?
Yes your honour they did, but they were mighty unlucky seeing as they cleverly dropped the ball to gift the Titans the match winning try. The only problem however was that despite the on field ref Shayne Hayne saying it was a try, the video ref came up with one of the season's shockers (and your honour that's certainly saying something), by reversing the decision and disallowing the try.
That is ridiculous why would the video ref reverse the decision?
It's probably best we don't go down that path your honour.
Yes good point Mr CF2, so how did Melbourne win if you say they wanted to lose?
Well they tried very hard to lose your honour, in fact their halfback Cooper Donkey made sure he missed a couple of field goal sitters from in front, but eventually he stuffed up nailing a one in a million shot from 50 metres out deep into extra time to accidentally win.
Good heavens what was his reaction to that?
He crouched down with a bemused sheepish smile your honour, like you do when something happens that you were not meant to do.
Yes I recall seeing that myself last night. Made me laugh actually, but continuing the case Mr CF2, you say that since Melbourne stuffed up and won (making sure it was only by 1 point in order to protect their 19 point for and against deficit), this resulted in your Sea Eagles having to then lose to Penrith in order to "drop" to 4th place. Is that correct?
Yes that's correct your honour, instead of us Sea Eagles enjoying a neatly planned close win at our fortress Brookie, we actually had to lose the game in order to beat Melbourne back to 4th place, and not only that your honour, but we had to lose to a really average team who had nothing to play for.
Hmm I see Mr CF2, that was a very difficult predicament indeed, but what possible proof do you have that your Sea Eagles did in fact purposely lose the game?
Well your honour, it started last Tuesday when our coach "rested" three of our biggest stars, Brett Stewart, the "suspended" Jorge Taufua, and Anthony Watmough (who forgot he was injured telling a Fox Sports commentator today he could have easily played).
Well I understand those withdrawals would have helped the cause, but surely you could have still won the game with other stars playing?
Quite right your honour, that's why minutes after the Melbourne result last night our coach "suddenly" announced Brenton Lawrence would also be rested.
Crikey Mr CF2 your coach was serious about losing, was that all?
No your honour, last night he also quickly selected not one but two 19 year olds from our Holden Cup team.
Two 19 year old debutants, that is pretty compelling evidence, but hang on despite all that weren't you leading 16-0 today?
Yes tour honour, you see we had to make it look like we were TRYING to win, you know so it looked legit, but things got a bit out of hand when we raced to 16-0 so quickly.
That could have been a disaster Mr CF2 what did the boys do?
It's wasn't really a problem your honour, we let Penrith in for two quick tries and before you know it the score was 16-12 at half time.
That IS clever. So what happened then?
Well we did our best to stumble and bumble in the 2nd half your honour, continuing to make it look like we were trying to win, but of course we also made sure our 80 minute workhorse Justin Horo only played a total of 44 minutes, and in the process we made sure Penrith scored a couple more tries to give them a handy 26-20 lead.
So it was all looking good for your "convenient" loss?
Well it was your honour, but our David Wolfman had too many vegan smoothies at half time and scored a late try, and worse still our sometimes inaccurate goal kicker stuffed up by nailing the sideline conversion to tie it all up at 26-26.
That could have been a disaster?
Yes it could have been, but with the fear of winning staring us in the face, we sent our big man Gorgeous George into dummy half.
Gorgeous George at dummy half what happened?
He knocked on, and we then immediately pulled off our finest Parramatta impersonation conceding not one but two tries in a matter of 6 minutes to safely lose the game 38-26.
I see Mr CF2 that is fairly compelling evidence indeed, and might I say a very clever way of dropping back to 4th place, but how did your normally irate coach react?
He sits about 2 metres away from me your honour, but as I turned to see his normally outraged reaction in the coaches box, I noted he was very busy instructing his assistant to ensure the team coach had enough fuel to reach Paddington next Saturday.
That's smart thinking Mr CF2.
Yes your honour he's a very smart coach.
So Mr CF2, how can you possibly write your normally in depth review of all the Manly players, with your The Good, The Bad and The Ugly summary?
As you can imagine your honour, it would be a "ridiculous" situation to critique the players and their performances on such an unusual day as this (though I must say our two rookies Gutherson and Trbojevic looked tremendous just quietly).
That's more than understandable, and might I say Mr CF2 not only have you put my mind at ease, but I have something I would like to confess myself.
Gees your honour what could that be?
Mr CF2 I've just had a phone call from a very angry bloke named Craig Bellamy who is "absolutely f****** furious" his team have been tricked into having to go to Homebush next Fri night and face those angry Burgess Bros and their superstar mother who refuses to sit down all night.
I can understand that your honour.
So can I Mr CF2, and might I conclude by saying "case dismissed".
Thank you your honour, I look forward to travelling to Paddington next Saturday, hopefully with at least 10,000 fellow Brookie fans, ready to exact our just revenge and send the Money Bill Roosters packing.