BY CURTIS WOODWARD
My name is Curtis Woodward and I am a traitor. I cannot live this lie any longer. To explain my treachery in a single sentence would be impossible. Therefore, to break my silence I must start from the beginning. Perhaps, after you hear my reasons, you could forgive me for my sin. So here goes nothing.
Firstly, Australia, I love almost everything about you.
I love the winter months and the greatest game of all, cricket in summer, beers (all seasons), Christmas lunches, Australia Day, our beaches (although I’d much prefer look at them from a distance), banana Paddle Pops, pub rock, our cultural diversity, eating what we want because of said cultural diversity and for our American friends – riding kangaroos down the middle of the road.
But when it comes to another type of kangaroo – I’m rather fond of barracking for the other team.
It all goes back to my childhood. Australia were the dominant force while everyone else pretty much sucked. Rugby league’s international game was a running joke. Even AFL fans got in on it despite the fact nobody else in the world plays their sport. As a kid, all I wanted was for the mighty Western Suburbs Magpies to win a few games and for everyone to respect international rugby league.
In 1995, an Aussie squad missing half its players due to the Super League War went to the United Kingdom and won the World Cup. Five years later they destroyed all before them with a team that boasted Andrew Johns, Brad Fittler, Gorden Tallis, Shane Webcke and Darren Lockyer. We didn’t see another World Cup until 2008.
The rest of the world needed to catch up.
A few weeks ago, Australia played New Zealand in Perth and some friends and I watched the match at a mate’s house.
It wasn’t the first time but as the game went on I found myself cheering the Kiwis.
I’m sorry Australia – I have a problem.
There, I said it.
As the Kangaroos and Kiwis walked out onto Old Trafford for the Final of the 2013 World Cup, I was secretly cheering for the Kiwis.
Because the more the Australian rugby league side lose the better it is for the international game.
A dominant Australian side thrashing New Zealand and England would destroy growth. The longer New Zealand hold top ranking and the more competitive England become, the better it is for all of us.
Ask my brother Dean, who as a patriotic green and gold monster, would love nothing more than to see Australia win every match they played by fifty points. He’d love to see Greg Inglis scoring five tries and carving up a sad and sorry Kiwi outfit. He would salivate at Matt Scott and Aaron Woods running over the top of Issac Luke and Jason Taumalolo. Most Australians would agree with his sentiment. If the Kangaroos beat Samoa or Tonga by 100, he’d cackle like a Bond villain.
But just imagine England vs. New Zealand in the Four Nations final at Anfield.
And just imagine, Australia losing another World Cup on home soil.
How good would that be for the international game?
I’m sorry friends, I have a problem but it is for the greater good.