BY CURTIS WOODWARD
They are the busiest little workers in all of rugby league. Every weekend they’re kicked, squeezed and slammed but never complain. As old as the game itself.
Behold, the mighty, yet very humble, rugby league ball.
Forget Lassie, Toto and Rin Tin Tin – the footy is our best friend.
The loyalist of servants.
No matter what, the footy is always there for you, even in those summer months when it’s buried in the garage and replaced with cricket bats and taped-up tennis balls.
He sits, patiently waiting, until it’s his time again. And as the colour of the leaves start to change, so too does our appetite. From red Kookaburras to the white Steeden.
Praise be with you, our beloved footballs.
Thank you for always being there even when we lose you over the fence and ‘Duke’ the pit bull rips you to shreds or a shanked kick sends you straight through mum’s kitchen window.
We also remember those from our past that are seldom spoken about. Like the brown plastic, toe-destroying balls from the $2 shop. A classic but never too much fun in any kind of wind (or barefoot).
Or what about the old yellow Steedens or the fluro Summit balls used in State of Origin?
And then there’s those footballs from the Cretaceous period. Even today, you might catch archaeologists sifting through the dirt at Wentworth Park or Birchgrove Oval, hoping to find the remnants of the legendary brown leather rugby league ball.
The next time an NRL player complains about how slippery the pill is on a wet night at Suncorp Stadium, remind them of the leather cakes of soap used in muddy quagmires back in the day.
As rugby league changes with the times, one thing will always stay the same.
Our footy will always be with us.
Under our arm, soaring through the air or sitting in the shed waiting for the simmering months of summer to end.
Today, we raise a glass and toast those footballs that have perished so we could play the greatest game of all.