BY CURTIS WOODWARD
Imagine the tired old bloke getting home late from work tonight and walking in the door and seeing Michael Chee Kam getting interviewed on Channel Nine moments after a Wests Tigers upset at Suncorp Stadium.
Michael Chee Kam?
Maybe Channel Nine got the wrong fella?
Where’s the renaissance man Robbie Farah or the dynamic Josh Reynolds or Luke Brooks? What about skipper Moses Mbye or young gun Esan Marsters?
Nope… Michael Chee Kam.
With every respect in the world to Mr. Chee Kam, the toiling utility will never have a bigger moment in his footballing life (probably).
Wests Tigers surged forward in the final minutes against the back-pedalling Brisbane Broncos. Their forwards rolled on and cut deep into the Broncos under strict instruction from generals Brooks, Farah and Reynolds.
It was all set for a Brooks field-goal.
The pressure came from the defensive line and Brooks was squeezed from his kicking pocket. From there, almost every man and his dog thought the scrambling Broncos would kill the ball and send Wests Tigers to back-to-back golden point cliffhangers.
Then the ball spins itself into the unlikely hands of Chee Kam.
Alright captains, toss the coin, let’s play on.
This evening in Brisbane, if only for one night, Chee Kam became MCK17 – alongside household names SBW, CP13 and TPJ.
And to add to the magic, Ruan Sims asked MCK17 what had just happened seconds after the final siren.
“I don’t know,” he replied.
MCK17 – doesn’t that have a ring to it?
You can almost see Peter Wynn bolting down Church Street in his blue and gold robe, ripping open the shop shutters and slapping ‘MCK17’ on the back of every Wests Tigers jersey he’s got.
Okay, maybe not.
But ‘Wally’ Wynn running through Parramatta at 10pm on a Thursday night in nothing but a robe is quite the sight.
Thanks for that, Wally.
But back to MCK17’s moment.
The performance of Brooks, Reynolds and Farah was outstanding. Top class. Michael Maguire’s entire squad are playing for every inch and for every moment.
What Chee Kam did was tough.
Under fatigue, with the lactic acid in the muscles, he found another gear while his opponents clocked off. His try is a window into this team’s character.
Who knows if you keep running, right?
Brisbane on the other hand are fading quickly.
They’re now 1-4.
A visibly flustered Broncos coach Anthony Seibold fronted the media post-match and was adamant his team could turn a corner. He said they just needed to get back to training tomorrow.
There’s more to it than that, Anthony.
In the 58th minute, Josh Reynolds chipped the ball in behind the Broncos defensive line and chased liked his life depended on it. Darius Boyd scooped up the Steeden and Reynolds just missed his man. But before a wall of Reynolds’ teammates could trap Boyd in-goal, Reynolds came from behind and bottled him.
Desperation, conviction, clinical.
Minutes before Chee Kam’s solo try for the ages, Brisbane had a chance to win the game at 16-all. It was a chance for under siege halves Kodi Nikorima and Anthony Milford to shut down the haters for a weekend at least.
Instead of herding their big men down the middle corridor for a likely one-pointer, the Broncos went from side-to-side like a third grade bush footy side. The ball went to ground three times.
Desperation, conviction and clinical?
The Broncos have backed themselves into a corner.
CEO Paul White stole Seibold from Souths so it’s not like White can sack Seibold in a hurry. And who’s going to tap Captain Boyd on the shoulder? Nobody. Which means Milford is stuck in the halves with Nikorima and a defensive hooker in Andrew McCullough.
Brisbane have got some great young prospects.
But who’s leading them?