General Manager of the Penrith Panthers Phil 'Gus' Gould. Picture: AAP Image/Brendan Esposito
General Manager of the Penrith Panthers Phil 'Gus' Gould. Picture: AAP Image/Brendan Esposito

Where were you when we needed you, Gus?

YOU'VE got to hand it to Channel 9. They know a big Origin yarn when they get one.

It was almost time for the weather report when they interrupted normal programming to bring us an exclusive news flash.

All Queenslanders held their collective breath. What could it be? GI pulling a hamstring? Another fullback broken down? No, much bigger.

The Maroons bus had to turn around because someone had left the foam rollers back at the hotel. That emergency averted it was on with the show.

No emotion was spared in the pre-match monologue, no metaphor left unmixed.

We had vision of the backyards, the dusty country footy fields, the cattle mooing in the corrals.

Dane Gagai had a mixed game for Queensland. Picture: Michael Klein
Dane Gagai had a mixed game for Queensland. Picture: Michael Klein

And we had adjectives, verbs, nouns and pronouns, all delivered slowly, in a deep, deep voice, because as we all know, "Ferocity comes with the territory, there's no courage without fear and no victory without sacrifice." Ah yes, Rabs Warren was in vintage form, but then again, at his age how could he be anything but?

We even had James Roberts, dressed in a loin cloth and traditional face paint with lightning bolts coming out of his hands. Actually it was a bloke doing an ad for Australian Ninja Warrior, but geez it looked like James Roberts.

Downstairs the kids were at play, Kalyn Ponga bopping away as if he was at a rock concert and Nathan Cleary trying without luck to open a health bar wrapper with his teeth. Upstairs it was the old folks home, Gus Gould telling Dad jokes ("James Roberts runs faster than my first car") and then, forgetting what he had just said, saying it again.

Phil Gould kept quiet during Origin I, unfortunately for Queensland. Picture: AAP Image/Brendan Esposito
Phil Gould kept quiet during Origin I, unfortunately for Queensland. Picture: AAP Image/Brendan Esposito

Paul Gallen asked Cameron Smith the question all Queenslanders wanted to hear: "If it's one-all with the decider at Suncorp what chance you'll put your hand up?"

"Zero," he said, then added, "you never say never … highly unlikely …"

A couple more seconds and he would have been running into the sheds and ripping the jumper off Andrew McCullough's back.

But no time for that, because finally it was time for those magic words: "Please welcome to the MCG … Peking Duck."

Thankfully they only knew one song and it was then it was footy time.

Latrell Mitchell claimed a try, only to be denied by the Bunker. Picture: AAP Image/Hamish Blair
Latrell Mitchell claimed a try, only to be denied by the Bunker. Picture: AAP Image/Hamish Blair

There were a few surprises early. Reagan Campbell-Gillard didn't kill anyone and Gus didn't drop the c-word. In fact Gus didn't say much at all. Especially when Valentine Holmes took that intercept. I thought the dog might have sat on the mute button, but no. Maybe Gus's microphone had broken.

We could only hope they fixed it soon. We needed Gus to say, "the Queensland forwards are walking" because as we all know, whenever he says that the Maroons score.

Halftime there was nothing in it as the coaches sat the boys down. Freddy told his team to be alert around dummy half. Kevvie showed the Maroons the new Johnathan Thurston Fourex ad.

Certain officials looked like they might have had a few coldies during the break the way they let Angus Crichton get away with stripping the ball in the second half.

How there were no serious injuries as the clock ticked down is a mystery. Rabs was lucky to avoid a heart attack he was that excited when Tom Trbojevic scored, and Freddy could very easily have choked on his chewing gum when Addo-Carr went over.

And then of course there was Gus managing to get his foot right into his mouth as he declared beyond a shadow of a doubt that Latrell Mitchell had scored, and then had to eat his words.

Call it another Dad joke.



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