A Sydney media insider has lifted the lid on the shocking lengths that reporters in the harbour city go to in order to target the Melbourne Storm.
Speaking strictly on the condition of complete anonymity, the insider, who will hereafter be referred to only as ‘Journalist X’, has detailed the secret Thesaurus sessions and private video sessions where the top rugby league correspondents attempt to pick apart their rival.
Journalist X, who says he has worked for some of the major media outlets, has told of hours-long meetings where well-thumbed copies of Roget’s Thesaurus are forever being searched for that next wrestling term to link to the NRL powerhouse.
At these meetings, episodes of WWE Smackdown are often quietly playing in the background for inspiration – of course, it’s entirely possible that some of these journos are as bored by wrestling as I am and simply doze off and dream about the stories they then write.
Could you imagine if this article was being presented as fact? Wouldn’t the cries of slander and defamation of character ring out from Coogee to Bankstown? You bet they would because here’s the dirty little secret that the NRL media aren’t telling you and it’s not that every team employs the same tactics or that they have a personal axe to grind. Because they really have no idea what goes on behind closed doors at the Melbourne Storm.
The big secret is that in any other working environment, the systematic smear campaign that has been levelled against Messrs Bellamy, Smith et al would be considered bullying.
Bullying is rampant in society and any number of people rightly speak out against it. Why? Because words hurt.
What happens when some young Storm player gets targeted by the media for this and doesn’t have the means to cope? Let’s all hope that it doesn’t come to this but you do hear of people, especially young people, who get so down because of online victimisation that they take drastic action. Will those responsible be held to account if their actions lead to this? Or will that be the Storm’s fault too?
The reality is that rugby league is a game and every team is playing to win. The media is populated with ex-players with personal histories with and against various franchises and players.
And the career journalists? Well, here’s another dirty little secret. Their interest in the game came from somewhere. Most likely at a young age. And when they realised that they weren't going to be able to make a living playing the game, they looked around and found another career opportunity reporting on it.
All great so far. But, although they will try to paint themselves as impartial, they still would have a team that they support and they all would have grown up in a world where an upstart team from south of the Murray wasn’t even a part of the landscape, let alone better than their beloved team. And so the bitterness seeps through.