The most unique and quite frankly unbelievable season in NRL history has finally come to an end after the Melbourne Storm lifted the trophy last night.

Last night I watched the Grand Final with friends. We all agreed that no matter what the result, we just didn’t want to be talking about the referees in the morning ala 2019’s decider.

Luckily, despite Panthers fans best efforts in the first half, we weren’t.

We were however, and currently still are, talking about something else. No it’s not the fact that Penrith’s 17 game win streak was broken on the worst stage of them all.

Not the incredible Clive Churchill performance by Ryan Papenhuyzen that has seen him enter an elite group of NRL superstars. Not the fact that the greatest player of the modern generation may have played his final game last night.

Not even the fact that a betting agency paid out on Cameron Smith for Man of the Match at halftime despite him being the third best player on the field.

No no no. Instead we’re talking about the commentary!?

Yes! The commentary!

Truthfully I have to say, despite the commentary being on loud last night, I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention to those behind the microphone. We were laughing and enjoying the game, and one punter was busy reminding us of the string of insane requirements for his multi to come off. (Editor’s Note: It did with three seconds to go)

I had to re-watch parts of the game this morning to pinpoint exactly what the blow up across both conventional and social media was all about.

For those who missed the game, of course I’m talking about the perceived one sided commentary of one Gus Gould.

Every man, woman, child and their pet was on social media BLOWING UP about how Penrith could supposedly do no wrong. How even at 20-0 down Penrith were on top. Etc etc.

The main offenders, surprisingly seemed to be Storm fans.

If I’m a Storm fan, I don’t even notice. I’m too busy celebrating my 25th Premiership in 10 years and running to my barber to get “the Papenhuyzen”.

My initial opinion was a resounding “WHO CARES!” but after reading all the articles, and the tweets, and re-watching a significant portion of the game from last night, I’m changing my line of thinking to “IT IS ME WHO DOESN’T CARE!!!”

Of course Gus Gould is going to favour the Panthers. This is a club he headed, and quite frankly rebuilt from almost nothing, for many years. This is the club that consumed the larger part of his life for the better part of a decade.

We all remember the “five-year plan” but no one seems to remember the decisions Gould made. Let’s not forget he’s the one responsible for Ivan Cleary leaving despite relative success during his first stint at the club.

He’s also responsible responsible for the club’s success on and off the field. No, he’s not currently running the ship that just sailed into a Grand Final on the back of 17 straight victories, but his work allowed the Panthers to become the relative super power that they have become.

No doubt he’s going to provide insights into the club he oversaw for EIGHT AND A HALF YEARS!!!

I loved the insight he provided in the lead up to the historic Grand Final run. Hearing the behind the scenes stories literally no one else could share.

I could certainly do without the seemingly random use of plural or singular when referring to football teams (i.e. the Penrith Panther or Melbourne Storms) but you can’t win ’em all.

Yeah it was more than a little laughable hearing that the Panthers were on top despite being at very real risk of being blown out in the first half.

That said, don’t forget that Gould is a man who was relieved of his duties less than a year before the Panthers became title contenders. He had every right to show great bitterness towards the club who didn’t allow him to see his hard work through.

For anything thinking this is any way a puff piece for Gus Gould; incorrect. This is a “stop finding petty things to worry about after a Grand Final” piece. Last year it was the 6-again call rather than the Latrell Mitchell game-winning play, or the Cooper Cronk double premiership prior to retirement.

Yes, the 6-again was a MONSTER call, but for 79 minutes and 56 seconds, it didn’t matter.

Still, to this moment, you type “Phil Gould” into Google and the top 6 stories are about his commentary “bias”. It’s the second top story on a major media organisation’s web page, ahead of numerous match ratings and below just a where to the Panthers go from here piece.

Perhaps I’ve mellowed in my old age? Perhaps I just had a brilliant night and didn’t notice.

On second viewing I didn’t agree with a fair bit the former Panthers supremo had to say. Was it annoying? Little bit. Will I remember it in two weeks? ABSOLUTELY NOT!

Let’s focus on the fact that the Storm overcame a near unstoppable Penrith side in front of a monster crowd after a season where this looked like a long shot to say the least.

Congrats Melbourne! It’s oh so easy to dislike you but near impossible not to admire you.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Its probably due to all the non regular NRL viewers from Melbourne. These people are used to fair and balanced coverage in the AFL and didn’t realise C9 hating on the Storm is the Normal.
    I’m just glad they didn’t crack the sads and cut the coverage the second the final play is done and dusted like they usually do.
    Surely it’s now time to let Matt Thompson take over the head commentator role.
    Well done Storm 2020 Champs!!

  2. If the worst thing you have to complain about with the rugby league team you support, is that one commentator was biased against them? Then you have nothing to complain about StormFan.
    Have the Storm ever been the most penalised team , for 2 years running? Nope… Penrith have. Have referees ever invented new rules to penalise your Storm team with during a game ? Nope… They have with Penrith.
    Have your Storm team been allowed to get away with holding down forever in tackles year after year ? Yes….
    Did the Storm coach Bellamy bring wrestling, grapple tackle , chicken wing tackle into the game? Which the Storm were allowed to get away with doing , until other teams started complaining about them for quite a while. Yes…
    Is Cameron Smith allowed to question the integrity of the referee & their decisions during a game & get away with it? Which no one else can do . As he also did during the GF. Yes….etc, etc…
    As I said. The Storm have been a golden child since they came into existence. The Storm have to do well every year , for the good of the game evidently.
    Try being one of western suburbs of Sydney teams for a while. Then you’d have something to complain about.

  3. I didn’t complain about it, I just offered a suggestion as to why it was happening.

    I hope the off season gives you some time to build a better tin foil hat.

    They say “You need to lose one to learn how to win one”, so get on board early for next year as your Panthers are only gonna get better.

    Go Storm!

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