Rugby League can be an emotional game, on and off the field.
On the field we have the fittest, the strongest and the most competitive, facing off against each other in the world’s most physical sport.
Off the field we have fans, some of whom pay huge amounts of money, all of which dedicate their time and passion, to supporting their teams.
As a Sharks fan, whenever the result does not go our way, the only positive is the inevitable social media meltdown that will take place over the next 48 hours.
I’m sure it’s like that for every team but some of the comments leave you scratching your head and wondering if the same game was even watched by certain members of the support base.
Just as inevitable as the meltdown itself is the fact that fans of differing opinions will label anyone who disagrees with them as a “bad fan”.
Every year a team under performs, under achieves and as a result leaves their expectant fanbase frustrated.
This year it is those fans wearing the famous Red V who have taken to social media and the like to vent their very reasonable frustration.
A side containing a host of Origin and international stars, combined with a coach who has been there for a long period of time, had all signs pointing at a top eight finish.
Having pushed the Bunnies all the way in the second week of the 2018 finals series, the expectation was a similar, or better result in 2019.
It was not meant to be as an often awful Dragons side has struggled and sputtered to a 15th placed finish.
Only the painfully average Gold Coast Titans, on the back of a horror injury toll and off-field turmoil, finished below a side containing the likes of Hunt, Norman, Widdop, Frizell and Vaughan.
To say that the Dragons fans have every right to be questioning their club is a huge understatement.
That side shouldn’t have missed finals footy, let alone be three points adrift of 14th position and a ridiculous 8 to 10 points outside of finals contention (depending on this weekend’s result).
Their game against the Titans this weekend feels more like a punishment than a contest. Yuk!
So to sum up, the fans have every right to be annoyed. Every right to call for change. Every right to throw up their hands in disgust at what has been an awful and unforgivable season.
A group of fans recently made headlines after their attempts to bring in negative signs was denied by staff and security at Jubilee Oval.
There have been conflicting stories as to why the banners and signs were denied, that’s an argument for another day.
The questions I pose are, should they have been able to bring the signs in at all? Are those fans who took aim at the detractors right or wrong in doing so?
I’ll admit, if I were a Dragons fan in this current situation I’d be asking questions. Why is Paul McGregor still at the helm of a side he’s had control of for years now, with a 15th place finish now a formality?
I’d not have been with those bringing banners into the stadium, but I don’t know that I would have acted negatively to them either?
Some fans have taken to social media to take aim at those speaking negatively of the club, saying that a “real fan” would support the team regardless of results and coaching appointments.
The obvious counter to that is that if everyone just accepted failure, it would become the norm and you’d never find a way to improve.
Right now the Dragons are a mess.
I’d challenge even the biggest and most positive member of the Red V army to argue with that statement … they’re a mess.
15th, with their best attacking player headed to England, and conflicting reports re the future of their coach.
I’d be frustrated. The Eels finished last in 2018 but signed one of the game’s best wingers. Who have the Dragons signed? Literally no one.
This despite knowing that Gareth Widdop was on his way home before the season even started.
It looks like they’ll lose supposed future star Matt Dufty too. Probably Euan Aitken as well. Most of the off contract, big name stars have either re-signed or signed elsewhere.
Unless Valentine Holmes indicates an eagerness to return home, without returning home, and the Dragons can snag something massive, well there’s no obvious easy fix.
Again, I’d be frustrated. Probably call for the coach’s job too, especially considering the lack of success enjoyed during his reign.
Would I be called a bad fan online by fans willing to sit on their hands while their side gets whacked by 28 points by the Tigers?
Why should Dragons fans be forced to sit there, smile on their face, waving a flag that reads “Yay for 15th”? Suppose it could be worse … but literally only just!
So again, the bad fan debate reignites.
Were the fans right to bring the anti-McGregor signs in?
I certainly wouldn’t be waving those flags but I don’t know that I’d be racing to label them “bad fans” either.
Let us know below. Is your role as a fan to sit and accept even when rubbish is dished up, or is showing a little negativity a good thing?