City vs Country is as dead as daytime soap

After broadcasting 45 gruelling years of steamy side-glances from bush league thespians, Channel Nine has made a major alteration to sick day protocol by cancelling the daily screening of worshipped soap Days of our Lives.

Unconfirmed reports from nameless sources say that CEO David Gyngell had grown tired of the program’s suffering standards, so he decided to allow his wallet to exhale by cutting the beloved drama loose for good.

It is widely believed that certain aspects of the show’s gradual disintegration had particularly dismayed the idiot box magnate.

Gyngell was ropable at the high turnover of a noncommittal cast, the exorbitant costs of shooting unnecessarily in exotic locations, plus the fading interest in a tired storyline and its rapidly dwindling levels of relevance.

These reasons naturally tell you that he should next be eyeing off the annual City v Country hoedown for dragging behind his white sheet of failed television to be shot.

With any luck, he will use his considerable clout at the NRL to blackmail David Smith in to tossing this meaningless 80 minutes a year in the trash receptacle along with other league relics such as leftover South Queensland Crushers merchandise and the Central Coast Bears bid.

If our game’s new CEO is interested in saving a nickel or two on a game that may only be seen on amateur camcorder in the future, then I’m sure he will be ‘all ears.’

Let’s be honest. Romantic notions and novelty value aside, the Mickey Mouse hitout between City and Country has become an unnecessary yearly stuff-around for NSW rugby league that produces more heartache than good.

This Sunday in Coffs Harbour, the age-old battle between mud huts and electricity will hobble out on to the representative stage clearly on its last legs after copping a brutal bruising from all involved over the last two weeks.

Laurie Daley can really wreck a good league soap.

Laurie Daley can really wreck a good league soap.

It begun with Blues coach Laurie Daley secretly revealing to the Fox Sports viewership on Matty Johns’ excellently named Monday Night program that he had already decided on 12 of his first 17 for the opening game of the series, effectively undermining the game’s trial value.

It was an embarrassing admittance from the man at the pointy end of this operation that should’ve come with a ‘spoiler alert’ warning, and it relegated the fixture to nothing more than a bathtub full of phoned-in routine with a measly drop of league-style Hunger Games.

Then after the teams were selected, a gaggle of talent made their feelings known by running for the hills clutching dodgy medical certificates.

Robbie Farah, Mitchell Pearce, Chris Lawrence, Aaron Woods, Jarryd Hayne, Josh Reynolds and John Sutton called in sick with the lazy ‘gastro’ excuse for City, while Brett Stewart refused to answer any calls from the Country Rugby League offices on Sunday night himself.

All of these supremely timed ‘injuries’ (which I have omitted from print in the interests of factuality) further degrades the reputation of the match as a watered-down exhibition of second tier talent.

And then there’s the cannibalism factor.

Why do we let our guys maim themselves at the hands of their fellow statesmen on a sub-par country goat track while Queensland stands by and smugly chuckles at our misfortune?

Don’t we have a perfectly good club competition for sustaining affliction?

Its self-harm at it’s finest, and we must remove the blunt scissor blade away from the wrist immediately, because I’m sick of hearing the ‘Johnathon Thurston laugh’ ringtone.

And finally, to those naïve and sentimental types out there who try to tell me there is an emotional investment in this match by players and fans alike, I ask they stop driving through the Harbour Tunnel with their windows down.

The trophy is not a high priority to the players, and I haven’t seen a rabid bunch of hicks baying for the blood of the chai-sipping yuppies at a match since the 1980s when KB was widely available as a useful projectile.

C’mon guys. The final grains of sand have passed through the hourglass. It’s time for NSW to move on from the insanity of persisting with this annual relic.

Let’s respectfully take it behind the white sheet and end it.

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Dane Eldridge Tries Hard

Contemporary rugby league surrealism and hot takes on Shane Warne

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