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RUGBY LEAGUE
Frank Cookson
Jul 13 2020

I managed a pub in Roosters territory throughout the ‘90s and our patrons included council workers, garbos, wharfies, collar-and-ties, surf club members, school teachers from the nearby Waverley College, pensioners, and “colourful” characters of all types. And I’ll tell you this: there wasn’t one snob among them.

Admittedly our pub was nowhere near the Sydney Harbour suburbs where the big dollar people reside, so how they behave I don’t know. Maybe Souths owners Russell Crowe and Jamie Packer could elaborate given it’s their domain when in town.

Point is Souths fans, like Roosters fans, come from all across Australian society.

Now, I wrote a column about “hate” for the Roosters that went a little, I’m told, “viral”. I’ve since taken the time to read most of the comments in the Facebook groups, and I only know about five per cent of the contributors and presumably the other 95 per cent don’t know me.

But given so many have voiced opinions either in favour, mixed, or against my views, some in detail, and others, well, to each their own, I consider an overview warranted.

Firstly, I am by no means backing away from anything in the previous column other than maybe a comment about The Book of Feuds, which I admitted to having not read. As they say, you should never judge a book by its cover. I know Mark Courtney is a passionate Souths supporter so comment on the book may later be the subject of a separate article.

In this one, let me reiterate what was clearly stated in the original article: I am a rugby league supporter not a Roosters supporter. And while this may give some of you keyboard supporters an adrenalin rush, I was happy to see the Roosters win the premierships in 2018 and 2019.

My reason: being born in Sydney the Roosters were the only NSW-represented team in the grand final and I wouldn’t have liked to see the trophy go to Victoria or the ACT. Had it been two NSW teams playing off, particularly in 2019, I would likely have thought otherwise.

I also support NSW against Queensland, and Australia against New Zealand and Great Britain for the same reason. I enjoy the rivalry such matches produce.

As for the Roosters “stealing” Souths juniors: count the number of local players in the Souths team and then count the number playing for other clubs. Souths had five of 21 local juniors in the NRL squad on Friday night, all of them established players in the run-on team. None among the other eight. As I have stated, had Souths been able to keep all of our juniors it would be a very good team.

The talk of buying established players to win competitions is something all clubs do. Two that quickly come to mind: superstars Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis.

My main interest is junior rugby league. A lot of talk from those “at the head of the table” centres around “pathways” for young guys coming through. Signing up short term “gap fillers” does nothing to support the talk.

As for my comment regarding “supposed” rugby league supporters, it is what it says. Now that Souths has been brought into it, let me just say as I have previously: Souths have many what I call “fair-weather" supporters, meaning they are on board when things are going well and nothing short of whingers, some even feral at that, when they are not. Read some of the comments in Facebook groups when Souths lose a couple and you’ll see what I mean.

And Roosters supporters, as at Souths and all other clubs, I don’t doubt there are some “fickle” ones among them.

But there is no way I would criticise any of the true, sensible, loyal supporters, of either stripe. I might disagree with their views or how they go about some things, but I respect loyalty.

There is a lot of difference between the meaning of “banter” and “hate”. I certainly much prefer the former and enjoy the rivalry between Souths and the Roosters.

One question for all the Roosters non-likers: are any of you in rugby league tipping competitions? And if so, do you select them?

That is enough from me on the matter.

Related:

Hating the Roosters is ludicrous, says Rabbitohs lifer Frank Cookson

Hating the Roosters is far from ludicrous, Frank, it pumps through our veins: Steve Mavin

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Frank Cookson
President of Mascot JRLFC
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