Sunday 17 December 2017

Be warned: relentless hype machine hasn't even got out of first gear yet

Brian Jaffray

And you thought the first two games were hyped – you ain't seen or heard nothing yet.

They're a tough lot those Wallabies, resilient to say the very least.

Lampooned by their own after losing in Brisbane, their preparation for the Melbourne showdown was far from ideal.

Our host Alex Payne is the master of the understatement.

"It's not been an easy week for the hosts with injuries, citings and arrest warrants!" No s**t, Sherlock. "Still, they're fired up to make amends," he roared as the cameras zoomed into the eyeballs of the wounded Wallabies as they arrived at the stadium.

Melbourne was once known as 'Batmania' – you learn something new every day – and the roof at the Etihad Stadium was closed for the night.

Scott Quinnell couldn't hear himself think inside the 'Bat Cave'. Scotty was playing a blinder in the red corner. He was a definite contender for the Lions' man of the match.

Like the Dark Knight he was liable to appear anywhere; one minute he's up in the studio, the next he's down pitch-side, and before Robin might say, 'Holy smokes, Batman', he's having a cup of tea and a cosy chat down by the Yarra River with George North.

Minutes from kick-off, Scotty was asked to "Bang the big drum, big man. Make us all believe" by Alex up in the studio. Scotty gave it loads and loads.

Rugby immortality awaited for the chosen few. The more animated he became, the more we worried for his ticker.

Out of shot, you'd have to imagine, the Melbourne equivalent of the Order of Malta were charging up their defibrillators and radioing ahead to the cardiac wing of the local A&E to be on standby.

Fastforward to the end and Leigh Halfpenny comes up short. Back up in the stands Scotty is a beaten man. The usual suspects were rolled out to give the after match interviews. Same old, same old – yawn, yawn.

It's a pity we never heard what Sean O'Brien thought of it all. Tullow's favourite son played a blinder during his 15-minute cameo. 'The Tank' got a slap on the wrist from Sky during the week for using some Tullow vernacular live on air.

Sky were – well there's no other way of putting it – p****d off that Seanie said he was "p****d off" after the dirt trackers lost against the Brumbies. Cue bedlam in the Sky control room .

So before we could say, 'G'wan Seanie, give us the inside story', the bould Will Greenwood was apologising for the use of language. Priceless.

And now we know why Sky never gave the gig to 'Effin' Eddie Moroney when Andy Gray got the boot. Their loss, Eddie, their effin' loss.

It's up the road to Sydney now. That cranking noise you hear is Sky's hype machine. It's only warming up. You've been warned.

Irish Independent

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