Opposition supporters say they’re chokers. Wayne Bennett said they were unlucky. But I know the real reason St George-Illawarra failed to win the premiership: LONG WHITE SOCKS.
Wearing long white socks never did anyone any good. They were for scrawny men in safari suits and five year old boys forced to go to Sunday School. There was a packet of Holeproof Long White Business Socks (and a couple of Speckled Fawn) that remained unopened while doing the christmas present rounds of our extended family for the entire 1970’s.
White socks highlight the moving legs which is the aesthetic domain of dancers, football (soccer) players and piston-legged sprinters. Put them on a rugby league player and he looks like Margot Fonteyn running with the bulls.
The high number of female spectators at such a masculine game can’t just be explained by unfortunate wives, girlfriends and mothers being dragged along. Many will enjoy the game itself but there must also be those there to stare: the female gaze.
Firm behinds and muscular thighs, arms and chests, not to mention the sculptured calves of Matt Cooper, seem to rate highly on the scale of women’s sexual aesthetics. And these all-white, second-skin kits certainly highlight these regions.
However, as women also know, white jumpers make your torso look bigger. Adding a white jersey to the ensemble may give you a slight psychological advantage when you’re standing in front of the opposing prop (commentators are often sucked in: “Aren’t they a big team?”) but if you don’t have the svelte muscular frame things are going to get really ugly.
The muscular but rotund Wendell Sailor looked like a pot roast in white Glad wrap.
And Eorl Crabtree is a hulking 6ft 6in, 122kg prop but wearing his England all-white strip and ponytail he appears to want to be more than that. I can just imagine him in the bar after a match untethering his hair and twirling his head about like Terence Stamp in Priscilla Queen Of The Desert.
Rugby league has it’s share of exhilarating dancing with the twisting, sidestepping and stomping of Greg Inglis and Jarryd Hayne. Ultimately, though, the game is about power and impact.
St George should have dressed for that, not Swan Lake.
NEXT WEEK: England’s Underbites: Why Australia Lost The Ashes