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How to get through another NRL grand final without your team in it

So you rugby league geniuses out there, here’s one for you: how do you get excited about the NRL grand final when your team’s not one of the two participants. On the day of the big decider unfortunately you happen to follow anyone other than the Raiders or the Roosters.

And if your team just happens to be one of those that rarely make the finals let alone the grand final, it’s a real challenge getting excited.

Think Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights or the Warriors across the ditch.

Hang on, there’s one more I should have included in that little list – the team our family and many Macarthur region fans follows, the Wests Tigers. But the less said about them the better, so let’s keep going.

And thanks to the NRL decision to start the game after 7pm it is a bloody long, long day to get through when your team have enjoyed their mad Monday weeks and weeks ago.

Yes, it’s true that you can choose a team for the day, and that can help a bit to get your through grand final day.

But I find that the choice is made on a negative basis, such as which of the two sides you dislike the most, which is not very satisfying.

So what happens is that when the game is on you are hoping the team you hate the most doesn’t win.

The rugby league purists will tell you to just sit back and enjoy the game without the burden of being emotionally attached to either side.

But that’s bunkum and you know it.

Sport is about being emotionally involved with at least one of the combatants, riding the rollercoaster of your team’s fortunes over the 80 minutes.

So for those of us saps who follow dud teams year after year, season after season, we do have one thing in our favour as we try to get through grand final day: experience.

That’s many, many years’ experience in living through grand final days when our team was nowhere to be seen.

We grit our teeth and gird our loins and resolve to get through the day without being bitter and not getting totally tanked on XXXX Gold or that delicious little merlot from Orange you picked up from Dan Murphy last week.

Although let’s be honest, a beverage or two is an essential part of your strategy to survive the umpteenth grand final that doesn’t feature your footy team.

Personally I am looking forward to tomorrow morning, when the countdown to NRL season 2020 can begin.

Why? Because you know what they say in footy: there’s always next season.

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