Welcome to Upset City
In last weekend's footy, we saw teams from both codes stop over in a small isolated, and near-desolate town called Upset City.
by Cam Schuster I 15 March 2023
Welcome to Upset City, est: 2023, population 56, slogan: “Where the best get dropped.” This is the town where top-tier sports teams get sent for four unpretentious days to reflect, rehabilitate, re-evaluate, and rejuvenate after experiencing shocking losses to the cellar dwellers of their respective competitions. This town is a safe space for superstar teams who for reasons only known to them, unexpectedly learn to be humble. Upset City is a place fans won't want their teams to stay. Call it the town of shame, or a town version of sending your playing-up (palagi) kid to the naughty corner.
Where the Best get Dropped.
Upset City has accommodated many elite sports teams in the past including the Springboks who were upset by Japan 34-32 in pool play at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and England who were humiliated at home 27-26 thanks to a drop goal by Stephen Crichton of Toa Samoa at the 2022 Rugby League World Cup. This week, carriers were mobilised for transit to Upset City, all aboard were the Crusaders, Melbourne Storm, Canberra Raiders, and England Rugby Union.
Crusaders -Super Rugby Round 3 vs Fiji Drua - Crusaders lost by 1 (25-24)
The upset of the week! First of all, I won't buy the excuse of the All Black’s rest protocols since its Rugby World Cup year, but the absolute core of the Crusaders was missing either injured or not selected. No Richie Mo’unga, no Joe Moody, no Cody Taylor, no Leicester Faingaanuku, no Will Jordan, no Ethan Blackadder, no win. But, give it up to Fiji Drua who had the capacity crowd and the 30-degree heat behind their backs to get the dub at home. Backs Eroni Sau, Frank Lomani and Iosefo Masi were the stars for Fiji running 232 meters, scoring 2 tries, and beating defenders 8 times between them. Crusaders sitting at the front of the bus en route to Upset City are Fergus Burke who went 2 of 4 from goal-kicking range, if he made just one of those kicks… Well. Sitting next to Fergus we have Noah Hotham who subbed on in the second half and failed to secure a highball in the 75th minute, knocked the ball on, and gave Drua the second chance to win the game. (Drua was down 2 points by that point) Crusaders concede a penalty in front of the sticks, replacement first-five Kemu “Rob’s my brother” Valetini slots the goal, and the rest looks like Critta and Toa Samoa celebrating after beating England.
Melbourne Storm - NRL Round 2 vs Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs - Storm lost by 14 (26-12)
I won't count the Bulldogs' loss to the mighty Manly Sea-Eagles in week 1 because that was automatic, come on I have to say it. Anyway, the Melbourne Storm has been synonymous with success since 1999, appearing in 19 Finals Series in the last 20 years. The Canterbury Bulldogs, have won the wooden spoon in 2021 and have not appeared in a Finals Series since 2016. However, from the throw-in-the-towel performance against Manly to last weekend's winning like its 2004 performance against the Melbourne Storm, the Bulldogs looked like pre-serum Steve Rogers to Captain America. The dogs of war are back, call it a demolition, no Munster, No excuses, Bellamy goes nuclear, Storm lost to a bottom four team. But then again, the new signing of Viliami Kikau to add to previous high-profile signings of Matt Burton, The Fox, and the arrival of Critta next season, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to know something special is brewing at Balmore.
Canberra Raiders - NRL Round 2 vs Dolphins - Canberra lost by 6 (20-14)
The dolphins are undefeated in their history playing the NRL - wow, I had to pause typing and read that twice. Ok, so the Redcliffe Dolphins are the NRL’s newest expansion team in their first season and only have two games in their history, but both games are wins and wins against the top eight seeds last season. Expansion teams are not supposed to win big like this which makes the Dolphins automatic underdogs coming in. Well done Wayne Bennett and crew, may the party carry on next week. Raiders, well… you can take the rooms occupied by the Sydney Roosters at Upset City.
England - Six Nations Rugby Round 4 vs France - England lost by 43 (53-10)
I know what you’re thinking… France are not cellar dwellers and that is true, but this is my writing, I have animosity toward English Sports teams, and I can break the rules. English Rugby gets a special pass to Upset City and they deserve it. A reality check for England, a top-tier rugby nation fires their coach Eddie Jones just months away from the World Cup and then concedes a fifty-piece to France is terrible conscience. The points itself, disgraced by a 53-10 scoreline that associates with regular wooden spooners in Italy. The final “finish him” fatality try by France was beautiful, off a line out set-piece the backline move looked like a basic drill at practice, executed to perfection sending French winger Damian Penaud across the chalk in the corner. Worst ever loss at Twickenham, welcome to Upset City.
I ask myself, will my teams suffer similar fates as those losing teams mentioned above? That remains to be seen, Manly Sea-Eagles are looking great so any loss to the 4 bottom teams, Warriors, Tigers, Knights, and Bulldogs would garner a ticket. Also, the Blues, if they lose to Drua, Moana Pasifika, Rebels, and Force then off on the bus they go. This is a challenge I give the Sea Eagles and Blues… don't make me Upset.