Alfie in his playing prime.
Alfie in his playing prime.

Benny’s shock weapon for Origin III

Here at the Maroons underground bunker, once used by General Douglas MacArthur as he barked out “Queenslander! Queenslander! Queenslander!”, super coach Wayne Bennett is in a funk.

There’s nothing unusual about that.

With his team 1-1 in the Big One and the bragging rights on the line with Freddy Fittler, there is no longer any signs of the Boogying Benny we saw in the Adelaide dressing sheds channelling John Travolta’s worst Saturday Night Fever moves after the Origin I boilover.

Maroons women finally snap Blues Origin stanglehold

This is Wayne’s War Room, deep beneath Lang Park stadium, where no TV cameras have ever been allowed and the most modern means of communication is Morse Code.

He’s watching Maroons’ tactical water boy Alfie Langer through the one-way mirror filling up the empty bottles and, just like the little general did out on the footy field, sweeping up after everyone else’s mess.

Wayne lets himself in through the secret blindside door.

“Alf, I think it’s time we had another one of those little talks, I need you to do me a favour,” the great man intones in his best deadpan Clint Eastwood.

“About time Coach, it’s never too late for a late call up. I may have lost a few yards since Origin III in 2001, but I reckon I’m still quicker off the mark than Benny Hunt. I have this new Rope a Dope play all mapped out with Nathan Cleary’s mug written all over it.”

“No Alf, unfortunately those days are over, everyone has their use by date … except certain rare and exceptional NRL coaching greats of course. And that reminds me, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about your on-ground form. The players are dehydrating out there, because they can’t read those bottles you chip through. Xavier Coates may have scored the wingers’ try of the century the other night, but he can’t mark your banana bottle kicks. And can you just try a simple hand-off instead grubber kicking the magic sponge to Big Josh Papalii?”

“Jeez Coach where’s the fun in that, Kevvie didn’t have a problem with my spiralling sponge speculators, he reckoned it kept the boys on their toes.”

Is Boogying Benny is looking to Alf for a new routine?
Is Boogying Benny is looking to Alf for a new routine?

“Just keep it simple, Alf, I shouldn’t have to tell a former Ipswich City Council road ganger that. Look, Alf, I’ve got a good feeling about Wednesday’s decider … Freddy’s never tasted Origin blood up here at Fortress Brisbane and we have keep it that way or there’ll be rioting in Caxton St. If we lose, our Premier has threatened Gladys she’ll shut the Blues border for all-time, and guess which side we’ll be on.”

“So, what’s it to be coach, do we slip the bogus NSW coaching notes under the Queensland boys’ hotel room doors again saying none of them can play? That’s a good one.”

Going to the Big Dance this Wednesday, Alfie busting a move for Queensland.
Going to the Big Dance this Wednesday, Alfie busting a move for Queensland.

“No Alf, I’ve got the game plan worked out … wait till the sellout crowd at the footy park sees the dodgy CCTV footage of the NSW boys burning King Wally in effigy in the warm-up, the place will erupt. So, the game’s in the bag. What I want is some of your moves … for after the final whistle blows and the cameras are in the dressing rooms and everyone’s going ‘I-i-ippy-singing i-i-ippy!’. My good lady Dale reckons my victory soft shoe shuffle looked like the constipated Chicken Dance laying an egg.”

“I’m on to it coach. The first thing you got to do is drop your daks, now up on the table and just imagine you’re at the Normanby Hotel in your Reg Grundies. That’s it, Coach, just let it all hang out … way to go… jeez, you’re a natural!”