There’s nothing like a good state-of-origin war between TheCourier Mail and The Daily Telegraph to get the circulation going — missives are launched between the two warring papers about the same time time every year.
But when a TV star calls for a fellow employee to start withholding bedroom favours from his network’s boss, well, you know a Wankley is just around the corner.
Next week the Blues head north of the Tweed with a very real chance of winning their first series since 2005, something the Banana Benders are pulling out all stops to avoid.
It all started with The Courier Mail’s week-long campaign to help save star Queensland halfback Jonathan Thurston. “JT” was being in danger of missing the crucial third match, warned the Snail, on a supposedly trumped up charge from a “joke” NRL judiciary they said was being manipulated by conspiratorial forces south of the border.
Of course, down in New South Wales, Sydney’s “bluespaper” didn’t agree. TheDaily Telegraph was claiming the tribunal had done something right (for once) and that the charge should stick. But it wasn’t enough, TheCourier Mail won and JT beat the rap.
So, with round one going to TheCourier Mail, the paper has turned its attention to a long-held bugbear of Queenslanders everywhere: the Channel Nine rugby league commentary box. The team is too biased towards New South Wales, they say, and could do with more of a maroon tinge.
Their target is PBL chief David Gyngell, someone the Snail hopes can swing some changes to get either of noted cane toad legends Paul Vautin or Wally Lewis more time in the box. For days now the paper has been appeal for Gynge to give Queensland its “own voice”.
Gyngell has yet to bite on the bias claims — his team is “the best in the business,” he says — but he might need to do something soon, if the fight comes to close to home.
On Wednesday the paper asked Gyngell’s wife, Channel Nine presenter and Queenslander Leila McKinnon, whether she could “use her influence” at home to sway the Nine supremo:
“I’m getting behind it, I’ll have Fatty [Paul Vautin] on the [play by play] team for sure,” she said, before sounding a hint of caution.
“I’ll do my best [to convince Gyngell], but how many men do you know who listen to their wives?”
Whether Gynge listens to his wife or not is none of our business — (and we’d prefer no one talk about how far her “influence” extends) — but there’s a good chance he might listen to that other special person in his life: noted Queenslander, Nine golden boy Karl Stefanovic.
The Gold Logie-winning brekkie TV host joined the fray in TheCourier Mail, calling for McKinnon to take a “firm s-x stance” with Gyngell.
He reckons wife Leila should start withholding “household privileges” from husband David as a way of getting more Queenslanders into the commentary box.
“This is a historic game — Queensland are going for six years in a row and the fact we don’t have a caller on the panel is outrageous.
“This may well come down to one person — Leila, it’s on your shoulders.”
Here’s to an awkward chat between those three over the water cooler at Nine HQ in the coming days.
Oh, and good work Karl, but don’t go too hard — the ref might pick you up for obstruction, or at the very least infringing on the play-the-ball.