They showed their normal acute sense of humour at the Kangaroos AFL breakfast on Saturday. Kevin “Me Too” Rudd’s entrance was announced to Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better. For Prime Minister John Howard they chose the strains of I Will Survive.

Last night when Mr Howard stepped forward to present the NRL premiership cup perhaps Money Can’t Buy Me Love would have been appropriate. In his pre-match interviews on the Nine Network the PM was trying to make a good fellow of himself by handing out taxpayer largesse to the sport half owned by the Rupert Murdoch group.

“I am pleased to announce”, said Mr Howard, “that the Australian Government will provide over $12.6 million to assist rugby league celebrate its centenary in Australia.”

There will be $10 million towards the establishment of a Rugby League Hall of Fame and $2.63 million to support the staging of the 2008 Rugby League World Cup and the other events being held to celebrate the centenary.

At least Mr Howard got his announcement on the tele which is more than the Opposition Leader did with his attempt to capitalise on the big sporting weekend. Knowing that the weekend’s news would be full of football, football and football, Mr Rudd chose to show concern not for the elite levels of sport symbolised by the two football finals but for what he described as “local sporting champions”. Along with his shadow minister for Sport Senator Kate Lundy, Mr Rudd announced on Friday that a Labor Government “will invest in our local sporting champions with a Local Champions Grant Program to provide financial assistance for our junior sportsmen and women.”

Grants of up to $500 per individual and $3,000 per team will be available to children and young people up to 18-years-old to compete in significant sport or specialist sporting events which involve travel greater than 250km. All children and sporting teams are welcome to apply for funding under the program.

It was a good try but the effort to show concern for helping ordinary people play sport got lost in all the pre AFL and rugby league grand final hype.