Greetings, G&GRs, and HNY to you all! AllyOz has sent through an article which is apparently written in English, but comes across in Elvish to me. Maybe KARL can translate the Hobbit speak for us. Anyhoo, read, digest, comment! Happy Monday. CM
THE BATTLE FOR MIDDLE EARTH
Hello fellow G&GRS,
Following on from the brilliant Star Wars XV from Nutta last week. I thought I’d have a bit of a go with a Battle for Middle Earth selection. Given the animosity between the two groups I have picked a couple of sides based on their allegiance, that is, good guys and bad guys.
I’ve used both the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit movies as selection material to give me a few more choices. I’m an avid reader of the books and loved the movie versions as well, the Lord of the Rings anyway. The Hobbit was at least one (and probably two) movies too long for the content and suffered badly from an overdose of CGI. I wouldn’t see myself as a LOTR nerd (he says as he moves his mouse across his Middle Earth Map mousepad), and I might’ve missed something or mixed them up. I apologise to all proper LOTR fans (Google tells me they are Ringers), I’ve seen your comments online and you are vicious. I think I’d rather prop against Taniela after stealing his fried chicken than take you on.
Anyway, it’s supposed to be a bit of fun and hopefully it’s at least a little amusing.
THE ARMY OF THE WEST
1. Gimli son of Gloin – hard as the stone he cuts, and a real axeman in defence. Forms a strange friendship with an elf – who would’ve thought a prop would associate with a back.
2. Samwise Gamgee – this kid gives away a bit in size but he comes from good gardening/farming stock, loyal to the end and has the legs. He won’t let you down.
3. Thorin Oakenshield – a strong forward leader who has had previous success against the Great Goblin, setting up a tasty rematch here. Unfortunately, is struck down with gold fever and has to leave the ground.
4. Treebeard – OK he can’t jump, but he’s a giant f%$king talking tree for goodness sake.
5. Beorn – watch out in the night games Mordor! This wild man with the sideburns to match, turns into a beast of a bloke when the lights go out (and he’s 10 foot tall).
6. Boromir – one of the original fellowship and a decent defender but loses the plot a bit after seeking a leadership role and is replaced by his brother Faramir just before half time.
7. Aragorn (VC) – a born leader, this bloke can really cover the ground. Tactical in defence and plays a key link role between the forwards and the backs (always seems to pull the good sorts too, typical for a 7)
8. Tom Bombadil – a bit of a man of mystery (like most 8s hey Hoss). A mystery non-selection by Peter Jackson in his team but the ring has no power over him so we had to find a place for him, even though at 5 foot and the oldest living creature on Middle Earth he might be past his best.
9. Frodo Baggins – courageous little bugger, takes on his role with no whinging and gets the job done. The sort of bloke who would walk into hell for his team. Has formed a good bond with the hooker, which is good at scrum time for the timing of the feed. Likely to be pestered by the opposition half.
10. Gandalf (C) – you need a wizard at 10 and the Fellowship have the best of them. Goes down with injury before the first half but reappears transformed in time for the champion minutes. That gives us an extra pick on the bench. Defends in the front line but still manages to create all sorts of magic.
11. Pippin Took – like all the hobbits he’s challenged for height but makes up with it in courage – his run to grab a hand from Gandalf is reminiscence of Mel Gibson in Gallipoli (though thankfully more successful). Puts in a sturdy defensive effort as a Guard of the Citadel and the only hobbit to fight with the Army of the West and then takes a leading role in scourging the shire. He’ll leave nothing on the park
12. Théoden, King of Rohan – came into the game under an injury cloud and for the first half of the game looks out of sorts after some heavy sledging from Wormtongue. Clears his head in the second half and leads from the front with some devastating charges, before suffering a game ending injury late in the game.
13. Legolas – perhaps strange that the first actual faerie that we pick is at 13. This guy is all class, speed, finesse and excellent wide channel defence – he’s got a lot of arrows in his quiver.
14. Bard – perhaps an out of left field selection but Bard, the Bowman of Laketown is one of the most accurate kickers in all Middle Earth and plays pivotal role in taking down the Mordor fullback.
15. Galadriel – this girl gives up nothing to her male counterparts. At over 6’4” (in the books, Rings of Power chose to make her about 5’6”) she’s a real warrior with a great game sense.
16. Dain II Ironfoot – if Billy Connolly hadn’t voiced him I wouldn’t have picked him and he appears in the worst of all the movies, barely recognisable after all the CGI but if you want good props in Middle Earth, who pick dwarves and he’s one of them.
17. Dwalin – the actor who plays the bald hard arse in Outlander and also a dwarf – so he’s in.
18. Bombur – I can only remember Bombur for being so fat that he wouldn’t fit into a barrel – just before the hideous barrel scene in the Hobbit. Peter Jackson could’ve lost all future directing jobs after that, but still, Bombur’s the biggest of the dwarves and sometimes size matters (particularly when you’re packing in against a goblin and a giant spider).
19. Faramir – the younger brother of Boromir, proves he’s a little bit more dependable than big bro when the sh!t comes down. Ends up with the cast off, horsy chick that Aragorn rejected but she’s a decent sort so good luck to him.
20. Merriadoc Brandybuck – forms a great combination with Eowyn for a game breaking defensive effort to bring down one of Mordor’s star players. Wholehearted like all his hobbit mates and refuses to give up any ground to his bigger opponents.
21. Radagast the Brown – if you’ve got a wizard available you pick him, even if he is a little bit doolally and smells of field animals.
22. King of the Dead/Oathbreakers – less than dependable in the past but we think this time he can be trusted to make a difference.
23. Éowyn – held out of the game by her dad (our 12) until the last moment but comes on late and proves pivotal bringing down one of Mordor’s big boys
COACH: Elrond & Gandalf
ANALYST: Bilbo Baggins
COLOURS – Gold (of Course)
THE MORDOR XV
1. The Great Goblin – played by Barry Humphries in the movies (and really just a re-jig of Sir Les Patterson) this enormously corpulent, farting, lumbering, wisecracking big orc with pustules on his neck somehow reminded me of a number of props I had played with and against.
2. Grima Wormtongue – slimy little bastard who gets in Theoden’s ear – somehow reminded me of Phil Kearns insipid commentary so I gave him the gig.
3. Shelob (Spider) – hands everywhere, wraps you up in a ball and leaves you unable to move….plus really bad breath. I played a season out of position at prop in Brisbane and that just about summed up every good prop I played against.
4. Azog (Giant Orc) – the leader of the Orc armies in the Hobbit – big crazy mother f@$ker – sort of like Eben Etzebeth but……well …. like Eben Etsebeth.
5. Khamul the Easterling (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – OK – not a lot of the bad guys are named in the Lord of the Rings so I thought I was going to struggle but there are nine ringwraiths and all those f*&kers are scary.
6. The Dark Marshal (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – see above. But the “Dark Marshal” sounds a bit like its from a bondage game – not that I would know anything about that.
7. Lurtz (Uruk-Hai) – the leader of the Orc in Lord of the Rings movies (in the books I thought he was Ugluk but this might be another one). In the movies he was played by a NZ Maori actor – Lawrence Makoare – he was very scary – and extremely effective at tracking down the Fellowship – like a good 7 – so he gets the gig.
8. Dark Lord Sauron (Capt. Coach) – Fifteen foot tall, all powerful, evil overlords play at 8. Hoss knows it, we all know it. Nothing in Middle Earth goes on without Sauron having an eye on it.
9. Gollum/Smeagol – OK, picking a slimy, cunning little, murderous thief at nine sort of fits, doesn’t it?
10. Saruman – starts off as the white wizard but becomes a multi-coloured wizard part way through the story – probably based on an inclusivity directive from Rugby Australia. Great one-on-one battle with Gandalf.
11. The Betrayer (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – again, filling up the side with Ringwraiths (sort of like the Wallabies do with Tahs….if you can’t decide pick the Ringwraith). In this case, the Betrayer seemed to fit for a winger.
12. Balrog – a big non-human, defending in a channel against the Fellowships 10 – This bloke is on fire and Gandalf will need to use all his wizardry to survive the battle.
13. Witch-king of Angmar (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – Leader of the Ringwraiths; a once great king, consumed by evil and the power of the ring….Izzy, get off the computer… what have you written.
14. The Knight of Umbar (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – another Ringwraith, this one is a real flyer…the horse helps a bit I suppose and it’s a bit hard to tackle a ghost.
15. Smaug (Dragon) – defends his golden zone with real menace and, when he does unleash in attack, he can really cause some destruction – has only one little weakness.
16. Bert (Troll) from the Hobbit and bit players really but they were murderous gluttons. So, replacement props seems a fair call. The Great Goblins fitness isn’t great so they could be on early.
17. Tom (Troll) – picked as a combination – see 16 above.
18. William (Troll) – picked as a combination – see 16 above.
19. The Shadow Lord (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – it’s handy to have a few ghostly, poisonous sword wielding maniacs on the bench and I didn’t want to break up the nine guys so they all get a run here.
20. The Undying (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – see 19 above
21. The Dwimmerlaik (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – see 19 above
22. The Tainted (Nazgul/Ringwraith) – see 19 above….but tainted….really??
23. Sir Richie McCaw – OK I know a lot of New Zealanders will be offended by Richie’s inclusion here…. but when you have an Orc ahead of you at 7, I think including him at 23 is a fair call, he needs to be in the side.
COACH: Dark Lord Sauron
ANALYST: Morgroth – he was actually Sauron’s big boss back in the day, so pretty evil.
COLOUR: Black …. Hey KARL don’t blame me….check the lyrics of the Led Zeppelin song, everyone knows “Ringwraiths ride in black” and they’re half my side. Actually Zeppelin had another album called, “In Through the Out Door”….Richie would like that one I think.