This is what it has come to. Three trademarks sent as a message over a mobile phone.
The first two are Campbells cartons labelled ’’beef stock, chicken stock’’. The third is the Parramatta Eels insignia labelled ’’laughing stock’’.
And indeed the Eels are.
Or how about the Coca Cola label renamed Choke the official drink of Parramatta.
The compensation is that Parramatta can now be up there with history’s great losers, like the New York Mets in the 1960s, or the winless Eastern Suburbs of 1966 or Jamaican bobsled teams.
But Parramatta fans are not laughing. It’s not just that the Eels have won just one from 10 NRL matches, although that is unusual in these days of the salary cap evening out competition.
The on-paper Parramatta should be performing better than that, however modest their resources.
They should have pride and passion, to use two of the three Ps the present administration used as its slogan when ending the Denis Fitzgerald era.
Well, that’s a bit unfair to the players. No doubt, the Eels have pride and passion.
But they’re also dispirited and there’s no unity, shown by their defence.
One of Jack Gibson’s favourite Gibsonisms was that success starts in the front office. Well, the front office has created a circus.
There is the unending rumour of Sonny Bill Williams coming to the Eels.
Coach Steve Kearney is supposed to be building a structure that will create future success and pride and passion.
How recruiting a celebrity mercenary like SBW, to use a trademark that tells its own story, will engender pride and passion and a culture that emphasises loyalty, is unexplained.
What next? Williams’ very good friend Anthony Mundine as assistant coach and motivator-at-large?
Then there is the rumour of an approach to Graham Lowe to act as some sort of manager-overseer.
How low can you go, which is not a slight on the done everything-been everywhere man.
Such a role would be an insult to Kearney — it would be an insult to any coach.
It’s an insult to the chief executive.
Parramatta have got a coach, they’ve got a chief executive in Bob Bentley.
If the trumps are unhappy with them, sack them and bugger the expense.
But then the trumps would find it hard to trump their own act of idiocy in humiliating the coach and players by ordering them to front supporters at the AGM.
What were the Eels supposed to say: ‘‘we haven’t done good and played fine’’, to adapt another Gibsonism?
Given present form, there’ll be something else to trump the AGM.
As it stands, the Eels are the convenient butt of every rumour, from Tony Williams returning to his former club to soccer superstar Lionel Messi switching codes to Ian Thorpe seeking a fresh challenge.
Is there a bright side?
Chris Sandow is an entertainer. He’s often brilliant for 10 minutes, hopeless for the next 10.
Parramatta surely knew what they were buying.
That’s the nature of the player and he’s not responsible for Parrramatta’s plight.
If he stays healthy, there’ll come a game where everything Sandow touches turns to blue and gold, he and Parramatta will look like worldbeaters and there’ll be talk of a golden future, at least for a week.
In the meantime, there’s no substitute for hard yakka and keeping mouths shut — there never is.
What to say about THAT decision and Greg Inglis’s try in the State of Origin?
First, Queensland deserved to win because of their professionalism, defence and resilience, and they’ll get a lot better.
Second, the decision to award a try was a joke and against the whole spirit of the game going back to 1908.
Slow frames down long enough and you can see lots of things.
Play the incident at normal speed and it’s obvious Inglis was losing control of the ball.
It was an example of video referees employing theory over commonsense, and not using their imaginations to assume the relative positions of the players.
There was another example in the Roosters-Manly game on the preceding Sunday when Daniel Mortimer had a try disallowed.
The Roosters’ Brad Takairang was penalised and placed on report for raising an elbow while giving the halfback the pass.
It was a decision no ex footballers would have made.
They would have understood Takairangi’s was a non-dangerous, reflexive response to high tacklers from a player trying to manoeuvre into a passing position.
There’ll be other similar decisions, sadly.
Role on more ex NRL players like Henry Perenara entering the refereeing ranks.
While the Inglis incident grabbed the ink, the most mystifying Origin decision was Jamie Buhrer’s selection on the NSW bench.
That’s no slight against Buhrer either, but NSW hooker Robbie Farrah is an 80-minute player, was one of NSW’s best and Buhrer got a late run for 10 minutes, interrupting NSW’s flow.
The Blues could have gone for a heavier impact player, or a more versatile player to cover injuries or fatigue.
It was just a waste of a replacement. Blues coach Ricky Stuart hasn’t explained the reasoning.
Buhrer is unlikely to be there in Sydney, but his chance should come again.
Melbourne is gone, part of NSW’s losing history.