Today everyone’s favourite loudmouth Anthony Mundine announced his 1,000th attempt at an NRL comeback.
The 41-year-old wants to return for the St. George-Illawarra Dragons. Not the Auckland Nines (where retired players far better than Mundine have done well), but the NRL, a competition he hasn’t played in since 2000.
While fans love making fun of Mundine’s outlandish (and almost clockwork) predictions, you have to admire his ability to transition from a career in elite rugby league to boxing. Not just a few fights for charity (like most league players do), but a 16-year career, with a 47-8 record. Some may question the legitimacy of some of his fights, but it’s a fair effort.
What if Mundine is serious and actually returns for the Dragons?
If nothing else, it would increase interest in the game. Casual fans would watch to see if Mundine could still cut it in the NRL and every armchair “expert” will have their opinion on Mundine’s return. Many would love to see Mundine get flattened by younger, fitter, faster players. Facebook memes about Mundine would increase 500%.
Channel Nine and Fox Sports will be in heaven. Every movement by Mundine (both on and off field) will be micro-analysed, which will suit Mundine’s monstrous ego. It’d be bigger than Sonny Bill and Jarryd Hayne’s returns combined!
It could be a boon for Dragons fans, who have been starved of success since 2010. Then again, if Mundine struggles/doesn’t get his way, it could be an expensive distraction.
Realistically, what are Mundine’s chances of coming back? The key word is intent. Mundine intends to return. It doesn’t mean he will. It’s been a couple of months since the big Danny Green fight, so maybe Mundine is looking for attention again?
If he really wants to return to rugby league, why not do his time in the Illawarra NSW Cup team to get re-acclimatised to the game? Of course, Mundine being Mundine, he would expect to immediately return to the NRL, no questions asked. What if he has a few bad games and is dropped? Surely the old excuses would come out and all that bluster would have been for nothing.
So let’s treat this as the usual Mundine bravado and move on.