When the NRL competition started back in March nobody gave the St George-Illawarra Dragons the slightest hope of winning a title.
Well, on Sunday night they proved the knockers wrong.
The Dragons are now arguably the dumbest team in football.
And that's not just rugby league we're talking. That's all codes. Worldwide.
Of course the season still has a few months to run, and in sport anything is possible, but at this stage it's hard to see anyone else lifting the title from them.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
Not when they've got Jack de Belin in their side.
The St George-Illawarra Dragons are now arguably the dumbest team in football after 13 players attended an illegal house party during Sydney's lockdown
Jack De Belin (pictured with partner Alyce) allegedly hid under a bed when the police arrived at teammate Paul Vaughan's home on Saturday night. There is no suggestion Alyce was also at the party
To say nothing of the now-sacked Paul Vaughan running off his shoulder and the dynamic duo of Corey Norman and Matt Dufty bringing up the rear.
When Vaughan sidled up to de Belin after training one night last week and said, 'Hey Jacko, I'm having a few of the boys over for a barbie on Sunday, you in?', there were any number of responses de Belin could have chosen.
Like, say, 'Aw, I don't know mate. I've just been on the sideline for three years on that sexual assault charge that they dropped after two court cases couldn't reach a verdict. I think I might have a quiet one.'
Or: 'Isn't that against the law at the moment because of the Covid lockdown? I know it definitely doesn't comply with the current NRL bio-security protocols.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'You know me Vaughany, I like a good time as much as the next man, but on this occasion I don't think having a party is a wise decision. Count me out.'
He could also have said: 'Hang on Paul, didn't you get fined $10,000 last year for going out for a coffee during Covid and not signing in under your correct name?
'Come on buddy, let's learn from our mistakes. Just because we play "The Greatest Game of All" doesn't put us above the law. I'm staying home and I think everyone else should too.'
But no. He went with: 'Sounds good. Should I bring a plate?'
Police were called to Paul Vaughan's Shellharbour home about 9.45pm on Saturday after neighbours complained of an illegal party taking place
Jack de Belin (pictured with his fiancée Alyce Taylor and their two kids) was allegedly hiding under a bed when police attended Paul Vaughan's Saturday night barbecue. De Belin has since been fined $42,000 by the NRL. There is no suggestion Alyce was also at the party
And so did the rest of the geniuses who wear the Red V: Blake Lawrie, Daniel Alvaro, Jack Bird, Josh Kerr, Josh McGuire, Kaide Ellis, Tyrell Fuimaono, Zac Lomax, Gerard Beale, and the aforementioned Corey Norman and Matt Dufty.
I single out Norman and Dufty for special mention because they were both told last month that the Dragons did not want them next season. In other words, they are looking for new jobs.
Vaughan now joins them after St George sacked him on Tuesday for hosting the party - and he may be waiting a while for a new club with an eight-game suspension still to serve.
You can just imagine their managers fronting up to club officials around the country on Monday morning and trying to attract an offer.
'Okay, so his defence can be a bit iffy,' Dufty's manager would say. 'But he's great for team morale. Never says no to a bonding session.'
Or Norman's agent: 'Look, Corey's misunderstood. All that stuff about consorting with bikies, drugs at the casino, the sex tape and the fight at Cronulla… none of it was his fault.
'The same with the barbecue. He just dropped in because he'd left his footy boots in Paul Vaughan's car after the game and needed them for training. Didn't even know there was a party on. Honest…'