By Kimberley Schloss
It is the end of another shithouse season at the Cowboys, with the team falling to 15th position after a series of defeats that piled embarrassment on top of incompetence. And with the team falling short of most of the targeted KPIs, it is likely that an executive suite at the CowHouse will shortly be vacated.
However, the closing of the season has not been all bad news for coach Payten. It has been revealed by insiders that the baldy-burly-beardy (above) has played a key role in the rescue of two lost children. The story is remarkable. Beset by self-doubt and stimulants during the final weeks of the season, unable to sleep and on a nocturnal stagger through the CowHouse, Payten stumbled across two twelve year-old Samoan boys who had been missing for more than nine and a half months.
The boys, Tama Palepoi and Hohepa Ka’ana’ana, had played as prop-forwards for the Under-13 Sala’ilua Rabbitohs in Townsville’s annual Dalkon Shield carnival held last December. Following the presentation ceremony in the Long Room at Cowboys House, the boys failed to board the team bus. Subsequently, they were declared missing. After a fruitless week-long search, authorities concluded that they had probably been recruited by a private boys’ school for conversion to Rugby Union.
In actuality, distracted by the gold medals around their necks and possessing none of the ambient wit of a five-eighth, the boys, disoriented in the byzantine corridors of the East Wing, became hopelessly lost. Eventually, tired and dehydrated, they set up camp in the suite vacated by Ethan Lowe, and over the ensuing months subsisted on schmackos and pigeon food, spending their days watching Real Estate Agents of Palm Cove and every episode of Un village français.
All’s well that ends well. The two Samoan boys have been reunited with their families and are understood to be considering offers of tuition by Townsville Grammar School and an appearance on Samoa’s Got Talent.
And, as much as this reporter has supported, defended and loved him; the future may not be as bright for coach Paten.