F E C.
Three letters put together side-by-side on an Instagram post by Jarome Luai the night after Nathan Cleary was charged with a grade three dangerous throw, which essentially meant he would be out suspended for five weeks and make his return in round one of the Finals series.
Coincidently that same game, Luai will also make his comeback from injury. The post was essentially a black and white photo of Luai standing side-by-side with Cleary, their hands locked together, both men looking fiercely into each other’s eyes during the recent State of Origin series.
F E C – What the hell does that stand for?
I couldn’t work it out, so I tried to ask my ‘cool’ friends. None of them knew either. So, I tried Googling it. Here’s a few of the explanations that came up.
F E C – means ‘Forward Error Correction’. Nope that didn’t look right. Another one was ‘Federal Election Commission’, I knew that one wasn’t right. This was becoming frustrating.
I was already frustrated by the events of Friday night, like every Panthers supporter I knew the Cleary tackle was an accident, but I also knew that losing your two starting halves was going to be a huge blow for a team searching for back-to-back premierships.
Maybe F E C was some secret message Luai was sending his halves partner and the rest of his teammates. You know, to keep their heads up and never give up, no matter what the odds stacked against them.
Speaking of odds, the Panthers odds to win the comp also blew out, for the first time this season.
In frustration, I turned to the Urban Dictionary but some of the meanings tossed up there made even less sense.
By lunchtime Sunday, the club had confirmed that Cleary would plead guilty to the charge, thus definitely removing him until the first week of the Finals in September.
I thought I’d take one more stab at finding the meaning of those three letters. I Googled it one more time. Finally, there was the answer.
F E C – FULL EXCELLENT COMBO
Yep, that was it.
I took another look at the photo and felt inspired.
The dream team will be back for week one of the Finals. Two ultra-competitive blokes who will use the disappointment of being injured, of being suspended, to make sure that the rest of the competition pays for it when they return.
Hold your head up high Panthers players and supporters. No matter what challenges the next five weeks bring.
For the football gods will then unleash two players, who will both return with fire in their bellies and a real point to prove.
I’d love to hear a chant go up from all Panthers supporters when the two of them run out of the tunnel in about six weeks’ time.
“FEC! FEC! FEC!”
Don’t worry they’ll know what it means… and so will you.
Peter Lang is an experienced sports writer, who has been covering rugby league for several decades.