A Tasmanian crayfish named Robert has become the toast of the animal tipster world after correctly predicting the first eight results at the football World Cup. After forecasting a 3-1 result for Brazil in the opening fixture, Robert from his cage at Sullivan’s Cove also locked in scores for the next seven and those matches all came in exactly as he had determined.
“Yeah, well, if you were about to be chucked into a pot of boiling water to feed some drunk winter tourist I guess your instincts would be pretty sharp,” he said philosophically when asked about his extroardinary ability. “So I just look at individual player form, analyse the team rankings, consider coach records, distribute across World Cup historical data, adjust for weather and altitude, factor in likelihood of referee corruption, evaluate fan support with the stadium and its effect upon the respective teams’ psyches, read latest reports about turf grass length and estimated windspeed at ground level, then fuzz a little bit for my own observational bias and hence have a wild guess at the result ... it’s all pretty basic really,” he said modestly.
The fame of Robert the Crayfish follows on from that of the legendary Paul the Octopus, a German tank-dweller who correctly predicted a series of winning teams in games throughout the 2010 World Cup up to and including the final. “Look, Paul was pretty good in that limited sphere. But let’s face it, he was as soft-headed as most cephalopods. Frankly, and this is just between us, if I had tentacles I’d wrap them around the neck of Tony Abbott while singing ‘Happy’ rather than troll about like some captive flunky looking for scraps of cuttlefish wrapped in national flags. Savvy?”
Robert said his parents had tried to discourage his interest in predicting football matches. “Yeah they had some harsh words to say about me wasting my life but in the end I have a pretty tough exoskeleton. And – I think I might have Asperger’s tendencies, but I’m still waiting to get a proper assessment – my own desire to be really good at something other than digging burrows in soft mud was a pretty strong persuader,” admitted Robert the cray. He also said he had forgiven industrial society for a century of dumping pollution into the Derwent estuary because he was a nice bloke, and because he had survived enough Piers Akerman columns to become immune to Mercury poisoning.
“I only do the tipping for fun really,” said Robert, while simulating a Mexican wave with his legs and antennae. “People think I could have made a shitload out of this caper already but you try getting a decent bet on when you’re trying to type with claws and clutching your credit card in your mandible. Bugger me.”
The supertipsterlobster was cagey about his next predictions in the tournament. “Well,” he said as he cracked another mussel and lit up a cigar, “I predict the Uruguayans will display exemplary teamwork in surrounding the referee to plea for free-kicks. And that by the time the tournament’s over we’ll be sick of sweeping aerial shots of that big fucking Jesus statue.”