Nick Cummins is this year's Bachelor.

Learning about the sport that is The Bachelor Australia: Episode 1

WARNING: This is a parody piece which contains spoiler alerts. If you want a more factual review of last night’s The Bachelor episode, go elsewhere. But if you want a laugh, stick around.

Although it is in its sixth season of competition, The Bachelor Australia has already established itself as one of Australia’s pre-eminent sporting competitions, comprising of 25 females chasing glory in the form of a man, with moves such as holding the competition during prime time in midweek, in the middle of the once-dreaded gap between the end of the AFL season and beginning of the NBA season, whilst attracting big TV numbers and huge advertising revenue proving to be big winners for the sport.

As this season of The Bachelor gets underway, I am then reliably informed that it is in fact a reality TV competition, but for the purposes of trying to get my head around it, I still regard it as a sporting competition and there is no reason as to why I can’t.

This year, the girls are fighting over Nick Cummins, a man who comes with a pretty handy resumé – a prolific Test player with the Wallabies, the nickname ‘Honey Badger’, Tradie underwear model, king of the one-liners and now, code-hopping superstar.

Cummins’ vibe is unique and you learn quite a bit more about how he handles personal life throughout the season opener, referring to his suit as a ‘bag of fruit’, just to get us started.

We’re then given a bit of dialogue between Nick and the host of the show, Ösher Gunsberg, who is the same Andrew G bloke that hosted the last made-for-midweek sporting competition I watched – Australian Idol (for those asking, it was the iconic 2003 season which saw one of the greatest and most controversial Grand Finals in Australian sporting history).

Anyway, I don’t want to dwell too much on too much else – let’s go into the girls hellbent on premiership glory in 2018.

Bravely, Channel 10 initially elects to show five girls (out of 25) in great detail, while mostly skipping the majority of the rest (clearly this is a move made to beat a time-certain finish), with Shannon, Brooke, Brittany, Cat (who emphasises the fact she lives in Bali… via Brisbane, surprisingly not Perth) and Cayla each introduced with great detail.

Of these girls, it’s fair to say Brooke intrigues me the most – she shows up with both a football and a rugby ball (ah! Another code-hopper!), which is clearly a big tick in the Honey Badger’s book – even more so when it is revealed she plays rugby union in Perth (for reference, the Badge played for the Western Force – a West Australian team in the Super Rugby competition). However, quite bizarrely for someone who is devoted to all that, she does not recognise him. How? I’m still confused. More on Brooke later.

After a number of girls are introduced, we are soon given quite the curveball – Cass. Cass’ point of difference compared to all the girls is that she knows him and actually went on a couple of dates with him. Cummins’ contention is that “it just wasn’t the right time” but I’m sure we are going to learn a lot more throughout the competition as to why this occurred.

Other intriguing characters include Dasha – a South Australian girl of Russian heritage whose power move is to do this weird sit-up style move whilst seated on Nick’s shoulders, as well as Cayla, a big believer in spirituality, diamonds, crystals and what not, who claimed that she predicted someone like Nick appearing before her eyes, but definitely not predicting how nervous she clearly was talking to him, which probably weirded him out, though we know later she definitely weirded out the other girls.

Vanessa Sunshine deserves her own paragraph for how bizarre her character is, one who makes a point as to put emphasis on the ‘Sunshine’ bit, so much so that she mentions it no fewer than five times in a 10-minute patch, including her meeting with Nick, where she makes sure she leaves him supposedly wanting more despite openly bemoaning the fact he has a mustache. Err… what?

With the girls introduced, it’s time for the girls to get to know one another through a cocktail party, where the fun really starts as we start to get to know a few of the odd characters from the quieter ones.

It’s clear Cass was the talking point of the show among many on social media, her actions extremely relatable to so many that have gone before her as she literally follows Nick every step of the way trying to get a word with him. I’ve never seen anyone cover this much ground during a party. It’s well past Stage 10-clinger stuff and things get rather tense towards the end, but that’s for later.

Meantime, Cat (from Bali) and Sophie are both ready to engage in warfare over a ‘boyfriend’ that has been shared between both of them previously, in fact, perhaps recently as insinuated by Cat. This culminates in Cat trying to approach Sophie about it, but is thwarted by Nick approaching Sophie for a one-on-one chat.

In the end, yes, they do confront each other about it, but instead of invoking the melee rule and a date with The Bachelor Tribunal, instead limit it to a confrontation which is akin to the confrontation shared between Hawthorn and Essendon before the ‘Line in the Sand’ brawl really escalated back in 2004. However, Cat does drop a ‘basic bitch‘ line which does insinuate there is more to come.

While many are focused on taking note of Cass’ continued failed moves to woo Nick, Kayla G tries to win Nick over by… jumping in the pool, a move which gets odd looks from many of the women, but literally nothing from Nick – it’s alright, Kayla, we’ve all been there when trying to make a move. Anyway, this creates quite an intriguing scene when she is later presented getting a rose whilst in her drenched dress, safe for now.

Back to Cass. She finally gets her time with Nick (a third date?) and quite incredibly starts off on-camera dropping a “tell me more about yourself, Nick” – it’s not like they had two dates for that question to be asked. Hmm.

However, it’s not to be her night. Nick approaches Brooke for a one-on-one chat, and becomes the early favourite to become the sixth premier of The Bachelor, with her carefree attitude seemingly winning over Nick on opening night.

Brooke also becomes the first person to receive the key, something Ösher claims is a world first for The Bachelor which allows any of the girls – at Nick’s request – to spend alone time in his actual pad. That’s cool.

To the rose ceremony – Ösher drops the shock news that three will be eliminated, with 21 other girls safe. There are a few surprises – that Kayla gets a rose quite early despite being drenched, while Cass gets real antsy about 12 other girls getting a rose before she does – at one point I thought the actual awkwardness would be too much to bear for him. Meantime, much of the attention once Cass gets her rose (and surprisingly doesn’t pash Nick on the spot given how hard she was chasing him) turns to Vanessa Sunshine, who pretty much goes from a stage of some nervousness to a real ‘I don’t care if he doesn’t pick me, screw it’ vibe when it comes to the last rose, which she gets, leaving Autumn, Urszula and Susie eliminated, definitely not getting airtime during the show, hinting at their early exit.

Anyway… I’m hooked on this sport. I’m a fan. And I can’t wait for the drama to really escalate once we hit mid-season or so. Maybe there might be a trade period, I don’t know.

It’s all part of the learning curve.