Grand Final Wrap: The drought is over, as they say, and fans of St George-Illawarra have been engaged in a much deserved celebration since the Dragons routed the Roosters 32-8 in what proved a Grand Final mismatch. The rains did not come for everyone, however, with Brian Smith still searching for that elusive premiership 26 years on from his coaching debut and 23 seasons into his NRL coaching career.
Parramatta Fire Daniel Anderson: No club deserves misery more than the Parramatta Eels and no team is run by a bigger bunch of clowns than the Parramatta Eels. The Eels this year went into meltdown after everybody at the club bought into the idea that the club actually were the team to beat this year after being installed as preseason favourites when they were clearly the beneficiaries of a three month period of hot Jarryd Hayne form in 2009, something he was clearly not able to replicate in 2010.
Baby Toots Should Have Nailed It: Canberra fans will long remember Jarrod “Baby Toots” Croker’s penalty miss that cost the fast finishing Raiders a chance at a preliminary final berth. Croker was almost directly in front and only 25 metres out but he shanked it hard as he choked badly under the pressure. Croker is now lumped in the same category as Jason Bulgarelli and Albert Fulivai for finals busts. It was disappointing that it happened to a fine young player like Croker, who has had a top notch year. He will have to live with costing his team victory though. He will have plenty of making up to do next season.
That Scrum: Robert Finch may be quitting in a few weeks but he should do the honourable thing and quit right now after his justification of officials Shayne Hayne and Matt Cecchin over the farcical scrum that allowed the Roosters to equalise the Tigers and subsequently defeat them in extra-time. He, of course, won’t do that. Robert Finch has never done the honourable thing.
Farewell Robert Finch, Don’t Let the Door Hit Your Ass on the Way Out: It has taken many years, some vicious words and a whole river of hate to drive Robert Finch out of his job as the referees boss but finally we have rid ourselves of him. Finch is reportedly quitting at the end of the season after eight years where he has done untold damage to the game with his complete redoing of how rugby league is refereed. Referees now have very little control and even less confidence thanks to Finch’s abhorrent rule “interpretations”, his constant defence of the indefensible and his insistence that referees reach “key performance indicators” such as calling out captains after certain penalties. All of these problems are only magnified with video referees like Bill Harrigan and Steven Clark, whose egos and wont to get cute has led to some obscene decisions over the years.
Fucking Tandy: Well, after last year’s Cowboys-Roosters analysis which saw the lawyers brought in and threats made, we will be very careful. No need for trouble, no need for nastiness, no need for libel. So let’s just say right off the bat that at this stage the NRL are investigating a possible betting scandal from the Bulldogs-Cowboys match and it is being speculated in mainstream newspapers that Ryan Tandy was involved, an allegation he denies and one that has not been made by the NRL.
Brian Smith’s Men Peak Too Early Again: A month back, the Sydney Roosters looked unstoppable. They won five on the trot and were into the second line of premiership betting. The team was lauded for having three rep-quality playmakers, a strong and fast set of outside backs and a bustling forward pack. It now looks like we are dealing with yet another Brian Smith team peaking too early again. There is now an argument that too many cooks are spoiling the broth. The handling of the outside backs has become worrisome. The forward pack is falling apart. The Roosters are, for all intents and purposes, done.
The Parramatta Eels are a Joke: It comes as no surprise that Parramatta have not won a premiership in nearly a quarter-century. Truth be told, they have never really come close and if the joint continues to act as unprofessionally as it does both on and off the field at present then it will be another quarter-century before they win another title.
The Rugby League Vote: The Australian Labor Party has long considered itself close to the game of rugby league. The working class traditions of the code have long been held dear by the ALP and in particular those involved in the party in New South Wales and Queensland. Many great Labor men, from Doc Evatt through to Fred Daly all the way up to Graham Richardson have been unashamedly in love with the game widely regarded as the greatest of them all. Labor has traditionally done the best for rugby league and can usually be relied upon to be the party of choice if voting on rugby league matters is the priority.
The Rugby Delusion:John O’Neill is mad. He has seemingly lost his mind. On Offsiders on Sunday morning, O’Neill claimed that the ARU had done research after Melbourne Storm games asking why people went to Storm games. He went on to say that the majority stated it was because there was no rugby union in Melbourne and then stated he was confident that the Rebels would surpass the Storm soon.