From The Couch: Grand Final

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on October 8, 2013

10 Notes from the Grand Final:

1. David Williams should not play first grade again. His performance was disgraceful. Mistakes are made, that is accepted. But to be too scared to contest two bombs – the decisive plays of each half – shows he has lost his bottle.

2. Shayne Hayne had a howler almost as bad. Missing the forward pass was bad but calling a penalty for a late hit on Mitch Pearce was astonishing.

3. Jorge Taufua and Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was one of the great wing battles … and will be going forward for a long time.

4. Michael Jennings scored one of the great Grand Final tries. It is now in the Greg Brentnall, Pat Richards class.

5. Manly played it wrong. They were killing the Roosters through the middle yet when they fell behind, they went to the fringes. They needed to hit the Chooks with speed in the middle.

6. Anthony Watmough should never have been taken off. The Sea Eagles relied on him far too much but in deciders, big players are needed.

7. Shaun Kenny-Dowall’s battling on with a broken jaw was historically courageous.

8. The penalty try was the right call. Jamie Lyon was in when Mitch Aubusson smashed him. Aubusson should also have been binned.

9. Playing hurt rarely works. Brett Stewart was a non-factor. Boyd Cordner couldn’t get himself into the match.

10. The game was a rare Grand Final classic. It rates among the top games of the NRL Era. It was dramatic, controversial, stylish, tough.

Grand Final Player Ratings:
Sydney Roosters
1. Anthony Minichiello (6.5): Captain reliable.
2. Daniel Tupou (7): The flying giraffe.
3. Michael Jennings (7): A try for the ages.
4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall (5): A broken jaw and Grand Final lore.
5. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (6.5): One on the rise.
6. James Maloney (8.5): The man with the golden boot.
7. Mitchell Pearce (6): Didn’t go to water this time.
13. Boyd Cordner (5.5): Too underdone.
12. Sonny Bill Williams (8): Slow start, decisive finish.
11. Aidan Guerra (6.5): Loves to hit an edge.
10. Sam Moa (7.5): Set the foundation.
9. Jake Friend (7): Has emerged as one of the top rakes.
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (7): Aggressive, with both oppositions and the officials.

14. Daniel Mortimer (4): Creative in limited time.
15. Frank-Paul Nuuausala (3.5): Did very little in very little.
16. Mitch Aubusson (4.5): A GF penalty try is something to hang your hat on.
17. Luke O’Donnell (5): The game may be a bit beyond him now.

Total: 105

Manly Sea Eagles
1. Brett Stewart (5.5): Total non-factor playing well hurt.
2. Jorge Taufua (7.5): Manly’s most dangerous outside back.
3. Jamie Lyon (6.5): Lacked the killer touch.
4. Steve Matai (7.5): Lifted when it was needed.
5. David Williams (2): One of the worst Grand Final performances ever.
6. Kieran Foran (6): Tried hard but couldn’t get it.
7. Daly Cherry-Evans (8): Manly’s and the national selectors’ best.
13. Glenn Stewart (5): Was he even out there?
12. Justin Horo (6): Showed glimpses on the fringes.
11. Anthony Watmough (7.5): Never should have been taken off.
10. Brent Kite (7.5): Played his finest game since perhaps the 2008 decider.
9. Matt Ballin (7): Relentless terrier.
8. Brenton Lawrence (6.5): Game plan didn’t suit.

14. David Gower (1): Game gone when he got on.
15. George Rose (4.5): One of the great GF trysaving tackles.
16. Jamie Buhrer (4): Gave away a penalty, of course.
17. Tom Symonds (4): Never got revenge on his old club.

Total: 96

Are The National Selectors Racist? Perhaps not racist but anti non-Australian at the very least. Of the 28 players to win the Clive Churchill Medal, Willie Mason is the only player not born in Australia to win the award. Not a single New Zealander has won the award, nor has a Polynesian player, despite the NRL now being made up of 30% Polynesians (though Jim Dymock and Brent Kite, both in Australia, have played for Tonga). Sonny Bill Williams was arguably the most decisive player but was chided by selector Bob McCarthy, who said he knocked on “10 times in the first half”. Bob McCarthy said critics must be watching a different game to him. That is obviously the case. We watch rugby league. Who knows what that fool and his cadre of idiots are watching. Daly Cherry-Evans had a fine game but he was not better than Sonny Bill Williams or James Maloney. I’ll take it – I had the $8 on offer for a decent amount. But I can’t accept that these idiots who have made another ridiculous decision that once again proves how out of touch they are. It is extraordinary that they are picking the national team.

World Cup Conservatism: Selectors went uber-conservative with their selection of the national team with Josh Papalii the only real bolter in the squad. There are no real complaints, though Trent Merrin can consider himself most unfortunate to miss out (if his health allowed him to be considered).

Dally M Debacle: The NRL have managed to make a meal of the Dally Ms. Again. Once again, the evening was a bore and a joke, a hokey two-bit ceremony for an award that lacks the prestige it deserves. It is all very simple to fix. And, it will bring more money into the game. Simply copy the format of AFL’s Brownlow. Bring the award in-house. Having the officials do the voting. Keep everything secret. Get the votes properly audited. Have every vote announced by an NRL official, not an actor who fancies himself as a comedian. The AFL reaps plenty of rewards from Brownlow night: huge publicity, significant ratings, major ad revenue, huge newspaper space. The NRL is passing all this up to stick with its embarrassing format.

Award Season: Keeping track of the club player of the year awards dished out:

Canberra (Mal Meninga Medal): Anthony Milford
Cronulla (Monty Porter Medal): Michael Gordon
Gold Coast (Paul Broughton Medal): Greg Bird
New Zealand: Simon Mannering
Penrith (Merv Cartwright Medal): David Simmons
St George Illawarra: Trent Merrin
Wests Tigers: Liam Fulton
RLPA: Johnathan Thurston
Dally M Medal: Cooper Cronk
Warren Ryan Medal: Cooper Cronk
RLW Player of the Year: Corey Parker

Oh No, Tony: It was extremely disappointing that Prime Minister Tony Abbott did not attend the NRL Grand Final, nor was he there to present the Dally M Medal. After campaigning on a rugby league platform, more was expected than the equivalent of what was seen during the Gillard years. The fact Abbott’s team was playing was more disappointing. Sure, he was overseas and wrote a letter to the Sea Eagles but it simply wasn’t good enough.

Green is Gold: Well done to the North Queensland Cowboys, who went through a full, thorough and transparent interview process to find a replacement for Neil Henry. They found Paul Green, who is a fine selection. Green won two coaches in two seasons in the Queensland Cup and took the Roosters NYC Team to their best ever finish. He has played for the Cowboys, is the perfect age for a first-time coach and was widely regarded as very much a thinking player. The Cowboys believe they have the team on paper to win the premiership. Green will prove good enough to add the polish required.

Everyone Hates Ricky Stuart: Parramatta fans. Canberra fans. Even fans at the Grand Final edition of The Footy Show booed him without mercy. It was sensational to see.

Games of the Year: Another season is done, 201 games in the books. The best, however, was the lowest scorer, an absolute classic in the opening week of the finals. The two teams were nominated three times this year and had a wonderful match-up throughout the entire season.

The Annual Top 50: Stay tuned to Making The Nut over the next few weeks where the annual list of the top 50 players in the game will be released.

Rumour Mill: Manly are reconsidering their offer to winger David Williams. Williams was set to move to Canberra before the Eagles came in with an offer to re-sign. After his awful performance in the Grand Final, the club is now looking to invest in Peta Hiku. Brad Arthur is reportedly set to be offered the Parramatta gig, a decision that should keep Jarryd Hayne at the club. Word is heating up that Gerard Beale is set to become a Bulldog. Talk of rugby recidivist James O’Connor joining the NRL is wide of the mark. He was deemed not good enough before he cracked the Wallabies and he would be nothing more than a fringe first grader in the NRL. The gulf between the two codes in Australia can be seen by the fact Joseph Tomane has been representing Australia. He was dropped from the wooden spoon winning Titans in his last season in the NRL.

Fun Fact #1: Willie Tonga has not watched an NRL Grand Final since playing in the 2004 decider, as per his tweet on Sunday night which read “Haven't watched a GF in 10 years, besides the one we won.. of course!!

What I Love About … Shaun Kenny-Dowall: These pages have been highly critical of Shaun Kenny-Dowall over the last few seasons. His defensive reads have been poor and his handling abhorrent. But there is no questioning his courage, the Roosters centre playing 75 minutes of the decider with a broken jaw. It was Sattler-esque in courage and that kind of heroism always needs to be lauded. He will forever be etched into Grand Final folklore.

Funniest Eels Moment of the Week: Troubles at Parramatta have gotten so bad that professional grumblebum Ray Price was actually interviewed for the Eels job. His presentation supposedly consisted of the quote: “we need Parramatta people to pull Parramatta out of this crap”. Amazing. It would appear I am not that far from first grade coaching.

Betting Market of the Week: Next time a bomb is put up to David Williams’ wing, he will:

$6.00: Hitch his skirt up and make a leap
$4.00: Quickly search for a pair of catching gloves
$2.30: Find Glenn Stewart to hide behind
$1.14: Cower like a little schoolgirl

Combo XIII of the Week: After David Williams’ shocker in the Grand Final, we find the best all-time Williams’.

1.Darrell Williams (Manly/Parramatta)
2. David Williams (Manly)
3. Bert Williams (Australia)
4. Sid Williams (Balmain)
5. Jason Williams (Wests/Easts/Souths/Canterbury/Penrith)
6. Sam Williams (Canberra)
7. Percy Williams (Souths/Newtown)
13. Reece Williams (Cronulla)
12. Tony Williams (Parramatta/Manly/Canterbury)
11. Sonny Bill Williams (Canterbury/Sydney Roosters)
10. George Williams (North Sydney)
9. Danny Williams (North Sydney/Melbourne)
8. Bob Williams (Eastern Suburbs)

Correspondence Corner: Anonymous, the premier obviously is No.1. Manly did not win.

Anonymous, yes, the Wests Tigers have merged and created a basketcase.

Anonymous, I would love to see that Thin Lizzy ad again.

Anonymous, yes, I remember the Billy Thorpe Friday night run. Excellent quality.

The Coaching Crosshairs: John Cartwright should be concerned. Very concerned. The decision to hire Neil Henry as Cartwright’s senior assistant means the Titans will give Cartwright no leeway next year. The Gold Coast must start well and make the finals. When senior coaches with head coaching credentials are brought in as senior assistants in shaky coaching situations, it is more a trial than anything else. Expect to see Henry coaching the Titans within 12 months.

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin: Ben Pomeroy, for the 10th straight year of his NRL career, did not play in the NRL Grand Final.

Game of the Year Nomination, Grand Final: Sydney Roosters-Manly, 26-18. Labelled one of “the great Grand Finals of the modern era”, the 2013 decider was certainly a great contest filled with wild swings, great tries and plenty of controversy. For mine, it was the best decider since 2006 and perhaps the fourth best of the NRL Era after ’06, ’04 and ’99. While the game contained plenty of errors there was some super footy played. A super game.

Beard Watch: Without question the worst player in the 2013 decider was David Williams. He was so bad – gutless really – that this author was forced to hypocritically yell that he should have a shave and learn to jump. He may be a character but he ain’t much of a footballer.

Watch It: The 1979 Amco Shield Final between St Gregory’s Campbelltown and Holy Cross Ryde featured a number of future stars including Ben Elias and Ivan Henjak. St Greg’s jumped big favourites and a huge crowd watched the faves come home 16-14 on the siren. Watch the full game here


Comments (6)

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  1. probertson73 says:

    When Gillard failed to attend Grand Finals previously, she did not send a representative to my knowledge. At least Abbott had the decency to send Warren Truss

  2. Anonymous says:

    Nick, how can you not list the '03 decider amongst the best. The game was a brilliant showcase of rugby league.

  3. Tim Napper says:

    You shouldn't be surprised that Abbott didn't show for the Dally M's or the Grand Final. he's a Union lover who stated in an interview he'd rather watch Downton Abbey on a Friday night over the League. He's a disgrace. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    Another massive indictment from channel 9 on sports fans watching the gf outside Nsw or Qld. Anyone wanting to see the presentation or highlights was robbed. Someone has to let David Gyngell know because sports fans don’t deserve to be treated with such contempt. The irony is that the coverage concluded just as Rabs told them there would be plenty more. Bullshit.
    The rogues handling the programming in the frontier states should be sacked. It wouldn’t suprise if conspiracies start that they are paid off by a wealthy rival code (or a deluded die hard fan). “There needs to be an investigation”.
    Can’t wait to see channel 7’s coverage of the RL World Cup. Bring it on. Maybe John Grant’s dismantling of the first & last rights while still squeezing a combined billion out will be his finest hour.

    Tony Monero

    • WittyReference says:

      One year down of the horrible TV contract and again I am baffled by channel 9 and thoroughly impressed by the AFL and channel 7. Another year of watching the Brownlow and not seeing the Dally M's. Another year of watching every Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns game but only seeing the Cowboys and Titans about thrice. Another year of hardly ever watching the repeated games with extra adds as a live AFL game was probably on at the same time. It's on delay, I've seen the score already so I just flick across in time for the tries. Another year of baffling "entertainment" that is much more about cross promoting 9 then it is finding something that bolsters the sport. Another year with 7 showing more extra content like old grand finals. Another year where Refs are talked about way too much. Another year of NSW picking Mitchell Pearce.


      (did you ever report on what happened between Voss and channel 9? My girlfriend is a lawyer and saw something about a legal case between him and Hadley and something about Rab's statue???)

      I could go on but mostly I am still worried about the ground league will lose to afl over the next 4 years. Lets see what 7 do with the world cup.

      Thanks for another Nut year. Bring on the top 50 list.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for keepin is entertained through the year mr nut. Already counting down the days until my Barbaless bulldogs take the field in 2014, and the rooters become the hunted. We NRL lovers need a summer comp or something to get us through the tragedy that is modern day cricket.