From The Couch: November 8

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on November 7, 2011

Tim Moltzen Cannot Be Trusted: It takes a special kind of deviant to walk away from a signed contract and it seems Tigers turncoat Tim Moltzen is that kind of person after he reneged on his deal to move to the Dragons so he could stay under the tutelage of Tim Sheens.

It was a disgraceful chain of events with Moltzen and his manager almost wholly at fault for the embarrassing saga that this has been.

Moltzen sought a release from the Tigers, one that was verbally agreed to but never signed off on. Moltzen, on the outer at the Tigers, signed a long-term deal with the Dragons. The Dragons announced this on match-day for the Tigers, which started a public spat. Despite this, Moltzen was going to the Dragons until halfback Robert Lui assaulted his girlfriend again and the Tigers realised they needed a halfback. Having not signed anything, they declared Moltzen was theirs. Moltzen wanted to stay. It went to the NRL. Moltzen seemingly feigned a shoulder injury. The Dragons finally had to let him go.

Whatever way you look at it, the Dragons have been screwed over by Tim Moltzen, his management and to a lesser degree, the Tigers. He has signed a deal and he has reneged. The Dragons should have been compensated while Moltzen and his representation should have been punished in the form of a fine or worse.

The most surprising part of all this is that the player is Tim Moltzen, a fair player and fringe first grader who does not rate in the top 150 players in the game. It is not like we are fighting over a superstar.

The Future of the Cronulla Sharks: It may well all be over for the Cronulla Sharks, whose viability in the NRL has again been brought into question with the proposed redevelopment plans, the so-called saviour of the club, again under threat.

There has been talk of this redevelopment for over a decade. It has been the one comeback the Cronulla faithful offer when the club’s viability is questioned. Yet the plans have never made it off the ground and it seems doubtful that they ever will with the latest roadblock being the local state MP speaking out against the proposal.

The Sharks have cried foul over the incident but after years of finding trouble from those who are vehemently against such a high density proposal and an inept and intransigent local government, the viability of the club needs to be properly assessed.

The Sharks have put all their eggs in one basket and that basket has been buried under red tape, false hope and general apathy.

I am not advocating for any team to be dismissed from the NRL but with cashed-up consortiums in Perth, Gosford, Brisbane, Wellington and Central Queensland, the future of the Sharks must surely be considered.

On the field, they have famously yet to win their first title 45 seasons after entering the League. In the nine years since 2002, the Sharks have made the finals twice with an average finishing position of 11th. They have not had a player score 10 tries in a season since 2008.

Off the field, the situation is bordering on dire. The team has no chief executive. They have a chairman in way over his head, a former forum poster who has somehow risen to run the club. The team is as financially as poor as any in the NRL. Home crowds have ranked bottom-two in four of the last five seasons.

I am not sure whether the Sharks can survive in their current state. It would seem doubtful. It would also be folly to trust that this redevelopment will go ahead let alone save them. It would be sad to see them excluded but that is a very real possibility if the club doesn’t turn things around.

One thing seems certain though: there is very little love for the Sharks in Cronulla.

That being the case, relocation would be the club’s best long-term option. It would hurt but the club might finally become viable and there seem few in the Shire who would be upset if the team was moved.  It would surely be better for the Sharks if the name remained alive, even if the location was different.

Billy Slater, A Deserving Boot Winner: There is no question at all that Billy Slater is a most deserving winner of the Golden Boot award. He has been outstanding at every level and has been a star at Melbourne this year.

Slater joins Andrew Johns and Darren Lockyer as the only two-time winners of the most respected award in the game. Not bad company for a player who rates among the greatest fullbacks the game has ever seen.

Ryan Tandy Should Have Gone To Jail: I rarely agree with any of the bollocks coming out of Australian cricket. The once great sport is now run by metrosexual dildos, namby-pamby marketing gimps, vanilla-tongued middle managers and complete and utter morons. It is an endemic that has spread across the world and has permeated the highest levels of the game in the administration, playing and teaching

So it was with some surprise that I was in full agreement with former CA and ICC boss Malcolm Speed with his comments that Ryan Tandy should have been jailed after being found guilty of match-fixing.

Tandy should have been imprisoned. The threat of match-fixing and altered results are the biggest threat to sports. Look at cricket. It is a joke. In the space of a decade it has fallen from the status of national game to marginal summer distraction in Australia and across the world it is generally regarded as overplayed, overexposed, corrupt and declining.

It was a disgrace that Tandy didn’t have the hammer brought down upon him like the Pakistani cricketers did. He was slapped on the wrist because there is little respect for betting or sports in Australia, despite the popularity of both.

When Tandy heads down to the TAB, sucks back a beer at his favourite pub or goes for a wander along the beach, he should thank his lucky stars because he should be rotting away at Her Majesty’s Pleasure.

Four Nations Review: The second round of the Four Nations has come and gone with New Zealand and Australia leaving Wembley victors.

It was the first time international rugby league had been played at the grand venue in 14 years and it was an intense affair that greeted the game’s return to Wembley.

There was little to be taken from New Zealand’s 36-0 win over Wales. The Welsh tried hard but New Zealand, even with their injuries, were far too classy.

The Australia-England match was much closer than the final score of 36-20 suggested though. It was a cracking affair marked by plenty of scoring, controversy, injuries, history and the slight hint that England may finally be improving.

England scored first and with some decent goalkicking could have gone into half-time with the scores tied and Billy Slater off the field and out of the tournament with a broken collarbone. The game though swung on an horrendous decision by referee Henry Perenara, too inexperienced to get an NRL game yet called on for a major international due to the pettiness of the refereeing appointments system currently in place. It was a shocking decision and one that cost England any hope.

Can England beat Australia? I doubt it, particularly with Darren Lockyer looking to get sent off in style in a fortnight’s time.

Can England beat New Zealand though? Absolutely. The Kiwis are playing hurt and without much precision while the England team took it to the Aussies at times. As we stand now, the second spot in the Four Nations final is England’s to lose.

Issac Luke Hates Being Called Grubby: Well, Issac Luke, stop acting like a grub on the field and you won't be called grubby. There is no other label to put on you after your succession of cannonball tackles and your lay-down penalty.

New Claims to Finish Osborne: If Paul Osborne’s career as chief executive of Parramatta isn’t over already, fresh claims of workplace harassment, as reported by The Sunday Telegraph, have surely polished him off.

It is alleged that a complaint was made against Osborne over his pressuring an employee to make a false statement.

Regardless of any criminal culpability, of any failure to adhere to club or League standards, of any moral shortcomings, it is apparent that Osborne has become a political liability that has to go. He has stumbled from one crisis to another in his short term as Parramatta boss, has lorded over a significant decline in the fortune of the Eels and he has alienated the club’s top sponsor in a time when clubs are crying poor.

Paul Osborne is politically expedient. He will be gone by the 11th. I highly doubt he will walk away with dignity though.

Only a miracle or a real case of Parramatta denial will save him now.

Dear Ye Gods: Canterbury have decided to throw some money at Luke MacDougall, the Mini Mad Dog, for reasons unknown to anybody in rugby league. There is, arguably, no more injury prone player in the game, particularly a fringe first grader who wouldn’t expect so many chances. He makes his brother look like Darren Lockyer.

MacDougall has played 70 games for five clubs over the last decade. He did not play in 2008, 2009 or 2011 and played just 10 games in 2010. He has never played more than 16 games a season and he has an all-time win strike rate of 30%.

If the Bulldogs are paying him $6 it is too much.

On the Upside: Canterbury have secured the services of Noel Cleal, the Manly recruitment guru, after Cleal said he lost confidence in the Eagles board, following Des Hasler to the Bulldogs.

Cleal is a huge coup for the Bulldogs with Crusher playing an integral role in Manly’s recent success. He has a keen eye for young talent and is capable of bringing in senior talent. His teams have played finals football in 14 of the 16 years he has been involved in recruitment, according to The Sunday Telegraph. With Canterbury’s resources, he should have a field day.

Cleal has signed on for five years and is a major upgrade on Peter Mulholland, who is a very good recruitment man himself. The Dogs are looking exceptionally good for upcoming success.

Congratulations Jason Nightingale: For having the best moustache in rugby league. His full thick duster is outstanding.

Worst Bet Ever: The worst racing bet of Carnival Week, for all the horse punters out there, was without doubt in the sixth at Goulburn last Saturday with a horse called Cronulla starting $7 third favourite. Not surprisingly, Cronulla is still a maiden after three starts, running seventh of nine. That followed showings of 11th and 12th. I checked to see which cruel and self-loathing owner would possibly be so idiotic. I shouldn’t have been surprised: Mr D.J Irvine, chairman, Cronulla Sharks.

Rumour Mill: The hottest rumour in rugby league this week is that Daly Cherry-Evans could be on his way to South Sydney next year. Cherry-Evans wants an upgrade on his $140,000 deal but Manly may struggle to afford more cash. Daly’s manager Chris Orr will have few qualms in moving the Manly halfback on. There has been some talk that boom English fullback Sam Tomkins will make a move to the NRL soon. Clubs believed to be interested are Canterbury, South Sydney, Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters. Michael Ennis is expected to be named Bulldogs skipper before Christmas.

Moniker XIII of the Week: With Greg Inglis returning to the Australian team, this week we look at the team of Gregs and how many wonderful Gregs Australian rugby league has seen.

The Gregs

1.Greg Alexander (265 games for Penrith/Auckland)
2. Greg Inglis (135 games for Melbourne/South Sydney)
3. Greg Bretnall (108 games for Canterbury)
4. Greg Florimo (285 games for North Sydney)
5. Greg Fleming (71 games for Western Reds/Canterbury)
6. Greg Hawick (104 games for South Sydney/North Sydney)
7. Greg Oliphant (27 games for Balmain)
13. Greg Pierce (12 seasons for Cronulla)
12. Greg Platz (1 Test for Australia)
11. Greg Bird (147 games for Cronulla/Gold Coast)
10. Greg Dowling (69 games for Brisbane)
9. Greg Conescu (28 games for Brisbane)
8. Greg Veivers (Souths Brisbane, 7 Tests for Australia)

Gregs Analysis: The all-time Gregs have 12 internationals including some tremendous players including Inglis, Alexander, Hawick, Florimo and former Test skipper Pierce. Bretnall was also a fine player on his day while the all-Queensland front row was beastly and tough. This team could match it with any of the other monikers laid out.

Correspondence Corner: Col Quinn, international rugby league is on the up and up and it is great to see it thriving as it is integral to the game.

Jack Muir, Adam Blair is arguably only the best forward in the world if the criteria is being a bludger, mooching out wide and niggling opponents. I used to rate Issac Luke and was very fond of him but his so-called passion is nothing more than grubbiness in my eyes.

Sexysteve, Bennett never won a title at Canberra and I was referring to the NSWRL/NRL so didn’t mention his successes in the BRL.

Andy V, you are entitled to your opinion but Luke needs to understand there are ramifications to his actions and if that means being called out then so be it.

Rabby, I agree that Carney to the Sharks will end in tears for everyone. It is going to be a debacle.

Arthur, it is hard to pick on the Sharks. It is often best just to rattle off the facts and that is usually enough.

Ferret, I think the tackle was pretty low. He made a beeline straight for the knees and drove his shoulder in. And regarding Cronulla, you are right: they should seriously consider relocating to Perth.

Mike From Tari, it is clear Tim Moltzen has zero credibility after lying to the Dragons so I doubt very much that he has a shoulder injury. 

Watch It: I never like showing moments of Parramatta joy, not that they are all that easy to find but because this was a Panasonic Cup final and because the in-goals were coloured, here is the Eels’ rout of the Tigers in 1986. Watch it here.

$100 FREE BET!

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  1. Anonymous says:


    On the Moltzen thing… I'm a Tigers man, I'll say that up front.

    It's fucked how the Tigers have gone about this – it just does not look professional, which is very surprising, since I'd consider the Tigers to be one of the more professional brands out there in the NRL. But then, as a supporter, I can't help laughing because it's the Dragons who have been screwed over including their fair-weather supporters (watch when they start losing next year, how the crowds disappear… hahaha) I fucken hate the Drag-queens. Fuck em.

    I reckon your final paragraph is incorrect. Moltzen would be in that top 150 – purely because you have not taken it into context. Moltzen was never going to the Dragons as a fullback. He was going as a 7. Let's face it – Ben Hornby is GARBAGE!! As far as NRL players go – litter of the highest order!! He's go NUTHIN'! (The funniest moment of the past 5 years, was when Hornby came out and publicly withdrew from representative football. Jesus christ, I've never laughed so hard!!)

    Anywho… so, we now have Moltzen as a halfback and as a halfback, he'd be better than a handfull that are out there in first teams already. So, I think it's fair to say, his worth – especially for two clubs with no halfback – is heightened considerably. That may or may not make him entrenched in the top 150, that's a debate for another day (maybe after a full season at 7 – I personally think he'd be well inside it after) but when we're talking about the lack of No. 7's out there, he's a more than valuable piece of real estate.

    • Nick Tedeschi says:

      You may be right mate. He could be in the top 150. But it will be very very close.

      A bit harsh on Hornby too…though i did have a chuckle when he retired from rep footy.