From The Couch: Round 12

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on May 29, 2012

Origin I Review: Let's start where we have to, where any decent penman worth his opinion would: that ridiculous decision to award a try to Greg Inglis.

To award Inglis a try at the death was a disgrace, one of the biggest embarrassments rugby league has had to endure. We have officially reached the stage where idiots like Bill Harrigan and Sean Hampstead have been allowed to determine the direction of the game. In the AFL, they have a laws committee made of players, coaches, ex-players, commentators, administrators. Rugby league allows Bill Harrigan to pile ridiculous interpretation on ridiculous interpretation so that the game has become so confusing he truly believes he can fool us all with his jargon.

He tried to justify the decision after the game, apparently reneging on a conversation he had with Trent Barrett. He said it was a try. It wasn't. Had that exact same play occurred anywhere else on the field, it would have been a knock-on. Had that situation occurred in the first 95 years of the game, it would have been ruled a knock-on. There cannot be a rule for the 100 metres in play and a separate definition over the tryline. It is ticky-tacky bollocks that has undermined the game for too long. All these shades of grey clearly don't work with the idiots charged with officiating. A knock-on is obvious to everyone except these criminals. If they were all strung up before the balls, it wouldn't be harsh enough. Even if you accept that Farah did play at the ball (I don't) then how you could call Inglis' attempt to score a rebound is absurd.

That decision did not cost the Blues the game though.

Nor did the poor refereeing which was horrendous and is another reason Bill Harrigan, so desperate for relevance, should be driven from the game. He assigned Matt Cecchin and Ben Cummins the game while leaving Tony Archer on the sidelines for one reason – he wanted to have his name central to Origin I. It ended in disaster. It was the worst Origin refereeing since the Grasshopper was getting Queensland home in the 1980s. Ricky Stuart has  a host of complaints –some valid, some not – but the biggest issue with the on-field refereeing was their lack of consistency, their refusal to work with the players and their refusal to comprehend the kind of match it was. They had no control of the ruck and they panicked under the spotlight. The call on Greg Bird for lifting was the most absurd call in Origin history.

No, what cost the Blues was a failure to score points. It was Ricky Stuart's inability to understand attacking rugby league and his arrogance in refusing to bring someone who does into camp.

Mal Meninga knows he is not a great tactician. He brings in Neil Henry or Michael Hagan to cover for his deficiencies as a coach.

Not Ricky Stuart. Despite being arguably the worst attacking coach in the history of the game – just check how his teams ranked when Brad Fittler retired – Stuart has surrounded himself with Steve Roach, Glenn Lazarus and Matt Parish.

The result wasn't surprising. The Blues did not look like scoring unless the ball was kicked to a corner. Had the roof have been open, Jennings would not have scored that second try and it is questionable whether Uate (another highly questionable video referee call) would have scored the first. The Blues were impotent. Todd Carney is rightly being lashed. He played poorly. He rarely ran the ball and made some terrible errors. Mitchell Pearce  has escaped his deserved punishment though. He provided nothing. He did little wrong but his involvement in the attack was non-existent. Admittedly, he was hampered by playing under Ricky Stuart, but when in attacking position he did nothing. Didn't run. Didn't test the line. Didn't drift with option runners. Nothing. This is not unusual. He isn't a very good halfback. He can tackle. But if all the Blues want at halfback is a tackler, let's get Shaun Fensom in to wear the No.7.

The Blues had two massive runs of momentum. They dominated the first 20 minutes. They managed just four points. That – along with Michael Jennings' sin binning, one he thoroughly deserved for being a total moron though he should have been joined by at least one Queenslander – was where the game was lost.

Ricky rolled the dice on a number of players. Only Hayne worked. Some fancy Jennings played well. Perhaps I wasn't watching. He also was responsible for Queensland going into halftime with a lead. Creagh was one of just two players without an offload or a tackle break. Buhrer got seven minutes and was a waste of a position. Williams looked underdone from the start. Stuart though one out of three last year was a good result. Perhaps he will give one out of five for his risky calls a pass as well.

Queensland won Origin I. They deserved to. Ricky Stuart gave the Blues little hope. And so it came to pass with Stuart single-handedly (well, with the help of Bob Fulton) eliminating any chance of a New South Wales win.

Ricky Stuart Hates Losing: The NSW coach last week told of his inability to stomach defeat: "Ihate (losing). I can't describe to you how much I hate it."

Stuart should perhaps look at a new career if he hates losing so much. Since Brad Fittler retired in 2004, Stuart has a club strike rate of 57-82 (41 per cent), has lost a World Cup final (Australia's first international tournament loss in nearly 30 years), has made a mess of the NSW team, has been fired from the national team and two club jobs. Ricky Stuart has done little but lose. Rugby league coaching perhaps isn't his go if he hates losing as much as he does.

Origin Player Ratings:
1. Billy Slater (5.5): Worst performance in the maroon, struggled under high ball
2. Darius Boyd (7.5): Scored two tries and took advantage of Uate's poor reads
3. Greg Inglis (7.5): Dangerous all night and was always there when it counted
4. Justin Hodges (4): A non-factor who missed 6 tackles and made Jennings look ok
5. Brent Tate (8.5): Brilliant all night, reliable as ever, unlucky not to get MOM nod
6. Johnathan Thurston (7.5): The maestro who controlled everything with class
7. Cooper Cronk (6): Found out in defence and was quieter than normal with the ball
13. Ashley Harrison (8): A typically stellar Ash Harrison performance
12. Sam Thaiday (6.5): An unusually quiet and disciplined showing from Big Sam
11. Nate Myles (7): The most random Man of the Match selection in Origin history
10. Petero Civoniceva (5.5): Whacked away but was well held by NSW all night
9. Cameron Smith (8): Didn't shine but as always contributed to every facet of the game
8. Matthew Scott (6.5): Not nearly as dominant as usual with his hit-up work ineffective

14. Matt Gillett (4.5): Didn't get much time and didn't do a lot when out there
15. Dave Taylor (3.5): Had the runs at the worst possible time and played like it
16. Ben Hannant (7): Turned the momentum during his first spell, classy as always
17. David Shillington (5.5): It is unclear why he is an automatic Australian selection

Backs: 46.5
Forwards: 41.5
Bench: 20.5
Total: 108.5

New South Wales
1. Brett Stewart (7.5): Very reliable at the back and did his best to chime in with the ball
2. Jarryd Hayne (8): Was heavily involved– the Eels faithful must have enjoyed that
3. Michael Jennings (6): His stupidity and ill discipline again came to the fore; costly
4. Josh Morris (6.5): Stifled Inglis in attack but did miss some tackles and quiet in attack
5. Akuila Uate (6): Good with the ball but his poor defensive reads were critical in loss
6. Todd Carney (2): Abhorrent on debut, totally overawed, played dumb and gutless
7. Mitchell Pearce (4): His total lack of creativity and involvement was overlooked
13. Greg Bird (8.5): Was excellent all night, involved and trying and getting on top
12. Luke Lewis (5): A very disappointing showing from the usually reliable backrower
11. Glenn Stewart (6.5): Defended well but went into his shell when required in attack
10. James Tamou (7.5): Laid the platform early and deserved more game time
9. Robbie Farah (8.5): One of the Blues' best; made a fool out of Ricky Stuart
8. Paul Gallen (9): Another machine-like showing; may be the greatest Blue ever

14. Trent Merrin (7): Was very good when he got on the paddock; defence flawless
15. Jamie Buhrer (2): A total waste of a bench position; got just seven minutes
16. Ben Creagh (3.5): Was he even out there? Looks like a ghost, played like one too
17. Tony Williams (6): Did make a ripple when he was on the paddock but not enough

Backs: 40
Forwards: 47
Bench: 18.5
Total: 105.5

Origin Man of the Match: The fact Nate Myles, arguably not in the best half-dozen players on the field, was awarded the Man of the Match in Origin I shows how out of touch the Australian selectors are and why people who actually understand the game should be choosing the green and gold team. It was a weird decision but sadly, one that no longer surprises.

Selection Changes for Origin II: Queensland, naturally, will not and should not make too many changes. Justin Hodges deserves another crack while the Maroons have the luxury of being able to select Petero Civoniceva despite the legend no longer being in the top half-dozen props available for the Maroons. The one change Queensland may consider is bringing in Ben Barba for Matt Gillett on the bench. It would be a smart move as the Maroons did seem to lack some spark off the bench.

The Blues, on the other hand, should make plenty of changes to undo Ricky Stuart's mess from Origin I. In the backline, there is no way Michael Jennings deserves another crack. The Blues just cannot afford his stupidity. The other backline decision that needs to be made is the dumping of Mitchell Pearce. Pearce wasn't as bad as Carney – but at least Carney was trying something in attack and had to deal with zero contribution from his fellow playmaker. Jamie Soward has hit a rich vein of form and should come into the side though Rabbitoh Adam Reynolds would be a worthy selection.

The NSW pack got the best of the Maroons early and all six starters deserve to remain in the 17 but there must be major changes made to the bench. Jamie Buhrer has to go. He played seven minutes and was there as protection for the worst-case scenario. You can't pick a team based on the worst-case scenario – when you do you get a player not suited to the game playing seven minutes. Luke Lewis should go back to the bench with Chris Houston, Aiden Tolman or Aaron Woods replacing him in the starting side. There is no question that Ben Creagh must go and Shaun Fensom should come into the mix to replace him. Tony Williams is hurt and will miss six week. With Tariq Sims out, Anthony Watmough has to join the squad.

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same: In the April 22, 1972 edition on Rugby League Week, Parramatta coach Ian Walsh wrote this about his Eels under the headline 'My Team are Gutless':

"You are a gutless bunch Parramatta. I am ashamed to be associated with you."

"Never in my association with Rugby League have I seen a display to rival Parramatta's on Sunday."

"If I had my way I would withhold all losing match payments to the players. I would also fine at least eight members of the team for disgracing the good name of the club."

"Parramatta, you may be used to football such as Sunday's, but believe me, I'm not."

"Life it too short to put up with this sort of misery."

"I don't intend up with players who want to bludge money from the club."

"Players who have no pride, no respect, no code of decency, can play third grade or get out of the club."

"No player should drag his club to the depths of disgrace yet on Sunday at least eight of them did."

"When I was playing football I would have crawled over broken glass from here to Perth to play first grade. But today all Parramatta players want to do is see how much money they can bleed from the club for as little effort as possible."

This diatribe came after a 50-12 round four loss to the Roosters at the Sports Ground following a loss and two draws. The Eels would not win a game until round nine and would win just four all season, Walsh's last as coach.

Stephen Kearney is surely feeling much the same way with the Eels having just one win at round 12. It would be interesting to see what Ian Walsh thought of the Eels' efforts this year. Kearney would do well to take Walsh's lead and put a rocket up his pathetic Eels.

Bennett on Poore: At an Origin function last Wednesday evening, I had a great tale relayed to me. By all reports, when Wayne Bennett arrived at the Dragons, Justin Poore's manager sat down with Wayne Bennett to discuss a new contract and said to the supercoach: "I think Justin should get what he deserves". Bennett sat back and said "I couldn't agree more". Bennett then offered Poore about half of what the Eels were prepared to pay.

Just When the Bulldogs Shake Ben Roberts: Canterbury bloody well sign Krisnan Inu. It was a brutal blow to find out that the club I love has signed the laziest, stupidest, most disinterested player in the NRL, if he can even be considered an NRL player seeing as he has spent most of the last three years in reserve grade. He is a bum. Des Hasler may be one of the best coaches in the NRL but I don't believe even he can make this fool play smart and play with energy. To sign him to a three-and-a-half year deal is just, well, gutting. He had an outstanding debut on Monday night – I certainly didn't expect that – but a leopard doesn't change its spots and a bum doesn't stop becoming a bum.

Recent Signings:There have been a host of recent signings for next year in the last week with news that Eddy Pettybourne is heading to the Wests Tigers, Jeff Lima is off to South Sydney and Darcy Lussick off to Parramatta (unannounced but a done deal). Pettybourne is a nice get for the Tigers. He plays hard. Lima can't hurt at the Bunnies, who are short on quality props. Lussick has signed on a big money deal with the Eels. On their recent record, Lussick will turn out to be an epic bust.

Bring Magic Weekend to Australia: The English Super League just enjoyed one of their best weekends of the season with its traditional 'Magic Weekend', where all seven games are played over two days at the one stadium. This year the event was held at Cardiff with a record crowd witnessing some wonderful football, most of which was shown on Eurosport for Australian fans keen on the English game.

The idea of an NRL magic weekend was raised a few years back but was put on the backburner. It should be put back on the agenda. It is a great concept that breaks up the season and gives fans a big reason to travel. We could have a Saturday at ANZ Stadium and  a Sunday at Suncorp or we could hold it over three days with a Friday double-header in Auckland before Saturday at ANZ and Suncorp on Sunday. Or we could have eight games at ANZ over two days. It would be a super concept and one well worth exploring. The NRL needs to think outside the box.

Nice Kevin Campion Impression: Well done to Robbie Farah for turning on the claret against the Cowboys. With one side covered in red, he was easily mistaken for the great journeyman Kevin Campion.

Recruitment in the NRL Era – Melbourne:The Storm have been excellent at recruiting over the years, doing extremely well at pulling down internationals as well as up-and-comers who find their best at the club. Salary cap breaches aside, there has been no side better at identifying talent and filling needs.

Best Year: The Storm recruiters in their first season did a tremendous job is assembling a side that would win a premiership just a season later. Scouts signed seven internationals including four-time premiership winner Glenn Lazarus as well as four players who would become Origin/international players including two club legends: Matt Geyer and Scott Hill. You could not have asked for a better first-season list.

Worst Year: 2011. After being done for major salary cap breaches, the Storm lost Greg Inglis to Souths, Aiden Tolman to Canterbury, Brett White to Canberra and Ryan Hoffman, Jeff Lima and Brett Finch to Wigan. Their best purchase was Beau Champion, who turned out to be a total bust.

Best Buy: The Storm have had some outstanding buys over the years with most players tending to find their best in the purple. Their two best though were probably Robbie Kearns and Glenn Lazarus. Kearns was the club's first legend, an excellent prop who played 20 Tests during an eight-year career with the Storm while Lazarus was central to the Storm's first premiership just two years into their existence.

Worst Buy: The Storm lashed out on Dragons youngster Chase Stanley in 2010, luring the international south but in two injury-ravaged seasons played just eight games before returning to St George Illawarra.

Worst Loss: The Storm have usually been able to replace the stars that they have lost – that is the power of Craig Bellamy. But Greg Inglis and Israel Folau, freak athletes, are impossible to replace. Inglis was slow out of the blocks at Souths but has come good under Michael Maguire while Folau, who scored 36 tries in 56 games for the Storm, scored 37 in 39 for the Broncos before defecting to AFL.

Origin/International Players Recruited:
Already: (16) Marcus Bai, Rodney Howe, Robbie Kearns, Glenn Lazarus, Tawera Nikau, Robbie Ross, Richard Swain, Stephen Kearney, John Lomax, Henry Perenara, David Kidwell, Michael Crocker, Chris Walker, Brett Finch, Chase Stanley, Jason Ryles
Became: (8) Russell Bawden, Matt Geyer, Scott Hill, Brett Kimmorley, Steve Turner, Jeff Lima, Anthony Quinn, Dane Nielsen,

Origin/International Players Lost:
Already: (16) Brett Kimmorley, Richard Swain, David Kidwell, Chris Walker, Jake Webster, Matt King, Michael Crocker, Antonio Kaufusi, Israel Folau, Jeremy Smith, Chase Stanley, Dallas Johnson, Steve Turner, Greg Inglis, Brett White, Adam Blair
Became: (3) Paul Whatuira, Ben Cross, Steve Bell,

*Super League Tri Series and International matches are recognised.
** Only players who went to or came from another NRL club are noted with the exception of English internationals.

Injury Update: No serious injury news this week with the exception of Newcastle's Jarrod Mullen, who could have fractured a cheekbone.

Danny Galea (Penrith): Knocked cold by a vicious swinging arm from Steve Matai. Could miss a week with a bad concussion.

Bryson Goodwin (Canterbury): Ruptured his spleen in what seemed an innocuous hit with Matt Wright. Will miss at least 12 weeks.

David Hala (Brisbane): In his first game back from injury, ruined his knee and will miss the remainder of the season with his career now in the balance.

Matt King (South Sydney): Missed with a groin strain but will be back for round 13.

Casey McGuire (Parramatta): We have probably seen the last of McGuire after the Eels veteran, in a contract year, was ruled out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle.

Jarrod Mullen (Newcastle): Sustained a fractured eye socket but hard to believe seeing as he appeared to back away from contact at every opportunity on Saturday. His loss could be a blessing in disguise if Ryan Stig can get healthy.

Adam Reynolds (South Sydney): The Bunnies No.7 hurt his ankle early in the second half but will be sweet for next week.

Matt Ryan (Parramatta): The promising young Eel took a bump to the sternum but dire initial fears have been allayed with Ryan now a week-to-week proposition.

Ben Te'o (Brisbane): Hurt his ankle and was hobbling but no issue.

Anthony Watmough (Manly): Suffered a burner to the neck, reportedly sustained during the filming of a Coke Zero stunt. Won't miss any time.

Fun Fact #1: Mark Geyer had a bout of gout in his first State of Origin series.

Fun Fact #2: Willie Mason has won just 9 of his last 37 NRL matches.

Fun Fact #3: Broderick Wright was signed to the Sharks on a deal worth $275,000 according to one high-placed official at Cronulla.

The 2012 Willie M Medal: There was plenty of movement around the top end of the leaderboard this week with Tim Moltzen earning one-point in the Tigers' win over North Queensland and moving into a share of the lead with Ben Roberts, who is now back in contention to fulfil his destiny with Casey Maguire ruled out for the remainder of the year.

Dragons duo Ben Hornby and Mitch Rein moved to third and fourth respectively in scoring points in a hapless performance against the Eels. Both are poised to make a very strong run at the Medal, particularly with Hornby the captain of the Dragons.

New South Wales v Queensland
3-Todd Carney (NSW)
2-Mitchell Pearce (NSW)
1-Justin Hodges (Qld)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

South Sydney v Canberra
3-Tom Learoyd-Lars (Can)
2-Josh McCrone (Can)
1-Sam Williams (Can)
Judge: Matt Tedeschi

Melbourne v Brisbane
3-Jack Reed (Bri)
2-Peter Wallace (Bri)
1-Dane Nielsen (Mel)
Judge: Nathan Boss

Newcastle v Gold Coast
3-Timana Tahu (New)
2-Kade Snowden (New)
1-Luke O'Dwyer (GC)
Judge: Rohan Kendall

St George Illawarra v Parramatta
3-Justin Horo (Par)
2-Ben Hornby (Dra)
1-Mitch Rein (Dra)
Judge: Matt Fisk

Penrith v Manly
3-Brent Kite (Man)
2-Liam Foran (Man)
1-Steve Matai (Man)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

Wests Tigers v North Queensland
3-Matt Bowen (Cow)
2-James Segeyaro (Cow)
1-Tim Moltzen (Tig)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

Sydney Roosters v Canterbury
3-Braith Anasta (Roo)
2-Peni Tagive (Roo)
1-Tautau Moga (Roo)
Judge: Brett Oaten

12: Ben Roberts (Par), Tim Moltzen (Tig)
11: Ben Hornby (Dra)
10: Mitch Rein (Dra)
9: Mitchell Pearce (Roo), Timana Tahu (New)
8: Braith Anasta (Roo), Jarrod Croker (Can), Chris Sandow (Par)
7: Chris Lawrence (Tig), James Maloney (War), Steve Michaels (GC), Brad Tighe (Pen), Willie Tonga (Par), Manu Vatuvei (War), John Williams (Cro)

Rumour Mill:The biggest rumour of the week involves Michael Jennings joining Canterbury as soon as next week. Jennings is well on the outer at the Panthers and has been linked with a move to the cashed-up Bulldogs. Still at Canterbury, it is believed the signing of Krisnan Inu had as much to do with signing Tony Williams as filling the holes in the outside backs. Inu and Williams are best friends and the Dogs are keen to lock Williams up with a deal likely to be announced this week. Michael Lett was expected to be promoted to first grade in recent weeks but an almighty blow-up with Des Hasler has led to him parting ways with the Bulldogs. Brett Finch is expected so sign with South Sydney. Finch is in fine form and will come in as a five-eighth.                                     

Power Rankings:
1. Melbourne 10-1 (1)
2. Brisbane 7-4 (2)
3. South Sydney 7-5 (6)
4. Cronulla 7-4 (3)
5. Manly 7-5 (4)
6. Canterbury 7-5 (7)
7. North Queensland 7-5 (5)
8. Wests Tigers 6-5 (8)
9. New Zealand 6-5 (9)
10. Sydney Roosters 5-7 (10)
11. St George Illawarra 6-6 (11)
12. Gold Coast 4-7 (14)
13. Penrith 4-8 (15)
14. Newcastle 4-7 (12)
15. Canberra 4-7 (13)
16. Parramatta 1-10 (16)

What I Like About … Ivan Cleary: Cleary is not afraid to make the hard and at times unconventional calls and they reap rewards. This week the Penrith coach dumped club legend Luke Lewis from the captaincy of the club only weeks after demoting the club's highest paid player Michael Jennings to reserve grade. Cleary made the tough call when in Auckland to dump Steve Price as captain for Simon Mannering. It ushered in generational change. Cleary has balls and big ones.

Betting Market of the Week:Victorian sports minister Hugh Delahunty, as punishment for calling Origin "State of the Origin" and suggesting it would be played by New Zealand, should be forced to:

– Cop a Steve Matai swinging arm: $4.50
– Endure a night out with Nate Myles: $2.40
– Share dinner with Jamal Idris: $2.60
– Sit still until Ricky Stuart tells a single truth: $1.30

Moniker XIII of the Week: With Robbie Farah playing a central role in that disgraceful try decision last Wednesday night, we this week look at the greatest Robs/Roberts/Robbies/Bobs to play premiership football.

The Robs/Bobs/Roberts/Robbies
1. Robbie Ross (137 games for Newcastle/Hunter/Brisbane/Melbourne)
2. Robbie O'Davis (223 games for Newcastle)
3. Robert Laurie (122 games for Eastern Suburbs/South Sydney)
4. Bob Fulton (263 games for Manly/Eastern Suburbs)
5. Bobby Lulham (85 games for Balmain)
6. Bobby Banks (18 games for Eastern Suburbs)
7. Bobby Bugden (209 games for St George/Parramatta)
13. Bob Craig (92 games for Balmain)
12. Bob McCarthy (251 games for South Sydney/Canterbury)
11. Bob Lindner (97 games for Wests/Gold Coast/Parramatta/Illawarra)
10. Robbie Kearns (281 games for Cronulla/Western Reds/Melbourne)
9. Robbie Farah (176 games for Wests Tigers)
8. Bob O'Reilly (284 games for Parramatta/Penrith/Eastern Suburbs)

An incredible side with nearly 10 Australian representatives missing out. Also a side that spans the 100-plus years of the code. Immortal Fulton leads the side with McCarthy the other all-time great. Bugden won plenty of titles while Laurie won a Dally M award. Would mix it with every team.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Could Wayne Bennett be in trouble at Newcastle? He is one of the greatest coaches rugby league has ever known and he is just halfway through he first of a four year contract but the Knights appear to have regressed this year. This isn't about being a rebuild either. The Knights splashed out on some big money signings, none of whom are putting in. Bennett will see out at least two years but he is going to need to start axing some senior players soon – this current side simply isn't responding to him.

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin:Ben Pomeroy spent his bye weekend rehearsing for a role in the sequel to the 1984 hit Splash. Pomeroy will play a half-man/half-beast love interest to mermaid Daryl Hannah.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 12: Wests Tigers-North Queensland, 26-18. A tough top-of-the-table clash at Campbelltown Sports Ground provided plenty of highlights, none more memorable than James Tamou running down Benji Marshall and with a fair bit of ease. Marshall was excellent though with the game only settled late. Good game as the Tigers made it five straight.

Correspondence Corner: Anonymous, my blue: Will Hopoate should have been included in the Manly losses. It was an oversight. Apologies.

Anonymous, there is no question that NRL Stats is very guarded. When pressed to define what qualifies as a certain stat, they never respond. This would be acceptable if it was just a private company. But this is half-owned by the NRL and the NRL should show some leadership here instead of just ignoring it.

GC Tiger, I was shocked and disgusted when I read that Inu had been signed by the Bulldogs and the news was brutal after the Origin debacle just 12 hours prior.

Gee, I understand the magnitude of the allegations against Stewart but his focus on Gallop is bordering on obsessive and just plain stupid. He can keep the grudge as long as he likes I guess but he should no he comes across as a petulant child and has turned people like myself, people who jumped to his defence in 2009, very much against him.

Davince_25, Steve Menzies did not top any position, starting 196 games in the second row, 90 at lock, 21 at centre, 17 at five-eighth and 25 from the bench. If Stuart goes, there are two coaches I would look at: Daniel Anderson and Brad Fittler. A combination of the two would be ideal with Fittler playing the Meninga role to Anderson's Michael Hagan. Des won't coach Origin while at the Bulldogs.

Gareth, Mick Gordon is a superstar. And Queensland found it when they needed it on Wednesday.

AJL, it is more like insurance – there was at least some reward after another brutal and deserved loss. Jarryd Hayne was the one risk Stuart took that worked though.

Davey G, Channel Nine are an embarrassment to the game. That interview with Stuart's wife was just stupid.

Tony Monero, always take the two. The outrage against Paul Gallen's decision for the late two was astonishing. They were down by two in an Origin. Always take the points.

Col Quinn, I would certainly drop Jennings and tell Uate he is on his final warning. So basic were their defensive errors that you feel a sack of potatoes could have done better.

Renegade, we all knew what Michael Jennings was going to be like going into the game. It was a dog shot. He cost the Blues the game. A shame Ricky Stuart was expecting something different.

Beard Watch:Gold Coast centre Jamal Idris is playing with his facial hair – perhaps he needs to focus more on losing weight. On Saturday against the Knights, Idris looked like he had not only eaten Preston Campbell but Anthony Laffranchi as well. Have either of those two been spotted recently? Idris could have been a star but he is just a fat, lazy never-was. If he went to Souths or stayed at Canterbury under Des, there would be some prospect of him getting fit. Under John Cartwright, he is likely to just be another big liability for the Titans, the new Centre of Excellence albatross.

Watch It: This week we have two very special treats: two videos of Newtown v Canterbury from Henson Park in 1974 and 1967. The 1974 video shows the opening five minutes on a wet and wild Sydney day with the Bluebags winning 7-3 after a try to Tom Melville and two goals to Ken Wilson topped Max Cole's try for Canterbury. In 1967, we get Ron Casey calling an excellent match between the Berries and Bluebags with the Jets prevailing 21-12. The highlight is without question Les Johns' chip from his own line. Watch them here and here.


Comments (4)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Had to mute Sunday Roast when Paul Kent starting ranting.  The try was an incorrect decision because Farah didn't play at the ball.  If you have the opinion that he did play at the ball, the ruling by Hampstead was 100% correct.  It's a difference of opinion of the facts, not a stuff-up in the interpretation of the rulings.

    And the media call to sin-bin Matt Scott was crap as well.  If Jenning's had not gotten involved, the referee would have given Bird and Scott a slap on the back of the head and gone back to the original penalty.  Jennings got binned because of his stupid actions and that shouldn't affect what happens to other players in a bid to "even up the teams".

    • Bulldogtimbo says:

      The rule whereby a player can't attempt to dislodge the ball with their feet came about as a direct result of  Billy Slater continually lashing out with his feet at players diving over the line to score.Funny how a rule designed to curtail the dangerous and reckless play from a Queenslander i.e. Slater,a true grub on the field,ends up benefitting them in Origin 1.Farah didn't play at the ball with his feet,he was wrong footed by Inglis and planted his foot to stop Inglis,who then proceeded to place the ball against Farah's leg culminating in him KNOCKING-ON the ball in goal.Clearly NO TRY.Unfortunately the rule makers it seems are trying to be too smart by half with these "interpretations",and all it is doing is creating mass confusion amongst the fans.Enough is Enough.If it looks like a knock on then it is a knock on!

  2. Keyboard Rambo says:

    Bit harsh on  Pearce. I'm not a huge fan of his but I thought he was one of the Blues best. Took the line on and did everyting at speed. But all anyone remembers is his failure to find touch.

    Carney reminded me of Campo in his Origin debut – invisible. Has anyone checked the footage to see if he actually ran out?

    Luke Lewis is a great workhorse at club level but I think he's too slow for Origin these days.

    Get Choc in there, piss off Buhrer and Creagh and we win the next one.

  3. dawn says:

    Robbie Muchmore couldn't make the team? He and Danny Crnkovich formed part of a lengendary backline at Parra in the early 90's.