From The Couch: Round 14

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on June 14, 2011

Origin II Thoughts: Well, we’re back to Sydney after a bottler of a series opener that saw Queensland dominate the match but just sneak home on the scoreboard.

If the Blues side remained, for the most part, the same, there is no doubt New South Wales would have been the play as a marginal outsider.

They will get a few things go their way on Wednesday night. They will get a sold out home ground. They will likely get a fairer shake of both possession and the referees whistle. They will get a more composed Jamie Soward.

But the team changes are just too much for New South Wales to overcome, with Queensland oh so close to a sixth straight series win and sealing Darren Lockyer’s farewell tour with a series win.

The main systemic change for the Blues is a move away from big lumbering forwards to a more athletic set, resulting in the dumping of two props, the keeping of just two front-rowers and the selection of six back-rowers. It is a bold play from Ricky Stuart, particularly considering how poorly the Blues fared in the middle of the field in game one.

But it may just work with conditions set to suit the lithe Blues forwards. The ability to move laterally is going to be key to the Blues attack and the quick leg speed of Anthony Watmough, the angled running of Luke Lewis and the heavy fringe pounding of Ben Creagh will all be critical to the Blues hopes. They will try to get in behind Queensland and get the big boys-Matt Scott, Petero Civoniceva, Ben Hannant and Dave Taylor-moving sideways.

It is a good ploy and is the Blues’ best hope.

But where, to my eye, it will be lost is out wide. Anthony Minichiello is a good news story but he has not played at an elite level in a half-decade. The Blues took plenty from Josh Dugan’s kick return in Origin I, something they will not have this time around. Minichiello has not had the Roosters on the front foot all year and he is not about to get the jump on Thurston, Lockyer and Smith.

On paper, Jarryd Hayne is a good in but nobody can be confident he will play well. He usually lifts for rep football but he has a sense of entitlement about him and he thinks he is more than a winger. I wouldn't bet him to play well.

William Hopoate has plenty of upside but out of position, he is a major defensive concern.

Queensland have won the last four in Sydney and five of the last six at ANZ Stadium. They just have too much talent. In slippery conditions, the Maroons are going to create more history. The Blues will keep it tight for a long time but Queensland will just have too much class. Queensland 19, New South Wales 12 (MOM: Johnathan Thurston)

Where to in 2012: The time does seem to be drawing near for Kevin Moore and if all the rumblings are correct, he is as good as finished. A preliminary final showing would be the least Moore needs and even that may not be enough. Here is a look at the possible coaching candidates, how they rate and their likelihood of being in charge next season.

Kevin Moore:Has the job so is obviously in the box seat. Two more losses like the Manly defeat though and he won’t see out the year. The board has turned against him and his chances of being in charge in 2012 diminish with every loss, particularly as his players don’t appear to be responding to him. He has the name but he doesn’t have the runs on the board.

Jim Dymock:The highly rated Bulldogs assistant is being mentioned but it would be a total disgrace if Dymock was given the reins of the club he turned his back on and sued in 1995. Not for me. I don’t forgive traitors. Are we going to bring in Jarrod McCracken and Sonny Bill Williams as his assistant?

Ricky Stuart:The worst possible choice but is probably the favourite among outsiders. He played two years at the club, developed his coaching chops in the lower grades and still has plenty of contacts. He is a horrible fit with an awful coaching record marked by significant underachievement and poor attacking play. I wouldn’t know what to do if he was hired.

Rick Stone:Has done an outstanding job at Newcastle with limited resources. A real players coach, Newcastle rarely play below their best. He has a calm disposition, is a genuine thinker and he lacks ego, all big ticks. He is probably fair odds but he would be a great choice and is the mentor that would get the most out of the current Canterbury list.

Daniel Anderson:A smart tactician who coached a pretty ordinary Parramatta team to a Grand Final in 2009. Remains in touch with the game through his work on the ABC, works well with senior players (of which the Bulldogs have plenty) and his supposed problems with islander players shouldn’t be a problem (considering Canterbury have very few). He would be in the top three or four of betting and would be a reasonable choice.

Michael Hagan:Would be a very interesting selection. A former Canterbury player during a glory era (a definite plus), Hagan won a premiership at Newcastle in his first season and was promoted to Queensland coach in 2004 and 2005, though the Blues won both series. He had a poor stint at Parramatta but I put no blame on him for that and after some health problems, is back as an assistant to Queensland this year. Smart tactically and a winner, a return to Belmore would be most welcome if he decides he wants back into full-time coaching.

Mick Potter: Another former Bulldog who has built a reputation in Super League. Did well with Catalans, taking them to a Challenge Cup final in two years at the helm before a disappointing stint at St Helens bereft of silverware. Is in charge of Bradford now and they are struggling in 10th. Not my first choice but a better play than Ricky Stuart.

Matt Elliott:Smart and interesting but he has a poor record and no finals wins in a decade of coaching is not how an outsider gets the gig at Canterbury. Long odds and rightly so.

Chris Anderson:Retired these days and no hope of coming back as a head coach after his previous health problems but Ando is my favourite all-time coach and I would love to see him come in as a Phil Gould-like coaching director.

Steve Folkes:Nobody is calling on Folkes to be recalled and after signing on as an assistant at the Dragons, he won’t be coming home.

Movement at the Station:There has been plenty of movement in the players transfer market this week with Beau Henry moving immediately to the Titans, Anthony Mitchell heading straight to the Roosters and Sam Tagataese and Jeff Robson signing with the Sharks, Robson for 2012.

Beau Henry has been treated disgracefully by the Knights and the talented young No.6 will hopefully find some stability at the Titans. For the second time in two years, Henry was squeezed out by the supercoach. I’m not one to question Bennett as a regular habit but it seems somewhat odd that he would send Henry packing again. The five-eighth is a nice fit at the Titans though and he will hopefully jam it right up the Knights.

The same goes with Anthony Mitchell. Who are Parramatta to keep Mitchell down? He was in outstanding nick at the end of last season yet could hardly get a run this year. He is sharp off the bench and will certainly force Mark Riddell into a premature retirement. Stephen Kearney will live to regret this release.

Jeff Robson is a good signing for the Sharks. He is a steady hand and while no superstar, he should provide some stability in the halves with Graham and/or Albert Kelly. Sam Tagataese is not much chop and won’t be missed by the Titans.  

Truth Sessions are the New Tuesday Floggings: Modern management mumbo jumbo always seems to find its way into sport. That is the quickest way for these snake oil salesmen-modern management gurus, sports psychiatrists and the like- to make a name and a quick buck. Look for losing teams and spread their message of hope, success and redemption.

Their latest hogwash is truth sessions, where players and coaches sit down with each other and lay it all out. It is, presumably, brutal, teammates unleashing on each other, players letting coaches what they think of them, weak links identified.

In a From The Couch exclusive, we have the details of what has been unleashed at these struggling clubs’ truth sessions:

Canberra:Tom Learoyd-Lahrs was lambasted for attempting to become “the new Jason Ryles”. Learoyd-Lahrs says his Origin call-up and reputation were enough to justify stupid offloading, poor handling and dumb penalties but it was soon pointed out to him that Ryles has never played in a premiership team. Bronson Harrison was accused of becoming soft. He sat silently sipping a strawberry milkshake as a montage of his missed arm tackles were shown. It went for 43 minutes. Matt Orford was asked to go home. Blake Ferguson was reminded that he said he left Cronulla because he wanted to win…and that winners respect the ball and don’t treat it like a Frente single at a year six disco in 1993.

Gold Coast:The Titans didn’t have much of a truth session. Michael Searle told them everything was going okay, offered Preston Campbell a new deal, promised he would do all he could to keep the feared Tomane-Toopi train together and steadfastly assured the club the Titans were under the salary cap for both this year and next. All is looking rosy in Paradise City.

Cronulla:The session started out with Shane Flangan and Stuart Flanagan both being kicked out. “You are nothing but a Ricky Stuart stooge” was the call. As neither Flanagan could be identified, both were tossed. John Morris put his hand up to volunteer to play halfback. He was shouted down. Paul Gallen delivered a heartfelt, tear-drenched sermon, one Kade Snowden and Luke Douglas missed it as they both texted their stockbrokers. Matt Wright was told he was quite useless. He angrily responded by saying he was the most talented player in the three-quarter line. Few argued.

Sydney Roosters:For fear of being sued, the majority of this truth session cannot be made public. Needless to say, truth is stranger than fiction and this tale from the underbelly of the Eastern Suburbs has more strange plot twists than a decade of Days of Our Lives. You don’t want to know who is sleeping with who, who is in love with who, who is feuding with who, who is marrying who. Sam Perrett though, he is good.

Our Best Goes Out to Ray Warren: As everyone in rugby league knows, Ray Warren, the voice of the game for as long as I can remember and even longer, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. From The Couch wishes Warren all the best. This author has met him once and he could not have been more charming. At the 2009 preliminary final between Melbourne and Brisbane at the Docklands, I was drunk in the corporate suites and went out for a slash just before kickoff when who was coming out of the brasco but Rabs himself. I bailed him up, we talked league for a bit until, in the politest manner, he said he had to go; he needed to call the game. Rabs is a champion of the code and he will hopefully pull through this scare.

The Strange and Sordid Story of Bobby Lulham: Rugby league and scandal go well back, two well acquainted travellers who rarely stray far from each other. It goes well back and the likes of which stir the fury of pressmen and the moralistic masses today are nothing compared to some well-known cases of yesteryear.

Perhaps the most extraordinary of those cases involved young Balmain speedster Bobby Lulham.

Lulham burst onto the scene as a raw 20-year old winger in 1947, scoring 28 tries in 17 games in his debut year on the flank for the Tigers, the fourth most ever by a player in an individual season and the second most ever by a player in their debut year (Les Brennan scored 29 for Souths in 1954 and played only five more games before retiring the next season). Included in that haul was five against new boys Parramatta. The Tigers went on to win the premiership.

Lulham was called into the City team and after an injury ravaged 1948, he scored 17 tries in 17 games in 1949, to go with 25 goals, earning him an Australian Kangaroo tour call-up that saw him play a Test in Britain and two in France.

The young Tigers flanker had made a big name for himself in quick time, the dark haired tryscorer a Kangaroo at 22.

Injuries held him back over the following seasons but he still knew his way to the tryline: 12 tries in 19 games in 1950, 4 tries in 7 games in ’51, 11 tries in 7 games in ’52 and 7 tries in 10 games in ’53.

By the end of the ’53 season, Lulham had 85 tries in 85 games (fourth all-time on the Balmain Tigers tryscoring list) and was only 26 years old, his future well ahead of him.

That was until scandal hit. And Lulham never played top grade rugby league again.

It turns out Lulham was on the job with his new wife’s mother, Veronica. Veronica had moved in after splitting from her husband, something much rarer back them as it is now, and moved in with the talented Tigers three-quarter. Veronica and Bobby soon got in on and it wasn’t long before it was all through the papers, a real Sydney scandal, when Veronica tried to poison Lulham with Thallium. It was the latest in a spate of Thallium murder attempts in Sydney and though Veronica admitted poisoning Lulham, she said it was a botched suicide job and was found not guilty.

It was all over for Lulham though. His wife soon left him and his career was over, the effects of Thallium and the scandal consigning him to a life outside the sport.

Such salaciousness makes most modern rugby league scandal-the drinking, the stray urinating, the night-clubbing- look like a bit of boys just being boys.

Injury Update:The worst injury of the week looked to be that of Micheal Luck with the hardworking Warriors lock stretchered off against the Tigers. His absence left New Zealand vulnerable up the middle and he will be sorely missed though, should be back mid-August.

Dane Carlaw (Brisbane): Went down early with a knee injury that doesn’t look career threatening but could keep him sidelined for at least six weeks.

Adam Cuthbertson (Dragons): Hurt his neck but will miss no time.

Chris Heighington (Wests Tigers): Played a low 49 minutes after suffering a concussion in a bone cruncher. Named and he is likely to play.

Jason King (Manly): The Eagles skipper hurt his ankle against the Cowboys but has been to play Parramatta on Monday night.

Micheal Luck (New Zealand): Stretchered off after 29 minutes with what looked a season ending knee injury. Scans, however, brought better news for the Warriors with Luck out for only eight weeks with a left patella dislocation. Lewis Brown is a ready-made replacement.

Robert Lui (Wests Tigers): Suffered a wrist injury and went off after 54 minutes. Was named this week but Tim Sheens has a habit of naming injured players. Tim Moltzen will replace him if there is a late change.

Antonio Winterstein (North Queensland): Tore his pec and is done for the season with the Cowboys now in a bit of a centre crisis.

Dean Young (Dragons): Injured his pec again but will fight on through the pain and named to play this Friday.

Madness: Preston Campbell has done his time. He has been an inspiration, a player so talented he won a Dally M Medal and so courageous he never once moved his tiny frame from the path of a bigger player. And they were all bigger. He has been a champion of his people, a trailblazer and a warrior. But his form has been in sharp decline in recent years and at this stage, as sad as it is, he is a questionable top grader. Which makes the decision of the Titans to re-sign him for another year all the more surprising. Campbell offers very little these days. The Titans played it smart by signing Beau Henry but the call to keep Presto makes no sense at all. I doubt John Cartwright has the gall to drop him from first grade and when the depth charts come out next year, Campbell shouldn't be in the top 17.

The 2011 Willie M Medal: Another stellar performance from Blake Ferguson, marked by five missed tackles and a handling error, has the Raiders three-quarter into fim favouritism at the halfway stage for the 2011 Willie M Medal.

St George-Illawarra v Gold Coast
3. S.Michaels (GC)
2. R.Simmonds (Dra)
1. D.Hunt (Dra)

Manly v North Queensland
3. L.Ah Mau (NQ)
2. R.Thompson (NQ)
1. B.Jones (NQ)

Brisbane v Canberra
3. T.Learoyd-Lahrs (Can)
2. B.Ferguson (Can)
1. J.Stuart (Can)

New Zealand v Wests Tigers
3. M.Brown (Tig)
2. R.Lui (Tig)
1. S.Mannering (War)

Melbourne v Sydney Roosters
3. T.Carney (Roo)
2. J.Carney (Roo)
1. T.Symonds (Roo)

14-Matt Orford (Can)
13-Blake Ferguson (Can)
10-Wade Graham (Cro), Michael Jennings (Pen), Jarrod Mullen (New), Matthew Wright (Cro)
9-Preston Campbell (GC), Antonio Kaufusi (New), Jarryd Hayne (Par)
8-Greg Bird (GC), Justin Carney (Roo), Krisnan Inu (NZ), Feleti Mateo (NZ)

Round 14 Voting Panel: Nick Tedeschi, Rohan Kendall, Nathan Boss, Cliff Bingham

Fun Fact #1: The 10 most capped referees in NSWRL/ARL/NRL history: Bill Harrigan (392), Col Pearce (344), Steve Clark (312), Tim Mander (293), Sean Hampstead (288), Paul Simpkins (283), Kevin Roberts (273), Darcy Lawler (272), Jack O’Brien (261), Tony Archer (253*)

Fun Fact #2: Those Grand Finals and the referees they officiated: Bill Harrigan (10: 1989-91, 97-03), Col Pearce (6: 1955, 1964-68), Steve Clark (0), Tim Mander (2: 2004-05), Sean Hampstead (0), Paul Simpkins (1: 2006), Kevin Roberts (3: 1983-85), Darcy Lawler (7:1956-61, 63), Jack O’Brien (7:1940, 42-44, 47, 51, 54),

Round 15 Selection Notes:

Brisbane:Anthony Griffin has named all his Origin stars though whether they back up or not will depend on how they pull up from Origin. Justin Hodges has been named but is only an 80/20 chance at this stage. Jack Reed has been forced to make way in the centres. He will start on the bench.

St George-Illawarra:All the Dragons’ Origin stars have been named with Brett Morris and Kyle Stanley also set to return from injury. Stanley replaces Matt Cooper in the centres.

South Sydney:Souths don’t have a lot of players to choose from and with Chris McQueen starting in the second row, not a lot can be expected to change anytime soon.

Gold Coast:The Titans are back to full strength in the backrow meaning Greg Bird will start on the bench. The same cannot be said for the centres with the famed Tomane-Toopi combination back at it again. Beau Henry has moved north from Newcastle but was not considered for selection this week.

Newcastle:Tyrone Roberts replaces Beau Henry at five-eighth. Roberts is still battling an injury with Matt Hilder likely to move to pivot if Roberts is ruled out. It is pleasing to see Keith Lulia retain his spot in the centres. Adam MacDougall is still nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he secretly retired.

Penrith:Petero Civoniceva has been named on the bench in a bid to save his aging body post Origin. Joseph Paulo is a surprising choice in the centres for the injured Michael Jennings.

North Queensland: Ben Jones remains in the centres which seems a somewhat questionable call, given he is not much good and all. Gavin Cooper has again been named in the centres.

New Zealand: Oh Lord, what has Ivan Cleary done? Krisnan Inu’s awful wing play must have been enough to suggest a move to the centres was on with Inu moving to right centre and Glen Fisiiahi coming onto the wing with Lewis Brown moving back to the bench. Micheal Luck is out hurt, replaced in the starting side by Steve Rapira.

Canterbury: Kevin Moore has dropped the bombshell of the week, dumping Jamal Idris after he missed training on Monday following on from some major attitude problems. Tim Lafai replaces him. Michael Lett and Aiden Tolman return from injury. Ben Roberts comes in for the suspended Trent Hodkinson in what is a major downgrade in the halves.

Cronulla:Chad Townsend has kept his spot, retaining the No.7 jersey. Anthony Tupou has been dropped to the bench for the returning Jeremy Smith. Despite battling injuries that ruled him out of Origin II, Kade Snowden will play. Sam Tagataese will play his first game for the Sharks.

Wests Tigers:Tim Sheens has named an unchanged side to take on the Storm.

Melbourne:Craig Bellamy has made an interesting call with his three-quarters, dropping Beau Champion to an extended bench for the in-form Maurice Blair. Justin O’Neill and Sisi Waqa both missed out to Anthony Quinn for a wing spot.

Manly:There are no surprises with Michael Robertson still out hurt.

Parramatta:Daniel Mortimer still languishes in NSW Cup while Reni Maitua has yet to receive a call up.

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

LW: Last Week, R:Range

Rumour Mill: Ivan Cleary is the latest coach to be attached to the vacant Penrith job, making him the 913th candidate. The Warriors deny he is going anywhere but a big money, long-term deal may be enough to lure him to the foot of the mountains. Trent Waterhouse is unlikely to be there though as he is almost certain to join Super League club St Helens. Boom Dragons rookie and housemate of Darius Boyd, Alex McKinnon, looks set to join the Knights next year, following Boyd and Bennett north. There is plenty of talk that Jamal Idris is on the outer with the NSW coaching camp after he was wrapped up in his own bollocks before Origin I. He has since been dropped by the Dogs.

Betting Market of the Week: When Greg Bird and Sam Thaiday come together in Origin II, Bird’s first remarks will be:

“Get ‘em up, Fat Boy”: $4.25
“Spot us a durry and some turtle meat”: $11.00
“By golly, I think we are scheduled for a duke”: $41
“You were brilliant on The Secret Life of Us, Deborah”: $2.50

What I Like About…Benji Marshall: Sure, he is a matchwinner capable of unparalleled brilliance. Sure, he can do everything required on a football field. Sure, he loves a long field goal and he is renowned for his flick pass. But his smarts/arrogance in running backwards 30 metres to run out the clock in the dying seconds against the Warriors elicited memories of the great Tony Iro, who once ran nearly 860 metres backwards against the Dragons in 1998 to give the Adelaide Rams a rare victory. Tony Iro’s Wikipedia page says it all: “Whilst playing for The Adelaide Rams in the Round 13 game against the St George Dragons, Iro received the ball ten metres out from the Dragons line with ten seconds remaining. In what is considered the only instance of this event occurring, Iro proceeded to run forward at the defensive line, then slowly began to run backwards and continued to run backwards to his own 40 metre line were he would be tackled and the game would end with a 22 to 20 victory for the Rams. This is considered one of the greatest moments in the history of rugby league and by far the greatest moment in the short history of the now defunct Adelaide Rams.”

From Deep in the Bowels of Twitter:There was seemingly a reunion of slow Cronulla wingers with David Simmons sending this: “@covell5 on the bus driving out of gold coast airport, missing not seeing your mate, the fruitbat”

Matt Duffie has made it into the belly of Melbourne hipsterdom: “Wow, had a coke at veggie bar tonight. People stared at me like I'd killed something!”

Obscure Score of the Week: Yass-Gungahlin, 42-8. The Magpies kept the Bulls bottom of the Canberra Raiders Cup ladder with a comprehensive victory at Walker Park. The Magpies are now 6th and after a rebuilding year in 2010 could be inching their way back into the finals race this year.

Coaching Stocks:
5: Wayne Bennett: Not much you can do with all the big guns sidelined.
4.5: Des Hasler: Manly are into second favourites as they continue to roll through teams.
4.5: Craig Bellamy: A huge win without their stars with Widdop coming of age.
4: Anthony Griffin: Monster win without big names that show the depth of the Broncs.
3.5: Neil Henry: Weren’t expected to do much without Thurston and Scott and didn’t.
3.5: Tim Sheens: Must have given the Tigers an almight rev-up at half-time.
3: Ivan Cleary: A disappointing choke but is seemingly in demand at Penrith.
2.5: Rick Stone: Bye
1.5: Stephen Kearney: Bye
1: Kevin Moore: Bye
0.5: John Cartwright: The Titans were horrible first half but at least got the 2 points.
0: John Lang: Bye
-0.5: Matt Elliott: Bye
-1: Brian Smith: Horrible loss to understrength Storm with job under pressure now.
-1: Shane Flanagan: Bye
-6: David Furner: How does he have a job again?

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin: Benji Marshall’s double against the New Zealand Warriors meant the Tigers No.6 has now scored against every opposition team in the NRL. Ben Pomeroy needs only a try against Brisbane to achieve the same feat. The Penguin has been held scoreless against the Broncos in nine matches.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 14: New Zealand-Wests Tigers, 22-26. Surprisingly for an Origin weekend, there were a couple of crackerjacks with the Tigers’ comeback against the Warriors the pick of the two Sunday thrillers. The highlight, for mine, was Gareth Ellis’ flick pass to Benji Marshall that got the comeback in full swing. It was an amazing ball from a player more renowned for his toughness and heart than his ball-playing skills. Benji’s decision to pull a Tony Iro and run backwards to run down the clock was the cherry on top.

Fantasy Team of the Week:
1. Josh Hoffman (Bri)
2. B.J Leulia (Roo)
3. Blake Ayshford (Tig)
4. Steve Matai (Man)
5. Manu Vatuvei (NZ)
6. Benji Marshall (Tig)
7. Peter Wallace (Bri)
13. Shaun Fensom (Can)
12. Feleti Mateo (NZ)
11. Josh Papalii (Can)
10. Michael Weyman (Dra)
9. Matt Srama (GC)
8. George Rose (Man)

14. Jason Nightingale (Dra)
15. Glenn Stewart (Man)
16. Gareth Ellis (Tig)
17. Alex Glenn (Bri)

Waiver Wire Advice: Daly Cherry-Evans has been one of the finds of the season and his price continues to rocket skywards as his confidence grows. The Manly No.7 is up to $263,000, up $175,500 this year, and he is only going to get better. Against the Cowboys, he had another try assist, taking his yearly tally up to five. Scoring halfbacks are rare and he is a good one.

Correspondence Corner: Zig, you were and are, of course, right. SBW is the traitor of all traitors. But unlike your good self, I hope he never wears the blue and white again. We don’t need that kind of rubbish at the club. Sleep with dogs, you get fleas. I am all for spreading the rugby league gospel as well. Take the game to the country.

Doggydaddy, I would be most pleased if Michael Hagan was hired to coach the Dogs. Listening to the Wok though, I would say he is a little too out of touch to offer much help. Maybe Chris Anderson is the man required.

Anna, I don’t know what I will do if Stuart arrives but it won’t be pretty.

Mitch, if you think Ben Roberts can even be mentioned in the same discussion as Terry Lamb, you need to visit your local medical practitioner as quickly as possible. It isn't really a comment that elicits respect.

Riggo, I will be plenty upset if Roberts is recalled for Cronulla. Kris Keating has offered plenty of spark this year without the grand acts of stupidity and David Stagg does what he always does…the nitty, gritty stuff nobody else wants to.

Making The Nut Weekly Poll: Sonny Bill Williams was an overwhelming winner of the “League’s Biggest Traitor” poll conducted last week, winning 67% of the vote. Judas Williams beat Israel Folau (12%), Karmichael Hunt (10%) and Willie Mason (10%).

Be sure to go and vote in this week’s poll: Who should coach Canterbury-Bankstown in 2012?

Beard Watch: It only just occurred to me over the weekend that Greg Bird was once known as “The Personality”, at least to listeners or Roy and HG, solely for growing a moustache before Origin. He did the same this year but shaved it off come game time. Hopefully Ricky Stuart has laid the law down and insisted Bird keep the ‘tache for Origin II.

Watch It: This needs no explanation. Lewis. Geyer. Manson. Game two, 20 years ago. One of the great Origin moments, one of the great Origin matches. Watch it here.

Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images AsiaPac

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  1. cudars says:


    I could think of nothing better then my hero Jason Taylor coaching the dogs in 2012…..a dream come true!

    “treat it like a Frente single at a year six disco in 1993”…kenna hall?