From The Couch: Round 15

Filed in NRL by on June 20, 2016

Semi Must Get Life Ban: Everyone in Rugby League hopes Danny Weidler and the rumours that Semi Radradra is defecting to rugby union are wrong. Nobody wants to see one of the game’s most popular stars walk away from the code and a binding contract. He is an electrifying player who can light up a field like few others. But if he does indeed turn his back on the game and flee in the darkness of night like a low-down rat to play another sport then he must be banned from Rugby League for life and it must be announced immediately by Todd Greenberg. Any right-minded NRL fan felt like a cheap whore when Sonny Bill Williams returned to the NRL in 2013 and felt more than a little disgusted when he played in a premiership that year. The game  doesn’t need any player who doesn’t want to be here, particularly those who find it fair to walk out on a contract without any consideration for club or code.

State Of Origin II Preview: Sadly for Blues fans, there isn’t a lot that can be said about State Of Origin II. It is hard to see any scenario where NSW are even competitive as they attempt to use the same formula against a Maroons team that has netted very little success. The Maroons don’t grind out wins at Suncorp, they run in scores and against a NSW team that has averaged 10.2 points a game under Laurie Daley that is a major problem. The Maroons have won three of the last four Suncorp games by 20-plus. The Blues have again picked a team not to lose and with points required Daley and Bob Fulton have left out the state’s best available player in James Tedesco, the only player in the NRL with nine tries and assists. It is going to get ugly and NSW will have nobody but NSW to blame.

Gutless Beyond Belief: Watching Jared Maxwell referee the Warriors-Roosters game on Sunday was embarrassing with the whistleblower showing all the bottle of a scolded eunuch. With the Sydney Roosters deliberately giving away penalties to negate a superior Warriors attack, Maxwell threatened time and time again to send someone to the sin bin yet never sat a player down. At one stage Maxwell didn’t say he may sit Shaun Kenny-Dowall down if he was penalised again – he said he would. SKD was again penalised. To the surprise of nobody, he remained on the field. It is little wonder nobody in the game respects referees when they assert no authority and they take no action when a team deliberately concedes penalties as a tactic. Maxwell should be nowhere near first grade but again will not be held accountable.

More Team List Travesties: The Melbourne Storm are the latest team to deceive everyone – fans, punters, fantasy players – through a glut of late changes against the Dragons. With Cam Smith and Cooper Cronk on Origin duty, Melbourne were still heavily supported in betting but when team lists came out key position players Cameron Munster and Blake Green were omissions. Nobody thought either was in doubt. The NRL needs to introduce a strict code around the announcement of team lists, the transparency of injuries and any team changes. Situations like that on Saturday makes Rugby League look completely amateur.

Newtown Open with Short Kickoff: It was great to see Newtown open Saturday’s big clash with the Warriors by attempting a short kickoff. The ball failed to travel the 10 but the Jets bounced back to win 38-6. It was hardly the end of the kickoff fun with the first four kickoffs of the match resulting in two penalties, a knock-on and a serious shoulder injury.

2016 Field Goal Update – 19: No field goals in the NRL this weekend though we came very close to seeing a field goal as the first scoring play in the Wigan-Widnes clash that finished 7-0.

Fun Fact #1: Bob Fulton lost his last eight games as coach of Manly with seven of those by margins of 13-plus. He had 12 past, present or future internationals and Origin players at his disposal.

Fun Fact #2: No Manly coach who did not play for the Sea Eagles has survived longer than three seasons in the job.

Fun Fact #3: Liam Knight was given no NRL suspension and was only “stood down” by Manly for an unspecified period of time despite being found guilty of high-range drink driving when he was travelling 45km/h above the speed limit before blowing 0.176.

Fun Fact #4: Australian Corey Thompson is third in tryscoring in Super League with 16 in 19 games.

Rumour Mill: Peter Tunks’ wild accusations in Rugby League Week that a former coach conspired to manipulate football matches by “dropping” players late in the week is set to be investigated by the NRL with the coach in question still involved in the game. Tunks is supposedly refusing to speak. The Robbie Farah-Jason Taylor feud will not end well for Taylor with Farah no chance of leaving to join Leeds with the Rhinos now focussing their attention on James Segeyaro. The Sydney Roosters are supposedly shopping Aidan Guerra around while Canberra are looking to offload Shaun Fensom to make room for Englishman John Bateman. The Titans, Knights and Bulldogs will be in contention for both backrowers. Tony Williams will be at the Dragons next year.

Betting Market of the Week: If NSW lose game two and the series on Wednesday night, Laurie Daley will use game three to:

$501.00: Blood new talent
$331.00: Select a team who can score points and win a game
$251.00: Try a new set of tactics
$151.00: Change up the pre-Origin camp
$1.02: Do exactly the same thing as he has done for the last 11 Origins

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The Barrett and Bozo Show: Bob Fulton and Trent Barrett in all their wisdom have moved to re-sign outside back Brayden Williame, he of the one win and 19 loss record. Recruitment and retention at Manly over the last 12 months has been nothing short of embarrassing and explains exactly why the club is mired in mediocrity at present.

What I Like About … Andrew Webster: If there is a more astute columnist in Rugby League then perhaps I am not reading the right publications. A fabulous writer who has always written with purpose, clarity and precision, Webster is in career best form. He has nailed everything he has written of late including his views on the salary cap scandal at Parramatta, the match fixing allegations and now the Semi Radradra walkout. His columns are really a pleasure to read.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Michael Maguire’s time at South Sydney is as good as over. The astute coach brought a premiership to Redfern in 2014 but has worn out his welcome with the playing group. He is a sharp coach who will find success at another club but it is time for both him and the club to part ways and start fresh in 2017. Ivan Cleary is the unbackable favourite to take over at Redfern.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 15: South Sydney – Parramatta, 12-30. What a low weekend of footy and just another example of why the NRL must introduce a cup competition to be played on Origin weekends.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Andrew McFadden did his absolute best to throw away a certain two points against the Sydney Roosters by undertaking a totally unnecessary reshuffle. When Thomas Leuluai went down hurt, rather than just push one of the two hookers into the halves, McFadden moved fullback Tui Lolohea to the halves, winger David Fusitua to fullback and shove hooker Nathaniel Roache on the wing. It blunted their best attacking threat and cost them at least two tries out wide when Roache failed to finish. McFadden has little feel for the game.

Beard Watch: It is a terrible shame to see one of the most recognisable beards in the NRL seemingly walk away from the game in pursuit of a quick buck. Semi Radradra has seemingly given the bird to the Eels. If he does decide to defect he should be barred for life and in Brutus ‘The Barber’ Beefcake style, have his facial follicles shaved off.

Correspondence Corner: Davey G, my concern with a fine system is that some clubs will see it as a cost of playing, paying the fines and encouraging foul play.

Watch It: Rugby League’s finest songsmith Denis Carnahan has provided the soundtrack to the modern game. We go back in time to listen to his classic “One Out Of Three Ain’t Bad” to give Laurie Daley some solace when the Blues go down on Wednesday. Watch it here.



Comments (2)

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  1. Errol Blue says:

    Moylan is a good player, but Blake Austin is an exciting player. I am all for Austin at #6 and Maloney or Reynolds at #7, they both have strong qualities but no real X-factor like Austin (and Cartwright, and Jack Bird, and Leilua, and Tedesco). Frizell was outstanding and I would like to see Wade Graham in for Josh Jackson or Cordner (Jackson can tackle, wooptydoo. So can Fensom, he doesn’t make the Country team)

  2. Cam says:

    You call Manly mediocre. If only. Nick, we’re terrible.