From The Couch: Round 16

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on June 30, 2014

Urine Big Trouble, Todd: Todd Carney has likely played his last game in the NRL, unbelievably adding a fresh new chapter to his big book of Rugby League atrocities by being photographed drinking his own piss. Now I’ve seen it all.

The photo almost broke Twitter on Saturday night. By Sunday, Carney had been sacked by the Sharks. The club had no option. Cronulla can’t win without Carney but they can’t afford to keep him. The club is broke and cannot take the commercial hit. His $650,000 a year won’t hurt the bottom line either. This is not the first time Carney has found trouble this year. We all know it won’t be the last either.

There has been plenty of bollocks spoken from a lot of people. Carney and his management are trying to spin it, giving it to the Sharks for sacking him. His manager David Riolo claimed Carney didn’t drink his own piss, as if it really matters. Carney has again gone into sorry mode.

I agree with Andrew Johns that alone, it is not a sackable offence. It is a damn humiliating one but one that probably, in and of itself, shouldn’t warrant termination. But really, did Cronulla have any other option? If anything, Carney should have been axed for his own stupidity.

We are unlikely to see Carney again in the NRL. Nor should we. How many chances do you give someone? It’s about time he got his first chance to dig a ditch and earn a real living, where he can get on the piss – and I mean that in both senses of the word – as often as he likes.

The simple fact is, Todd Carney is an embarrassment to Rugby League and a liability the code can no longer afford to carry.

Broken Thumb, Better Blues and The Times They Should Be Changin’: Laurie Daley and Mal Meninga will announce the Origin teams for the dead-rubber tomorrow and there will be plenty of interest around both. Both sides will contain a number of changes and change, as they say, is as good as a lazy Sunday on a Batemans Bay beach.

The Blues will need to find a new centre and a winger – again – as well as a bench forward with Will Hopoate, Michael Jennings and Anthony Watmough all out. The easy fix is Watmough. Josh Jackson deserves a shot but the early return of Boyd Cordner will see him get the nod. The outside back situation is far more complicated. Josh Mansour is crying out for selection and deserves a chance on the wing. James McManus and Akuila Uate have both been tried and have failed while Jorge Taufua is struggling. The Blues lucked out with Jack Wighton breaking his thumb over the weekend. He seemed certain to be picked at centre after being called into the squad last time. Luckily he is now unavailable. Finding a replacement is not easy. I would plump for either Michael Gordon or Tim Lafai. Either way, we should see a bolter, which is always fun.

The Maroons situation is much more serious – and they will likely again spoil the fun. Queensland have lost Brent Tate, Matt Scott and Chris McQueen to injury and have a rugby-bound Ben Teo and an out-of-form Dave Taylor in the side. The Blues would typically use the chance to blood youngsters – and it would be great to see the Maroons do the same. But they won’t. Corey Parker will come in for Scott. Will Chambers is a lock to replace Tate. Cooper Cronk will be named and will come in for McQueen. Teo will keep his spot. If Taylor does go, it will be for Josh Papaliii. It is a shame Josh McGuire won’t get a run.

Fixture Farce: Over the last three years, these matches have been scheduled not only during the Origin period but the week where Origin selections are not available:

2014: Canterbury v Sydney Roosters
2014: Canterbury v Parramatta
2014: Souths v Wests Tigers
2014: Canterbury v Manly
2013: Canterbury v St George Illawarra
2013: Canterbury v Sydney Roosters
2013: Parramatta v South Sydney
2013: Parramatta v Penrith
2013: Canterbury v Melbourne (GF Replay)
2012: Manly v Sydney Roosters

That is 10 matches that could be considered blockbusters that have been decimated by Origin selection. They are also 10 matches that did not need to be played during Origin. The NRL controls the draw yet plays these matches without their stars. The League is essentially tearing up money. Why play these matches during Origin? Nearly all would feature players in Origin and at any rate, these headline matches would not receive their proper billing. It is incredible how dumb the NRL is and continues to be.

Consistency: At the beginning of the year, the NRL promised us that officials would not halt play to deal with captains complaining, allowing quick taps to be taken, while the clock was to stop in dead-ball situations. The League has only embarrassed themselves by making such proclamations. Why make promises you either can’t or won’t keep? Referees continually stop play to engage with whinging captains and worse, to get incidents checked by the video ref. They almost always find an excuse to stop the quick tap. The management of the clock in the last five minutes is equally embarrassing. The clock stops are inconsistent and sporadic.

The solutions to both are simple. Referees can simply allow play to continue and players will quickly shut up. And the clock should stop at every dead-ball situation. Why aren’t those paid a motza to look after the game implementing these easy solutions?

Easy Decision: It was extremely optimistic of the Roosters to attempt to register a contract with Blake Ferguson. While Ferguson won’t be fit to play this year, the Roosters want to stop other clubs poaching him. The NRL made the easy decision to not register the convicted criminal. While I have some pretty valid concerns about the NRL’s moral policing, if they are to remain consistent with their statements, they can’t allow Ferguson back in the League anytime soon.

June 30 Moves: Clubs were fairly quiet this year with just two moves of note. The Sydney Roosters released boom centre Tautau Moga to join the Cowboys. He will be fighting it out with Kyle Feldt for the ‘next-in-line’ status among outside backs. The other signing news is Scott Dureau returning from Catalans to serve as a backup to the Roosters. That should help the premiership hopes of the Newtown Jets in the NSW Cup.

What is the Reverse of Clutch? Whatever it is, that is what Jarrod Croker is. Gee, he hates to nail a match-winning kick, particularly against the Tigers. He missed another kick he should have nailed in the dying minutes at Campbelltown. There has been plenty said about Matt Cecchin stepping in as Croker was starting his run but that was no excuse. Croker just isn’t a player you want with the ball on the tee and the game ready to be won.

If I Were A Sub-Editor – Todd Carney Version:
1. Carney pisses away career
2. Sharks five-eighth gives new definition to the term piss head
3. Urine big trouble Todd
4. If only Carney’s passing was as accurate as his pissing …
5. Another golden moment for Rugby League bad boy

Fun Fact #1: Sharks CEO (probably) is the first person in Rugby League history to fire the same player from two different clubs.

Fun Fact #2: Cronulla have not won without Todd Carney all season.

Fun Fact #3: Cronulla’s backup five-eighth is Daniel Holdsworth.

Rumour Mill:
Canterbury are in hot pursuit of Gold Coast fullback David Mead, who is fed up at the Titans and his inability to dislodge William Zillman from the fullback role. Jacob Loko is another the Bulldogs are pursuing while Krisnan Inu won’t be at the club in 2015. Nathan Brown position at St Helens is under threat. That could find him land a job as a top assistant in the NRL. Trent Merrin is being heavily chased by Brisbane but is expected to remain with the Dragons. Canberra have set their sights on Arana Taumata, about the only player available to the club. The Warriors are chasing Blake Ayshford a centre with Steve Matai and Blake Ayshford on the hit list.

What I Love About … Ashley Harrison: You don’t get to choose your farewells and that is unfortunate for tireless Titans lock Ashley Harrison, whose final season has been cut short by a neck injury. Harrison spent 15 years in the top grade for a power like Brisbane, newcomers Gold Coast, battlers South Sydney and the wealthy Sydney Roosters. He started his career as a creative lock/five-eighth and finished it much the same, though it was his defence that was more revered in latter years. He was an unsung hero in Queensland’s grand era of dominance. Harrison personified all that was great about the game – dedication, modesty, getting the most out of his limited natural assets – and the game will be poorer for his absence.

Funniest Eels Moment of the Week: Chris Sandow refusing to kick the ball on the last tackle over the last fortnight. Who is paying him to take the tackle?

Betting Market of the Week: Todd Carney’s next career move will be:

$41: Another NRL club
$3.50: A Super League club
$2.70: A janitor
$1.40: As this guy’s understudy

Power Rankings:
1. Manly 9-5 (2)
2. Sydney Roosters 9-6 (3)
3. South Sydney 9-6 (1)
4. Canterbury 9-5 (5)
5. Penrith 9-5 (4)
6. New Zealand 8-7 (8)
7. Melbourne 8-7 (7)
8. Wests Tigers 8-6 (9)

9. North Queensland 7-8 (11)
10. Brisbane 8-7 (6)
11. Parramatta 8-7 (10)
12. St George Illawarra 7-8 (12)
13. Newcastle 4-11 (14)
14. Gold Coast 6-8 (13)
15. Canberra 4-11 (15)
16. Cronulla 3-11 (16)

The Coaching Crosshairs: All the talk this week has centred on the future of John Cartwright at the Gold Coast. Speculation is rife that club powerbrokers would pull the pin on his long-term deal but simply cannot afford the million-dollar payout. There is no question the Titans are broke. It is one of the reasons that Wayne Bennett is no chance of shifting to the Gold Coast.  Cartwright can be pretty thankful his mate Michael Searle sorted him out.

Ricky Stuart Fact of the Week: Stuart’s Raiders got beaten by a team who lost their starting fullback in the opening minute and their starting winger and centre throughout the game. That team was the preseason wooden spoon favourite.

Ricky Stuart Stat of the Week: Stuart is 18-60 in his last 78 games as a head coach. He has not coached a win against the Bulldogs since 2007 or the Sea Eagles or Titans since 2008.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 16: Manly-Sydney Roosters, 24-16. The Sea Eagles and Roosters played out an excellent affair on Friday night with Manly’s class the difference. Both sides played some great footy but nobody was better than Brett Stewart, who made an incredible break from a kick and then scored a tremendous try when running a courage line back into the ruck from a simple inside ball from dummy half to crash over. The Roosters were right back in it thanks to Sonny Bill Williams but James Maloney choked a simple kick and Manly polished it off with an under-killing try on fulltime. Great match.

Correspondence Corner: Zig, the Sharks are closer to finding themselves at the mercy of NRL than many think. It would not surprise me at all if the Sharks didn’t see out this whole ASADA disaster.

Jason, I have no issue with players pushing for an edge. This is a professional game. The players are pros and so too are the officials. I have problems with the constant time wasting and the lack of control officials have. You are spot on about Jake Granville. I think the Broncos have turned a corner too but I’m not sure we are thinking of the same corner.

Davey G, surely the Bunnies wouldn’t be silly enough to dump Reynolds. The Raiders or the Sharks would happily have him but then again, they’d happily have me.

BulldogTimbo, I think Pearce gets away with a lot on and off the field and it is not really surprising considering the charmed run he has had.

Mike Butterfield, Tommy Butterfield is highly rated but defensive hookers are up against it getting a breakthrough late, unfortunately.

Anthony, unfortunately it seems like you are blind if you think Josh Jackson is no good.

Mat, it was one of Sticky’s finest hours. And I did think it was a double movement. I am happy to keep the rule in but it shouldn’t be able to be viewed in slow motion – ever.

Beard Watch: We are living in a golden age for Rugby League beards at present with the trendy move to keep the facial follicles. The dodgiest perhaps belongs to Newcastle fullback Darius Boyd, who looks like an extra in True Detective with his patchy hillbilly special. If a banjo plays and Darius Boyd is about be scared, be very, very scared.

Watch It: This week we go back to 1981 for ‘The Big Game’ between Newtown and North Sydney from the jewel of Rugby League grounds, Henson Park. Highlights include Ray Warren’s tracksuit top, his very proper pronunciation, Ken Wilson being called a ‘glamour player’, the refereeing ranking system and the kick off going dead without an attempt to stop it. Watch it here.



Comments (9)

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  1. WittyReference says:

    The defender being penalised for knocking on when the attacking players passes it into him has to be THE dumbest rule in the game at the moment.

  2. Ferret says:

    I’b be interested in your overall analysis of the video review in the NRL. In my opinion I think it has been more negative than positive.
    On the negative side –
    1. It kills the game’s momentum. Instead of a fast progressing game, we have constant 5 minute breaks while decisions are made while watching from 8 different angles in super-slo-mo.
    2. It encourages refs to abrogate their responsibility. Rather than make a fairly obvious call they refer it upstairs and we all sit around for 5 minutes when it’s clear from the first replay.
    3. If you make a mistake and don’t score the refs often let it go. If you score it will get examined.
    4. The video should not be used in general play except for foul play. But again this is encouraging players to dive.
    5. It leads to overly picky decisions. For example the other night Sironen knocked the ball on and then dropped it over the line but during the replay the video refs detected a slight accidental offside and so the Tigers got the scrum. Correct to the letter of the law but totally against the flow and spirit (Tigers make 2 mistakes but still get the pill.)
    6. By slowing the momentum it allows TV commentators to bang on, over and over, about any perceived error and so creates mountains out of mole hills.
    7. It hasn’t done what it was supposed to – remove controversy.

    So, get rid of the video and go back to one dominant ref with a pocket ref and two touchies to help him out.

  3. Mascot Maven says:

    Yeah silly comment. Norman has been quite good and Luke Kelly is the very definition of average.

  4. Paul says:

    Time to re-enter the closet containing the skeletons of Phil Rothfield.

    Remember the time he had Michael Searle as the best administrator in the game, and Gallops successor? This was around the time he had Stephen Kearney as the second best coach in the game, before he had even coached 1 NRL game. Good times. Rothfields revisionist history won’t recall it.

    And onto his boy Todd. Why wasn’t the video Bryce Gibbs shot on his phone of Carney drunk at a team meeting in 2012 published? Was it because Rothfield called in the favours to suppress it while the Sharks were in the 8? Half of Sydney saw the video. If Rothfield is so close to the club (he is club sycophant #1 and did break the news of Carneys sacking hours before it was official), then why was he apparently unaware of Carneys other indiscretions this year until yesterday? None of us believe this, so why did he not report them? Is 2 points to the Sharks more important to him then Carneys welfare?

  5. Davey G says:

    Just throwing it out there – that photo doesn’t get taken and then forwarded, Todd remains the hero from the other night and the Sharks look to build from it. Carney also still has a million-dollar contract. Does the guy who forwarded the photo have anything to answer for? Can Todd Carney sue him for loss of income? Sure, he is the goose who did what he did in the first place, but there may or may not be scores of executives in the world whose private life is a direct contradiction to their day job image and company represented, but while it’s a secret, it (technically) doesn’t exist. Wouldn’t a court case against the forwarder be interesting, and certainly open a can of worms to anyone forwarding a photo on social media going forward?

    You are spot on about the Newtown Jets – the word is they were “very upset” when the Roosters let Mortimer go, and then Moga, so the appease those that need appeasing, the Roosters signed Dureau and Stapleton solely for the Jets usage.

    I haven’t seen Corey Norman on any “worst buys of 2014” lists, but as an Eels fan I find his general play at 5/8 to be nothing short of diabolical. His passing is rarely on the mark, kicking is not close to target, and tackles about as well as his mate Sandow. While he didn’t bomb those tries on the weekend that the Eels threw away, I don’t believe he knows what his role truly should be at Parramatta. Luke Kelly didn’t do much wrong, and while he may not be at world-beating level, I honestly believe he knows his job and would assist with consistency if given a shot at 6. He may even be able to convince the rest of the team to not take a hit-up on the last tackle.

    • King Cowboy says:

      Davey are you drunk when you are watching eels games? I think Norman has been outstanding. I have no idea why the donkeys let him go and I am by no means an expert but I beleive the donkeys would be a top four side with him there this year ( like Hoffman but I see him more as a fullback/centre)

      • Davey G says:

        Guys – all opinions are valid, no dramas. I’m not drunk, and haven’t been for over a year unfortunately.

        All I ask is that in the next Parra game just really watch Corey Norman play. Watch the balls he throws and where they hit the players (ie everywhere but chest). Watch the passes he should be passing but doesn’t and gets tackled with 3 unmarked outside him. Watch where his kicks are from and then land, and then think of where the other 6’s in the comp would have put the kick. He is certainly capable of some good things, but as a Parra fan and studying how they play, I see 85% of the time wrong decisions and poorly executed options. There is more pressure on him now with Peats out, and also that they don’t just throw it to Jarryd every tackle and hope for the best like the past 3 years as the halves are taking some responsibility.

        Maybe I mentioned Luke Kelly because I don’t have as high expectations for him, and am more easily pleased.

        • WittyReference says:

          Your break down of his play was exactly why I didn’t care that he was leaving the Broncos.

  6. Les Hegedus says:

    I think Todd Carney has been harshly treated and unfairly punished by his sudden sacking from a $650,000 per year contract with the Cronulla Football Club because someone posted a photo of Todd drinking his own urine in a toilet in a bar toilet. Todd obviously didn’t take the photo because his hands were otherwise occupied at the time. What proof was there that Todd was responsible for posting the photo on social media? Most people would think that what Todd did was disgusting but it was not against the law and it did not hurt anybody else. Drinking urine has been common practice in Egyptian, Indian and Chinese cultures. Some current yoga practitioners and herbal medicine advisers advocate the health benefits of drinking urine.

    Various football clubs and peak sporting bodies have not taken punitive action when their players have been accused of serious offences such as physical and sexual assault. Churches and other prominent groups in society have turned a blind eye to, and covered up, serious sexual offences against children and others for many years.

    It’s time the managers and administrators football clubs and other sporting bodies gave up the farcical pretence that sports men and women are supposed to be ‘role models’ for general behaviour by the rest of our society. They are not role models – they are often young people who engage in what the rest of us may regard as inappropriate behaviour. If they break the law then the alleged offenders should be brought before the courts and be subject to the same legal processes, and penalties, as the rest of our society. They do not deserve additional, often excessive punishment, by their club or sporting code.