Gus Was Right: Phil Gould was bang on the money post-Origin II when he lambasted a selfish culture within the Blues camp. He didn’t name names but anyone who knows anyone about league knows he was talking about the skipper, his vice and a number of other senior players. Where he did not go was to extend his criticism to a weak coaching staff and an out-of-touch selector who treats the Blues as nothing more than a vehicle to prop up his own club and own interests. The whole setup is as rotten as the NSW Police Force when Roger Rogerson was running rampant as one of the good guys.
Laurie Daley really should have no choice for Origin III. He should ring in the changes and to hell with his deluded idea of loyalty and nostalgia. Gone are the old timers who won’t be there next year. Paul Gallen does not deserve a farewell game and if he doesn’t then neither does anyone else. The deadwood also needs to be cleaned out while the ridiculous selection decisions of the first two games need to be correct. Half the team needs to be cut and that is being fair.
And if James Tedesco, the best available player NSW have on offer full-stop, is ignored again then Daley needs to be stood down before the third game.
Tony Archer Has No Idea: “There has been no change to any interpretation of how officials rule on potential penalty try situations”. That is the claim of Tony Archer despite two near-identical penalty try situations resulting in very different rulings two weeks out. He is not capable of running the game’s refereeing.
Remember When Justin O’Neill Was Fast: These days he can make no impression on the plodding James Maloney or Daly Cherry-Evans, who is just back from an ankle injury.
Brutal Beats for Punters: Line punters either found a four-leaf shamrock or were given an almighty kick to the nether-regions on the weekend with three lines determined in the last minute. Sam Burgess’ late double killed all Penrith punters on -7.5, a ridiculous late penalty cost those who took the Knights +10.5 and it was the same in the Melbourne game with some bookies offer the Storm -8.5 and others offering -9.5.
Vale, Greg Pierce: It was terribly sad to read of the passing of Cronulla hard man Greg Pierce. He played 210 games for the Sharks, toured with the ’73 Kangaroos and coached Cronulla for two seasons.
Long Sleeve Jerseys Are Great: They really do a great job at highlighting what a terrible, terrible, terrible player Cheyse Blair is, even under the tutelage of Craig Bellamy.
2016 Field Goal Update – 21: James Maloney slotted an incredible match-winner for the Sharks against the Warriors, showing he is one of the top one-point exponents in the game, before Cooper Cronk sealed another Storm win with a deft drop goal in the waning minutes of the clash with the Tigers.
Fun Fact #1: Brett Stewart has not run for more than 82 metres all season and is averaging just 47 metres a match.
Fun Fact #2: Jarrod Croker and Jordan Rapana lead the NRL in minutes played this year with 1215.
Fun Fact #3: Yileen Buddy Gordon is now playing off the bench for Wentworthville in NSW Cup.
Rumour Mill: Semi Radradra may not be the only player to defect to union with Bulldogs star Curtis Rona tipped to be joining some team called the Western Force. The Bulldogs should get Damien Cook back before the June 30 deadline. Greg Inglis is tipped to be at the Broncos next year after Corey Parker’s retirement freed up cash for a marquee purchase. Melbourne have identified Ryan Matterson as a player they want at the club. Zak Hardaker’s move to Penrith is set to result in Matt Moylan moving to five-eighth.
Betting Markets of the Week:
Who would win a race over 100m between James Tedesco and Matt Moylan?
Who would win an arm wrestling contest between James Tedesco and Matt Moylan?
Who will score and set up more tries each year the two players play first grade?
Who will get picked by Laurie Daley and Bob Fulton at fullback for Origin III?
Punters Guide Tipping Service: If you are interested in signing up to the Punters Guide tipping service, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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The Barrett and Bozo Show: Don’t be shocked to see Bob Fulton distance himself from Laurie Daley as he attempts to keep his job as “advisor” to the Blues coach. Fulton has been the one constant for the Blues in this horrific era. He also has had no involvement in the game since 1999. If the NSWRL appoint him again in 2017 there should be an uprising from every Blues fan demanding a Royal Commission.
What I Like About … Shaun Fensom: Shaun Fensom is a fabulous player. He sets the standard for defensive workload. He has an underrated attacking game. He works his guts out. And he is constantly snubbed by rep selectors. Now he has been dumped by Ricky Stuart. Fensom needs to find a new club, one where his game is respected. I certainly hope the Bulldogs are looking at signing him. More realistically though both the Titans and Knights should look to ink his signature.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 16: Cronulla – New Zealand, 19-18. The Sharks were there to be beat but thanks to some coaching ineptitude and the courage of the Sharks, Cronulla extended their winning streak to 11. A special mention goes to match-winner James Maloney. His numbers don’t always look great but the guy is a footballer who always looks to play with the ball.
The Coaching Crosshairs: The Wests Tigers will axe Jason Taylor at the end of the season to bring an end to his longstanding feud with Robbie Farah. Taylor has not impressed with a host of coaching decisions in recent times, notably starting Elijah Taylor at hooker against both the Roosters and the Storm when the club is flush with genuine rakes. The decision of Curtis Sironen to re-sign is another indicator that Taylor won’t be at the joint in 2017.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: It is astonishing that Andrew McFadden woke up on Sunday morning and still had a job after his absolutely, abjectly, without question idiotic decision to drop Tuimoala Lolohea for Jono Wright in what is the equivalent of passing up a night with Rose Byrne at El Bulli drinking Dom Perignon for a night with Todd Byrne sitting in a gutter drinking your own urine. “There’s been things that I’ve been seeing in Tui’s game in the last three weeks that we haven’t liked and Tui’s well aware of that,” McFadden said. He obviously hasn’t ever seen Jono Wright attempt to play Rugby League. I wonder if he saw Wright’s four handling errors or numerous defensive deficiencies on Saturday night. Lolohea is one of the Warriors’ best players. Wright is a really bad impersonator of someone impersonating a bad footballer. Eric Watson should have cut the cord between the team announcement and the start of the Sharks match.
Beard Watch: Nathan Green stuck fat to his belief a big red beard would give him cult hero status and eventually lead to an NRL recall and Trent Barrett finally bit on Monday and gave Green a start in the backrow for the Sea Eagles.
Correspondence Corner: Cam, Manly are battling it out with Souths for the status of second worst team in the NRL.
Watch It: This try needs no introduction. Nathan Ross’s speed, elevation and grace under fire was simply astonishing. Watch it here.