From The Couch: Round 17

Filed in NRL by on July 4, 2016


Blues Blow It Again: Laurie Daley has named the best NSW side for the series but has again undercut Blues hopes by some ridiculous and gutless decisions that will do nothing for the state now or in the future.

There was some good. James Tedesco is the best player the Blues have available and mercifully he was picked ahead of Matt Moylan after another spectacular performance for the Tigers on Saturday night. Wade Graham is a good inclusion for Greg Bird, who is just not going good enough to get a spot. Dylan Walker was rightly dumped.

Unfortunately Daley’s misguided notion of loyalty has seen him gift undeserving farewell matches to Paul Gallen and Robbie Farah. James Tamou and Blake Ferguson somehow retained their positions. Bryce Cartwright was again somehow overlooked. Jack Bird will start from the bench. And worst of all, Josh Dugan will play in the centres despite being a fullback who cannot pass.

It is clear Laurie Daley just doesn’t have the cahunas to make the tough calls necessary.

Where is Todd Greenberg? It is hard to believe Todd Greenberg is indeed running Rugby League in Australia and arguably the world as his public appearances have been about as common as Howard Hughes’ or JD Salinger’s. Greenberg has been the invisible man since riding into power on the back of the so-called success of The Bunker. The game needs leadership now and Greenberg is providing none of it. He needs to step up and provide both direction and a face for the game, not merely accept operational control. His first six months in power have been dreadfully disappointing, even by the low expectations he entered the post with.

Semi Should Go: Semi Radradra has very quickly gone from hero to villain, becoming one of the most reviled players in the game as Hulk Hogan did when he was revealed as the third member of the NWO. Radradra has gone from tryscoring hero to someone accused of being a perpetrator of domestic violence who is also willing to sell out his club and his code for a few bucks. The game doesn’t need Radradra and if he wants to go he should and should go with a lifetime ban from the game in his back pocket. His kind – those who hit women and those who want to play union – should never be accepted by Rugby League.

2016 Field Goal Update – 24: What a wonderful weekend for field goals with Shaun Johnson slotting a completely meaningless field goal to put the Warriors up by nine against the Titans before two field goals in a minute finished regulation of the Raiders-Knights clash. To top it off, it was a missed field goal that led to the Raiders winning try. What a wonderful weekend for the drop goal.

Fun Fact #1: Malcolm Turnbull blew a near unlosable election in the same year he declared AFL “Australia’s most exciting code”. He could lose government after unexpectedly losing seats in western Sydney and Queensland.

Fun Fact #2: NSW will go into Origin III with five backs who don significant facial hair.

Fun Fact #3: Jeff Robson has been re-signed by Parramatta.

Rumour Mill: Match-fixing allegations levied against players from Manly are about to crank up a notch with two players recently asked to appear before the Crime Commission to give evidence. It appears Parramatta are trying to force out Kieran Foran in what has surely been one of the most erratic times at a club by any player ever. The Eels are confident they will get Jarryd Hayne in 2017 if they can find salary cap room. Mitch Rein is unlikely to be at the Dragons next year in what is a mini-clean out with Benji Marshall to also be moved on. Trent Hodkinson, Jackson Hastings and James Segeyaro are all expected to be in the mix for the Saints next season. One Sydney club has shown some interest in Wigan coach Shaun Wane. Expect Ryan Matterson to be at the Storm in 2017.

Betting Market of the Week: In 2017, Laurie Daley will name Bryce Cartwright:

$15.00: In the starting 17 for New South Wales
$1.50: As a development for a record fourth time
$2.50: Development Officer for the NSWRL

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The Barrett and Bozo Show: New South Wales Rugby League fans everywhere rejoiced when word came out through Bozo’s usual mouthpiece Phil Rothfield revealed Fulton would be stepping down as a Blues selector and “advisor” next season. Apparently 10 losses in 11 years was the tipping point for him. And so closes an era of ridiculous selections, bordering on the highly suspect like Dylan Walker and Jamie Buhrer to the highly stupid like a focus on big wingers and the persistence with Mitchell Pearce. Fulton will not be lost to Rugby League though with Manly’s inept showing this year apparently convincing the Penns that the former coach deserves a more hands-on role. They have appointed him Head of Football. The Sea Eagles are not going to get out of the much and the mire while he is running the show.

What I Like About … Trent Robinson: Aside from his love of the French game, it is refreshing to have a coach unafraid to say what needs to be said. For the second time this year Robinson has blasted The Bunker for its terrible inconsistency and its ridiculous decisions. He is right: it is an awful waste of money that has not improved the game in the slightest. Robinson doesn’t use the officiating as an excuse for a defeat but wants to improve the way the game is played and officiated. Hopefully he can force change.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 17: Cronulla – Parramatta, 34-24. Ordinary weekend of footy sadly for lovers of the greatest game of all. There were plenty of great tries in front of a packed crowd in this one. Bevan French is going to be some kind of player while the Sharks are a team riding plenty of self-belief.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Trent Barrett is very much in the firing line at Manly despite being at the club less than a year. Manly folk don’t treat outsiders with any great love and Barrett has endured a brutal campaign with a fractured team that doesn’t look to be going anywhere anytime soon. The Sea Eagles have already reportedly reached out to former coach Des Hasler, hardly a ringing endorsement for the Manly boss.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Wayne Bennett rarely features in this section but gets the nod for his use of Kodi Nikorima on the wing against the tall and athletic Suliasi Vunivalu. Bennett had plenty of options at fullback – James Roberts or Anthony Milford –if Darius Boyd was required on the wing. Leaving the hapless Nikorima out there cost the Broncos dearly.

Beard Watch: James Tedesco has a beard that is made for Origin football and deserves every bit of luck his Origin call-up will bring. Hopefully he sticks fat with the facial hair for many years to come.

Correspondence Corner: Lukeamac, thanks very much.

Mike Butterfield, from Tony Archer down, the officials have no idea.

The Truth Teller, I completely agree in regards Daley.

Watch It: Stuart Fielden and Keith Mason are two of the great grubs of English Rugby League and seeing them brawl here brings back some fond memories of brawls gone past. Watch this stoush from 2015 here.


Comments (3)

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  1. Dan says:

    Trent Robinson doesn’t blame losses on the refs/bunker? Give me a spell Nick

  2. Tommo says:

    Re Semi – agree with Mark. Recently we saw roosters – Kenny Dowell accused of assault and all charges dismissed and then also Hazem el mazri was also accussed and all charges dropped. These guys were basically condemned before a fair trial. Think Semi deserves benefit of doubt til trial.
    If he walks from eels – agree life ban be good. It should have been case for SBW.
    Why James Tamou for Origin III after zero impact in both games!. Daley must ve had alot of head knocks along the way but if it could have got worse if he d come out with ….”Im bringing Pearce back”.

  3. mark says:

    I normally enjoy reading your articles and often they make me smile. However this week you hit a low point. Radradra may deserve some of the criticism aimed his way no doubt, however your comment ” His kind – those who hit women and those who want to play union ….” is very wrong. The last time I checked Australia a country where you are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. I sincerely hope that you are not one day accused of something you have not done and that public opinion will be mature enough to hold opinion until such time that you have been afforded a fair hearing. Public commentators often have much power in influencing public opinion , I just hope in this case your comment is disregarded and seen as the immature and ridiculous statement that it is. you need to pull your head in fella!