From The Couch: Round 18

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on July 13, 2015

Origin Disgrace: Losing an Origin match 52-6 is embarrassing but the reaction of coach Laurie Daley following the humiliation was downright embarrassing.

New South Wales were thumped from beginning to end. There is no hiding from the fact a much better team annihilated the Blues on every level. They went out to embarrass the Blues and they did that across the park. Queensland’s level of intent was not unprovoked. Mitchell Pearce moronically called Johnathan Thurston too old in Origin II. Thurston responded with a Man of the Match performance and the best sledge ever, repeated in full, because of its accuracy and sweet sting:

“You’re the worst halfback NSW have ever seen at Origin level. If you want to touch the shield, your best chance is to go up and touch the Wally Lewis statue out the front of the stadium.I’ll take the picture, that will be the closest you get to the shield in your lifetime.”

The real humiliation though came after the match when coach Laurie Daley and Paul Gallen sat there in shock saying they didn’t see it coming before Daley later said he had “confidence in the group” and would stay loyal to the team.

Daley should have come out immediately in the aftermath of the embarrassment and declared every position was up for grabs. He should have said there would be a full review. He should have declared that some players involved in such a desecration of the state jersey and colours would never play Origin football again. He should have named names. He should have declared selection policies would be reviewed. He should have said his own position would be reviewed. He should have shown some due consideration for what had just happened.

He didn’t and now the Blues have no hope knowing that next year it will be more of the big, slow wingers and more of Mitchell Pearce and more old backrowers and more unsuitable bench players and more Bob Fulton.

Chips in Queensland 2016, Chips in Queensland 2017 and Chips in Queensland 2018.

Try Of The Century: Who ever would have thought that Nathan Friend and his athleticism would one day feature as the star of the No.1 play of the day on ESPN Sportcenter’s Top 10? Well, it has happened now after Nathan Friend  played the key part in what could well be the try of the century. Friend – who hardly looks like he could jump onto a gutter – climbed above a Storm pack, flipped over and threw a pass between his legs while upside down that led to a shift right and a Tuimaola Lolohea try. It was a remarkable play and just the advertisement Rugby League needs on the world stage.

Appalling: How could Josh Morris possibly have been awarded a try against the Broncos off a pass that was at least three metres forward and possibly more? It was a clear error by the on-field referee yet in a day where the video referee is so pervasive there remains this ridiculous anomaly where they cannot rule on forward passes.

2015 Field Goal Count – 30: Field goals have been hard to come by of late with the last one kicked on June 28 – an eternity for lovers of the drop goal. Johnathan Thurston leads the field goal tally this year with four after tying the count last year.

Fun Fact #1: State Of Origin III was watched by 2.21 million viewers across Australia’s five major cities – a smaller audience than in the first and second games.

Fun Fact #2: Craig Teevan is the most crushed South Queensland Crusher of all-time with 58 appearances for the Crushers.

Fun Fact #3: The famous Maher Cup – the most renowned trophy in country Rugby League – saw 727 matches staged between 1920 and 1971. Cootamundra competed in the most with 230.

Rumour Mill: Manly coach Geoff Toovey will be named the next coach of the Kangaroos. It is no doubt a result of Bob Fulton once again pulling the levers to get what he wants. Cronulla are making a play at signing Wigan centre Dan Sarginson. The talented Warrior is keen to test his hand in the NRL and the Sharks are very keen on finding a talented centre. St George Illawarra are looking at signing Rooster Brendan Elliot. Penrith have reportedly made enquiries about Todd Carney. The NRL’s next television deal will most likely not include Nine with the League less than impressed by the arrogance of the station.

What I Love About … Blake Austin: It is impossible not to love the enthusiasm Austin plays with. He has helped turn a fairly ordinary Canberra side around near single-handedly with his strong running and clever ball play. He is a terrier in support and one of those players who drags the team along by leading by example. If Canberra finish with an unlikely finals appearance it will be on the ability and passion of Austin. He isn’t a player of pedigree but he is one that truly knows how to win.

Betting Market of the Week: In 2016, Laurie Daley and Bob Fulton will:

$101: Totally overhaul the Blues team and eliminate selections based on type
$1.80: Stay loyal to a team that has hardly won a thing
$1.10: Pick Mitchell Pearce and let the rest take care of itself

Manly Collapse Update: Manly have been heavily backed with a number of bookies to make a late-season surge into the Top 8 despite sitting last for most of the season. The Sea Eagles sit in the bottom four but are only a couple of wins outside the Top 8. The betting is surprising though with the next month seeing the Sea Eagles take on three teams in the Top 4 and the defending premiers.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Rick Stone – following 11 losses in the last 12 games – is a better than even money shot of being dumped before next Saturday’s clash with the Gold Coast with only the Knights’ perilous financial position keeping Stone employed. The Knights have been heinous over the last three months and after conceding 30-plus in six of their last eight the rug has run out from under Stone. Nathan Brown seems the obvious candidate to take over next year.

Referee Power Rankings: Gerard Sutton is the latest referee to slip down the rankings for an inept performance in Origin III. He is probably stull the best referee in the game, which says a lot about the standard of officiating in the NRL these days.

  1. Grant Atkins (4)
  2. Jared Maxwell (2)
  3. Gerard Sutton (1)
  4. Ben Cummins (3)
  5. Gavin Morris (5)
  6. Matt Cecchin (6)
  7. Ashley Klein (7)
  8. Gavin Badger (8)

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 18: Canterbury-Brisbane, 8-16. Hardly a classic weekend of football with defence certainly the name of the game but the Bulldogs-Broncos match came in with high expectations and while it didn’t live up to the billing it was a sound enough match. The Broncos seem to be a really good side and are without question back in premiership contention this year.

Ricky Stuart Stat of the Week: Canberra have lost their last five penalty counts.

Beard Watch: Gavin Badger should be held down and have his beard shaved off after his embarrassing display that got the Eels home last Monday. He disgraced facial hair lovers everywhere. Off with his beard!

Correspondence Corner: Mav63, Queenslander indeed.

Davey G, the arrogance of Channel Nine is something else. They won’t be the broadcaster after the next TV deal though.

Watch It: Over the years I have given readers plenty of great viewing in the ‘Watch It’ section of From The Couch. I can assure you that nothing tops the 28 minutes you are about to watch. Buckle up and get set for a great examination of culture, rivalry and Rugby League in Hull in 1980 as ITV follows both Hull and Hull KR fans from East Yorkshire to Wembley for the Challenge Cup Final. Watch it here.



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Comments (5)

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  1. Knight Vision says:

    I agree with Cam ( I wonder if its cam Smith /) The Willy M should be renamed. The Mitchell M. A most worthy renaming in honor of the most inept half to ever wear the NSW jumper.

  2. Andrew Quinn says:

    Austin has a decent pedigree. He did become an Australian Schoolboy rep when Michael Morgan dropped out of the team in 2009 and was the best player for NSWCCC during the championships.

  3. Cam says:

    The Willy M medal may have to be named the Mitchell M

  4. Mike Butterfield says:

    West Tigers let Austin go so Moses could get a free go at 5/8, who’s laughing now. If you want to watch a great game, the ISC game last week between Redcliffe & the PNG Hunters is a beauty & finally what has happened to the Referees & touch judges, I have never seen such bad decision making by these officials.

  5. Red Raider says:

    My God man, you’ve gone mad with power. How can one ever call for the culling of a beard?