From The Couch: Round 18

Filed in Uncategorized by on July 11, 2017

Pressure to Break Blues: There is absolutely no doubt at all that NSW have been the dominant team of this series. They brutalised Queensland for three straight halves with direct running, fast play and working over defensive weaklinks. New South Wales executed the blueprint to beat Queensland and had the series all but one were it not for Jarryd Hayne being a self-important wannabe hero and Mitchell Pearce leading the collapse under pressure. It was that collapse that will weigh heavily on the Blues for the decider. Everyone knows it and no matter which way you chop it, Pearce has never done anything for the Blues under pressure and his teammates have surely lost faith in him and/or the coaching staff after they completely abandoned winning tactics in the face of the first bit of pressure Queensland managed to apply. On home turf, on a last stand, the pressure will be on the Blues. This is not the same old team that got hammered in Game 1. This is a better and younger Maroons outfit trying to carry on a legacy. Betting is wrong here. Queensland deserve to be favourites even though this game is probably in New South Wales’ hands. The Blues will probably make a mess of it though. There is no reason to think they won’t.

NRL Embarrass Themselves Again with Scheduling: It is little wonder that other sports laugh at the way the NRL is administered. The latest scheduling fiasco is the cancellation of the 2018 Nines. Four years after the event was a two-day sellout at Eden Park in Auckland, virtually killing off the long-standing Wellington Rugby Sevens, the NRL has fucked it to the point there will be no event next year. It is a brilliant start to the season  yet will almost certainly never be back to its full glory and may not be back at all thanks to the disrespect the NRL has shown it. How hard is it for the NRL to actually take control of its own assets and come up with something resembling a coherent schedule. Nobody would care if the season was two weeks shorter and the Nines were kept with the big names on show. It is sickening how idiotic these decisions are.

Players Don’t Deserve More Cash: Andrew Webster and Paul Kent were spot on in their assessment that players don’t deserve more of a share in the game’s revenues and definitely don’t deserve a say in how the game is run because the players do very little to sell the game. They don’t speak to the media, they never speak honestly and they rarely go out of their way of their own volition to promote the game widely. The NRL shouldn’t be held to ransom by the ideas of some former AFL stooge.

Lamb to the Slaughter: Trent Hodkinson’s decision to forego the final kick at goal to level the scores after the fulltime siren on Sunday was gutless. There is no other word for it. He is a goalkicker who has kicked in Grand Finals and Origins yet handed the ball to a rookie with fewer than 30 NRL shots at goal. It was an astonishing moment.

2017 Field Goal Update – 20: Nothing doing in the shortened round.

Fun Fact #1: Manu Vatuvei scored 10-plus tries for an incredible 10 straight seasons.

Fun Fact #2: Manu Vatuvei was the Warriors’ top tryscorer for eight straight seasons.

Fun Fact #3: Manu Vatuvei scored at least one try in his last three Tests for New Zealand.

Betting Market of the Week: Chances that any Daily Telegraph “journalist” other than Paul Kent picks Queensland to win the decider:

$1001: Yes
No Betting: No

Rumour Mill: Speculation is running wild that Cooper Cronk is set to join premiers Cronulla with James Maloney to depart Newcastle on a big-money contract. Wayne Bennett has been angling behind-the-scenes to coach Queensland in 2018. Newcastle are set to lose Danny Levi and Joe Wardle to Super League clubs. Canberra are looking to offload Aidan Sezer and are looking at Canterbury to re-sign their former lower grader. The Titans are hopeful of luring Trent Barrett to the club and Barrett may well walk just to have Bob Fulton out of his life.

Robbie Farah Anger Level – High: Robbie is furious he did not get a late call-up to not only play for the Blues but captain them.

What I Like About … Boyd Cordner: Captains rarely lead by example much these days. It is nearly always talk, talk, talk. Not Cordner. He is one tough, honest, hard SOB. He is the right man to lead NSW for a long time. The Blues could not ask for a man more ready to lead them. His toughness in being available for the decider is inspirational.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 18: Sydney Roosters – South Sydney, 14 – 12. A courageous win by a very good Roosters team.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Des Hasler is surely gone at Canterbury after the most unimpressive win by any team this year. The Bulldogs needed a miracle to defeat last-placed Newcastle at Belmore as the club said goodbye to favourite son Josh Reynolds. The Bulldogs are a club that has become a steaming mess. And there is nobody to blame but Hasler. The whispers are out that Hasler will be let go at the end of the year.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: In a shortened round where the NRL had just four matches, referees boss Tony Archer made an obscene decision appointing Henry Perenara as one of the lead officials. His refereeing is laughable. He has absolutely no idea, shown by his 14-4 penalty count against Manly. He is not in the top 153 referees in this country, let alone the top four minus the Origin officials.

Beard Watch: The NRL this week said goodbye to one of the great beards and facial hair exponents of the last decade in Manu Vatuvei. Manu was an enigma in every way including his ridiculous haircuts and beards. He will be missed.

Correspondence Corner: Scotty2Hotty, better speak to the great Kris Gale about that.

Davey_G, I don’t think Cameron Smith ever retires. He doesn’t need to.

Watch It: What better way to start Origin decider day off than to watch Martin Bella play the ball backwards. Watch it here.


Comments (6)

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  1. Lewis says:

    Surely if Johns and Fittler come in to coach NSW we will have to suffer through the bumblings of Pearce. I do feel a little sorry for Pearce, he played behind a dominated forward pack, however it goes to show his non-impact on a team when he went off injured in the first game and NSW continued to dominate and score with Bird at 5/8 and Maloney at Half.

    I just don’t think anyone is talking about Aaron Woods, surely he’s played his last game? He is slow and ineffective, he only just hits the advantage line, doesn’t have an offload, and is ineffective in defence. I don’t think it’s a coincidence in each game NSW were stronger when Trobjevic came on and Woods went off.

    Excited for Turbo, Walker, Cleary, Roberts, Latrell. Hopefully Penrith go for a run to the finals so we can pen Cleary in for next year. No to Croker, not to Wighton, no to BJ and not to Austin. I’ll have nothing from a Stuart Team still thank you, a coach who breeds immaturity.

  2. Mark says:

    The politics of the NSW RL must be rank. How on earth is Pearce chosen every year. Good club footy player playing behind a pack of winners but under he pump in rep footy he is nothing short of abysmal. Choose Pearce again next year and we will lose again. Nathan Cleary should commence his 12 year SOO career next year.

    I’d have Matty Johns coach the Blues next year ( sharpest mind in the game ) with Joey as an assistant coach- cant be any worse than Daley who clearly isnt up to the task of motivating the troops.

  3. Davey_G says:

    I would be interested to see hear what a NSW team picked partly on form would do. Would never happen of course, that’s not how we do things, but could imagine a team of Blues players that could match the enthusiasm of QLD, are picked (pretty much) in their position, and are currently at the top of their game and ready to bring that to the Origin arena?
    * Would Bevan French stopped the 3 tries Holmes scored last night (he was untouched in 2 of them, so it comes down to marking him really)?
    * Would Dylan Walker have passed it to his winger when the Hayne Plane did not?
    * Would Wade Graham’s kicking game / passing game / aggression and line speed be better used starting the game?
    * Should Fifita come off the bench to greater effect (as some NSW greats mentioned during the week – Blocker and Spud)
    * Even Jack Bird looked red hot when he was on – like in a tag team wrestling match when Bee Brian Blair is getting a pounding and just can’t make the tag to his partner (Bee Brian Lara), but when he finally gets over, the partner comes in fired up wreaking havoc – any reason he and Reynolds couldn’t be the halves for the next few years?

    My team would be Teddy / French / Walker / Croker / Tommy Turbo (or even the Cotric) / Bird / Reynolds / Klemmer to start / Peats / Paul Vaughan / Cordner / Frizell / Graham – subs Gutho / Fifita / Jackson / Ryan James.

    Plenty to discuss and whatever (switch Vaughan and James around perhaps) but I am so tired of trying to support a team I reckon will lose each year. Am used to it as an Eels fan, but NSW is supposed to give me some hope, living in Brisbane especially where the locals are anything but gracious winners.

    • Davey G says:

      I am renigging on my team – please put Koroisau at 9 for Peats. Koroisau provides multiple options Peats doesn’t have. Massive ticker on Peats but that doesn’t win you games.

  4. Joey says:

    I totally agree with Thetruthteller in hoping you were wrong about the Blues but have become acquiesced to your writings as this little sentence you wrote in the punters club origin preview made me load up on QLD at the TAb “the pressure is at its maximum and NSW have shown no ability to deal with it.” the tidbits’ of gold info you write has been very profitable it’s like coming across a hidden gem without doing any digging.

    The Blues were rudderless and leaderless last night, basically running around like chooks with no heads and has there ever been a better origin debut than Munster….wow

    Just on Des, didn’t he sign a 2 year extension a few months ago, not sure at what cost to the Bulldogs, but have they got the coin to pay him out of a long term deal?

  5. Thetruthteller says:

    I was holding off making a comment regarding the blues and Pearce in the hope you were wrong. But, you were right and I have finally acquiesced to your writings. The blues are soft, and junior junior just isn’t cut out for this type of game. In saying that, I would have him at my beloved dogs any day of the week as I reckon he is just a very, very good club footballer.

    Don’t start me on Daley, but it’s too late. One could see a mile off, that he was a legend of a footballer who was never going to be cut out for the coaching caper. He was an ordinary commentator who couldn’t articulate his knowledge, let alone lead a team to victory. It is often said that at this level the players don’t need a coach, but a motivator. If that is the case then I suggest Tony Robbins coaches them next year, or failing that a hard headed ex NSW player in Hasler, which would solve yours and my other problem.