From The Couch: Round 19

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on July 20, 2015

Chris Sandow Is An Embarrassment to Rugby League: In all my years watching top grade Rugby League, never once have I heard a coach intimate one of his players wasn’t trying and had faked an injury, nor have I heard of players brushing a teammate over same. Yet that is exactly what happened in the aftermath of the Eels’ embarrassing loss to the Bulldogs on Friday night were Sandow appeared to give no effort and then put on an injury, all in an effort to win a release. Sandow then posted a foul-mouthed and seemingly racially motivated rant against Eels coach Brad Arthur on Facebook.

The two-time Willie M Medal winner is just no good. He has no interest in doing what is best for the team and the Eels deserved what they got for going chips in on him. It has ended in disaster, just as any reasonably intelligent football watcher with two eyes could have predicted.

Sandow has achieved nothing in the game. Nothing. Not a single one of his teams has ever played finals football in his eight seasons of top grade. He has missed more tackles than any other player during the last eight years. He has made more bone-headed, selfish plays. He has infuriated more coaches and teammates and fans with his general lack of Rugby League intelligence. He has embarrassed the code on more than one occasion.

When Peter Sterling is drawn to call for your sacking, you have made some terrible decisions.

Chris Sandow has played his last game in the NRL and he sure as hell won’t be missed.

Another Refereeing Disgrace: Tony Archer has little option but to sack his entire cadre of video referees and start again or step down himself. Simply stating that Shayne Hayne made the wrong call to disallow an Andrew Fifita try and then compounded it by making a wrong call in awarding a penalty but not a penalty try just isn’t good enough. On Saturday afternoon there was a clear breakdown of both process and Rugby League knowledge when not only was the Fifita try disallowed but was overturned without any clear evidence. It is a call that could have cost a team a finals berth, cost a coach a job, cost a punter a bet and cost the game its integrity. Tony Archer seems happy to accept that 97% of video refereeing decisions is acceptable. It is not. These morons have video evidence. Anything below a 99.9% accuracy rate is appalling. No stakeholder in the game has any faith in the video referees and anything short of a clean out among the ranks is not good enough. The bunker will lead to more consistency but it won’t help the jokers make any more correct decisions. I will happily put my name forward to run the show and will only accept those who understand the game. It is clear that former referees don’t make good video referees so they need not apply … not even you Mogsheen Jadwat.

Jack Wighton Is Not A Five-Eighth: With Mitch Cornish and Josh McCrone in the NSW Cup, surely Ricky Stuart doesn’t need to persist with his ridiculous notion that Jack Wighton is in any way a five-eighth.

2015 Field Goal Count – 31: Valentine Holmes has endeared himself further to the Sharks faithful who see him as the next coming of David Peachey after he landed his second match-winning field goal of the year. Wingers who kick field goals are always fun.

Fun Fact #1: Only one field goal was kicked by a winger in 2014 (Pat Richards). This season there has been three – two from Holmes and one from Richards.

Fun Fact #2: Rugby League’s greatest all-time pointscorer Hazem El Masri is the only player in the top 12 scorers who never kicked a field goal.

Fun Fact #3: Mark Carroll and Nathan Cayless both have more career field goals than Jamie Lyon.

Rumour Mill: Chris Sandow has played his last game for Parramatta and will join Warrington over the next week. Sandow will not get any money from the Eels with his management likely to advise it is better for Sandow to forget about the money and move on. The Storm are reportedly baulking at the asking price Craig Bellamy is demanding to continue coaching. Bellamy is asking for in excess of $1.4M a season and Storm powerbrokers are seriously considering moving on from their star coach though, when push comes to shove, surely they will pay the man. Ben Te’o is firmly on the radar of the North Queensland Cowboys as he considers a switch back to the NRL. Tony Williams has been linked with a shift to the Wests Tigers.

What I Love About … Heritage Round: Heritage Round is my favourite round of the year. Going to a game over Heritage Round is a pretty special experience, be it seeing a match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, having the Broncos old boys on hand or celebrating the 1975 Roosters Grand Final team in a pre-game parade. There is the old jerseys, the old replays, the old faces. The NRL – and most clubs – do a terrible job at remembering their past. At least in this round some of the great players and games and moments of days gone by are remembered and honoured appropriately.

Betting Market of the Week: This week Chris Sandow and Brad Arthur will:

$2.50: Not speak at all
$2.10: Speak only in obscenities
$6.00: Speak only on obscenities on Facebook
$4.50: Speak only through an intermediary like Chris Sandow’s car dealer or life coach

Manly Collapse Update: The Sea Eagles have added Mat Ballin to the list of players they are looking to offload, a rollcall that includes Feleti Mateo, Josh Starling and Justin Horo. Ballin is a favourite at Brookvale and they will – and should – burn down the Bob Fulton stand if he is forced out of the club, particularly if he just signed a new deal in 2015.

The Coaching Crosshairs: The knives have certainly come out for Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor following another embarrassing loss. The Tigers have won just one of their last nine and have conceded 30-plus now seven times under the stewardship of Taylor. Players clearly have little interest in putting in for him while fans are getting somewhat frustrated at a Tigers style that isn’t working with the personnel they have and the long list of excuses coming from Taylor, the latest of which is the salary cap situation that he seems to hope will buy him three seasons. He is in no immediate danger of losing his job but is hardly guaranteed a job beyond 2015 if the current run of form continues.

Referee Power Rankings: There are actually no good referees in the NRL right now. Only ordinary referees low on confidence at best and hopeless narcs and downright cheats at worst.

  1. Jared Maxwell (2)
  2. Gerard Sutton (3)
  3. Ben Cummins (4)
  4. Matt Cecchin (5)
  5. Adam Devcich (n/a)
  6. Gavin Badger (8)
  7. Ashley Klein (7)
  8. Henry Perenara (n/a)

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 19: Sydney Roosters-New Zealand, 24-0. The Roosters comprehensively defeated the Warriors ensuring the Sunday afternoon clash lacked any real drama but the match saw some incredible end-to-end play and was played at a sizzling pace. The intensity of the Roosters defence is something to behold. They have one of the most brilliant fullbacks in the game. And they are happy to throw the ball about. A very good game.

Ricky Stuart Stat of the Week: Ricky Stuart maintained his perfect record of feeling aggrieved in defeat even when it was the opposition who was totally screwed.

Beard Watch: Broncos backrower Alex Glenn has long been mockingly derided for his love of fashion but there is no mocking his very odd beard choice that is anything but fashionable. He has gone with some kind of disconnected moustache/goatee combo that has him looking like a cartoon version of Marco Polo. Hopefully he sticks fat with it.

Correspondence Corner: Red Raider, Gavin Badger does not deserve a beard!

Mike Butterfield, the excuses coming out from the Tigers about Austin and the referees about their laughable decision making are about as equally transparent as they are delusional.

Cam and Knight Vision, Mitchell Moses is a very short priced favourite for the Willie M this year.

Andrew Quinn, point made.

Watch It: Parramatta fans will hate this but here is Chris Sandow’s first interview after joining Parramatta, where he is moved to tears and virtually dedicates his move to the Eels to his mother. He talks of the need to improve his consistency, his desire to play for Queensland and how you need to “do your best”. He certainly didn’t on Friday – at least according to his coach and his teammate. Watch the interview here.


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Comments (13)

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  1. WittyReference says:

    According to Ray fucking Hadley, any player on the field that goes to dummy half is an “acting half” no matter whether they started the game as hooker or not. Fuck I hate that cunt.

    I’m sick of hearing the refs coach players on the field. If he’s offside, penalise him, if they wont pack the scrum, penalise them. You know how you stop players doing the wrong thing? Penalise them. It’s amazing how quick they catch on. See cannonball tackle.

    Can touch judges still rule on forward passes? If so why are so many gotten away with? Do the touchies not stand in line with the play or instructed to look elsewhere?

    • Davey G says:

      100% – my pet hate for years is a tackler lies on a player and looks at the ref waiting to be told to move. Ref should count “1-2-3” and blow the whistle. The players will learn to move soon enough instead of being told every 5 seconds.

  2. Andrew Quinn says:

    So much attention on whether it was a try or a penalty but it looked to me that Fifita was offside and they should have had another look. Also, earlier in the set, Gordon dropped the ball in a tackle, which was only noticed by opposition players. Gordon got up sheepishly.

    Luke Brooks reminds me of Braith Anasta when he was coming through. He will head down the same path and never reach his potential.

  3. mav63 says:

    With the new changEs announced today I applaud the reduced interchange and shot clock but why no shot clock on kicks at goal? Some blokes take 5 min to kick when in front and 5 sec when behind. I thought this would have been an obvious target for a shot clock. What gives?

  4. gerry says:

    Jared Maxwell number one seriously!! Heres a fun fact,, the bulldogs have not won a jared Maxwell referred game all year and not since July 2014.

    To say the refs are not biased is a joke

  5. Mike Butterfield says:

    One week later & the Refs Take out a motza not only in the NRL but in the Ch9 Intrustsuper Super game on Sunday, 1 player head butts gets 10 in the bin, when he comes back on he then puts in his 3rd shoulder charge of the day & lays out the East Tigers player, no send off just put on report, another player punches a Tigers player twice & doesn’t even get spoken to, the video ref okays a try when the kickers own player is less than a meter in front of the kicker, the ball rebounds off the tigers player standing next to the kickers own player runs through & scores.

  6. magpiemick says:

    Heritage round? Someone forgot to tell the Broncos who promoted it as Superhero Sunday.

  7. McFlavour says:

    The players are the problem at the Wests Tigers. Virtually to a man, they are a bunch of show ponies.

    Aaron Woods is the worst. The guy is an absolute pillow. Always 3rd flopper into tackles, then relies on the actual tacklers to scurry back the 10 whilst he loafs at marker and compounds it dawdling out of there and not covering the inside. A marshmallow of the softest order.

    With that in mind, I simply could not believe the Tigers would be considering signing that pussycat Tony Williams. Are they trying to run a rugby league club or a mattress factory?

    If Taylor’s project is a long-term one, to get the team playing grittier, more structured footy, then he’d lose me at signing Williams.

    If the Tigers have cap worries, they should be looking to jettison Woods and his over-inflate price tag. They could buy a couple of guys whose games don’t have the consistency of butter and still have change. And the only time Woods would be missed would be at training when they can’t use him and his spineless and spongey self in place of the tackling bags.

  8. Davey G says:

    No points for guessing what super coach had one of the best fullbacks of the past 10 years playing at 5/8 as well – Ricky Stuart has again proved to be a one-horse trick. To be fair, when he first started coaching he brought in a new style of defence that won Roosters a premiership, however since then he has not been able to bring anything new to the table except these strange ideas of playing people out of position. Wighton is a pretty ordinary fullback I reckon, but as 5/8 looked lost no doubt.

    I have a referee’s jersey (the pink one from last year). I have worn it to games to show support for the men who have a pretty tough job (even to an Origin at Suncorp), but there is no way in Hades I will stick up for them this year after the continuing debacle and now the events of last round that are showing them to be not up to standard. They are the Pomeroys of the league at present, and nothing is fixed with excuses or admissions of errors. JUST GET IT RIGHT.

    • Davey G says:

      The scorelines this last weekend showed the difference in standards between clubs. It’s easy to say the salary cap isn’t working, but without evidence it’s impossible to say.
      The salary cap would work if it wasn’t up to individuals to negotiate and the clubs to make offers, because some clubs pay under what a player is worth and some have to pay over. The salary cap is geared for the best players to earn the highest wage, and the next tier to earn the next highest, to spread it out so any 1 club could not have too many of these top guns on their books, but these days Roosters, Storm, Broncos etc have people who will accept less to play there, which throws the salary cap out of whack as it now cannot be used as it is supposed to. Parra and Raiders have to pay a lot more to entice players who are not in the same league as your top tier, so their salary cap is full yet you don’t see the same quality players on the paddock as they have to pay (for example) what a James Maloney is worth to get a Sandow.
      When player salaries are determined by their status (rep, NRL experience etc), then the salary cap would work, but then it couldn’t work as it is restricting what someone could earn, so the salary cap therefore does not work.

  9. Packy says:

    Taylor needs to learn to work with what he has rather then try and change players. As good as Austin is going in Canberra, he’s be no where near as effective in this Taylor Tigers. Look to Des in 2012, Robinson currently or even Ricky Stuart for examples of using the rosters strengths opposed to a cookie cutter play style.

  10. Cam says:

    I dispassionately watched the Tigers v Brisbane game. Two observations: 1) luke brooks is the Craig field of the modern era- a niggle merchant, ignores his backline, goes himself, turns it back inside, rarely 1st man into a tackle. 2) Mitchell Moses is being ruined by being in 1st grade too early, he may win the willy m, but has more talent than his halves partner.

  11. Zig says:

    Hope you watched the ‘pharaoh of fumbles’ Ben Pomeroy get a going over on the Matty Johns Show. Please say it is true, T-Rex getting shopped around to other clubs. I and any Bulldog fan will start a fund to help him leave, heck I will even personally chauffeur him, pack his boxes, (no need to wash his jerseys though) and make sure he has a packed lunch to see this happen. Keep up the rage against the refs as well, hell have no fury like a punter scorned.