Sharp Finally Falls: Another humiliating reign of power has come to an end at Parramatta with Steve Sharp finally releasing his grip on the levers of influence at the Eels. He did so about six months after he should have and hardly went quietly, calling for the NSW Government to appoint an administrator to run the club. Sharp presided over arguably the most shameful period in Parramatta history, an incredible achievement considering their recent embarrassments. The lack of grace with which he departed told the tale of his run at the top where power in and of itself was all that mattered, to hell with what happened to the club. The Eels are in total disarray and that will be the legacy of Steve Sharp at Parramatta.
Queensland Do It Again: NSW may have won the final game of the State of Origin series but it was the Maroons that won the battle … and the war. Queensland missed out on the sweep but once again have lulled the Blues into believing they are actually close to knocking their northern rivals off when they have arguably never been further away. There were some positives for the Blues – that positive is James Tedesco – but as long as Laurie Daley persists with his idiotic selections and his infantile tactics, the Blues have got none against this Maroons team. New South Wales simply cannot win while Daley and his cohorts are running the team.
Burgess Boys Blow: What the hell happened to the Burgess boys? None of them can hold a ball. Sam is the only one that can still run or get through any work. Tom has forgotten how to tackle. This impostor named Joe is arguably the worst winger in the NRL.
So Predictable: The definition of insanity is repeating the same action over and over action and expecting a different outcome. Perhaps Paul McGregor is insane because they run the same attack over and over and over again. Run to far post. Double block. Rubbish grubber. As one astute judge at Kogarah noted, he is like that fool in Mighty Ducks “who always goes glove side”.
Seven Candles: Channel Seven has won the rights to broadcast the 2017 Rugby League World Cup and it is a win for anyone interested in the game. Seven did a brilliant job with the 2013 World Cup and they become the first commercial broadcaster since 1992 to broadcast league on Australian soil that isn’t Channel Nine. Nine have abused the game for far too long.
Sims The Jinx: Tariq Sims has won just two games across two clubs from 11 games this year.
2016 Field Goal Update – 25: Daly Cherry-Evan slotted a delightful left footer in teeming rain to win Manly a match in Perth against the Warriors. It wasn’t the prettiest field goal but gee it was important.
Fun Fact #1: There have been 12 coaches who were a head coach in the NYC before coaching in the NRL including current head coaches Anthony Griffin, Trent Robinson, Trent Barrett, Paul Green, Jason Taylor and Andrew McFadden, former head coach Steve Price and former interim head coaches Jim Dymock, Andrew Dunemann, Steve Georgallis, James Shepherd and Tony Iro.
Fun Fact #2: Of the eight most capped NYC players, just four have played first grade for a total of 32 NRL games.
Fun Fact #3: Of the eight highest NYC pointscorers, just Kyle Feldt (1st) and Jordan Rankin (7th) have NRL contracts.
Fun Fact #4: Of the eight most prolific NYC tryscorers, none are regular first graders while Zac Santo and Brendan Elliot are the only two to play top grade this year.
Rumour Mill: Referees boss Tony Archer is set to be replaced as season’s end with the refereeing ranks on the verge of a revolt over his inconsistent leadership. Plenty of clubs have shown interest in Raiders lock Shaun Fensom with the Rabbitohs the keenest. The Dragons are seemingly keen on any half that hits the market. They have supposedly tabled a massive offer to Corey Norman while Jackson Hastings is set to return to the team he played NYC with. Norman is likely to be levelled with a heavy suspension by the NRL if the Eels don’t hand one down. Greg Bird will most likely return to Newcastle next year, finishing his career with his hometown team.
Betting Market of the Week: Next year, Jamal Idris will be:
$51.00: Playing representative football
$8.00: Playing consistent NRL football
$6.00: Hosting his own children’s television show
$5.00: Returning for another holiday in Vietnam
$2.00: Wasting another year of his talents
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The Barrett and Bozo Show: This is not a joke – Bob Fulton, the man who in all seriousness wished Bill Harrigan had been run over by a cement truck, admonished Andrew Johns for being irresponsible in saying Greg Inglis’ hit on Josh Dugan was not worthy of a penalty. The hypocrisy is astonishing.
What I Like About … Neil Henry: Neil Henry isn’t the sharpest coach in the game. He certainly isn’t the best communicator. But he deserves plenty of credit for taking a Gold Coast team many predicted to finish last and having them in prime position to sneak into the Top 8. The Titans are a no frills team but they play with plenty of heart and they make teams pay who take them too easily. He is getting the best out of limited stock and he has been patient with his recruitment.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 19: Manly – New Zealand, 15-14. Not a brilliant weekend of footy but starting to get back to some sensational club footy. The game in Perth was hampered by rain but Manly’s discipline was outstanding while Jake Trbojevic can tackle like few others. If the Warriors played their best team they would have won but they didn’t and didn’t really deserve to.
The Coaching Crosshairs: Paul McGregor’s position at the Saints beyond this season is very much in question with the Saints playing some terrible football on the back of some tactics that would embarrass a team of under-8s and some enthusiasm that makes the sloth look like an eager beaver. After a drink driving charge and supposedly falling out with his assistants, McGregor will do very well to survive til 2017.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Our old pal Andrew McFadden has done it again, leaving his second best back and one of his best players in Tuimoala Lolohea on the bench until golden point. Meanwhile, Blake Ayshford, Manu Vatuvei and Ken Maumalo played the entire match. It was embarrassing.
Beard Watch: He has played just two NRL games but Bunty Afoa has arguably the best hair/beard combination in the NRL. There is no more voluminous head of hair and his pirate like beard is the perfect complement.
Correspondence Corner: KT, incompetent refereeing is as time honoured as whinging coaches and Parramatta making a goose of the game.
Mike Butterfield, Josh Reynolds would have been a much better choice than Matt Moylan.
Davey G, you are far too wise for the game. You are spot on about a lot, particularly player transfers.
Tony Monero, I would play Tyrone Peachey as an old school proper lock forward.
Watch It: This week we go back to 1978 and the controversial finals series where Manly got “the rub of the green” in match after match to make an unlikely premiership run. Watch the controversy play out here.