From The Couch: Round 20

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on July 25, 2016

A Coach With No Idea: The Tigers may have won against the Dragons but that doesn’t make the decision to drop Robbie Farah any less moronic, particularly when his only alternative was Dene Halatau. To suggest the Tigers have a better attack without Farah is complete and utter nonsense. Farah is a class player, probably the second or third best hooker in the game. If the young halves play better without Farah then it is on them to get more dominant, to demand more of the ball. It is also on the coach to get his team playing with some cohesion and the way he wants them to play.  Farah may be a pain in the ass, he may be temperamental and political, but he at least offers the Tigers something. Taylor does not. Jason Taylor does not deserve to be a first grade coach ever again.Classy Cowboys: It is hard to think of a performance more complete and more dominant than that of the Cowboys against the Bulldogs on Thursday night. It was close to perfection and shows how important balance is in a team, particularly when it comes to the kicking game of a team. The Cowboys were just relentless and all four of their spine managed to find a kick that resulted in a repeat set. So even when Johnathan Thurston went down, not to be seen again, the Cowboys just kept on keeping on. And against teams with obvious weaknesses like the Bulldogs, they can do untold amounts of damage. They deserve title favouritism.

Precedents: The NRL has now equated the pretend molestation of a dog with pleading guilty to possession of drugs. That is the only thing that can be taken from the disgraceful ruling from the NRL that barred Corey Norman for eight weeks, the same sting Mitchell Pearce copped. Norman should have been outed for a year – only eligible to play again in Round 20. And it should have nothing to do with his work in front of the video camera.

Sydney World Cup Sham: What an absolute disgrace that the home of Rugby League in Australia – Sydney – was given just two walkover Tests for the 2017 RLWC while Wollongong and Newcastle missed out completely. Michael Brown and those in charge of negotiations have embarrassed the game and ignored its heartlands. What a shameful, shameful act that has embarrassed and denigrated international football in this country again.

Cut It Up: Chicago White Sox pitcher Chris Sale lost the plot completely on Sunday when he found out his team were designated to wear throwback uniforms, cutting them all to shreds before being sent home. It is a shame we haven’t seen an NRL player do something similar when those ridiculous superhero jumpers are worn or a Wests Tigers veteran whenever any Tigers jersey is put on offer.

Rules: NRL officials clearly have little grasp of the rules. How was Wade Graham allowed to strike for the ball at prop and win a scrum against the head? It only led to a try.

Blow Up The Bunker: Written by The Whitlams, clearly furious with the last straw that was the denial of Ben Barba’s fair try 60 metres up the field:

There was the stage, one red light and a dodgy P.A
You trod the planks way back then
And it’s strange that you’re here again, here again

And I wish I, wish I knew the right words
To make you feel better, walk out of this place
Defeat them in their secret battle
Show them you can be your own man again

Don’t, don’t explain
Lots of little victories take on the pain
It takes so long to earn
You can score four points or you can burn, you can burn

And I wish I, wish I knew the right words
To make you feel better, walk out of this place
Defeat them in their secret battle
Show them you can be your own man again

And I wish I, wish I knew the right words
To blow up The Bunker and drag them away
Cause they’re taking the food off your table
So The Arch can say Bernie was right, Bernie was right

Flashing lights, it’s a real show
And the fans? I wouldn’t go out
And the punters need care
And you can’t make decisions there, decisions there

And I wish I, wish I knew the right words
To make you feel better, walk out of this place
Defeat them in their secret battle
Show them you can be your own man again

And I wish I, wish I knew the right words
To blow up The Bunker and drag them away
Cause they’re taking the food off your table
So The Arch can say Bernie was right, Bernie was right
And Todd still can’t get the games to run on time, run on time.

Free Fensom: Shaun Fensom needs to leave Canberra and he needs to leave soon. Ricky Stuart has marginalised the club’s hardest working player. Fensonm is a renowned defender but he offers plenty in attack as well as an ability to play 80 strong minutes. Every club could use him but the ones that should be going hard are the Knights, Rabbitohs, Tigers, Dragons, Sea Eagles and Titans.

2016 Field Goal Update – 27: Mitchell Moses and Matt Moylan – a great weekend for double bunger Ms – both slotted one-pointers to wrap up games against the Dragons and Broncos respectively.

Fun Fact #1: Cronulla’s win streak of 15 is now tied for the fifth longest in premiership history. They are just the fourth team since 1926 to achieve such a number.

Fun Fact #2: Nathan Friend is the only Titan still at the club from Jordan Rankin’s debut in Round 22, 2008 – with just Jordan Rapana (Canberra), Gavin Cooper (North Queensland) and Will Matthews (St George Illawarra) still in the NRL. Only Matt White and Jarrod Mullen remain from the opposing Knights.

Fun Fact #3: Manu Vatuvei became just the 11th NRL player to score 150 premiership tries and just the fourth without a premiership goal to achieve the feat.

Fun Fact #4: The longest record without a loss is held by Eastern Suburbs, who did not lose in 35 appearances between Round 9, 1935 and Round 1, 1938.

Rumour Mill: St George Illawarra have reportedly reached out to Robbie Farah in a bid to get him to the club in 2017. If Farah does sign, it will mean Mitch Rein will be moved on. Jamie Soward did, however, tweet during the week that Corey Norman and James Segeyaro would be moving to the Dragons. The voicemail sent by RLWC commercial officer Michael Brown was extremely serious and if leaked will not do his position at NRL HQ any favours. Canterbury are the front-runners for Kieran Foran though the club is worried about its lack of a kicking game, something  Foran will do little to eschew. The chances of Jarryd Hayne returning to Rugby League are drifting by the day with the Eels now looking at Tui Lolohea. Dylan Walker is reportedly on his last warning with the Sea Eagles.

Betting Market of the Week: At the end of the season Jason Taylor and Robbie Farah will:

$4.00: Only Taylor will be at the Tigers
$3.50: Only Farah will be at the Tigers
$3.00: Both will be moved on for the good of the club
$1.10: Both remain at the club because the club is too weak to make a call

Punters Guide Tipping Service: If you are interested in signing up to the Punters Guide tipping service, drop me an email:

This week we have a special deal. Get the remainder of the season for just $50.

The Barrett and Bozo Show: Despite talk of signing a big-name recruit, the Sea Eagles have managed just Matt Wright as an addition for next year. Bozo once had all the power and all the money but it doesn’t seem to be worth much at all now with Robbie Rochow the latest to knock back Manly’s overtures. The Sea Eagles are going to be in a worse spot next year than they are in 2016 if they can’t find some outside talent.

What I Like About … Nathan Ross: The Knights are on their backside and they have no chance of even reaching their knees this season. They have one player they can build around though and that is Nathan Ross. In a team that lacks class and at time effort, Ross is never short on either. He scored a remarkable reflex try against the Sharks and also ran down Valentine Holmes when he was all but certain to score. It was a remarkable showing.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 20: Canberra – New Zealand, 22 – 26. Points were hard to come by early but things really cranked up a notch before the break thanks to some sublime play by Jarrod Croker. The Raiders were all but home up 22-4 with 10 minutes to play before going to sleep and letting the Warriors equalise on the bell thanks to an Issac Luke sideline conversion. Then Jarrod Croker was the hero in extra-time, crossing out wide for a hat-trick. This was a magnificent game and another tribute to daytime Rugby League.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Andrew McFadden again left Tuimoala Lolohea on the bench and New Zealand again fell short, unable to score until he hit the paddock. It is astonishing he still has the top job.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Jason Taylor dropping Robbie Farah. See above. Absolutely idiotic.

Beard Watch: Word on the street is one of the great beards of the game Greg McCallum is set to return to the big-time, replacing Tony Archer as referees boss. It would be great to get McCallum back in the game with his strong views on how the game should be officiated.

Correspondence Corner: Anthony Salmon, he was a drunk lout.

The Truth Teller, thanks!

Magpie Mick, I did watch the Parra-Penrith game and thought little of it. No surprises Channel 9 again tried to screw the game.

John, Canterbury were awful against the Cowboys. Putrid. But North Queensland would have beaten any team in the comp on their best day last Thursday. They were relentless. The Bulldogs seemed underprepared and some of the selection bollocks that goes on at the Bulldogs is frustrating but Des is definitely the best man for the job.

Watch It: Tina Turner is the voice of Rugby League and in 1993 she played at the NSWRL Grand Final between Brisbane and St George to sing her anthem Simply The Best. The highlight is the ridiculous sax solo in the middle. Watch it here.



Comments (6)

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  1. Kel says:

    Is it seriously retro round because I haven’t seen one retro jersey, save for those that are consistently retro, i.e. Easts and St George. The Cowboys are even wearing farking Storm jerseys tonight!!

  2. AA says:

    Whether or not JT survives long enough to see it, Farah’s removal from the Tigers will be the watershed moment of their entire existence.

    I fail to understand how you can support a buffoon who’s achievements read; 3 finals series in 13 seasons, worst winning percentage of any NSW hooker ever and token Australian representation thanks to his old mate, Tim Sheens.

  3. Tony Monero says:

    In next years Heritage Round can we go back to one ref?
    It couldn’t get any worse, could it?
    Plus all the old codgers would love it as kids wouldn’t be exposed to those bodgy chicken ads.

  4. Chris says:

    Have to disagree on the Barba try. Ennis clearly continued running between Barba and the Knights defender. The bunker has failed in it’s main objective; clear and consistent rulings across the season, and Archer’s automatic defence of his officials has made it even more uncertain. But, in that instance, I think it was correct.

  5. KT says:

    On Taylor and Farah, think of it as a motor racing team. The driver (Moses/Brooks) can only work with what the mechanics (Farah) provide, regardless of what the team owner (Taylor) demands. When you watch Farah play, he decides to run the show and play whatever style he wants, which might have worked for him in the past, but doesn’t work for Brooks and Moses. Regardless of the score and some of the defence on Sunday, Moses and Brooks haven’t looked as happy, or confident, in a long time.
    Farah plays for himself, and that’s it, because he sees himself as king of the team, which he isn’t any more. He’s a spoilt brat who plays his way or not at all, and Taylor has had enough. Full credit to Taylor and I hope Farah has learnt his lesson, otherwise I’m happy to see him stay in reggies.

  6. Thetruthteller says:

    We are very much at odds dear rugby league tragic. Farah is a devisive individual, who has overseen the demise of two coaches, plays to his own game plan and has as much hubris as an English conservative politician. Taylor deserves kudos for the decision he has made in this instance.

    As a dogs fan, despite the pummelling, I don’t think all is lost, it was just one of those games and I still think they are in with a big show when the whistle is blown come GF Sunday.