From The Couch: Round 23

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on August 13, 2012

Farewell Fuck-Ups: Two all-time greats of the code, two champions with 660-plus premiership games, 68 Tests and 56 Origin appearances between them, will retire at season's end, both celebrating their final home games in round 26. And their reward? They have had their last games tarnished by the belligerence and selfishness of television stations who are allowed to dictate to the NRL and its clubs when games are played.

So instead of Hindmarsh playing in front of a packed Parramatta Stadium – and perhaps even a big ANZ crowd – and Civoniceva saying goodbye on a Sunday afternoon with families and casual fans and travellers being able to attend, the matches will be played at the rare Sunday 7pm timeslot and on Friday night.

If the ARLC allows this to continue from 2013 onwards, they should all step down. It is a disgrace that those who want to say goodbye to two champions may not be able to because of the jokers at Nine and to a lesser extent, Fox Sports.

The NRL looks meek, allowing stations to dictate the draw.

Nine have again shown their hand. They have no interest in the code. They just want to rape the game for all its worth. Hopefully they will be long forgotten when the next TV deal is done.

Fox Sports have been much fairer but still should have made more of an effort to allow Hindmarsh a proper goodbye.

Not Fine: Des Hasler copped a $10,000 whack for accusing NRL officials of premeditating calls, trying to control the flow and the tempo of the match and attempting to get the team behind on the scoreboard back in the match. It was a wild accusation. And it was completely on the mark.

There is no question that referees under Robert Finch and now Bill Harrigan no longer just enforce the rules. Referees have attempted to put themselves into the centre of matches like an under-six referee trying to ensure the match is close. It is disgraceful. They pick and choose when to award penalties not based on any infringement of the rules but based on the scoreboard, the penalty count, the tempo of the match, personal grudges and notes made pre-game.

How the NRL can defend this is astonishing because it is there for everyone to see. The Daily Telegraph pulled out an outstanding stat last Friday: over the last three years, teams have trailed by 12 points on 314 occasions and have won the penalty count from that point on nearly 75 per cent of the time.

That is not a statistical anomaly. That is match manipulation from the NRL officials. How can it be interpreted any differently?

When combined with the fact match officials discuss penalty counts and admit they don't blow penalties when they should, as Brett Suttor did when the Bulldogs took on the Knights and Suttor said he should not called a penalty but didn't for a leg rip.

Bill Harrigan should have resigned immediately when that number was revealed. Yet he is around another week to again defend the indefensible.

There is no defamation if it is the truth. And Des should pay no fine for highlighting the match manipulation of officials. This is much bigger than individual cock-ups. This is a pattern and it is being pushed by Bill Harrigan and his team. It must stop now.

First Year Coaching Ratings: We are nearing the end of the 2012 season and it is time to breakdown how each new coach has gone in their first year in the NRL or their first year at their new club:

First Year Coaches

Brad Arthur (Parramatta) [B]: Has been in charge for just three games and has got two wins – against Brisbane and the Roosters. Has got his players showing a bit of life but it is hard to gauge how much he has done at the club.

Michael Maguire (South Sydney) [A+]: Was always destined to be a top-line coach and has done a simply magnificent job in giving the Bunnies focus and discipline. This is a new Souths and one that could win the club's first title in over 40 years. Has got his players fit and firing and has done an excellent job with a rookie halfback. A long-term Souths boss for sure. 

Brian McClennan (New Zealand) [C-]: Took over reigning Grand Finalists and will lead them to missing the eight. Has gone too easy on a side that needs to be ridden hard. Defensive structures have gone and the attitude to game-day and preparation is poor. No toughness whatsoever. Will do well to see a second year.

Steve Price (St George Illawarra) [F]: Has refused to make the necessary adjustments and has shown little gumption when big calls needed to be made. Refuses to be himself, rather going in as a Bennett clone. Provides little in attack and has not appeared to endear himself to the senior playing group. I doubt he'll be there in 2013.

Geoff Toovey (Manly) [A]: Took over from Des Hasler in tough circumstances and despite a nasty run with injuries and suspension has got Manly poised for a premiership defence. Hasn't done a lot different but hasn't had too as no key personnel were lost last year. Only concern is Manly's struggles against lower teams.

First Year at New Club Coaches

Wayne Bennett (Newcastle) [B]: Was very wary of the club's list when he arrived and was even more shocked by how engrained the culture of mediocrity was. Making in-roads and has had excuses with Kurt Gidley out for the year but there is no question that the Knights are is toughest task. Has time but will likely miss the final for the first time in two decades.

Ivan Cleary (Penrith) [C+]: Was brought in to rebuild the club and has gone through it with a machete, dumping the club's captain and star outside back while looking to force an Origin centre out. Destined to finish bottom-two but he has been given an assurance that he has the time to get things right.

Des Hasler (Canterbury) [A+]: Few thought the Dogs would be legitimate contenders until Des got to bring his players in. He didn't need to. He fundamentally changed the way the Bulldogs play with some lovely chain passing. His spit and polish has got the best out of most players, particularly Ben Barba, who he has built into the Dally M-elect.

The Fall of Matt Gillett: Matt Gillett may well be following a similar path to Tim Smith, the man who won Dally M Rookie of the Year honours five years before the Broncos backrower. Both made a huge impact and both have failed to go on with it.

Hopes were high for the big backrower after a boom debut season and a pretty decent second year considering how hampered by injury he was. But he has been ordinary this year. Very ordinary. He got three chances at Origin and was meek in each encounter. His stats through the opening 20 rounds were not great, particularly his defence, which resulted in 11 missed tackles against Canterbury.

Gillett has a ton of talent. Let's hope he finds form soon before he becomes another rookie who didn't kick on.

Bring Rugby League to the Olympics: It is disgraceful that when the Olympic Games roll around in 2016, rugby union will be part of the event and rugby league will not.

A number of points.

Firstly, the IOC need to decided what the Olympics are. Is it a collection of sports whose pinnacle is Olympic Gold? If so, the likes of tennis need to be punted. And if not, it should be opened to all sports, worldwide.

Secondly, why would rugby union be chosen ahead of rugby league when league is clearly a far superior game, at all levels? It is nothing but class oppression.

Thirdly, when 2016 does roll around, why are NRL players being excluded from selection? At present, only ARU-signed players can compete. The Australian Olympic Committee needs to go over the top and ensure the best available team is selected. And we all know that if the best sevens teams was selected from all codes, there would be no more than one or two union players in the squad.

Let's get rugby league to the Olympics as soon as we can.

Best Off-Contract Players for 2013: There are still more than a few players on the market for 2013 and we look at the best available in each position.

Fullback: Brett Stewart is chasing a big-money offer and is almost certain to stay at Manly but could find himself at the Dragons. A star who will get his money. The next best are Luke Capewell, who has shown limited ability at three clubs, and Jordan Kahu, a promising young Bronco who missed 2012 with a ruptured ACL.

Wing: Plenty of wingers on the market including internationals Lote Tuqiri, David Williams, Matt Utai and Bryson Goodwin and Origin player Anthony Quinn. Williams is probably the best of the senior wingers. Could be forced out of Manly with the Roosters looming as a possible destination. The next best of the experienced lot is Quinn while the best of the younger types are Omar Slaimankhel and Adam Henry. Slaimankhel has been heavily linked to the Roosters while Henry deserves an extension with the Tricolours.

Centre: Very few legitimate centres available with Tim Simona probably the best of the lot ahead of Ricky Leutele, Maurice Blair and Siuatonga Likiliki. Not a time to be chasing a centre. Simona could win a starting spot if he moved to Penrith or the Sharks while Leutele has been mentioned in a possible move to the Dragons.

Five-Eighth: The Titans are keen to extend promising young five-eighth Aidan Sezer and at writing it is unclear whether they have done that but he won't be going anywhere. Carlos Tuimavave is James Maloney's heir apparent so will remain in Auckland. Michael Picker probably the best of those legitimately available.

Halfback: Not 20 games experience between halfbacks off contract. Ryan Carr has done well for a very good North Sydney side in the NSW Cup and would be the player I'd be chasing if a halfback is required so the Dragons may look to him. Jacob Miller and Dane Chisholm don't do a lot to excite.

Backrow: David Stagg is still on the market and any team needing a workhorse should be knocking down his door. Clubs like the Panthers, Eels, Roosters, Knights, Storm and Warriors would be a great fit for a top class player. Michael Crocker is another available though he wants to stay with Souths. He just wins. Scott Bolton is another with experience well worth a chance as he has had limited opportunities in Townsville. Dane Hogan and Jake Marketo are the best of the young players with Hogan unlucky not to have got more of a chance at the Cowboys.

Prop: Warrior Russell Packer made his debut very young for a prop and will only improve. He is yet to be re-signed and would be a great addition. Willie Mason and Justin Poore are rep props still unsigned and both could be at the Knights next year. Ray Cashmere is honest and won't cost much. Shannon Boyd has a bright future and is looking for an opportunity.

Hooker: All available hookers should apply at the Raiders and Cowboys forthwith. Unfortunately for those two clubs, not a lot of talent out there. Kayne Lawton from the Titans has some upside while Joel Romelo has plenty of mongrel. John Morris is a tip to be the Raiders' No.9 in 2013.

Born and Bred: Mahe Fonua may not have had a sizzling debut but it was wonderful to see a born and bred Victorian rise through the Storm system to make it to NRL-level. The Storm are doing great work in Victoria and should be recognised for same.

Meaningless Field Goal Update: Well done to Daly Cherry-Evans, who added to his most outstanding name by dobbing a left-footed meaningless field goal just before the break in Friday night's clash with Souths. It made the score 9-6. It was his fourth career one-pointer.

We currently have a four-way lead on the field goal board in 2012 with Benji Marshall, Chris Sandow, James Maloney and Todd Carney all locked on three.

Whatever Happened to the Magic Sponge: So big, so critical until the 1990s and now, no more. It would be great to see the magic sponge make a return to big time rugby league.

Songs From the Rugby League Collection: For the rest of the season, From The Couch will provide lyrics to the 2012 Rugby League Collection. First up, "Jesse Browmich", by Joshua Kadison.

From a phone booth in Crown, Jesse Bromwich calls at 5 a.m.
to tell me how he's tired of all of wearing 10.
He says, "Baby, I been thinking 'bout a trailer by the sea.
We could go to Brighton…you, the cat, and me.
We'll drink tequila and look for Storm flags.
Now, doesn't that sound sweet?"
Oh, Jesse Bromwich, you always do this every time Bellyache gets back on his feet.

Jesse Bromwich paint your pictures 'bout how it's gonna be.
By now I should know better, your yards are never free.
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea;
Jesse Bromwich did Wally Waldron pay you this fee.
Oh, Jesse Bromwich, you can always sell any dream to me.

He asks me how the cat's been, I say, "Ryles he's just fine
but he used to think about you all the time.
We finally took you pictures down off the wall.
Oh, Jesse Bromwich, how do you always seem to know just when to call?"
He says, "Get your stuff together. Bring Ryles and drive real fast."
And I listen to her promise, "I swear to God this time it's gonna last."

Jesse Bromwich paint your pictures 'bout how it's gonna be.
By now I should know better, your yardss are never free.
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea;
Jesse Bromwich did Wally Waldron pay you this fee.
Oh, Jesse Bromwich, you can always sell any dream to me.

I'll love you in the mud, smash you down in the wet AAMI Park.
And who knows, maybe this time things'll turn out just the way you planned.
Jesse Bromwich paint your pictures 'bout how it's gonna be.
By now I should know better, your yards are never free.
But tell me all about our little trailer by the sea
Jesse Bromwich did Wally Waldron pay you this fee.
Oh, Jesse Bromwich, you can always sell any dream to me.

The Worst 50-gamers: Last week we called for nominations for the worst players of the NRL era to play 50 games. There were requests to lower the bar to 49 games – being a man of the people, who was I to refuse. There were plenty of outstanding nominations – here is the team we have settled on and, just for kicks, the coaches who gave them their runs.

The 49-Game Flops (AKA The Tim Moltzen All-Stars)
1. Paul Carige (61 games – Alan McMahon/Brian Smith)
2. Shannon Hegarty (173 games – Phil Gould/Graham Murray/R Stuart/S McRae/J Taylor/N Henry)
3. Steve Michaels (105 games – Wayne Bennett/Ivan Henjak/John Cartwright)
4. Daniel Fitzhenry (137 games – Terry Lamb/Tim Sheens)
5. Craig Frawley (60 games – Wayne Bennett/Matt Elliott)
6. Ben Roberts (109 games – Steve Folkes/Kevin Moore/Jim Dymock/Steve Kearney/Brad Arthur)
7. Tim Moltzen (80 games – Tim Sheens)
13. Ben Lowe (63 games – Jason Taylor/John Lang/Michael Maguire)
12. Sean Rudder (132 games – Mal Reilly/Warren Ryan/Michael Hagan/Brad Fittler)
11. Danny Williams (212 games – Peter Louis/Chris Anderson/Mark Murray/Craig Bellamy)
10. Ashton Sims (181 games – Nathan Brown/Wayne Bennett/Ivan Henjak/Neil Henry)
9. Scott Fulton (49 games – Bob Fulton)
8. Jaiman Lowe (136 games – Graham Murray/Shaun McRae/Jason Taylor/John Lang/Craig Bellamy)

14. Travis Waddell (52 games – David Furner)
15. Corey Hughes (234 games – Steve Folkes/Ricky Stuart)
16. Antonio Winterstein (77 games – Ivan Henjak/Neil Henry)
17. Fetuli Talanoa (95 games – Shaun McRae/Jason Taylor/John Lang/Michael Maguire)

The Best Not to Represent: This week's Facebook question asks, who are the best players not to represent their state or country in the history of the premiership? Simply go to the Making The Nut Facebook page and register your nominations and we'll put together the best team never to represent.

Signings, Signings Everywhere: It has been another busy week on the signing front.

Todd Lowrie (New Zealand): A direct replacement for Lewis Brown/Micheal Luck. Was expected to make a bigger impact in Melbourne than he did after a good 2009. The type of reliable player the Warriors need but is a major step down in class.

Moses Pangai (Penrith): Exciting prospect who played a single game for the Cowboys this year but is sixth in the three-quarter pecking order. Has some ability and will be right in the mix for a wing berth in 2013.

James Roberts (Penrith): It turns out Roberts did not sign with the Sharks and instead will head to the foot of the mountains, where Ivan Cleary's discipline will be a positive for him. Will be in the mix for the Panthers' new-look three-quarter line.

Jonathan Wright (Cronulla): Canterbury winger who has held his first grade spot this year. The Bulldogs won't miss him and the Sharks are certainly buying high. Not an amazing purchase for a side that lacks pace out wide.

Injury Update: Sadly, Luke Bailey's season has come to an end with a nasty knee injury.

Luke Bailey (Gold Coast): The veteran Titans prop ruptured his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season and possibly the start of 2013. Not a career-ender but not good at this stage of his career. Matt White will replace him.

Greg Bird (Gold Coast): Suffered rib cartilage damage and could miss another match in what has been an injury-interrupted year.

Lachlan Coote (Penrith): Took a bump to his jaw from Josh Papalii's elbow. Played the game out. Will be fine.

Nathan Fien (St George Illawarra): Looked to do serious damage to his shoulder or neck, going straight to hospital during the game. Jamie Soward will start this week.

Ashley Harrison (Gold Coast): Suffered a gluteus injury in the loss to the Storm and could miss a week or two, a tough break considering the Titans need to win every match.

Kevin Locke (New Zealand): Exciting Warriors fullback Locke injured his ankle and was in a ton of pain. Omar Slaimankhel could be recalled.

James Tamou (North Queensland): The big prop hurt his ankle in the big win over the Warriors and played just 20 minutes. Is in danger of missing a week or two.

Ray Thompson (North Queensland): The Cowboys bench player took a knock to his shoulder but won't miss any time.

Fun Fact #1: Steve Menzies made his debut in a year when players could tap the ball forward if there was no marker in place. He is still playing in the Super League for Catalans.

Fun Fact #2: The first spines of the three most capped coaches in premiership history were, with premiership games in brackets:

Tim Sheens: Mark Levy (214), Mick Kelly (38), Darryl Griffen (10), Royce Simmons (236)

Wayne Bennett: Gary Belcher (148), Ivan Henjak (177), Chris O'Sullivan (202), Steve Walters (272)

Brian Smith: John Sparks (48), Wayne McPherson (37), Kevin Kelly (45), Michael Bolt (168)

The 2012 Willie M Medal:There has been plenty of movement at the top of the leaderboard with Parramatta's Ben Roberts and Brisbane's Peter Wallace moving into a tie for second with Ben Hornby, a point of Mitchell Pearce. Roberts was abhorrent against the Roosters in a simply appalling game of football, making three errors and missing two critical tackles. Wallace polled for a sixth straight game, the biggest streak all season, after missing a key tackle that led to the game winner, failing to score a try at the death and kicking poorly all match. It is a grandstand finish in this year's Willie M Medal.

South Sydney v Manly
3-Andrew Everingham (Sou)
2-Matt King (Sou)
1-David Williams (Man)
Judge: Matt Fisk

Melbourne v Gold Coast
3-Mahe Fonua (Mel)
2-Mark Minichiello (GC)
1-Scott Prince (GC)
Judge: Nathan Boss

Parramatta v Sydney Roosters
3-Anthony Minichiello (Roo)
2-Ben Roberts (Par)
1-Tautau Moga (Roo)
Judge: Brett Oaten (Fire Up)

Wests Tigers v St George Illawarra
3-Ben Creagh (Dra)
2-Marika Korobiete (Tig)
1-Ray Cashmere (Tig)
Judge: Matt Fisk

North Queensland v New Zealand
3-Shaun Johnson (War)
2-Konrad Hurrell (War)
1-Carlos Tuimivave (War)
Judge: Cliff Bingham

Penrith v Canberra
3-Michael Jennings (Pen)
2-Blake Ferguson (Can)
1-Travis Waddell (Can)
Judge: Matt Tedeschi

Canterbury v Brisbane
3-Matt Gillett (Bri)
2-Michael Ennis (Bul)
1-Peter Wallace (Bri)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

Newcastle v Cronulla
3-Matthew Wright (Cro)
2-Todd Carney (Cro)
1-Danny Buderus (New)
Judge: Nick Tedeschi

17: Mitchell Pearce (Roo)
16: Ben Hornby (Dra), Ben Roberts (Par), Peter Wallace (Bri)
15: Tim Moltzen (Tig), Chris Sandow (Par)
14: Cheyse Blair (Par)
13: Blake Ferguson (Can), James Maloney (War), Ben Pomeroy (Cro)
12: BJ Leilua (Roo), Timana Tahu (New)
11: Brad Tighe (Pen)

Rumour Mill: Todd Greenberg is expected to be named the new NRL chief executive. He has reportedly told Canterbury that the job is his if he wants it. Speculation is heightening that referees boss Bill Harrigan will be out next year. Tony Archer and Steve Clark are the two favourites to replace him though perhaps a smart option would be naming Phil Gould as referees' boss. Justin Poore is supposedly in high demand. Reasons for same are unknown. Super League is his most likely destination. The Storm are in the box seat for Junior Sa'u in what will be a good pickup for the club. In what may be a direct swap, Anthony Quinn is expected to return to the Knights. It was reported that Canterbury champion David Stagg may retire if not offered a new deal by the Bulldogs. Sadly, he is unlikely to remain at Belmore. Hopefully another club will pick up the workhorse. Expect big changes with the Fox Sports broadcasting team in 2013 with, sadly, Andy Raymond and Mark Braybrook rumoured to be on their way out along with Laurie Daley. Getting rid of Mr Monday Night would be a travesty.

Power Rankings:
1. Canterbury 16-5 (1)
2. Manly 13-8 (3)
3. South Sydney 14-7 (2)
4. Melbourne 14-7 (4)
5. North Queensland 12-9 (5)
6. Cronulla 11-9-1 (6)
7. Newcastle 10-11 (9)
8. Wests Tigers 11-10 (10)
9. Brisbane 11-10 (8)
10. Gold Coast 9-12 (7)
11. Canberra 10-11 (13)
12. St George Illawarra 9-12 (11)
13. New Zealand 9-12 (12)
14. Sydney Roosters 7-13-1 (14)
15. Parramatta 6-15 (16)
16. Penrith 6-15 (15)

What I Like About … Micheal Luck: The hard-nosed Warriors forward has three games to play in what has been a wonderful career that has taken in two clubs, 12 seasons and 223 games. Few players have bled more, given more, tackled more. He won't be a player remembered as an all-time great, he never played rep footy and never won a premiership, but he is the kind of player rugby league is built on and one that should never be forgotten by fans of the Cowboys and Warriors. Injuries have caught up with one of the great bleeders – and 2012 has been a tough year – but let's hope the champion goes out with three 80-minute performances that give us something of the Micheal Luck at his prime.

Betting Market of the Week: On Sunday, Jodi Gordon said Braith Anasta would happily quit football to help her pursue her fruitless Hollywood acting career, one that won't ever progress past made-for-television softcore porn levels. What else would Anasta do for love:

– Fight television executives: $11.00
– Snort cocaine with bikers: $17.00
– Watch an episode of "Underbelly: Badness": $34.00
– Play quality football for the Roosters: $101.00

Moniker XIII of the Week: Aaron Payne's retirement has led us to naming the greatest Aarons in premiership history, a name that has an overabundance of hookers.

The Aarons
1. Aaron Groom (6 games for Canterbury)
2. Aaron Morgan (2 games for North Queensland)
3. Aaron Whitchurch (2 games for Brisbane)
4. Aaron Moule (113 games for South Queensland/Melbourne)
5. Aaron Douglas (5 games for Gold Coast)
6. Aaron Heremaia (60 games for New Zealand)
7. Aaron Gorrell (60 games for St George Illawarra/Brisbane)
13. Aaron Payne (214 games for North Queensland)
12. Aaron White (10 games for South Sydney)
11. Aaron Ketchell (12 games for North Queensland)
10. Aaron Woods (44 games for Wests Tigers)
9. Aaron Raper (96 games for Cronulla/Parramatta)
8. Aaron Cannings (97 games for North. Eagles/Manly/Parramatta/Gold Coast)

Analysis: The Aarons team is horrendous. It is ridiculous that nearly half of all Aarons who have played premiership football have played at hooker. The only Australian rep from this team is Raper while Woods is the only one with promise. Only six Aarons have played 50 games. Halfback Groom was required at fullback.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Warriors coach Brian McClennan has taken responsibility for the club's collapse over the last two weeks. And he may well pay the ultimate price with a review of the club's horrifically disappointing year. McClennan came in with a good resume and is very popular with the playing group – and perhaps that is the problem. The Warriors have only really shone when they have had hard-nosed bosses – Daniel Anderson and Ivan Cleary – and it may be time for the club to bring one in now with such talent available and needing to be harnessed.

The Life and Times of the Special Needs Penguin: Ben Pomeroy has scored 49 tries for Cronulla. One more and he will become just the 11th Shark to score 50 tries for the club.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 23: Canterbury-Brisbane, 22-14. It is tough to look past the classy Sunday battle between the Bulldogs and the Broncos at ANZ Stadium where Ben Barba again showed why he is close to the best player in the game and Josh Reynolds why he has quickly become the heart and soul of the Belmore club. The Bulldogs started like a bunch of pelicans – and were down 14-0 after 10 minutes thanks to some shoddy defence. But they soon knuckled down and the Bulldogs were back in the game at halftime and after the break the Bulldogs, though slightly off, were just relentless. Finishing was a problem – even for Barba – but the livewire fullback crossed for two beauties and the Bulldogs never looked like losing. Brisbane were better – but the Bulldogs showed they are the real deal with an 11th straight win.

Correspondence Corner: Robert Horry, as ordinary as Michael Ennis is, he hasn't quite reached the all-time horrible stage yet. Though he should never have been playing Origin.

Zig, games these days are won and loss in the setup and budget of the football department. Some clubs don't even have football managers. The Raiders won't compete until they get a proper setup.

Dragons68, Steve Price clearly doesn't seem ready for a top grade job. Daniel Anderson reportedly hasn't been contacted about a job but he would be a great fit at the Dragons. Word is that the television rights will be handed down by the finals.

Brett, Gus has a clean slate at the moment and while he may play favourites, I think he deserves the right to show he isn't of the Stuart school.

Keith, I'd love to see every NSW Cup game broadcast but I think an NRL game at 3.30 would be the way to play it.

Dan, Darcy Lussick is a total grub. He will be a nice fit at the Eels.

Anna, Adam Blair rated No.5 and has been a dud buy, for sure.

Mike From Tari, Laurie Daley's commentary is the shocking.

Cameron, I didn't do the Raiders game. Chris Parkinson gave Shillington the vote. Go to Making The Nut for the voters as RLeague does not print them. I saw bits of the game but was at the pub so didn't put any votes in on that one. Chris was at the game.

Ferret, I can't believe Sam Burgess didn't get sent off. Well, I can, but that is exactly the kind of tackle that the send off is there for. Gutless referees allow players to get whacked in the chops.

Beard Watch:Manu Vatuvei may have the worst captaincy record of any bearded player in premiership history. The Warriors winger has captained the team for three games: a close loss to Manly and hammerings from Cronulla and North Queensland.

Join Us: If you like From The Couch and you like Making The Nut, join the Making The Nut Facebook page. Trust me: you'll enjoy it.

Chasing Greatness:Anyone looking for inspiration, rugby league style, should check out my new book Chasing Greatness, available in all good book stores. I've pulled the best quotes from Jack Gibson and Arthur Beetson to Bob Bax and Royce Simmons.

Watch It: This week we look at the best field goals and goals of the NRL era. For mine, Nathan Cayless' left foot field goal is best drop goal (though Benji Marshall's 51-metre effort is close) while Dary Halligan's sideline conversion in the '98 preliminary final is the greatest goal. Watch them here and here.


Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Who nominated Fitzhenry for the 50+ game worst players? For a 'worst' player he certainly did alright, winning a permiership and scoring a vital try in the grand final but whatever people have their opinions.

    • Anonymous says:

      It wasn't me who nominated Daniel Fitzhenry….but i was about to. Definately deserved his place in the team, a more inept player it is hard to imagine. Offered nothing, with little talent and no physical gifts. One 'notable' ommission was plodding Parramatta prop of the early 90s, Greg Drake. Anyone remember him? Dunno how many games he played, but it was too many 

  2. Anonymous says:

    I want to get your thoughts on the Dragons vs Tigers game and inparticular when Fien went to dummy half. I thought that Soward had an ordinary game but I thought once Mitch Rein went off, we lost all direction around the ruck and that ultimately led to the Tigers gaining ascendancy.

    I also think that Ben Hornby runs sideways way too much and that does not help our cause at all. His time is up but I don't think there are man available halfback options at present.

    Saints are old and we need an injection of youth.

    FYI Craig Bellamy is off contact at the end of 2013, same time as Steve Price. I don't expect him to move from Melbourne but that would be an incredible coup if he did. Price will get the first 5-10 rounds of next year to succeed before there is a call made on him.

    Also, what is the deal with Phil Rothfield bashing all and sundry all of the time. He routinely takes aim at the ARLC and I recently read the article about them having no leadership. Change doesn't happen overnight. he frustrates me and I can see of course his main aim is to sell papers. Hard to see how he cares for the good of the game in my honest opinion.

  3. WittyReference says:

    I saw this on under the weekly "Official View" column where Harrigan justifies the horrible refereeing each week:


    "What is your official view on the 'flop' penalty made by Tony Archer in the Bulldogs-Broncos Game? Did he get this decision wrong?"

    "As the rule currently stands in the NRL, once the referee blows a penalty, he cannot reverse that penalty unless there is deemed to be an act of foul play prior to the penalty being blown. Tony Archer got the decision wrong to penalise a Broncos player for a flop, but once he had blown the penalty, he could not change his decision under the current laws."


    So there is nothing in the rules that allows referees to fix their own admitted mistakes? "I made a mistake, I know it, you know it, everyone watching knows it, but lets forget that and move on?" Ridiculous. How about "sorry, I got that wrong and am reversing the decision"?

  4. mick k says:

    Not surprised at all to see the stats on penalty counts to teams trailing, I've been saying this for the last few years. In my opinion, Harrigan was the prime culprit at this during his refereeing career – artificially trying to force a game to be close on the scoreboard so he could bask in the reflected glory of a "great game".

    By the way, thought Kris Keating was a bit hard done by not to pick up points in the Willie M – dud kicks, dropped ball, missed tackles and overall lack of any positive contribution. First game back from injury though so maybe I shouldn't be too harsh.

    • Logos says:

      I'm actually yet to see any real stats. The line Nick uses from the telegraph sounds more like a throwaway line rather than any actual statistical analysis. For example…if a team is leading by 12 points after say 10 minutues, loses the penalty count but either a) wins the game or B) loses the game how does that fit in the stats. What was the control group…soccer?   

      There is more anecdotal evideince that mermaids exsist than refs trying to manufacture close games through penalty counts…. I'm surprised with any lack of examination from Nick but I'm sure the Conspiracy Theorists will lap it up