Has Anyone On the Match Review Committee Ever Watched A Game of Rugby League? That would be the first qualification that should be checked. There is certainly nobody there with a high school degree, an IQ of a Bunker official, the common sense of a drunk rugby union coach or eyesight better than 20/60. That is the only way to explain how James Tedesco is left with a broken jaw and Ryan James can cop just a week, the same penalty handed to Tyson Frizell for innocuously touching a referee or some players can cop for putting a shoulder charge on someone’s chest. The whole system – including those operating it – needs to be reviewed the day after the Grand Final. This current madness is unacceptable. The NRL cannot say they are protecting the head by outlawing punching and shoulder charges (the latter of which can be done legally) and then allowing swinging arms to receive hardly any punishment. Yes James Tedesco fell. But James was the one who swung his arm and clocked Tedesco. Political correctness is sucking the life out of the NRL as much as the terrible Bunker decisions like the appalling no try to Josh Reynolds that could have cost the Bulldogs a win and a Top 4 spot.
Typical Warriors: You never want to rely on the Warriors when their season is on the line because they will totally dog it like they did against lowly Souths on Saturday night. What an insipid display from a team of supposedly talented players.
Shot Clock Softness: Of course it was the poor old Newcastle Knights who copped the first shot clock drop out penalty of the year when Jarrod Mullen was a little late to the punch. He technically should have been penalised. But that penalty could have been given many times this year. The referees just find it easy to pick on the Knights. A little consistency wouldn’t hurt.
Champions of a Bygone Era: If there was one thing your author was destined to do it was to partake in and win a Rugby League trivia night centred on the 1980s and 1990s. A big thanks to Aaron Wallace of Fox Sports who ran the night and the team of champions that included yours truly, Mitch Dale, Matt Fisk, Peter Gould, Blake Solly, Steve Mascord, Mark Cruickshank, Brendan Curran, Tom O’Neill, Evan Psarras, Stuart Dibb and Rob … you will forever be the inaugural winners of the greatest Rugby League night of all.
2016 Field Goal Update – 33: Jarryd Hayne slotted an incredible match-winner before Adam Reynolds showed all his intelligence to kick one before halftime in a match that provided the unusual final score of 41, a score hit just six times previous since 2000.
Fun Fact #1: The seven ARL-aligned teams from the Super League War occupy the lowest seven positions on the NRL ladder with the seven Super League aligned teams in the top nine with expansion sides Melbourne and Gold Coast.
Fun Fact #2: Since the Super League War, Super League aligned teams have won seven titles, ARL teams eight titles and expansion teams four titles.
Fun Fact #3: Corey Payne lasted less than four months as Penrith CEO and never lasted more than three seasons at an NRL club.
Fun Fact #4: Two tries were scored in the opening minute of the game in Round 24.
Rumour Mill: A clean-out is coming in the refereeing ranks with the pragmatic Todd Greenberg set to axe Tony Archer and get rid of Bernard Sutton. Canterbury made a late play for Robbie Farah according to reports, a move that upset current rake Michael Lichaa. Manly look set to add Luke Walsh to their squad for the 2017 season. Walsh has been in excellent form for St Helens. Robbie Rochow is set to move to South Sydney with the domino impact ensuring Luke Lewis remains at Cronulla.
Betting Market of the Week: Which of the following incidents would receive the longest suspension from the Match Review Committee:
$4.00: Touching a referee in a non-aggressive manner
$4.00: Breaking a jaw with a swinging arm
$4.00: A shoulder charge to the chest of an opponent
$4.00: Taking a crowbar and hitting an opponent in the head, turning it onto the referee, climbing the fence and wiping out six fans before hitch-hiking to Redfern to pulverise the video referee
Punters Guide Tipping Service: If you are interested in signing up to the Punters Guide tipping service, drop me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
This week we have a special deal. Get the remainder of the season for just $50.
The Barrett and Bozo Show: Key Manly assistant Anthony Seibold has ditched Brookvale to partipate in the redbuilding effort at Redfern. Seibold is privately frustrated at the influence Fulton has over football matters and is happy to move to Redfern where the coach is properly empowered, his assistants respected and the team the top priority.
What I Love About … Monday Night Football: It is an absolute tragedy that Monday Night Football has been consigned to the scrapheap in 2017 by a set of clubs that are too powerful for their own good. Monday footy is great and a game that is never missed. There is never a wedding to go to, friends to eat with, dates to go on, work drinks to attend. It is a game that can be enjoyed from home, in peace and at a reasonable hour and is always something to get you through the Monday blues. It is just so sad there will be just two more.
Game of the Year Nomination, Round 23: Wests Tigers – Gold Coast, 18-19. It is hard to beat Jarryd Hayne’s return to Sydney at the ground he grew up on and then watch him kick the winning field goal on fulltime in a match chock full of controversy.
The Coaching Crosshairs: It doesn’t matter that Paul McGregor’s Dragons defeated rivals Cronulla on Saturday night – he will not be in charge in 2017. Ivan Cleary is set to take over from McGregor with the players well off him, rival players refusing to play under him and fans on him for his boring style. His blowup with Benji Marshall did his standing no favours while it was reported that McGregor’s wife had some choice thoughts for a few Saints players struggling for form.
Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Mitch Rein is no superstar. He is a hard working type with mediocre skills. But he is light years ahead of Jake Marketo, which makes the decision to start the sub-par bench backrower confounding. It started disastrously when Marketo threw a ridiculous intercept pass that led to Valentine Holmes scoring the first try. It was the panic move of a coach under the pump.
Beard Watch: Blake Austin’s goatee is getting so out of hand that he could easily have made a guest appearance on Sons of Anarchy and not made anyone blink.
Correspondence Corner: Mike Butterfield, Melbourne do seem like protected species if Monday night was anything to go by. And can’t wait to watch that replay!
MagpieMick, I completely agree regarding video referees.
Kel, how good was Retro Round?
Watch It: They don’t do introductions like this anymore and Rugby League is the worse off. Watch the way the 1988 Grand Final started here.