From The Couch: Round 3

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on March 23, 2015

Video Referee Disgrace: NRL Head of Football could have a dungeon full of sex slaves, a massive cocaine addiction, a personal fondness for bubbling or a former life as a Rugby Union official and he would have less cause to resign in disgrace than he does now after yet another diabolical weekend of video refereeing decisions.

Three decisions – that’s right, three decisions that were fully reviewed using technology that everybody else could see – were fucked up beyond belief because of the incompetency of the officials and the obvious failings of the process.

The guilty this week are Bernard Sutton, Gavin Badger and Shayne Hayne. It comes a week after Steve Clark made an embarrassing howler.

Sutton is either stupid or severely disobedient. He awarded Steve Matai a try despite no conclusive evidence and a no try on-field ruling.

Badger is blind. He missed an obvious Newcastle knock on that every viewer including the blind could see.

Hayne thinks he is smarter than everyone else in not allowing a Dallin Watene-Zelezniak try in the corner because everyone else saw the ball was grounded.

Regular readers of this column know that I was once a big supporter of Greenberg. No longer. He is now just another stiff at HQ who is happy to twiddle his thumbs while the game is eaten alive from the inside.

He won’t concede any problem this week. No official will be held accountable. No process will change. The game will continue to confuse and confound because idiots are running the asylum.

If anyone should be charged with bringing the game into disrepute it should be Greenberg, who oversees this rubbish.

Back To The Mark: Matt Cecchin and Henry Perenara took it upon themselves on Friday night to send players back to the mark to play the ball. They stopped the game at least 10 times to send players back but didn’t once blow a penalty. No other referee all weekend sent players back. No other referee blew a penalty. Why are referees allowed to go rogue like this?

Slap for the Ages: It was tough not to laugh when Keith Galloway bitch-slapped Tim Grant. This is what the NRL has come to: two big enforcers slapping each other like teenage girls in a behind-the-cricket-nets scrap. Bring back the punch-on … it is the least of Rugby League’s problems.

2015 Field Goal Count: 2 – The season’s tally of one pointers doubled on Saturday afternoon when Shaun Johnson nailed one against the Eels.

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Fun Fact #1: Dragons debutant Euan Aitken ran for 192 metres and busted eight tackles in a stunning first NRL game.

Fun Fact #2: The Titans’ home crowd of 6,962 against the Knights – a figure that seemed to be clearly inflated – was the club’s second smallest crowd of all-time.

Fun Fact #3: The last time the Titans won at home by more than a converted try was in Round 21 of the 2013 season when they beat the Tigers 36-6.

Rumour Mill: Canterbury are reportedly leading the race to sign Roosters five-eighth James Maloney. The Roosters are set to let Maloney go under the belief that Jackson Hastings is their future at No.6. Don’t be shocked to see the Bulldogs sack Jacob Loko after his latest drama – fighting in the Sydney CBD with Jorge Taufua. Loko has not even been able to run since joining the Dogs but has managed to find trouble. Taufua’s career at the Eagles is also on the rocks with the club stacked with talent among the outside backs. The Titans are set to make a big play at some of the best young talent in the game but their main target now is Dane Gagai.

What I Like About … Kade Snowden: The big Knights prop has been playing in inspirational form this year and was arguably Newcastle’s best in their gritty win over the Gold Coast. Snowden played Origin footy what seemed like a lifetime ago but is returning to that form and is without question one of the best bookends in the game when on-song. He is fit and healthy and has the Knights backline playing with plenty of space.

Betting Market of the Week: NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg and Referees Boss Tony Archer will admit that the video referees messed up with three obvious decisions and the game has a serious problem with its officials and processes:

Yes: $501.00

Manly Collapse Update: Manly seem to be disintegrating by the second – almost literally – with Brookvale Oval turned out in a disgraceful, dilapidated state against the Bulldogs. It led to outlandish claims from Warringah council that the NRL should fund a synthetic surface. The Sea Eagles play in one of Sydney’s wealthiest areas. It is on them to turn out a decent ground or they can go and play at the SFS in front of 2000 fans. Suburban footy is great but the rubbish Manly put out on Friday night set hopes to keep Rugby League there back a long time.

Referee Power Rankings: As predicted, Gavin Morris has been dropped from the rankings after being demoted to second-string ruck boy this week. Small mercies.

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

The Coaching Crosshairs: For reasons known only to the faction of the Parramatta board perpetuating them, Eels coach Brad Arthur is purportedly in strife. Arthur has done a magnificent job at the Eels after back-to-back wooden spoon seasons, getting the Eels to a competent standard and then recruiting talented players like Anthony Watmough and Kieran Foran. The Eels would be well-served getting their house in order if they want to keep off the bottom of the ladder.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 3: Sydney Roosters-Penrith, 20-12. This game always shaped as the match of the round and it didn’t disappoint. The Roosters played it pretty conservatively, setting up the win with the best dummy-half running in the game and physical defence. This game was hard and tough from the get-go.

Ricky Stuart Stat of the Week: Ricky Stuart’s Canberra Raiders blew an 18-0 lead against a team that hadn’t one in Canberra in 14 seasons before Stuart arrived.

Correspondence Corner: Stephen, Steven Clark made an awful call and Gavin Morris should not have made the decision based on a hunch. He was rightfully demoted to second-string officialdom but Clark amazingly kept his position.

Schitty, I love Tedesco but I’ll take you on because no way RTS doesn’t beat him in at least tackle breaks.

ManlyMagic, it isn’t rugby, it is rugby league!! Toovey certainly has more pedigree but he must accept some responsibility for the departure of so many quality players.

Troy, you make a fair point .It would be great to see the NRL actually lay out how they actually plan to spend the coin.

Mark, after his video refereeing decision on Sunday, it might be time for the axe, not the razor!

MadPunter, thanks.

IC, I like how you are thinking with the NRL contracts. I think the NRL should use it to reward talented cleanskins but don’t forget that Thurston and Inglis have been caught up in their own off-field dramas.

Mav63, I believe whatever system is in place the critical element is that the on-field ref makes a call and the on-field ref looks after the review. There is no palming off a decision. It is all his.

DaveyG, don’t be surprised to see Corey Norman at the Sharks next year.

Craig, this is your one-stop shop for Steve Clark shaming.

Beard Watch: It was a sensational weekend for facial hair with news coming out that seven South Sydney forwards have a last man standing bet going regarding facial hair. And they have dug their heels in with the last person to shave owing the rest. Let’s hope this lasts for years. My money is on Glenn Stewart winning this one …

Watch It: Your author loves French Rugby League and finds it abhorrent that Australia’s last tour of France was back in 1994, some 21 years ago. Here are some highlights of Australia’s two Test wins over Les Chanticleers in Avignon and Perpginan. Watch it here.


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Comments (2)

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  1. madpunter says:

    Yes you certainly know how to paint a picture! So whats the solution to the referee quality issue? Are ex footy players the best video refs? Do you pay a lot more and offer more training? Do you sack or suspend particularly incompetant efforts like the penrith no try? Why not decrease the role of the video ref and bring in captains challenges?

  2. Ryan says:

    Loved your opening salvo – fire up!!