From The Couch: Round 4, 2017

Filed in NRL by on March 26, 2017


Taylor Had To Go … Six Months Back: Jason Taylor had to be sacked. He should never have been hired. And after the debacle that was the move to get rid of Robbie Farah he should have been dumped at the end of last season. It was only a spineless and out-of-touch board and a front office power vacuum that allowed Taylor to survive.

Anyone who knows anything about Rugby League knew Taylor was a bad hire and his fit with the Tigers was destined for disaster. As smart a tactician as he may have been, his inability to communicate has become legendary. At a club where player power rules and there is no leadership from the top, it was only trouble that would follow. And it did. In droves. Some of it was the club’s fault. Much of it was Taylor’s.

The club thinks it has solved its problems by sacking Taylor. They figure they have appeased the players. They will get Ivan Cleary. Another new beginning. It won’t. No while the club remains as it does, with a chairwoman who knows nothing about Rugby League and was just a stooge of David Smith, with the continual reference some 16 years on of the tribes in the Wests Tigers, the allowance of players to dictate terms because the football department allowed all its stars to come off contract at once and one that cannot control its loud-mouth past players.

The bloodshed should not end with Taylor. Total restructure is required. From the top down.

The Axe Must Fall on Des: Des Hasler is a good Rugby League coach. His record speaks for itself. But it is time for the Bulldogs to divorce themselves of Hasler because this is a marriage that just isn’t working out. After the embarrassment of Brookvale last week – and with Ivan Cleary waiting in the wings and ready to be poached by any number of clubs – the time is now.

The reasons are plentiful. There is the fact the players are not responding to him. There is the departure from the Bulldogs brand. There has been the total failure of any attacking system. There has been the castration of the once-proud Bulldogs pathways. There has been the awful recruitment and retention decisions. There has been the falling out with a series of Bulldogs legends. There has been the failure to give any young kid a go.

Hasler will land somewhere. He will do well. But it is time for him to leave Belmore now.

Fashion Yes: The Wests Tigers headwear this week including David Nofoaluma’s headgear and Matt McIllwrick’s taped head.

Fashion No: The ridiculous baseball caps the touchies were wearing during the Cowboys-Titans game, a match that was played at night.

Life Ban Appropriate, Rugby Punishment Not: It is all good and well to ban Tim Simona from Rugby League. The indefinite ban should have been far more definitive but be that as it may, Simona should not be forced to play rugby union … for free … where he will get “mentorship”,  presumably in old boy ass-slapping and how to polish that silver spoon and where to find your nearest red bandana store. Simona cheated. He didn’t murder anyone. Give the man a break!

2016 Field Goal Update – 2: It is astonishing that we are four rounds in and have just two field goals for the year with one kicked by Jordan Kahu.

Fun Fact #1: Mitchell Moses is 21-39 in the NRL.

Fun Fact #2: Luke Brooks is 29-40 in the NRL.

Fun Fact #3: Jason Taylor did not have a winning season in six years as a permanent NRL head coach.

Rumour Mill: The rumour mill has gone into overdrive over the weekend that Canterbury are close to signing James Tedesco, Aaron Woods, Luke Brooks and Mitch Moses in what would be one of the great coups. While Brooks and Moses are sub-par players, Tedesco could be the best player in the competition in a few years and Woods will improve under a good coach, who one can only assume will be Ivan Cleary. The chances of such an orchestrated move coming off though are low and the likelihood is the four are just using this as leverage against the Tigers. Tony Archer is unlikely to be re-signed after the 2017 season with Bill Harrigan touted for a comeback. Brisbane have put a big offer to lure Ash Taylor home but the Titans will do anything to keep him. Ivan Cleary is the favourite for the Wests Tigers. Ivan Cleary is the favourite for the Wests Tigers but he is far from a done deal. There is a very nasty rumour doing the rounds about an assault by a well-known forward that one would hope is not true.

Betting Market of the Week: Jason Taylor’s next job will be:

$1001: NRL Head Coach
$501: Robbie Farah’s Personal Mentor
$8.00: Kung Fu Trainer
$6.00: Uromysitisis Licensing

Robbie Farah’s Anger Level – Low: Robbie suffered a bad loss to the Roosters on Thursday but he would be giddy after Jason Taylor was sacked three rounds into the season from the Wests Tigers. The feud ended with both out of the Tigers but at least Farah remains in the league.

What I Like About … Superhero Jerseys: The answer is a resounding nothing. They are moronic. They are stupid. They are idiotic. And they are disrespectful to the heritage of a club. The NRL shows no respect for the jersey or the colours of a club and it results in god-knows how-many different strips for each team. It is a pure cash grab at the expense of heritage. The quicker the NRL mandates that each club gets a home, an away and heritage jersey for heritage round, the better the game will be.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 14: Gold Coast – North Queensland, 28 – 34. A brilliant attacking match. The Cowboys were so disciplined early while the Titans had plenty of commitment in their comeback. Some wonderful footy was played, topped by Tyrone Roberts’ wonderful run-around try.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Des Hasler may not survive the week. A single 36-0 loss would not be enough to punt a coach of his quality but a combination of his diminished standing in the club and the opportunity to pinch Ivan Cleary from the Wests Tigers could see him axed. The Bulldogs are not a club who accept this kind of mediocrity and there is clearly a need for a divorce.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Wayne Bennett picking a fight with Paul Kent. Bennett’s standing in the game is dropping rapidly and picking out a fight with an experienced journalist without checking his facts is incredibly stupid. Kent is widely respected in the game and is not one who cold cocks for no reason. Kent has retaliated hard and rightly so with his reputation on the line. His comeback was a clean knockout of Bennett. With Brisbane no longer the powerhouse they once were, Bennett needs to get back to coaching and worrying less about the media or the little issues in his club.

Beard Watch: Jake Granville’s beard/hair combination is a strange melding of Medieval/ Three Musketeers and Sideshow Bob. Say what you will about Jake Granville, he is one confident man to pull through with such a ridiculous look.

Correspondence Corner: To all on the Chambers try, definite try, just like Robbie O as you say Mark. The ball was not lost. That was just the trickery of slow-motion.

Tony Monero, there definitely is no ‘Big Four’ at the Tigers. There is a player you pay anything he wants (Tedesco), a strong prop who commands good coin (Woods) and two pretenders at half who have done nothing in first grade (Brooks and Moses).

Mav63, there does need to be a second Brisbane team but there definitely does not need to be a Central Queensland team.

James, Dugan is a fullback and should be played there. McGregor has no idea. The club should attempt to retain him but won’t. I like Widdop too but he is a player who needs to go elsewhere. Both good players. Probably not a great fit together. My money is that Gareth Widdop is wearing the No.1 for the Saints next season.

Watch It: This week we go back to an old favourite, the Special Needs Penguin, Ben Pomeroy. Here he gets run down in open field by 37-year-old prop Adrian Morley. Morley caught him with ease. Watch it here.


Comments (7)

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  1. Loose Head says:

    Hi Nick,

    Always enjoy the weekly column. Allow me to express a few ideas to which I’d love to hear your thoughts, as well as fellow readers;

    * Revise the seven-tackle rule – it was originally brought in to discourage long-range clearing kicks going dead, so the fullbacks (arguably teams’ best players these days) could get more opportunity for free running on kick returns. That’s what the rule was for – not for field goal attempts going dead, marking in the in-goal, or short grubbers that go dead, etc. I’m concerned the game is getting too one-dimensional, with the ability to run end-to-end each set with nothing but fast play-the-balls and one-out hit-ups.

    * One point each for golden point – I never saw what was so wrong with a draw, but if golden point is here to stay, I think the loser of a golden point match should take home one competition point, with the winner taking still taking the two points. I think this is much fairer, and also provides a better break-up of the ladder, so as to reduce the clutter of ladder positions that are currently only separated by for-and-against.

    * If an Origin series has been decided after Game 2, make Game 3 count for more than just pride by giving the winner of a 3-0 clean sweep the reward of hosting two home Origins the following year. I know they schedule these matches well in advance now, with Melbourne contracted to host a match every three years and Perth to host one in the not-too-distant future, but I think it’s a concept worth considering.

    * Couldn’t agree more about the jerseys – each team to have a home, away, and heritage strip – that’s it.

    * Restructure the international game by incorporating a schedule with some sort of tradition. Bringing back a best-of-three Test series against the Kiwis and the Poms is a good place to start. I love Origin as much as the next guy but it is wrong how it has overshadowed Test football to the point where players feel it’s the pinnacle. Representing your country should be the pinnacle, as there is no higher honour. I know since becoming Test coach, Mal is working hard to get this back on track, but the administration really needs to get behind this 100%.


  2. Tony Monero says:

    Why isn’t there more talk about Tom Trbojevic playing Origin?
    The bloke is the closest thing I’ve seen to Greg Inglis. He’s a natural footy player and regularly makes it look like he’s playing u10’s. He’s been carrying Manly for a year and is improving rapidly. Apparently his career average is about 170m per game. What..? That’s nuts!
    He can defend as well as Darius Boyd and is rugged & tough. That’s where he has the edge on every other NSW fullback. Plus, he won’t feign injury and go down like a few others in the mix.

    To do my best Sterlo,
    “An absolute moral, for mine”

    Yeah, yeah

  3. Kel says:

    Good talk re those disgusting superhero jerseys. I’ve never even heard of most of them. Respect to Manly for going back to basics with their home jersey this year. The designs of rugby league jerseys (and logos) were perfected in the 1970s and 1980s. I’d like to see clubs accept that. You don’t see AFL clubs changing their jerseys every year (or at all). Re Tigers, another year, another disgraceful jersey.

  4. Thetruthteller says:

    As a dogs supporter I am always loathe the disloyalty of sacking our coach. The Hasler years for the dogs have been to much of a roller coaster, with a lack a development of the clubs juniors a case in point. However I think he needs to be given a chance to get the team to respond against the Broncos this week before the trigger is pulled.

    The field goal is dying a slow death as a result of the seven tackle penalty for a miss that goes dead. Maybe the NRL need to consider changing back to six tackles if you miss a field goal and ball goes dead

  5. Davey G says:

    Mate I am with you on the talk of the Tigers “big 4”. Teddy and Woods are the boys to splash the cash on, and if anyone thinks you couldn’t grab another halfback better than Brooks for much less coin than he is wishing for, then you are on another planet. Moses seems to be a first grade player, needs more consistency, unfortunately Brooks hasn’t quite made the “next Joey” boots his own. At least he hasn’t become a Tim Smith-type third year syndrome grog lord – he could probably earn coin in England. Tiges need an old head next to Mitch Moses – the way (and it may be a weird example, but they made the GF) when Jeff Robson partnered Daniel Mortimer at Parra in 2009 – Hayne had a lot to do with it, but that is where Teddy steps in.

    As for the super hero jerseys – I don’t mind mixing it up (there is a jersey for women’s round, indigenous round, the various inter-club shields), but find it odd when the club’s colours are not represented. Hulk is green, Canberra is green – match. Captain America is red white and blue, Roosters are red, white and blue – match. Changing club colours is where it goes astray and does clash with the club’s heritage. I recall a few years ago wehn Manly were Wolverine – how can their fans say they bleed maroon and white when that round they wore Parra blue and gold?

    • Davey_G says:

      Sorry for double dipping, but I am very disappointed at Wayne Bennett giving Kahu a serve in the post match presser. He commented that he wouldn’t be talking to Kahu about it – so instead of speaking to the person with the problem, he decided to address the hundreds of thousands of sports fans. If I do something wrong at my workplace, I would like my boss to take me aside to explain what the issue is so we can look how to resolve it (obviously you can’t go back in time here, but to learn from the mistake). If my boss instead told everyone in the morning meeting about it, I would be royally pissed off. The way this was handled is atrocious, and perhaps a sign the Supercoach is starting to show his age.

  6. Differential penalty says:

    Completely agree about super hero jerseys.