From The Couch: Round 5

Filed in NRL by on April 4, 2016

Stadium Fiasco: Todd Greenberg needs to make a stance early in his administration and lay the law down to the clubs, bringing control of the game back to NRL HQ. The Commission was originally set up to wrest power away from the clubs yet half a decade later they again control the machinations of the game’s politics. The Sydney stadium fiasco has been an embarrassment to Rugby League and to the city of Sydney. No interest is given to either, only the small-time needs of the individual clubs.

Here is what needs to happen:

  • The state government needs to stop consulting and just lay down the law if they are providing the money.
  • The NRL needs to give the NSW Government the 65-game commitment they require and ensure they decide the venues for all NRL matches.
  • A new stadium is established at Moore Park – it is the central sporting precinct of Sydney and need to be treated same. Requisite public transport access needs to be improved – and seemingly is with the new tram line.
  • ANZ Stadium needs an uplift – but the only thing that matters is making it a rectangular stadium.
  • The debacle that is the lack of direct trainlines to ANZ needs to end before any investment is made.
  • A boutique stadium needs to be set up in Western Sydney – either Parramatta Stadium or Penrith.
  • All big matches are played one of the three major venues but all clubs playing matches with a forecast crowd of sub-15,000 should play at a suburban ground if they wish.

Sin Bin Farce: It is astonishing that Aidan Guerra was not sent for 10 minutes for deliberately impeding Ryan Hoffman in scoring a try. Referees and their lack of bottle have allowed the deliberate giving away of penalties to go too far.

Semi Stay Put: Rugby League needs to take a stand and ensure international Rugby League remains strong by incentivising the likes of Semi Radradra to play for emerging countries. This means a financial investment, not just words.

2015 Field Goal Update – 6: No field goals in Round 5. Not a single one. Very disappointing.

Fun Fact #1: Former fringe Bulldogs winger Corey Thompson is the Super League top tryscorer this year.

Fun Fact #2: Titans veteran Nathan Friend made his debut in 2002 – against Matt Seers.

Fun Fact #3: Cameron McInnes now has a double to his name.

Rumour Mill: Melbourne have made a bid to bring back former winger Sisa Waqa back to the club. Waqa is stuck in the NSW Cup and on his way to French rugby union. Roosters winger Joe Burgess is set to return home. Burgess has been a major flop and is set to replace Josh Charnley at Wigan after Charnley signed with rugby. Matt Gillett has been linked with a move to the Gold Coast Titans.  Konrad Hurrell will be at the Titans within a month.

Betting Market of the Week: Qualities placed in the job description for Roosters halves in the pre-season:

$2.00: Shocking lairy haircut
$1.80: A total lack of composure
$1.30: Two left feet
$1.10: Inability to even attempt a field goal

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

Every week has been highly profitable throughout 2016.

Check out the results from the first two rounds and get more details here.

The Bozo and Barrett Show: Four words – Dylan Walker, Five-Eighth. Wow. It is a decision that could cost Manly a finals berth. Walker showed last Thursday he is a quality runner who cannot play-make. Unfortunately for Manly, the club has gone all-in on his ability to play No.6.

What I Love About … Zeb Taia: This column has always been a massive fan of Taia and his return to the NRL was most welcome on Friday night when a late double provided a backdoor cover for those on the Titans. More than that though, he showed he has lost none of his ability to play an edge. He runs hard, he has good hands and gets through a mountain of work. It is great to have him back in the league.

The Coaching Crosshairs: Three straight losses and the appointment of Mark O’Neill as the club’s football manager has Wests Tigers coach Jason Taylor again in the gun. And the position is not undeserved. He was given a stay of execution by two early wins but the Tigers have lost three straight winnable matches. Taylor just isn’t up to first grade and his vindictive treatment of Robbie Farah reflects very poorly on him.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 5: Parramatta – Penrith, 18-20. The Western Derby didn’t disappoint with Penrith staging a stunning late-game comeback to collect the chocolates over the premier defensive team in the NRL. There was controversy, drama and plenty of quality.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Des Hasler’s persistence with Tony Williams and Chase Stanley continue to defy belief and strike now as nothing more than stubbornness.  In a week the Bulldogs let the most promising young forward in the club go, Williams played 80 minutes against Canberra where he conceded three penalties, missed three tackles, had a handling error and ran just six times for a paltry 25 metres. Stanley, of course, went down hurt but not before he handed the Raiders their first two tries. Heaven forbid the Bulldogs play a centre who can tackle and doesn’t get hurt who can kick goals.

Correspondence Corner: CTPE, who is Eddie?

STFC, very good.

Robbo, I believe a deliberate foul is a professional foul so I agree that it should be a sin bin every time.

Gaz, I disagree. I think they should just abandon golden point and bring back the 80-minute draw.

Jack Muir, gee I like that Kiwi side.

Taro, incentives need to be made to keep players like Semi playing for Fiji.

Beard Watch: The thing about Ben Matulino’s beard is it is just that – a normal beard. There is nothing fancy. Just the beard of a man who likes facial hair.

Watch It: With Canberra returning to Belmore Sports Ground for the first time in a generation, we look back on one of their previous unsuccessful runs at the ground. The year is 1994. Watch it here.


Comments (8)

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  1. Tony Monero says:

    Good call to stop consulting and start directing. It happens with the refs too, that’s why they miss blatant penalties like Guerra. Too many refs, all consulting and waiting for the other to do their job. All reason why a solitary ref works. One person.

    Personally, Greenbergs first big test comes when/if he decides to strip Parra of points. It happened to the Bulldogs and Storm. Precedent is there.

    Greenberg needs to show he’s not Supreme Leader Grants bunny.

  2. Greg says:

    Surely Homebush is the central sporting precinct of Sydney. It has been the home of the NRL GF for almost 20 years. For the vast majority of the Sydney population ANZ provides easier access for the whole metro area. Public trans is simple as anyone can get there by train without changing for a bus. Plus there are direct buses to the Olympic park area and extra plus… car parking is simple and leaving the car park takes a quarter of the time compared to the Entertainment Quarter, Moore Park and ANZAC Pde. Also at Homebush there’s the the Olympic swim centre a major tennis centre, Acer Arena, Hockey grounds and the Spotless Stadium all in one place servicing Sydney. ANZ Stadium is already basically size ready, and they only need $700m to make it like a larger version of Suncorp but with a roof! Sounds spot on.

    Regardimg the SFS… Other than a facelift for coporates, media and food outlets there’s nothing wrong with the SFS as it is. It’s my favourite stadium seats $45k and gets filled maybe once every 12 months for an ALEAGUE derby. The reality for me is knocking it down and rebuilding the SFS at a projected cost of $1.2b in an area that’s not easily accessible to most of the Sydney population, especially the majority of league fans… and at a venue that basically can’t handle traffic sounds like a misuse of funds to appease toffed up trust members to me.

    And I can’t wait to see where people are going to park at this new Parra Stadium… Parramatta is already getting quite difficult with traffic and higher density living. They would have been better leaving that stadium as is and for the same cost minus the knockdown costs building a new West Syd Stadium near Eastern Creek at the M4/M7 junction which is 15min from Parra, 15min from Penrith, 10min from Liverpool, 22min from Campbelltown and less than 45min from the Harbour Bridge along the M2… that’s the perfect location for a Western Sydney Stadium. Central to all of the greater western sporting fans out there, not far from that racetrack or the Wet n Wild fun park where there can be room for parking and freeways that take cars to Canberra, Bathurst, Newcastle or Sydney at the stadium door.

    • Stephen says:

      Spot on, what a ridiculous initial statement “Moore Park – it is the central sporting precinct of Sydney” … Moore Park took me over 75 minutes to get to from North Sydney when I tried to go there last year. Drove to Olympic Park and it took me less than an hour, both for a Friday night match

  3. Michael Butterfield says:

    What manly need to do with Walker is to put him back in the centres & break a finger, he always played better at Souths with an injured hand.

  4. Gutsy says:

    I agree with the 80-minute draw – “they” say extra time is exciting, well if two teams know there is no extra time, the last 10 minutes would be the same, but that is not why it should only be 80 minutes. How often do we hear that the players are playing too much, the draw and rep games are too hard on the star players? By keeping every game to 80 minutes, you are technically reducing game time, therefore allowing the players less time on the paddock. How last year’s GF would have been finished – impossible to say, JT may have got the kick, the Brisbane winger may have stayed on his man instead of letting Feldt stroll over untouched – could be anything.

    As a long-time president of the “Beau Scott is a thug” club, I am having to eat my words watching him play at Parra. His defence has been great, but better yet he is making the rest of the pack have a go and almost play for each other, which is something not seen at the Eels for a long time. We shall see though if the club stuffs up their fantastic recruitment by being docked points and losing Corey Norman and the future talent – I tell you, they are such a hard club to go for.

    When do you reckon Brad Abbey will get a crack? Seems like they are waiting for Perrett to age a little more, but as young Holland can kick he looks like the option after last night. Sucks though if Mbye is your kicker in your fantasy comps (grrr)

    • Gutsy says:

      Also (apologies) – with the early Origin talk, the NSW team obviously needs updating, but I am interested to see whether the old way of thinking of “he’s an Origin player” garbage is stuck to, or if players who are just bloody good get selected. Bryce Cartwright – very good, still a bit young, but should be a future rep player, so I reckon blood him. And Paul Vaughan. And Shaun Fensom (who if was a QLDer would have replaced Dallas Johnson the minute DJ retired).

  5. George says:

    Nick, do you think Ricky out coached des last night .

  6. Kingcowboy says:

    Nick I am enjoying your articles less and less as I beleive you are starting to write like Phil Rothfield whose articles i no longer read. Why does everything have to be so negative lately? Using terms like fisaco and farce is just being over dramtic. I think the footy has been great this year and the game is in a good state. Mate I love your passion for the game but please cut back on the negativity.