From The Couch: Round 6

Filed in From The Couch, NRL by on April 11, 2016

Diving is a Scourge on the Game: There is nothing I enjoy seeing more on a Rugby League field than diving. Long-time readers may recall a scathing article I penned about a Ray Cashmere dive in Canberra nearly a decade back. It has been something that has riled me ever since. And now the latest to enter the hall of shame is Trent Merrin. Faking a crusher tackle is a low, grubby move and one that lowers the game to the standing of soccer or Aussie Rules or any other sport where such ordinary behaviour is accepted. It is a slap in the face to the working class ideals Rugby League is built on. Trent Merrin should be better than that.

Semi No Solution: Semi Radradra’s decision to play for Australia and abandon Fiji is a massive shame for those who wish to see the international game grow – and another example of the NRL and the powerful clubs letting international footy suffer. Semi can’t be blamed for the call. It is in his financial interests. The NRL need to step up and ensure players can choose a minor nation and it not hurt them financially. That means setting a standard for player payments in international football for all countries. That means scheduling more international footy with the emerging nations involved. It means separating Origin qualifications from international qualifications. Sadly it is an issue the NRL will never seek to properly address because they have no vision.

Sims Magic: The Sims boys are hardly renowned for using their brains but Korbin Sims’ on-the-run decision to boot the loose ball right at Jordan Rankin was a super intelligent play. It also helped the Knights to their first win of the season. How the ball ended up on the field is the real issue here – not what Sims did when he came across it.

2016 Field Goal Update – 9: A big weekend for the field goal with a one-pointer on three straight days for the first time in 2016. Jackson Hastings put the Roosters clear on Friday with a one-pointer. Lachlan Coote slotted a matchwinner on Saturday against his former team. And Chad Townsend put the Sharks in front with a drop goal. A great time to be a field goal fan.

Fun Fact #1: The Dragons have not scored in 164 minutes of Rugby League.

Fun Fact #2: The Dragons are averaging 0.67 points per game in their last three road matches.

Fun Fact #3: The Dragons have scored 24 points since Round 1 – an average of 4.8 points per match.

Rumour Mill: South Sydney are reportedly deep in talks with of all people Dallas Cowboy and domestic violence perpetrator Greg Hardy in what would arguably be the most interesting and simultaneously shameful signing of all time. Luckily it will most likely never happen. Sonny Bill Williams is all but certain to return to the Roosters next season. All is not well at the Broncos following the “rat-gate” affair despite the spin from the club subsequently. Melbourne are speaking with South Sydney about bringing back Dane Nielsen.

Betting Market of the Week: With the rumour mill in overdrive that Dallas Cowboy Greg Hardy could be coming to the Rabbitohs, other prospective targets are:

$1001: Buzz Rothfield
$81: Donald Trump
$21: Friday Night Lights’ Smash Williams
$1.04: Santa Claus

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 with a profit on turnover of over 35% through six rounds. Cha-ching.

Get more details here.

The Bozo and Barrett Show: Which Manly players will Bob Fulton get into a Blues jersey this year? Dylan Walker is probably in the mix. A Trbojevic – perhaps two – will be thrown in before they are ready. I am hoping though that Tom Symonds is the Bozo bolter in 2016.

Charge Down Rule Needs Changing: One of the most annoying inconsistencies in Rugby League is the lack of clarity around the charge down rule. If a player is moving towards a kicker, he is playing at the ball, regardless of if he turns his back. This should not be difficult. The NRL needs to clear this up. There is no downside to not fixing this mess.

What I Love About … the Gold Coast Titans: The Titans probably have less talent on their books than any other team. They have been castrated with injury. They got screwed royally with recruitment. Yet they keep digging in, game after game. They have not tossed a game away this year. They have comeback wins. A win on the road. No team is performing above expectations. They deserve the respect of footy fans everywhere.

The Coaching Crosshairs: If Jason Taylor sees May, it would be a major surprise. After the Tigers won their opening two games, expectations were raised. They shouldn’t have been. The Tigers are not a very good side thanks to some terrible recruitment and they are not a side that is coached well. With Mark O’Neill now a power-player at the Tigers and a board that is as tough as a Krisnan Inu tackle, Taylor is dusted.

Game of the Year Nomination, Round 6: Penrith – North Queensland, 18-23. A brilliant game that wasn’t decided until the final minute (a play that devastated those of us on the Panthers +2.5 and the under!). It had controversy, drama, a big-time finish and some heavy hitting. The Panthers will be disappointed they let another close game slide and will be particularly irked it was former fullback Lachlan Coote who beat them. Bryce Cartwright, Trent Merrin and Josh Mansour did their Blues claims no harm while Ethan Lowe should be picked for the Kangaroos in the Anzac Test. There is no more devastating runner in the NRL than Jason Taumalolo.

Moronic Coaching Decision of the Week: Konrad Hurrell started on the Warriors’ bench and played 16 minutes. David Fusitua is in NSW Cup. Ken Maumalo is in NSW Cup. And Jono Wright is playing first grade. Well done Andrew McFadden.

Correspondence Corner: KingCowboy, perhaps I just need a long sleep and to remember how boring summers are.

George, I don’t think Ricky outcoached Des but I think Des needs to stop picking Tony Williams and Chase Stanley.

Gutsy, I doubt Brad Abbey will play this year. He is a little undersized at the moment. I still can’t believe Shaun Fensom is constantly snubbed from rep football. It is a joke.

Michael Butterfield, he definitely needs to move back to the centres, does Dylan Walker.

Tony Monero, the Parramatta situation is certainly a big test of Todd Greenberg’s leadership. He has hardly been heard of since ascending to the top job.

Greg, it would be nice if somebody – anybody – though about issues like transport and parking before deciding on where the stadium spend.

Stephen, Sydney has three major stadiums – and two are at Moore Park. I never claimed it was geographically central or easy to get to – neither is correct. It is the central sporting precinct though with the SFS and SCG.

Beard Watch: Will Matthews is so terrible he should be stripped of his beard. He should be shaved in public as a warning that you cannot have a beard if you are one of the most hopeless players in the game.

Watch It: One of the great travesties in Rugby League is the decline of the French game and in particular their standing in the international scene. So we go back to 1951 – some 65 years ago – for this fabulous footage of the deciding Test between Clive Churchill’s Australia and Puig Aubert’s France at the SCG. It was a grand encounter highlighted by Raymond Contrastin’s bullocking final try and Kevin Schubert’s blatant kick to the head of Elie Brousse. The horrible French puns only make the footage better. Watch it here.




Comments (7)

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  1. Robbo says:

    It was interesting to see Sydneysider Malcolm Turnbull spruiking to joy of AFL footy to the Chinese as he and Gillon McLachlan whispered sweet nothings to each other. I recall a similar diplomatic mission to the Oval Office when Julia Gillard introduced the Sherrin to Barack Obama during her carbon encrusted tenure and your subsequent article about how the Liberal party was the party for Rugby League. What do you make of this backflip by the Liberal Party and is there any truth to the rumour that you will be publicly endorsing the Greens at the next Federal election?

  2. Tony Monero says:

    Just watched two shots on Fensom. One by Kasiano, the other by Parras Paulo. Nailed both times. While Shaun ran tough lines both times, it shows why he won’t crack major rep footy. Too small. A bit like Josh Jackson, just a bloody good club player.
    You have to let go of your Raiders fantasy Nick. He’s more Nigel Gaffey than Brad Clyde.

  3. Michael Butterfield says:

    I thought you might have mentioned something about the Burgess twins not dishing out a return serve to Napa after what he dished out Big Sammy, who is obviously playing hurt.

  4. Michael Butterfield says:

    I see the Jamie Lyons ” fall over” is back in vogue.

  5. Davey_G says:

    Can’t be a coincidence that the Tiges aren’t winning since Farah returned. Respect to the guy and all, but it is a different team and style of play that gets them over the line, with the rest of the spine full of youthful exuberance.

    I hope Semi doesn’t get picked for Australia on principal, although the selectors could say anything as their normal reasons for leaving out the good players range from hair colour to who knows what.

    Speaking of selections – Laurie has already quoted as saying the Canberra halves probably won’t be considered for Origin as they have no big game experience and haven’t taken their teams to finals. Based on his own logic, he would then have to select the same team that have lost 9 out of the last 10 series because they have big game experience. Wonderful. Not saying Sezer and Austin should be the NSW 6 and 7, but I reckon we could do a lot worse (and will with Bozo involved). Wouldn’t be upset with either Trebojevic’s in there though, now is the time to blood the future players before QLD have to do the same with half their current roster ageing and due to retire around the same time.

    And watching the replay with Sims kicking that ball – look at his eyes. He is running towards the player, and his eyes are watching the Tigers player the whole time yet he manages solid connection with the football. Outstanding peripheral vision and co-ordination on the kid.

  6. Rock says:

    Big fan of your column. What are your thoughts on an 18th as a replacement? Some are talking about using it for injury or concussion. I think that would only add to the feigning of injury. I reckon if it is replacement only then that could have merit.

  7. James says:

    Bit harsh on Matthews mate, he’s earned a real reputation as a hitman. I know it was a bad game for him on Thursday but he’s generally a very reliable backrower who can hurt his opposition in a tackle.